Ivy Bridge processors are trickling into the market. The top-end third generation Core i7 and Core i5 processors are already out. Also coming in gradually are the entry-level and mid-range models of Radeon HD 7000 and GeForce 600 series graphics processors. These, along with the availability of high-speed SSDs are compelling reasons to look forward to build high-end and mid-range gaming PCs. Although we'd advise you to wait for a couple of weeks for a few more models to release at various price points, you can still build a gaming or a high-performance rig with latest-generation components, if you’re in a pressing situation.
We’ve already shown how to build a high-end gaming rig, based on the Ivy Bridge platform. This time we’re going to build a mid-range gaming rig using relatively more affordable components. To give you an idea about the kind of performance you can expect, this PC will be marginally powerful than the previous generation Sandy Bridge platform, consume less power and won’t get outdated, too soon. Mid-range GPUs can comfortably handle nearly all the latest game titles at 1920×1080 and with medium to high settings.
Our suggested configuration encompasses all the hardware you need to build a complete PC. However, you can refer to the prices and models to upgrade your existing PC or build only the box.
CPU – Intel Core i5-3570K – 3.40 GHz – Rs. 16,500
The Core i5-3570K is the most powerful Core i5 part belonging to the Ivy Bridge family. It features the mighty DX 11-capable Intel HD 4000 graphics, which performs almost at par with entry-level graphics cards. This model will soon replace the existing Core i5-2500K and will come in at approximately the same price.
Motherboard – Asus P8H77-M – Intel H77 chispet – Rs. 8,050
While the Intel Z77 chipset-based motherboards are built for high-performance systems and overclocking, the H77 chipset is targeted at the mainstream audience. Priced under Rs. 10,000, this motherboard is perfect for building mid-range gaming rigs. Some of its salient features are HDMI video output, six SATA ports (two 6 G/s), 14 USB ports (four USB 3.0), four RAM slots and graphical UEFI BIOS.
Fins for the win
RAM – Corsair Vengeance – 2 x 2 GB DDR3-1600 – Rs. 1,800
4GB of RAM should be good enough for mid-range gaming PC. The maximum officially supported memory speed of the Ivy Bridge platform is 1600 MHz and Corsair Vengenace runs at this speed with CAS latency of 9.
SSD (optional) OCZ Vertex 3 – 60 GB
Would you spend Rs. 7,100 for a high-speed 60GB SSD, which guarantees blistering transfer rates, or pick a 2 TB hard drive (that's 33 times 60GB!)? It's a personal choice between speed and capacity.
HDD – Seagate Barracuda – 1 TB Rs. 5,300
With the hard drive prices having gone through the roof because of Thailand floods, a standard 1 TB hard drive is the best bet both price-wise and capacity-wise. If you want an SSD as the primary drive, use this as a secondary drive to store everything else, besides the operating system, applications and games.
The graphics card
Graphics card – Asus HD7770-DC-1GD5 – Radeon HD 7770 – Rs. 10,500
The Radeon HD 7770 is the best GPU in the sub-Rs. 10,000 range. Its performance figures lie between those of GeForce GTX 550 Ti And GTX 560 and the power consumption is very low. Nvidia fans can resort to GTX 560, which costs Rs. 2,000 more or wait for a little time for the 6-series mid-range GPUs to launch and use the CPU's integrated graphics in the mean time.
Optical drive – LG GH22 SATA 22x DVD-writer – Rs. 950
It's the cheapest component, but it plays a very important role – media playback, data backup, software/game installation, among many other functions. The average price of a DVD-writer with SATA interface is around Rs. 950 and there's hardly any difference between the available models. We chose this drive because it's popular.
Display – BenQ GL2250HM – 21.5-inch LED – Rs. 9,150
The BenQ GL2250HM has everything that's needed for a mid-range gaming PC – LED lit, full HD panel, HDMI input and more over it's affordably priced.
Input devices – Logitech Gaming Combo G100 – Rs. 1,550
The choice of input devices is very personal and i depends on how much you wish to spend and the features you need. Going by what's currently available in the market, you can't go wrong with the Logitech Gaming Combo G100, which is retailing for Rs. 1,550. The mouse features a 2500 dpi optical sensor and on-the-fly dpi switching. The keyboard features a standard layout with highlighted arrow and WASD keys.
Speakers – F&D F680 – Rs. 4,990
This one's thel latest offering by F&D. It sports a sleek design and the satellites are reminiscent of Creative Gigaworks T3 or Bose Companion 3. The overall sound quality and volume levels are good for both gaming and media playback.
Cooler Master Elite 311 Plus
PC Case – Cooler Master Elite 311 Plus – Rs. 3,200
The Elite 311 Plus is an enhanced variant of Elite 311 with USB 3.0 headers, transparent side panel, tool-free design and blue LED front fan. It has sufficient room to comfortably house all the hardware needed to build a mid-range gaming PC and it's a good looker, too.
Power supply – Cooler Master GX 550W – Rs. 4,600
A 500 W power supply provides enough juice to handle mid-range configurations wherein a major portion of power would be guzzled by the graphics card. The Cooler Master GX 550W is ideal for PCs running mid-range graphics cards, such as Radon HD 7770 or GTX 560 Ti.
Win 7 Home Premium
Operating system – Windows 7 Home Premium – Rs. 6,200
Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate or Linux. It's a personal choice. Windows 8 should be available after a few months.
The grand total comes up to Rs. 72,790. Here's a quick look at the specifications one more time:
Click for a larger image
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