We start with processors, the heart of the modern system. Pricing has now been compressed so much that it doesn’t make sense to split hairs. What do we mean by ‘compressed’? Well the APU chips from AMD can cost you £100 and Intel fastest ‘mainstream’ chip, the 3770k, is just over £240.
Intel and AMD’s line-ups have both been considered and here’s what we think is the best of each.
While the Core i7 3770k is a killer product and the new Extreme chips are, well, extremely good – we’ve chosen the workhorse processor for most enthusiast systems: Intel Core i5 3570k. It’s an amazingly flexible chip and very simple to clock around 4.5GHz – while those with advanced knowledge of voltage regulation can get a lot closer to 5GHz.
It’s generally acknowledged that AMD won’t compete at the very high end in the future, especially in light of the Q3 analyst’s call.
As the market moves toward more economical solutions and lower power consumption requirements, the product of the year for AMD becomes clear, it’s the chip that will provide the baseline environment for both the next XBox and PlayStation: AMD A10 5800k.
You can go with the slightly cheaper 5600k (and companies like Medion using a 5700 for pre-built systems), but the small increase in price gets you almost 50% more graphics processing (384 vs 256 units), which we feel is worth the difference.
There is a 3rd solution that we want to recognise in this section as well – and that is for something that is squarely aimed at serious professional users. In October, KitGuru Labs had to make way for a pair of Intel Xeon E5 2687W processors. Writing 29 pages of in-depth analysis is, as you would expect, really hard work – but with these £1,500 a piece processors, the devil was in the details.
The results we achieved in Cinebench 11.5 were simply staggering. The bottom of the KitGuru scale for this test is occupied by Intel’s 2500k processor, which scored a respectable 5.38. Take a Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition and clock it all the way to 4.8GHz and you score 14.1, which is pretty tasty. The dual Xeon configuration managed a stonking 25.41!
The score was so large, that it forced a resizing of our previous graphs – with almost every chip in the market now occupying the left half of the chart with the Xeons, over on the right edge, in a class of their own. For that reason, we’re confirming the Dual Intel Xeon E5 2687W Processor Solution one of our products of the year.