Second Hand Components, a Quick Buyers Guide

A common question I get asked by a lot of my friends and family is “I found this part on this website, it’s B-Grade. Is it OK to use?”

My first answer would be no, buying new is better because you have the full warranty and what not, but now manufacturing processes have improved to the point that components are lasting years beyond their given warranty, maybe it’s worth it? Also most websites offer a 90 day warranty and a faulty product will normally fail in that time.

Let’s take a little look into the main components and what I would recommend you should buy new or what you could buy used. I will focus more on private sellers for this post as that will likely be where most buyers will source second hand parts.


A computer is generally made up of the following main components:

  • Processor
  • Motherboard
  • Power Supply
  • Memory (RAM)
  • Storage (SSD and HDD)
  • Graphics Card

Processor

I was in two minds with this, a processor is normally the most expensive part in your entire system apart from your graphics card. I would have normally recommended buying this new because of this fact.

Now, after a fair amount of experience removing processors out of motherboards, leaving them on tables, boxes, clothes and other non-favourable places, I would actually say buy used.

I’ve learnt that processors generally don’t “fail” on their own, external factors such as poor power, poor motherboard contacts or overclocking will cause a failure long before the processor would fail from wear and tear.

You can save a lot of money, but here are some recommendations.

Only buy if:

  • You can verify the life of the CPU – Check build logs and previous posts from the seller. Avoid overclocked processors if possible, only consider them if you want a guaranteed overclock or it is a last resort;
  • Avoid de-lidded processors – This trend is great to reduce the temperatures of your processor and there are tools which take most of the risk out, but you can’t always guarantee if there is any damage;
  • The seller accepts returns – If the seller will not accept returns, return to your searching;
  • You can buy from someone reputable – This sort of backs up the previous point;
  • Buying older processors, check the pins – Not as much of an issue in recent years, but older processors have pins which can be easily bent,

Would I buy used?

Yes


Motherboard

Motherboards actually follow a similar theme to processors. I have used and abused many motherboards. Thrown them around, built systems on carpet and even held a motherboard by the heat sinks while walking between systems.

As long as you’re not completely ruthless and bend a motherboard to the point of cracking, you should be OK.

Motherboards tend to have a lower saving potential because they are generally cheaper. Bigger savings can be made if you want more expensive (£250+) motherboards.

Only buy if:

  • You can verify the life of the motherboard – Check build logs and previous posts from the seller. Avoid motherboards that have been modified;
  • The seller accepts returns – If the seller will not accept returns, return to your searching;
  • You can buy from someone reputable – This sort of backs up the previous point;
  • You can check the socket pins – Same as with the processors, newer motherboards have pins within the socket. The worst part about this is that damage can happen during posting if the socket cover wasn’t put on properly. Make sure it has insurance!!!

Would I buy used?

Yes, in-fact, my motherboard is used!


Power Supply

Power supplies are a tough one, they supply the life into your system and is vital to make sure they are in peak condition.

While power supplies are being made better and better each year, they’re cheap enough to buy new and the potential savings to be made are minimal.

Only buy if:

  • You can verify the seller – Check any build logs and make sure the seller hasn’t used and abused it;
  • The seller accepts returns – If the seller will not accept returns, return to your searching;
  • You can buy from someone reputable – This sort of backs up the previous point;
  • You’re desperate!!

Would I buy used?

No


Memory (RAM)

 

Memory has lifetime warranty and in some cases is transferable to other buyers (check the manufacturer website first).

Same as with processors, RAM doesn’t die without some abuse either via overclocking or bending.

Due to the increase in memory prices, resale values have held strong and probably doesn’t make sense to buy used.

Only buy if:

  • You can verify the life of the memory – Check build logs and previous posts from the seller. Avoid overclocked memory if possible, only consider them if you want a guaranteed overclock or it is a last resort;
  • The seller accepts returns – If the seller will not accept returns, return to your searching;
  • You can buy from someone reputable – This sort of backs up the previous point.

Would I buy used?

Yes


Storage (SSD and HDD)

 

This is a tough one, probably the toughest on the list. We all need storage, but typically someone owns a HDD or SSD over the course of 2-3 computer builds (3-5 years). At this stage, any working units are stripped of all data and sold on at extremely cheap prices.

There is also a security element to this, as technology advances, its getting easier to pull data from storage drives, even if they have been stripped of all tangible data. This then leads to drives being destroyed.

Probably the biggest concern for buyers is the performance of the SSD with the early performance and longevity issues posed. While these issues aren’t as prominent, most people are put off because of this.

Only buy if:

  • You can verify the life of the drive – Check build logs and previous posts from the seller;
  • The buyer will provide performance screen shots – This should be common practice now with programs such as CrystalDisk and SSDLife being free and can provide a lot of information for prospective buyers;

  • The seller accepts returns – If the seller will not accept returns, return to your searching;
  • You can buy from someone reputable – This sort of backs up the previous point.

Would I buy used?

No


Graphics Card

Graphics cards are probably the most sold and bought component in the used market next to cases, fans and peripherals.

This category carries the same risks as processors with previous owners overclocking and removing heat sinks to perform modifications such as water cooling. Graphics cards are also more prone to failure compared to other components (storage excluded) with artifacts being the main tell to the failure.

Strangely, the higher risk in failure doesn’t actually put many people off as the potential savings outweigh the risk. In some cases, you can buy a 6-8 month old graphics card for around 20% cheaper.

You can save a lot of money, but follow the following recommendations.

Only buy if:

  • You can verify the life of the GPU – Check build logs and previous posts from the seller. Avoid overclocked graphics cards if possible, only consider them if you want a guaranteed overclocked or it is a last resort;
  • The seller accepts returns – If the seller will not accept returns, return to your searching;
  • You can buy from someone reputable – This sort of backs up the previous point.

Would I buy used?

Yes


Summary

So there we have it, my recommendations when buying used parts. I could go further into it, but this is designed to be a very high level buying guide.

I would always recommend buying brand new components, you then have the full warranties available and you know that the parts haven’t been tampered with.

Used parts are good if you are on a budget or in a pinch if a part isn’t available. I personally look at sale forums to check out used parts before buying new. My motherboard is used and it saved nearly 30% just 2 months after launch (Gigabyte Z170X Gaming 7). I know some review companies sell samples after a review for up to 60% less than retail, yes, at one point I knew of a NVIDIA GTX 980Ti being sold for £300 just days after release.

The best place I’ve found for used parts is the OverclockersUK forums. You need to rack up posts or be a member for a set amount of time to be able to view the marketplace, but most sellers are very trustworthy and sell parts are very good rates.

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Summer of Computing 2017: Budget Builds

It’s that time of the year again, choose a few components to suit certain builds and compare it against a few retailers, but this time with a bit of a twist. Instead of just gaming, I will throw in a few other categories such as home PC, and HTPC.

A similar format to last year, but instead of running around different retailers, I will stick to just one that has the best equipment on offer for that price.

Each week will focus on a set budget and include one build or laptop which best meets the criteria.


This week will look at some of the lowest budget equipment you can buy; be it pre-built or in components and it will include all peripherals to suit that build. There may be some higher price equipment to make the system feel more user friendly, such as a 1080p monitor instead of a 768p monitor.

My chosen e-tailer will be OverclockersUK (OcUK).

overclockers

OverclockersUK started out in 1999 as a small company set to change the overclocking world by offering CPUs with a known overclocking performance. As the company gained traction it steadily grew until in 2012 it was bought out by German company Caseking where it has grown further.


General Purpose Home PC

This category will focus on building a general purpose PC which everyone has had experience with. It’s by no means a speed machine, but it lets you complete your homework or check out Facebook.

Processor AMD A4-6300 29.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/amd-a4-6300-3.70ghz-socket-fm2-apu-trinity-dual-core-processor-ad6300okhlbox-cp-380-am.html
Motherboard Gigabyte F2A88XM-DS2 43.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/gigabyte-f2a88xm-ds2-amd-a88x-socket-fm2-ddr3-micro-atx-motherboard-mb-474-gi.html
Memory GeiL Black Dragon 4GB 1333MHz 17.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/geil-black-dragon-4gb-1x4gb-ddr3-pc3-10666c9-1333mhz-single-module-gd34gb1333c9sc-my-119-gl.html
Power Supply XFX XT 400W 34.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/xfx-xt-series-400w-80-plus-bronze-power-supply-ca-021-xf.html
Storage Toshiba P300 1TB 40.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/toshiba-p300-1tb-7200rpm-64mb-cache-high-performance-hard-drive-hdwd110uzsva-hd-044-ts.html
Case AeroCool CS-110 21.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/aerocool-cs-1101-midi-tower-case-black-ca-194-ae.html
Optical LG 24x DVDRW 13.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/lg-24x-dvdrw-sata-rewriter-oem-gh24nsd0-cd-121-lg.html
Operating System Windows 10 94.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/microsoft-windows-10-64-bit-dvd-oem-ms-kw9-00139-sw-172-ms.html
Keyboard LMS Bundle 9.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/lms-data-usb-keyboard-and-mouse-bundle-km9014-kb-000-ls.html
Mouse Bundle
Monitor ASUS VE228TR 22″ 1920×1080 79.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/asus-vs228de-22-1920×1080-tn-widescreen-led-monitor-black-mo-066-as.html

Total: £388.82

So that’s actually a pretty decent build considering it includes EVERYTHING to set up and go, okay you need a desk and chair.

