PC of the month (February 2018) – ITC.ua

Three configurations, three price categories, three best options to spend money to buy a PC. We offer the initial platforms, focusing on which, you can collect well-balanced gaming systems, complementing them in accordance with their requirements, capabilities and preferences.

For convenience, the items presented in the table are active links to specific components, categories or pages with search results for devices with specified criteria, which are located in the catalog hotline.ua .

Basic gaming PC

Given the new gaming challenges, we revised the basic and rovyh platforms. The Pentium family of Kaby Lake does not want to be recommended here for several reasons. The main thing is that the capabilities of dual-core processors for new games are not always enough. Alas, even the presence of Hyper-Threading, which allows the CPU to process up to four data streams at the same time, does not give any guarantees and does not save from friezes. Moreover, even four full-fledged computing cores can not always cope with the heaviest modes without a hitch. Yes, this is acceptable for the base system, but if it's a gaming PC, drawdowns, lags and sharp jumps in the time of rendering the personnel would be minimized. The dual-core Pentium is a weak assistant here.

Another reason why the Pentium G4000 does not look convincing, even despite its attractive price, is an early change in the generations of Intel primary processors. Together with the available motherboards, new dual-core Celeron / Pentium chips will be offered. Although actual changes are expected to be minimal, the chips will still belong to the Coffee Lake family, and accordingly will work on motherboards with Intel 300 chipsets. At the turn of generations, it's not very desirable to buy a new PC on the outgoing platform.

According to various leaks , the expansion of the lineup of Coffee Lake processors and the announcement of available motherboards should be expected in early April. If patience is not enough and you initially count on a faster processor, then the simplest output is the Core i3-8100 bundled with the least expensive board on the Intel Z370 . It is on this bundle that we are still focusing on our recommendations. Once the Intel H310 / B360 boards are available for sale, we will replace the platform with a more affordable one. Recall that the Core i3-8100 is a full-fledged 4-core chip, which actually does not differ from the Core i5-7xxx processors. Moreover, because of the increased operating frequency, it is always ahead of the Core i5-7400 (3.0 / 3.5 GHz) and in multi-threaded applications is faster Core i5-7500 (3 , 4 / 3.8 GHz). That is, the processor for the basic gaming configuration is very decent, and even more interesting will be immediately after the Intel [H310 / B360] boards come out on . Nevertheless, the model for the Z370 for $ 130 here looks clearly redundant.

The huge choice of cheap motherboards on the Intel H110 / B150 / B250 causes a natural desire to look at the 4-core chips of Kaby Lake, but the cost of such processors negates all the advantages of an available base . For the Core i5-7400 ask for about $ 170, and the Core i5-7500 will cost $ 195. Even if you choose a fee for $ 60-70, then the total cost of the platform will be slightly different from that for the ligament with Coffee Lake. And in this case, the choice of Core i3-8100 for $ 120, even bundled with Intel Z370, is more justified. The motherboard on top chipset will by definition be more functional than cheap devices. These are 4 memory slots, and M.2 ports, and improved circuitry with a more powerful VRM, and the performance of high-speed memory kits. You can also add a potential opportunity to use 6-core processors and overclock the CPU with the unlocked multiplier.

If the prices for Core i5-7xxx chips were significantly reduced, then it would be good to hook on Kaby Lake, but Intel does not practice this approach . Outgoing models will eventually be replaced by new CPUs, without any final sales.
If for the sake of economy you still decided to buy Pentium processors, we should take a closer look at the model Pentium G4560 the end of the life cycle has fallen in price to $ 60-65. As much as it cost in April-May last year, well, and then it began. The Pentium G4600 (3.6 GHz) will cost $ 75, while the Pentium G4620 (3.7 GHz) is now actually offered only in the OEM version where for the same price. It is important not to get carried away with minimal prices and not get a 2-nuclear model without Hyper-Threading (models with index G4500 and below).

