The last month of the year is almost always packed with announcements, events, and the start of sales of various desktop components. Manufacturers are trying to use the pre-holiday period as effectively as possible in a business sense, and for this, they need to have time to offer attractive products that potential buyers would want to put under the Christmas tree, as well as provide them with partners to fill warehouses and virtual counters with hot new products. The market of components for desktop systems is developing quite dynamically, in addition, there is considerable revival after the presentation of new platforms, processors, and powerful graphics cards. In the next PC of the month we try to analyze the available offers and choose the best options for game systems in several price categories.
Basic gaming PC of the month
|CPU||Intel Core i3-12100F (4/8; 3.3/4.3 GHz, 12 MB L3)||$110|
|AMD Ryzen 5 5500 (6/12; 3.6/4.2 GHz, 16 MB L3)||$105|
|Motherboard||Intel B660 (LGA1700)||$100|
|AMD B450/B550 (Socket AM4)||$85|
|RAM||16 GB (2×8 GB) DDR4-3200||$60|
|GPU||Radeon RX 6600 8 GB / GeForce RTX 3050 8 GB||$320|
|Storage||SSD, 480/500/512 GB, M.2 PCI-E||$40|
|Body and power supply||Middle Tower ATX, 550 W||$60|
|Intel PC total||$690|
|AMD PC total||$670|
The processor position in the basic configuration on the Intel platform remains Core i3-12100F (4/8; 3.3/4.3 GHz). The possibilities of 4-core 8-thread chips in current games have already been discussed many times. In this sense, the current Core i3 of the 12th generation rather even surprises, offering even higher indicators than one would expect from them. Therefore, we are not even waiting for the new generation models, considering that for this line they will bring only a small increase in clock frequencies.
Considering the possibility of staying on the LGA1200 platform, the most attractive chips for this category remain the more powerful Core i5-11400F (6/12; 2.6/4.4 GHz) and the more affordable Core i5-10400F (6/12; 2.9/4.3 GHz). Over the past month, both have fallen by about $25 to $130 and $110, respectively. There’s a lot to think about, especially if multi-threaded performance is critical to you.
If the latter is of fundamental importance, it may be more rational to look towards AMD’s Socket AM4 platform, which can offer 6-core chips at an affordable price. At the same time, in the “near $100” segment, there are two favorites at once, which differ in many respects architecturally, but are very similar in terms of final performance. Of course, we are talking about Ryzen 5 3600 and Ryzen 5 5500. The first is frankly attractive with support for the PCI-E 4.0 bus, as well as an L3 cache buffer with a capacity of 32 MB, which helps to compensate for belonging to the architecture of the Zen 2 generation. While Ryzen 5 5500 is somewhat more economical and already uses Zen 3, the capacity of the L3 cache is reduced to 16 MB, in addition, this chip is unfortunately limited to PCI-E 3.0 bus support. However, it usually turns out to be a little more productive in games, so this model is specified by default in our configurations. However, these models are completely interchangeable. If L3 capacity is critical for your tasks or you expect to use drives with PCI-E 4.0 support, feel free to choose the Ryzen 5 3600.
By the way, please note that the most popular modification of the Ryzen 5 3600, which is currently offered on the market, has the article number 100-100000031AWOF and provides for delivery without a cooling system (!). Although the item description may mention a BOX package, in this case a compact cardboard box without a cooler is assumed. However, such processors still have a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty. A similar version of the Ryzen 5 3600 can be purchased for $95. An incredible deal, especially if you have a decent cooler left over from a previous system. If you are counting on a standard AMD cooler, look for the Ryzen 5 3600 offer with the article number 100-100000031SBX. These now cost from $110.
It is interesting to watch how the price of Ryzen 5 5600G chips (6/12; 3.9/4.4 GHz) decreases. During the cryptocurrency craze, when any discrete grapics card cost $200+, the price of these models with integrated graphics soared to ~$350. Now these hybrids with a relatively powerful integrated video core are offered for $135. Of course, for a gaming system, it does not make sense to consider such an option, because the presence of an iGPU for this category of platforms does not represent much value.