It won’t be the fastest and it isn’t the most up to date, but it will have enough space to hold your family photos, complete homework and browse the internet without any issues. A good (and most would consider a must) upgrade would be a solid state drive (SSD) to really perk the system up, but it would push the build over £400 and isn’t strictly required at this stage.

A good side of building this computer compared to spending a little less at high street retailers is the fact you get the full warranty of each component and the components are higher quality.

Ways to save money:

  • If you plan on using a different operating system such as Linux, that can save you up to £94.99;
  • Most digital media can be found online or used via a USB pen drive, you can remove the optical drive;
  • The monitor is a standard 1920x1080p model; this can be swapped out for a lower resolution version to save up to £20.
Processor AMD A4-6300 29.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/amd-a4-6300-3.70ghz-socket-fm2-apu-trinity-dual-core-processor-ad6300okhlbox-cp-380-am.html
Motherboard Gigabyte F2A88XM-DS2 43.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/gigabyte-f2a88xm-ds2-amd-a88x-socket-fm2-ddr3-micro-atx-motherboard-mb-474-gi.html
Memory GeiL Black Dragon 4GB 1333MHz 17.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/geil-black-dragon-4gb-1x4gb-ddr3-pc3-10666c9-1333mhz-single-module-gd34gb1333c9sc-my-119-gl.html
Power Supply XFX XT 400W 34.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/xfx-xt-series-400w-80-plus-bronze-power-supply-ca-021-xf.html
Storage Toshiba P300 1TB 40.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/toshiba-p300-1tb-7200rpm-64mb-cache-high-performance-hard-drive-hdwd110uzsva-hd-044-ts.html
Case AeroCool CS-110 21.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/aerocool-cs-1101-midi-tower-case-black-ca-194-ae.html
Keyboard LMS Bundle 9.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/lms-data-usb-keyboard-and-mouse-bundle-km9014-kb-000-ls.html
Monitor ASUS VS197DE 18.5″ 1366x768p 59.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/asus-vs197de-18.5-1366×768-tn-led-monitor-black-mo-052-as.html

Total: £259.84

Shaving off a few simple parts can gain a pretty substantial saving.


Home Theatre PC

This will focus more on building a computer for under your TV. Very likely used to stream content from Netflix of Amazon Video.

Processor AMD A4-6300 29.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/amd-a4-6300-3.70ghz-socket-fm2-apu-trinity-dual-core-processor-ad6300okhlbox-cp-380-am.html
Motherboard Gigabyte F2A88XM-DS2 43.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/gigabyte-f2a88xm-ds2-amd-a88x-socket-fm2-ddr3-micro-atx-motherboard-mb-474-gi.html
Memory GeiL Black Dragon 4GB 1333MHz 17.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/geil-black-dragon-4gb-1x4gb-ddr3-pc3-10666c9-1333mhz-single-module-gd34gb1333c9sc-my-119-gl.html
Power Supply XFX XT 400W 34.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/xfx-xt-series-400w-80-plus-bronze-power-supply-ca-021-xf.html
Storage Toshiba P300 1TB 40.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/toshiba-p300-1tb-7200rpm-64mb-cache-high-performance-hard-drive-hdwd110uzsva-hd-044-ts.html
Case Silverstone ML03 HTPC Case 68.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/silverstone-milo-ml03-htpc-case-black-sst-ml03b-ca-163-sv.html
Optical LG 24x DVDRW 13.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/lg-24x-dvdrw-sata-rewriter-oem-gh24nsd0-cd-121-lg.html
Operating System Windows 10 94.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/microsoft-windows-10-64-bit-dvd-oem-ms-kw9-00139-sw-172-ms.html
Keyboard Logitech K400 PLUS 29.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/logitech-wireless-touch-keyboard-k400-plus-black-uk-layout-kb-257-lg.html
Mouse Bundle

Total: £375.91

You’ll notice a few key components will be the same as they’re good for what they are and can carry out this level of work perfectly.

We’ve removed the monitor because HTPC’s are generally connected to a TV. A wireless keyboard/ mouse combo has been added so you can use it on the other side of the room (up to 10 metres away) and the case should be ideal to fit in most TV stands without much issue.

The price is quite high due to needing more specialist parts, an extra £20 on a wireless keyboard/ mouse for example.

Just like the previous system, money can be saved by removing the operating system and optical drive:

Processor AMD A4-6300 29.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/amd-a4-6300-3.70ghz-socket-fm2-apu-trinity-dual-core-processor-ad6300okhlbox-cp-380-am.html
Motherboard Gigabyte F2A88XM-DS2 43.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/gigabyte-f2a88xm-ds2-amd-a88x-socket-fm2-ddr3-micro-atx-motherboard-mb-474-gi.html
Memory GeiL Black Dragon 4GB 1333MHz 17.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/geil-black-dragon-4gb-1x4gb-ddr3-pc3-10666c9-1333mhz-single-module-gd34gb1333c9sc-my-119-gl.html
Power Supply XFX XT 400W 34.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/xfx-xt-series-400w-80-plus-bronze-power-supply-ca-021-xf.html
Storage Toshiba P300 1TB 40.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/toshiba-p300-1tb-7200rpm-64mb-cache-high-performance-hard-drive-hdwd110uzsva-hd-044-ts.html
Case Silverstone ML03 HTPC Case 68.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/silverstone-milo-ml03-htpc-case-black-sst-ml03b-ca-163-sv.html
Keyboard Logitech K400 PLUS 29.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/logitech-wireless-touch-keyboard-k400-plus-black-uk-layout-kb-257-lg.html
Mouse Bundle

Total: £266.93


Gaming PC

Moving on to gaming, an area which can get quite expensive. Let’s see how cheap we can make this while keeping the cost low. A gaming computer within this price range won’t play GTA V with high settings at 1080p smoothly, but CS:GO or DOTA will play perfectly fine with around 60FPS.

Processor AMD A8-7650k 74.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/amd-kaveri-a10-7890k-wraith-12-compute-core-apu-w-radeon-r7-graphics-4-cpu-8-gpu-compute-cores-cp-396-am.html
Motherboard Gigabyte F2A88XM-DS2 43.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/gigabyte-f2a88xm-ds2-amd-a88x-socket-fm2-ddr3-micro-atx-motherboard-mb-474-gi.html
Memory GeiL Black Dragon 4GB 1333MHz 17.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/geil-black-dragon-4gb-1x4gb-ddr3-pc3-10666c9-1333mhz-single-module-gd34gb1333c9sc-my-119-gl.html
Power Supply XFX XT 400W 34.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/xfx-xt-series-400w-80-plus-bronze-power-supply-ca-021-xf.html
Storage Toshiba P300 1TB 40.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/toshiba-p300-1tb-7200rpm-64mb-cache-high-performance-hard-drive-hdwd110uzsva-hd-044-ts.html
Case AeroCool CS-110 21.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/aerocool-cs-1101-midi-tower-case-black-ca-194-ae.html
Optical LG 24x DVDRW 13.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/lg-24x-dvdrw-sata-rewriter-oem-gh24nsd0-cd-121-lg.html
Operating System Windows 10 94.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/microsoft-windows-10-64-bit-dvd-oem-ms-kw9-00139-sw-172-ms.html
Keyboard LMS Bundle 9.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/lms-data-usb-keyboard-and-mouse-bundle-km9014-kb-000-ls.html
Mouse Bundle
Monitor ASUS VE228TR 22″ 1920×1080 79.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/asus-vs228de-22-1920×1080-tn-widescreen-led-monitor-black-mo-066-as.html

Total: £433.82

Slightly more expensive than the previous builds, but it does include a better processor for gaming. It is by no means a “beast”, but for the price and what it includes, it is a pretty capable machine.

If you only plan on gaming with Steam games, you can save £95.99 and install Steam OS. However, with that saved money, I would buy better peripherals.

Processor AMD A8-7650k 74.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/amd-kaveri-a10-7890k-wraith-12-compute-core-apu-w-radeon-r7-graphics-4-cpu-8-gpu-compute-cores-cp-396-am.html
Motherboard Gigabyte F2A88XM-DS2 43.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/gigabyte-f2a88xm-ds2-amd-a88x-socket-fm2-ddr3-micro-atx-motherboard-mb-474-gi.html
Memory GeiL Black Dragon 4GB 1333MHz 17.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/geil-black-dragon-4gb-1x4gb-ddr3-pc3-10666c9-1333mhz-single-module-gd34gb1333c9sc-my-119-gl.html
Power Supply XFX XT 400W 34.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/xfx-xt-series-400w-80-plus-bronze-power-supply-ca-021-xf.html
Storage Toshiba P300 1TB 40.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/toshiba-p300-1tb-7200rpm-64mb-cache-high-performance-hard-drive-hdwd110uzsva-hd-044-ts.html
Case AeroCool CS-110 21.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/aerocool-cs-1101-midi-tower-case-black-ca-194-ae.html
Keyboard Steelseries APEX RAW Keyboard 19.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/steelseries-apex-raw-gaming-keyboard-64123-kb-051-st.html
Mouse ASUS Cerberus Gaming Mouse 24.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/asus-cerberus-performance-gaming-mouse-sp-012-as.html
Monitor ASUS VE228TR 22″ 1920×1080 79.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/asus-vs228de-22-1920×1080-tn-widescreen-led-monitor-black-mo-066-as.html

Total: £359.83

Still not bank breaking and even some change from £400 to get some games in the Steam sales.


