What has surprised me in 2017 is the amount of awesome new technology that is now available at the consumer level. Here are the ones that I "must"(ahem) have.
CPU: Intel vs AMDThis used to be a no-brainer. But, AMD's recent Ryzen 7 platform has got me seriously thinking of switching over to the dark side.
My choices are:
- Intel Platform - Kaby Lake (4 cores / 8 threads) or Broadwell-E (10 cores / 20 threads)
- AMD Platform - Ryzen 7 (8 cores / 16 threads)
- Broadwell-E: Has everything I want. Just way too expensive. Also, current chipset that it runs on is a bit too old already. Read below.
- Ryzen 7: Great price for the performance. But, gaming benchmarks aren't that great. Also, drivers aren't optimized yet as it just came out a few days ago.
- Kaby Lake: Great overall. But should I settle for another quad core? I was already on quad core 10 years ago! Grrr!
Platform: Intel X99, Intel Z270, AMD X370There are a few interesting platforms to choose from. Here are the main points for me:
- Intel X99: Broadwell-E Enthusiast platform with quad channel memory. Only single M.2 and no support of upcoming Optane drives.
- Intel Z270: Kaby Lake platform with dual channel memory, support for dual m.2, and future proof with Optane support. Great performance numbers for gaming.
- AMD X370: Ryzen 7 platform. No dual m.2 boards (yet). Reduced future proofing due to lack of Optane support.
Graphics: Nvidia GTX 1080, Nvidia GTX 1080 TI, AMD VegaHere are some thoughts on video cards:
- Nvidia GTX 1080: Awesome card! Now $100 cheaper due to TI version.
- Nvidia GTX 1080 TI: 30% faster than GTX 1080. Announced but not yet for sale.
- AMD Vega: Rumours for now. No official details yet.
Drive Performance: Dual M.2 PCIE x4 NVME SSD 32Gbps RAID 0I'm going to squeeze the maximum I can from my drives to make this machine usable the many years to come. So, the fastest I can get to now is by using 2 M.2 drives in RAID 0 configuration. Here are the numbers I'm hoping to achieve.
Graphics Performance: 2-Way SLI or Crossfire supportSingle super card is still best for now, especially for my plan to do VR gaming. However, I expect they'll find a way to make two cards work even better in the future. (Come on engineers!!!)
Connectivity: USB 3.1 Gen 2 + Bluetooth LE + Wifi 802.11 acYup! I'm gonna want to connect a bunch of devices to this. I'm thinking NAS, USB drives, wireless headphones, and a VR device. But nothing special really.
- Quad Channel Memory: Nice to have. Having 8 DIMMs seems too prone to hardware failure in my opinion. I think I can make do with dual channel.
- U2: Nice to have. But adoption not there yet. I can use an Add-on card in the future.
- Optane Support: I'm not sure if I need this. I imagine the bottleneck will be the interface. So, having a different type of drive might not make that much a difference. Also, I'm sure an add-on card (even if it took a PCIE x16 slot) will probably be created if this technology took off.
- 10 GB Ethernet: No other 10GBE yet at home. Will probably look to 802.11ac and 802.11ad.
- PCIE Lanes: For future-proofing.
Finally....... Nope! I haven't made up my mind yet. Maybe I need an Intelfuze model to make this decision. :)
Up next, research how to install Windows 10 without a DVD drive. Because my next machine probably won't have an optical drive.