PC of the month (December 2017) – 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

We could not let go of the outgoing year without the next "PC of the month". On the eve of the coming holidays it is useful sometimes to place accents and quickly assess what is happening in the gaming hardware segment.

Changes in the basic game system depend on your willingness to spend more on buying key components. It is primarily about choosing the basis for a PC based on Intel. Here we still have two options. You can either use the bundle Pentium G4600 ($ 85) with the motherboard based on Intel H110 / B250 for $ 60-70. Or look aside 4-nuclear Core i3-8100 for $ 120 and the most affordable motherboard on Intel [Z370] for $ 120-130. Frankly, both of us do not really like. The first, of course, is interesting at a price, which is very important for a system of this class. However, in this case, initially, when we purchase a new system, we drive ourselves into the framework of the previous generation platform. It is especially unpleasant that there are no functional limitations in this case, it's only about the inability to use the chips of the Coffee Lake family on motherboards with Intel x1xxx / x2xxx chipsets.

Periodically there are reports that enthusiasts managed to launch Coffee Lake on motherboards with chipsets the previous generation, but in all cases it does not do without nuances in the form of an idle PCI Express x16 slot, problems with integrated graphics or a memory controller. Talk about the mass nature of such experiments that require modification of the BIOS, so far it is not necessary.

Ideal would be the possibility of working with the Core i3 family of Coffee Lake on motherboards of the previous generation. If for the 6-core Core i5 / i7 chips there are possible nuances with the demand for increased power, the 4-core models do not fundamentally differ from the predecessors with the same number of computing units (Core i5-7xxx), which work without problems on the most affordable boards c Intel H110. Alas, ah.

The version with a bunch of "Core i3-8100 + Intel Z370" is quite viable if you are willing to spend more on purchasing a motherboard than I would like for such a combination. Of course, the opportunity to get an inexpensive 4-core processor is very attractive, as it slightly warms the soul and the prospect of a possible upgrade to a 6-core chip as needed / possible. But in this case it is necessary to fork out for a cheap motherboard. The entry-level chipsets and available models based on them for Coffee Lake will be available only in a few months. It is unlikely that this will happen before March-April next year. Whether to postpone the assembly of a new system for this reason or buy a board on the Intel Z370 now – it's up to you. Judging by the fact that Core i3-8100 is included in TOP5 most popular processors on hotline.ua, patience is not enough for everyone.

With the base platform on AMD the ultimate clarity. Ryzen 3 1200 complete with a simple motherboard for AMD B350 here look appropriate, predictable and completely organic. Falling to the level of Athlon X4 950 is only in some exceptional cases. Although this option looks very attractive for the gaming system, the performance of the processor plays an increasingly important role for the gaming system, and the capabilities of AMD's starting chip for Socket AM4 will not suffice even now, not to mention the distant future.

C graphics for the basic gaming platform again everything is complicated. Recommended earlier for this category GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4 GB skyrocketed. For the last month the price of such models has increased from considerable, but tolerable $ 170-175 to $ 210-230. For this reason, we temporarily rolled back half a step back, offering as the base adapter GeForce GTX 1050 2 GB . For $ 140-150, you can choose the right option. The difference in performance of the GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1050 is not linear. Often this is 10-15%, although in some exceptions, when the game very much needs more than 2 GB of local memory of the video card, the gain can be up to 30%. At the same time, the current difference in the price of "titanium" and normal versions is now about 40-50%.

To admit, we no longer planned to return to video cards with 2 GB of memory. Of course, this is not horror-horror and if you use graphics quality settings for which no more than this amount is used, then the GTX 1050 provides in Full HD mode a decent, as for its class, the number of frames / c. That is, you will not have to suffer exactly, except for a very small amount of projects very eager for video memory, like Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.

GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4 GB was more organic in the basic game system, but a sharp increase prices for sure will not be ready to take not all. Especially taking into account the fact that more recently for $ 240-250 you could already get GeForce GTX 1060 3 GB . But even these models have now moved noticeably in price, the options are cheaper than $ 300.

If we are touching the GeForce GTX 1050 2 GB, then it's logical to look at the competitive solutions from AMD – Radeon RX 560 . However, price tags in $ 160 for versions with 2 GB of memory and $ 170-180 for 4 GB modifications completely repel such a desire. A month ago, these adapters cost $ 40 cheaper.

AMD updated the specifications for Radeon RX 560 without additional publicity, noting that now the graphics processor of this model can include not only 1024 calculators and 64 texture modules, but also have a more modest functional formula 896/56. It seemed that we have already left such combination since the Radeon RX 460, but it seems that chips that work with certain limitations should also be used and this is not a reason for a new designation. From the developer's point of view, of course. Potential owners of such devices have on this account a completely different opinion. Trying to "forgery" was seen, and the hype around the light version of the Radeon RX 560 went up quite quickly. Justifying themselves, AMD promised to contribute to the clear marking of the end devices, by which it will be possible to easily determine with which version of the GPU the specific model of the Radeon RX 560 is proposed. Well, at least so.