Summary

There we have it, a range of budget pleasing computers to suit most needs. As I said earlier, don’t expect miracles, manage your expectations. AMD is still king at this price range with the APU range based on the FM2+ socket. If AMD can keep the train running from Ryzen and introduce a FM3/3+ range of APU’s, that would seal the deal for cheap computers for the future.

A recommendation I would make is to add a Solid State Drive (SSD), this can really improve the performance for an extra £50-£70 depending on capacity and model.

I would personally choose the Western Digital Green 120GB model for £52.99.

Wondering why component prices have risen in the last 12 months? Check out my post here.

These computers are nearly as cheap as you can buy brand new, you can save extra money by opting for less memory and a small hard drive, but with Google Chrome needing 3GB just to open and all of our media consumption being digital; larger capacities are better.

Next week, Week 2: 

NB: Prices were correct as of 12pm 27/06/2017.


If you like what this post has given, give it a share and also comment to tell me what you’d like to read in the future.

Want me to review a certain product? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

Brexit, How Have Component Prices Changed?

It’s been a year since Brexit was made official and I’m sure most of us have seen a rise in prices of most components thanks to the weakened Pound conversion rates. I will take into account the rate of inflation of approximately 3% and offset against the final figures.

For the comparison, I will use posts from my mini series “Summer of Gaming” from last August.  At this point, Brexit was already announced, but this delay has given exchange rates time to level out.

If any parts are discontinued, I will find the next comparable part. This may include having to “uplift” other parts to suit the build.

To keep things fair, I will choose 3 of the most popular retailers in the UK and randomly choose one for each section.


Summer of Gaming: Week 1

For this, I chose Scan Computers, it was the one retailer to stock the majority of the parts.

The APU and SSD were swapped out for the next comparable (and in some case cheapest) parts left in the line up.

August 2016 (£) June 2017 (£) Percentage Change (%)
CPU AMD A6-6400K/ AMD A6-6420K 42.99 46.99 +9.30
Mobo Gigabyte GA-F2A68HM-HD2 38.99 41.48 +6.39
RAM Corsair 4GB XMS3 1333MHz 17.63 29.99 +70.11
Storage #1 Toshiba 500GB 35.75 38.48 +7.64
Storage #2 AMD R3 120GB/ Kingston A400 120GB 30.95 52.49 +69.60
PSU ThermalTake TR2 500W 34.99 39.98 +14.26
CPU Cooler Arctic Freezer 7 Pro 17.99 17.99 0.00
Case CiT F3 24.98 28.49 +14.05

That’s not a pretty picture. Memory production prices in general have skyrocketed in the last 10 months. While ever increasing memory price is a pretty standard thing, it’s not until you see the figures that it hits home just how extortionate the increase is.

The key reason behind the memory increase is due to manufacturers transitioning to a smaller manufacturing process and it failing in most cases. The demand has then not been met with stock and has pushed prices up.

Excluding the memory, the average increase is 7.3%, which is only an additional 4% over inflation. However, with everything in mind, it will cost an extra £52 (or 21%) to build this computer excluding postage.


Summer of Gaming: Week 2

Moving on to our £500 budget, I’ll change to Novatech to see how this company has held it’s prices.

August 2016 (£) June 2017 (£) Percentage Change (%)
CPU Intel G3460/ Intel G4500 59.99 65.71 +9.53
Mobo MSI H81M-P33/ MSI H110 M Pro-VD 38.99 42.3 +8.49
RAM Klevv Fit 8GB 1600MHz/ Kingston Hyper X Fury 8GB 29.99 63.36 +111.27
Storage #1 Toshiba 1TB 40.79 42.65 +4.56
Storage #2 Kingston SSDNOW UV400 120GB 38.39 59.78 +55.72
PSU EVGA 500W 42.98 33.98 -20.94
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212X 27.98 29.26 +4.57
Case Bitfenix Neos 36.98 36.95 -0.08
GPU MSI GTX 970 ARMOR/ MSI GTX 1060 ARMOR 199.99 199.99 0.00

It’s not all doom and gloom though, some prices have actually reduced in price and quite significantly for the power supply. This single change brings the average increase to just 0.8%; excluding memory).So there is a bigger discrepancy here with the loss of previous generation Intel processor and MSI graphics card, I’ve had to uplift to the next available product which also meant moving motherboard and memory to LGA 1151 and DDR4 respectively.

However, all taken into account, it will still cost an extra £57.90 (or 11%) to build this computer.


Summer of Gaming: Week 3

Last, but not least is the £1000 build. This was the most popular post out of the 3, which shows more interest in this tier of products. There will be new factors to incorporate here thanks to water cooling and the more mainstream ‘K’ series processors, will there be as much of an increase in price?

For this comparison, I will use OverclockersUK.

August 2016 (£) June 2017 (£) Percentage Change (%)
CPU i5-6600K/ i5-7600K 324.98 369.98 +13.85
Mobo Gigabyte Gaming 3/ ASUS Prime Z270-A 0 0 0.00
RAM Kingston HyperX Fury 16GB 2400MHz 52.99 119.99 +126.44
Storage #1 Toshiba 2TB 58.94 64.99 +10.26
Storage #2 Corsair Force LE 240GB/ Kingston UV400 240GB 68.99 89.99 +30.44
PSU Corsair CX550M 63.95 69.95 +9.38
CPU Cooler OCUK Tech Labs 240mm 59.9 75.9 +26.71
Case In-Win 703 54.95 59.99 +9.17
GPU VGA GTX 980Ti SC ACX 349.99 349.99 0.00

So again, price increases across the board, not as drastic with the SSD this time around, but a massive 126% increase for the same set of 16GB DDR4 is shocking.

One increase I wasn’t expecting to be as big was the water cooling system, however, this is a pretty standard theme across the board with the H100i GTX costing around £89 last year to now over £115.

With everything taken into account, it’s £166 (or 16%) more expensive; £88 of that comes directly from the increase in memory chips.


Conclusion

So overall prices have increased. Is this purely down to Brexit? Simple answer is yes, most prices have increased more than the average inflation rate in the UK. This is mainly down to the weakened pound exchange rate and with the elections just around the corner, it could get worse by this time next week.

Long answer is no, the majority of the increase comes from the lack of memory supply in the world right now. An article produced by PC Gamer provides and explanation behind the increase in memory prices. Essentially it is down to the manufacturers not being able to smoothly transition to the newer process and not producing enough memory chips to keep up with demand. A few years ago, hard drives faced a similar price increase due to floods in Thailand which decommissioned a production plant, it took TWO years for prices to settle back to pre-flood rates. 

 

My recommendation: I’ve been watching memory prices over the last few weeks to upgrade to 32GB. The prices have slowly increased by a few pound. If you need memory now or in the near future, buy now. It’s too tricky to judge prices for the distant future, but if current trends continue, we could see another 10-15% added on by Christmas.

Summer of Gaming Week 3.5: Portable LAN Gaming

So I had a little thought, I’m going to i58 next week and a key staple of the show is BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer). While some people can handle a Corsair 900D in the back of the car, not everyone has a car large enough or even that 15-year-old who needs to put a system in the boot of their parent’s car with coats and other junk in there. As a result, I’m going to create a Portable Gaming edition of the Summer of Gaming series; perfect for LAN gaming and that only without additional upgrades.

This week is going to be slightly different, I’m going to only choose parts from Overclockers UK. The reason for this is, OverclockersUK and GAME have a pretty good partnership where GAME has started to showcase certain systems and accessories from OcUK.

Llxj0vd

Before we start, this isn’t going to be what laptop to choose or laptop vs desktop. This will solely be about creating a portable desktop, maybe with a small comparison at the end.


overclockers

OverclockersUK started out in 1999 as a small company set to change the overclocking world by offering CPUs with a known overclocking performance. As the company gained traction it steadily grew until in 2012 it was bought out by German company Caseking where it has grown further.


MOBA: League of Legends, etc…

The requirement for a LoL build isn’t very high, a basic AMD APU can run it perfectly fine and will do so at a very reasonable cost. The hardest part is making sure you can cram enough power to sustain it into a manageable build.

Processor AMD A6-6400K 43.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/amd-a6-6400k-3.90ghz-socket-fm2-apu-richland-dual-core-processor-ad640kokhlbox-cp-357-am.html
Motherboard MSI A88XI AC V2 79.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/msi-a88xi-ac-v2-amd-a88x-socket-fm2-ddr3-mini-itx-motherboard-mb-278-ms.html
RAM Team Group Vulcan 8GB 2133MHz 38.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/team-group-vulcan-orange-8gb-2x4gb-ddr3-pc3-17100c11-2133mhz-dual-channel-kit-tlaed38g2133hc11adc-my-037-tg.html
Storage #1 Toshiba 500GB 38.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/toshiba-7k1000.d-500gb-sata-6gb-s-32mb-cache-oem-dt01aca050-hdd-hd-025-ts.html
Storage #2
Power Supply XFX TS 430W 33.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/xfx-ts-430w-80-plus-bronze-power-supply-black-5-year-warranty-ocuk-exclusive-ca-019-xf.html
CPU Cooler
Case Silverstone Sugo SST-SG13WB 36.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/silverstone-sugo-sst-sg13wb-q-mini-itx-chassis-black-white-sst-sg13wb-q-ca-424-sv.html
Graphics Card

Total: £272.86

This is the absolute basic package I would opt for and at £273, it is a cracking little computer. It will play  most MOBA games at an acceptable FPS and will most certainly play most MOBA games easily; however, I believe the below additions would make this shine for an extra £60.

