4 weeks ago, I challenged my friend Dave to build the fastest gaming PC possible, for £450. A decent gaming rig usually costs over £1000, so this would be a good test of our hardware and overclocking knowledge. Unable to turn down a challenge, I accepted, and we agreed a prize of £50 Steam credit – and the kudos of building the fastest PC.


  • £450 only applies to the PC case and contents (peripherals are excluded).
  • Hardware must be purchased. Use of existing spare hardware is prohibited.
  • Postage is not included. (I don’t remember agreeing to this, but Nick insists I did)
  • Benchmarking will occur on May 4th 2016, and will consist –
  • Each benchmarking tool will be run 3 times, and the best score used.
  • Failure to achieve a score, due to crashing, will result in disqualification.


For the first week or so, every conversation I had with Dave was about hardware. We spent all of our free time researching CPUs, RAM, motherboards, cases, PSUs, trying to determine the cheapest combination to deliver the biggest bang for buck. I can remember one evening Dave was bidding wildly on an eBay auction, thinking, “I was probably the other guy bidding against him!”. In the following days, I read numerous articles about overclocking, and how to squeeze the most performance out of the new Skylake I5 6500 processors as I had heard that you could overclock the none K version to astonishing results and I went for the new motherboards that supported this new chip set and DDR4. Dave went for slightly older hardware. Eventually he settled on an i7 4th gen, socket 1150 motherboard, and DDR3 RAM.

First to arrive was the ex-display Gigabyte Z170 Gaming K3, My new Intel i5 6500 came from Japan via playasia and Amazon messed up and sent me 16GB of Ram by mistake I had only ordered 8 🙂

During build


Dave Nick
CPU Intel i7 4970K Intel i5 6500
GPU Asus Strix GTX 980 TI Gigabyte R9 290 Windforce OC
RAM Corsair Vengeance Pro 16GB DDR3 2400MHz Kingston Hyper X Predator DDR4 16GB
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z97-D3H Gigabyte Z170 Gaming K3
Disk Samsung EVO 850 SSD 250GB SanDisk SSD PLUS 120GB
Power supply Corsair CXM 600W Corsair GS600
Cooling Corsair Hydro Series H60 Cooler master 103
Case Corsair Carbide Series 200R Bitfenix Nova



Dave Nick
Firestrike 1.1 Overall 15866 11069
Unigine Valley Score 4524 2835
UserBenchmark Multi core 703 561
UserBenchmark SSD Random 4k (MB/s) 66.1 34.6
UserBenchmark RAM Multi core (GB/s) 29.5 31.7
Cinebench CPU 915 Nick “lost” his scores
Cinebench GPU 143.11 N/A


WHO WON? Read Part 2