15 08 2012

BitFenix Merc Alpha Gaming Case - Black

The sharp eyed amongst you might have noticed that I haven’t exactly been writing prolifically so far in August.
Well not here at least…

There have been several irons in the fire this month and they have all resulted in me being a busy little boy.

I guess one of the most exciting uses of my time has been actively throwing myself back into the realms of PC building.

I came to the shocking realisation at the end of July that my main gaming PC has sat as is without so much as some extra RAM since March 2009!!! How the hell did that happen?

Well I guess life happened, sure I have had plans to upgrade, there has just always been a but:

Old car needed a suspension rebuild…new car needed to be purchased…relationship breakup….moving house…..old house getting flooded….blah,blah,blah.

The laundry list of excuses continues.
Putting all of that to one side one glaring fact remains, you can’t play 2012 games using 2008 technology. At least not the way I want to play them.

So it was time to break out the mastercard and take the plunge.

I’m not really an impulse buyer so I tend to try and do a fair bit of research before parting with my hard earned cash. The way I see it I want something that will do the job I want out of the box, is relatively future proof and hopefully offers something by the way of a feasible upgrade path.

The last point is particularly important to me. Sure I could have crammed a faster, shinier Phenom II X4 into my ageing AM2+ motherboard but what would be the point?

At the very best it would be a short term fix that would give me a small increase in performance before I then needed to change everything all over again in 6 months time.

I will happily admit that during my research I was more than a little shocked at how much has changed in a few years.

I have shied away from Intel processors for over 10 years now. I followed the path of Athlon>Phenom>Phenom II without so much as a second thought to their little blue rivals.

Based on that  I was hell bent on rushing out and picking up one of the new bulldozer chips which AMD are currently peddling.

Until I tried one.  To say I was underwhelmed would be missing the mark by some order of magnitude. The 4100 which I tested at a friends house just didn’t seem to be that much of an improvement over what I was currently rocking.

To try and get a better handle on things I decided to scour the forums on Tom’s Hardware and a few other sites I trust and see what they had to say.

In short the 4100 sucks balls for gaming, nearly every other processor in the lineup beat it hands down.

In the end I decided to go to the dark side and buy Intel…as such I am now the relatively proud owner of a z68 motherboard from Gigabyte coupled to an I3 2120.

As for why I went for such a low ball processor…simples. I want to swap it out with an I7 Ivybridge asap, just didn’t have the cash for it right now and can’t see the point of picking up an I5 just to get rid of it next month.

Anywho here is the spec of my new budget gaming rig with lots of room for not so distant upgrades

Gigabyte Z68AP- D3
Intel i3 2120 3.3ghz
Asus Radeon HD 6770 1GB DDR5
8GB Ballistix Sport  DDR3
WD Caviar Black 500GB HDD
BitFenix Merc Alpha case


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