Processor AMD A6-6400K 43.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/amd-a6-6400k-3.90ghz-socket-fm2-apu-richland-dual-core-processor-ad640kokhlbox-cp-357-am.html
Motherboard MSI A88XI AC V2 79.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/msi-a88xi-ac-v2-amd-a88x-socket-fm2-ddr3-mini-itx-motherboard-mb-278-ms.html
RAM Team Group Vulcan 8GB 2133MHz 38.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/team-group-vulcan-orange-8gb-2x4gb-ddr3-pc3-17100c11-2133mhz-dual-channel-kit-tlaed38g2133hc11adc-my-037-tg.html
Storage #1 Samsung 250GB 850 EVO 86.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/samsung-250gb-850-evo-ssd-2.5-sata-6gbps-32-layer-3d-v-nand-solid-state-drive-mz-75e250b-eu-hd-191-sa.html
Storage #2
Power Supply Corsair CX430w 49.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/corsair-builder-series-cx-430w-modular-80-plus-bronze-power-supply-cp-9020058-uk-ca-115-cs.html
CPU Cooler
Case Silverstone Sugo SST-SG13WB 36.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/silverstone-sugo-sst-sg13wb-q-mini-itx-chassis-black-white-sst-sg13wb-q-ca-424-sv.html
Graphics Card

Total: £336.90

This build will happily play all MOBA style games with reasonable FPS at 1080p. No, it isn’t the most powerful computer ever, nor will it be able to play top AAA games at high settings, but it is perfectly placed to do what is expected.


Fast Paced Multiplayer: Rocket League, etc…

I haven’t had the pleasure of playing Rocket League or Overwatch, but by viewing multiple game reviews, both games are slightly more demanding than  most MOBA games; so more graphical power will be required.

Processor Intel G4400 53.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/intel-pentium-dual-core-g4400-3.30ghz-skylake-socket-lga1151-processor-retail-cp-593-in.html
Motherboard ASUS H110I Plus 64.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/asus-h110i-plus-intel-h110-socket-1151-ddr4-itx-motherboard-mb-687-as.html
RAM Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 8GB 2400MHz 32.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/ballistix-sport-lt-8gb-2x4gb-ddr4-pc4-19200c16-2400mhz-dual-channel-kit-black-grey-bls2c4g4d240-my-187-cr.html
Storage #1 Samsung 250GB 850 EVO 86.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/samsung-250gb-850-evo-ssd-2.5-sata-6gbps-32-layer-3d-v-nand-solid-state-drive-mz-75e250b-eu-hd-191-sa.html
Storage #2 Toshiba 500GB 38.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/toshiba-7k1000.d-500gb-sata-6gb-s-32mb-cache-oem-dt01aca050-hdd-hd-025-ts.html
Power Supply XFX XT 500W 39.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/xfx-xt-series-500w-80-plus-bronze-power-supply-ca-022-xf.html
CPU Cooler
Case Silverstone Sugo SST-SG13WB 36.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/silverstone-sugo-sst-sg13wb-q-mini-itx-chassis-black-white-sst-sg13wb-q-ca-424-sv.html
Graphics Card MSI GTX 960 129.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/msi-geforce-gtx-960-reference-design-2048mb-gddr5-pci-express-graphics-card-gx-32u-ms.html

Total: £484.80

Beefing out the computer, there’s now a newer Intel processor and more storage. The most notable difference here is the addition of a GTX 960 discrete graphics card. The GTX 960 can happily play through Overwatch at 1080p with 80FPS easily, but it allows for any random drops or increased settings/ higher resolution.

The case was kept the same to show how small this could be, but the case could be changed to suit taste to something more ‘showy’ such as the Bitfenix Prodigy in Orange.


Shoot em up’s: Call of Duty, Battlefield, etc…

Probably the most demanding game that would be seen at a LAN event would be BF: Hardline, R6: Siege or Cod. These can be quite graphically intensive and will require a graphics card with some moderate power.

Processor Intel i5-6600K 229.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/intel-core-i5-6600k-3.9ghz-skylake-socket-lga1151-processor-retail-cp-579-in.html
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z170N-WIFI 116.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/gigabyte-ga-z170n-wifi-intel-z170-socket-1151-ddr4-mini-itx-motherboard-mb-536-gi.html
RAM Kingston Fury 16GB 2400MHz 52.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/kingston-fury-black-16gb-2x8gb-ddr4-pc4-19200c15-2400mhz-dual-channel-kit-black-hx424c15fb2k2-1-my-229-ks.html
Storage #1 Samsung 250GB 850 EVO 86.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/samsung-250gb-850-evo-ssd-2.5-sata-6gbps-32-layer-3d-v-nand-solid-state-drive-mz-75e250b-eu-hd-191-sa.html
Storage #2 Toshiba 1TB 40.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/toshiba-7k1000.d-1tb-sata-6gb-s-32mb-cache-hdd-oem-dt01aca100-hd-024-ts.html
Power Supply Corsair CX-M 550W 58.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/corsair-cx-m-series-550w-80-plus-bronze-semi-modular-power-supply-cp-9020102-uk-ca-220-cs.html
CPU Cooler OcUK 120mm Extreme 56.92 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/ocuk-tech-labs-120mm-extreme-cpu-liquid-cooling-upgrade-bundle-bu-095-tl.html
Case Silverstone Sugo SST-SG13WB 36.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/silverstone-sugo-sst-sg13wb-q-mini-itx-chassis-black-white-sst-sg13wb-q-ca-424-sv.html
Graphics Card Zotac GTX 980Ti AMP Omega 319.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/zotac-geforce-gtx-980ti-amp-omega-edition-6144mb-gddr5-pci-express-graphics-card-zt-90504-10p-gx-097-zt.html

Total: £1000.80

This is going to be one of the best computers to take to a LAN event. No game will require more than a GTX 980Ti or the best quad core processor unless you like to run some heavy mods on a higher resolution. However, if you’re going to a LAN event, it’s likely you will want to take a 1080p monitor.


Show Off Mode Activated

Some may only want to take their computer to show off, prove that they have the very best computer at the show (unlikely with some of the modder builds at the show such as davido_labido). If this is you, but you still want to cram as much as possible into as small of a case as possible; maybe this is for you.

Processor Intel i7-6800K 409.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/intel-i7-6800k-3.40ghz-broadwell-e-socket-lga2011-v3-processor-retail-bx80671i76800k-cp-611-in.html
Motherboard ASRock X99E-ITX/AC 239.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/asrock-x99e-itx-ac-intel-x99-socket-2011-ddr4-mini-itx-motherboard-mb-142-ak.html
RAM Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB 3200MHz 179.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/corsair-vengeance-lpx-32gb-2x16gb-ddr4-pc4-25600c16-3200mhz-dual-channel-kit-white-cmk32gx4m2b3-my-487-cs.html
Storage #1 Samsung SM961 1TB NVMe 529.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/samsung-sm961-polaris-1tb-m.2-2880-pci-e-3.0-x-4-nvme-solid-state-drive-hd-226-sa.html
Storage #2
Power Supply Silverstone 600W Titanium 124.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/silverstone-strider-600w-80-plus-titanium-modular-power-supply-ca-434-sv.html
CPU Cooler Corsair H80i V2 89.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/corsair-hydro-series-h80i-v2-extreme-performance-liquid-cpu-cooler-cw-9060024-ww-hs-037-cs.html
Case Lian Li PC-TU100A 94.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/lian-li-pc-tu100a-mini-itx-cube-silver-ca-625-ll.html
Graphics Card ASUS GTX 1080 Founders 695.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/asus-geforce-gtx-1080-founders-edition-8192mb-gddr5x-pci-express-graphics-card-gx-400-as.html

Total: £2365.90

This computer is completely overpowered for 99% of applications that would be present at a LAN event. Maybe you want to live stream and require the additional CPU cores and RAM? If not, this is definitely a show-off build.

If you wanted, this could be beefed up further with an i7-6950X, Titan X Pascal, more RAM, custom water cooling and so on; the only limit is your budget. Why you would spend this much money on a computer solely for LAN events is beyond me, maybe you attend multiple events a year or you do a lot of recording on the go?


How do these stack up to pre-built options?

So what about letting OverclockersUK build the system for you? Some people may not want to build the system themselves through lack of confidence or lack of time. Personally, I like to build my system myself, learning how to build it gives me satisfaction and also you can add/ remove cables to your taste; maybe you want to add another storage drive in the future and don’t want to have to worry about cable routing later.

I’ve aimed to spec as close as possible to the £1000 build while keeping as many components the same.

evosystem

At £1600, this does feature an i7-6700K, slightly larger case and a 240mm radiator.  However, these additions only add up to roughly another £100. You are paying for the convenience of having a computer arrive at your door fully working ready for an operating system, no part lottery plus it comes with a 4.5GHz guaranteed overclock.

