It’s been quiet on the website for the past week as we’ve been traveling and ramping our testing operations. Video took a lot of time this week, as we were working on our newest Disappointment PC build, following our highly popular 2017 version. The Disappointment PC (which now has an accompanying shirt on our store) is a collection of the most, well, disappointing parts of 2018, all in one box. Like last year, we spent a lot of time to make a fun and different intro, taking a short film approach with a horror slant. Last year, it was a haunted Vega FE card.
Separately, we wanted to let you all know (on the article side) that we are working hard to revamp the website. We hope to re-launch sometime in the next month or two, if not much sooner, and implement a better back-end editing system for writers to work on. Our goal is to really expand article capabilities and output by end of first quarter 2019, but to put the systems in place by end of year. Personally speaking, the website is where I started, and the growth of GN makes it hard to do high-quality articles every day while also putting out high-quality video, managing a team, and running the business. I still prefer writing the articles, but I need some assistance from the rest of the team. Overhauling the site will enable that, and we’re hugely excited for it.
Anyway, without further delay, here’s the new Disappointment PC build. We’ll leave this one to video, as the first 3 minutes are what make it special. If you’d like to support our efforts, please consider picking up one of the Disappointment Build shirts on the store.
Extreme Ultra-Violet Lithography is something of a unicorn in the space of silicon manufacturing, and has been discussed for generation upon generation. EUV only recently started seeing any form of use in mass produced products, with Samsung kicking off high-volume efforts recently. Intel has also made progress with EUV, deviating from its choice of DUV lithography for a struggling 10nm process and instead setting sights on a 7nm option. This is our leading news item in the recap today, with RAM price declines following closely behind.
As always, show notes are below the embedded video.
The comments section of our Walmart case review and system review tell the story of what people think of Great Wall: everyone is expecting a fire, as the shell of the PSU is uninspiring, its rating sticker is lacking some metrics (maximum 12V capabilities, for example), and the brand isn’t familiar to a western audience. The funny thing is that this would be sort of similar to hearing “Asetek” for the first time, then making fun of it for being foreign to the market. Asetek supplies almost all of the closed-loop liquid coolers currently popular in North America, but never sticks its own branding on those. Great Wall is also a supplier, including being a supplier to brands viewed generally positively in the Western market.
To be fair, everything about the Great Wall 500W 80 Plus PSU does look like a cheap power supply – and it is cheap – but there’s nothing that should indicate this is an exploding power supply. Great Wall’s association with Walmart here is probably hurting their brand more than the inverse, funny enough, but we’ll be digging into that today.
We previously mentioned that Great Wall actually is a supplier and makes PSUs for Corsair, for instance, as discussed in our Walmart case review. It’s uncommon to find Great Wall PSUs unbranded, and this one didn’t even have the maximum 12V capabilities listed, so this unit did attract criticism from the community. What we’re here to do is test whether it’s deserving of that criticism, using our power supply testing setup to benchmark efficiency, ripple, and over-current protections.
The Intel i7-2600K is arguably one of the most iconic products released by Intel in the last decade, following-up the seminal Nehalem CPUs with major architectural improvements in Sandy Bridge. The 2600K was a soldered CPU with significant performance uplift over Nehalem 930s, and launched when AMD’s Phenom II X6 CPUs were already embattled with the previous Intel architecture. We revisited these CPUs last year, but wanted to come back around to the 2600K in 2018 to see if it’s finally time to upgrade for hangers-on to the once-king CPU.
Our original Intel i7-2600K revisit (2017) can be found here, but we had a completely different test methodology at the time. The data is not at all comparable.
The 2600K CPU was manufactured starting around 2009-2010, launching alongside the Intel Sandy Bridge 2nd Gen Core i-Series of CPUs. This launch followed Nehalem, which challenged the Phenom II X6’s appeal in a heated market. Sandy Bridge launched and has remained a well-respected, nearly idolized CPU since its launch. Intel made tremendous gains over Nehalem and hasn’t quite recaptured that level of per-core increase since. For everyone still on Sandy Bridge and the i7-2600K (or i7-2700K), we wanted to revisit the CPUs and benchmark them in 2018. These 2018 i7-2600K benchmarks compare against Ryzen (R7 2700 and others), the i7-8700K, and the i9-9900K, alongside several other CPUs. For anyone with a 2700K, it’s mostly the same thing, just 100MHz faster.
The AMD Athlon 200GE CPU enters our benchmarking charts today, but we’re reviewing this one with a twist: For this benchmark, we’re testing the CPU entirely as a CPU, ignoring its integrated graphics out of curiosity to see how the $55 part does when coupled with a discrete GPU. To further this, we overclocked this supposedly locked CPU to 3.9GHz using multiplier overclocking, which is disabled by AMD on most boards likely for product segmentation of future 200-series parts. In this instance, the 200GE at 3.9GHz posts significantly improved numbers over stock, making it a candidate to replace the retired price position once held by the Intel Pentium CPUs, at least, up until the 14nm shortage.
