PC of the month (March 2024)

The last month of winter and the beginning of the spring season can be considered a period of price stabilization and saturation of the desktop components market. Therefore, we have a good opportunity to recalibrate gaming configurations “PC of the Month“. It seems that the stage of initial excitement and the desire of local merchants to make additional profits amid increased interest in the emergence of new products presented at the January CES 2024 is already over. The most impatient buyers have already paid an inflated price, and the supply/demand balance allows more moderate users to count on solutions at a fair price. Of course, the recent exchange rate volatility makes its own adjustments here, but we will try to take this nuance into account in the current configurations of gaming systems.

Basic gaming PC of the month ($600–750)

Processor Intel Core i5-12400F (6/12; 2,5/4,4 GHz, 18 MB L3) $145
AMD Ryzen 5 5600 (6/12; 3,5/4,4 GHz, 32 MB L3) $140
Motherboard Intel H610 (LGA1700) $75
AMD A520/B450 (Socket AM4) $75
Memory 16 GB (2×8 GB) DDR4-3200 $45
Video card GeForce RTX 3060 12 GB/ GeForce RTX 4060 8 GB/ Radeon RX 7600 8 GB $330
Drive SSD, 1 TB, M.2 PCI-E $65
Case and power supply Middle Tower ATX, 550 W $60
Total amount for Intel-based PCs $720
Total amount for PCs on the AMD platform $715

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

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


Intel platform. This time, when forming basic gaming configurations, we focus on the actual needs of systems of this class without an excessive desire to save money, which ultimately affects the capabilities of the PC. In practice, this means that the Intel platform is dominated by the Core i5-12400F (6/12; 2.5/4.4 GHz, 18 MB L3). Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay ~$145 for the cheapest of the current 6-core chips, but the computing power of the more affordable 4-core Core i3s may no longer be enough for demanding projects.

The lack of CPU performance does not even always significantly affect the average fps. Usually, it can be very unpleasant periodic freezes and lag that appear at times of maximum computing load. In such cases, the gameplay turns into a serious challenge.

So to avoid such troubles, we use the Core i5-12400F processor. By the way, over the past few months, the retail price of these chips has dropped from $160 to the equivalent of $145. The difference may seem small, but for the basic category, it’s an additional opportunity to spend the savings on other components. Oddly enough, but the Tray versions without a cooler in the package are now no cheaper than the retail BOX configuration with a basic cooler. So here the choice of modification seems obvious.

As for the Core i5-12400F in general, the chip belongs to the Alder Lake line and belongs to the 12th generation Core family. It is for these processors that Intel first offered its version of the “big.LITTLE” concept with a combination of productive and energy-efficient cores. However, for such first-generation CPUs, only the older processors in the line have this layout, while the more affordable models, including the Core i5-12400F, have a classic layout with homogeneous productive computers.

Core i5-12400F remains the most affordable 6-core Intel processor for the LGA1700 platform

Despite the fact that Core i5-12400F was introduced in early 2022, the processors are still quite relevant, and the gradual reduction in price only further increases interest in this model. It is not surprising that in the spring of 2024, these CPUs are among the five most popular models in the ratings of Ukrainian price aggregators. The price may be higher than we would like, but there are no close alternatives. It should be noted that at the time of the announcement, the recommended price of Core i5-12400F was $194. So, as we can see, Intel is also using the technique of gradual price reduction. Usually, the manufacturer is reluctant to practice this approach, but obviously, exceptions are made for certain models.

The Core i5-12400 version with an active video core costs on average ~$30 more – $170. The amount for the basic configuration is quite significant, so by default we choose the more affordable modification with the iGPU deactivated. But if you think you might need integrated graphics for some reason, you’ll have to increase your budget accordingly. One of the possible reasons is the desire to have a certain safety net in case the discrete graphics card has quality problems and the warranty issue drags on for a longer period than you would like.

Is there something newer? Of course, but the price tags of such chips for basic gaming systems are already prohibitive. So the starting model of the Core i5 line from the Raptor Lake family – Core i5-13400F (6/12+4; 2,5/4,6 GHz + 1,8/3,3 GHz) – already costs an average of about $220, and the updated Core i5-14400F (6/12+4; 2,5/4,7 GHz + 1,8/3,5 GHz) is offered for ~$235. These are more productive chips that have 4 additional energy-efficient cores, but at this price, they are more likely to be relevant for optimal gaming platforms.

