So while I’m at the expo I’m not just going to be bringing you news and stuff – I’ll be trudging through the various stores to see some things that are on for sale and not just for you to drool over, but for me to buy as well. My PC is feeling its age very much these days and is in need of some upgrades here and there. So what will I be looking for there?

First things first, you’ll have to assess your budget. I’ve got around R1600 to spend, omitting things like petrol costs and food. That limits me somewhat in what I can buy so I’ve had to set my initial sights much, much lower than what I originally intended.

R400-odd: A new chassis

Considering the amount of online stores that have a presence this year at rAge, there’s a fair chance I’ll find a new chassis that I like. I’m currently stuck with my two-year old Cooler Master Elite 310 and while it does the job, things are starting to fall apart. My front USB and audio ports don’t work anymore, my cabling is still a relative mess and my fans aren’t pushing through as much air as they used to. I’m planning on retiring it in search of a new one and with options such as the new Aerocool BX-500 by Matrix Warehouse or even a nice Huntkey chassis from TVR’s stand, I will have some choice available. Although, if I’m honest, even the Antec One S3 would do nicely. The cheap Zalman Z9 Plus would fit in here as well, but needs to be heavily discounted for me to consider it.  

R300-odd: 2GB – 6GB DDR3-1333 RAM

As some of you my know, my rig is old. I bought her on what little funds I could scrounge up at the time in 2010 and the 2GB of RAM I have there already just isn’t cutting it anymore. 4GB RAM should be the default for any gaming or office machine today and I just can’t open any more tabs in Chrome without it crashing. Sadly, I haven’t been able to upgrade anything for a while now, so this is the first time my baby will be getting some TLC. With my move to Windows 8 64-bit, 4GB becomes a necessity rather than an option.

R800-odd: A 128GB SSD

On the forums and here, I’ve been a major proponent of using a SSD as a boot drive. The tech has matured beyond what anyone was expecting a year or two ago and now is a perfectly good replacement for a mechanical drive if your storage needs are limited. I’m not looking for blistering speeds but I do know that most 128GB drives are currently sitting at the R1000 mark. All they need is a R200 price drop and I’m there. If you’re likewise looking for one, the following are all good considerations:

OCZ Agility 2 120GB @ R1029

TEAM Xtreem S2 120GB @ R1079

OCZ Agility 4 128GB @ R1099

ADATA Premier Pro SP900 128GB @ R1109

Corsair Force3 120GB @ R1123

Intel 330 Series 120GB @ R1185

If you see any of these drives in stock for under R900, grab them! All are great value for money and offer some of the best performance we’ve seen from SSD’s yet. Note that most of the drives are Sandforce-based so, unlike the OCZ Agility 4 with its Marvell controller, read and write speeds do take a noticeable drop when working with incompressible data.

And then there’s the rub…

I’m torn, actually, between buying a chassis or buying a new PSU. I know my current one is powering everything just fine, but I haven’t been able to figure out how efficient it is or how much power its capable of delivering two years on. I could likewise just get some RAM and a 256GB SSd, but I know that’s a bit silly. Maybe I’ll spend the R100 I have left on some new fans, or perhaps I’ll be lucky enough to win one of these things, allowing me to knock it off my list and keep under budget. Stay tuned to find out how I do!

What are you buying at rAge? Tell us in the comments below or join the discussion in our forums!

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