In the past, the Intel G3258 and successor G4560 stood as affordable options for ultra-budget builds that were still respectable at gaming tasks. The Pentium G5000 series – including the G5400 and G5600 (in this today’s benchmark) – has skyrocketed in price and dwindled in availability. The G5600 and G5400 alike are in the realm of $100, depending on when you check pricing, with the G5400 often ending up more expensive than the G5600. A lot of this is due to demand, but supply is also weak with the ongoing 14nm shortage. Intel is busy allocating that fab space to other products, minimizing the amount of Pentium G CPUs on market and allowing retailers control to boost prices and meet what demand will pay. This has left a large hole in the market of low-end CPU + low-end dGPU solutions, and that’s a hole which AMD may be able to fill with its Athlon 200GE solution, which had a launch MSRP of $55.
Unlike Ryzen proper chips, the 200GE includes an IGP (Vega graphics) that enables it as a fully standalone part once popped into a motherboard; however, we think its IGP is too weak for most of our normal testing, and we know it’d underperform versus the R3 2200G. The G4560-style market is one we like to look at, so we decided to test the 200GE as an ultra-budget replacement for coupling alongside a low-end dGPU, e.g. a GTX 1050 or RX 550/560. If the CPU holds up against our standardized test battery, it’ll work when coupled with a low-end GPU.
Amazon made news this past week, and it wasn't just for Black Friday: The company has been working on producing an ARM CPU named "Graviton," offering an AWS solution competing with existing AWS Intel and AMD offerings, but driving price down significantly lower. This has undoubtedly been among the biggest news items in the past week, although Intel's Arctic Sound murmerings, the GTX 1060 GDDR5X, and the FTC v. Loot Box fight all deserve attention. That last item is particularly interesting, and marks a landmark battle as the US Government looks to regulate game content that may border on gambling.
As always, show notes are below.
The memory supplier price-fixing investigation has been going on for months now, something we spoke about in June (and before then, too). The Chinese government has been leading an investigation into SK Hynix, Samsung, and Micron regarding memory price fixing, pursuant to seemingly endless record-setting profits at higher costs per bit than previous years. That investigation has made some headway, as you'll read in today's news recap, but the "massive evidence" claimed to be found by the Chinese government has not yet been made public. In addition to RAM price fixing news, the Intel CPU shortage looks to be continuing through March, coupled in news with rumors of a 10-core desktop CPU.
Show notes below the video for our weekly recap, as always.
We already made known our feelings of Walmart’s complete system build quality, but now we’re beginning to delve into individual and isolated component quality. We’re starting with the case, with plans to move on to the PSU next.
The Walmart case isn’t presently available as a standalone product, but it is sourced from a common supplier (much akin to the Jonsbo relationship with Rosewill and others), and so could go mainstream should a manufacturer find it worthwhile. What we’re really doing is an academic exercise to evaluate the quality of this case, including thermal tests, ease-of-installation discussion, and noise testing. This can’t be purchased separately, primarily rendering this piece as a secondary look at the overall component quality and choice for Walmart’s Overpowered DTW gaming PCs (DTW1, DTW2, DTW3).
Today we’re reviewing the Intel i5-9600K CPU, a 6-core 8th-Generation refresh part that’s been badged as a 9000-series CPU. The 9600K is familiar to the 8600K, except soldered and boosted in frequency. The new part costs roughly $250 and runs at 3.7GHz base or 4.6GHz turbo, with an all-core closer to 4.3GHz, depending on turbo duration tables. When we last reviewed an i5 CPU, our conclusion was that the i7s made more sense for pure gaming builds, with the R5s undercutting Intel’s dominance in the mid-range. We’re revisiting the value proposition of Intel’s i5 lineup with the 9600K, having already reviewed the 9900K and, of course, the 8700K previously.
As a foreword, note that the R5 2600's current and maintaining price-point of $160 makes it a less direct comparison. The 2600X, which would perform about where an overclocked 2600 performs, is about $220. This is also cheaper, but still closer to compare. Even closer is the R7 2700, which is $250-$270, depending on sales. The 2700 maintains at about $270 when sales aren't active. The most fair comparison by price would be the 2700, then, not the by-name comparison with the R5 2600(X) CPUs.
One of the best things that can be done for a PC is investing in a quality power supply, made easier with end-of-year sales. PSUs tend to get glossed over at times, as they’re a bit humbler than the latest CPUs or graphics cards.
While it’s true that PSUs may not be a glaring bottleneck like processors, GPUs, or storage can be, they are certainly the lifeblood of any rig and play a vital part in how reliable the system is. These days, all the big players have compelling options at the bottom end. So, there’s little reason to compromise on a PSU.
We could make the argument that buying a better PSU is worth it, even if it means dipping into the budget allocated for the GPU or CPU, as a good PSU will outlive both and can be transplanted into a new build down the road.
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