PC of the month (March 2018) – ITC.ua

Three configurations, three price categories, three best options to spend money on buying 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

Last month, we translated the basic configuration with Intel components to the processor s Core i3-8100 (3.6 GHz). In this story, everything is very good, except for the cost of the required motherboards for these CPUs based on Intel Z370 . Even the minimum price of $ 130 is expensive for a platform of this class. However, we do not plan to return to solutions based on Skylake.

If you rightly think the price of the current motherboard for the base Coffee Lake is unreasonably high and do not plan to use the capabilities of the Intel Z370, we suggest you have patience. There is nothing left. Already in early April, Intel will expand the line of processors with the architecture of the Core 8th generation and will present more affordable chipsets for these CPUs. Manufacturers of motherboards on low start. The network now and then leak photos of future devices based on Intel H310 B360 and H370 . According to "unintentional leaks", we are waiting for streams of new products for a variety of taste and purse. Interest in this segment is very large, because the developers will try to satisfy the most bizarre user requests. Although in this category of devices is often the most basic criterion – to work.

At the start of sales, new motherboards will certainly cost more than similar in functionality models on Intel H110 / B250 . Hardly it will be possible in the first months to buy a fee for Coffee Lake cheaper than $ 75-80. But even in this case it will be possible to save a lot on the platform. At least $ 50 will be allowed for a more efficient graphics card or, for example, to spend on the purchase of a solid-state drive.

With the introduction of AMD hybrid processors in the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G (3.5 / 3.7 GHz) upgrade of the basic gaming system on the components of this developer took place somehow by itself. At a lower recommended price, this 4-core chip has a noticeably higher operating frequency than that of the Ryzen 3 1200 (3.1 / 3.4 GHz), improved memory controller, reduced delays in internuclear interaction and work with cache / RAM. And most importantly – it is equipped with integrated graphics Radeon Vega 8 with 512 streaming computers. As a result of practical tests, we can say that this "build-in" AMD is 2-3 times more productive than Intel graphics in the chips Coffee Lake. Of course, as part of the gaming system, GPU capabilities are still not enough for a comfortable game in heavy projects, but for example, to wait for an unfavorable situation in the video card market, this option is quite suitable. And in general, the list of games can even get at Full HD at 40-50 frames / c – an unattainable level for the built-in GPU.

In this case, you banal have the opportunity to try to "work" with integrated graphics, and if this option is not will justify the expectations and will not provide the required number of frames / c in the projects of interest, then without any unnecessary fuss you can choose a discrete video card. And imagine that the capabilities of the GPU will be enough for your tasks. It's the same savings of $ 160! But, do not be too deceived.

The performance Vega 8 is somewhat inferior to that demonstrated by GeForce GT 1030 . Try to overtake the video card by seriously overclocking the built-in video core. This does not always help, but on the whole we get indicators of the same order. Only in the first case the integrated graphics are free, in the second one, for the graphics card, it is necessary to pay about $ 90.

Relying on the resources of the built-in GPU, two-channel memory operation mode is mandatory and it would be good with an operating frequency higher. With one module, graphics performance is significantly reduced. Also it is worth considering that for the needs of the integrated video core it will be necessary to allocate a part of the RAM (up to 2 GB), but with superfluous gigabytes in the basic configuration it's quite strained. Therefore it is necessary to try and combine.

If you are sure that the integrated graphics do not need you, there is always a working version with Ryzen 3 1200, which also has its advantages. This is 8 MB of cache memory, solder under the lid and 16 lines of PCI Express 3.0, instead of 8 at Raven Ridge. Counting on the base Summit Ridge, it's probably worth a hurry, because Ryzen 3 2200G will naturally replace Ryzen 3 1200, and in the future line of 12-nanometer Pinnacle Ridge other 4-core models are not yet listed. It seems that this segment will remain for Raven Ridge. At least in the first stage of the Ryzen 2xxx startup.

A larger amount of cache memory is useful in some applications, but the internal optimizations and higher nominal frequency compensate for the difference in the L3 capacitance. In cases where the buffer capacity is not so important, the Ryzen 3 2200G is confidently ahead of the Ryzen 3 1200.

Regardless of the processor used, for the basic gaming system we now recommend GeForce GTX 1050 2 GB . Over the past month, adapters of this series have fallen in price by $ 10-15. The most simple modifications of the line can already be purchased for $ 155-165. Approximately for the same amount, and if you're lucky, it's cheaper by $ 5-10, you can buy Radeon RX 560 2 GB . The performance of the latter on average will be slightly lower than that of the younger GTX rival, but we have not seen such prices for a long time on budget solutions with AMD chips.

Those who want to get GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4 GB still need allocate for the purchase of such a video card of the order of $ 230. Patient researchers of the relevant section on hotline.ua will be able to fish out such models for $ 215, but even in such a case this is not the price at which I would like to buy a video card in the basic game system. On the other hand, the local 4 GB gives a certain reserve and the ability of the graphics card to manage its own resources without borrowing such a valuable memory in all respects.