Patient economical users can also be advised to wait for the update of the budget processor line. The base chips of the Pentium Gold G5xxx series will also probably be minimally different from the current models. Although in this case, the chips of Coffee Lake will practically not differ from their predecessors. Pentium will still be satisfied with 2 cores and 4 threads, and Celeron will not get Hyper-Threading. Therefore, the difference in the performance of the chips of "different" generations will be determined only by the difference in operating frequencies (+ 200-300 MHz for Coffee Lake).

On February 12, sales of new hybrid processors of AMD family Raven Ridge began. There are two chips in the line: Ryzen 3 2200G (3.5 / 3.7 GHz) and Ryzen 5 2400G (3.6 / 3.9 GHz). Perhaps, it was even a little unexpected on the day of the official start of sales to see the new APU in our retail. Therefore, nothing prevents us to try the younger model in the basic game system. What is so interesting about Ryzen 3 2200G? This is a 4-core processor with a Zen architecture and integrated graphics Radeon RX Vega 8, which includes 512 compute units. Due to the more aggressive frequency formula, according to the processor power in the regular mode, the new chip is often somewhat ahead of the Ryzen 3 1200 (3.1 / 3.4 GHz). But exceptions are possible, because the latter has twice the cache memory capacity – 8 MB instead of 4 MB in Ryzen 3 2200G.

The new APU is especially interesting if you plan for some time without the video card, rightly counting on reducing the cost of discrete adapters. Of course, much to expect from the Radeon RX Vega 8 is not worth it. According to practical measurements, the performance of the integrated GPU is 15-30% lower than that of the GeForce GT 1030. That is, it is noticeably faster than the "build-in" from Intel, but it's still beyond the power to replace the discrete video card in the gaming system.

After additional overclocking of the GPU and the use of high-speed memory modules (DDR4-3200 +) in the dual-channel mode can often reach the level of the GeForce GT 1030, but no more. Of course, for an integrated solution the result is very good, but is it enough to enjoy the games, and not just be able to run them? At a minimum, this is an option to already build a new system and sit out complex graphic times. True, now no one will say for sure how long this insanity will continue with the prices and availability of video cards. On the other hand, in the case of Radeon 3 2200G, no special charge is required for the integrated video core. Nobody expected that the processors will appear in retail at the recommended price of $ 99, but the opportunity to buy a 4-core Ryzen with graphics for $ 125 at the start of sales looks like a very good offer.

There are some nuances that need to be considered before buying Raven Ridge. The new APUs work fine with the already familiar Socket AM4 cards, but to update the BIOS, you will need to update the BIOS. Devices from the latest supplies can already have a microcode with the support of new processors, although you can be absolutely sure of compatibility only if you have a label with the inscription "AMD Ryzen 2000 ready" on the box. But the devices stored in distributors' warehouses will probably need an update.
The problem is that if the BIOS of the board does not support Raven Ridge, then the system with the new processor simply does not start. In this case, you need to update the firmware using Ryzen without the built-in graphics or the APU of the Bristol Ridge line. If there was no one at hand, then theoretically you can rely on the help of a retailer, and in the worst case, you should contact the service center. Not the best prospect for getting acquainted with the new product.

In a number of regions, AMD offers customers of new APUs the opportunity to get a sort of boot set – the A6-9500 processor, which allows to start the system and update the microcode to support Raven Ridge. After the firmware, the replacement processor must be sent back to the manufacturer. Unfortunately, such a program in our region does not work.

With Radeon 3 2200G it is very desirable to use dual-channel memory access mode, especially if you are counting on integrated graphics. Single-channel mode does not affect anything so seriously as the performance of the built-in video subsystem. Therefore, two memory modules are almost a must. In terms of high-speed modes, you can start with at least DDR4-2666. The higher the bandwidth of RAM, the more fps in games you get. Raven Ridge officially supports memory up to DDR4-2933, but the processors work well with DDR4-3200 and even faster modules.
The Radeon 3 2200G can be used with the most affordable AMD A320 ($ 55 +) based motherboards, but if you want to overclock the processor, the built-in graphics and memory, then you will need a motherboard on the AMD B350 chipset, and that's at least $ 75.

