The spring thaw in the desktop components market is a time when you can actively plan to build or upgrade powerful systems. The price hype for the elements of winter presentations has already subsided, and there is still a lot of time before the high-profile summer announcements. Therefore, it is possible to rationally choose the right configuration by paying a fair price. In the materials of the PC of the Month series, we focus on gaming systems of different price categories. However, the scope of their application is certainly not limited to entertainment. Powerful balanced systems with discrete graphics cards are suitable for a much wider range of tasks.

Basic gaming PC of the month ($500–600)

Processor AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (6/12; 3.6/4.2 GHz, 32 MB L3) $80
Motherboard AMD B550 (Socket AM4) $90
Memory 16 ГБ (2×8 ГБ) DDR4-3200 $45
Video card Radeon RX 6600 8 GB / GeForce RTX 3050 8 GB $240
Drive SSD, 1 TB, M.2 PCI-E $65
Housing and power supply Middle Tower ATX, 550 W $60
Total amount for PCs on the AMD platform $580

Gaming monitor for the “Basic Gaming PC” from our partner MSI

PC of the month (April 2024)

The MSI G244F E2 is based on a high-speed IPS panel with a response time of only 1ms, providing a great gaming experience for entry-level systems. Despite its low price, the monitor has a refresh rate of 180 Hz and color gamut of 118% sRGB and 88% DCI-P3.

MSI G244F E2 gaming monitor


Processors. This time, we propose to consider the most affordable options for basic gaming configurations, which, however, have a sufficient level of “combat capability” even for demanding projects. Given the significant savings, the choice of a CPU for a PC of this class is almost without debate. Of course, we are talking about Ryzen 5 3600 (6/12; 3.6/4.2 GHz; 32 MB L3). The 2019 six-core chip is still among the most attractive CPUs available in terms of its capabilities. With the current retail price of $80-85 for the BOX version with a bundled cooler, the model offers a surprisingly good price/performance ratio, so it is not surprising that Ryzen 5 3600 remains in the top of popular processors in Ukraine. The chip belongs to the Matisse family and uses the Zen 2 computing architecture. Six SMT-enabled cores allow processing up to 12 data streams simultaneously. At the same time, Ryzen 5 3600 is equipped with 32 MB of third-level cache. Another feature of the series is support for PCI Express 4.0, which is an advantage when using graphics cards with a reduced number of PCI-E connection lines.

PC of the month (April 2024)
Ryzen 5 3600 remains one of the most popular chips on the market. Excellent price/performance ratio attracts rational users

Of course, Zen 2 is no longer AMD’s most advanced development, but it can be recalled that, for example, the PlayStation 5 is also equipped with a chip based on this generation of computing architecture. Moreover, it looks like the future Pro version of the gaming console will be based on Zen 2 CPUs. So the Ryzen 5 3600 still looks like a very attractive option overall, especially considering its price.

Some competition for it here is the 6-core Ryzen 5 5500 (6/12; 3.6/4.2; 16 MB L3) from the Cezanne single-crystal line. These chips, priced at $90-100, are also quite popular. Despite the fact that these models already use the Zen 3 architecture, due to the halved L3 capacity, they are actually on par with the Ryzen 5 3600 in gaming. In addition, because they only support PCI-E 3.0, these processors are somewhat less attractive in configurations with graphics cards that have a PCI-E x8 port. There are a lot of the latter in the segment of entry-level models, so we generally prefer Ryzen 5 3600.

As for the Intel platform, this time we are not considering options based on it. In the price segment up to $100, you can only count on the Core i3-12100F (4/8; 3.3/4.3 GHz; 12 MB L3) from the manufacturer’s range. However, this is a 4-core processor, which no longer always copes well with the most resource-intensive projects due to the lack of computing units. Six-core CPUs on LGA1700 start at ~$140 (Core i5-12400F), so obviously these are suboptimal options when it comes to the most affordable gaming builds.