Optimal gaming PC

Processor Intel Core i5-8400 (2,8 / 4.0 GHz, 6 × 256 KB L2, 9 MB L3) $ 210
AMD Ryzen 5 1600 (3.2 / 3.6 GHz, 6 × 512 KB L2, 16 MB L3) $ 210
The motherboard
The Intel Z370 (LGA1151) $ 150
AMD B350 (AM4) $ 90
Memory 16GB (2 × 8GB) DDR4-2666 / 3000 $ 210
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB, GDDR5 $ 450
Hard drive HDD 2 TB, 7200 rpm $ 70
SSD 240 / 256 GB, SATA3 $ 90
Case and BP Middle Tower ATX, 550 W $ 110
Amount for PC on Intel platform $ 1290
Amount for PC on AMD platform $ 1230

While verifying the optimal configurations, we note with some satisfaction the noticeable decrease in the cost Core i5-8400 (2.8 / 4.0 GHz). This 6-core processor is already easy to buy for $ 210, whereas just one month ago this purchase cost $ 245, and in January of this year, for a scarce chip, you asked for $ 270. A suspiciously low base frequency should not confuse anyone. Even during a load on 5/6 cores, the processor runs at 3.8 GHz, with 2/3/4 cores loaded at 3.9 GHz, and in a single-threaded mode, the CPU can be accelerated to 4.0 GHz. Very decent performance. If the higher values ​​beckon, it's already to Core i5-8600K (3.6 / 4.3 GHz) with unlocked multiplier and price tag of $ 280.

As part of the optimal configuration, the motherboard on the Intel Z370 looks more natural than in the entry-level gaming platform. But we are still waiting for the appearance of more affordable models on the Intel B360. The processor Core i5-8400 basically does not assume dispersal, and the opportunity to buy a platform for growth should be an option, and not an imposed condition. We hope that in two weeks we will have the opportunity to choose a more affordable basis for PC based on Intel components.

In March, AMD celebrated the first anniversary of the processors Ryzen . A year ago, the developer proposed chips with the architecture of Zen, which returned intrigue in all segments. A great way to celebrate the anniversary is to offer the second generation of successful processors. Higher clock speeds, 12-nanometer process technology, improved memory controller and auto-dispersal technologies. Cherry on the cake – the canonical light-alloy solder under the lid. And all this is practically at the same price as its predecessors.

The launch of the Pinnacle Ridge lineup is expected in the second half of April. More than a month before the official start of sales, slides with specifications, a future range and expected prices have already flowed into the network. In the context of the gaming platform of the middle class, the maximum interest in future six-core models Ryzen 5 2600 / 2600X .

The new chips will work with the available onboard Socket AM4. However, as in the case of Raven Ridge, a firmware upgrade will be required to support Pinnacle Ridge. On the manufacturer's replicated slides there is also a mention of the AMD B450 chipset, but so far there is no specifics about the timing of the appearance of devices based on it. In any case, there is no need to expand the functionality, only the advanced features of the auto-acceleration system of the CPU are distinguished from the differences.

If the AMD B450 chipset is not presented simultaneously with the Ryzen chips of the second wave, perhaps the motherboard manufacturers will launch additional sales of Pinnacle Ridge For Socket AM4 additional devices on AMD 3xx. In a month we will know all the details.

If you can not afford to wait so long without a new game system, 6-nuclear 12-thread Ryzen 5 1600 is available to all comers for $ 210.

After the January spurt for video cards GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB continues the planned price retracement. Basic versions of this series can already be bought a bit cheaper than $ 450. It's still infinitely far from the November $ 300-330 for the exact same video card, but it already looks more optimistic than the price tags of two months ago ($ 500-550). For $ 350-380, you can acquire a version with 3 GB on board, but for a video card of this class, the amount of local memory is frankly small.

Mid-level graphics cards with AMD chips retain stable minimum demand. Adapters are on sale, but $ 450 for Radeon RX 570 4 GB and $ 500 for Radeon RX 580 4 GB – it's all past the box office.

But what can you please those , who collects for themselves a gaming PC, so it's a drop in prices for solid-state drives. After a long unhurried increase in the value of SSD during the last year and a half, prices finally went in the opposite direction. Starting from February, models with a volume of 240/256 GB on average fell by $ 10-15. The most affordable SSD of this capacity can already be purchased for $ 65-70, and counting on $ 80, you can choose from a whole list of devices. The case is good, we hope the pace will continue.

