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.

Introducing Hardware Component Pages and the Case Size Visualizer

This update brings specific pages for all hardware known to the recommender. Those component pages hold a bunch of information: The detailed specifications, links to reviews and the manufacturers product page, images and current prices. User can help build this into a complete database, by providing the links and by writing user reviews, and also help by upvoting and downvoting products and provided links.

This for example is the page for the NZXT S340 case:

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One special feature visible in that screenshot is the case size visualizer. Using WebGL, it renders the current case right next to the average mid case and the average small form factor case, as well as a banana. This gives a way better impression of the actual size of a case than just reading the values.

RX Vega 64 added

Almost immediately after Threadripper AMD allowed reviews for their new gpu line, Radeon RX Vega. Again there are two models: The Vega 64 and the Vega 56.

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Those early reviews paint the picture of a very hard to judge gpu line. Let’s start with the Vega 56, as it is the more interesting of the two. Its recommended price is $399 in the US and 405€ in Europe. That pits it against the Geforce GTX 1070. That is a card the smaller Vega can beat, judging by the ComputerBase benchmark and the GamersNexus review. However, it uses more energy, and the reference cooler is loud. It is also uncertain that the price will stay low enough to make the card an attractive option, as it might be a good enough mining card.

The Vega 64 looks so far to be a worse option, but it is the one that is available in Europe right now. It costs more: 649€ in Germany. That makes it more expensive than a GTX 1080, while being slower than that card and using more energy. In the US it is at $599, but at $699 for the version with a liquid cooler, both are out of stock.

Since the Vega 64 is available and benchmarks were released it is listed in the gpu meta benchmark:

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Interesting and almost typical for AMD gpu releases is the talk about future performance improvement. For Vega, it looks like some hardware features are not being used yet. And the driver support seems to be bad. It is quite likely that performance will improve later on. If prices stay low enough the RX Vega 56 could then become a good alternative to the GTX 1070. And the Vega 64 might become a valid alternative to the GTX 1080, if it also gets a small price cut. But of course, one should not buy a gpu based on speculation such as this.

By the way, with regards to price cuts: AMD offers those Vega cards with some bundles. But those are not attractive at all. They contain a price reduction when buying a Ryzen 7 processor, some specific, expensive mainboards, and an additional discount on some Freesync-enabled displays. Gamers do not need Ryzen 7 processors, and almost no one needs those expensive mainboards, while the chosen Freesync displays are too expensive as well. I recommend against those bundles.

If those gpus happen to become more attractive options later on we will surely see that here, as those card would be picked up as options in the hardware recommender. But for now, Vega is not there yet.

Threadripper

AMDs latest processor is a monster. The Threadripper 1950X has 16 cores and 32 threads and a turbo clock of 4 GHz. Its smaller brother, the 1920X, still has 12 cores and 24 threads and the same turbo clock.

Those are not processors for mere gaming, and they are also not particularly suited for games. That is not to say that they fail running them, the new processors just are not better at that than the bigger Ryzen processors or Intel’s alternatives. Accordingly that’s their position in the gaming meta benchmark:

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But Threadripper is a lot stronger in applications that can use those many cores. In the benchmarks we see the big model before the more expensive Intel Core i9-7900X:

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There are still more results to be added, I fully expect the 1920X to beat the i7-7820X in the benchmark with some additional data. But that will have to wait, as Vega got released and is about to be added to the recommender.

Introducing the pc-kombo Meta Benchmark

At the core of the recommender lies a benchmark we created. Collecting benchmark results of several publications over a long time, we have enough data to realistically judge the performance of current processors and graphics cards.

So far that benchmark was used only internally to create the matching set of processor and graphics card when using pc-kombo as recommender. Now we open up that benchmark:

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A useful new way to select the proper cpu and gpu for your next PC.