If you want to know which graphics card to buy (despite the terrible prices), which CPU is the best, or build a new system, you can find all the information you need in our Best Of Series and PC Buying Guide. Today we are discussing something else. What we think are the worst CPU and GPU purchases of 2017. Some were bad from the start, while others were launched as viable options that unfortunately turned out to be poor choices before the end of the year.
Intel Core i7-7700K (or Kaby Lake in general)
From 2017, Intel released the new "Kaby Lake" series, which actually didn't turn out to be that new. Except for a small factory overclock, they were basically Skylake parts, and if they matched clock by clock, we found no IPC gain.
So if you owned the 2015 6700K, you didn't have to buy the 7700K. Too bad, because the same applies if you have either a Haswell or a Broadwell Core i7 CPU and possibly also a Sandy or Ivy Bridge i7 CPU.
However, if you came from an AMD FX series or a Core i5, the 7700K offered remarkable advantages for those who rock a fast graphics card, and was therefore a viable option. Unfortunately, those who invested $ 340 in a 7700K (or which forbids the 7740X in heaven) were completely hosed off by Intel.
About 9 months later, the brand new 8700K from Intel is essentially the same CPU for about the same price, but with 50% more cores and threads. The 7700K is still a very capable player, but the 8700K will undoubtedly prove to be a much better investment.
I should note that while I focus on the 7700K, this applies to all Kaby Lake Core i7, Core i5 and Core i3 CPUs. They were all greatly upgraded with the arrival of Coffee Lake. The only CPU that's still worth it is the G4560, as there's nothing better for less than $ 100. So it would be wiser to extend the budget to the Core i3-8100.
If you bought a 7700K in the first quarter of 2017, you're probably not that upset. Otherwise, the resale value of the 7700K has not only decreased since the 8700K was released, you also cannot upgrade without a motherboard change, and that brings me to part 2 of the Intel Roll Job.
Z270 motherboards, Intel lacking backward compatibility …
This is a sequel to the Kaby Lake CPUs, but it must be said that the problem is Intel's decision to remove backward compatibility for the new Coffee Lake CPUs. Despite using the same LGA 1151 socket, Intel has changed the configuration so that 8th generation CPUs can't work on 100 or 200 series motherboards, while Skylake and Kaby Lake CPUs don't work on the new motherboards either 300 series.
I honestly don't know whether Intel had to remove the compatibility or not. I can only tell you that this is a massive inconvenience to consumers. If I had to guess, I would say there is no legitimate reason for Intel to end support for 200 series motherboards, I said before I even checked the Coffee Lake CPUs and Intel fans shot me down.
However, Bit-Tech interviewed Asus' ROG motherboard product manager, Andrew Wu, and he said some interesting things. When asked whether Intel allows it, they could make Z270 motherboards compatible with 8th generation core processors. Andrew said "yes" it would only require a BIOS update, but Intel somehow blocked compatibility.
In the end, this means that those who invested in a 200 series motherboard this year are at the end of the road. These Core i7-7700K owners now not only need to put their CPU, but also their shiny new Z270 motherboard out of service if they want to upgrade to something with more cores.
To be honest, switching from 7700K to 8700K is not worth the investment, even if they were supported on the same platform. However, the option to do this upgrade in about a year would be very welcome. Anyone who has spent more than $ 200 on a Z270 motherboard will surely get upset about Intel's decision here.
Intel Core i7-7800X, Premium 6-Core for 4 months!
If you are a Core i7-7700K owner and feel robbed, please have a short break for anyone who has bought a Core i7-7800X. Since Ryzen was already on the road before the launch of the Skylake-X series, it didn't make much sense to buy the Core i7-7820X and in particular the 6-Core 7800X. Priced at $ 390, the 7800X was an advance over the 7700K for productivity workloads, but a rather poor price-performance ratio compared to the Ryzen 7 1700.
Nevertheless, those who had bought in the past 4 months knew what alternatives there were then. What they didn't know is that the 8700K would offer the same number of cores and threads for about the same price, while offering larger operating frequencies, more L3 cache, and in my opinion, a superior method of connecting 10 or fewer cores to the ring bus supports.
The 8700K is also supported by much cheaper motherboards, the cheapest Z370 board is about half the price of the cheapest X299 board. The only real advantage of the 7800X are these additional PCIe lanes. However, if you need PCIe lanes, skip the Skylake-X Core i7 parts and head straight to the Threadripper aisle. Ohh, and it has quad-channel memory that doesn't do any good because of our productivity benchmarks, where the 8700K school sees the 7800X ready to go and overclocked.
The only saving for the 7800X is the upgrade path. Save $ 10 a week and in just under 4 years you'll have a 7980XE with 18 cores, 3 years if it's used markets.
AMD Radeon GPUs after May: high prices and poor availability
Now to the graphics … Last year was a mega year for GPU releases, the GeForce 10 series was impressive in terms of performance per watt and AMD made at least the middle to lower segment interesting. 2017 was a mixed thing. I think it's fair to say the GTX 1080 Ti was an exciting and impressive launch, and many estimated the GTX 1080's price drop to $ 500.
