PC of the month (May 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

There were many interesting events on the desktop market in the past month s, which of course affected our recommended configurations gaming systems. This time, all segments are affected, but let's try everything in order.

Intel finally introduced chipsets for entry-level processors for Coffee Lake processors, and expanded the range of Core 8 chips. The most affordable motherboards based on Intel H310 and Intel B360 are now offered from $ 70-80. A good contrast with $ 130 for the base models on the Intel Z370, which were forced to buy those wishing to join the ranks of system owners at Coffee Lake. And it would be okay to talk about solutions exclusively for overclocking, but after all these boards had to be selected for half a year even by those who were content with Core i3-8100 . It is this processor that we consider the best option for the initial game system based on the Intel platform. A full 4-core CPU. In fact, this is a rebuilt Core i5 of the previous generation, even without Turbo Boost, but with an initially high operating frequency (3.6 GHz). It's no wonder that in practice it turns out to be more productive Core i5-7400 (3,0 / 3,5 GHz).

If the processor for $ 120 does not fit into your budget, as an option it can be considered Pentium Gold G5400 (3.7 GHz). The "gold" version does not differ much in its capabilities from the chips of the previous line, but this is the best budget proposal that can be obtained within the framework of the updated LGA1151 platform. Two cores with Hyper-Threading support will be able to cope with many projects, but in resource-intensive games one can expect unpleasant nuances. The Core i3-8100 offers more options and options for a simple upgrade, but in truth, 4-core chips in demanding multithreaded projects do not always provide the perfect gameplay.

Although Pentium Gold G5400 chips were introduced in early April along with the platform upgrade, actually on sale they appeared later than other spring products. The CPU of the first deliveries was available for $ 65 for some time, but we did not have time to be happy with this fact and tell about such a proposal as the retail price for the base version of the Pentium family of Coffee Lake jumped to $ 75-80, and in some cases even to $ 85. A familiar story? Even more absurd is the situation with the older model – Pentium Gold G5600 (3.9 GHz). With the already inflated starting price of $ 100 in just a couple of weeks, the cost rose to $ 120-125. Yes, yes, now such a chip is more expensive than the Core i3-8100. That's really, not simple processors, but gold.

Returning to motherboards, we note that the basic versions on the Intel H310 are offered from $ 70. In terms of functionality, the new chipset does not differ much from the Intel H110, except for the actual support of the Coffee Lake processors and the built-in Intel Wireless-AC logic. This PCH offers all the same six lines of PCI-E 2.0, supports one memory slot per channel and does not have an integrated controller USB 3.1 Gen2. Most of these cards do not have an M.2 port, and if present, the bandwidth is 1/2 GB / s (x2 / x4 PCI-E 2.0). If such restrictions are not embarrassing, and access to Coffee Lake needs to be obtained with minimal costs, then it will not be possible to choose a suitable model of great labor. There are already about two dozen cards from various vendors on the market.

The cost of Intel B360-based motherboards starts at $ 80. By itself, the chipset is much more functional than the base PCH. There are 12 PCI-E 3.0 lines (and hence fast M.2), and an integrated USB 3.1 Gen2 controller (up to 4 ports), and 4 memory slots, and support for Intel Optane Memory, and six SATA ports. However, this list is the potential capabilities of the chipset, which will not be disclosed in the base cards based on it. Here a lot depends on the specific implementation of board manufacturers. Intel B360 is very versatile so it can be used on devices costing from $ 80 to $ 150-200.

Focusing on the most affordable modifications, pay attention to just two memory slots. If for H310 boards this is a given, then for models on the Intel B360 it is possible to reduce the final cost of the device. The launch versions will also certainly not have additional cooling on the MOSFET and will be equipped with USB 3.1 Gen2 ports, despite the native support of the latter. Models with similar equipment cost from $ 90-100. Well, and further – on increasing. In any case, the market presents about 40 different models on the Intel B360. From such an assortment, one will certainly be able to choose a board that is suitable for the price / equipment ratio.

