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Worst time to buy a PC

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    Worst time to buy a PC

    Since my old AMD starts to make more and more problems I decided that I want to get a new PC at the end of this year.
    Unfortunatly a few weeks ago, I made the big mistake to check what my options might be. Now I got infected by a serious illness called "impatience".

    I belong to the people which relative easily understand how hardware works and what fits together.
    But I also belong to the people which actually dont care about such stuff until I really need it.
    So the last time I updated my knowledge about hardware was roughly 5 years ago ;). Dont worry... Im up to date again.

    What I had in mind was getting a gaming PC that would carry me through the modern games of the next few years.
    Very soon I realized that so-called gaming PCs start at 500€ and end at roundabout 30.000€. That of course limits the choices a bit.
    Since my money printer died early this year I decided that 1500,-€ isnt a bad limit to set.
    I also headed away from the "lets buy a PC" concept because you only get overpriced crap in online shops, amazon or ebay.

    Really when you check pre-made PCs and take a close look at the components you very soon have to realize that based on the price of the PC the components are pure crap.
    I consider it a crime when manufacturers sell a i7-7700k on a B250 or H270 mainboard with 2133MHz Ram. When I have a K CPU then I of course need a Z Mainboard, Period! And when the CPU supports ram up to 2400MHz then I dont put anything slower into the PC.
    Overall I would say that all pre-made PCs I have seen are 300,- to 1000,-€ overpriced when taking a close look at the components.

    Conclusion: I pick the components that I want and build my own PC for 1500,-€.

    The configuration below might change due recent events (explanation follows).

    Lets start with the CPU.
    I went for a I7-7700k because its relative new (early 2017) and offers a good overclocking support. Of course I would WOF (WithOut Fan) and not a crappy TRAY version due to security reasons. Costs a bit more but I dont risk getting a crappy build CPU.
    4x4.2 Ghz base clock + 4.5GHz default Turbo clock (plus whatever the cooling can squeeze out of the CPU)
    Of course there are Ryzen CPUs which are also not bad but they focus more on high core counts instead of high clock speeds which currently are more important for gaming.

    As already mentioned a K CPU requires a Z board and the options of available Z270 mainboards is incredible high and choosing one is the most difficult task of all.
    I came to the conclusion that I want multi-GPU support (for later upgrades) -> SLI + Crossfire.
    Fast M.2 Slots have to be on the boards and I require a board which supports RAM with clock speeds beyond 3200Mhz (higher than that is possible but is relative ineffective).
    USB 3.1 Gen2 also would be cool
    That limits the choices to somewhat more than 20 boards from different manufacturers. ;(
    To reduce the list I removed all boards that in my eyes were too expensive and compared the remaining ones in detail.
    In the end I still have 5-6 boards on my list and their specs are pretty much the same, just the look and a few minor unimportant details are a bit different.
    I rolled a dice and currently the choice is the "MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon". Yes that truely is the best way to select hardware without going crazy.
    (since the prices go up and down daily i also might pick another board)

    I mentioned the RAM earlier.
    I went for the "16GB G.Skill RipJaws V schwarz DDR4-3200". This is a dual kit (which is faster than a single kit) and yes I am aware that everything above the 2400MHz that the CPU supports would mean overclocking. Thats no big deal.
    I currently have two versions of these RAM in consideration.
    The somewhat more expensive (15€ more) has higher response times -> CL16-16-16-38 while the other has CL16-18-18-38. To be honest I doubt that this makes much of a difference at all.
    Why the RipJaws?
    Well, because they are pretty good, have a nice heatsink but are not too high. If the Ram would be too high I might get problems with CPU Cooler.

    Oh, yeah... the CPU Cooler most likely is going to be a "Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT"
    I know that there are also other very good coolers out there, some which are even better. The problem as usual are the price and the dimensions of these coolers. Some cost you are fortune and some simply dont fit into case or conflict with the RAM.
    The Le Grand Macho RT is also very big, i mean, its a monster but it has a asymetric shape which prevents that RAM or Graphic card get blocked.
    I also think that I could put a 2nd CPU Fan onto it in a push-pull configuration to improve the cooling even more (if required).


    Since the chosen mainboard has 2xM.2 slots I also would love to use them.
    A good gaming PC needs a good SSD.
    "250GB Samsung 960 Evo M.2 2280 NVMe PCIe" is pretty much the fasted SSD on a M.2 slot you can get. In theory its up to 6 times faster than an ordinary SSD connected via SATA cable.
    There is simply not alternative to this.
    In my current PC I also have a SSD mounted which will also be used in the new PC. The fast EVO 960 will be my system drive and my old SSD will be used for gaming. This way I have a ultra fast Windows and also improve the lifetime of both SSDs.
    Next to these SSDs I currently also have 3x 3.5" HDDs in my current PC which of course will find their way into the new PC and one external HDD which I intend to connect via USB 3.0 or 3.1.