As the basis for a basic gaming system, we can choose a motherboard based on the Intel H610 chipset. The most affordable models on this PCH are offered from $65. However, these are quite trivial solutions in terms of equipment, so even if you are saving money, you should choose among models for $75+.

In the context of the basic configuration, a certain positive of all Intel H610 boards is that they support the PCI-E 4.0 x16 port. This allows you to choose video cards that use only eight PCI Express (x8) lines for connection without any hesitation. And there are a lot of options for basic gaming configurations. Support for the PCI-E 4.0 standard allows you to avoid possible performance degradation due to a lack of interface bandwidth, as is the case with PCI-E 3.0 x8.

All motherboards based on the Intel H610 chipset have a PCI Express 4.0 x16 slot, but do not allow overclocking of RAM modules

Even the most affordable Intel H610 board is guaranteed to have a PCI-E 4.0 x16 slot. But what the models on this chipset lack is M.2 PCI-E 4.0 support – only PCI-E 3.0 ports are provided on the PCB, so high-speed SSDs will be limited in performance. But for a gaming system, record-breaking drive transfers are not essential, so you can put up with this “flaw”, as well as the inability to create RAID arrays.

Another problem you’ll have to put up with with Intel H610 boards is that the RAM is limited to the recommended modes according to the specification. In the case of DDR4 and Core i5-12400F, this is DDR4-3200. Given the small difference in the cost of faster kits, it would certainly be nice to be able to use DDR4-3600, and even experiment with DDR4-3800/4000 modes.

The Intel B660/B760 boards allow you to eliminate all the listed disadvantages of the base boards on the Intel H610 chipset, but you will have to increase your budget to purchase such models. We would really not like to do this, given that we have already increased the cost of the system by using Core i5-12400F. However, we leave this option for consideration.

The choice of Intel B660/B760 models is in the $100-120 price range. The cheapest boards from ASRock/Biostar can even be purchased for ~$85-90, but it’s better not to.

AMD platform. In the case of basic platform configurations, AMD adds a lot of flexibility in the choice of components. At least when it comes to processors. In terms of the most affordable solutions, we are quite satisfied with the Ryzen 5 3600 (6/12; 3.6/4.2 GHz, 32 MB L3). For the price of ~$85 (tray version – $75!), this full-fledged 6-core can be forgiven any shortcomings. And the latter can be conditionally attributed to the not-so-recent architecture of Zen 2 computing cores. Even so, as of now, the chip has a phenomenal price/performance ratio. So if you need the most affordable, but “combat-ready” gaming system, focus on Ryzen 5 3600.

If you want to get a more productive processor that will compete with the Intel Core i5-12400F chip on equal terms, then you should look towards the Ryzen 5 5600 (6/12, 3.5/4.4 GHz, 32 MB L3). Higher operating frequencies and Zen 3 architecture will provide an additional boost in computing power. However, it will definitely not be commensurate with the price increase. The BOX version of the processor costs about $140. If you already have a simple cooler, then buying a tray variant will cost about $125. In terms of price/performance ratio, Ryzen 5 3600 remains unsurpassed, but if you want to move on, you will have to pay more.

There is also a dilemma with the choice of a motherboard for basic AMD systems and two options for solving it. The first one is to choose the path of maximum savings by purchasing a model based on AMD A520/B450, which are offered from $65. The main disadvantage here is the lack of PCI-E 4.0 support for both video cards and M.2 drives. The limitations are no longer very pleasant in 2024, when most new entry-level graphics cards are offered with PCI-E x8. The bandwidth for SSDs is less sensitive – PCI-E 3.0 x4 will usually be enough for basic drives, even if the model nominally supports PCI-E 4.0.

The second option is to choose among motherboards based on AMD B550. The main feature of devices based on this chipset is that they already offer both a PCI-E 4.0 x16 slot and an M.2 PCI-E 4.0 port. Extremely affordable models based on AMD B550 can already be purchased for $75, but these are, again, basic ASRock/Biostar products, while slightly more equipped boards cost ~$90+.

Video cards. The current range of graphics cards for basic gaming configurations hasn’t really changed, but this is not a case where you shouldn’t regret it. The GeForce RTX 3060 12GB looks great in this class. And once again we remind you that you should consider only versions with 12 GB of memory. While the 8 GB versions of the GeForce RTX 3060 do not deserve special attention, given that these models not only have less memory capacity, but also a one and a half times lower bus bit rate (128 vs. 192 bits).