What about a laptop?

This generation, laptops have increased in potential to within 10% of their desktop equivalent. Featuring full specification desktop graphics card and near enough full desktop processor.

laptop

The best (and cheapest) I found was the MSI GT72VR gaming laptop. It features a GTX 1070, which is roughly on par with a GTX 980Ti. The only real advantage of a gaming laptop is the ability to carry it around with you and use it in more places such as a train. If I had the option of a gaming laptop, I would choose something like this.


Thoughts

So there we have it, my interpretation of some pretty good and varying LAN appropriate gaming systems. Yes, these systems could be changed to incorporate different processors or graphics cards, maybe you only want mechanical storage or only solid state? However, AMD is dominating the low-end gaming segment, whereas NVIDIA dominates once a discrete card is introduced; especially with the recent price drops.

Pros
–  Experience at building computers
–  Satisfaction of building your own computer
–  Can choose exactly what parts to use
–  Can space purchases out to avoiding paying a large amount at               once
–  Compact and relatively lightweight to move around
–  Takes up little room when at home

Cons
–  Some parts may not work out of the box (damage from factory)
–  Some parts may not be compatible if you buy without research
–  At this size, further compatibility issues can be present with               length of graphics cards and CPU coolers
–  Upgrading parts can be difficult in the future, no room for SLI/           Crossfire and limited room for more storage drives


I’ll be at i58 next week covering all the systems on show, bringing all the latest as it happens.

Event: Insomnia58 @ NEC Birmingham

It’s almost that time again, iSeries has come again for the Summer event held in the ever popular NEC Birmingham. This will be the first event TechHubClub will be attending officially and we’ll offer coverage on Saturday.

Insomnia

Growing from a humble show, iSeries has gone from strength to strength and becoming a staple event in the gaming calendar. Some criticism was thrown around after GAME bought the event and there was a definite console presence at i54, but this has obviously not deterred the hardcore BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) participants with the event having to be moved to a larger location from the Ricoh Arena Coventry to NEC Birmingham.

I will be there covering the event on Saturday 27th, bringing the latest news and products at the show; maybe there will be a vlog?

If you are going to the event, stop by the Gigabyte stand. Gigabyte has been running a charity raffle for the recent events for the baby hospice Zoe’s Place and has raised a huge amount of money thanks to people like you. I’ll be buying a ticket or two.

Are you going to this or any other events for the rest of the year? Let us know in the comments.

Summer of Gaming Week 3: The £1000 Golden Nugget

It’s that time of the week again, Week 3 of the series has come so quickly. With it, NVIDIA has announced some tasty price drops to the Maxwell graphics card line-up, so maybe we can get some pretty epic computers for this price. This week we are going to look at the £1000 budget, generally, this is the area everyone wants to aim for but make compromises somewhere along the line (normally processor or graphics card) to save some cash.

This is the area I normally aim for when speccing up a computer for friends or family. It will have loads of power, play almost any game at max settings and last a fair few years.

Just like last week, I have chosen to link four typical UK retailers, OverclockersUK (OcUK), SCAN, Novatech, and Maplin. OcUK, Scan, and Novatech have a single retail store whereas Maplin has many stores across the UK; which makes this a nicer option if you prefer to purchase your items that day. There are other retailers available, but most were discounted as they didn’t offer products for every style.

overclockers

OverclockersUK started out in 1999 as a small company set to change the overclocking world by offering CPUs with a known overclocking performance. As the company gained traction it steadily grew until in 2012 it was bought out by German company Caseking where it has grown further.

badge-scan

Scan, established in 1987, set out as and still is a tight knit family-run business. The key focus of the company is to find, deliver and support a wide range of computing products to its customers; this is shown through the Scansure product. Scansure allows the customer to purchase and build their computer completely worry free if an accident does happen during the building process.

novatech_logo

Novatech boasts over 27 years experience with its technological background and pushes that knowledge out to its customers. A key focus on customer case and satisfaction are present throughout the transaction process and aftercare; “Worry free computing” at its finest.

500px-Maplin_Electronics_logo.svg

Maplin is the oldest and widest company on the list today. Starting out in 1972 as a basic component reseller and branching out in 1992 to Asia puts this company at the top of the list in terms of recognition. Focussed more on the barebone components such as circuit boards, Maplin has a much more diverse range of products while still catering for the walk-in computer enthusiast.


Week 3: The £1000 Golden Nugget

The £1000 computer has come a very long way in recent years and choosing the right time to build can reap a much better computer than previously thought.

Maplin component list:

Processor Intel i5-4690 194.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/intel-core-i5-4690-socket-1150-quad-core-350ghz-processor-a21qy
Motherboard ASUS H81M-PLUS 39.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/asus-h81m-plus-intel-motherboard-a28nk
RAM Corsair Vengeance Pro 16GB 1866MHz 84.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/corsair-vengeance-pro-16gb-2x8gb-ddr3-1866mhz-cl9-desktop-memory-blksilv-a83nj
Storage #1 WD 2TB 74.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/wd-everyday-2tb-internal-35-inch-sata-iii-hard-drive-a14qu
Storage #2 Samsung 120GB 750 EVO 47.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/samsung-750-evo-120gb-sata-iii-25inch-ssd-a46uw
Power Supply Corsair CX550M 51.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/corsair-cx550m-550w-semi-modular-atx-80-plus-bronze-power-supply-a65uu
CPU Cooler Corsair H60 53.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/corsair-hydro-series-h60-120mm-cpu-liquid-cooler-2013-edition-n96qq
Case NZXT S340 59.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/nzxt-s340-black-mid-tower-case-a51uy
Graphics Card MSI Armor GTX 1070 429.98 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/msi-geforce-gtx-1070-armor-oc-8gb-gddr5-graphics-card-a19xx

Total: £1038.90

WHAT? A GTX 1070 with this? Can’t complain about that, although that’s really the only part you can’t really complain about. The processor is a previous generation NON-OVERCLOCKABLE i5-4690 with a really low-end motherboard.

The storage solution isn’t too bad, along with the power supply and case. The CPU cooler isn’t something I would normally opt for, but I decided against an H100i (or similar) mainly due to the lack of overclocking on the CPU.

For what it is, the computer is decent, but there are better options on the market for the price.


OverclockersUK component list:

Processor Intel i5-6600K 324.98 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/gigabyte-z170x-gaming-3-intel-core-i5-6600k-cpu-and-motherboard-bundle-30-pounds-saving-bu-029-gi.html
Motherboard Gigabyte Gaming 3 0 Bundle
RAM Kingston HyperX Fury 16GB 2400MHz 52.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/kingston-fury-black-16gb-2x8gb-ddr4-pc4-19200c15-2400mhz-dual-channel-kit-black-hx424c15fb2k2-1-my-229-ks.html
Storage #1 Toshiba 2TB 58.94 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/toshiba-e300-2tb-5700rpm-64mb-cache-low-energy-hard-drive-hdwa120uzsva-hd-047-ts.html
Storage #2 Corsair Force LE 240GB 68.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/corsair-force-le-240gb-2.5-sata-6gbps-solid-state-drive-cssd-f240gbleb-hd-059-cs.html
Power Supply Corsair CX550M 63.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/corsair-cx-m-series-550w-80-plus-bronze-semi-modular-power-supply-cp-9020102-uk-ca-220-cs.html
CPU Cooler OCUK Tech Labs 240mm 59.90 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/ocuk-tech-labs-240mm-extreme-cpu-liquid-cooling-upgrade-bundle-bu-096-tl.html
Case In-Win 703 54.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/in-win-703-midi-tower-black-red-ca-050-iw.html
Graphics Card VGA GTX 980Ti SC ACX 349.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/evga-geforce-gtx-980ti-superclocked-acx-2.0-6144mb-gddr5-pci-express-graphics-card-06g-p4-4993-kr-gx-288-ea.html

Total: £1034.69

This is more like it (and how the rest will follow), a current generation processor, DDR4 RAM and a just general better all rounder.

The i5-6600K is probably the current best gaming processor available right now; only being pipped by the i7-6700k in games that utilise hyperthreading.

Yes, there has been a step back by using a GTX 980Ti, but a small sacrifice in raw gaming power to have a much better all round computer was a no brainer in my books.

Some may be looking at the questionable OcUK Tech Labs CPU cooler, I have had experience with these in the past and they are very good; maybe I can get one in soon to compare to my current H100i.

Remember: If you are a member of the OcUK forums and have been for a while, you may be eligible for free next-day shipping to any of the listed countries; check out the forum post here!


