The beginning of autumn is a good time for gaming enthusiasts and professionals who need powerful desktop platforms for their work. During the hot summer months, interesting components announced in the spring appeared on the market, and during this period, initial retail prices usually manage to decrease. Promotional offers for devices of previous generations are also attractive. So this time, we have significantly updated the proposed configurations within the traditional “PC of the Month. These are initial platforms that you can use as a guide, changing their composition depending on your capabilities, needs, and preferences.
Basic gaming PC of the month
|Processor||Intel Core i5-12400F (6/12; 2,5/4,4 Hhz, 18 MB L3)||$160|
|AMD Ryzen 5 5600 (6/12; 3,5/4,4 Hhz, 32 MB L3)||$145|
|Motherboard||Intel B660 (LGA1700)||$110|
|AMD A520/B450 (Socket AM4)||$75|
|Memory||16 GB (2×8 ГБ) DDR4-3200||$45|
|Video card||GeForce RTX 3060 12 GB/ Radeon RX 6650 XT / Radeon RX 7600 8 GB||$315|
|Drive||SSD, 1 TB, M.2 PCI-E||$50|
|Case and power supply||Middle Tower ATX, 550W||$60|
|Total amount for PCs on the Intel platform||$740|
|Total amount for PCs on the AMD platform||$690|
Memory and SSD for the “Basic Gaming PC” from our partner Kingston Technology
In the basic configuration based on the Intel platform, we have finally decided to make a radical upgrade that has been asking for a long time. Yes, we are talking about replacing the 4-core processor with a 6-core model. Unfortunately, the most affordable 6-core Intel processors are still quite expensive chips for the entry-level category. That is why we have been postponing the platform upgrade, relying on Core i3. The last straw was Starfield for which even the minimum system requirements already include 6-core processors. However, this is not the only project that requires increased CPU performance, and their number will continue to grow. Therefore, to protect the owner of a new gaming system from constant checking for compliance with at least the minimum system requirements, we have used the Core i5-12400F (6/12; 2.5/4.4 GHz; 18 MB L3) in the basic configuration. Even if the absolute average performance after such an upgrade does not increase so significantly, it is important to avoid a possible performance drop due to the lack of power of chips with a 4/8 functional formula. And, of course, performance in multi-threaded tasks will improve significantly.
Increasing the power of the CPU requires a corresponding increase in the budget. Currently, the Core i5-12400F costs about $160, which means that its cost is about $50 more than that of the Core i3-12100F (4/8; 3.3/4.3 GHz; 12 MB L3). The price increase is quite painful for the basic configuration, but it is a rational investment that will significantly extend the overall service life of the system.
As for the motherboard, we continue to rely on relatively affordable models based on Intel B660/B760 chipsets, which allow us to use high-speed RAM kits.
When configuring a system on the AMD platform, we have much more options. If you want to further improve CPU performance and compensate for the difference in platform costs, we suggest equipping your PC with a Ryzen 5 5600 chip (6/12; 3.5/4.4 GHz; 32 MB L3), which has recently dropped to ~$145, making it a reasonable option for an entry-level gaming system. If you have a suitable cooler, you can be tempted to buy a tray version of the chip for $130.
Not so long ago, Ryzen 5 5600 was confidently in the category of optimal configurations, but current demands are changing, and the gradual reduction in cost allows it to be relegated to a lower category platform. It is already a full-fledged member of the Vermeer family of formidable all-in-ones with a Zen 3 chip architecture and 32 MB of third-level cache.
However, as we noted, AMD has a whole set of interesting budget 6-core processors that are quite relevant for entry-level gaming systems. And all this is on sale and at fairly humane prices. The first alternative candidate is Ryzen 5 5500 (6/12; 3.6/4.2 GHz; 16 MB L3). Despite the formal difference in the model name, the chip already belongs to the Cezanne single-chip series, which is also based on the Zen 3 architecture, but offers 16 MB of L3 and is limited to PCI-E 3.0. Nevertheless, the chip will provide quite decent performance, especially given the current retail price of $100 for the box version and ~$85 for the tray version.