This radically affects performance in games, and the difference is so great (15-20%) that sometimes neighboring models in the same graphics line have a smaller difference. Therefore, the 8GB version belonging to the RTX 3060 series is a clear exaggeration and another ploy by NVIDIA’s marketing department.

Fortunately, there are almost no 8GB GeForce RTX 3060 models left on sale. However, you shouldn’t let your guard down – the ones that are still on the shelves are almost the same price as the full-fledged GeForce RTX 3060 12 GB, so it’s quite possible to make a wrong choice by mistake.

Well, “real” GeForce RTX 3060 12 GB can already be purchased for $310-320, although you need to add $10-15 to have a wider choice. In general, a video card of this level from NVIDIA with 12 GB of memory on board is an exceptional and atypical situation for NVIDIA solutions, which is probably worth considering if you are looking to buy a graphics adapter in this price category.

It is not surprising that despite the announcement of this model back in early 2021, the number of GeForce RTX 3060 users continues to grow, as indirectly evidenced by the increase in the share of owners of such graphics cards to 6% among Steam users. At least among those who agreed to collect information about their platform configuration.

GeForce RTX 3060 are the most popular graphics cards among Steam users. Choose only genuine adapters of the series with 12 GB of memory

With the current retail prices of the GeForce RTX 3060 12GB, it’s hard to make any significant complaints about the quality. Decent performance in Full HD, increased memory capacity, and even the use of PCI-E x16, which automatically removes the issue of a possible lack of bandwidth on platforms with PCI-E 3.0.

Of course, you always want more, and progress is not stagnant. The GeForce RTX 4060 8GB can add an additional 10-15%, but in cases where the video card’s memory capacity is enough for gaming. However, it is even psychologically difficult to go back to 8 GB solutions when we have a more affordable option with 12 GB on board. Although the updated model with the Ada Lovelace GPU architecture has its own advantages – a radically increased L2 cache capacity that allows you to compensate for the more modest memory bandwidth. And as for more practical application solutions, it is, of course, DLSS 3 support with Frame Generation, which is rapidly increasing the generation gap in games where this technology is implemented. And also energy efficiency – under load, RTX 4060 is ~50 watts more efficient than RTX 3060.

Of course, I would like to combine the advantages of both graphics cards in one graphics adapter, but this is impossible, so you have to choose. If you choose the newer GeForce RTX 4060 8GB, you will need to increase your budget by an additional $20-30.

In the list of current video cards for basic configurations, we note the Radeon RX 7600 8 GB. The model is usually a worthy opponent to the GeForce RTX 4060 8 GB, although it is inferior to the latter in ray tracing modes. However, playing with RT in this class of devices is more of an experiment. As for the advantages of Radeon, it is a slightly lower price. The basic versions of the line can already be purchased for ~$300.

The Radeon RX 7600 could have been replaced by the Radeon RX 6600/6650 XT 8GB, but the number of such offers has dropped significantly lately, and the equal or even higher price does not add to the attractiveness of such options.

We note the increase in the range and the availability of Radeon RX 7600 XT 16 GB models. Video cards of this series cause some dissonance. On the one hand, it’s an opportunity to get a graphics adapter with 16 GB of memory in this class, but on the other hand, the modest advantage over the Radeon RX 7600 8 GB in Full HD at a significantly increased cost (~$400) does not cause the expected wow effect. At the same time, when playing games in 1440p, where a larger buffer capacity gives more benefit, the GPU’s computing power is no longer always enough.

RAM and storage. We continue to equip basic configurations with 16 GB (2×8 GB) of RAM, although even in this category the issue of sufficient RAM capacity is quite debatable. This is the absolute minimum for the most affordable gaming systems, as well as a must-have option for those who like to keep dozens of open pages in the browser. The presence of 32 GB in this class is not vital, but very desirable.

As for drives, 1TB SSDs remain the minimum. Recently, when we analyzed the available configurations of gaming laptops, we noticed that the basic systems are mostly equipped with a 500 GB drive, while the 1 TB versions are already significantly more expensive than the starter versions. Fortunately, during the initial configuration of desktop PCs, we can choose the best combinations of components based on our own needs and capabilities.