The question of choosing a motherboard for basic configurations remains debatable. Actually, the models based on AMD B450 and AMD B550 are relevant for this category of systems. But in this case, you should focus not on the chipset, but on the direct equipment of boards based on them. AMD B450 models are cheaper, the most basic devices can be purchased for $60-65, but such versions have primitive equipment and the most simplified circuitry. It makes sense to spend an extra $10-$20 on a more functional model with a better VRM and additional powertrain cooling.
You also need to take into account a certain feature of AMD B450 devices. The fact is that despite working with the entire range of processors for Socket AM4, the chipset does not support the PCI-E 4.0 standard bus, being limited to PCI-E 3.0. In the case of graphics cards, this is not such a critical limitation. Except for the Radeon RX 6400/6500 XT, which use only four PCI-E lanes for switching. However, we do not consider these models even as part of the basic game system. In other cases, PCI-E 3.0 x16 will be quite enough.
Subjectively more regrettable is the limitation regarding M.2 drives. Fairly inexpensive PCI-E 4.0 models are appearing on the market that offer higher peak throughput than the PCI-E3.0 x4 limit of 3400-3500MB/s. Such SSDs could later be part of the base platform, for example, at the same time as a future processor upgrade. On the other hand, for a gaming system, record transfers of the drive are not a priority. Higher total SSD capacity is more important here.
Another point worth paying attention to is the support for Resizable BAR graphics card memory direct access technology. Initially, AMD implemented its support for AMD 5xx-based boards, encouraging the transition to newer solutions. But it gave up under user pressure, allowing board manufacturers to include the appropriate option for AMD 4xx models. However, before purchasing a specific model of the board, it does not hurt to make sure that the technology is supported. Activating ReBAR in certain situations can slightly affect the fps indicators, but total dependence on this technology is still observed only in Intel ARC A750/A770 graphics cards.
So, when choosing an AMD B450 motherboard, it’s important to be aware of certain PCI-E 3.0 limitations. Combined with the Ryzen 5 5500, which also does not support PCI-E 4.0, such a tandem looks organic. In any case, we recommend focusing not on the most affordable models, but on slightly more equipped devices. There is not much marketing in this class, and every additional dollar to the price often makes a real difference to the performance.
AMD B550 based motherboards are more expensive. Here it starts from $80. The main difference between AMD B550 and AMD B450 is in the support of the PCI-E 4.0 bus. The newer chipset allows the use of PCI Express 4.0 processor lines for both the graphics card and M.2 drives. In addition, the chipset links for additional expansion cards comply with the PCI-E 3.0 standard. ReBAR technology support is also guaranteed. That is, models based on AMD B550 have certain advantages over devices based on AMD B450, another question is whether they will actually be used in practice. Everyone has to decide on this issue independently.
At the end of this tumultuous year, we decided to strengthen the graphics power of the basic configurations, offering to use the Radeon RX 6600 8 GB graphics card as a starting adapter. Series models cost from $320. Yes, it’s $275 more than the GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER 6GB, but in this case, the extra payment is well worth it. The model from AMD will increase the number of fps by about 30%, in addition, it will allow the use of modes with ray tracing, and more effectively involve FSR. The increased total memory capacity also does not hurt even in Full HD mode.
As for the options from AMD, according to insiders, the models of the GeForce GTX 1660 family are being withdrawn from production, even earlier there was similar information about the GeForce RTX 2060, which got a second chance during the cryptocurrency boom. Obviously, now more attention will be paid to GeForce RTX 3050 8 GB. It makes sense to pay attention to this model if, for some reason or your own convictions, you are not considering graphics cards with AMD chips. As for performance, the RTX 3050 in classic rendering has only a slight advantage over the GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER – within 5-10%. However, the newer model has hardware tensor blocks and ray tracing processing modules. On the one hand, adapters of this level provide a small speed with an additional load. On the other hand, having tech support and trying to tweak settings to get acceptable performance is more interesting than realizing that RT capabilities and AI scaling aren’t available at all. GeForce RTX 3050 8GB also cost from $320. And this is no longer a dilemma, considering that for this money you can get ~20-25% faster Radeon RX 6600 8 GB, which will be at least at the level of RTX 3050 in tracing.