With the availability of affordable motherboards and processors of the Coffee Lake family, there is no reason to look towards the solutions of the previous generation. To save money if you can, then very small amounts, while the new platform still has better prospects. At least, in due course here it will be possible to switch to 6-core processors Core i5 / i7.

Just in case, we note that along with Pentium Gold processors Celeron G4900 (3.1 GHz) and Celeron G4920 (3.2 GHz). This dual core in the game configurations, even the primary class to do absolutely nothing. But for office PCs – it's quite possible, considering the cost from $ 45.

AMD also very productively "fired" in April, but all the spring novelties belong to the category of middle and high classes. In the context of basic gaming systems, we have two obvious candidates available: the hybrid Ryzen 3 2200G (3,5 / 3,7 GHz) with integrated graphics and Ryzen 3 1200 (3,1 / 3.4 GHz), owned by the Summit Ridge family. We have already seen these chips in full-time confrontation. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, which are well known.

Recently, the Ryzen 3 2200G has noticeably dropped in price, dropping in retail from the starting $ 130 to $ 110. Very good, given the recommended price of $ 99. This adds to the attractiveness of the APU and will not be superfluous in the light of the increased competition with the Core i3-8100. Earlier Intel platform was much more expensive due to expensive motherboards on Intel Z370, but with the appearance of available models, price parity is no longer a problem.

As for Ryzen 3 1200, this model officially fell in price from $ 109 to $ 89, and that it is pleasant – its cost has decreased to the recommended value in Ukrainian retail. 4 cores, solder under the lid, 8 MB of L3 cache memory … And everything is available at the declared price. I must admit, this is a very tempting offer. Perhaps even so that users who are convinced of the uselessness of integrated graphics, you can recommend this model. At equal frequencies in games, it will not give way to Ryzen 3 2200G, but even for amateur overclocking experiments, a motherboard on the AMD B350 chipset will be needed.

Of course, it would be nice to get a Pinnacle Ridge chip, but the 12-nanometer Ryzen 3 2xxx timeout without a built-in graphics are not yet defined. Some references to such chips have already been shown on the network (Ryzen 3 2100 and Ryzen 3 2400X), but so far there is no specifics about the characteristics of these CPUs.

As we expected, after the release of Raven Ridge chips from the official price list AMD disappeared hybrid chip A12-9800 and the model A10-9700 is discounted to $ 79. It can be bought even for $ 75, but with Ryzen 3 2200G this model is unlikely to cause interest, even taking into account the difference in price. 28-nanometer Bristol Ridge chips with the age-old architecture of Excavator are now ready for the role of basic solutions for office systems and the most inexpensive desktop PCs.

Discrete graphics remains the most problematic position of the basic gaming platforms. As a starting point, we propose to consider the variant with GeForce GTX 1050 2 GB but objectively in this class of systems, and even equipped with 4-core processors, I would like to use something more productive. However, increasing the graphics capacity requires a noticeable increase in the budget. The next step – GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4 GB – is not easy. If the GTX 1050 can be bought for $ 150-160, then the "titanium" version with 4 GB of memory on board will cost $ 210-230, that is about 40% more expensive. In home-making times, the difference in the cost of these video cards was much smaller. If we talk about performance, then in spite of the similarity of architectures, the difference essentially depends on the specific game engines and the required amount of video memory. Often this is about + 10-20%, in exceptional cases, the difference can be up to 30-40% and it is in such situations it will already be noticeable "by eye."

Additional $ 60-70 is a serious amount for the budget of the basic gaming system, although in this case it is the most affordable way to increase gaming performance. On the other hand, $ 220 still looks like an excessive payment for the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti device, especially against the background of the now noticeably cheaper GeForce GTX 1060 3 GB . Such a graphics card can at least a half times improve the performance of the GTX 1050 Ti, while the most affordable modifications are offered from $ 270. That is, the price / performance ratio of these adapters is much better than that of the GTX 1050 Ti. An uneasy dilemma, which everyone will have to solve on his own, based on personal abilities and beliefs.