Progressive gaming PC

Processor Intel Core i7-8700 (3,2 / 4.6 GHz, 6 × 256 KB L2, 12 MB L3) [19659019] $ 330
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X (3,4 / 3,8 GHz, 8 × 512 KB L2, 16 MB L3) $ 325
Intel Z370 (LGA1151) [19659021] $ 175
AMD B350 / X370 (Socket AM4) $ 140
Memory 16 GB (2 × 8 GB) DDR4-3200 $ 220
Video Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8 GB, GDDR5 $ 810
Hard drive SSD 480-512 GB, SATA3 $ 150
HDD 3 TB, 5400-7200 rpm $ 85
Case and BP Middle Tower ATX, 650 W $ 180
Amount for PC on Intel platform $ 1950
Amount for a PC based on AMD $ 1910

Over the past month, distributors have finally managed to supply processors Core i7-8700 (3,2 / 4,6 GHz). The basic 6-core model of the Core i7 series has been in short supply since the announcement of the Coffee Lake chips. After almost half a year, this CPU is freely available and at a very attractive price. At retailers the cost varies significantly, but those who wish can acquire the most affordable 12-chip Intel chip for $ 320-340. This is a very good option for a powerful gaming system that works well with top-end video cards. The cost of the older model with the unlocked multiplier – Core i7-8700K – remains at $ 380. The desire to have the most productive solution and the possibility of additional overclocking are weighty arguments for those who are ready to spend more.

The coming announcement of Pinnacle Ridge processors can not but affect the expectations of those who are planning to assemble a progressive configuration with AMD processors. The new 12-nanometer CPUs are just their story. It is already known that at the start the manufacturer will offer two 8-nuclear models – [Ryazen72700 and Ryzen 7 2700X .

On the eve of the launch of new CPUs it is naturally the manufacturer's desire to help the partners to quickly unload the warehouses with the remnants of Summit Ridge. On this occasion AMD together with large online sites offer additional discounts for Ryzen 1xxx. The initiative is commendable, but such activities are unlikely to be relevant for our retailers. However, there are some progress here. Last month, due to the total deficit, we were excommunicated from the progressive configuration Ryzen 7 1700 replacing it with a higher-frequency model Ryzen 7 1700X . After some time, the stocks of the junior 8-core were filled up, because Ryzen 7 1700 (3,0 / 3,7 GHz) is again freely available with a price tag of $ 300 +. The Ryzen 7 1700X (3,4 / 3,8 GHz) model is also still available and is offered from $ 320. Choice of a specific chip is a matter of taste, but only 1700X is delivered without a regular cooling system, so buying a cooler should be taken care of initially.

Of course, if you are tempted to get the Pinnacle Ridge you'll have to wait a little longer. Recall that architectural changes are expected to be minimum, but the transition to a new process technology promises to improve the frequency potential, and an additional 300-400 MHz is a good addition for any tasks, including for games.

The situation with graphics for a powerful platform is still not pleases. Price leapfrog in the segment of top-end video cards continues. The current video cards remain here GeForce GTX 1070 Ti / GTX 1080 . The difference in the price of similar models is often minimal, so other things being equal, the older version will be slightly more interesting. In any case, the purchase of a video card will have to allocate about $ 800. The top GeForce GTX 1080 Ti cost more than $ 1100. And want, and pricked.

Wanting to spend less to buy a video card, you can consider the options with GeForce GTX 1070 8 GB . However, it will not be possible to seriously save money here. Unfortunately, these models are still good in the production of crypto currency, because the version of adapters is cheaper than $ 700.

The choice GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB with a view to upgrade is radical in essence but practical. to the next generation NVIDIA / AMD graphics cards in the second half of this year. Now the price imbalance for the senior representatives of graphic rulers is obvious. The cost of devices increases at all in proportion to the increase in performance. The GeForce GTX 1070 is about 55% more expensive than the GTX 1060, while it is faster than the latter by an average of 35%. If you compare with the GTX 1070 Ti / 1080, then here for 55-60% increase will have to pay 80% more. Top-notch solutions have never been famous for the best price / performance ratio, but now the skewness is particularly noticeable and painfully hits your pocket.

You can temporarily accept the GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB if you use a Full HD screen, but if the resolution is higher , then the idea of ​​saving is better to be discarded at once – we will have to fork out.

Let's note the revival in the ranks of top-end video cards with AMD chips. Over the past month, the affordable range of Radeon RX Vega 56/64 adapters has expanded somewhat. Alas, alas, but it's still "food for crypto-currency gods", mere mortal lovers play these delicacies are still unavailable. What emotions should the price tags cause in $ 900-950 on the Radeon RX Vega 56 or $ 1000-1100 for Radeon RX Vega 64 ? Anger, feelings of injustice or the wishes of the sudden collapse of the miner's bubble? In total, little by little and in different proportions.

I still want to finish the material on a positive note, but because to get optimistic, it will go from video cards to solid-state drives. How do you get the idea of ​​ SSD volume of 480/500 GB for $ 130-140? Yes, similar ones are already on sale. As with less capacious models, such SSDs are getting cheaper for the second consecutive month. It seems that the manufacturers of flash memory managed to expand production and saturate the market so sought-after in recent times by microchips. We hope that the cost of data storage in terms of 1 GB and beyond will be reduced, allowing to lower the cost of equipping the system with more capacious SSD. Against the backdrop of the price of video cards, even now a 1 TB storage device costing less than $ 300 will not look like something out of the ordinary with a progressive configuration. To install heavy games you need more and more free space and if you decide not to wait for further price cuts – no one will judge you.

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