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.

/blog/upload/ryzen2000_tiny.jpg

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.

/blog/upload/AMD_Ryzen_3_2200G.jpg

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.

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:

/blog/upload/nzxt_page_tiny.jpg

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.

/blog/upload/rx-vega-56.png

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:

/blog/upload/rx64bench.png

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.