Another lazy weekend, another chance to kick back with a screwdriver and mess around with the PC Gamer Rig. Our averagely priced PC is in a state of constant flux, and rarely makes it through seven days without something changing as new components are released and online bargains are found.
So what surprises hide beneath its SECC shell this week? How did I manage to shave xxx off the overall cost without sacrificing a framerate of power? And are hard drive prices finally on the way down? For the answers to all these and more, click through the link.
The first thing that's struck me this week is that hard drive prices appear not just to have peaked, but to be starting to fall quite dramatically. After last year's tragic flooding in Thailand which affected many major hard drive production lines, prices leapt by up to 300%, making larger terabyte and up drives relatively unaffordable for most of us.
According to reports in CRN India , however, the bulk price for 500GB drives have fallen from a high of $135 to just $65 this week. The effects are already visible at retail. Overclockers has a 2TB drive for under £100 (opens in new tab) , for example, which would have been unheard of just a couple of weeks ago.
In other hardware news, incidentally, the founder of Overclockers – a popular UK component shop – has sold the site to AF Gaming Gmbh (opens in new tab) , which owns the huge German emporium CaseKing.de.
In other components, reductions are really just a question of shopping around, lots. Which is always good advice. If you're looking to upgrade a component, don't just blindly follow the links here or take a look at Google Shopping – take your time and check out as many stores as possible. For some pieces of kit – like monitors – the price difference between different retailers can be hundreds of pounds.
A word of caution, though. If a deal looks too good to be true, it almost certainly is. Many of the lowest prices on Google Shopping, for example, won't be from well known stores with a reputation behind them. I fully support the little guy and often buy stuff from the computer shop next door to me on the high street – but you don't need me to tell you to watch out buying online from a site you don't trust. Often, an infeasibly low price can mean an overseas company which won't deliver very quickly, is selling grey imports or simply not adding on the customs fee you'll get stung by. Worse – it might simply be a front to steal your card details. It happens.
Check out any suppliers you haven't heard of before. A quick Google looking for complaints or a call to their switchboard should tell you all you need to know.
What's in the Rig?
Intel Core i5 2500K
And if its stock 3.3GHz isn't enough, it overclocks well too.
ASUS P8Z68-V LX/Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3
Two great boards for socket 1155 with support for Crossfire and on board graphics too.
Crucial Ballistix Sport
Fill your boards and your boots at these prices.
GeForce GTX 560Ti
Hunt around for the best prices, and don't be fooled by the extra value of the non-Ti version.
Seagate Barracuda 500GB
Still not quite the right time to buy a hard drive, but things are looking better.
You could consider a quieter drive if you want. Or doing away with it altogether and buying a memory stick.
Not just good looking, but soft to the touch too.
OCZ ZS Series 650W
Plenty of power for what you'll need.
Classic Logitech design with a modern 3600dpi sensor.
Microsoft SideWinder X4
The price is rising. I suspect this keyboard may not be long for this world.
ASUS Xonar DG
Not essential, but a great extra for £20.
Iiyama Prolite X2377HDS/AOC i2353Ph
Alternatively, you could try the excellent Dell U2312HM for £25 more – the stand alone is worth the extra.
Creative SoundBlaster Tactic 3D Alpha
I'm not the biggest fan of Creative headsets, but at this price they offer respectable quality and a decent mic.
That's £25.58/$65.87 less than last week.