The purchase of GeForce RTX 2060 6 GB will cost approximately the same amount. The four-year veteran (announcement – January 2019) is quite suitable for basic game configurations. Moreover, the graphics card has an average 10% advantage over the RTX 3050, but 6 GB of memory for a model of this level already causes certain concerns. And they are not unreasonable, especially if there is a desire to play with ray tracing. In the same Doom Eternal, it is precisely because of the limitation of the local memory capacity that a significant decrease in performance can be observed. But when 6 GB is enough, everything is quite decent, except that the power consumption under load is 30 W higher than the GeForce RTX 3050 8 GB.
The accelerated version of GeForce RTX 2060 12 GB, which, in addition to doubling the memory capacity, also received a small increase in functional units, adds about 10% to the performance. Of course, in this case, there are no questions about the lack of local RAM, but the price of such modifications starts at $350, and for tuned versions they ask for $400+. About 10% more performance could be added by GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER 8 GB, but the assortment of these models is minimal, the rest of this series is already sold out.
It is interesting that, according to the statistics of the Steam service, the most popular graphics card at the end of November was GeForce GTX 1650 4 GB. Quantitatively, it has not grown much, but it has become the leader thanks to the reduction of systems with GeForce GTX 1060 and GeForce RTX 2060. The four-year-old model had relatively good performance and performance/price ratio at the time of announcement, and later became an “anti-crisis option” for the period of mining euphoria. More than a year ago, we also had to use it as a model for basic configurations. But only because options with even lower performance didn’t make sense at all. At the peak of demand for graphics cards, the cost of a GeForce GTX 1650 4 GB reached an impressive $450-500. Those were difficult times for gamers, and then it seemed that nothing worse could happen…
GeForce GTX 1650 4 GB is still on sale, and in a wide range at a price of $180-200, but for gaming systems, the capabilities of this graphics card are usually not enough.
Optimal gaming PC of the month
|CPU||Intel Core i5-12400F (6/12; 2.5/4.4 GHz)||$190|
|AMD Ryzen 5 5600 (6/12; 3.5/4.4 GHz)||$155|
|Motherboard||Intel B660 (LGA1700)||$140|
|AMD B550 (Socket AM4)||$110|
|Memory||16 GB (2×8 GB) DDR4-3600||$70|
|GPU||GeForce RTX 3060 Ti 8 GB/ Radeon RX 6700 XT 12 GB span>||$470|
|Storage||SSD, 960 GB/1 TB, M.2 NVMe, PCI- E x4||$110|
|Body and power supply||Middle Tower ATX, 650 W||$130|
|Intel PC total||$1110|
|AMD PC total||$1045|
Optimal gaming systems on Intel are satisfied with Core i5-12400F chips (6/12; 2.5/4.4 GHz). We do not rule out that this is one of the last times when this model falls into the recommended configurations. Not at all due to unfitness, in this class of systems there are no complaints about the proven 6-core. But of course, with the start of sales of Core 13th generation chips without unlocked multipliers, Core i5-13400F will definitely come into our field of vision. Mass models of Core 13xxx should be announced during the CES 2023 exhibition in early January, at the same time the start of sales of updated CPUs is expected. As we noted earlier, models younger than the Core i5-13600K will use the same architecture as the Alder Lake chips, but all Core i5s will be accelerated by unlocking the energy-efficient cores.
The younger Core i5-13400/13400F will get four E-cores, while the older models of the line will get as many as 8 additional cores. If previous insiders are to be believed, the Core i5-13400F will be almost a third faster than the Core i5-12400F in multi-threaded tasks. Single-threaded performance will only increase with increased frequencies, so the improvement here is expected to be relatively small. But overall, of course, the Core i5-13400F looks promising, especially if the retail prices turn out to be similar to those of its predecessors.
The results of Core i5-13500/13600, which will receive as many as 8 additional energy-efficient cores, should be even more impressive. Again, if you trust the information of the sources, the increase in performance in multi-threaded mode can be up to 65%. An example of how healthy competition in the market can work wonders. However, we will wait for the start of sales, as well as the results of an independent assessment of the capabilities of the new processors.