In the pursuit of the most affordable chip for a basic gaming configuration, you will almost certainly come across the Ryzen 5 3600 (6/12; 2.6/4.2 GHz; 32 MB L3). A six-core chip with 32 MB of third-level cache without a bundled cooler is already offered for $70-75. This is just some kind of forbidden trick from AMD. At this price, you want to buy such a processor, even if you don’t need it. With a simple $10 cooler, such a chip will already allow you to feel quite comfortable even in demanding projects. It is not surprising that according to price aggregators, this is the most popular model on the market at the beginning of fall 2023. But the retail version of Ryzen 5 3600 is no longer so attractive in terms of price ($115), so the demand for this modification is much lower.
By the way, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that an original Box version without a standard cooler is available for Ryzen 5 3600. It has the product article 100-100000031AWOF and is offered in a flat cardboard box. That is, it has all the features of a retail product and, unlike the OEM version (tray), has a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Of course, I would like to see similar price tags for 6-core Intel chips. But something close can only be observed in the case of Core i5-10400F (~$105) and Core i5-11400F(~$125), but here we are talking about the last generation LGA1200 platform, not the current LGA1700.
Returning to the choice of a motherboard for the AMD platform, we note that the bus factor will have to be taken into account in this matter. Available models on the AMD A520/B450 chipsets for ~$75 are generally suitable for systems of this class, but such models are limited to PCI Express 3.0 support. At the same time, taking into account that video cards with PCI-E x8 interface are potentially in the scope of interest for basic configurations, PCI Express 4.0 bus support is desirable in order not to lose valuable fps. It is provided by cards based on AMD B550, but such models are offered from ~$100. So here you have to take into account the overall system configuration. As a reminder, the Ryzen 5 5600 and Ryzen 5 3600 chips support PCI-E 4.0, while the Ryzen 5 5500 model is limited to PCI-E 3.0.
Finally, we got to the most interesting thing – video cards. This time we have drastic changes in this position. After a rapid reduction in price, one of the best deals for the category of basic gaming systems is the GeForce RTX 3060 12 GB. Video cards of the series are already offered from $315A few months ago, for this money, you could only count on the much slower GeForce RTX 3050 8 GB.
It is worth reminding you that in the case of GeForce RTX 3060, there are 12 GB versions available, as well as simplified 8 GB versions, which, in addition to having a smaller memory capacity, also have a lower bus bit depth (128 vs. 192 bits). Such simplifications reduce the overall performance of the video card by ~15%, so even the very attractive price tag of ~$290 should not be misleading. Of course, unless it is a conscious choice. In our opinion, in the case of GeForce RTX 3060, it makes sense to take advantage of the advantages that are inherent in this particular series. The increased memory capacity of up to 12 GB will definitely not be superfluous even in this class of graphics cards that are initially focused on Full HD gaming.
As for the aforementioned GeForce RTX 3050 8GB, these models have also naturally dropped in price. Starter adapters of the series are offered from $250-260, but we strongly recommend that you do not be tempted by a model of the junior line. For heavy projects, the capabilities of this series of graphics cards are frankly not enough, so we were just waiting for the right time to replace this item. Given the significant price drop on current RTX 30xx models, there may not be a better opportunity. Therefore, if possible, it is better to immediately focus on the GeForce RTX 3060 12 GB. The 30-35% performance gain is worth it.
And what about options from AMD? There are also a lot of very interesting offers here. The Radeon RX 6650 XT 8GB will be a worthy alternative. With a budget of $315, you can already choose from several interesting models in this series. As is customary, at a similar cost, models based on AMD chips will be 10-15% faster in the usual rendering mode without ray tracing, while with RT activated, the NVIDIA solution will be faster.
The situation with the GeForce RTX 3060 12GB is a very rare case when a Californian graphics card has an advantage in local memory capacity. Usually the picture is the opposite, but the exception is all the more valuable.
Back at the end of May, AMD offered a video card Radeon RX 7600 8 GB based on the Navi 33 chip with RDNA 3.0 architecture. In terms of its general specifications, the model seems to be unimpressive (128-bit bus, PCI-E x8, 8 GB GDDR6), but in fact we have a pretty decent solution in its class, especially considering the recommended price tag of $269.
