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— Intel are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their x86 architecture and 8086 processor with the launch of their high-end i7-8086K. Just 50,000 units of this hex core, twelve threaded Coffee Lake processor have been made available globally. Exactly like the i7-8700K, the 8086K features 12MB of smart (L3) cache, 2 channels of DDR4 RAM and has a TDP of 95W. Essentially, the 8086K is Intel’s current Coffee Lake flagship, the i7-8700K, with a single-core turbo frequency factory overclocked by 300 MHz. Thermals permitting, out of the box, the i7-8086K achieves a single core boost speed of 5.0 GHz – which is a new record for Intel. That said, you would be unlucky if you were unable to achieve a 5.0 GHz single core OC with an 8700K. For everything other than single core, the turbo clock speeds on the 8086K exactly match the 8700K which puts the 8086K firmly into gimmick territory. Directly comparing the 8086K and 8700K shows that for a $100 (24%) price premium you get around a 5% performance improvement which drops to around 2% when both chips are overclocked. If the price gap between the 8086K and the 8700K were to fall to less than 20 USD it may be worth considering the 8086K.

1 month ago.

— The budget Ryzen 5 2400G is a four core, eight thread APU (accelerated processing unit: combined CPU and GPU) from AMD’s Raven Ridge product line. It has a base clock of 3.6 GHz which boosts to 3.9 GHz. Its RX Vega 11 graphics scores an average bench of 20% which is at the forefront of performance from integrated graphics and is 34% faster than the RX Vega 8 graphics found in the Ryzen 3 2200G (the 2400G’s ultra budget sister APU). The 2400G currently retails at $162 and includes a Wraith Stealth cooler. This puts it in direct competition with Intel’s quad core Coffee Lake i3-8350K at $167, which does have a 26% faster effective speed. However, the 2400G’s integrated graphics are far stronger (137%) than the 8350K’s, making the 2400G a great choice for those looking for an economical multimedia PC or a super budget gaming PC.

3 months ago.

— AMD’s Ryzen 3 2200G is a budget APU (accelerated processing unit: combined CPU and GPU) from its Raven Ridge product line. It has 4 Zen CPU cores which run at a base clock of 3.5 GHz up to a max boost clock of 3.7 GHz. It also has Radeon Vega 8 Graphics. The $105 price tag also includes a Wraith Stealth cooler. Intel’s 15% more expensive quad core i3-8100 CPU beats the 2200G in terms of single core workloads by 13%, but the effective speed of Intel’s integrated UHD 630 Graphics falls around 77% short of AMD’s RX Vega 8. The 2200G offers unsurpassed value for money for an all in one budget multimedia or ultra budget gaming PC.

3 months ago.

— The Ryzen 7 2700 is an 8 core, 16 thread high-end desktop processor featuring AMD’s second generation 12nm Zen+ architecture and Precision Boost 2 technology. It is the second strongest of four new Ryzen CPUs due for imminent release. The second generation Ryzen processors, codenamed Pinnacle Ridge, are both compatible with the new 400 series and 300 series of motherboards. Official specs for the 2700 are yet to be seen, but early benchmarks appear to indicate base and boost clock speeds of 3.2 and 4.1 GHz respectively. This translates to a modest improvement upon the previous generation 1700 which continues to offer fantastic value for money in terms of multi-core performance. The expected retail price of $299 includes a Wraith cooler and costs the same as Intel’s 6 core 12 thread i7-8700. As expected, the 8700 beats the 2700 on single and quad core intensive tasks, but lags behind for higher core workloads.

3 months ago.

— The 8 core, 16 thread 2700X is AMD’s second generation Ryzen 7 flagship following in the wake of the Ryzen 7 1800X which continues to offer excellent multi-core value for money. This new Pinnacle Ridge processor features the Zen+ architecture with 12nm lithography compared to 14nm previously. Whilst there is no increase in the number of cores, the stock base / boost clocks appear to have received a bump up to 3.7 / 4.3 GHz from 3.6 / 4.0 GHz. The 2700X is compatible with both the new 400 series and 300 series of motherboards. Early benchmarks indicate that the 2700X has a slightly greater effective speed than the 1800X, although further benchmarks are necessary to quantify this. The expected launch price of $329 includes a Wraith Prism cooler and is in the same price bracket as the 1800X and Intel’s Coffee Lake i7-8700K. Whilst the 6 core, 12 thread 8700K beats the 2700X in single and quad core performance by about 10%, the 2700X wins on multi-core workloads. PC gaming and desktop performance is generally governed by four or less cores but the 2700X offers unbeatable value for money for workstation users.

3 months ago.