Motherboards. Returning to the AMD platform, there is still a crucial moment when choosing a motherboard. Given the attempts to save money, at first glance, it seems logical to buy a cheap model based on AMD A520 or AMD B450 costing $65-75. Usually, the equipment of such boards allows you to cover your basic needs. And taking into account the processor, the requirements for the power subsystem are quite moderate. However, boards based on these chipsets have a certain drawback, namely the lack of PCI Express 4.0 support. So even if the processor has a suitable controller, as in the case of Ryzen 5 3600, AMD A520/B450 boards will not allow you to realize this potential, limited to PCI-E 3.0. And this is a rather unfortunate circumstance. As we have already mentioned, most current graphics cards for basic gaming configurations have a PCI-E x8 interface. When using PCI-E 4.0, this configuration is quite enough for normal operation, but if the platform is limited to PCI-E 3.0, then in certain projects there may be unpleasant performance drops due to the lack of PCI-E bandwidth. Most of the time, these are insignificant losses (0-5%), but in exceptional cases, performance can drop by as much as 15-20%.

PC of the month (April 2024)
AMD B550 chipset motherboards support PCI Express 4.0. This is a desirable option when using graphics cards with PCI-E x8 interface

Motherboards based on the AMD B550 allow you to avoid such restrictions. The simplest models based on this chipset can already be purchased for $75, but if you don’t focus on basic devices from ASRock/Biostar/Maxsun, the budget will have to be increased to $90-100. On the one hand, there is a certain dissonance in choosing a board for a PC that costs more than the CPU, but on the other hand, this option frees up your hands with the choice of a video card and eliminates anxious expectations. When launching each new game, you won’t have to check whether there will be any performance losses this time due to PCI-E limitations. In our opinion, this is worth an additional $15-20 even if you have a limited budget for basic configurations. A separate bonus here will be the support for the M.2 PCI-E 4.0 port for connecting the appropriate drives. For gaming systems, SSD speed is usually not essential, but a nominally “gaming PC” can be used for a much wider range of tasks.

Video cards. Another fundamental issue will be the choice of a graphics adapter for an entry-level platform. Given the need to save money, we recommend looking towards the Radeon RX 6600 8 GB. Models of the familiar line can be purchased for $240-250. In this price category, it has virtually no worthy opponents. From the NVIDIA range, you can only count on the GeForce RTX 3050 8 GB for a similar amount, which is an average -20% performance loss. The weakness of the Radeon RX 6600 is the performance when activating ray tracing mode. However, let’s be honest, in this category, the ability of the video card to provide the desired 60 fps in Full HD mode without additional decorations is more relevant. In most cases, the Radeon RX 6600 8GB can handle this task even with high picture quality settings. Perhaps only in the most demanding projects will you have to “magically” with the graphics options.

PC of the month (April 2024)
Radeon RX 6600 8 GB – the most powerful graphics card for $250

If you want to use a video card for ~$250 based on NVIDIA GPU, you can still use the option of GeForce RTX 3050 8 GB. Despite the significantly lower performance, this model still has its strengths, such as good efficiency and DLSS support, which is usually implemented better than FSR. In ray-tracing mode, it will probably be a little faster than the Radeon RX 6600, but we have already mentioned the practical relevance of RT in this category of graphics cards earlier.

By the way, the even more economical GeForce RTX 3050 6 GB, which can do without even connecting additional power, seems to have been received by users more warmly than one might expect. Yes, it is significantly inferior in performance to the 8GB version of the GeForce RTX 3050, but it is the minimum power consumption along with support for all current graphics technologies (except DLSS 3) at a reasonable price that ultimately worked. The starting retail price tag of $250 seemed inadequate, but at $190-210, interest in these models has grown significantly among undemanding amateur players. So now, the most popular models in the GeForce RTX 3050 lineup are the simplified models with 6 GB of memory. It’s a strange thing.

In the “under $250” category, the Intel Arc A750 8GB could also be potentially interesting, but official sales of discrete graphics cards from Intel have not yet begun in our market. It’s not that the existing NVIDIA and AMD offerings are not enough, but even stronger competition would definitely not be superfluous.

For basic gaming configurations, there are no problems with possible graphical scaling up. The closest offer here is the Radeon RX 7600 8 GB. The cost of models in this line has already begun to fall below $300. This adapter is able to improve the performance of the Radeon RX 6600 8GB by about 25% on average. In fact, we have a performance increase proportional to the cost increase. Therefore, this option is worth considering if the additional $50-60 does not exceed the initially planned budget. If you need to get a gaming platform for the lowest price, then Radeon RX 6600 8GB is the priority.

In the context of moderately priced graphics adapters, we can also mention the Radeon RX 7600 XT 16 GB. Models of this line are more actively appearing on sale. The price tags of $360-380 against the cost of the RX 7600 8 GB (starting at $290) still look a bit high for an entry-level gaming graphics card, but they can already be considered as an option for those who probably know how to put such a model with 16 GB of memory to practical use.

