To be able to play on your PC in 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution, you will need to choose good components, ones adapted to this high- performance requirement task.
We will be looking at graphics cards, processors, but also at displays.
At the end, we will break out the calculator to tally the prices!
What graphics card should you choose for playing in 4K?
There are not many graphics cards which will allow you to play in 4K with good results. Here is an assessment of the situation:
- The entry level card for playing in 4K would be the GTX 1070, available for around 500€. However, we do not recommend it for playing in 4K since it will struggle to go beyond 40 FPS in Ultra / High modes.
Except in the case of a GTX 1070 SLI configuration, the GTX 1070 is not the card you should buy if you are looking to play in 4K. In fact, the GTX 1070 is much better suited for playing in 2K.
- Next in line is the Geforce GTX 1080 (without SLI) which costs between 600 and 800€. At the moment, it seems to be the only viable solution for reaching 3840×2160 resolution with maximum detail.
However, you should not expect to be able to run at more than 50 / 55 FPS in Ultra mode in very heavy AAA games. We are fast arriving at the conclusion that one graphics card is just not enough to be able to comfortably play in 4K resolution.
- A GTX 1070 SLI configuration (budget requirement of around 1 000€), will give you more power than a single GTX 1080, allowing for a frame rate of around 60 to 70 FPS in Ultra 4K in games with even the greatest resource requirements.
- You will have understood by now that the performance of even a single GTX 1080 is already quite good. However, putting two GTX 1080 cards together is even better! (it will cost you around 1,300$). With this configuration, you will be able to play at more than 90 FPS in Ultra mode with many AAA games.
Just for fun you could even try reaching 5K resolution!
Budget – graphics card:
- Minimum: GTX 1080 = 500/650$ (competition between brands)
- Recommended: SLI GTX 1080 = 1000/1300$
What processor should you buy for playing in 4K?
Intel will launch, in January 2017, its 7th generation of processors (Kaby Lake) which will be tasked with democratizing 4K UHD. But, until then, what processor should you choose?
In order to avoid the “Limited CPU” phenomenon which occurs between the CPU and GPU, the necessity of moving towards a powerful Intel Core i7 type processor seems obvious.
4K resolution requires that the CPU perform intense calculations, something which the Intel i5 processors are just not cut-out to do.
It is well known that building a PC piece by piece is cheaper, but the reality is that this option is not available to anyone because, either you have to at least have some basic notions of hardware components, or you have to have a good sponsor who can help you with the selection of the parts and the assembly. The latter perhaps not, because the most recognized stores offer assembly – at a cost, of course. As I write this, I’m not an expert, so I tell you my experience facing the challenge of building a PC gaming component with basic knowledge.
There are colleagues in the sector – and a few in CVC2– who know every model, every design, every format, and so on with a very long list of possibilities that define each hardware component and make them completely different from one another. This is not my case, but it wasn’t the first time that I’ve played with a printed circuit board full of transistors, much less. I wasn’t as knowledgeable of the last generation of processors or, for that matter, more complicated matters like chipsets and sockets, among other particularities of the motherboards, for example.
First thing: What I’m Going to Use the Computer for, Then Which Components I Need
First of all, you must set some guidelines, or so I thought. For example, what you want it for, and of course, among others, how much you can spend. Based on these two points, and perhaps some other less relevant ones, you can start the construction of a PC gaming computer piece by piece – or non-gaming, for multimedia or perhaps the office. In my case the computer has to fulfill office tasks, which is a basic matter, but also has to be able to edit photos and videos, for the work I perform here at CVC2.
After the successful launch of the high end of their new processor architecture Zen, along with the Ryzen 7 cores, AMD just introduced the Ryzen 5 processors that will form their mid-range, with two models that have six cores and another two models with four cores, all of them with the SMT enabled. The most outstanding part of the launch has been knowing that these new Ryzen 5’s will be released April 11th and that the highest price will be less than $250.
Following the launch of the Ryzen 7 processors, AMD has now launched the new Ryzen 5 processors which will become the mid-price range product of this new series of processors, placing them at a price that will put them in direct competition with the Intel i5 and i3 processors. In principle four processor models are launched, of which two have six cores and the other two, only four, indicating that they have one of the CCX’s disabled. All of them have the SMT activated, which gives a total of twelve thread processes for the six core models and eight threads for the four core models.
If you use programs such as Mac OS or Windows, you are probably used to storing your data and files on Dropbox rather than Google Drive.
You should be aware that Chromebooks mainly use Google Drive, but that it is still entirely possible to continue using Dropbox as well!
Advantages of Google Drive
Before speaking about Dropbox, it is worth mentioning some of the undeniable advantages of Google Drive, linked to Chromebooks.
Are you looking for a laptop for gaming that suits your budget? Our special laptop buyer’s guide will help you make up your mind.
First off, we will list and explain the different “choice criteria” before then proposing the best models of laptops currently available on the market.
The Possibilities of Upgrading a Laptop:
Let’s start from the end, since this is information you should keep in mind when making your selection.
What will happen when your laptop starts to have difficulty running games?
You should be aware that contrary to desktop PCs, the possibilities of upgrading (changing components) a laptop are very limited.
To simplify things, there are only 3 possible upgrades you can make:
- Adding more RAM
- Adding an SSD
- Changing the hard drive
If you were paying attention, you will have realized that it is not possible to change the laptop’s graphics card!
When buying your computer, your priority should therefore be on obtaining the most powerful graphics chipset available, or else you run the risk of being left behind in very short order with the release of the next generation of even more resource dependent games.