Will it lose its relevance Ryzen 3 1200 after the release of Ryzen 3 2200G? The answer to this question is not as unambiguous as it might seem at first glance. The younger model of Summit Ridge has its advantages. It's not for nothing that this processor not only remained in the official AMD price list, but even has a slightly higher recommended price ($ 109). As we already mentioned, the Ryzen 3 1200 is equipped with twice as much L3 cache memory capacity than the new APUs. In a number of problems this can give an advantage. At the disposal of the classic Ryzen there are 16 lines of the PCI Express 3.0 bus, while the Ryzen 3 2200G has free 8 lines of PCI-E 3.0 and nominally does not allow the use of SLI-links. To put it bluntly, not the biggest loss for a processor of this class.

From the advantages of the Ryzen 3 1200 practical sense, you can also highlight the use of solder as an internal thermal interface. This is the best solution, allowing the most efficient removal of heat. As it turned out, Raven Ridge processors use thermal paste with more modest heat conducting properties.
The working frequencies of Ryzen 3 1200 can easily be tightened using even a regular cooler and without increasing the supply voltage. Such a chip can now be bought for $ 110 and if you initially build a PC with a discrete video card without counting the resources of the built-in GPU, then the basic model of Summit Ridge is still very relevant.

As for the graphics subsystem, in the current situation GeForce GTX 1050 2 GB remains the best option for a gaming platform of the initial class. With the onset of graphical unrest, these models have also risen in price, but the price increase here is within reasonable limits. Instead of the previous $ 130-140 for such a graphics card, you now have to pay $ 175-185. For the same price, you can already search for Radeon RX 560 2 GB . The former favorites of the base game platform – GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4 GB – still cost about $ 230-250. Oh, trouble-trouble, grief.

Optimal gaming PC

The processor Intel Core i5-8400 (2.8 / 4.0GHz, 6x 256KB L2, 9MB L3) $ 245
AMD Ryzen 5 1600 (3,2 / 3,6 GHz, 6 × 512 KB L2, 16 MB L3) $ 210
Intel Z370 (LGA1151) $ 150
AMD B350 (AM4) $ 90
Memory 16 GB (2 × 8 GB) DDR4-2666 / 3000 $ 210
Video Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB, GDDR5 $ 480
Hard drive HDD 2 TB, 7200 rpm $ 70
SSD 240/256 GB, SATA3 $ 90
Case and power supply ] Middle Tower ATX, 550 W $ 110
Amount for PC based on Intel platform $ 1355
Amount for PC on AMD platform $ 1260

All th visibility, the most affordable 6-core processors Intel Core i5-8400 (2.8 / 4.0 GHz) finally managed to break through to retail shelves. The abundance of proposals pushed the price of this model down. $ 245 for a boxed version is not the cost that I would like to see, but it is already much more pleasant than the price tag of a month ago.

For $ 275 you can already buy a model with an unlocked multiplier – Core i5-8600K (3 , 6 / 4.3 GHz). This is in case you want to experiment with overclocking the processor. All motherboards on the Intel Z370 allow you to speed up the CPU and if you still have to choose devices exclusively for top-end chipset for the work of Coffee Lake, then it's logical to take advantage of such models.

About $ 15 for the past month dropped in price and Ryzen 5 1600 (3.2 / 3.6 GHz). The correct gesture on the eve of the announcement of the updated models of the Pinnacle Ridge family. It is obvious that the replacement of the current model will be Ryzen 5 2600 with an estimated frequency formula of 3.4 / 3.8 GHz. The results of tests in GeekBench are already walking around the network, where the new processor is about 6-9% ahead of Ryzen 5 1600. However, it is too early to draw any conclusions on these data. Yes, to expect a large increase in performance when switching to a two-thousandth series is not worth it. Architectural changes will be minimal, but what's really interesting is the new 12-nanometer process technology. How it will affect the overall frequency potential of Ryzen processors, we will learn as early as April.

The GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB closes the graphic position in the optimal game configuration . The simplest versions can already be purchased for $ 450, but to be able to choose, the budget will have to be increased to $ 480. The second wave of deficit Radeon RX 580/570 very slowly recedes. Videocards often began to appear in free sale, but in terms of price / performance they still remain irrelevant for gaming platforms.

