Did you know that Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) is the longest-running eSports circuit in the world? The prestigious ESL tournament dates back to 2006 and the Season 1 finals in 2007 crowned winners in Counter-Strike and Warcraft III.
Eleven years on and the 2017 World Championship of Intel Extreme Masters has just wrapped up in Katowice, Poland. Team Astralis from Denmark became the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive World Champions, Taiwan’s Flash Wolves (pictured above) won the League of Legends competition, while an all South Korean StarCraft II final saw Jun “TY” Tae Yang defeat Kim “Stats” Dae Yeob for top spot.
All of these players compete on IEM Certified PC systems, customised gaming rigs that aim to provide gamers with everything they need to play at the highest level — from VR-ready specs to support for 4K, livestreaming gameplay and more.
You don’t need to be a pro-gamer to own one either. A new range of IEM Certified computers are now available from a variety of manufacturers across Europe, each one built with same components used in PCs you’ll find at official IEM tournaments.
Note the IEM Certified PC spec
These PCs are based on a minimum IEM Certified PC specification, which details an Intel Core i5 CPU, 120GB SSD, 500GB hard disk, 8GB of DDR3/DDR4 HyperX memory, an Nvidia GTX 960 or AMD R9 280 graphics card, and Windows 8.1 or 10.
Authorised manufacturers are obviously free to improve upon this base spec and most IEM Certified PCs feature the latest 7th Gen Intel Core processors. The affordable Cyberpower IEM Elite (£1,009), for example, is powered by an Intel Core i5-7600K CPU. It sits alongside 8GB of DDR4 RAM, an MSI GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card and a 1TB SATA HDD paired with a 128GB Intel SSD.
Stepping up a gear, the mid-range Harbinger AX from Overclockers (£1,379) also packs in an Intel Core i5-7600K processor. But it bumps up the hardware spec with an 8GB GeForce GTX 1070, 16GB of DDR4 2400MHz memory, an Intel 600P 256GB M.2 PCI-e SSD and a Seagate BarraCuda 2TB HDD.
Core i7 meets GTX1080
Or you could choose to walk the cutting edge with an Alza IEM Certified PC GTX1080 (£1,779). This higher-end system combines an Intel Core i7-7700K chip, 16GB of DDR4 RAM (2666MHz), an Nvidia GeForce GTX1080 (8GB), along with an Intel M.2 SSD 512GB and a 200GB HDD.
All of the PCs are identified with an IEM Certified badge and typically come with a selection of free games to get you started.
“Beyond the exceptional experience these certified PCs provide, we’re pleased to announce that part of the proceeds from [the IEM Certified PC program] will go to the prize purse at the 2017 World Championship,” said Frank Soqui, general manager of the Virtual Reality and Gaming Group at Intel.
“Intel has a long history of partnership with the eSports community, and we’re always looking for ways to show our support, whether it’s through programs such as this or bringing them amazing new experiences in areas like VR.”
For more information on the new IEM-certified PCs, including the list of authorized retailers, visit the IEM Certified PC web page. For information on everything Intel offers for gamers, visit Intel’s gaming site.