Category Archives: Builds

Current situation with Intel CPUs

Anyone looking to buy or upgrade their CPU in the nearest future will face an interesting choice.

Early in 2017, Intel released 7th generation of CPUs, such as Core i5 7600k that I’m using. They use Kaby Lake architecture and are usually slotted in motherboards with 200-series chipset, such as Z270.

By the way, “k” at the end of the CPU name indicates it can be overclocked by multiplier, which is how CPUs are usually overclocked. Only motherboards with “Z” in their chipset name can overclock Intel CPUs by multiplier. You can read more about it here.

And just recently Intel released 8th generation of CPUs, such as i5 8600k. They use Coffee Lake architecture and require a motherboard with the new 300-series chipset, such as Z370.

Normally, you’d want to go with the newer generation without a second thought, but the problem is that Coffee Lake CPUs got a ton of hype, which led to stock shortage and significant price increases in both Coffee Lake CPUs and 300-series motherboards.

The hype is well deserved. Tom’s Hardware confirms Intel’s claims to i7 8700k being “company’s best gaming processor ever”. Coffee Lake is the first generation in years to give consumer-grade Intel CPUs more cores, though otherwise it’s not very different from Kaby Lake.

For example, the i3 7350k had 2 cores, while i3 8350k has 4 cores. These two CPUs are supposed to have the same price, but for the moment newer CPU is nearly twice as expensive. Eventually, the price will drop, but that can take months. 

Both Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake use the same LGA1151 socket, but Intel decided to be a dick, and made Coffee Lake CPUs incompatible with 200-series chipsets.

So it doesn’t make sense to get Z270 motherboard with something like i3 7350k, and hope to upgrade it to Coffee Lake later, or whatever comes after Coffee Lake. If you get a Kaby Lake CPU right now, you will have to replace the motherboard later as well. 

So if you’re looking to buy or upgrade your CPU, it might make sense to wait a few months and wait until Coffee Lake CPU price drops. This would be more cost efficient.

Let’s compare a few of the noteworthy CPUs:

  • i3 7350k: 2 cores, 4 threads (Hyper Threading)
  • i5 7600k: 4 cores, 4 threads, + Intel Turbo Boost 2.0
  • i3 8350k: 4 cores, 4 threads

All of these CPUs can run the same amount of threads, though obviously having a whole core for each thread is more effective.

Intel Turbo Boost lets the CPU automatically increase multiplier, as long as it can avoid overheating. It’s basically an automatic overclock. However, if you’re getting a “k” version, obviously you’re going to overclock manually, so you don’t really care about Turbo Boost.

The point that I’ve been leading up to: when prices drop to where they should be, i3 8350k will be a good deal cheaper than i5 7600k, while offering basically the same performance.

It will also let you use a Z370 motherboard, which is less likely to become the dead end that Z270 became, and there’s a good chance that you will be able to simply swap the CPU when time comes, saving some money on replacing the motherboard as well.

Four cores should be enough to run vast majority of modern and upcoming games at good settings. Even if more new games will be optimized for multi-threading, the Intel’s excellent per-core performance and overclock should carry you quite far. 

If you’re anxious to upgrade right now, but don’t want to overpay for Coffee Lake – there is another option.

You can get a used Z270 motherboard + i5 7600k or even i7 7700k CPU. 

Modern electronic components are usually quite durable, and since they were released only this year, they shouldn’t have been subjected to too much wear and tear. 

Meanwhile, the Coffee Lake pretty much made them obsolete, which should significantly reduce their price point, even past the price reduction that used components usually get.

As always when getting used parts, there is a considerable risk of being tricked into buying broken or otherwise inoperable hardware. Never get used hardware unless the seller can offer a full suit of documents, including warranty, and only if you get to personally test that hardware. 

What does it take to run PlanetSide 2?

PlanetSide 2 gets a lot of heat for being a poorly optimized game with terrible performance, that requires some sort of super computer to run properly. 

There is some truth to these statements. PlanetSide 2 was released in 2012, but still uses DirectX 9.0, released in 2004. Newer versions of DirectX would be able to utilize modern hardware more efficiently, especially when it comes to taking advantage of multiple CPU cores and Hyper Threading.

PlanetSide 2 also uses Forge Light engine, which is not exactly a dream come true when it comes to performance and graphical quality, but it’s the only engine that can handle so many players on such large territories. Hundreds of people playing on 5 by 5 km maps was a miracle in 2012, and it’s still beyond impressive in modern days. 

However, contrary to popular belief, PlanetSide 2 is actually not that demanding, you just have to keep certain things in mind:

(1) Sometimes, performance-reducing technical issues can arise. The cause could be different each time, and it’s probably safe to say that 95% of players never experience them.

(2) The game can sometimes have performance-reducing bugs. These bugs appear, get fixed, reappear later, etc. Either way, they usually don’t affect performance all the time.

For example, that one bug that caused Capture Points to generate an excessive amount of particle effects due to Esamir continent bonus. Or a bug when a rocket hangs in the air for a few seconds, again, producing an excessive amount of particles that eat FPS.

(3) No reasonable PC can handle the game at full ultra settings with Shadows enabled. Ultra shadows just eat too much FPS. It’s literally the difference between having 60 and 120 average FPS on the same PC.

Most people that constantly complain about performance being an all-time issue, usually refer to one of the points above, or they use inadequate hardware, like old laptops or PCs with integrated graphics, or run the game on a virus-ridden, old and cluttered installation of Windows.

As long as you’re willing to disable Shadows, and can keep your Windows fresh and clean, pretty much any entry-level gaming PC can handle PlanetSide 2 at these High / Ultra settings

Click here if you need help buying or upgrading a PC for PlanetSide 2.