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01-15-12, 09:30 AM
There comes a time for every carefully selected component in the PC Gamer Rig when it‚??s time to face the big screwdriver in the sky and prepare for replacement. If it‚??s a part that‚??s been a stalwart of the Rig for many months, I‚??ll hunt around the most obscure of online retailers to convince myself it‚??s still available before giving up and retiring it for something easier to come by.

Especially if it‚??s something as important as the screen.

LG‚??s IPS236V, the erstwhile panel of choice for our average gamer‚??s system, wasn‚??t to everyone‚??s taste. A slightly flaky stand was only the start of its woes. The 23inch diagonal isn‚??t huge by today‚??s standards, when a massive 27inch screen will cost just a few pounds more.

What I do stand by, however, is the choice of an eIPS (http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/articles/content/panel_technologies_content.htm#e-ips)panel rather than a TN (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TFT_LCD#Twisted_nematic_.28TN.29) one.

The advantage of an IPS-type screen is that it produces better colours and viewing angles than even the best TN and MVA panels currently available. Before you point out that the cheaper eIPS screens use 6-bit colours and Advanced Framerate Control ‚?? AFRC ‚?? dithering to fool the eye into seeing more colours than they can actually produce, they‚??re still better for colour accuracy in my experience.

The disadvantage is that TN panels can change state substantially faster. You‚??ll see these listed as having 2ms grey to grey response times, while eIPS screens are more likely to be rated 6, 8 or even 12ms.

The controversial bit is how much difference those refresh rates actually make. Some people will argue that a 5ms or 8ms panel is unsuitable for gaming because of ghosting. They will join the fray in the comments below. As the owner of three IPS screens, I‚??d rather take the higher image quality over the chance of ghosting in high speed games. Especially when most new shooters turn on some form of motion blur to muddy the action in intense scenes anyway.

But I‚??m prepared to accept a certain amount of subjectivity here. Years of straining at brightly lit word documents and too many long raids may well have destroyed my ability to differentiate. Feel free to disagree with the choice of screen, and to recommend any others you feel strongly about.

As for the rest of the Rig, it remains unchanged. Although as prices have started to creep up on most components, next week I‚??m going to look at the relative value of graphics cards, and considering how much you‚??d really suffer by going for a Radeon HD6870 (http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX-205-XF&groupid=701&catid=56&subcat=1866%E2%80%9D) rather than the GeForce GTX 560Ti. After all, the Rig is supposed to be about good value gaming, isn‚??t it?

What‚??s in the Rig?

CPU

Intel Core i5 2500K

£167.99 (http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CP-368-IN&groupid=701&catid=6&subcat=1275)/$229.99 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115072&nm_mc=OTC-Froogle&cm_mmc=OTC-Froogle-_-Processors+-+Desktops-_-Intel-_-19115072)
Disturbingly going up in price. Have a look at the non-K versions if you don‚??t plan on overclocking.

Motherboard

Gigabyte Z68AP-D3

£79.99 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0054X4I4M/ref=asc_df_B0054X4I4M5392793?smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&tag=googlecouk06-21&linkCode=asn&creative=22206&creativeASIN=B0054X4I4M)/$109.99 (http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0375352)
Good value for a Z68 board, and fully featured for everything bar dual graphics.

RAM

Crucial Ballistix

£39.59 (http://www.crucial.com/uk/store/partspecs.aspx?IMODULE=BL2KIT51264BA160A)/$51.99 (http://www.crucial.com/store/partspecs.aspx?IMODULE=BL2KIT51264BA160A)
Eight gigabytes of fast 1600MHz DDR3.

3D Card

GeForce GTX 560Ti

£173.72 (http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Graphics+Cards/NVIDIA/NVIDIA+GTX+560ti/Asus+GeForce+GTX+560Ti+DCII%2F2DI%2F1GD5+DirectCU+ II+1024MB+GDDR5+PCI-Express+Graphics+Card+?productId=43564)/$249.51 (http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-GeForce-Graphics-Mini-HDMI-SLI-Capable/dp/B004L01QVM/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1322239000&sr=8-4)
A good card still, but all the real bargain versions appear to have sold out. Breaking the £170 price barrier makes me uneasy using it as a choice for the Rig.

Hard drive

Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB

£53.50 (http://www.kikatek.com/product_info.php?products_id=130624)/$99.99 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136769)
Still expensive, but the good news is that prices for hard drives look to have peaked.

DVD drive

LG GH22NP21

£13.64 (http://www.lambda-tek.com/GH22NP21-AUAA10B-LG-GH22NP21-AUAA10B-DVD-Writer-22x-P-ATA-bulk-Black~cs/B581694&origin=gbase28.5)/17.99 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136240)
It‚??s a DVD writer. The most commoditised of all component commodities. It really doesn‚??t matter which you get.

Case

Corsair Carbide 500R

£85.19 (http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Cases/MIDI+Tower/Corsair+Carbide+500R+Black+Midi+Tower+Chassis+?pro ductId=45691)/$99.99 (http://www.directron.com/cc9011013ww.html?gsear=1)
Not the cheapest case (especially in the UK) but worth spending a bit more on.

Power supply

OCZ ZS Series 650W

£64.99 (http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA-056-OC)/$71.19 (http://www.sigant.net/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1&page=shop.product_details&flypage=yagendoo_VaMazing_zoom2.tpl&product_id=309712&category_id=1610)
Plenty of power for what you‚??ll need.

Mouse

Logitech G400

£24.70 (http://www.scan.co.uk/products/logitech-g400-black-gaming-mouse-8-button-3600dpi-usb)/$37.49 (http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Optical-Gaming-High-Precision-910-002277/dp/B0055QZ216)
Classic Logitech design with a modern 3600dpi sensor.

Keyboard

Microsoft SideWinder X4
£32.36 (http://www.extremepcs.co.uk/keyboard/13564-microsoft-sidewinder-x4-0882224949491.html)/$37.43 (http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_SPM5703040303P?sid=IDx20101019x00001 a&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=SPM5703040303)
The price is rising. I suspect this keyboard may not be long for this world.

Monitor

Iiyama Prolite X2377HDS/AOC i2353Ph
£149.99 (http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MO-085-IY&groupid=17&catid=1425&subcat=)/$179.99 (http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1611999&CatId=4420)
They‚??re not my favourite eIPS screens ‚?? I prefer a professional quality pivoting stand ‚?? but they are top value.

Headset

Corsair HS1A
£33.98 (http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=SP-004-CS&groupid=702&catid=1058&subcat=1719)/$47.99 (http://www.nerdedup.com/3172_page_1022730.htm)
Still inexplicably good value for a very good set of cans.

Total: £919.64/£1233.54

That‚??s ¬£9.02 more/¬£70.20 less than last week (http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/01/07/new-year-new-rig/).

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