If you try to strengthen the position of the CPU even before the start of sales of the 13th generation Core i5, then there are no special inexpensive options. Available Core i5-12500 (6/12; 3.0/4.6 GHz) cost already $250, while it is not offered in a modification without integrated graphics. The difference from the Core i5-12400 is only in the peak frequency increased by 200 MHz under a load of 1-2 cores. That’s not enough to justify the $60 surcharge. Yes, the Core i5-12500 received support for vPro functions, but for a gaming system they have no value. Unlike the 12th generation chips, older Core i5 models will differ significantly from the basic ones, including performance. But again, we will consider the justification of their use for game systems separately.
And yet, should we wait for the release of the new Core i5? Yes, if you are mentally prepared for the fact that at the start of sales (recall that the exact date has not yet been determined) the new models will cost more, even if the recommended price tags remain identical to those of their predecessors.
Along with the new processors, Intel will also offer the Intel B760 chipset, which will differ little from its predecessor Intel B660. It is only about a certain redistribution of available PCI-E 3.0/4.0 lines in favor of faster ones. We have already seen this in the case of Intel Z790 and Intel Z690. For manufacturers of motherboards, this is a reason to update their lines, perhaps to adjust the layout somewhere, and to correct some shortcomings of the devices. However, of course, the 13th generation Core works with Intel B660 models without any problems.
For optimal gaming configurations on AMD, we recommend building on Ryzen 5 5600 (6/12; 3.5/4.4 GHz). The excellent balance of performance and price makes it much easier to choose a specific model, leaving no room for doubt. The cost of the chip in the last month generally decreased to $155, which only added to its attractiveness. However, AMD’s 6-core models for Socket AM4 will be much more difficult to compete with the new Intel Core 13th generation, which will not only have increased frequencies but will also receive additional computing units.
What are the options for strengthening AMD’s position here in the near future? Ryzen 5 5600X (6/12; 3.7/4.6 GHz) can hardly be called an effective improvement. Plus 100-200 MHz to the peak operating frequencies will not fundamentally change the situation but will require an increase in costs of ~$30. But Ryzen 7 5700X (8/16; 3.4/4.6 GHz) can be considered an effective boost. After the announcement and release, the price of this model was kept at $300+ for a long time, but in the last few months, the price has dropped to $220. And this is just an amazing price tag for an 8-core 16-thread Vermeer family CPU with Zen 3 architecture. AMD is trying with all its might not to lose the initiative and user loyalty in an important segment.
The most affordable 8-core processor for Socket AM4 has a not so modest frequency head start – 3.4/4.6 GHz, however, it is unlikely to significantly improve the value of the average fps compared to 6-core models. However, additional cores will protect against possible slowdowns in the case of the most demanding games, and will also significantly increase performance in multi-threaded tasks. Also note that the Ryzen 7 5700X has a thermal package of 65 W, and is really much more economical than the older model Ryzen 7 5800X. However, as in the case of the latter, the retail set of the processor does not include a regular cooler, so you will have to decide on the cooler separately.
Socket AM5 still remains an unnecessarily expensive solution for optimal gaming configurations. Even after the Ryzen 5 7600X‘s retail price drops to $280, motherboards starting at $200 and the need to purchase DDR5 keep you from upgrading to a more modern platform. Here we expect more affordable chips from AMD – for example, Ryzen 5 7600 for $220 and also less expensive motherboards ($120-140), along the way counting on the gradual decrease in the price of RAM of the new standard.
At the end of the year, we also decided to increase the gaming potential of optimal configurations by offering more powerful graphics cards. The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti 8 GB and the Radeon RX 6700 XT 12 GB are now offered as the main benchmarks for this system category. Models of both series now cost about $450. At the same time, for adapters with NVIDIA chips, this is rather a starting point, and a wider selection appears at the price of $460-480, while special offers of the RX 6700 XT can be obtained even for $420.
Graphics cards of this level allow 1080p@144 Hz screens not to idle, and feel quite comfortable in 1440p mode, having even in the most difficult projects about 60 frames/s. The approach to 4K is also possible, but here we will not be talking about the maximum settings of the picture quality, besides, it will not hurt to connect AI-scaling technologies.