The basic gaming platform we still equip with [8459007] 8 GB of RAM. With a creak, but often this amount is sufficient, if before running games to close the browser and additional applications. Note that the system on the Intel platform has enough memory DDR4-2400 . Using a bundle of Intel H310 / B360 + Core i3-8100, faster sets are simply not needed, as they will in any case be limited to the specified mode. It's possible to charge the maximum speed kits on the boards with the Intel Z370, and now – alas. Well, for base systems this is not a priority.

Two-channel memory mode is definitely preferable, but considering only two module slots for inexpensive motherboards, this moment should be taken into account in terms of a subsequent upgrade. If you buy 8 GB and do not plan to increase the volume in the not too distant future, then you can take two modules boldly. If 8 GB is the starting volume that you want to increase after a couple of months, then this time can be sat with one bar. There will be losses, but simple modernization justifies them. You'll just need to add another module of the same size.

The cost of SSDs has dropped significantly over the last couple of months. This applies to devices of different formats and volumes. The most affordable SSD capacity 120/128 GB can already be purchased for $ 35-40. When buying a new system, it is strongly recommended to try, the sensations from working with the system are fundamentally different. Yes, this amount is not enough to install games, but the responsiveness of the platform is fundamentally different from that of the HDD. Hard drives are good for large amounts of data storage, and with everything else, flash memory drives do a much better job.

Optimal gaming PC

Processor Intel Core i5-8400 (2.8 / 4.0 GHz, 6 × 256 KB L2, 9 MB L3) $ 205
AMD Ryzen 5 1600 (3,2 / 3,6 GHz, 6 × 512 KB L2, 16 MB L3) $ 180
Intel B360 (LGA1151) $ 100
AMD B350 (AM4) $ 90
Memory 16GB (2 × 8GB) DDR4-2666 / 3000 $ 195
Video card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB, GDDR5 $ 370
Hard drive HDD 2 TB, 7200 rpm $ 70
SSD 240/256 GB , SATA3 $ 75
Case and power supply unit Middle Tower ATX, 550 W [19659029] $ 110
Amount for a PC on an Intel platform $ 1125
Amount for a PC on an AMD platform $ 1090

In an optimal gaming configuration, a 6-core processor Core i5-8400 (2.8 / 4.0 GHz) in its place and it seems that in this position it was fixed for a long time. During the recent announcement Intel introduced a new model – Core i5-8500 (3,0 / 4,1 GHz), which already appeared in retail and at the start it costs more than the base chip for $ 30. The frequency difference is minimal, and therefore there is no special reason to overpay. Unless you need support for corporate Intel vPro, Intel TSX-NI instructions and Intel Trusted Execution Technology, but in this case it's certainly not about the gaming system. Oh, yes, even the integrated UHD 630 graphics is accelerated to 1100 MHz instead of 1050 MHz from the Core i5-8400. Otherwise, there are no differences.

For the optimal gaming platform, we also waited for the appearance of more affordable motherboards. Since the processor used does not imply overclocking, it's logical to limit the board to [Intel's Intel B360 instead of buying the model on the Intel Z370. Formally, the most budgetary devices can also be used here, but devices with four slots for memory modules, VRM cooling, support for USB 3.1 Gen2 and M.2 ports for high-speed drives are more appropriate for the spirit of the platform. Such boards are offered from $ 90-100.

Following AMD's plans, in April, AMD introduced updated Ryzen processors with Zen + architecture. Chips Pinnacle Ridge are remarkable only because they are the first desktop CPUs, which use a 12-nanometer process technology. In this case, there are no deep changes at the architectural level. The manufacturer claims some improvement in the cache memory of all levels and RAM. New technological standards allowed to increase the frequency potential of Ryzen, although the gain was, perhaps, less than expected – 200-300 MHz. As the first statistics show, stable operation of new chips at 4200 MHz is already a success with the use of an air cooling system. In connection with the transition to a new technology, I wanted to count on 4500 MHz, but alas, not this time. Obviously, such heights will be attacked already by 7-nanometer chips with Zen 2 architecture, which the developer promises to present in 2019.

