Custom PC UK

Custom PC UK May 2020

Custom PC is the UK’s best-selling magazine for PC hardware, overclocking, gaming and modding. Every month, Custom PC is packed with in-depth hardware reviews, step-by-step photo guides and informative features, all with a focus on tinkering with your computer’s insides. Along the way, you’ll also find hard-hitting tech opinion, game reviews and all manner of computer hobbyism goodness, from small Pi projects to extreme PC mods.

United Kingdom
Raspberry Pi


200 issues later

As you’ve no doubt already deduced from the glossy decorative parts of the front cover, this is the 200th issue of Custom PC, and while we don’t want to entirely disappear up our own posteriors in our rose-tinted specs, we’ve marked the occasion with a special feature on p84. While I only worked on Issue 1 as a freelancer, and didn’t join the full-time team until a few months later, I remember the build-up to the launch well, and it was an exciting time in PC journalism. Looking back on Issue 1 shows just how far we’ve come since those early days, when the PC was finally starting to break free from its bland business machine moorings. We no longer have to tolerate the whiny racket of 80mm fans, liquid cooling…

20 years of change

As it’s 2020, and this is the 200th issue of Custom PC, I’ve been thinking back over my past two decades of building PCs, so crack out your rose-tinted glasses with me as I look back at how the industry has changed. Firstly, back in 2002 the ATI Radeon 8500 wasn’t necessarily faster than the equivalent GeForce 3, but it provided better image quality (an important factor when you had analogue monitor inputs) and helped to cement Radeon as a top-tier graphics brand. I bought the cheaper Radeon 8500 LE instead. This version could be ‘pencil-modded’ to bump up the voltage on the core and memory, enabling overclocking further than the full 8500 card. Sadly, a carefully placed bit of graphite can no longer upgrade you to a premium graphics card! Sadly,…

localisation dilemmas

Game localisation is an entire industry of its own. Knowing what American or British audiences want compared with Japanese or Korean gamers is a specialist skill. Not only do different markets have different cultures and politics, but also different laws. Australia, for example, is fairly censorious of violence and gore in games. But what happens when two very different cultures clash, and a Western publisher wants to change the content of, say, a Japanese game? On one hand, the creative vision of the game designers and writers should be respected. On the other hand, game publishers have a responsibility to not promote content that isn’t acceptable to the market in which it’s sold. This leads to some difficulties and occasional controversies. The most recent is Persona 5 Royal, which has made…


FRACTAL UNLEASHES DEFINE 7 RANGE The next generation of Fractal Design’s acclaimed Define range is now here, and it includes an ‘XL’ model. Among the new features are a redesigned interior that can take up to a 285mm E-ATX motherboard, as well as a new design of mounting bracket, which means you can use any unused fan mount to attach a hard drive or SSD, or even a pump for your water-cooling system. The case also has what Fractal calls a ‘dual-layout’ design. You can either have a clean interior with loads of room for a water-cooling setup, or you can detach the right-hand side of the motherboard tray and set up a large storage bay section, with room for up to 14 hard drives. As with the Define R6, the new…


Broken Bluetooth I’ve just finished building my new PC, and I’ve had difficulties with Bluetooth. It’s mentioned in the motherboard manual as being part of the ‘Wireless Communication Module’ together with Wi-Fi, but nothing else is said about it. My old PC had no Bluetooth, so I bought an inexpensive USB 2 dongle, which worked fine. However, I was surprised and disappointed to find that my £2,400 new PC provided a poor Bluetooth signal, making the keyboard occasionally erratic and the mouse unusable. I spent hours installing the latest drivers, as well as trying (and failing) to get the old dongle working, but nothing helped. Then a friend suggested that the PC’s metal case might be interfering with the signal from the motherboard’s Bluetooth signal. Sure enough, removing the case’s sides fixed…

nvidia geforce now/ free (basic account) / £4.99 per month (founders pass)

Game streaming is an increasingly hot prospect, as various tech companies scramble to become the Netflix for games. It’s a prize that’s both elusive and tantalising. The lofty demands for both sharp image quality and low latency make game streaming much harder to realise than streaming video. Game-streaming services do exist, in the form of platforms such as Shadow and Google Stadia, but both are far from perfect. Enter GeForce NOW, Nvidia’s attempt to seize the game streaming crown. In Beta since 2015, it saw its public launch in January this year. Structurally, it’s more closely aligned to Shadow than Google Stadia. Rather than being a platform with its own storefront, it offers an alternative way to play games you already own (or are free to play). When launched, it connects…