The gaming performance of GeForce RTX 3060 Ti 8GB and Radeon RX 6700 XT 12GB is very similar. Depending on the game, certain distortions can be in one or the other direction. If we generalize, then a certain advantage (~5%) will be on the side of the model with an AMD chip. Moreover, with the increase in resolution, the difference will increase further (7–9%). But when ray tracing is activated, NVIDIA’s solution will have a head start. In general, these are close in terms of graphics card performance, so you can rely on your own preferences here.
However, NVIDIA decided to further strengthen the position of GeForce RTX 3060 Ti by offering a modification of the graphics card with GDDR6X memory, which works at an effective 19,000 MHz. The basic version is equipped with GDDR6 chips with 14,000 MHz. Taking into account that, the bus bit rate remained unchanged, the memory bandwidth in the case of GDDR6X increased from 448 GB/s to 608 GB/s (+36%). After such an acceleration, you can expect an increase in the overall performance of the graphics card at the level of 5–10%.
There is speculation that GDDR6X should become the main type of memory for the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti. But given that at the time of writing, only one model with GDDR6X is available in Ukraine against five dozen modifications with GDDR6, this process may be delayed.
How to save money when purchasing a graphics card? There is no way around this without a noticeable loss of productivity. But if the specified models do not match the budget, GeForce RTX 3060 12 GB and Radeon RX 6650 XT 8 GB remain working options. Basic RTX 3060 12GB modifications can be purchased for $390-$400. However, you need to be prepared for the fact that, together with the price, the fps in games will increase to 30%.
Recently, NVIDIA also offered a version of the GeForce RTX 3060 with 8 GB of memory, instead of the base 12 GB. In addition to the total capacity, the bit rate of the bus was also reduced from 192 bits to 128 bits, and, accordingly, the bandwidth – from 360 GB/s to 240 GB/s. According to the results of the tests, the version with 8 GB turns out to be 15-20% slower than the model with 12 GB of memory on board. This is a noticeable decrease in performance, which, unfortunately, is almost not reflected in the price of the graphics card. Several GeForce RTX 3060 8GB models are already offered in Ukraine, but their cost is minimally different from that of the 12GB version. If you decide or are forced to save, focus on GeForce RTX 3060 12 GB, and models with 8 GB may be interesting, except with price tags up to $350.
As for AMD’s more affordable alternatives, the Radeon RX 6650 XT 8GB has also dropped in price a bit over the past month. Now it is quite possible to pick up a decent option for $380–400. At the same time, these models will be 10-15% faster than the GeForce RTX 3060 12 GB, but they will miss out on the NVIDIA graphics card when ray tracing is activated.
When considering graphics cards in the ~$400 price segment, you can come across Radeon RX 6700 10 GB. A compromise model that occupies an intermediate position between RX 6650 and RX 6700 XT in terms of performance. Judging by the offers, now on the market in Ukraine only one model from Sapphire is currently available. It is possible to consider this option, but taking into account the current situation, $420 for such a model is the price ceiling for a model with good cooling. If the graphics card is offered at a higher price, it is better to reach for the Radeon RTX 6700 XT 12 GB.
But what we still can’t get our hands on is the Intel Arc A770/A750 graphics cards presented. The appearance of a third powerful developer in the segment of discrete graphics adapters was long-awaited. However, gaining momentum in this highly competitive niche takes time. Unfortunately, graphics cards from Intel are still not presented in our market. So let’s be patient. In the meantime, it is good to hear that work on software optimization is being carried out at an increased pace. Intel recently announced a significant increase in the performance of its solutions in games with DirectX 9, where graphics cards showed modest results during the first tests. Well, maybe by the time Intel graphics cards reach our shores, software optimizations will allow you to make the best first impression. We are not talking about recommendations yet.