The cost of RAM increases slowly, with unpleasant persistence. Particularly painful are such encroachments on the basic game system, when the budget is tightly limited. The purchase of 8 GB of DDR4 will cost about $ 100. Recall that if for the Intel platform you use a Pentium with an available motherboard, then the mode will be DDR4-2400. The board on the Intel Z370 actually removes the limitations for high-speed kits that work with Coffee Lake, and for Ryzen 3 1200 it's better to initially focus on DDR4-2666, and ideally – on DDR4-3200. But in the latter case it is worthwhile choosing the kit, preferably from the list tested on a specific board model.

Optimal gaming PC

Processor Intel Core i5-8400 (2.8 / 4.0 GHz, 6 × 256 L2, 9 MB L3) $ 260
AMD Ryzen 5 1600 (3,2 / 3,6 GHz, 6 × 512 KB L2, 16 MB L3) $ 225
Motherboard
Intel Z370 (LGA1151) $ 150
AMD B350 (AM4) $ 90
Memory 16 GB (2 × 8 GB) DDR4-2666 / 3000 $ 200
Video card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB, GDDR5 $ 400
Hard drive HDD 2 TB, 7200 rpm $ 70
SSD 240/256 GB, SATA3 [19659022] $ 90
Hull and BP Middle Tower ATX, 550 W [19659022] $ 110
Amount for PC on Intel platform $ 1280
Amount for PC on AMD platform $ 1185

Very worthy of optimal configuration 6-core processors Core i5-8400 finally seep into the sale. Such delays in entering the market deserve every kind of censure, but the processors are good. The retail versions of the Core i5-8400 are still hard to find. At the same time, Tray-variants appeared on sale, and at very attractive prices. Often we recommend buying "boxed" versions of chips that are offered in a smart package and have a 3-year manufacturer warranty. However, here we will make an exception, the difference in price is very significant. The ability to buy an OEM version of the Core i5-8400 with a one-year warranty for $ 220 instead of $ 270 for a retail version is very appropriate. Of course, you will need to acquire a cooling system too, but any relatively cool cooler for LGA1151 for $ 20 will be just that, which will be more effective and quieter with the BOX-version of the CPU.

Ryzen 5 1600 feels comfortable in the composition of the optimal game configuration. However, after lowering the price of 6-core Core i5 models, developers can begin to worry. Whether it will be with the availability of affordable motherboards for Coffee Lake. However, AMD does not sit idly by. The company in the first half of next year should present an updated platform Socket AM4 with AMD 4xx chipsets and Ryzen processors with increased clock speeds. With a high probability in the production of new CPUs, GlobalFoundries will use an improved 12-nanometer process technology, which should allow not only to increase frequencies, but also to reduce the power consumption of chips. In terms of architectural improvements much from Pinnacle Ridge is not expected. We hope that the manufacturer, along with increasing frequencies, will be able to improve compatibility with high-speed memory kits.

For sure compatibility with current boards for Socket AM4 will be preserved, however motherboards with new chipsets will have more functionality. Of the obvious options that require improvements, support for PCI Express 3.0 bus chipset lines.

A month ago it seemed that the hysteria around the game graphics cards was on the wane. The cost of adapters slowly, but surely drifted toward the homeowner lines. But no. The notorious "cue ball" flew to 20K, after it other crypto-currencies were pulled up and everything returned to normal. Recommended for the optimal gaming configuration GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB significantly increased in price. On average, such models are offered from $ 400. Radeon RX 580 4 GB will buy about the same amount and versions with 8 GB of memory cost another $ 50 more. In the case of the optimal configuration, there is nowhere to retreat, so we take the same GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB for the basis. For Full HD graphics card will provide a decent number of frames / c in modes with high quality graphics.

In order to satisfy the demands of an infinite number of gaming cafes in China, NVIDIA is ready to offer a light version of the GeForce GTX 1060 with 5 GB onboard memory to be connected to the GPU by bus with a bit depth of 160 bits, and not 192 bits, as in versions of 3/6 GB. Such a modification will obviously be available only in the bottomless Asian market and is unlikely to get into retail in our latitudes. However, those who wish can certainly get lightweight GTX 1060 on Chinese online platforms.