After the hype of the initial sales subsided, and local traders realized that such models could not be sold for $400-450, the price of the Radeon RX 7600 began to decline actively. At the time of writing, quite reasonable models in Ukraine are offered from $320, and these are adequate values that correspond to the current realities of the graphics market. In fact, we have Radeon RX 6650 XT 8GB and Radeon RX 7600 8GB, which are very close in all respects – price, performance, and power consumption. Both graphics cards also have a PCI-E x8 4.0 interface, so it is advisable to use a platform with PCI-E 4.0.
Which of these two models to choose? By and large, they are almost equivalent, so you can be guided by current availability. The only thing is that the Radeon RX 7600, being a newer development, theoretically has better chances for future driver support and optimization. So, all things being (almost) equal, the RDNA 3.0 model is minimally more attractive. Of course, with the change of generations, we would like to see a qualitative improvement, but it should be recalled that the RX 7600 actually replaced the RX 6600, while the Radeon RX 6650 XT, similar in price and features, was introduced in 2022 with a recommended price tag of $400.
How about something more affordable? There is still a Radeon RX 6600 8 GB on sale. There are frankly not many offers, but the remaining models can be purchased for $250-260. The option has the right to live on a tight budget, but the loss of 20-25% of the much-desired fps in this case will be quite painful. There are almost no 8 GB versions of Radeon RX 6600 XT on sale, except for “exhibition” exhibits that are dear to traders as a memory, or they believe that these models have already moved into the category of antiques with the corresponding price tags.
Speaking of new graphics cards, the GeForce RTX 4060 8GB is also a must-have for basic gaming platforms. The junior models of the RTX 40xx line have already received a lot of flak and have been heavily criticized even by those who are not even involved in the hardware industry. It is partially justified, but mostly it is related to the high expectations and not very successful pricing policy of NVIDIA. Most of the anger was directed at the Ti-modification, while the base GeForce RTX 4060 received more lenient reviews. Among the main complaints is 8 GB of memory. However, for a model with a recommended price tag of $299, these are rather acceptable characteristics.
Of course, with the launch of GeForce RTX 4060 at $400-450, one could hardly expect any interest in this line, but in mid-September the price of decent models in Ukraine will start at $350, and this significantly affects the overall perception of the new line of adapters. According to numerous benchmarking results, the GeForce RTX 4060 8GB is 10-15% faster than the GeForce RTX 3060 12GB. Of course, we’re talking about cases where 8 GB of memory is enough, and for Full HD mode, this is still the vast majority of situations. In addition, the new product is significantly more economical than its predecessor (under load, the difference is up to 50W) and supports DLSS 3.
Of course, a larger buffer and lower price are the undeniable advantages of the GeForce RTX 3060 12GB, but the GeForce RTX 4060 8GB also deserves additional attention when choosing a video card for a basic gaming configuration. It is worth reminding that like the aforementioned models with AMD chips, the GeForce RTX 4060 uses eight PCI Express lines, so when choosing this adapter, it is better to use a platform with PCI-E 4.0. There are no issues with Intel solutions here, but in the case of AMD, Ryzen 5 3600/5600 chips and AMD B550 boards are in priority.
We equip entry-level gaming systems with 16 GB of RAM using a dual-channel DDR4-3600 kit, as well as 1 TB M.2 PCI-E drives. This is the starting point. Given the current prices for these platform components, you can improve these positions without any remorse, focusing on your own needs. Basic 32GB DDR4-3600 kits can already be purchased for $60-70, and simple 2TB SSDs are offered from $90. If necessary, these are lifting costs even within the basic configurations.