For gaming PCs, a 500 GB drive is enough to install only a few “heavy” projects. The need to constantly uninstall and reinstall games will quickly lead to irritation, so in order not to get upset over trifles, we start with 1 TB. By the way, the price of SSDs has reached a certain price plateau over the past month and a half. Since last fall, drives have been gradually rising in price, but now the situation has stabilized to some extent. According to analysts’ forecasts, the cost of flash chips will continue to rise, so the price of SSDs has probably not yet reached the upper limit, but now we have a small “respite”. Basic 1TB M.2 PCI-E 3.0/4.0 models can be purchased for the equivalent of $60-65.

Optimal gaming PC of the month ($1200–1400)

Processor Intel Core i5-12600KF (6/12+4; 3,7/4,9 GHz + 2,8/3,6 GHz) $200
AMD Ryzen 5 7500F (6/12; 3,7/5,0 GHz, 32 MB L3) $200
Motherboard Intel B760 (LGA1700, DDR5) $150
AMD B650/A620 (Socket AM5) $150
Memory 32 GB (2×16 GB) DDR5-5600 $120
Video card GeForce RTX 4070 12 ГБ / Radeon RX 7800 XT 16 GB $630
Drive SSD, 1 TB, M.2 NVMe, PCI-E x4 $90
Case and power supply Middle Tower ATX, 650 W $130
Total amount for Intel-based PCs $1320
Total amount for PCs on the AMD platform $1320


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

MSI Optix G27CQ4 E2 27-inch gaming monitor with a VA matrix with a curved surface (1500R) and a resolution of 2560×1440 pixels. The 170Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time provide an optimal gaming experience.

MSI G27CQ4 E2 gaming monitor


Intel platform. Starting to outline the contours of optimal gaming configurations, when choosing a processor for the Intel platform, we return to the previously mentioned Core i5-13400F/14400F chips. As we noted, these are already 10-core processors with 6 productive cores with Hyper-Threading support and 4 energy-efficient computers. The four additional E-Cores undoubtedly increase the multithreaded performance of the CPU. In the context of gaming platforms, such units can be a kind of safety net when the power of the main cores is no longer enough. Although there are certain nuances of load balancing involved.

The existing control mechanisms are not perfect. Intel is trying to improve the situation by offering the Intel Application Optimization technology, which allows for more efficient load management of P/E-Cores in games. However, the list of projects with appropriate profiles is still quite modest, and Intel AOP is primarily intended for top 14th generation Core chips.

Returning to models for mid-range gaming platforms, we suggest paying special attention to the Core i5-12600KF (6/12+4; 3.7/4.9 GHz + 2.8/3.6 GHz). While last time we recommended this CPU as an alternative to the Core i5-13400F/14400F, now it is the undisputed favorite in this category. Over the past couple of months, the retail price of Core i5-12600KF has dropped to around $200. Considering that this chip is not only as fast as the above “next-generation” models, but even slightly faster than them, the choice is quite clear. In this case, at the microarchitecture level, the chips are virtually identical and have an identical functional layout – 6/12+4. The Core i5-12600KF will have slightly better results due to its higher operating frequencies and basically a larger thermal package.

Just six months ago, the Core i5-12600KF was offered for $260-270, so it was probably beyond the range of potential interest in optimal configurations. But the very attractive current price makes this model a clear favorite. To some extent, it’s an unexpected move from Intel, but as we’ve seen once again, this manufacturer is capable of using the price lever to make life difficult for its main competitor if necessary.

The only thing you should consider when choosing a Core i5-12600KF is that even in the BOX configuration, the processor comes without a cooler. So you will have to initially allocate a certain amount of money to purchase a cooler. An air tower with heat pipes for $20-30 will be enough to cool the CPU normally in normal mode. Despite the presence of an unlocked multiplier and the ability to further overclock, overclocking is not for all gaming enthusiasts. Those who are interested in this issue will need an Intel Z690/790 motherboard and a more efficient cooler. However, this is a topic for a separate article.

In the current version, we suggest considering boards on Intel B760 with DDR5 support. The Core i5-12600KF processor works with RAM of this standard without any problems, so the additional RAM bandwidth will be useful in games. Speaking specifically about Intel B760 motherboards with DDR5, the cheapest members of the family are offered for as low as $100-110, but in terms of equipment, these are not the models that you want to use as part of optimal configurations. Therefore, we focus on more functional solutions for $140-150, with more powerful VRM and power supply coolers.