Progressive gaming PC of the month
|CPU||Intel Core i5-13600KF (6/12+8; 3.5/5.1 GHz, 2.6/3.9 GHz)||$340|
|AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D (8/16; 3.4/4.5 GHz; 96 MB L3)||$360|
|Motherboard||Intel Z690 (LGA1700)||$210|
|AMD B550/X570S (Socket AM4)||$160|
|Memory||32 GB (2×16 GB) DDR4-3600||$130|
|GPU||GeForce RTX 3080 10 GB / Radeon RX 6800 XT 16 GB||$840|
|Storage||SSD 2 TB, M.2 PCI-E 4.0||$230|
|Body and power supply||Middle Tower ATX, 750 W||$210|
|Intel PC total span>||$1960|
|AMD PC total span>||$1930|
The processor position in the progressive Intel gaming system does not raise any particular questions. Core i5-13600KF seems at home and will cope with its tasks perfectly. However, there is a small question about this position – peak frequencies and cache memory capacity. Not that they are insufficient, but when there is an understanding that it could be even better, there is always room for some doubt. We will dispel them already after the basic models of the Core i7-13xxx line appear on sale. If the increase in productivity will be proportional, or at least close to the increase in price, we will also consider such options.
An Intel Z690 board is suitable as a basis for the platform, however, a firmware update may be required to work with Core 13th generation chips. Along with the Raptor Lake processors, the manufacturer also offered the Intel Z790 chipset. Of course, boards based on it will also be suitable for use, as well as experiments with new CPUs. We recently tested a model based on Intel Z790 – MSI MPG Z790 EDGE WIFI DDR4. And about a year ago, its predecessor based on Intel Z690 was reviewed. With a similar layout, the models have certain differences in details. The manufacturer strengthened the VRM assemblies for more power reserve when working with energy-intensive chips. The number of M.2 ports with additional cooling has increased, the equipment of the interface panel has varied, and a newer controller is also used for working with wireless networks. But all improvements come at a price. Therefore, models based on Intel Z790 are usually more expensive than their predecessors.
With the AMD platform, we again have a couple of options. And both are good. Option number one is a technological 8-core Ryzen 7 5800X3D (8/16; 3.4/4.5 GHz) with a huge cache of the third level with a capacity of 96 MB, which shows incredible performance for chips of the Socket AM4 platform in games The additional buffer sometimes gives a speedup of tens of percent compared to any other model in the Vermeer line. A real find specifically for gaming platforms. It’s a pity that over the last month the price of the model, which had previously decreased to $360, increased to $380.
The brand new Ryzen 7 7700X – an 8-core 16-thread chip with Zen 4 architecture for the Socket AM5 platform – costs about the same now. A month ago, this model retailed for $450.
Recent siginficant price reduction on Ryzen 7000 was connected to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. AMD assured us that these are temporary offers, however, some time after the promotional sales, the reduced prices are still relevant. Taking into account the fact that the chips, and together with them some other products of the manufacturer became cheaper not only on the official resource , it is likely that the holiday “promotion” will be long-lasting, because the price reduction directly for Ryzen 7000 is an urgent need to increase competition.
In turn, the noticeable reduction in the price of the Ryzen 7 7700X encourages us to consider this model as a working option for a progressive gaming configuration. However, focusing only on the cost of the CPU, the issue would have already been resolved, but the transition to processors of the new line involves the use of the Socket AM5 platform with DDR5 RAM. And these are additional costs. Basic motherboards with a new connector even on the AMD B650 chipset cost from $190, and to choose from at least a few options, you need to allocate at least $220-230 for the purchase. This is instead of $150–160 for which you can get an acceptable fee for an AMD B550 under Socket AM4.
Even more tangible is the difference in the cost of suitable DDR4 and DDR5 RAM kits. If a dual-channel DDR4-3600 32 GB set with low latencies can be obtained for $130, then a set of the same capacity DDR5-6000 will attract already $230-250. By the way, the need for 32 GB of memory for a progressive gaming system is not even discussed. Recently published system requirements for Returnal recommend exactly this RAM capacity for a comfortable game. Therefore, 32 GB should be.
Returning to the price difference of the key components, we can summarize that the set “Ryzen 7 7700X + B650 + DDR5-6000 32 GB” will cost $170-200 more than the set “Ryzen 7 5800X3D + B550 + DDR4-3600 32 GB”. What advantages can be obtained by increasing the budget by the specified amount? Surprisingly, both platforms have their strengths. We will remind you that Ryzen 7 5800X3D is a unique solution of its kind with a multilayer crystal layout, which allowed to radically increase the L3 capacity from 32 MB to 96 MB, while remaining within the same area of the silicon wafer. And the magic of 3D V-Cache really works, which is especially noticeable in many game projects. Moreover, the indicators are sometimes so good that they cannot always be achieved even by Ryzen 7 7700X with a new architecture and significantly higher clock frequencies in combination with DDR5-6000.