— The 6 core, 12 thread Ryzen 5 2600X is one of four new AMD second generation of high-end desktop Ryzen processors (codenamed Pinnacle Ridge) renowned for excellent value multi-core performance. The 2600X is set to replace the also 6 core, 12 thread 1600X as AMD’s new mid-range Ryzen 5 flagship. The latest generation of CPUs features a matured Zen+ chip architecture with 12nm lithography, increased clock speeds and Precision Boost 2 technology designed to leverage more CPU power than per the first generation. The 2600X appears to have stock base / boost clock speeds of 3.6 / 4.2 GHz. This is only marginally faster than the 1600X’s 3.6 / 4.0 GHz. Modest effective speed improvements are expected, although further benchmarks are necessary to draw firm conclusions. The 2600X ships with a Wraith Spire cooler and is priced reasonably at an expected $250. However, for most use cases, the new lower clocked Ryzen 5 2600 at $200 represents better value for money. Pinnacle Ridge processors are designed to work with the new 400 series motherboards, which allow for greater overclocking head room, and they are also backwards compatible with the 300 series motherboard following a bios update.

3 months ago.

— The Ryzen 5 2600, from AMD’s second generation (Zen+) of high-end desktop Ryzen processors, supersedes the first generation Ryzen 5 1600. The newer generation sees a lithography reduction from 14nm to 12nm, but no increase in the number of cores and threads (6 and 12 respectively) above what was witnessed in the ground-breaking first generation which continues to surpass similarly priced Intel CPUs in terms of multi-core performance. In other words, progress between generations is predominantly driven by power efficiency and therefore higher attainable clock speeds. The 2600 appears to have a stock base/boost clock of 3.4 / 3.9 GHz compared to the 1600’s 3.2 / 3.6 GHz which is expected to result in a modest increase in effective speed that said, early benchmarks are inconclusive. Included in the expected retail price of about $200 is a Wraith Stealth cooler, so the 2600, like the 1600 before it, represents great value for money, especially for workstation users. The 2600 compliments the new 400 series motherboards and is also backwards compatible with the 300 series following a bios update.

3 months ago.

— The hex-core i5-8500 hails from Intel’s eighth generation of Coffee Lake processors, known for featuring a higher number of cores at each SKU than in previous generations and their refinement of the 14nm architecture as seen in 6th and 7th generation processors. At an estimated price of $184 it offers good multi-core value for money. Its quad core performance nearly rivals the more expensive i7-7700K (the 2017 CPU of choice for many top-end gamers). However based on preliminary benchmarks, the i5-8500 is only marginally faster (2% greater effective speed) than the i5-8400 which is also a recent and competitively priced hex-core Coffee Lake processor. Also, like the i5-8400, the 8500 features 9MB of L3 cache and a frugal TDP of 65W, leaving not much to choose between them. As is the case of all Coffee Lake processors, currently the only motherboards that the 8500 can be paired with feature Intel’s high-end Z370 chipset for overclocking. However, alternative and more suitable 300 series motherboards are long overdue and expected to be available soon.

4 months ago.

— The 8 core, 16 thread 1900X is the third and entry-level processor from AMD’s Threadripper series of high-end desktop (HEDT) processors. The 1900X is based on AMD’s 14nm Zen architecture and features 20MB of cache (16MB of which is L3) and quad channel DDR4, which is twice as many channels as in the Ryzen 7 series. It has a base clock of 3.8GHz increasing to a boost of 4.0 GHz and has an additional short-term boost of 0.2 GHz when thermals allow. Most impressively, the 1900X features 64 PCIe lanes which is the same of number of lanes in the nearly twice as expensive Ryzen Threadripper flagship, the 1950X. This facilitates the simultaneous high speed PCIe connection of up to seven different graphics or storage peripherals. By comparison, Intel’s similarly priced 8 core, 16 thread i7-7820X which, even though it has an 11% effective speed advantage over the 1900X, only has 28 PCIe lanes (down from 44 lanes as recently seen in the recent i9-7900X). Both upgrade options may require new, and not inexpensive motherboards, the 7820X requires an X299 (Basin Falls) chipset and the 1900X utilizes the premium X399 motherboard. Despite the considerable price tags attached to the CPUs and motherboards, never before has HEDT processing been so affordable.

8 months ago.
The Best.
CPUGPUSSD
Intel Core i7-8700K $320Nvidia GTX 1070 $408Samsung 850 Evo 250GB $85
AMD Ryzen 5 1600 $150Nvidia GTX 1060-6GB $289Samsung 850 Evo 500GB $121
Intel Core i5-8600K $235AMD RX 480 $280Samsung 850 Pro 256GB $160
HDDRAMUSB
Seagate Barracuda 1TB (2016) $44Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3000 C15 2x8GB $176SanDisk Extreme 64GB $44
Seagate Barracuda 3TB (2016) $80G.SKILL Trident Z DDR4 3200 C14 4x16GB $951SanDisk Extreme 32GB $46
Seagate Barracuda 2TB (2016) $59HyperX Fury DDR4 2133 C14 2x8GB $219SanDisk Ultra Fit 32GB $12
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