Rig Builder – May 2012 (Part 1)

6/3/2012 11:23:39 AM

Whether you’re upgrading your PC or starting anew, this is the best kit

One of the joys of owning a PC is that you can upgrade it as you go. Need higher frame rates in games? Drop in a newer graphics card. More power elsewhere? Grab a new processor or go for that old favourite: a memory boost. There’s a wealth of upgrades that can transform your machine, and you can upgrade slowly over time to suit your budget, so you rarely have to suffer a sluggish rig for long. Every now and then the best possible upgrade is to throw your current rig out the window and start afresh; build a whole new machine from scratch.

Description: Rig Builder

What sort of machine should you build though? Which items are important? Which work together well? How much should you be budgeting for? That’s a lot of questions, and to get the right answers means having to go and research all the current trends in order to make the right decision. Before you do that though, take a look the right. You’ll discover that we’ve taken the hard work out of the equation and presented you with three machines that fit three different budgets.

Importantly, each one of these machines is DirectX 11 capable and, as such, will form the basis of a rig that will last you for years. The more you spend now, the longer it will last in terms of system requirements for tomorrow’s games, but generally any of these machines will see you covered for a fair while Happy building!

How to buy a processor

Choosing the right processor for your rig is probably the most important decision you’ll make regarding a new build/purchase. It dictates what sort of motherboard you need, and not just because of the socket either.

If you opt for a chip with known overclocking potential then you need to spend wisely on said motherboard to ensure you get the most out of it. Likewise if you pick a CPU with possible core unlocking possibilities then a corresponding motherboard is also vitally important.

There are many different choices out there, from dual-core workhouses to six and eight-core thoroughbreds, and everything in between. You typical usage model should also colour your CPU choice, a lowly dual-core isn’t going to give you much joy in a video encoding machine.

Likewise dropping a grand on a six-core chip isn’t going to have you reaping the rewards in games. A decent quad-core will give you a balanced machine if you fit between the two, but if you’re a gamer then there really is no need to go for more. And you can save some crash for a better GPU too.

Budget: $648

Description: When every pound counts, you need to spend it wisely.

When every pound counts, you need to spend it wisely.

Motherboard: Asus M4A785TD-MEvo: $108

Description: Asus M4A785TD-MEvo

AMD’s 785G chipset is where the sensible money is at, and this ASUS mATX board ticks our boxes. DDR3 and ẢM support as standard make it a platform that’s easy to upgrade too.

CPU: AMD Phenom II 550 BE: $75

Description: AMD Phenom II 550 BE

You could go quad-core, but you’re better served by picking this speedy fella for gaming. Belting along at 3.1GHz, the two cores can handle serious computing.

Memory: Kingston 2x 1GB 1600 DDR3: $30

Description: Kingston 2x 1GB 1600 DDR3

Memory pricing has fallen enough to finally affect DDR3, making it a great time to pick up a pair of sticks. If you’re going 64-bit, we’d recommend getting 4GB these days.

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