Optimal gaming PC of the month
|Processor||Intel Core i5-13400F (6/12+4; 2,5/4,6 Ghz + 1,8/3,3 Ghz)||$230|
|AMD Ryzen 5 7500F (6/12; 3,7/5,0 Ghz, 32 MB L3)||$200|
|Motherboard||Intel B760 (LGA1700)||$150|
|AMD A620/B650 (Socket AM5)||$150|
|Memory||32 GB (2×16 GB) DDR5-5600||$105|
|Video card||Radeon RX 6750 XT 12 GB / GeForce RTX 4060 Ti 8 GB||$460|
|Drive||SSD, 1 TB, M.2 NVMe, PCI-E x4||$75|
|Case and power supply||Middle Tower ATX, 65W||$130|
|Total amount for PCs on the Intel platform||$1150|
|Total amount for PCs on the AMD platform||$1120|
Memory and SSD for the “Optimal Gaming PC” from our partner Kingston Technology
The processor for the optimal configuration on the Intel platform remains the Core i5-13400F (6/12+4; 2.5/4.6 GHz + 1.8/3.3 GHz), which fully satisfies us in this position. The 10-core 16-thread chip offers sufficient performance even for quite demanding projects. Four energy-efficient cores are a certain safety net in case you need additional CPU resources. As for the possible successor to the already expected 14th generation Core line, the information on the Core i5-14400/14400F is contradictory. According to some sources, the models will have an identical functional formula – 6/12+4. Others claim that the number of energy-efficient cores will be doubled. In the latter case, the base processors of the future Core i5 line will increase their attractiveness, and if the manufacturer limits itself to only a minimal increase in operating frequencies, the Core i5-13400F will remain the processor in optimal systems for some time.
The name of the Core i5-14400 model may be a “good” trigger for PC enthusiasts with considerable experience. The data transfer rate of 14400 bits/s was common in the second half of the 90s for modems used for remote wired communication with other systems. Nowadays, such values may seem unrealistic, but it was really enough to deliver the next batch of emails from FIDO conferences, visit BBS (Bulletin Board System), and even get an adrenaline rush during deathmatch sessions in DOOM. But the Internet was still very bad back then – slow and very expensive. Hourly billing, top-up cards, and that was it.
So the typical modems of ordinary PC users at that time were US Robotics Sportster and GVC at 14400 bps. Wealthy users could afford a US Robotics Courier 33600, but for such crazy speeds, you had to be lucky with the quality of the phone line and the PBX digital switch. However, the “couriers” kept the connection tightly in poor conditions, so they were a welcome but expensive treat for network lovers. Well, it’s time to get back to the present with optical gigabit, when it’s faster to re-download a 100 GB game from Steam/UPLAY/GOG/EpicStore than to restore its backup from an external drive. While network connection speeds are usually no longer an issue, they are still relevant to gaming system configurations.
So, when choosing a motherboard for an optimal Core i5-13400F gaming PC, it makes sense to look at Intel B760 models. Moreover, this time we decided that it was time to upgrade systems of this level to DDR5 RAM. Boards that support this standard are slightly more expensive than DDR4 versionsWe’d like to draw your attention to the fact that we’re primarily interested in Intel B760 models, although the options for Intel B660 are also suitableThe thing is that on the updated PCH, manufacturers offer a wider range of DDR5 boards, which also includes more affordable solutions, while the Intel B660 usually offered more equipped and expensive versions for the new memory standardBut even in the case of the Intel B760 for DDR5, you will have to spend ~$150 to buy a motherboard.
Another AMD announcement became a catalyst for the start of using the Socket AM5 platform for optimal configurations. We are talking about the new Ryzen 5 7500F processor with a recommended price tag of $179Initially, it was assumed that this 6-core model would appear only on the Chinese market, but the CPU became more widespread quite quicklyOf course, in our realities, we are not talking about the declared cost, but the actual $200 is a completely justified price The peculiarity of Ryzen 5 7500F is that that this model has deactivated integrated graphicsAMD did not invent any special designations, using the “F” index in the model name for a chip with a disabled video coreThe main competitor does the same, so this approach will make it easier to navigate when choosing a specific chip.
