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Aria array offers affordable gaming from £319

One of the most discussed topics at KitGuru HQ is ‘Just how much do you need to spend in order to get a decent gaming experience?’ – with opinions varying wildly. It really comes down to the image quality and resolution you want to enjoy Vs the size of your wallet. Aria has lined up a new range of affordable gaming rigs – sparking the debate again.

While we always try to keep an open mind about components, there’s no doubt that AMD is extremely strong at the budget end of the gaming rig scale.

If you are able to budget at least £800 for a gaming PC, then we’re prepared to bet that a standard Core i7 3770 or overclocked Core i5 3570k will be at the heart of it.

However, data from IDC suggests that the VAST majority of desktop systems sold in the UK will actually go for less than £600.

Remember: Hardcore KitGuru readers with a strong knowledge of PC hardware are unlikely to buy a ready made rig, when you can create the ideal spec for yourself. But for many people, companies like Aria, MESH and PC Specialist are able to create custom build PCs at a competitive rate – and will provide a support line just in case you run in to issues. On that basis, it’s an easy option.

So, back to the ‘pre-built-buying masses’: What price points and specifications are most interesting to us within Aria’s new line-up?

£319 Gladiator 5800K
With an auto-turbo boost to 4.2GHz built in, this APU-based system has a Radeon HD 7660 built in. That graphics core might be ~twice as powerful as the Intel HD4000 found in the Core i7 3770k, but you’ll still have to drop down to 720p if you want sensible frame rates. Within reason, for console money – you’re going to get a console level experience – but obviously a PC is upgradeable. This is a complete PC – all you need to add is the OS. Full spec here.

£519 Gladiator 6300
Stretch just a little further and your world definitely becomes a better place. The AMD FX-6300 Black Edition was a clear winner when KitGuru readers voted for the ‘BEST CPU UNDER £100’. It will automatically turbo charge itself to 4.1GHz for suitable applications and, in this system, it is paired with the game-changing 2GB Radeon HD 7870 ‘XT’ (Tahiti LE) card. Confirm this for yourself over here.

Both of these come with a Gigabyte mainboard, 8GB DDR3 and a 500GB hard drive. In other words, 100% of the available spend has been focused on frame rate.

As predicted, if you hit the top system in the line-up, you will be spending £829, but will end up with an Intel rig, based around the Core i7 3770 with a Radeon HD 7970. Expect the more budget Radeons to come under some serious pressure if (a) nVidia does a price cut on existing 650 products and/or (b) launches something new on 26th March.

With almost 1,000 votes cast at the time this article went to press, KitGuru's audience has gone strongly in favour of the AMD FX 6000 series as the processor of choice under £100. Just a reminder: 80% of you prefer Intel when there's no price limit

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KitGuru says: If you bought a PC when they first started to be popular, then even a discount store like Morgan in Central London would have charged you over £2,000 for a 16MHz processor on a machine where resolution was measured in CHARACTERS rather than pixels. Too much price aggression is a bad thing, but we like the levels that Aria has pitched these rigs for gamers on a budget.

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