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Last seen 1 month ago.

— The 3950X is the 16 core, 32 thread Ryzen 3 flagship. Although this CPU offers server levels of multi-core encoding performance, there are relatively few, if any, consumer use cases for the 3950X. Streamers are better off using dedicated hardware such as NVENC which encodes far more efficiently than any CPU. Gamers are better served by low latency gaming CPUs such as the 9600K for a fraction of the price. For example, comparing these two PCs shows that the 3950X build offers less than half the gaming performance. The only rational reason to put a 3950X in a gaming build is in exchange for sponsorship money.

1 month ago.

— The RTX 3090 is Nvidia’s 3000 series flagship. It takes the crown as the fastest consumer graphics card money can buy. Nvidia’s new Ampere architecture, which supersedes Turing, offers both improved power efficiency and performance. The 3090 features 10,496 CUDA cores and 328 Tensor cores, it has a base clock of 1.4 GHz boosting to 1.7 GHz, 24 GB of memory and a power draw of 350 W. The 3090 offers more than double the memory and beats the previous generation’s flagship RTX 2080 Ti by 20% in terms of effective speed. That said, the 3090 also comes with a hefty $1,500 price tag. Professional users, such as game developers, that can make use of 24 GB of memory, may find value in the 3090. Regular users should be wary of the hype around 8k gaming. High end gamers ought to consider the 3080 which offers comparable gaming performance for less than half the money.

1 month ago.

— Nvidia’s 3080 GPU offers once in a decade price/performance improvements: a 3080 offers 55% more performance than a 2080 at the same MSRP. Given the widespread issues AMD users are facing with 5000 series GPUs (blue/black screens etc.), it is unlikely that AMD would have posed any direct threat to Nvidia’s market share this year. Nvidia’s price cuts are more likely related to upcoming console updates. The seven year old hardware in both the Xbox One and Playstation 4 is due an update later this year. Whatever the motivation behind Nvidia’s price cuts, Christmas has come early for PC gamers who can look forward to an unparalleled gaming experience, several tiers higher than both AMD's best discrete GPUs and the upcoming consoles.

1 month ago.

— The 6GB AMD 5600 XT is a slightly cheaper, BIOS restricted, version of the 8GB 5700. The majority of 5600 XT’s should operate reasonably quietly as the single fan reference design was skipped for this release. Although the reference design is absent there are, however, several variants which range in performance between the GTX 1660S and the RTX 2060. Performance is more varied than usual because of last minute BIOS changes. The best versions of the 5600 XT (Sapphire Pulse) were distributed to reviewers (good luck finding one of these at MSRP). These models are capable, with BIOS updates, of performance that almost matches the RTX 2060. At $280 USD the higher performing SKUs could make sense for users that are happy to tinker with or return faulty hardware. During our GTAV testing reflection MSAA resulted in very poor, almost matt, reflection fidelity (the same bug appears on several Navi and Vega cards). Whilst playing Project Cars 2 our 5600 XT PC crashed several times. Given the vast number of software (and hardware) problems since day one of the 5000 series launch, it’s ironic that AMD’s latest 20.1.3 driver does not even offer an option to skip the installation of a boatload of new system shortcuts, gimmicks and other bloatware.

8 months ago.

— The Nvidia GTX 1650 Super features 12Gbps GDDR6 up from 8Gbps of GDDR5 on the “not super” GTX 1650. With a launch price of just $160 the 1650S is aimed squarely at AMD’s 500 series cards. Comparing the GTX 1650S and the RX 590 shows that the 590 leads by 3% but the 1650S is around 10% cheaper. The 1650S has a TDP of 100W which is 50% lower than a typical AMD 500 series card. With a lower TDP, the 1650S requires a less demanding thermal solution and therefore runs a lot quieter. Nvidia’s top value offering prior to the 1650S was the $70 more expensive 1660S which is around 18% faster but also 40% more expensive than the 1650S. Although the 1650S promises to shake up, if not dominate, the value end of the GPU market, street prices are ultimately king. Further price cuts could, once again, bring AMD’s 500 series back into the game.

11 months ago.