The main increase in performance of Pinnacle Ridge is achieved due to a general increase in operating frequencies, as well as a more intelligent algorithm for automatic acceleration of Precision Boost 2 and XFR2 . We can say that we are talking about factory overclocking. The manufacturer uses almost all the frequency potential of the CPU, leaving almost no fans of independent overclocking, especially when it comes to older models of Pinnacle Ridge.

Of the additional options for new chips, official support for DDR4-2933 (DDR4-2666 for predecessors), although With such modes, Summit Ridge works without too much trouble. Nevertheless, this is more the result of UEFI / AGESA optimizations, rather than changes at the architectural level.

For the optimal gaming configuration based on AMD, we still recommend the 6-core 12-thread Ryzen 5, and here we have the two most suitable candidates . This category fits in well with Ryzen 5 2600 (3,4 / 3,9 GHz), but we do not really like the starting price tags of these chips. Instead of the recommended $ 199 processors are offered for $ 230. This difference in principle is forgivable, especially at the start of sales. If not for one "but". Officially cheaper Ryzen 5 1600 (3,2 / 3,6 GHz) can now be bought for only $ 180. This is an unbreakable argument, which can justify the choice of the chip "previous generation". At least this time we will do just that. Nothing personal, just an opportunity to save $ 50. To tighten the frequencies is not a problem, because in games the tested model will look no worse than the beginner.

The processor Ryzen 5 2600X (3,6 / 4,2 GHz) can be potentially interesting, especially for cases , when reluctant to deal with overclocking. In addition to increased operating frequencies, it is also offered with a more efficient standard cooler – Wraith Spire instead of Wraith Stealth in Ryzen 5 2600. However, the price of the X-model is higher – at the start of the order of $ 260 with the recommended $ 230. Separately note that in the case of Pinnacle Ridge, all processors with the "X" index in the model name are supplied complete with standard cooling systems, while for the turboed versions of Summit Ridge the cooler needs to be purchased additionally.

As for motherboards, Summit Ridge, and for Pinnacle Ridge in this category is quite suitable models based on AMD B350. Counting on overclocking, it is better to focus on devices with reinforced VRM and cooling of power elements. Also, recall that Ryzen 2xxx will probably need to update the BIOS for work.

One of the pleasant news of recent times is a noticeable drop in prices for video cards. Relevant in the optimal configuration GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB can already be purchased for $ 370. Just over a month ago, these models cost almost $ 100 more. Trying to save money, pay attention to the fact that among the most affordable options in this line are exclusively minor modifications of adapters without video outputs. If you need a video card for games, not for this one, it's nice to be able to connect a monitor to it.

It's very nice to note the return to the game family of adapters with AMD chips. При цене Radeon RX 580 4 ГБ порядка $380–400 пока пусть и с натяжной, но уже можно говорить о полноценном возобновлении конкуренции. Особенно с учетом того, что доступные в продаже модели данного класса на GPU от AMD – тюнингованные устройства с улучшенными системами охлаждения.

При желании сэкономить, есть варианты с Radeon RX 570 4 ГБ за $350, причем на рынке уже появилось немало интересных моделей за эти деньги. Правда придется тщательнее изучать предложения компаний, некоторые онлайн-площадки очень неохотно обновляют ценники на эти видеокарты. Нужно отметить, что версии Radeon RX 580 и Radeon RX 570 с 8 ГБ памяти на борту стоят зачастую на $20 дороже модификаций с вдвое меньшим объемом.

Учитывая практически паритет цен на устройства с чипами AMD и NVIDIA одного класса теперь вновь возвращается хоть какая-то интрига. Снова появляется интерес оценивать и сравнивать возможности видеокарт среднего уровня.

