Amazon improves the Australian Recommender

Recently Amazon launched in Australia. On Amazon.com.au, Amazon and its many marketplace vendors sell many PC hardware components that can be a very good option for building a new PC down under. That’s why we launched this week a new integration: The australian version of pc-kombo now also tracks products on Amazon.com.au and uses those products for its recommendations.

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Right with the initial integration 2163 products got detected on the site, including the newest processors like the i5-8400 and graphics cards like the GTX 1060. This will further improve the PC part lists pc-kombo can create, it will make the site more reliable and finally it will lower prices, as more alternative parts and parts with lower prices can be considered.

onli,

Amd released Zen+, Support added

With Zen+ there are four new processors: Two new eight-cores, the Ryzen 7 2700X and the Ryzen 7 2700, and two new six-cores, the Ryzen 5 2600X and the Ryzen 2600. They all come with Wraith coolers, the 2700X even with an improved model that also got some LEDs.

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Reviews are positive. The jump from the previous generation is not huge, but there are nice incremental upgrades that result in higher clocks and thus better performance, while needing less energy on the clock level of their predecessors.

The processors are compatible with all existing AM4 boards, the just need a Bios update, like the Ryzen G APUs did. But this time most boards sold currently being should already be compatible. Though there is also a new X470 chipset where compatibility is a given, for those that want to be sure.

Support added for AMD Ryzen 3 2200G and AMD Ryzen 5 2400G

The two new APUs released this week launched with pretty positive reviews. Especially the smaller Ryzen 3 2200G is a nice offer: It is faster than the Ryzen 3 1200 that costs around the same, and the integrated graphics is capable. It is not an alternative for a proper GTX 1060 or RX 580 or something better, but you can play with it, and it is not like one could buy those bigger card anyway properly, currently. That makes an APU right now even more attractive.

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A complete system based on the Ryzen 3 2200G would cost around $500:

pc-kombo shared list

Type Item Price
CPU AMD Ryzen 3 2200G $99.00 @ Amazon.com
Motherboard ASRock AB350 Pro4 BTC $74.99 @ Amazon.com
Memory G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4-3000 8GB (8 GB) $101.99 @ newegg
Storage Toshiba DT01ACA100 1TB 32MB 7.200rpm SATA600 (1 TB) $44.99 @ newegg
SSD SanDisk Plus 240GB TLC (240 GB) $69.99 @ Amazon.com
Case RAIJINTEK Arcadia Midi-Tower - black $14.99 @ superbiiz
Power Supply Seasonic S12II (520 W) $44.99 @ newegg
CPU Cooler be quiet! Pure Rock - 120mm $28.49 @ superbiiz
  Total $486.42
  17.02.2018  

The Ryzen 5 2400G is a bit stronger, both on the side of the processor as well as on the side of the graphics. But it is also $70 more expensive. While the 2200G is still an option even when combined with a proper gpu, the 2400G has to be compared to stronger processors like the Ryzen 5 1500X, 1500 and especially to the Intel i5-8400. That’s a battle it can’t win.

pc-kombo shared list

Type Item Price
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 2400G $169.00 @ Amazon.com
Motherboard ASRock AB350 Pro4 BTC $74.99 @ Amazon.com
Memory G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4-3000 8GB (8 GB) $101.99 @ newegg
Storage Toshiba DT01ACA100 1TB 32MB 7.200rpm SATA600 (1 TB) $44.99 @ newegg
SSD SanDisk Plus 240GB TLC (240 GB) $69.99 @ Amazon.com
Case RAIJINTEK Arcadia Midi-Tower - black $14.99 @ superbiiz
Power Supply Seasonic S12II (520 W) $44.99 @ newegg
CPU Cooler be quiet! Pure Rock - 120mm $28.49 @ superbiiz
  Total $556.42
  17.02.2018  

There is one problem with those cpus: They get hot. Like Intel does generally AMD did not solder them to their heatspreader this time, leading to vastly higher temperatures than their non-G Ryzen equivalents see. In practice that does not have to be a big problem, it will just lead to the fan being a bit noisier than necessary, and it makes the bundled small Wraith cooler less attractive. That’s why the build lists shown here have a cpu cooler in them, though it remains optional.

Despite the temps issue, it is nice to see a good APU join the ranks of the recommendable gaming processors.