There are also opportunities to spend more money on NVIDIA graphics cards. If the 8GB capacity of the GeForce RTX 3050 seems insufficient (and this is not surprising), you will have to look towards the GeForce RTX 3060 12GB for $320-330. This option remains very attractive and it is not surprising that the popularity of video cards in this series continues to grow. However, this is already a rather significant increase in the budget. Anyway, if you are tempted to get an NVIDIA graphics card from this line, we can only warn you once again against buying a version with 8 GB of memory on board. If it’s GeForce RTX 3060, then only the “all-wheel drive” version with 12 GB and a 192-bit bus.

Judging by the demand for entry-level graphics cards, there is a growing interest in the GeForce RTX 4060 8GB. The junior model of the RTX 40 line, despite the initial cool reception, is finding its customers. This is facilitated by a gradual reduction in retail price. The basic models of the series are already offered from $330-340. With the GeForce RTX 3060 12GB on active sale, it’s not so easy to make a final decision by giving preference to one of these models. However, if you are still looking for a video card in this price range, both options are good.

Optimal gaming PC of the month ($1000-1200)

Processor Intel Core i5-12600KF (6/12+4; 3.7/4.9 GHz + 2.8/3.6 GHz) $180
AMD Ryzen 7 5700X (8/16; 3,4/4,6 GHz, 32 MB L3) $185
Motherboard Intel B760 (LGA1700, DDR4) $130
AMD B550 (Socket AM4) $120
Memory 32 GB (2×16 GB) DDR4-3600 $75
Video card Radeon RX 7700 XT 12 GB / GeForce RTX 4060 Ti 8/16 GB $490
Drive SSD, 1 TB, M.2 NVMe, PCI-E x4 $90
Case and power supply Middle Tower ATX, 650 Вт $130
Total amount for Intel-based PCs $1095
Total amount for PCs on the AMD platform $1090


Gaming monitor for the “Optimal Gaming PC” from our partner MSI


PC of the month (April 2024)

27-inch MSI Optix G274QPF E2 gaming monitor with a fast IPS matrix with a resolution of 2560×1440 pixels. The 180 Hz refresh rate and 1 ms response time provide an optimal gaming experience. The 93% DCI-P3 color gamut will brighten up your virtual battles.

MSI G274QPF E2 gaming monitor


Processors. This time, we have also further “optimized” the optimal gaming configurations to reduce the overall budget for building a PC of this class. Initially, we had the idea of replacing the Core i5-12600KF processor (6/12+4; 3.7/4.9 GHz + 2.8/3.6 GHz) recommended last time, but another reduction in retail price kept us from taking such drastic measures. Indeed, at a price equivalent to $180, it is now an offer that simply cannot be refused. This chip is much more productive than the 6-core model Core i5-12400F (6/12; 2.5/4.4 GHz; ~$140), and probably more powerful than the updated Core i5-13400F/14400F chips with an identical functional configuration (6/12+4), which also cost $210-220. Among the disadvantages is the lack of any standard cooler in the package, so you will definitely need to take care of the presence of a cooler.

In general, the Core i5-12600KF variant appeared somewhat unexpectedly. Over the past year, the price of this model has been gradually decreasing from $300 to $250 and remained at this level for a relatively long time. But over the past few months, the price has dropped rapidly, and there are many offers of this model on the market. So it definitely makes sense to take advantage of this opportunity, even if you were initially looking for a more affordable CPU. The Core i5-12600KF was once included in progressive configurations after its announcement. And this is a rather atypical situation for Intel chips, when a certain model migrates to another category due to a reduction in price and remains relevant in it due to its excellent price/performance ratio.

PC of the month (April 2024)
After a significant price reduction, the Core i5-12600KF processor becomes an offer that is hard to refuse

Given the attention paid to this model, it’s not hard to guess that the Core i5-12600KF currently receives our unequivocal recommendation and a conditional “best buy” award. The fact that the chip belongs to the “enthusiast” series should not be a turn-off – despite the possibility of additional overclocking, the owner of this CPU does not have to do it himself or buy a more expensive board based on Intel Zxxx chipsets specifically for the K-model of the processor. Even in normal operation, the Core i5-12600KF will provide good performance for optimal gaming configurations.