Для оптимальных игровых систем мы рекомендуем использовать 16 ГБ оперативной памяти. Используя для платформы Intel материнскую плату на базе Intel B360 с процессором Core i5, максимально доступным режимом работы памяти будет DDR4-2666. Соответственно, более скоростные модули для такой связки без надобности. В то же время платформе на AMD очень не помешает двухканальный комплект DDR4-3200.

Прогрессивный игровой ПК

Процессор Intel Core i7-8700K (3,7/4,7 ГГц, 6×256 КБ L2, 12 МБ L3) $360
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X (3,4/3,8 ГГц, 8×512 КБ L2, 16 МБ L3) $280
Материнская плата
Intel Z370 (LGA1151) $170
AMD B350/X370/X470 (Socket AM4) $140
Память 16 ГБ (2×8 ГБ) DDR4-3200 $200
Видеокарта NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8 ГБ, GDDR5 $750
Накопитель SSD 480-512 ГБ, SATA3 $140
HDD 3 ТБ, 5400-7200 об/мин $85
Корпус и БП Middle Tower ATX, 650 Вт $180
Cумма для ПК на пл тформе Intel $1885
Сумма для ПК на базе AMD $1775

Под влиянием дополнительного снижения цены, мы решили вернуть в прогрессивную конфигурацию топовый 6-ядерный Core i7-8700K (3,7/4,7 ГГц). Данный чип сейчас можно купить за $360–370. Повышенные частоты, разблокированный множитель и возможность экспериментировать с разгоном все же чего-то да стоят. Владельцу системы такого класса вряд ли захочется себя здесь ограничивать. Однако если идея с разгоном вам в принципе не близка, со своими задачами очень хорошо справится и Core i7-8700 (3,2/4,6 ГГц) за $315–320.

Судя по различных информ-утечкам, Intel все же готовит в рамках десктопного семейства Coffee Lake 8-ядерные процессоры. Нельзя сказать, что позиции нынешнего флагмана линейки не убедительны, но очевидно производителя задевает преимущество топовых продуктов конкурента в многопоточных задачах. В подобных случаях на выручку может прийти 8-ядерный Core i7-7820Xно при цене процессора в $650 и как минимум $250 за материнскую плату, такой набор не отнесешь к массовым решениям. Потому вполне возможно, что 8-ядерные чипы появятся в рамках LGA1151. По крайней мере, это был бы эффектный ход производителя и отличная возможность поддержать анонс Intel Z390, который, судя по всему, запланирован на осень.

Раз уж мы затронули тему платформы LGA2066, отметим, что Intel снимает с производства процессоры семейства Kaby Lake-X – Core i5-7640X (4/4, 4,0/4,2 ГГц) и Core i7-7740X (4/8, 4,3/4,5 ГГц). Изначально они задумывались в качестве переходного варианта, снижающего входной порог для платформы LGA2066. Однако с выходом Coffee Lake эти процессоры перебрали на себя интерес потенциальных покупателей чипов такого уровня. На финише своего жизненного цикла процессоры Kaby Lake-X попали практически на распродажу. Core i5-7640X можно купить всего за $160 при рекомендованных $242, а остатки Core i7-7740X в рознице можно найти за $280 вместо стартовых $340. Впрочем, даже с такой уценкой 4-ядерные процессоры для LGA2066 не выглядят привлекательным предложением для игровой системы.

С топовыми чипами AMD ситуация схожа с той, что мы наблюдали при выборе CPU для оптимальной конфигурации. Процессоры Summit Ridge значительно снизились в цене, и предлагаются в розничной продаже по рекомендуемой стоимости, а то и ниже. В то же время новые Pinnacle Ridge стоят пока заметно дороже. Например, если Ryzen 7 1700X (3,4/3,8 ГГц) можно купить за эквивалент $280 при рекомендуемых $289, то вот Ryzen 7 2700 (3,2/4,1 ГГц) уже обойдется в $350–370, вместо заявленных $299. Разница в стоимости существенна и на наш взгляд, отличие производительности не оправдывает такие затраты. Но если стартовый жор локальных торговцев вас не смущает, а желание обладать новинкой перевешивает сожаление о переплате, то никаких других аргументов «против» у нас нет. Pinnacle Ridge естественным образом заменят предшественников, это лишь дело времени.