Wanting to save, you will probably consider options from GeForce GTX 1060 3 GB but for gaming middle-class systems, we still recommend models with a large amount of local memory. With 3 GB on board already in a number of projects can not avoid unpleasant performance drawdowns even at 1920 × 1080 resolution.

Progressive gaming PC

Processor Intel Core i7-8700K (3.7 / 4.7 GHz, 6 × 256 KB L2, 12 MB L3) $ 390
AMD Ryzen 7 1700 (3.4 / 3.8 GHz, 8 × 512 KB L2, 16 MB L3) $ 340
Intel Z370 (LGA1151) $ 175
AMD B350 / X370 (Socket AM4) $ 140
Memory 16GB (2 × 8GB) DDR4- 3200 $ 230
Video card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8 GB, GDDR5 $ 780
Hard drive SSD 480-512 GB, SATA3 $ 160
HDD 3 TB, 5400-7200 rpm $ 85
Case and power supply unit Middle Tower ATX, 650 W $ 180
Amount for a PC on an Intel platform $ 2000
Amount for a PC based on AMD $ 1915

The source of good news this time will be the top chips Coffee Lake. It would seem nothing boded, but the Core i7-8700K (3,7 / 4,7 GHz) dropped in retail from $ 440 to $ 390. Core i7-8700 (3,2 / 4,6 GHz) appeared in a wider sale, and judging by the price schedule, this model also began to become cheaper, but now these processors are offered for virtually the same price as and the Core i7-8700K, because the obvious bidder is the CPU with the unlocked multiplier.

Official official announcement of Ryzen price reduction announced last month finally began to be felt in our retail sales. So the top one Ryzen 7 1800X (3,6 / 4,0 GHz) has fallen in price from $ 500 to $ 400, and Ryzen 7 1700X (3,4 / 3,8 GHz) has fallen in price from $ 420 to $ 340. At the same time, the number of offers has drastically decreased Ryzen 7 1700 (3,0 / 3,7 GHz), and the current price of $ 350 is far from the recommended $ 299 by the manufacturer. Given the circumstances, we use the Ryzen 7 1700X for the progressive configuration. In addition to the improved frequency formula, this 8-core CPU also offers an increased additional XFR acceleration – +100 MHz instead of +50 MHz with a single core load. Theoretically, for models with the index "X", more successful specimens of crystals with an improved frequency potential should be selected, but luck is still important here.

Recall that X-processor modifications are offered without a regular cooling system. In certain Ryzen 7 1800X / 1700X configurations, Wraith Max coolers are provided, but in our market, modifications without a cooler are often available. This is evidenced by the end of WOF (without fan-heatsink) in the designation of the model. For example, for the Ryzen 7 1700X this is YD170XBCAEWOF. The versions with the cooler in the package have the MPK (Multipack) ending, but they are not offered in our market.

As with the Core i7-8700K, the Ryzen 7 1700X will also need to purchase a cooling system on its own. Its configuration and price will depend on your willingness to experiment. To operate in the nominal modes of both chips, an air cooler for $ 25-40 is enough.

The basic video card for the progressive configuration remains GeForce GTX 1070 Ti . The crypto-cash drawdown that took place at the beginning of the month markedly corrected the cost of such models. In February, titanium versions on the GP104 chip fell from unprecedented $ 850-900 to slightly less intimidating $ 780-800. The remnants of GeForce GTX 1070 are offered for approximately the same price, and therefore are not at all interesting at the moment. The older models GeForce GTX 1080 are more expensive (from $ 850), although if you can find a good offer, then this is also an option. In general, the spread of prices is still great, the cost of the same devices at different sites can be seriously different. В очередной раз советуем перед покупкой внимательнее изучать предложения в соответствующих разделах на hotline.ua.

Видеокарты семейства Radeon RX Vega 64/56 живут своей криптовалютной жизнью, никак не пересекаясь с интересами любителей поиграть. $1200 за старшую модель и $1100 за младшую – это ли не преступление против игровой общественности?

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