Ev­ery­thing you need to play games at 4K with top set­tings

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Un­be­liev­ably, in un­der two years, the price of 4K-ca­pa­ble kit has dropped like a brick from the top of the Eif­fel Tower. Not only has the price of a 4K mon­i­tor nose­dived from £2,999 (see Is­sue 12, p27) to well un­der £500, but even the re­quired graph­ics equip­ment no longer costs the earth. In fact, thanks to Nvidia’s Maxwell ar­chi­tec­ture, £562 will buy you the whole graph­ics sub­sys­tem, and it won’t eat your power sup­ply for lunch ei­ther.

The re­sult of all these plung­ing prices is that, with the right com­po­nent choices, you can now build an all-singing, all-danc­ing, 4K gam­ing PC for well un­der £2,000, and the price even in­cludes the mon­i­tor, SLI graph­ics and Win­dows 8.1. Over the next few pages, we’ll show you ex­actly what you need, how to put it to­gether, and how to fine-tune and over­clock your new PC. There are sev­eral graph­i­cal routes to­wards playable frame rates at 3,840 x 2,160, all with their pros and cons. The Nvidia route in­volves ei­ther dou­bling up graph­ics cards in SLI with GTX 970s or GTX 980s, or opt­ing for a GTX 980 Ti (see p20 ) or Ti­tan X. On the red team, you can achieve the same ef­fect with two AMD Radeon R9 290 cards in Cross­Fire con­fig­u­ra­tion, or use its R9 295X2. The lat­ter is ex­tremely power-hun­gry and hot-run­ning, though, as are AMD’s sin­gle-GPU mod­els.

For this rea­son, we’ve leaned to­wards Nvidia, even though its graph­ics cards are a lit­tle more ex­pen­sive terms of bang per buck, sim­ply be­cause their power re­quire­ments are sig­nif­i­cantly lower, which be­comes a big­ger deal when you’re us­ing mul­ti­ple cards. A pair of GeForce GTX 970 cards of­fer enough per­for­mance to top­ple a GTX 980 Ti and even a Ti­tan X in some games, while third-party cool­ers such as the Asus ones on these Strix GTX 970 Di­rect CU II cards, are in­cred­i­bly quiet, even when gam­ing.

More im­por­tantly, they can han­dle even tough games such as Cr­y­sis 3 at max­i­mum set­tings with room to spare.

Hard­ware GRAPH­ICS CARD 2 x Asus STRIX GTX 970 Di­rect CU II /£ 281 (£562)


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