AMD platform. For the AMD system, we use the 6-core Ryzen 5 7500F (6/12; 3.7/5.0 GHz), which is quite suitable for the optimal gaming configuration. This is still the most affordable chip for Socket AM5, but recently the Ryzen 5 7600 (6/12; 3.8/5.1 GHz) has come close to it in terms of retail price. An additional $10-15 looks like a justified surcharge for +100 MHz to the operating frequency and an activated graphics core. The difference in performance between these chips is, of course, minimal, but the presence of integrated graphics may be useful for the situations we discussed earlier.

Ryzen 5 7500F/7600 – entry-level models of processors on the AM5 platform, which are well suited for optimal gaming configurations

The models of the new line of Ryzen 8000G for Socket AM5 are becoming more widespread. Among the chips that can potentially come into focus when choosing a model for the optimal configuration is the Ryzen 5 8600G (6/12; 4.3/5.0 GHz; 16 MB L3), which is offered for ~$230. However, let us remind you once again that these are hybrid APU chips with relatively powerful integrated graphics. It is the built-in iGPU that is their strong point, which increases the value and cost of these processors. If we are talking about a gaming system, and therefore a PC with a discrete graphics card, Ryzen 5 7500F/7600 chips will be more efficient.

Twice the L3 cache capacity – 32 MB vs. 16 MB – will surely give “big” processors with chiplet architecture an advantage in gaming. PCI-E 5.0 support and a larger number of PCI Express lines in general are already perceived as a bonus. In addition, the lower price has not been canceled. So, the older models of the Ryzen 8000G series are great for compact, cost-effective solutions without a discrete graphics card, while the Ryzen 7000 series are the top of the line for powerful gaming platforms with separate graphics cards.

Video cards. As for the latter, in our opinion, the best graphics adapters for optimal configurations are the Radeon RX 7800 XT 16 GB and GeForce RTX 4070 12 GB. And it is more likely to be in this sequence. The attractiveness of AMD models has increased due to the recent decline in retail prices. Basic versions are offered from $590-600. If we also remember that this model is mostly slightly faster (5-10%) than its rival in 1440p mode and has 16 GB of memory, which is not superfluous in this class, then in the absence of personal prejudice against AMD graphics, we can talk about a favorite.

Following the reduction in recommended prices, Radeon RX 7800 XT 16GB and Radeon RX 7700 XT 12GB graphics cards have strengthened their positions in optimal configurations

Of course, the GeForce RTX 4070 12GB will not give up its place in the optimal gaming configuration so easily. The model attracts with significantly better performance in ray-tracing mode (~20%), better efficiency (200W vs. 250W), and an already impressive list of games with DLSS 3 support. However, such advantages will come at a price. GeForce RTX 4070 12 GB starting models are offered from $640-650. It is worth reminding that after the announcement of GeForce RTX 4070 SUPER 12 GB, the official recommended price of the base RTX 4070 was reduced to $549. However, this value is relevant for the US market, while the retail price of these graphics cards in Ukraine is $100 higher.

Regarding the aforementioned GeForce RTX 4070 SUPER 12 GB, we can say that during the review this model left a very pleasant first impression and may even have exceeded expectations in some ways. Tangible acceleration for a reasonable price. However, despite the fact that the initial unpleasantly impressive prices have begun to decline to reasonable values, $700+ for a video card for an optimal configuration is frankly too much. Even $600-650 for a video card is already somewhere beyond the limit of a rational midrange configuration. Therefore, if you want, you can spend your money – the SUPER-modification will at least not worsen the price/performance ratio, but in the base we will focus on GeForce RTX 4070 12 and Radeon RX 7800 XT 16 GB.

If such options also seem too expensive for the future platform, AMD can offer a good affordable option in this case – Radeon RX 7700 XT 12 GB. In general, a fairly balanced solution for ~$500. Minus 15-20% from the performance of the Radeon RX 7800 XT with a comparable reduction in retail price. This is quite a solution for the money, which will generally perform well even at 1440p. AMD has officially reduced the price of the Radeon RX 7700 XT 12 GB from $449 to $419, although on Western trading platforms the price of this model fell even below the recommended value.

