Enthusiast Overclocker

The Enthusiast Overclocker is a PC designed for those looking to buy a PC that maximises performance, without splashing out on premium hardware. If you're not into hardcore video encoding and more extreme multi-tasking, but still love your high resolution gaming, we've created a PC with the best balance of performance possible - providing that is, you spend time overclocking it. But then that's half the fun...

It’s fair to say LGA1156 has a stronger future going forward than Socket AM3, considering we expect the latest Phenom frequency is pretty much as far as AMD can push its 45nm process without a complete core revamp. When it comes to LGA1156, it's the quad-core i5-750 processor which hits the sweet spot when it comes to value, even when you take into account a recent price bump that's seen it push over the £160 mark.

*PC Hardware Buyers Guide - March 2010 Enthusiast Overclocker

We've kept the same Core i5-750 and Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD2 combination as last month, however if you think the £700 mark is a little too expensive you can always downgrade this in favour of the Core i3-530.

We prefer the Radeon HD 5770 1GB route for investment in DirectX 11 and improved power consumption, but alternatives still include the Radeon HD 4890, which in some cases is still faster, but will run hotter and often noisier, and the GeForce GTX 260(-216). Prices for the Radeon HD 5770 1GB have risen recently making older stock of the HD 4890 and GTX 260 more attractive, so shop around.

Quite a few people have commented on the attraction of running two of these cards in CrossFire - claiming this provides "HD 5870 performance for around HD 5850 price." We're still skeptical given the fact any multi-GPU system is heavily reliant on stable, frequently updated drivers to come close to realising its potential and delivering a return on your investment. If you are going down the CrossFire route, do NOT buy the UD2 recommended here - the second x16 slot actually only has x4 lanes - instead upgrade to the considerably more expensive GA-P55M-UD4 or Asus P7P55D Deluxe or MSI P55 GD65 that have recently dropped in price, but all are more expensive than the UD2. With a second HD 5770 and more expensive motherboard - remember you're also probably into the Gaming Workhorse price range too.

*PC Hardware Buyers Guide - March 2010 Enthusiast Overclocker *PC Hardware Buyers Guide - March 2010 Enthusiast Overclocker
The Powercolor Radeon HD 5770 PCS+ uses a shorter PCB than normal 5770s

4GB of 1,600MHz CL9 DDR3 memory is still our favoured combination with Lynnfield CPUs, and unfortunately prices across brands vary quite considerably depending where you shop in the UK - so as usual, shop around.

We've swapped out our long-time recommended Cooler Master HAF 922 in favour of the Fractal Design R2. The R2 has a smarter look we think our readers will appreciate, plus, it can offer high performance (provided you add additional fans) or low noise. Unfortunately our US friends can't buy one easily yet so we've opted for the very good Cooler Master CM690 II as an alternative. It's not as brash as the popular HAF 922, but either is a great choice.

If you want something more mobile remember the Cooler Master Scout, or other alternatives include the popular Antec Nine Hundred Two and the Lian Li Lancool cases as well.

*PC Hardware Buyers Guide - March 2010 Enthusiast Overclocker *PC Hardware Buyers Guide - March 2010 Enthusiast Overclocker
Both the Fractal Design R2 and Cooler Master CM690 II make great case choices

Throwing in the usual 500W OCZ ModXStream Pro and Gelid Tranquillo, and you've certainly got enough power and cooling for a high performance overclock, but if you intend to bolt on a lot more in the future you might want to upgrade the PSU to the Antec TruePower New 650W on the page over. If you want more cooling performance don't be afraid to swap it for a Titan Fenrir, and it's job done.

Unfortunately SSDs are still too expensive for this budget so we've dropped in another one of our hard drive favourites - the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB. There's plenty of space and plenty of speed to be had from that. However, if you really don't like Samsung drives, check out the Seagate 7200.12s and Western Digital Blacks as well.
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