Novatech component list:

Processor Intel i5-6600K 219.98 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products-components-processors/intelskylake1151/bx80662i56600k.html
Motherboard MSI Z170A Tomahawk 109.99 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products-components-motherboards/intelsocket1151/z170chipset-z170atomahawk.html
RAM Kingston HyperX fury 16GB 2400MHz 69.98 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products-components-memory-pc/ddr4memory/ddr4pc4-192002400mhz/hx424c15fb2k216.html
Storage #1 Toshiba 2TB 59.99 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products-components-harddrives-internal/sata2tbto2.5tb/dt01aca200.html
Storage #2 SanDisk Z410 240GB 57.98 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products-components-harddrives-internal/ssdsolidstate/240gbto400gb/sd8sbbu-240g-1122.html
Power Supply EVGA 600W 45.98 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products-components-powersupplies/451wto650w/100-w1-0600-k3.html
CPU Cooler Antec Kuhler H1200 Pro 64.99 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products-components-cooling/watercooling/240mm/0-761345-10900-0.html
Case Phanteks Enthoo Pro M 64.99 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products-components-cases/midtowercases/ph-es515p_bk.html
Graphics Card Palit GeForce GTX 1070 379.99 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products-components-nvidiageforcegraphicscards-nvidiagtx1070series/ne51070015p2-1041j.html

Total: £1073.90

Now this is probably the best build today, a brand new GTX 1070 and an Intel i5-6600k. The power supply isn’t modular, but the case has more than enough cable management to sort that out.

The rest of the computer is pretty standard enthusiast grade parts, a 2TB hard drive for adequate game storage and a 240GB SSD to keep more of your key programs ready to load.

Novatech offer free shipping on orders over £50 (the option needs to be chosen at checkout), but it is 3-4 day standard.


Scan component list:

Processor Intel i5-6600K 317.48 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/asrock-z170-extreme4-intel-z170-s-1151-ddr4-satae-m2-atx-motherboard-with-intel-core-i5-6600k-35ghz-
Motherboard ASRock Extreme 4+ 0 Bundle
RAM Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 2400MHz 73.40 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/16gb-(2x8gb)-corsair-ddr4-vengeance-lpx-red-pc4-19200-(2400)-non-ecc-unbuffered-cas-16-16-16-39-xmp-
Storage #1 Toshiba 2TB 59.99 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/2tb-toshiba-dt01aca200-35-hdd-sata-iii-6gb-s-7200rpm-64mb-cache-8ms-ncq-oem
Storage #2 SanDisk Z410 240GB 59.89 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/240gb-sandisk-z410-business-class-ssd-25-sata-iii-6gb-s-read-535mb-s-write-440mb-s-36k-iops-66k-iops
Power Supply Cooler Master GM 550W 55.99 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/550w-cooler-master-gm-series-hybrid-modular-80plus-bronze-1x120mm-atx-v231-psu
CPU Cooler Silverstone SST-TD02 69.98 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/silverstone-sst-td02-slim-tundra-hydro-cooler-for-intel-and-amd-cpus-lga-775-115x-1366-2011-2011-3-a
Case Corsair Obsidian 350D 74.99 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/corsair-obsidian-series-350d-performance-micro-atx-case-with-windowed-side-panel
Graphics Card ASUS GTX 980Ti Matrix 359.00 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/6gb-asus-geforce-gtx-980-ti-matrix-pcie-30-7010mhz-gddr5-gpu-1000mhz-boost-1075mhz-cores-2816-3x-dp-

Total: £1070.70

Can you imagine how bummed I was when I saw that price without the graphics card? Yeah, not so much.

On par with the OcUK computer, it features one of the best GTX 980Ti graphics cards on the market and an amazing case. This is a very good computer for the price,  and will see many hours of happy gaming at most resolutions.

Scan doesn’t offer a free postage option at this price point and at around £11.50 for standard delivery, it does seem steep compared to the competition but there are options such as Drop Off to a local collection point which could ease the sting.


Summary

The computers on offer this week are very similar apart from the offering from Maplin. The i5-4690 isn’t a bottleneck, but it does hold back to DDR3 memory and isn’t overclockable to gain that little extra performance; however, it does offer a great graphics card.

The two computers from Scan and OcUK are near enough identical in terms of internal components with the biggest difference being the case. They both will perform on par with each other and the parts can be changed for others if that’s what you want, remember that this is just a rough guide.

The best computer this week has to go to Novatech. Packing a GTX 1070 and i5-6600k, it will perform very well in almost every scenario and be quiet and cool while doing so.

You may have noticed an almost bias choice of NVIDIA and Intel components here, and there’s a reason for that. While AMD offers some brilliant bang for buck components, once you go over a certain monetary threshold, it becomes pointless. The raw performance per core is much lower than anything Intel offer and NVIDIA offer much cooler and more powerful components. Maybe if the rest of the RX 400 range stack up well, the Winter edition may look completely different.

Next week is just an all out, best of the best enthusiast gaming computer money can buy. I will be ignoring extreme grade components as they’re targeted at productivity rather than gaming.

Next week, Week 4: Feelin’ Flush?

NB: Prices were correct as of 9pm 16/08/2016


If you like what this post has given, give it a share and also comment to tell me what you’d like to read in the future.

Want me to review a certain product? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

Summer of Gaming Week 2: Bigger Things are Coming

Before we start, I know the title is slightly different to what I said last week, but after looking up the hardware available for £500; I was shocked.


Here we go again, week 2 of August so it’s time for the next instalment of Summer of Gaming. This week we’re going to be looking at [probably] the most common budget area for people coming to PC gaming; around £500.

Why £500? It’s around the entry point of most gaming computers you see advertised on most retailers websites, plus £500 is a nice round number.

Just like last week, I have chosen to link four typical UK retailers, OverclockersUK (OcUK), SCAN, Novatech, and Maplin. OcUK, Scan, and Novatech have a single retail store whereas Maplin has many stores across the UK; which makes this a nicer option if you prefer to purchase your items that day. There are other retailers available, but most were discounted as they didn’t offer products for every style.

overclockers

OverclockersUK started out in 1999 as a small company set to change the overclocking world by offering CPUs with a known overclocking performance. As the company gained traction it steadily grew until in 2012 it was bought out by German company Caseking where it has grown further.

badge-scan

Scan, established in 1987, set out as and still is a tight knit family-run business. The key focus of the company is to find, deliver and support a wide range of computing products to its customers; this is shown through the Scansure product. Scansure allows the customer to purchase and build their computer completely worry free if an accident does happen during the building process.

novatech_logo

Novatech boasts over 27 years experience with its technological background and pushes that knowledge out to its customers. A key focus on customer case and satisfaction are present throughout the transaction process and aftercare; “Worry free computing” at its finest.

500px-Maplin_Electronics_logo.svg

Maplin is the oldest and widest company on the list today. Starting out in 1972 as a basic component reseller and branching out in 1992 to Asia puts this company at the top of the list in terms of recognition. Focussed more on the barebone components such as circuit boards, Maplin has a much more diverse range of products while still catering for the walk-in computer enthusiast.


Week 2: £500 Sweet Spot

The £500 sweet spot computer has come a long way in recent years. Back around 2010, it would be hard pushed to build a decent computer that could play games to a satisfactory level. Now you can build a half decent computer that could play most games at 60FPS on an FHD (1920x1080p) monitor.

Maplin component list:

Processor Intel G3440 56.69 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/intel-pentium-g3440-socket-1150-dual-core-330ghz-processor-a28qy
Motherboard ASUS H81M-PLUS 39.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/asus-h81m-plus-intel-motherboard-a28nk
RAM HyperX Fury 8GB 1600MHz 31.98 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/hyperx-fury-8gb-ddr3-1600mhz-pc3-12800-desktop-memory-a78uw
Storage #1 Seagate 1TB 53.09 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/seagate-1tb-momentus-25-inch-internal-hard-drive-a73lt
Storage #2 SanDisk PLUS 120GB 34.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/sandisk-120gb-plus-ssd-a86tc
Power Supply Corsair VS650 47.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/corsair-vs650-650w-hard-wired-atx-power-supply-a69uu
CPU Cooler Zalman CNPS10X 18.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/zalman-cnps10x-optima-heatsink-and-fan-r65zq
Case Corsair Carbide 88R 41.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/corsair-carbide-series-88r-microatx-mid-tower-case-a11uu
Graphics Card Gigabyte R9 380 G1 Gaming 202.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/gigabyte-radeon-r9-380-4gb-g1-overclocked-gaming-graphics-card-gddr5-r57zm

Total: £528.70

Trying to get something worth building for under £500 was hard with Maplin, but with a few extra £££, a half decent computer was scrubbed up. Most of the components are the same from last week’s edition; so it’s easy to see how something could be upgraded and old parts retained.

The power supply is still over-powered for this unit, but the rest of the parts are well suited. The LGA1150 motherboard allows for an upgrade to a higher specification processor. The graphics card is a great option for this price, the R9 380 has great performance and can happily play most games at 1080p with reasonably high settings.