In the case of NVIDIA, it is more difficult to save money. The next lowest step behind the GeForce RTX 4070 12GB is the GeForce RTX 4060 Ti 8GB. Yes, these models are even cheaper (starting at $420-440), but this is an immediate loss of about 30% of the number of fps. Given the price/performance ratio, it seems to be fine, but we can still recommend the 8 GB model only for cases where a 1920×1080 screen is used. Of course, here we can mention the availability of GeForce RTX 4060 Ti with 16 GB of memory, but $510-520 is a high price for a gaming graphics card of this level. In most cases, it will provide almost the same number of frames per second as the 8 GB version, which means -20% less than the more affordable Radeon RX 7700 XT 12 GB.

RAM. For optimal gaming PCs, we definitely recommend using at least 32 GB of RAM. We equip both platforms with dual-channel DDR5-5600/6000 kits. For a moment, let’s return to the situation with the choice of mid-range gaming laptops. When evaluating the available configurations, one could observe the desire of manufacturers to force players to pay a significantly higher price if they want to get a laptop with 32 GB of memory rather than 16 GB. With desktops, however, it is much easier – you pay a fair price for the components that make up your PC.

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 7800X3D (8/16; 4,2/5,0 GHz; 96 MB L3) $410
Motherboard Intel Z690/Z790 (LGA1700) $230
AMD B650 (Socket AM5) $200
Memory 32 GB (2×16 GB) DDR5-6000 $130
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 $2020
Total amount for PCs on the AMD platform $2070


Gaming monitor for the Progressive Gaming PC from our partner MSI

MSI MAG 274QRF-QD E2 is a top-of-the-line gaming screen with a high-quality IPS matrix that uses Quantum Dot technology. The panel has a resolution of 2560×1440, a refresh rate of 180 Hz, extended color gamut (150% sRGB and 98% DCI-P3) and supports HDR. A KVM module and Type-C 65W PD port further expand the monitor’s capabilities. 

MSI MAG 274QRF-QD E2 gaming monitor


We don’t plan to make any changes to advanced processor configurations this time. If you’re not chasing record-breaking performance, then the Intel platform has enough power with the Core i5-14600KF (6/12+8; 3.5/5.3 GHz + 2.6/4.0 GHz). In games, it will work off all the $330 invested in its purchase. However, it should be recalled that the chip will require a cooling system, and this time you shouldn’t expect a simple, inexpensive solution. Under high load, the CPU consumes a lot of power, so either a fairly efficient air cooler or, alternatively, a moderately priced liquid cooling system is needed to remove heat.

However, the power requirements of the Core i5-14600KF look ridiculous compared to what the new flagship of the 14th generation Core line, the Core i9-14900KS (8/16+16; 3.2/6.2 GHz + 2.4/4.5 GHz) with a recommended price tag of $689, requires. Maximum power at any price. To further speed up the chip and allow the CPU to accelerate cores up to 6.2 GHz, manufacturers had to remove all limiters and raise the supply voltage. As it turned out, in this mode, under maximum load, Core i9-14900KS can consume up to 500 watts of power. A powerful processor must be powerful in everything.

Intel Core i9-14900KS — maximum performance at any cost. All in the race for record-breaking MHz!

Even before the official presentation, Core i9-14900KS became a favorite of extreme overclockers who got a new “toy” to set new world records. This is exactly what the enthusiasts did not hesitate to do, making the processor work at 9117 MHz. And this is a 10-nanometer process… Such results require considerable expertise, special equipment, and hundreds of liters of liquid nitrogen/helium. It’s unlikely that most gamers will be interested in such an “arsenal”, so for a progressive gaming configuration we will limit ourselves to the twice cheaper Core i5-14600KF, and leave the Core i9-14900KS for gambling maximalists.

Interestingly, even with its maximum operating frequencies, the Core i9-14900KS does not always manage to outperform the Ryzen 7 7800X3D (8/16; 4.2/5.0 GHz; 96 MB L3), which we recommend for AMD-based systems. The combination of the successful Zen 4 architecture with a giant L3 cache sometimes gives this 8-core chip amazing acceleration. Not everywhere and not always, but on average, this model with the 3D V-Cache buffer remains the fastest for gaming. The price is about $410.