Except for the disabled integrated graphics, the rest of the Ryzen 5 7500F is identical to the Ryzen 5 7600. The only difference is in the operating frequencies. The older model has a formula of 3.8/5.1 GHz, while the new one has 3.7/5.0 GHz. The difference of 100 MHz does not actually affect performance, which is why the most affordable chip for AM5 will be a good option for optimal configuration. Although the developers of Cyberpunk 2077 are already “scaring” with increased system requirements for the Phantom Liberty expansion, assuring that the sequel will be able to load even 8-core chips by 90%, we are almost certain that even in such cases, Ryzen 5 7500F will look at least as good as Ryzen 7 5700X. In other cases, the Zen 4 will provide an undeniable gaming advantage. In fact, at an equal price, the overall advantage is for the Ryzen 5 7500F.
Although, to be fair, the transition to the AM5 platform will require additional costs for the motherboard. There are already models for Ryzen 7000 that cost up to $100, but in this case, you shouldn’t be desperate to save money. Basic versions of the AMD A620 with trivial VRM schemes generally have limitations on support for the top chips in the series, so even if you’re not interested in overclocking the CPU, it’s worth raising the bar to $130. If you want to get a platform with more functionality on the AMD B650, you will have to increase the budget to at least $150. To summarize, we note that you need to spend $20-40 more to buy a board with an AM5 connector than in the case of a similarly equipped model on AMD B550 for AM4. Additional costs are undesirable here, but acceptable for optimal configurations.
The choice of a video card for this category is even more fundamental than in the case of basic configurations. However, it will be even more difficult to choose a specific model. At the moment, there are some difficulties with the best options. To begin with, let’s outline the pool of the most suitable candidates. GeForce RTX 3060 Ti 8 GB, which has held this position for some time, although it has lost some of its appeal, remains in the range of possible contenders after the price drop to ~$400-430.
You can speculate as much as you want on what the ideal xx60 Ti graphics card would look like, but you can’t ignore the GeForce RTX 4060 Ti 8GB as it is. Fortunately, a few months since the announcement were enough for the retail price to drop from the terrifying $550-600 to ~$450-480. This is already the point where the card can potentially be considered as part of a mid-range gaming configuration, taking into account the fact that the PC will be equipped with a Full HD screen.
We took a closer look at the RTX 4060 Ti’s capabilities in different modes, so if you need more details, we invite you to check out the corresponding review. The video card does leave a mixed impression, although there are positive aspects as well. The GeForce RTX 4060 Ti 8GB on average usually has a slight advantage over its predecessor, the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti 8GB. But it is measured in units of percent. Looking at the nondescript technical specifications, even such final results seem to be a certain achievement. The low bus bit rate (128 bits) and memory bandwidth are compensated for by the radically increased L2 cache capacity, and the reduction in the number of CUDA computers is interrupted by the higher GPU operating frequency.
GeForce RTX 4060 Ti is also available with 16 GB of memory, but it is more of a solution for some work tasks that require increased memory capacity. For example, for applying specialized, complex “coloring” filters during video editing. In gaming modes, where 16 GB of memory is critical, GeForce RTX 4060 Ti will not be able to provide sufficient performance. In other situations, the doubled memory capacity does not provide tangible benefits, but the price increases by $100 – from the recommended $400 to $500. And the retail price of such modifications in our market is from $570.
After the summer price drops, the GeForce RTX 4070 12GB can be included in the category of video cards for optimal configurations. It’s a great solution in its class, but the $650 price tag still raises questions. In the current generation of NVIDIA graphics cards, the capabilities of certain neighboring models in the graphics lineup can differ significantly. This is true for the RTX 4060 Ti and RTX 4070, where the latter is about a third more productive, but also costs almost one and a half times more. So in terms of the cost per fps, the GeForce RTX 4060 Ti will have an undeniable advantage, but if we take into account the subjective comfort of the obtained indicators, the perception may be different.
The additional cost of a GeForce RTX 4070 12GB will be justified for gaming in 1440p mode.
The GeForce RTX 3070 8GB may also be of interest from the NVIDIA range. But the current price tag of $550 is not particularly attractive, given that GeForce RTX 3060 Ti 8GB, which is only 10-15% slower, is offered from $400.