If you expect to get a chip with integrated graphics, you will have to increase your budget slightly. The Core i5-12600K version is currently offered for $210-215. But even so, this is a very reasonable offer. Core i5-13400/14400 chips with activated iGPU cost $30-40 more.

In the case of the AMD platform, this time we decided to experiment with Socket AM4, which is still quite relevant. Moreover, the developers themselves are trying to extend the period of active development and support with new product announcements. Therefore, for optimal configurations, we suggest considering the Ryzen 7 5700X chip (8/16; 3.4/4.6 GHz) – the basic 8-core of the “full” Vermeer line for ~$185. It seems to have no intrigue, but it is a proven powerful enough solution with a reserve for the future in terms of the number of cores/threads. In the case of AM4, there is still a gap for even greater savings. We are talking about Ryzen 5 5600/5600X, which are now actually at the top of the top most popular CPUs. So here we are tempted to get a similar chip for $130-145. The option is generally workable, especially if you want/need to maximize savings. Unless in the context of optimal gaming configurations, we would still like to see chips with more than six cores. In the case of Core i5-12600KF, additional power amplification will be provided by energy-efficient cores that can take on part of the load, but there may be questions about “pure” 6-core chips. However, so far, the lack of performance of CPUs with a 6/12 functional formula is more of an exception. Yes, there are games in which 8-core processors provide even better performance, but there have been no projects in which problems have actually arisen on 6-core chips (perhaps someone will give such examples in the comments).

Therefore, the question of “Ryzen 7 5700X vs. Ryzen 5 5600X” in terms of optimal configurations remains debatable. Here we can only remind you that in the case of 6-core chips, the Ryzen 5 5600 model is relevant and differs from the Ryzen 5 5600X only in clock speeds. But if we consider 8-core chips, then the Ryzen 7 5700X has the priority. The Ryzen 7 5700, unlike the X-modification, already belongs to a different family and is equipped with only 16 MB of L3 memory.

In the future, if you want to enhance the gaming capabilities of a Socket AM4 PC, you can upgrade to a chip with 3D V-Cache. Here, the most affordable CPU in retail is the Ryzen 7 5700X3D (8/16; 3.0/4.1 GHz; 96 MB L3) for the equivalent of $260-270. It is not entirely justified to build a new platform on such chips now – the cost of the CPU negates the attempt to save money on the purchase of the entire platform. However, such chips may be quite interesting for modernization after some time.

Motherboards. Starting with the Alder Lake family of processors (12th generation Core), Intel equips its CPUs with DDR4 and DDR5 memory controllers, allowing you to choose the optimal platform for your needs. So when choosing a board for the Core i5-12600KF, you will first have to decide on the type of supported RAM. Usually, DDR5 models are a bit more expensive, as are the modules of this standard. This time we’re going for a certain unification of configurations, trying to get affordable PCs, so let’s consider the DDR4 option.

For optimal platforms, it would be logical to choose a model based on Intel B760/B660 chipsets. We don’t take into account the most affordable boards. Nevertheless, the Core i5-12600KF chip is capable of consuming up to 130 watts of power in multi-threaded mode at its peak. Of course, against the background of the performance of the top models of the next generations, this is just some kind of “child’s play”, but it is still better that the VRM subsystem has a reasonable configuration with cooling of power assemblies. And a certain margin for the future will not hurt if the time comes when the capabilities of this CPU are no longer enough. In this case, you will have to look towards the older chips for LGA1700, and they all have a good “energy appetite”. With this in mind, we’re going to budget at least $130 for the purchase of the board.

Perhaps it will be a little cheaper to buy a AMD B550 board for Ryzen 7 5700X or Ryzen 5 5600X. Here you don’t have to choose between types of RAM – the platform uses only DDR4. Therefore, we focus on the general equipment of the boards, which should meet the current needs in terms of functionality.

Video cards. Graphics adapters remain the most expensive components of any gaming platform. So, obviously, the price optimizations are most effective in cases where there is an urgent need for tangible savings. Taking this path, we suggest considering the Radeon RX 7700 XT 12GB line of graphics cards for optimal configurations. Adapters of this series were introduced back in September last year, but for quite some time the difference in the actual retail price with that of the Radeon RX 7800 XT 16 GB was quite insignificant, which reduced the attractiveness of the younger model. Perhaps this was a deliberate strategy by AMD to push the purchase of more expensive options, but in the spring of this year, market conditions developed in such a way that the manufacturer needed to “highlight” the junior version, increasing demand for it. The easiest way to do this is to reduce the price. In Ukraine, you can already buy a Radeon RX 7700 XT 12 GB for $500, and certain basic versions are even offered for the equivalent of $480.