— AMD’s 8GB Radeon RX 5700 is a mid-range Navi 10 GPU. The 5700 has 36 compute units (compared to 40 in the 5700 XT). At $349 USD, the 5700 is more affordable than the $399 USD 5700 XT which is approximately 10% faster and more power hungry (225W vs 180W). Unlike the benchmark busting reference XT which overheats and chokes on its default settings, the reference 5700 (non XT), though still noisy, is able to maintain composure and is capable of delivering a very respectable 100+ EFps. This puts it 5% ahead of the RTX 2060 and just 8% behind the RTX 2060S in most of today’s popular games. In terms of compatibility the short test runs in our lab had issues with GTAV where reflection MSAA resulted in very poor, almost matt, reflection fidelity (the same bug appeared on several Navi and Vega cards). Prices are necessary to confirm which graphics card offers the best bang for your buck but there is certainly a lot more choice in the upper end of the GPU market.

11 months ago.

— The AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 is built on 14 nm silicon and contains next-generation compute units (nCUs). Each NCU houses 64 steam processors, of which the Vega 64 has 4096 compared to 3584 in the Vega 56. The architecture also employs 8GB of second generation high-bandwidth memory (HBM2). At launch (two years ago) AMD described this as the most significant leap in their GPU architecture for the last five years. We recently ran the Vega 56 through our EFps lab which showed that in today’s market the Vega series of cards “could” be tempting, at around the $200 mark. (Vega 56 results here)

11 months ago.

— The Radeon RX Vega 56 is the weakest member of AMD's Vega GPU family. The Vega architecture is built on 14 nm silicon and contains next-generation compute units (nCUs). Each NCU houses 64 steam processors, of which the Vega 56 has 3584 vs. 4096 in the Vega 64. The new architecture employs 8GB of second generation high-bandwidth memory (HBM2). In terms of compatibility all of the games we tested were fine apart from GTAV where enabling reflection MSAA resulted in very poor, almost matt, reflection fidelity (the same bug appeared on several Navi and Vega cards). Although the Vega 56 has 12.5% less processing units, users have found that by flashing an RX 64 BIOS into an RX 56 card allows a 10% increase in OC headroom which effectively brings a BIOS flashed RX 56 onto par with a stock RX 64 and just 12.5% slower than a fully overclocked RX 64. All of this OC headroom is great on paper but in the real world the reference Vega 56 is far too noisy. Hair dryer levels of noise at stock clocks are unacceptable for most users. Provided you are partially deaf or happy to use noise canceling headphones the Vega 56 “can” deliver levels of performance that approach an RTX 2060 but prices need to drop below $200 before the Vega 56 is competitive.

11 months ago.

— The 6GB RTX 2060 is the latest addition to Nvidia’s RTX series of graphics card which are based on their Turing architecture. Turing features AI enhanced graphics and real time ray tracing which is intended to eventually deliver a more realistic gaming experience. The 2060 has 1920 CUDA cores and 336GB/s of GDRR6 memory bandwidth. With a launch price of $350 for the Founders Edition, the 2060 offered the best value for money amongst the RTX range and somewhat redeemed Nvidia from their earlier RTX releases (2070, 2080, 2080 Ti) which were unrealistically priced. The RTX 2060 also features Turing NVENC which is far more efficient than CPU encoding and alleviates the need for casual streamers to use a dedicated stream PC. The 2060 is capable of delivering 100+ EFps in almost all of today’s popular games at 1080p with maximum details. This should more than satisfy the majority of 1080p gamers including those who play at 144Hz. Rapidly diminishing returns lie beyond the 2060’s price point of $325 and they are not worth it for the majority of gamers that play at or below 1080p. For gamers that play at 1440p the next step up would be to the $400 2060S.

11 months ago.
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Intel Core i5-9600K $199Nvidia GTX 1660S (Super) $230Crucial MX500 250GB $45
Intel Core i5-9400F $143Nvidia RTX 3080 $700Samsung 850 Evo 120GB $78
Intel Core i5-10600K $260Nvidia GTX 1650S (Super) $170Samsung 860 Evo 250GB $50
HDDRAMUSB
Seagate Barracuda 1TB (2016) $43Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3200 C16 2x8GB $63SanDisk Extreme 64GB $72
WD Blue 1TB (2012) $34Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3000 C15 2x8GB $69SanDisk Extreme 32GB $28
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