As practical tests show, Ryzen 7 7700X is faster than Ryzen 7 5800X3D in games, but the average difference is 5-10%. Taking into account the architectural, frequency, and even structural differences, the advantage can be both on one side and on the other. Ryzen 7 5800X3D turns out to be a real “thorn in the game” in the path of Ryzen 7 7700X, which holds back the transition to the AM5 platform. A giant cache buffer in some projects works wonders, preventing a newcomer from gaining an advantage. In those games where the size of L3 does not have such a significant effect on fps, the Ryzen 7 7700X chip looks better. At the same time, the new 8-core is about a third ahead of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D in applied tasks. This is a very noticeable acceleration and advantage of the new generation solution.
Enthusiastic about comparing models of different generations, one should not forget about the presence of an external competitor in the form of a fast 20-core Core i5-13600KF, which is capable of creating problems for both games and resource-intensive tasks Ryzen 7 7700X. At the same time, the processor itself costs less, does not require an expensive motherboard and works with DDR4 memory.
So according to which algorithm to act in a similar situation? If the system will mostly be used for resource-intensive games, and the lack of a few fps will not be a tragedy, then the option with Ryzen 7 5800X3D is excellent. But in the case when a PC, in addition to toys, is often used for professional tasks, where the performance of calculations (rendering, video/photo processing, scientific calculations, complex modeling, etc.) affects the time of the completed work, then without thinking twice, you need to look in the direction of a new platform. The difference in price is justified by the significant acceleration in both single-threaded and multi-threaded tasks.
In our recommendations, we temporarily keep the processor position for Ryzen 7 5800X3D under Socket AM4. Obviously, the transition to a new platform will happen soon, but I still want to wait for a wider range of chips to appear and to have a larger selection of available motherboards for the new CPUs. Already at CES 2023, the expansion of the Ryzen 7000 line is expected, and at the same time, you will certainly be able to see boards with the initially promised price “from $129”.
According to insiders, the 8-core Ryzen 7 7700 with peak frequencies up to 5.3 GHz and a TDP of 65 W will have an MSRP of $329, and will also come bundled with a Wraith Prism LED cooler. It is possible that this model will become the basis in a progressive configuration, although a preliminary comparison with the capabilities of the Ryzen 7 7700X will not hurt here. We also hope for a decrease in prices for DDR5 RAM. So far, the noticeable difference in cost with DDR4 remains, but gradually modules of the new standard are becoming more affordable.
GeForce RTX 3080 10 GB with a price of $820-850 remains the main graphics card in the progressive gaming configuration. From the NVIDIA line, this is still a compromise option with conditionally sufficient performance for a certain class of systems. Of course, for screens with a high resolution, the reinforcement of the graphics subsystem is desirable. Among the models up to $1000, it makes sense to consider only the GeForce RTX 3080 12 GB modifications for $850-900, which will add 5-10% in 4K.
New graphics cards on chips with Ada Lovelace architecture are required for more noticeable acceleration. We recently carried out our own testing of the forced version of GeForce RTX 4080 16 GB. The model pleases power, allowing you to finally enjoy the game in 4K mode with high image quality, but the performance/price ratio is far from optimal. The basic versions of the GeForce RTX 4080 16 GB are offered for sale from $1400, and to choose from at least several models, you need to raise the price ceiling to $1500-1600. Even taking into account that the GeForce RTX 4080 will have an advantage over the RTX 3080 10 GB by ~50%, the almost two-fold difference in cost raises questions in the context of a progressive configuration. Still, these are not systems “for all the money” .
At the beginning of January next year, the GeForce RTX 4070 Ti 12 GB, which is technically identical to the previously canceled GeForce RTX 4080 12 GB, should go on sale. However, surprisingly, in addition to technical specifications, the recommended price of $899 will remain. This looks like a victory for marketing over common sense. A banal change in labeling from RTX 4080 12 GB to RTX 4070 Ti 12 GB is not exactly what potential buyers of such models demanded. It probably didn’t occur to any of them that an RTX xx70 series graphics card could cost $899.
