PC Upgrade on a budget

Our lounge PC - used as a media centre and for gaming - was due for an upgrade. It consisted of an AMD Althlon X64 system in an ancient mini tower case, and had a Windows experience score of 3.4.

Our upgrade consists of the following: a media centre case; Intel i-series uATX motherboard & processor; memory. We also needed a new DVD drive, as the current one was temperamental. We opted for an Intel system because of the superb performance and low noise of the i7 systems at the Blurtit offices for the last couple of years. To choose the most cost-effective and future-proof architecture, these articles on motherboard sockets and chipsets were really useful and led us to the Intel socket 1155 and the Intel Z68 chipset as optimum choices: socket comparisons at geekmontage.com; chipset comparisons at tomshardware.co.uk.


There are quite a few cases out there which have a small form factor and aren't too ugly for the lounge, so the choice is one of taste really. Three specialists in this area are icubes, xcase and thermaltake.

Our order

We placed our order with Novatech, as their website made product selection very easy and the prices were decent. Even though we placed the order during the last shopping week of Christmas, the full order turned up within a couple of days.

  • Thermaltake Armor A30 Mini Tower Case - Black (No PSU) £62.86
  • Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 Intel Z68 (Socket 1155) Motherboard £92.99
  • 2nd Generation Intel® Core? i5 2310 2.90GHz Socket LGA1155 - Retail £142.99
  • Corsair XMS3 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C9 1600MHz Dual Channel Kit £26.99


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