    When talking about the CPU cooler I wrote something about dimensions and space problems in the case.
    Thats really a problem.
    The thing is that Ive been browsing through hundreds of PC cases in order to find one which is not too expensive but also not a primitive piece of junk with practically no air flow.
    I was looking for a very specific setup here.
    2x 5.25" slots OR 1x5,25" + 1x3,5" slot (because I want to mount a CD drive and a card reader from my old PC)
    ATX form factor
    A PSU tunnel at the bottom of the case.
    At least 3 internal slots for 3.5" drives + at least two internal slots for 2.5" drives.
    At least 2 case fans on the front panel and if possible 5 or 6 fans in total. If possible with at least 3 fans installed by default (because extra fans cost extra money).
    And very important, I didnt want any HDD cages or HDD mounts right infront of the front fans because that would disturb the air flow inside the case and it also wouldnt allow to put in long graphic cards.
    Cable management would also be nice and it would be absolutely great if the case is wide enough to support the chosen CPU cooler.
    As you can see I was looking for the impossible and found it.
    The Sharkoon S25-W, a relative big case with window (which is a nice bonus) where in theory everything I so far have selected would fit in. With 45,-€ for the case its almost perfect. I mean most premium cases dont even offer all these features and the design of that sharkoon case is pretty clever. HDDs fit behind the PSU inside the tunnel and get cooled by intake slots on the tunnel, SSDs can be either mounted directly on the tunnel or behind the cable management, there is nothing that disturbs the airflow, I can mount extra fans on the top, it has magnetic dust filters and I can fit all my drives into it. It even has an extra frame for my 3.5" card reader.
    Finding the right case wasnt easy.

    Ok, whats missing?
    A Graphic card.
    The budget for a GTX 1080 TI would have been a bit tight, so I decided to just to take a Zotac GTX 1080 AMP! Extreme. This card is 10% faster than many other GTX 1080 cards and therefore is half on the way to a TI card, with difference that it costs 150,- less than a TI.
    I think that card would be enough for me at the moment and allow me to play AAA games at ultra resolution for the next few years.
    And when I need more graphic power in a few years I still could buy a 2nd GTX 1080 (which is cheaper then) and run both in a SLI configuration -> remember I have a mainboard with SLI support (I try to consider every option) ;)


    Last but not least. The Power Suply.
    I currently have a not that old Be Quiet! L8 600 Watt PSU.
    Here I am not 100% sure.
    I did multiple power calculations to see if I can run that PC with 600 Watt because well, the L8 is actually not bad.
    My own calculation told me directly that I can run this PC with my old 600 Watt PSU but only if I dont put in my old HDDs. Yeah, HDDs draw some power. Mechanical parts require maybe 15 Watt.
    The Be Quiet! power calculator told me that I actually could use the old PSU but I am very close to the point where the PSU starts operating not so effective anymore.
    So I decided to put a "700 Watt be quiet! Pure Power 10 Non-Modular" on my wishlist.
    Additional costs but its better than having the CPU or GPU to throttle down.


    Ok - That are the 8 components required to build this PC and my calculation showed that it can be done with 1500,-€ (1480,- to be exact).
    You of course can get cheaper gaming PCs but not with this specific selection of components. My selection of parts is high quality at reasonable prices.
    A few optimizations are always possible but well... I was planning to wait a few weeks because... ... ... Worst time to buy a PC.

    Worst time because just a few week Intel announced the release of the 8th Generation of their mainstream CPUs.
    Unlike the i7-7700k the Coffee Lake version i7-8700k that is supposed to get released on 5th October is not a quad core CPU but a hexacore CPU with 12 Threads.
    So it would not only be a CPU worth for gaming. It would also be able to more and faster calculations in tools which demand high processing power.
    The announcement of this new CPU series was about 3 weeks ago and pretty much every day new details get leaked.

    While I love to use my new PC has gaming machine I am used to work with it. I process large amount of data and compile lots of stuff. All that "work" would of course go better with a 6 core CPU. The leaked benchmarks look pretty good since the I7-8700k has about the same singlecore performance as the I7-7700k that I selected above. So its still a good gaming machine. The multicore performance however is up to 50% better due to the two additional cores and beats even some of the Ryzen PCs.

    Now the problem is this new CPU will be released in October and I have no idea how long it will take before it is available.
    Next problem is that yesterday leaks appeared showing this new CPU up to 100€ more expensive then my initial choice, the I7-7700k.
    And this new CPU requires a different mainboard generation.

    To be honest I was expecting this new CPU to be maybe 30-50€ more expensive, which would be perfectly fine for a new generation of CPUs.
    However additionally to that are the costs for the mainboards. Eventhough the new z370 mainboards are pretty much identical with the z270 boards that i have selected above I still expect that they will be more expensive since they are newer and companies love making additional profits.
    The only difference between z270 and z370 is a different chipset. Actually price increases are not justified but I think they happen anyways.

    Is it worth to wait for the Coffee Lake CPUs?
    Is it maybe better to use the old Kaby Lake CPUs because they are cheaper?
    I dont know.
    The problem is that my calculation above contains limited time cashback promotions, so I have to make a decision before Coffee Lake gets released and then live with the consequences.
    Worst time to buy a PC.


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