Our Coffee Lake build hints at the new zero-point
Step-by-step guide to building a Coffee Lake future-proofed PC.
AS CONSUMERS, it’s our responsibility to give the industry crap if it’s failing us. It’s the very notion of a capitalist democracy: If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, make your voice heard.
People were fed up with four cores being the mainstream norm, so AMD responded with its Ryzen lineup. Eight months on, we’re witness to Intel’s response: Coffee Lake. With its confusing architectural lineup, an increase in core count finally makes it to the company’s mainstream processors.
Although lacking some of the wow factor associated with a new architecture, at the top end Coffee Lake provides six of Intel’s highly refined Kaby Lake cores, with slight tweaks to power efficiency and base clocks, at a similar, if not identical, price. What you’re left with is a processor capable of ripping up any multithreaded application, while retaining the title of single-thread processing king. That’s not to say it’s perfect—the top-end part is hot, exceedingly so. The addition of those two extra cores hasn’t come for free, and coupled with Intel’s continued refusal to provide any form of suitable TIM material between the IHS and the die, you’re left with a six-core, 12-thread part that can generate 80 C of heat at stock under load. That’s hot— and not the sexy kind.
Coffee Lake’s real gem is the Core i5-8400. At just $190, it’s six cores and six threads of well-balanced performance, without the crazy temperature issues of the 8700K.
THE CORE i5 SERIES has always been centered around gamers. Its heritage goes back a long way, to the days of the Core i5-2500K and Sandy Bridge, as the chip of choice for anyone wanting to enjoy a casual gaming session. As such, it’s one of the world’s more popular chips, at least in the custom PC ecosystem.
This issue, we decided to recreate that idea of a perfect midrange gaming system. One capable of driving what we consider the new mid-ground for resolution: 1440p with relative ease at 60fps. But what do you pair with a Core i5 to really give it a kick?
We knew we wanted to run a GTX 1070 in this build—our MSI Gaming X being a solid choice for that position. As far as 1440p goes, the GTX 1070 is the perfect budget GPU, bringing last-gen Titan X performance to mainstream prices.
On top of that, we threw in a healthy 16GB of DDR4, alongside a 480GB Crucial BX300, and a 1TB Seagate Constellation.2 2.5inch hard drive—the latter being particularly important. Deciding to invest in a quiet 1,200W full-size PSU alongside a 360mm AIO meant we had to ditch the hard drive caddy for 3.5-inch drives below the PSU cover. However, Fractal includes a neat little 2.5-inch mounting tray behind the motherboard. Simply invest in a small form factor high-capacity HDD, and the problems are solved, leaving us with 1.5TB of workable storage for all our applications and media.
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