It's arguably never been a better time to be a PC gamer. There are some great games around just now, with a couple of other disgustingly anticipated games just about to appear. August 5th, August 5th, August 5th, it can't come soon enough.
And if there's anything that drives PC hardware forwards at a rate of knots, it's computer games. If you're not CPU limited in your favourite game, you're GPU limited. The desire to upgrade one or the other is always there, your hand twitching over the Buy Me Now! link at your favourite e-tailer.
Currently that desire sits in the graphics card market. With upcoming titles implementing eye-wateringly good next generation world-lighting and per-pixel effects, you'll probably be lusting after something with as much GPU power as possible, within your price range. Cobble £300 together and the GPU world is your oyster, with a range of X800 PRO and 6800 GT boards waiting to be snapped up.
And then there's the market for those with bit more spare change. The rarified world of the X800 XT Platinum Edition and the 6800 Ultra.
With ATI and NVIDIA's AIB partners keen to get the well-off gamer's money, they're all showing off products based on those GPUs.
AOpen, long time board vendor and user of NVIDIA's GPU range, are one such AIB. And like the rest, they have a 6800 Ultra to sell you. With AOpen's Aeolus 5950 Ultra impressing back when that GPU range was released, I was keen to see if the approach they used with that board (low cost, no-frills) would be carried over to their 6800 Ultra.
There's a lot to be said for a vendor that just gives you the board, essential cabling and a decent warranty, without all the pomp and circumstance of a game bundle you don't want, or extra bits you don't need.
Let's see how they do.