Here NVIDIA’s positions and arguments can strengthen the unsuccessful positioning of the presented Radeon RX 7900 XT 20 GB, which turned out to be as much as 20% slower than the older model RTX 7900 XTX 24 GB, while having only $100 less MSRP – $899 instead of $999. The balance of power between Radeon RX 7900 XT 20 GB and GeForce RTX 4070 Ti 12 GB still needs to be evaluated, but the bold decision of Californians in terms of pricing leads to certain conclusions. However, there is hope that the previous rumors about the price are wrong.
At the same time as the GeForce RTX 4070 Ti 12 GB, we would like to see the presentation of the basic GeForce RTX 4070. Again, referring to previous insiders, we can say that the model will also be based on the AD104 GPU. Like the titanium version, the graphics card will receive 12 GB of GDDR6X memory and a 192-bit bus. The main difference should be a significant reduction in the number of GPU functional blocks (up to 25%). There are no target prices or confirmed announcement dates for the GeForce RTX 4070 yet.
Considering alternatives from AMD, we first of all pay attention to the Radeon RX 6800 XT 16 GB starting at $700. However, the range of available models remained quite modest. In addition, tuned models with efficient coolers and factory overclocking can cost up to $950. The choice of Radeon RX 6800 16 GB models is somewhat wider, and prices start at $600, but the performance of this model is also 15-20% lower than that of XT modifications.
Of course, the Radeon RX 6900 XT 16 GB will also be a good option for a progressive system, but apart from the only model from Biostar with a rather noisy CO, which is offered at an unprecedented low ~$700, other options cost around $1000. And this is already the territory of the recently presented graphics cards of the Radeon RX 7000 series.
AMD started selling earlier announced graphics cards Radeon RX 7900 XTX 24 GB and Radeon RX 7900 XT 20 GB. According to the results of the tests, the older model is a very worthy competitor to the GeForce RTX 4080 16 GB. On average, the advantage of AMD’s novelty is about 5%, but in some cases (Far Cry 6, RDR 2, Battlefield V, Resident Evil Village) in 4K mode the advantage can even reach 15-20%. Performance when using ray-tracing modes is expectedly weaker than NVIDIA models, but everything is relative here. Capabilities at the level of flagship Californians of the previous generation (RTX 3090/3090 Ti) are not such bad indicators. And traditionally, a lot depends on the specific game engine and additional technological hardware. The recommended price of the new AMD flagship is $999. That’s $200 less than its direct competitor, the GeForce RTX 4080 16GB. Hopefully, in the near future, this will prompt NVIDIA to review the cost of its graphics card.
The Radeon RX 7900 XT 20GB has its peculiarities, but overall it’s also quite an interesting model. Despite the fact that in 4K mode it is inferior to the top graphics card by up to 20%, the performance at the RTX 3090 Ti level is not so bad. In addition, it turned out that in Full HD and 1440p modes it lags behind the RX 7900 XTX by only 10-12%, and in this case the recommended price of $899 becomes more justified. We are waiting for the appearance of the GeForce RTX 4070 Ti 12 GB and a direct comparison with the Radeon RX 7900 XT 20 GB. It is possible that these models will take positions in the future as part of progressive gaming configurations.
At the end of the year, the situation in many positions for PC of the month is almost transparent, which makes it easier to select the necessary components for assembling gaming/working systems. However, there are still some nuances that need to be clarified. Most of the questions will be cleared after the CES 2023 exhibition in January, which the key developers of the “iron” are using as a platform to officially launch the expected solutions.
Of course, nowadays, powerful desktops take a back seat, yielding to the issues of the capacity of autonomous power sources, the operating time of smartphones/laptops from a single charge and the ability to obtain a sine wave of the required shape for the stable operation of the heating boiler. But if a powerful system helps you do your work, or a gaming session allows you to briefly switch to be more efficient – desktops have a right to exist even in such difficult times.
The materials of our traditional section can also be considered as a concise guide that allows you to navigate and stay informed of what is happening in the segment of desktop solutions. Well, having decided to assemble a new powerful system, do not forget about the help to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, it will speed up our victory.
The article was prepared with the support of the store TELEMART.UA.
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