In classic modes, the video card offers performance almost equal to the GeForce RTX 4070 12 GB, 10-15% less than the Radeon RX 7800 XT 16 GB. That is, it has a price/performance ratio at least as good as that of the older model. In general, it’s a great option for Full HD at maximum settings and a pretty good adapter for 1440p games with high quality settings. Increased memory capacity will not hurt in both cases.

Recently, for optimal configurations from the NVIDIA range, we have usually suggested GeForce RTX 4070 12GB. Despite the official reduction in the cost of video cards in this series, it is difficult to find models on sale for less than $620-640. If this price tag already exceeds the “pain threshold”, you will have to look towards the GeForce RTX 4060 Ti 8 GB. The decrease in performance in games will be very significant – up to 25-30%. At the same time, GeForce RTX 4060 Ti already has a retail price tag of $430-440, which means it’s 40-45% cheaper than RTX 4070. Therefore, in terms of price/performance, the junior Ti does not look as bad as it might seem at first glance. This is also true in comparison with the Radeon RX 7700 XT 12 GB. Here, the GeForce RTX 4060 Ti 8 GB is generally 15-20% slower, but has the same performance in RT mode, is 85 watts more efficient (160 watts vs. 245 watts), supports DLSS 3.0, and is ~15% cheaper. The RTX 4060 Ti also has a much larger range of commercially available models. Therefore, the final choice may not be so easy, especially if you use the 1920×1080 graphics mode, which usually requires 8 GB of video card memory.

PC of the month (April 2024)
Radeon RX 7700 XT 12 ГБ — balanced mid-range graphics card

We’re not in any way minimizing the obvious advantages of the Radeon RX 7700 XT 12GB. The increased memory capacity is a pleasure and additional confidence for 1440p. And in general, the model looks balanced. The only thing we would like to see is a little more price tag. We know, we know, like honey, like a spoon.

Returning to the GeForce RTX 4060 Ti, we’d like to point out that the price tags for the 16GB versions of the card have been significantly reduced. If initially it was some absurd $650-700, now there is already a fairly wide selection of such modifications for $500-520. Practical benchmark comparisons prove that in the case of GeForce RTX 4060 Ti, the 16 GB versions actually have no significant advantages over the basic 8 GB models. But if you are worried about a possible lack of memory in the 8 GB version, there is an option to get rid of such fears. However, in our opinion, buying a GeForce RTX 4060 Ti 16 GB is more justified if you need a video card with an increased video buffer for some professional work tasks – additional filters for video transcoding, local AI generators, and more.

RAM and storage. It’s a bit unusual to go back to DDR4 RAM. However, while this is a possible option for LGA1700, it is the only standard for Socket AM4. DDR4 modules are still significantly cheaper than DDR5 memory strips. So although this is more of a forced decision, it also allows you to save some money. While we used to spend ~$120 for a dual-channel 32GB (2×16GB) DDR5-5600 kit, a kit of the same capacity but of the DDR4-3600 standard can be purchased for as little as $75.

PC of the month (April 2024)
SSD prices have stabilized recently, but analysts are predicting that SSD prices will continue to rise

We continue to equip optimal gaming systems in basic configurations with 1TB drives. After a fairly long period of gradual increase in the cost of SSDs, over the past two months there is a sense of reaching a certain price plateau. Although manufacturers warn of further increases in the cost of flash memory chips, and analytical agencies assure that SSDs will rise in price by another 10-15% in the second quarter. The recent earthquake in Taiwan, which may affect the final cost of any electronics, also does not add to the optimism.