As for solutions from AMD, the Radeon RX 6700 XT 12 GB remains relevant. The selection of commercially available models is quite small, but prices of $400-450 make the series quite competitive. The same is true for accelerated versions of the Radeon RX 6750 XT 12 GB for $450-470. Adapters in this line are a bit more expensive, but the range of commercially available graphics cards is wider. These models based on Navi 22 are quite capable of putting up a fight with the GeForce RTX 4060 Ti 8GB, and the larger local memory capacity can be useful in heavy projects and when playing games in 1440p.
If the 2560×1440 resolution is your main mode, it makes sense to go for even more productive solutions. First of all, we are talking about the Radeon RX 6800 16 GB. Although the selection of commercially available versions leaves much to be desired, you can count on a suitable graphics card for $520-550. What about the even faster Radeon RX 6800 XT 16 GB? You can try, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to find anything for less than $600, and in general, models of this series are actively disappearing from the market.
The new Radeon RX 7700 XT 12 GB will be the perfect option for the optimal configuration. But this will happen only in a somewhat distant future. With a recommended price of $449 for the US market, graphics cards of this line began to appear in Ukraine with price tags of $650-700. Of course, with such a price, there is no chance of success, given that for this money you can already look at GeForce RTX 4070 12GB. So let’s discount the initial hype and wait for models for $500-550. In this class, the Radeon RX 7700 XT 12GB will look very attractive. Comparative tests have shown that the new AMD model is ~5% ahead of the Radeon RX 6800 16 GB, and the average advantage over the GeForce RTX 4060 Ti 8 GB is about 20%, while with ray tracing activated, the performance of these models is close. We hope that the good start of the RX 7700 XT will be a good reason to reduce the price of the RTX 4060 Ti.
In turn, the introduction of the Radeon RX 7800 XT 16 GB is a direct threat to the GeForce RTX 4070 12 GB. The older model based on the Navi 32 GPU proved to be on average 5-10% faster than its NVIDIA counterpart, while its recommended price tag is $100 lower – $500 vs. $600. The larger buffer capacity provides additional benefits in heavy graphics modes and makes you feel safer in 4K mode.
The GeForce RTX 4070 has significantly better efficiency (200 vs. 263 watts) and DLSS 3 support. However, AMD has worked on its own version of the “frame generator” – FSR 3, which will use the Fluid Motion Frames mechanism. The developers assure that the standard will be open and available for use on NVIDIA and Intel graphics cards. The first practical implementation of FSR 3 is expected in the Forspoken and Immortals of Aveum projects. The timeline is still unclear – the fall of this year.
Despite the official launch of Radeon RX 7800 XT 16GB at the end of August, the local market is still waiting for these models. There are already isolated offers, but the $750+ price tags are a reason to wait for the start of official deliveries.
Analyzing the currently available offers, let’s note the best options. When using a monitor with Full HD resolution, the most interesting are the Radeon RX 6750 XT 12GB and GeForce RTX 4060 Ti 8GB for ~$450-470. And this is the sequence of priorities. With a 1440p screen, you can look towards the Radeon RX 6800 16 GB for $550, or reach for the GeForce RTX 4070 12 GB ($650+). If you can wait for the Radeon RX 7700 12GB and Radeon RX 7800 XT 16GB to expand their range and reduce their retail price, it makes sense. These models will revitalize this segment and force NVIDIA to take unpopular steps. There are already rumors on the web about a reduction in the recommended price of GeForce RTX 4070 from $599 to $549. We have nothing against it.
We equip mid-level gaming platforms with 32 GB of RAM. For systems of this class, this is a reasonable minimum. There are more and more projects where the recommended system requirements specify this capacity. Given that both platforms now use DDR5, we recommend picking up a relatively affordable dual-channel DDR5-5600 2×16 GB kit. Simple sets of this rank with an acceptable delay formula are offered at a price of ~$100-110.
When choosing a drive for an optimal configuration, you usually have to choose between two options: buy a fast enough SSD with a capacity of 1 TB, or a model with a lower performance but 2 TB. Here everyone will have to make a choice depending on their own preferences. Of course, the best option is a fast SSD of 2 TB, but the cost of such models, although it has decreased significantly in recent years, is still significant for a mid-range PC. With new projects of 100-150 GB each, free SSD space runs out very quickly, so maximizing capacity is a priority.