OverclockersUK component list:

Processor Intel G3258 59.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/intel-pentium-k-anniversary-g3258-socket-lga1150-processor-retail-cp-531-in.html
Motherboard ASUS H81M-K 42.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/asus-h81m-k-intel-h81-socket-1150-ddr3-micro-atx-motherboard-mb-596-as.html
RAM Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB 1600MHz 29.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/ballistix-sport-8gb-2x4gb-ddr3-pc3-12800c9-1600mhz-dual-channel-kit-bls2cp4g3d1609ds1s00ceu-my-132-cr.html
Storage #1 Toshiba 1TB 40.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/toshiba-7k1000.d-1tb-sata-6gb-s-32mb-cache-hdd-oem-dt01aca100-hd-024-ts.html
Storage #2 Kingston SSDNOW UV400 120GB 39.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/kingston-120gb-ssdnow-uv400-drive-sata-6gb-s-2.5-7mm-height-solid-state-hard-drive-suv400s37-1-hd-101-ks.html
Power Supply XFX XT 500W 39.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/xfx-xt-series-500w-80-plus-bronze-power-supply-ca-022-xf.html
CPU Cooler Raijintek Themis 19.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/raijintek-themis-black-heatpipe-cpu-cooler-pwm-120mm-hs-015-rt.html
Case Aerocool Aero 500 30.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/aerocool-aero-500-midi-tower-case-black-ca-155-ae.html
Graphics Card Sapphire RX 480 Nitro+ 199.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/sapphire-radeon-rx-480-nitro-4096mb-gddr5-pci-express-rgb-graphics-card-gx-37d-sp.html

Total: £504.75

There is a slight difference between this and the Maplin unit; 1 it is a fair chunk cheaper and 2 it hosts a much more powerful graphics card. Overclockers UK is able to pull in bulk discounts thanks to a growing popularity with consumers and suppliers. 

For just the price of a Full English over £500, you can game to your hearts content with this very well equipped computer. The RX 480 is roughly equivalent to a NVIDIA GTX 970, but it is a newer architecture and AMD have really been on the ball with driver updates since the launch of Crimson last year.

Remember: If you are a member of the OcUK forums and have been for a while, you may be eligible for free next-day shipping to any of the listed countries; check out the forum post here!


Novatech component list:

Processor Intel G3460 59.99 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-processors/intelceleronandpentium/bx80646g3460.html
Motherboard MSI H81M-P33 38.99 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-motherboards/intelsocket1150/h81chipset/h81m-p33.html
RAM Klevv Fit 8GB 1600MHz 29.99 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-memory-pc/ddr3memory/ddr3pc3-128001600mhz/km3f4gx2c-1600-09-09-09-24-0.html
Storage #1 Toshiba 1TB 40.79 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-harddrives-internal/sata1tbto1.5tb/dt01aca100.html
Storage #2 Kingston SSDNOW UV400 120GB 38.39 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-harddrives-internal/ssdsolidstate/120gbto200gb/suv400s37120g.html
Power Supply EVGA 500W 42.98 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-powersupplies/451wto650w/100-w1-0500-kr.html
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212X 27.98 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-cooling/cpucoolers/multicpucoolers/rr-212x-17pk-r1.html
Case Bitfenix Neos 36.98 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-cases/midtowercases/bfc-neo-100-kkwsr-rp.html
Graphics Card MSI GTX 970 ARMOR 199.99 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-nvidiageforcegraphicscards/nvidiagtx970series-gtx9704gd5toc.html

Total: £516.08

With very little difference to the Overclockers UK computer, this unit will happily play most games at over 60FPS on an FHD monitor. A different to the previous units, this has a NVIDIA GTX 970 graphics card, one of the best known and (in)famous cards of the last generation thanks to the 3.5GB VRAM fiasco.

The GTX 970 is no slouch and will give you many hours of gaming, I have a Gigabyte G1 Gaming version in my computer and it’s doing me fine.

A nice contrast to the previous computers, this features Klevv RAM. Klevv is still a relatively new company, it uses high-quality SK-Hynix chips that allow for really good performance; I reviewed the CRAS and NEO kits last year and fell in love with the build quality and rock solid performance they offered.

Novatech offer free shipping on orders over £50 (the option needs to be chosen at checkout), but it is 3-4 day standard.


Scan component list:

Processor Intel G3260 49.99 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-pentium-dual-core-g3260-lga-1150-haswell-dual-core-33ghz-clock-1100mhz-gpu-33x-ratio-cpu-retai
Motherboard MSI H81M-P33 35.99 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/msi-h81m-p33-intel-h81-s-1150-ddr3-sata-iii-6gb-s-pcie-20-(x16)-d-sub-dvi-d-micro-atx
RAM Corsair XMS3 8GB 1600MHz 35.66 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/8gb-(2x4gb)-corsair-ddr3-xms3-pc3-12800-(1600)-non-ecc-unbuffered-cas-11-11-11-30-15v
Storage #1 Toshiba 1TB 39.98 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb-toshiba-dt01aca100-35-hdd-sata-iii-6gb-s-7200rpm-32mb-cache-8ms-oem
Storage #2 SanDisk Z410 120GB 37.18 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/120gb-sandisk-z410-25-ssd-sata-iii-6gb-s-slc-tlc-read-540mb-s-write-405mb-s-35k-55k-iops
Power Supply ThermalTake TR2 500W 34.99 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/500w-thermaltake-tr2-s-80-plus-fully-wired-sli-crossfire-single-rail-35a-plus12v-1x120mm-fan-atx-psu
CPU Cooler Silverstone AR01 25.99 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/silverstone-ar01-argon-cpu-cooler-with-silent-120mm-pwm-fan-s775-1155-1156-1150-1151-1366-2011-am2-a
Case ThermalTake Versa H15 31.99 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/thermaltake-versa-h15-micro-atx-gaming-case-mini-itx-windowed-usb-30-120mm-fan-black
Graphics Card MSI GTX 970 Armor 199 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/4gb-msi-geforce-gtx-970-armor-2x-oc-pcie-30-7010mhz-gddr5-gpu-1102mhz-boost-1241mhz-cores-1664-dp-hd

Total: £490.77

Scan is last on our list and just like last week, it is the cheapest solution that I have chosen. There isn’t much difference that hasn’t been explained from the previous computers; a GTX 970, 8GB 1600MHz RAM, SSD and a beefier hard drive to store those games.

Scan doesn’t offer a free postage option at this price point and at around £11.50 for standard delivery, it does seem steep compared to the competition but there are options such as Drop Off to a local collection point which could ease the sting.


Summary

 

The computers on offer this time around offer roughly the same performance with different products. Sadly Maplin has fallen behind this week with the highest cost and just an R9 380 graphics card. It’s by no means a poor choice, but the others were cheaper and better.

This is the point in the game where choosing a computer starts to become personal, do you want a flashy case? How about high static pressure fans? WAIT, fan controllers *Homer drool*… For the purposes of this, I have chosen somewhere in the middle of the average price range of cases, you can go ahead and spend more (or less) to suit your taste; maybe you don’t like AMD graphics cards or Intel CPU’s.

The winner this week is Scan again, it is the cheapest, has the best hardware (in my opinion) and performance, although Overclockers UK has a really good offering with the latest generation AMD graphics card and does offer free shipping (with haribo).

Next week will be interesting, we start moving onto relatively high-end enthusiast CPU’s, different style SSD’s and graphics cards that require sacrifices to keep satisfied; maybe we’ll see peripherals join the race.

Next week, Week 3: The Golden Nugget (<£1000)

NB: Prices were correct as of 9pm 10/08/2016


If you like what this post has given, give it a share and also comment to tell me what you’d like to read in the future.

Want me to review a certain product? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

Summer of Gaming Week 1: Small-Budget Build

I’ve decided to create a small series to help readers learn about the technology that is available to them. So many times I’ve heard “if you don’t have XYZ graphics card, you can’t game”; well this is untrue.

These posts are designed to help educate and show that you don’t always need the latest and greatest hardware to be able to play.

For this small series, I have chosen to link four typical UK retailers, OverclockersUK (OcUK), SCAN, Novatech, and Maplin. OcUK, Scan, and Novatech have a single retail store whereas Maplin has many stores across the UK; which makes this a nicer option if you prefer to purchase your items that day. There are other retailers available, but most were discounted as they didn’t offer products for every style.

overclockers

OverclockersUK started out in 1999 as a small company set to change the overclocking world by offering CPUs with a known overclocking performance. As the company gained traction it steadily grew until in 2012 it was bought out by German company Caseking where it has grown further.

badge-scan

Scan, established in 1987, set out as and still is a tight knit family-run business. The key focus of the company is to find, deliver and support a wide range of computing products to its customers; this is shown through the Scansure product. Scansure allows the customer to purchase and build their computer completely worry free if an accident does happen during the building process.

novatech_logo

Novatech boasts over 27 years experience with its technological background and pushes that knowledge out to its customers. A key focus on customer case and satisfaction are present throughout the transaction process and aftercare; “Worry free computing” at its finest.

500px-Maplin_Electronics_logo.svg

Maplin is the oldest and widest company on the list today. Starting out in 1972 as a basic component reseller and branching out in 1992 to Asia puts this company at the top of the list in terms of recognition. Focussed more on the barebone components such as circuit boards, Maplin has a much more diverse range of products while still catering for the walk-in computer enthusiast.


Week 1: Small-Budget Build (<£300)

In this instalment, I will run through the most basic of budget gaming systems. This system will be enough to happily run most games at 720p with medium settings, maybe even better depending on the game in question.

