VideoGamer.com has teamed up with EA to offer readers a guide to building a Star Wars: The Old Republic PC. Every reader who follows the guide through to completion and builds their own PC will receive a copy of BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic. In addition, one lucky PC builder will win a Radeon HD 7850 graphics card.
The following guide has been produced by a freelancer commissioned by EA.
Building your own PC sounds like a formidable task, but as a gamer few things are more rewarding than creating the machine you're going to play on with your own hands. Aside from the ability to customise, tweak and get the components you really want, it's also an opportunity to save a fortune over an off-the-shelf system.
Over the last three weeks we've been showing you how to put together a PC that's capable of running massively multiplayer game Star Wars: The Old Republic for less than £370. You can find the component list in part one, and the first part of the build instructions in part two, and how to put it all together in part three.
There's one thing left to do - install Windows and get games onto its hard drive.
In the final part of our feature, we'll show you how to download and install Windows 8, how to set up the dual graphics cards and how to get essential drivers onto your PC without a DVD drive.
Oh, and how to get a copy of the game loaded up and running, of course.
1. First off, you'll need to do a little preparation. Attach your keyboard, monitor, ethernet cable and mouse to your new PC, plugging the monitor cable into the port on the add-in graphics board, not the one near the USB ports. You'll also need a memory stick with at least four gigabytes free.
2. Using the PC you're viewing this site with, head over to Microsoft's website and download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. This is a full version of Microsoft's next version Windows that's free for you to test, at least until later this year. You can download it here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-8/consumer-preview. Get the 64bit version - it's quite large, well over 3GB, and take a note of the product key.
3. Now grab the Windows 7 USB/DVD tool from here, and install it. This is a simple program for creating a bootable USB key using a DVD image. Once you run it, you'll be asked to insert your USB key and choose the .iso file you downloaded in step 2.
4. After the USB/DVD Tool has done it's job, remove the USB key from this computer and put it in a spare USB port in your new one. Turn the PC on using the power button on the front. As soon as you've switched it on, tap the Delete key on your keyboard. Don't worry about the fan noise for now - that will soon quieten down.
5. The blue screen you're presented with is the BIOS - be careful here, as you can make your PC unbootable by changing settings unwittingly. First of all, go to Advanced BIOS features and set the Init Display First field to Onboard. You'll need to move the red highlighter around using the cursor keys.
6. Press Return to set that flag, and now change the Hard Disk Priority option so that USB Disk is at the top of the list. You can do this by highlighting it and tapping page up. Press F10 and choose the option to save changes and exit.
7. The PC will reboot and your CPU should start spinning more quietly. Before the PC finishes rebooting, though, you'll need to move the monitor cable over to the port on the back of your PC that's next to the USB cables (see step 1).
8. Now, your PC should boot straight to Windows' set up screen. Getting the operating system installed is simplicity itself - wait a few minutes while the set-up program is loaded into the system RAM, and it should come up with a blue screen with language options. Set the middle option to English (UK), and then click OK.
9. The rest of the Windows set-up is as simple as setting the time and clicking 'yes'. Don't forget you'll need that product key from Step 1 though. After about 15 minutes, your PC should have booted to the Windows 8 Metro Menu - you'll need to add a Microsoft ID to log in, this will be the same as the one you use for Hotmail, Live Messenger or your Xbox 360.
10. The good news is that most of the drivers are preloaded in Windows 8, so your soundcard and networking port should work already. Now you just need the graphics driver. Head over to AMD's website and use the menu on the left to select graphics drivers for the Radeon HD series, and Windows 8 Preview 64bit. Once the file is downloaded, click on it and follow the instructions to install it.
11. Reboot your PC, and when you get to the Metro screen search for 'Catalyst Control Centre'. This is the control panel for your AMD graphics cards. Under the Performance tab on the right, make sure that Crossfire is enabled.
12. And that's it - your PC should be up and running and ready to go.
When you've completed this week's build take a snap and send it over together with your name and address to [email protected]. Remember that you'll need to send in pictures after each weekly guide in order to win a copy of the game and be in the running for the graphics card. Everyone who sends in their pictures will be sent a code that will allow you to download the game from www.swotr.com and the winner of the graphics card will be drawn on June 7.
1. No employees of VideoGamer.com or this competition's partner(s) may enter this competition.
2. Only one entry is allowed per person.
3. Valid details must be provided - we will contact you if you win via e-mail.
4. This competition is open to UK residents only.
5. Proof of purchase required.
6. The closing date for this competition is June 7.