Progressive gaming PC of the month
|Intel Core i5-13600KF (6/12+8; 3,5/5,1 Ghz, 2,6/3,9 Ghz)||$340|
|AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D (8/16; 3,7/5,0 Ghz; 96 MB L3)||$450|
|Motherboard||Intel Z690/Z790 (LGA1700)||$230|
|AMD B650 (Socket AM5)||$200|
|Memory||32 ГБ (2×16 ГБ) DDR5-6000||$130|
|Video card||Radeon RX 7900 XT 20 GB / GeForce RTX 4070 Ti 12 GB||$950|
|Drive||SSD 2 TB, M.2 PCI-E 4.0||$150|
|Case and power supply||Middle Tower ATX, 750W||$210|
|Total amount for PCs on the Intel platform||$2010|
|Total amount for PCs on the AMD platform||$2090|
Memory and SSD for the “Progressive Gaming PC” from our partner Kingston Technology
We use Core i5-13600KF (6/12+8; 3.5/5.1 GHz, 2.6/3.9 GHz) as the basis of the progressive configuration on the Intel platform. We are quite satisfied with the capabilities of this model. The 14-core, 20-threaded chip has fairly high operating frequencies and is ready for super-heavy gaming loads. What about the upcoming Core i5-14600KF? Based on the previous information, no fundamental differences are expected. A difference of 100-200 MHz is definitely not a feature that is worth reconsidering. However, let’s not jump to conclusions and wait for the launch of the 14th generation Core chips. We would like to remind you that Intel will announce the updated processors at Intel Innovation 2023, which starts on September 19.
It is expected that the conference will present models of chips for enthusiasts with unlocked multipliers as planned. However, we will have to wait until mid-October to see them on sale. The top-end special edition of KS will likely be available even later. At the same time, the bulk of the average models are likely to be launched at the January CES.
If you are considering strengthening your processor position by choosing the Core i7-13700KF, it makes sense to wait for the Core i7-14700KF to be released. This is almost the only case when the updated models will receive functional changes. It is about increasing the number of computing units. The new Core i7 will have 8 productive cores with Hyper-Threading support and 12 energy-efficient computing units, while the current CPUs have a formula of 8/16+8. Four additional cores will certainly improve the performance of the chips in multithreaded tasks. However, the Raptor Lake Refresh processors are expected to have slightly higher recommended prices, although we hope this is just an assumption. Anyway, we will know more about the upcoming chips in a few days.
In the case of the AMD platform, we could not ignore the appearance of the Ryzen 7 7800X3D (8/16; 4.2/5.0 GHz; 96 MB L3). The new 8-core chip with a significantly increased L3 cache buffer is impressive in gaming disciplines. According to test results, it is currently the fastest gaming processor on the market. At least this is true until the release of the 14th generation Intel Core. Since the chip went on sale, its retail price has been at ~$550 for a long time, which kept us from recommending it.
By early fall, the price of a chip with an additional 3D V-Cache dropped to $450. So the difference with the basic 8-core models has significantly decreased. However, it should be remembered that Ryzen 7 7800X3D demonstrates excellent results in games that are sensitive to cache capacity. While in applied tasks, due to slightly lower operating frequencies, the chip may even be slightly inferior to Ryzen 7 7700/7700X. In addition, when using the 1440p and especially 4K modes that are relevant for progressive configurations, the final difference in fps can be up to 5%. If you decide that such a performance boost is not worth the extra cost, the classic Ryzen 7 7700X (8/16; 4.5/5.4 GHz; 32 MB L3) for $370 is still on the table.