Линейку десктопных чипов для Socket AM4 возглавляет модель Ryzen 7 2700X (3,7/4,3 ГГц). Производитель основательно повысил ее рабочие частоты, практически выжав все из нового кристалла. Несмотря на 12-нанометровый техпроцесс, чтобы получить такие параметры, разработчикам пришлось увеличить заявленный теплопакет до 105 Вт. При этом в комплекте с топовым CPU предлагается новый воздушный кулер Wraith Prism c хорошей, как для штатного охладителя, эффективностью и RGB-подсветкой. Ryzen 7 2700X оценен AMD в $329, но на старте продаж купить такой чип можно за $390–400.

Вместе с чипами Pinnacle Ridge для платформы Socket AM4 также был представлен новый чипсет AMD X470. В плане базовой функциональности он не отличается от AMD X370, однако производитель заявляет об улучшенной экономичности в режиме покоя, а также поддержке технологии StoreMI, позволяющей создавать гибридные связки накопителей из HDD, SSD и оперативной памяти. Для производителей плат это также возможность обновить модели, улучшив компоновку силовых блоков. А вот для потенциальных владельцев таких устройств основным их преимуществом будет гарантированная поддержка Pinnacle Ridge без перепрошивки BIOS.

Снижение стоимости видеокарт также коснулось и топовых моделей. GeForce GTX 1080 уже можно купить, располагая суммой в $700. Чтобы выбирать из нескольких вариантов, скорее нужно ориентироваться на $750. Если вы рассчитываете потратить на покупку видеокарты $600–650, то неплохим решением может стать GeForce GTX 1070 Ti. А вот адаптеры линейки GeForce GTX 1070 сейчас выглядят менее привлекательно. Самые доступные модели предлагаются от $560–580, тогда как форсированные устройства можно увидеть в продаже по цене более производительных GTX 1070 Ti.

Цена флагманских GeForce GTX 1080 Ti в целом очень неохотно опускается ниже отметки в $1000, хотя с рядом самых доступных модификаций розничные продавцы готовы расставаться в обмен на ваши $900.

В обойму потенциально интересных устройств для прогрессивной игровой системы возвращаются топовые видеокарты с чипами AMD. Казалось бы, с началом майнерской истории эти адаптеры потеряны для игровых конфигураций, но вот нет. Radeon RX Vega 56 появились в продаже по цене от $720, а старшая модель – Radeon RX Vega 64 – предлагается от $850. Это все еще дороговато, чтобы полноправно постучать в дверку системного блока любителя поиграть и рассчитывать на радушный прием, но если так дело и дальше пойдет, то все возможно.

В завершении хотим поделиться информацией о том, что NVIDIA решила отменить свою программу GeForce Partner Program (GPP), согласно которой партнеры должны были использовать свои популярные игровые бренды исключительно для видеокарт на GPU калифорнийцев. Компания оправдывала свою инициативу благими намерениями помочь пользователям сделать правильный выбор. Подобная дискриминация вызвала немалую шумиху и несмотря на то, что некоторые партнеры уже успели анонсировать новые бренды для видеокарт Radeon, NVIDIA под натиском общественности и других игроков ПК-рынка пошла на попятную, отказавшись от GPP. Аргумент – свернуть программу проще, чем бороться с «дезинформацией». Ну, может быть в этом случае NVIDIA направит больше сил на подготовку давно ожидаемых новых продуктов, а с тем, какие устройства использовать в своих игровых системах, мы как-нибудь уж сами разберемся.

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