The September 2019 Update

This month, we’re bringing lots of small updates to our main build chart (and reaffirming some decisions from last month):


  • Removing the GTX 1050 due to price. The low-end and mid-low-end GPU segment is now all AMD territory. I dislike that there are no good sub-$100 options, where a discrete GPU is significantly better than the iGPU in the $120 2400G. Unfortunately, it looks like this is not going to change in the future, and we might have to accept that folks with very low budgets are going to be using iGPUs from now on. As long as iGPUs continue to improve in moments similar to the unveiling of the Vega 11 and Vega 8, however, this may not actually end up being an undesirable outcome for those builders. Only time will tell.


  • Swapping the i5-9600K for R5 3600X (along with an appropriate HSF and mobo). The i5-9600K is a great CPU, and the new R5 3600X matches it in single-threaded performance. But the multi-threaded performance is hugely better with the 3600X, and the price is the same, so swapping them is an easy choice.
  • Not recommending the R7 3800X. The R7 3800X is an R7 3700X with higher clocks. Unfortunately, we are talking about 100MHz, which translates to roughly 2-3% improvement in performance, which is typically about 1-2 FPS in games. For $70 extra, that is not a recommended purchase.
  • Not recommending the R5 3400G or R3 3200G. These CPUs are die shrinks, with better clocks than the R4 2400G and R3 2200G. However, the 20% price increase and the need for pricier mobos with newer chipsets means that these CPUs are not suitable for builds where budgetary needs are a primary concern. These new APUs do provide a decent boost in performance (between 5-15%), and their prices are likely to fall once the older CPUs are out-of-stock. Once the new CPUs have more appropriate prices, and cheaper mobos are out, we will add them.
  • The heroic i9-9900K remains. With Zen 2 (Ryzen 3000), AMD is in an incredible position, completely dominating every segment in the consumer CPU market. The sole exception is the i9-9900K, which remains the best gaming CPU on the market, albeit by a very small margin. The AMD alternative R9 3900X might have replaced the i9-9900K, but it is consistently out-of-stock, or priced $200 above its intended cost. For now, since the i9-9900K offers slightly (2%!) better single-threaded performance for cheaper, it remains the best gaming CPU. If the R9 3900X is back in stock at the same price in the coming months, and if clock speeds are improved slightly with BIOS updates, the situation may change in the future.


  • The popular Hyper 212 is back! The latest Black Edition is well-reviewed, and is replacing the Scythe Fuma.


We’re adding a huge number of new cases:

  • Antec GX202
  • Antec P8
  • Cooler Master NR600
  • NZXT H510
  • NZXT H710i
  • Raijintek Arcadia II
  • Rosewill Tyrfing V2
  • Thermaltake View 71 RGB

These replace a lot of cases that are being EOLed, or where the price of the case has gone up and not come down again. Take particular note of the View 71 RGB; it might be your new favourite!

CPU News on the Horizon

Intel’s new Cascade-lake / Comet-lake / Rocket-lake / Cannon-lake / Ice-lake / Tiger… lake… (?) CPUs are expected to hit the stores next month. Maybe.

Based on the news being reported by major tech outlets, no one has a clue as to what the new CPUs will be called, or when they will be released. It might be Saltwater-lake in October, or Swan-lake in November. Whichever (and whenever) it is, we truly hope that Intel comes back competitive, with better performance and prices. Strong competition and good alternatives from all sides is healthy, and right now the i9-9900K is looking mighty lonely on our list.