As for video cards, where optimal configurations end, progressive ones are just beginning. Therefore, the starting options here can be considered GeForce RTX 4070 12 GB and Radeon RX 6800/6800 XT 16 GB with a stretch. Of course, with the start of sales, this cohort will also include the Radeon RX 7800 XT 16 GB. But for even more comfortable conditions that you a priori expect from an expensive gaming system, it will be a justified expenditure to purchase a Radeon RX 7900 XT 20 GB and a GeForce RTX 4070 Ti 12 GB. Replacing them will give you an additional 20-30% performance boost. These models are perfect for gaming in 1440p mode with maximum settings. Both are capable of delivering high fps in such conditions without leaving monitors with higher refresh rates idle.
More powerful graphics cards require a bigger budget. The current retail price tags of the Radeon RX 7900 XT 20GB and GeForce RTX 4070 Ti 12GB are quite similar – $950-1000. It seems that AMD and NVIDIA have found a common language in this segment, and both companies are not averse to making good money from demanding players. Well, in general, this is nothing new, but I wish the fierce competition here was more noticeable to end users. It seems that AMD is starting to get on the right track with the announcement of the Radeon RX 7900 GRE 16GB with a recommended price of $650. So far, this offer is relevant for the bottomless Chinese market, but we hope that the geography of distribution will expand rapidly here as well.
As for the current models mentioned above, their performance is close. The Radeon RX 7900 XT is already 5-10% faster in classic rendering under normal circumstances and 10-15% slower than the NVIDIA solution when tracing is activated.
Of course, there are still questions about the memory capacity of the GeForce RTX 4070 Ti. The available 12 GB for a video card of this class is already quite at the limit. In complex environments with large textures, you will have to rely on DLSS support, which reduces the actual rendering resolution and reduces the need for memory capacity. The Radeon RX 7900 XT 20 GB does not have such issues.
If you use 4K monitors and want to play comfortably with maximum picture quality, you will have to upgrade your graphics adapters one step further. In the NVIDIA lineup, this will be the GeForce RTX 4080 16 GB. We have recently tested the capabilities of a platform equipped with just such a video card. Apart from its high price (~$1200+), it’s hard to find fault with it, but for more details, please read our review.
The same applies to the flagship of AMD’s lineup, the Radeon RX 7900 XTX 24 GB. In 4K mode, the model is able to improve the performance of the RX 7900 XT by 20%, and even offer a slightly higher fps on average than the GeForce RTX 4080 16 GB. The cost increases proportionally (from $1150), but for top-end solutions this is even more of an exception. As a rule, the price/performance ratio of maximally charged models deteriorates.
For “ultimativists”, there is only one option on the market – GeForce RTX 4090 24 GB. This is the only way to improve the performance of GeForce RTX 4080 or Radeon RX 7900 XTX by 20-30% in 4K mode. The lack of alternatives allows us to keep the prices of such graphics cards at $1800+. Isn’t it too much for toys? However, due to its increased power and memory capacity, GeForce RTX 4090 24GB is often used for running ML models and testing AI algorithms, so the scope of a 450-watt video card is not limited to getting the maximum fps.
Advanced gaming configurations are also equipped with 32 GB of RAM. For toys, a larger capacity doesn’t make much sense yet. Unless you have some extremely resource-intensive tasks running in the background while running heavy projects. For example, the Chrome browser with several dozen open pages [sarcasm]. So by default, we focus on a dual-channel DDR5-6000 kit. For the AMD platform, this is the optimal mode, and you can only focus on minimal set delays. For Intel, you can go beyond that, but usually the cost of even faster modules increases in proportion to the actual benefit they bring. Although, the current price of RAM against the cost of other components does not fundamentally affect the overall estimate.
For data storage, we equip progressive configurations with a high-speed 2 TB drive. Top-of-the-line M.2 PCI-E 4.0 models are capable of 7000+ MB/s transfers and very decent overall performance. Even 2 TB may not always be enough for a demanding player who wants to have a dozen or so current heavy projects at hand. 4 TB SSDs are appearing in manufacturers’ product lines more and more often, but usually the cost of such models exceeds the price of a pair of two terabytes. Therefore, if you need to increase the total storage capacity, you can easily use two 2 TB SSDs. This is the configuration chosen by Oleg Danilov, who recently upgraded his system and promised to share his impressions of the process and the result soon.
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.
The material was prepared with the support of the company Kingston Technology