Maplin component list:

Processor AMD A6-6400K 129.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/afterburn-a6-6400k-apu-4gb-ram-bronze-motherboard-and-processor-bundle-a01uu
Motherboard ASUS A68HM-PLUS 0  Bundled option
RAM Corsair 4GB XMS3 1600MHz 0  Bundled option
Storage #1 WD Blue 500GB 44.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/wd-blue-500gb-internal-35-inch-sata-iii-hard-drive-a34qu
Storage #2 SanDisk PLUS 120GB 34.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/sandisk-120gb-plus-ssd-a86tc
Power supply Corsair VS450 34.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/corsair-vs450-450w-hard-wired-atx-power-supply-a67uu
CPU Cooler Zalman CNPS10X 18.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/zalman-cnps10x-optima-heatsink-and-fan-r65zq
Case Zalman Z3 PLUS 39.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/zalman-z3-plus-atxm-atx-tower-case-black-r67je

Total: £303.94

Okay this strictly isn’t under £300, but this is the closest Maplin offers for this performance point. This computer would be very capable of playing most games at a very reasonable frame rate, the resolution and graphic quality may need to be reduced on some larger AAA titles. This computer utilises one of AMD’s APU desktop chips, the A6-6400K. It is a simple dual core design but hosts a reasonably powerful HD8470D internal graphics processor to give smooth gameplay with reasonable settings.  This processor is part of the AMD Black Edition lineup which allows users to overclock and give better performance when coupled with a capable cooling unit.

The power supply in this unit may sound overkill for the purpose, but it was the cheapest reasonable manufacturer available at the time of creating this post.


OverclockersUK component list:

Processor AMD A6-6400K 38.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/amd-a6-6400k-3.90ghz-socket-fm2-apu-richland-dual-core-processor-ad640kokhlbox-cp-357-am.html
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-F2A68HM-HD2 39.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/gigabyte-ga-f2a68hm-hd2-amd-a68-chipset-socket-fm2-ddr3-micro-atx-motherboard-mb-521-gi.html
RAM GeiL Black Dragon 4GB 1600MHz 17.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/geil-black-dragon-4gb-1x4gb-ddr3-pc3-12800c11-1600mhz-single-module-gd34gb1600c11sc-my-115-gl.html
Storage #1 Seagate 500GB 38.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/seagate-desktop-500gb-7200rpm-sata-6gb-s-16mb-cache-oem-st500dm002-hdd-hd-252-se.html
Storage #2 Kingston SSDNow V300 120GB 39.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/kingston-120gb-ssdnow-v300-drive-sata-6gb-s-3-2.5-7mm-height-solid-state-hard-drive-sv300s37a-hd-051-ks.html
Power supply XFX XT 500W 39.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/xfx-xt-series-500w-80-plus-bronze-power-supply-ca-022-xf.html
CPU Cooler Raijintek Themis 19.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/raijintek-themis-black-heatpipe-cpu-cooler-pwm-120mm-hs-015-rt.html
Case Aerocool V3X 25.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/aerocool-v3x-advance-black-edition-midi-tower-black-ca-070-ae.html

Total: £261.80

Much like the computer from Maplin, this features an AMD A6-6400K APU. Unlike the previous machine, this is a massive £50 cheaper, more money to spend on the Steam Summer Sales maybe?!?

If you are a member of the OcUK forums and have been for a while, you may be eligible for free next-day shipping to any of the listed countries; check out the forum post here!


Novatech component list:

Processor AMD A6-6400K 44.39 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-processors/amdapufm2/ad640kokhlbox.html
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-F2A68HM-HD2 36.98 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-motherboards/amdsocketfm2plus/a68hchipset/ga-f2a68hm-hd2.html
RAM Corsair 4GB XMS3 1600MHz 14.93 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-memory-pc/ddr3memory/ddr3pc3-106001333mhz/cmx4gx3m1a1333c9.html
Storage #1 Toshiba 500GB 32.99 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-harddrives-internal/sata500gbto750gb/dt01aca050.html
Storage #2 Kingston SSDNow UV400 38.39 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-harddrives-internal/ssdsolidstate/120gbto200gb/suv400s37120g.html
Power supply EVGA 500W 42.98 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-powersupplies/451wto650w/100-w1-0500-kr.html
CPU Cooler Arctic cooling Freezer 7 Pro 14.5 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-cooling/cpucoolers/multicpucoolers/dcaco-fp701-csa01.html
Case Bitfenix Nova 28.99 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-cases/midtowercases/bfx-nov-100-kkwsk-rp.html

Total: £254.15

Novatech is most definitely the underdog of the enthusiast companies; however, it has grown a more popular option in recent years. The parts here are very similar to those above in terms of quality and performance so the real choice is where does your loyalty lie?

Novatech offer free shipping on orders over £50 (the option needs to be chosen at checkout), but it is 3-4 day standard.


Scan component list:

CPU AMD A6-6400K 42.98 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/amd-a6-6400k-black-edition-fm2-richland-39ghz-dual-core-amd-radeon-hd-8470d-800mhz-65w-cpu-retail
Mobo Gigabyte GA-F2A68HM-HD2 38.99 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/gigabyte-ga-f2a68hm-hd2-amd-a68h-fm2plus-ddr3-sata-iii-6gb-s-sata-raid-pcie-30-(x16)-d-sub-dvi-d-hdm
RAM Corsair 4GB XMS3 1333MHz 17.63 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/4gb-corsair-ddr3-xms3-pc3-10666-(1333)-non-ecc-unbuffered-cas-9-9-9-24-150v
Storage #1 Toshiba 500GB 35.75 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/500gb-toshiba-dt01aca050-35-hdd-sata-iii-6gb-s-7200rpm-32mb-cache
Storage #2 AMD R3 120GB 30.95 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/120gb-amd-radeon-r3-25-ssd-sata-iii-6gb-s-silicon-motion-sm2256kx-read-520mb-s-write-360mb-s-retail
PSU ThermalTake TR2 500W 34.99 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/500w-thermaltake-tr2-s-80-plus-fully-wired-sli-crossfire-single-rail-35a-plus12v-1x120mm-fan-atx-psu
CPU Cooler Arctic Freezer 7 Pro 17.99 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/arctic-freezer-7-pro-v2-s775-115x-1366-am3-am2plus-am2-939-up-to-130-watts
Case CiT F3 24.98 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/cit-f3-white-black-micro-atx-mini-itx-tower-chassis-with-2x120mm-blue-led-fans-usb-30-hd-audio-sd-tf

Total: £244.26

Scan is last on our list and (if you haven’t noticed until now) the cheapest. The price does sacrifice a bit of performance and quality. The 1333MHz RAM will hold back performance slightly compared to its 1600MHz counterparts, although the difference will be negligible. The CiT case wasn’t my first choice considering CiT can be considered as possibly the worst component brand in the computing world; however, the F3 does look a much nicer option compared to other budget orientated cases.

Scan doesn’t offer a free postage option at this price point and at £11.50 for standard delivery, it does seem steep compared to the competition but there are options such as Drop Off to a local collection point which could ease the sting.


Summary

The computers on offer from all four retailers are basically the same with different components such as SSD’s and cases. They all featured the AMD A6-6400k, 4GB DDR3 and a basic A68-FM2 motherboard with basic overclocking features. This isn’t the ideal build to show off to your friends, but at the price point, it will give you many hours of gaming time. Once the performance has started to hold back your pleasure, AMD APUs feature something called Hybrid Crossfire which allows you to combine the graphical processing power within the APU and a dedicated graphics card, in this case, an AMD HD 7750 (HD 6670), which can be picked up for as little as £35.

At the low budget end of the scale, competition is fierce for the same offerings. Maplin holds a premium over the rest, but you do have the luxury of living within a reasonable distance that will likely hold the stock you want or at least a close alternative. If like me, the other three are more than 3 hours drive away, then Maplin becomes a very tempting option for same day collection.

The obvious winner for the overall price is Scan with a dominating £244 price tag, but the products on offer from Novatach and OcUK are of higher quality and performance which may be more of a decision maker rather than price purely.

Next week, Week 2: Low-End Gaming (<£500)

NB: Prices were correct as of 12pm 5/08/2016.


If you like what this post has given, give it a share and also comment to tell me what you’d like to read in the future.

Want me to review a certain product? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

My thoughts

Hey you guys (and gals)

I guess I should really discuss what my plans are for this blog.

Honestly I don’t know! I follow a lot of YouTubers such as JayzTwoCents and LinusTechTips and I love the way they review and spam on for ages about something, Linus especially, but I think that they’re always missing something in a video. Most likely not, but it just feels that way. Like in the LTT video of How to Hard Pipe Watercool, there wasn’t much discussion about the fittings, they seemed to rely on the company to send out the product(s) and go ham (most evident when they started worrying about the quantity of pipe they had left).

Ideally I want to produce some entry level How To’s, something that you can understand if you’re 8 or 88, but also some more advanced guides. Nothing as serious as mineral cooling or power supply re-wiring, but you get the idea.

Until next time

Peace \V/

Introduction

Hello everyone. I’m Thomas and welcome to my blog. I’m 21 and currently attend college studying ICT with the hope to go onto university and specialise in hardware design and concepts.

I’ve always wanted to get into reviewing as I find larger companies, despite stating they are non-bias, are slightly bias in one way or another. I have experience from a friend that the site she used to work for has an Intel and NVIDIA bias owner, which I find unfair to AMD.

Computers and technology has always been a hobby of mine since I was younger, my very first computer game (that I remember), was The Sims 2 Deluxe Edition. It took forever to install and I only every played a few hours before uninstalling it because my dad wanted to use the computer and it was slow.

I regularly game in my spare time and I love GTA V and the new Lowrider update, but my account got hacked and haven’t played since.

I hope you all enjoy my ramblings as the nights draw in and I get bored quicker.

Peace \V/