The Radeon update was a pretty difficult affair, but at least initially brought more competitive prices. Vega was another shrug from AMD, though Vega 56 looks a little promising and the recent Vega performance in new titles has been decent.
The big problem for AMD and even Nvidia was to some extent pricing and availability thanks to the extreme demand from cryptocurrency miners that has been going on for months.
If you bought a Radeon RX 500 series graphics card shortly after the release, you have probably done very well. I remember that RX 570 models were on sale for only $ 150. Now gamers can only dream of such prices. At the time of writing, you can expect to pay for an RX 570 ~ $ 240, an increase of 60% over the beginning of this year.
If you've bought a Radeon graphics card in the past few months, you're probably overpaid, and unfortunately, some are affected by the price increases. Though AMD's Radeon GPUs offer strong value for money at the MSRP, they have proven to be one of the worst purchases of 2017 for PC gamers as you can't find them near the list price. That said, when I started putting this together, I noticed that Vega 56 GPUs priced over $ 500 are now being sold for ~ $ 400, so things may eventually normalize and on time for Christmas.
AMD Ryzen X CPUs
The next AMD element on the list are these X-rated CPUs, like Intel, which is too hot for TV coverage. Most X models are not very useful. I admit it's hard to give AMD a hard time as it offers a full range of unlocked CPUs if only Intel did the same. There are such big props for AMD, but it makes their Premium X models pointless for connoisseurs.
The Ryzen 7 1800X offers the lowest value. AMD set the MSRP at $ 500 earlier this year, although it is now up for sale for only $ 400. The 1700X, which is essentially the same CPU, currently costs $ 300, but I would still get the slightly cheaper 1700 with the box cooler for $ 285.
I can't think of a single reason why someone would spend at least 40% more on the 1800X, even if they are chips that guarantee 4 GHz overclocking. I have now tested three Retail 1800X chips and four Retail 1700 chips, all of which reached 4 GHz and used DDR4-3200 memory.
The Ryzen 5 1600X is not too bad, it only costs a little over 10% more than the non-X version, but you still pay 10% more for the same CPU while doing without the included cooler, and I am again not sure why. The 1500X is a bit pointless in my opinion, but more because the price is so close to the R5 1600, the 1600 offers 50% more cores with a price increase of only 13%. The additional L3 cache also offers little advantage over the much cheaper Ryzen 5 1400.
After all, the Ryzen Threadripper 1900X, which is more of a niche product, is not entirely pointless. However, if you jump on the X399 platform and spit out the batter for the 1950X, this is a serious bargain for just $ 880.
Nvidia Titan Xp (Pascal), now for Star Wars fans …
If we made this an annual feature, Nvidia's titanium product line would undoubtedly do the cutting every year. At the end of last year we got the mighty Titan X, the Pascal version, of course, not to be confused with the Maxwell Titan X from 2015. Anyway, the Pascal Titan X arrived last year and it was the biggest baddest GPU, that Nvidia had on offer.
Of course, as always, just three months after 2017, those who opted for the Titan con were completely hosed, and the GTX 1080 Ti arrived. Sure, it had 1 GB less than 12 GB of memory buffer, but it was faster with higher core and memory clock speeds. The 1080 Ti also benefited from superior add-in board partner coolers, which made it much faster after overclocking and allowed all 3584 CUDA cores to work much more efficiently.
Although the GTX 1080 Ti quickly turned off the Titan X, Nvidia came back for the second round and the Titan Xp was born. With the same insane price of $ 1200, it's over 70% more expensive than existing 1080 Ti models. So what do you get for all that extra Moola? A 7% increase in CUDA cores and a tiny increase in VRAM capacity.
Again, the Titan Xp can only be bought with the Founders Edition cooler. Therefore, it runs hot and throttles under heavy load. Therefore, it is actually slower than custom 1080 Ti cards. At this point, deep pocket players should know better than buying a Titan, but I'm sure there are those who did it for the boastful rights, though it's more embarrassing than anything else at this point.
Speaking of embarrassing, what about these new Star Wars Collectors Edition models? Actually, I have to admit that they look pretty great. Imagine you're a big Star Wars fan and can afford stupidly expensive hardware, but a few weeks ago you bought a Titan Xp for $ 1200. What is the return policy for this Nvidia? Surely you would spit chips at the announcement of a Collector’s Edition worth $ 1200. The life of a Titan owner, you only know you're hosed down within a month or two, and the fun parts figure out how.
2017 has been an exciting but frustrating year for PC hardware, and although some early adopters and those looking for bragging rights have been burned up a bit, there have been some great options too. Intel has probably hit consumers hardest, and much of it could have been avoided if they had only maintained the compatibility of their 8th generation series with the previous 7th and 6th generation series.
Let us know if we missed products or if you disagree with any of our choices in the comments section below.