We hope it will continue to decline, and this will not be hindered by strange processes that potentially threaten AMD’s multi-core processors. The rapid growth in the value of bitcoin is triggering a wave of mining of various cryptocurrencies. This time, it is the top Ryzen that may be under attack. We hope that this is not just another “it’s started” and we will not witness the emptying of shelves and a rapid rise in processor prices.

Graphics positions in advanced configurations are also unchanged. GeForce RTX 4070 Ti SUPER 16GB and Radeon RX 7900 XT 20GB remain attractive options here. Very equal opponents with well-established features, when the AMD model is slightly faster in standard rendering, while the NVIDIA solution has an advantage when ray tracing is activated. In addition, Radeon RX 7900 XT 20 GB is becoming more and more attractive in terms of price. While it is still difficult to find models for less than $1000 among the new GeForce RTX 4070 Ti SUPER 16 GB, the basic versions of the Radeon RX 7900 XT are already offered for the equivalent of $850-870.

For this kind of money, you can only count on the GeForce RTX 4070 Ti 12 GB among NVIDIA solutions, but even if you want to save money, we will no longer recommend models from this line. Although their overall performance is generally good, the presence of only 12 GB of memory can already be felt at maximum settings even in 1440p, and in 4K, and especially in the near future, there is no question of it.

For advanced gaming configurations, additional savings on graphics cards are generally not desirable. The GeForce RTX 4070 Ti SUPER 16GB and Radeon RX 7900 XT 20GB are the entry-level performance in this class. Both will handle heavy games in 1440p and will allow you to feel quite confident in 4K mode. As you can see, there are virtually no more affordable solutions in the NVIDIA range that will allow you to stay in the current class without consequences.

AMD has re-released Radeon RX 7900 GRE 16 GB to the general public. The success of the model will be determined by availability and the actual retail price. We are waiting for it.

Among AMD graphics cards, the Radeon RX 7900 GRE 16 GB can theoretically be considered for a difficult hour. The model was introduced back in the summer of 2023 and was mostly offered on the Chinese market. Recently, the video card received a “second wind” and was relaunched by AMD, this time for global sales. According to the test results, the Radeon RX 7900 GRE offers performance on par with the GeForce RTX 4070 Ti, although the 16 GB of memory will allow you to keep up with the performance even in 4K.

The video card has a recommended price tag of $549, which is 10% more than the Radeon RX 7800 XT 16 GB. The Radeon RX 7900 GRE 16 GB delivers approximately the same performance increase, losing about 15% to the older Radeon RX 7900 XT 20 GB. In Ukraine, since September last year, the Golden Rabbit Edition (GRE) series has been presented with only one model on the reference design with an almost unchanged price tag of $770.

Despite the fact that a month has passed since the line was relaunched and a whole galaxy of new adapters from different manufacturers were announced, the number of offers in Ukraine has not yet changed. It’s even more disappointing that the price tag remains the same. Against the backdrop of the Radeon RX 7900 XT 20 GB for $850-870 at the current price, GRE has no chance, but for ~$650-700 these cards could be of interest. Especially against the backdrop of good GPU overclocking potential and efficiency and the ability to accelerate memory chips, which appeared recently with a driver update (AMD 24.3.1 WHQL).

If you follow the algorithm and try to increase the platform’s gaming power instead of saving money, you will have to choose between the GeForce RTX 4080 SUPER 16 GB and the Radeon RX 7900 XTX 24 GB. As for the former, the $999 price tag recommended for the US market has been transformed into $1200-1250 in our market. The range of models is already quite reasonable, so there is plenty to choose from. The basic GeForce RTX 4080 16GB is offered for almost the same price, so it can be interesting only at a certain discount.

After the announcement of GeForce RTX 4080 SUPER 16 GB, even the local market has seen some price transformations in relation to Radeon RX 7900 XTX 24 GB. Certain models have already dropped in price to $1100-1150, and this is exactly the reaction we expect from the increased competition. The overall balance of power of this pair of graphics cards is almost traditional – on average, the AMD adapter is slightly faster, but significantly (25-30%) inferior to the NVIDIA model in ray tracing. The latest Radeon RX 7900 XTX 24 GB compensates for this with a lower price and 24 GB of memory on board.

When choosing a gaming configuration in “all-in” mode, GeForce RTX 4090 24GB remains the only option. The lack of competition allows us to keep the price tag at $2000+. This is the price for +20-30% fps in games and the ability to play with “heavy” ML/DL models locally.

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.

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