It is a common mistake to mix the terms TDP (to make it clear, thermal watts) and consumption(electric watts). In this article, we will explain exactly what TDP is to which manufacturers refer in their processors, how to calculate it, how to use it, and why it is very important.
TDP (which literally means Thermal Design Power) is strictly the measure of thermic output of an ASIC (or, using other words, the thermal heat generated by the processor), which defines the necessary thermal solution to achieve its nominal performance.
How to calculate TDP
The formula to calculate TDP is the following:
TDP (watts) = (tCase°C – tAmbient°C)/(HSF Θca)
- tCase°C: The maximum temperature to the union between IHS and the processor’s die to achieve the nominal performance.
- tAmbient°C: The maximum temperature of the ambient at the entrance of the sink fan to achieve the nominal performance.
- HSF-Θca (°C/W): The minimum value of temperature per watt of the sink fan to achieve the nominal performance.
With these data in hand, let’s see an example with the new processor AMD Ryzen 7 1700, which as a 65 watts TDP.
What is the best processor for gaming? In this processor comparison, we have only chosen the best processors from each category.
The situation as it stands now (March 2017):
The Ryzen R7 line has been released. (This corresponds to Intel’s i7).
- The positive points: AMD has come out with some very good CPUs (8 cores) at very reasonable prices. This has lead to Intel significantly lowering their prices.
- The negative points: The architecture of these processors suffers from a small memory limitation which makes them less powerful for gaming than their INTEL i7 counterparts.
- Nuanced interpretation: It should be said that the Ryzen 7’s performance characteristics are still very good, and there is a very strong possibility that this processor will never cause you any game-play limitations.
Gamers should await the release of the Ryzen R5 line (which corresponds to Intel’s i5 line) in order to get the Ryzen CPU with the best performance to price ratio for gaming.
What is INTEL’S reply to these new RYZEN CPUs?
Intel will sharply decrease their prices in order to respond to the release of the new AMD Ryzen CPUs.
– Intel Core i7-6950X ($1599 US) – $300 Price Cut (-16%)
– Intel Core i7-6900K ($999 US) – $200 Price Cut (-17%)
– Intel Core i7-6850K ($549 US) – $150 Price Cut (-21%)
– Intel Core i7-6800K ($359 US) – $140 Price Cut (-28%)
– Intel Core i7-5820K ($319 US) – $100 Price Cut (-24%)
– Intel Core i7-7700K ($299 US) – $80 Price Cut (-21%)
– Intel Core i7-6700K ($259 US) – $140 Price Cut (-35%)
– Intel Core i7-4790K ($279 US) – $90 Price Cut (-24%)
– Intel Core i7-7700 ($289 US) – $50 Price Cut (-15%)
– Intel Core i7-6700 ($259 US) – $90 Price Cut (-26%)
– Intel Core i5-7600K ($199 US) – $70 Price Cut (-26%)
– Intel Core i5-6600K ($179 US) – $90 Price Cut (-33%)
– Intel Core i5-4690K ($189 US) – $70 Price Cut (-27%)
– Intel Core i5-7500 ($189 US) – $30 Price Cut (-14%)
– Intel Core i5-6500 ($179 US) – $50 Price Cut (-22%)
– Intel Core i5-4590 ($159 US) – $60 Price Cut (-27%)
– Intel Core i3-7350K ($159 US) – $20 Price Cut (-11%)
– Intel Core i3-7100 ($114 US) – $15 Price Cut (-12%)
– Intel Core i3-6100 ($109 US) – $20 Price Cut (-16%)
– Intel G4400 ($49.99 US) – $20 Price Cut (-29%)
– Intel G3258 ($49.99 US) – $27 Price Cut (-36%)
The situation as of January 2017:
The new Kaby Lake generation of Intel processors (January 2017) does not really bring anything new to the high-end processor market. In actuality, the performance increase, relative to the old Sky Lake generation, is only on the order of 3%.
In the last few years Intel has given us almost insignificant upgrades while steadily rising its prices. All in part because of AMD’s inability to offer a competitive processor. That’s over with Zen architecture. It’s all we expected and more and it will bring with it a renewed competition that will once again boost processors development, at least for the moment, in desktop systems.
The first models to hit the market are the Ryzen series 7. They will not be much different than inferior models, but they are the perfect example of what this architecture can offer to the domestic and professional users. These are eight-core processors where, for the first time in the history of AMD, the ability to process in two parallel threads by each of the cores is introduced.
Almost everyone has at some point visited a site with content that they’d prefer to keep private. However, modern web browsers have a feature that can give us away at any time. The moment we write the name of a site in the address bar of the browser, it immediately searches between the history of sites visited and shows us the addresses or URLs that match what we are writing.
This is known as automatic suggestions or suggested web pages of the browser, something that can be very useful when we want to recover a page that we have visited previously, but at other times it can lead us to a compromised situation if it shows as a suggestion a website that we do not want those around us to see as we type.
The new AMD Ryzen processor is already here and Intel is probably not too happy about the numbers so far. Neither the performance nor the price of these processors. Now, what can Intel do to try to weather the storm that is coming? As a brand, the blue company has never been particularly known for making big price cuts on their products in the past, even when it’s products in the market perform worse than the competition.
For example many years ago, back in the time when AMD introduced its Athlon 64 processor with the ClawHammer core (PGA 754 socket). Intel at that time had on the market its Prescott processors (or “Pres-hot” as they used to call those miniature stoves). Those were around the dawn of the Internet and the only way to be informed was to read computer magazines, but this was only done by the biggest computer geeks (like yours truly). Most preferred to go to a store and order a computer, which almost always came with a Prescott stove processor inside (and then in the summer came the problems of excessive noise, heat and random reboots).