Progressive gaming PC

Processor Intel Core i7-8700K (3.7 / 4.7 GHz, 6 × 256 KB L2, 12 MB L3) $ 435
AMD Ryzen 7 1700 (3.0 / 3.7 GHz, 8 × 512 KB L2, 16 MB L3) $ 315
Motherboard
1965909] DDR4-3200
16 GB (2 × 8 GB) The DDR4-3200 The DDR4-3200 The DDR4-3200 The DDR4-3200 The Intel Z370 (LGA1151) $ 175
The AMD B350 / X370 (Socket AM4) $ 140 [$220
Video card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8 GB, GDDR5 $ 640
Hard drive SSD 480-512 GB, SATA3 $ 160
HDD 3 TB, 5400-7200 about per minute $ 85
Case and BP Middle Tower ATX, 650 W $ 180
Amount for K on Intel platform $ 1895
Amount for PC based on AMD $ 1740

Due to the continuing shortage on Core i7-8700 (3,2 / 4, 6 GHz) and frank speculation on those pieces of processors that fall into retail, we decided to equip a progressive configuration with a top chip Core i7-8700K (3.7 / 4.7 GHz). The model with the unlocked multiplier is available for free sale, and a slightly higher price tag justifies the increased operating frequencies and the ability to experiment independently with overclocking. Recall that the version of the processors with the index "K" are supplied without a regular cooling system, so you need to put in the budget funds to buy a cooler.

In the progressive configuration on AMD, the processor position remains for Ryzen 7 1700 (3.0 / 3.7 GHz). The 8-core chip with SMT support allows to fully utilize the potential of processors with the Zen architecture. In the basic version, the operating clock frequencies of the model are rather modest, but the unlocked multiplier allows you to tighten these values ​​at your discretion. At the same time, you can even try to accelerate a little with a complete cooler, which is not bad for the regular version.

With the appearance of information about the upcoming release of Pinnacle Ridge, for sure someone had a desire to wait for the second iteration Ryzen. Yes, there really is something to think about, especially if you are targeting the top line of non-expensive processors. For sure, it's with Ryzen 7 that the update of the AMD chipset for Socket AM4 will begin.

At the end of the year, video cards of the families simply disappeared from sale [RadeonRXVega56 and Radeon RX Vega 64 . It's easy to guess who even the relatively high price of these models in Ukrainian retail did not scare them away. In general, we can say that for gaming systems AMD's top graphics are again unavailable. You will have to choose from NVIDIA solutions, but in this case you need to be prepared for noticeably increased prices. GeForce GTX 1080 will at best be found for the equivalent of $ 700-750, and even then you will have to dig a good deal in the corresponding section.

GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8 GB you can try to fish for $ 650. In the current situation, this is quite a working option for a progressive configuration, given that in terms of performance, such models are on average less than 5-10% less than the GTX 1080, and this lag can be compensated for by additional overclocking.

Video Cards GeForce GTX 1070 are gradually leaving the counters. It is naive to rely on generous final sales of devices of this line. You can try to find an option for $ ~ 600, but if there are more high-speed GTX 1070 Ti, the surcharge for the "titanium" version looks justified.

Top models in high-end gaming PCs GeForce GTX 1080 Ti also rose in price. The simplest options are already around $ 1000, and the original versions with improved CO and factory overclock are offered for $ 1100-1200. Yes, yes, in the comments you can specify how many gaming consoles you can buy for this money [сарказм]. We also do not like such price records, but these are the consequences of not letting off the mining fever.

2017 was very interesting in terms of desktop iron. AMD introduced the long-awaited Ryzen processors and the unexpected Ryzen Threadripper, restoring healthy competition in all segments. Intel also offered Coffee Lake, having increased the number of computational units in the chips of the key rulers and launched the LGA2066 platform with a wide range of powerful CPUs.

AMD was trying to back up successful AMD's successes on the graphical front. The appearance of the Radeon RX Vega 56/64 became a riotous event, but the technical difficulties with the manufacture of the GPU, on the substrate of which the multi-layer memory HBM2 is located, also fully recovered to the top class of game graphics cards.

The coming year promises to be not less saturated and intriguing in the part of novelties for desktop systems. From Intel, we expect the expansion of the Coffee Lake range and the emergence of affordable motherboards for the chips of the Core 8th generation, as well as the mysterious Cascade Lake-X by the curtain of 2018. AMD will be pleased with the updated Ryzen family Pinnacle Ridge, as well as hybrids Raven Ridge with the architecture of Zen and graphics Vega. Threadreader will probably also be updated, and developers can support the proposed rate of increase in the number of computing cores, if desired. We are waiting for pleasant news in the segment of discrete graphics. NVIDIA will offer domesticated versions of video cards with the Volta / Ampere architecture, and AMD will certainly work on improving the top Vega and will update the adapters of the initial / middle levels. In general, it will be interesting. Keep your hand on the pulse and try to help you in the coming year not to miss anything important and worthy of attention.

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