Progressive gaming PC of the month ($2000+)

Processor Intel Core i5-14600KF (6/12+8; 3.5/5.3 GHz, 2,6/4,0 GHz) $330
AMD Ryzen 7 7700X (8/16; 4,5/5,4 GHz; 32 MB L3) $330
Motherboard Intel Z690/Z790 (LGA1700) $230
AMD B650 (Socket AM5) $200
Memory 32 GB (2×16 GB) DDR5-6000 $120
Video card GeForce RTX 4070 Ti SUPER 16 GB / Radeon RX 7900 XT 20 GB  $950
Drive SSD 2 TB, M.2 PCI-E 4.0 $170
Case and power supply Middle Tower ATX, 750 W $210
Total amount for Intel-based PCs $2010
Total amount for PCs on the AMD platform $1980


Gaming monitor for the “Progressive Gaming PC” from our partner MSI

PC of the month (April 2024)

MSI MAG 341CQP QD-OLED is an ultra-multi-screen with a next-generation curved QD-OLED panel with a resolution of 3440×1440 (UWQHD) 1800R with a refresh rate of 175 Hz and a response time of 0.03 ms (GtG).  

MSI MAG 341CQP QD-OLED gaming monitor


Processors. In the recommended configurations for the Intel platform, we initially use the Core i5-14600KF processor (6/12+8; 3.5/5.3 GHz + 2.6/4.0 GHz). As part of advanced systems, this is more of a starting level that is undesirable to lower. For cases of austerity, you can only consider a slightly slower version of the Core i5-13600KF (6/12+8; 3.5/5.1 GHz + 2.6/3.9 GHz), which has slightly lower operating frequencies. But the difference of $20 is unlikely to be a significant financial incentive for such a rotation. Unfortunately, 13th-generation Core chips have not yet experienced significant discounts, as happened with certain 12th-generation models.

When looking for options for a more significant budget reduction, the Core i5-14600 (6/12+8; 2.7/5.2 GHz + 2.0/3.9 GHz) comes to mind. For some reason, the model has not yet hit the retail market. And this is a shame, because this CPU has received a significant acceleration compared to its predecessor, the Core i5-13600. Intel hasn’t really focused on the Core i5-14600, but this processor uses the platform from the enthusiast line of chips with the Raptor Lake architecture for performance cores, which has increased performance per clock (IPC).

In addition to certain internal optimizations, P-Cores have 2 MB of L2 cache per core, as well as 4 MB of L2 cache for each 4-core E-Core cluster. Therefore, the resulting formula for the second level cache in the case of Core i5-14600 is as follows: 6×2 MB + 2×4 MB. As a result, the chip has 20 MB of L2 and 24 MB of L3. The identical cache configuration is used for the Core i5-14600KF. But its predecessor from the mass series, the Core i5-13600, had a more modest L2 configuration: 6×1.25 MB + 2×2 MB. The total capacity of the second level cache was only 11.5 MB, while L3 was also 24 MB.

Unfortunately, the Core i5-14600 is still not available, and this applies not only to the local Ukrainian market. At the time of the announcement, this model received a recommended price tag of $255, which is quite attractive, given the activated integrated graphics. It is possible that Core i5-14600 could be an economical option for those who need a relatively powerful but inexpensive chip without an unlocked multiplier. Therefore, we continue to monitor the appearance of this model on sale.

It is logical to “charge” top gaming platforms with the best components, so for such PCs the most attractive processor from AMD’s range is the Ryzen 7 7800X3D (8/16; 4.2/5.0 GHz; 96 MB L3). Albeit with certain reservations, but in the overall standings, this CPU is fighting for the title of “fastest gaming processor”. If this is symbolically so important to you, and the $410 required for the purchase fits into your overall budget, then there is not even a question for discussion. There is no better option for AM5 yet.

PC of the month (April 2024)
8-core Ryzen 7 7700X – the rational choice for an advanced configuration

If you want to reduce costs, as well as the moral readiness to play at 187 fps instead of the conventional average 205 fps, then there are options. The first thing that comes to mind is the Ryzen 7 7700X (8/16; 4.5/5.4 GHz; 32 MB L3) for $330. An octa-core chip without 3D V-Cache won’t allow you to get record fps, but it won’t be a limiting factor. Moreover, in 1440p mode, and even less so in 4K, the difference will be even less noticeable. At the same time, Ryzen 7 7700X will be more productive than Ryzen 7 7800X3D in most cases with a multi-threaded workload due to its significantly higher operating frequency.

Motherboards. There are no revelations here – for the Intel platform, we choose a suitable model on the Intel Z790 for DDR5. Here, the start is from $200, while the most equipped models are offered even for $1000+. Among the boards for $230-250, you can usually choose a solution with normal equipment and adequate VRM. Intel Z790 boards usually have an increased load on the power unit when using the top Core chips of the 13th/14th generations. The Core i5-14600KF shouldn’t cause any problems here, but you shouldn’t take cooling of this CPU lightly. An efficient air supercooler or even a SRO will not be superfluous here, even in normal mode under a multi-threaded load.