The 7 most common mistakes when building a PC

We all make mistakes. But some mistakes happen more often than others. It is not hard to build a PC, but there are some common pitfalls to avoid. Those start when picking the components, but there are quite some more to think of before the last piece can be placed.

1. Buying old hardware for the price of new

You are not alone in assuming that old hardware will be cheaper than new and more powerful hardware. But often, that is not really true. The Intel processor from 3 years ago listed at your favorite online store will often still have exactly the same price as when it was released. And old mainboards can even be more expensive, because they are sought after to power all those older processor still floating around (usually, mainboards break before processors). A high price does not signal that something is new or still powerful.

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Take this current offer for the i3-6100 as example. It has 2 faster successors: The i3-7100, and that one is at $100. And the i3-8100 for around the same price, which even has two cores more. The 6100 is not close to be worth $100, but there it is, at $119, as if nothing ever happened

When a new series gets released the old processors (and video cards) do get cheaper in the beginning, but only for a short time. That’s why it is so important to be aware of what is current hardware.

2. To combine an overclockable processor with a locked mainboard

This is more an Intel thing. For Intel processors, those with a K at the end are unlocked. But to overclock them you need a fitting mainboard with the right chipset: A Z mainboard (currently Z370, before it was Z270). Every time you see a K processor combined with a B or H mainboard, you should remember that this build was more expensive than needed. Because many K processors are not faster than their locked and cheaper counterparts, if not being manually overclocked.

For AMD this happens less often, as all Ryzen processors are unlocked, and both B350 and X370 chipsets allow overclocking.

3. Getting a bad power supply

How to make a build cheaper? You need a fast processor, a powerful gpu, a lot of storage. Save on the case? Well, a case can be used multiple times and you see it every day, maybe not a good idea. What happens often is cutting down on the most uninteresting part: The power supply.

And that can be a fatal mistake. A bad power supply can destroy all other components. It can also start a fire, and if that happens at the wrong time it won’t be the nice campfire kind. The psu should never be too cheap or not have enough wattage (though it also does not have to be a $100 high end model).

4. Using slow ram (especially for Ryzen)

Ramspeed matters, and not everyone knows that. Especially with current memory prices it is tempting to go with that cheap DDR4-2133 stick. For Ryzen processor especially that decision can completely slow down the processor, but also Intel processors do profit from faster ram. Note though: For Intel board, those without a Z chipset do not support common faster ramspeeds. B250 boards for example stop at DDR4-2400.

5. Not installing mainboard standoffs

Standoffs are those small metal thingies that git into the holes of the mainboard tray in your case.

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You are supposed to screw only those in that connect to a screw hole in your mainboard, and their purpose is avoiding contact between the mainboard and the case. Not using the standoffs will lead to the board to short out, which in the best case just prevents the PC from booting. In the worst case it breaks it.

6. To connect the monitor with the mainboard

Hallmark of this mistake is this issue: “I built a new PC with a GTX 1080 Ti, but now CS:GO will only play at 40 FPS.” When connecting the display cable with the mainboard the integrated graphics of the processor will be used for gaming, and most of them do not manage that well.

7. Forgetting the IO shield

This one is the most annoying. You got your whole PC built, cables are managed, coolers installed, and end up with this metal bracket that does not seem to fit anywhere.

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It is an IO shield, and it fits between the mainboard and the case, where the case has the cutout for the mainboard connectors. It is useful to keep dust out, but it is one of the first things to install, and often the last thing to be noticed.

onli,

Short note: Coffee Lake is live, but not available

Right now the pc-kombo system is gathering prices of Intel’s new Coffee Lake cpus. All models are integrated, and also Z370 boards are in the system. And given the performance of these processors they will be the default choice at many price points, as soon as prices are in the database.

However, there is one problem: While vendors may list them with proper prices, the Coffee Lake cpus are basically nowhere in stock. I recommend to disable them in the advanced settings (under the search button) if you want to buy a system right now, and to get a Ryzen system instead; until Coffee Lake is properly in stock.

If they were in stock, they’d be good choices for many users. The i3-8100 is a fast Ryzen 3 alternative, with 4 cores and threads as well. The i3-8350K replaces the old i5-7600K, and costs less. The i5-8400 (a hexa-core!) reaches with its turbo 4GHz, the barrier the Ryzen 5 1600 can overclock to at most, while having a slightly better IPC. The unlocked i5-8600K looks compared to that almost unnecessary, while the i7-8700K replaces the i7-7700K as the fastest consumer/gaming cpu.