For the Ryzen 7 7700X platform, a board based on the AMD B650 chipset is suitable, but you shouldn’t focus on the basic models either. Besides, we should not forget that the AM5 platform will remain relevant for several more years. The next generation of processors is coming soon. Additional information, and possibly the official announcement of new CPUs, is expected at Computex 2024, which will be held this year on June 4-7. Lisa Su is scheduled to attend the event’s opening ceremony. The main topic of the report will be AI technologies, while part of the presentation will probably concern mobile Strix Point processors and desktop Granite Ridge processors with Zen 5 architecture. Mention of Ryzen 9000 has already started to appear in chipset drivers, support is being added to BIOS firmware, and photos of engineering samples are actively circulating on the network, so the countdown to the official announcement of these CPUs has probably already begun.

Video cards. When it comes to advanced gaming systems, trying to save money on a graphics card is the last thing you want to do. The graphics adapter largely determines the target capabilities of the entire platform, so here, on the contrary, you usually expect the maximum gain within the allocated budget. Last time, we suggested equipping PCs of this class with GeForce RTX 4070 Ti SUPER 16 GB or Radeon RX 7900 XT 20 GB graphics cards, which are close in performance in classic mode, while the NVIDIA model has a characteristic advantage after activating ray tracing. However, the AMD solution compensates for this with increased memory capacity and a lower price. If you still have to spend ~$950 to buy a GeForce RTX 4070 Ti SUPER 16 GB, then the Radeon RX 7900 XT 20 GB can already be purchased for $850-900. Therefore, we recommend that you initially focus on models of these series.

Are there any options to reduce costs? It is easier with AMD graphics adapters. The company has recently relaunched the Radeon RX 7900 GRE 16GB line, reducing the price at the same time. Models of this series can already be purchased in Ukraine for $680-700. A somewhat simplified model based on the Navi 31 GPU may be a compromise. According to the test results, the Radeon RX 7900 GRE 16 GB is about 10% inferior to the Radeon RX 7900 XT 20 GB in Full HD mode, 15% in 1440p, and has 15-20% lower performance in 4K. The losses are undesirable, but even in heavy graphics modes, the price/performance ratio does not decrease. An additional bonus here is the recently unlocked ability to overclock memory chips, which can allow enthusiasts to significantly speed up the video card and almost catch up with the older model. Therefore, we consider the Radeon RX 7900 GRE 16 GB option for an advanced system to be quite workable.

PC of the month (April 2024)
GeForce RTX 40 SUPER series video cards have influenced the graphics landscape in the top segment

As for the NVIDIA models, it is more difficult to save money. We have been waiting for a video card with 16 GB of memory that is cheaper than the GeForce RTX 4080 for quite some time. The new GeForce RTX 4070 Ti SUPER 16 GB is just such a solution. All attempts to “lower the bar” will lead to models with 12 GB of memory on board. Given the increase in system requirements for this indicator, such options are undesirable for a progressive gaming configuration, especially if you have already purchased or plan to purchase a 4K monitor.

For 1440p mode, the memory requirements are slightly lower, and if you are ready to give up ultra settings and enable DLSS for the “heaviest” games, then you can consider options here. The price tags for the “decommissioned” GeForce RTX 4070 Ti 12 GB are still at $900, so the models in this series are not of any interest now. Slightly slower (5-10%) GeForce RTX 4070 SUPER 12 GB can already be purchased for $700 and it will be a very good competitor for the Radeon RX 7900 GRE 16 GB.

In the absence of financial constraints, fans of NVIDIA graphics cards can focus on the GeForce RTX 4080 SUPER 16 GB ($1200+), and ultimatists are unlikely to settle for something slower than the GeForce RTX 4090 24 GB ($2000+). By the way, the owners of the flagship model are still concerned about the overheating of the connectors of the 12VHPWR auxiliary power supply. We hope that at least in the next generation tops this issue will be finally resolved. According to previous leaks, the announcement of the older GeForce RTX 50 models with Blackwell architecture is expected by the end of this year, so developers still have time for proper verification/testing.

Regardless of the chosen configuration, our own preferences, modifications and improvements to our gaming systems, we should not forget about the feasible and regular support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine – this will speed up our victory.