Current year 2017 is a very interesting period when it comes to computer performance parts. 7th generation of Intel Core architecture (code name Kaby Lake) and introduction of Z270 chipset is only the beginning. Of course it`s not a major upgrade compared to Skylake/Z170 team but still four extra PCI lanes form PCH might be useful for users with high expectations and very extended setups of their hardware. On the top of that, everything seems to point at direction of real spicy competition between Intel and AMD since the release of their Ryzens and Threadrippers. It`s very nice to finally see some real competition after long years of stagnancy between those two giants. Most probable move from Intel will be the Christmas release of a brand new Cpu and PCH pair dedicated for high end gaming which is 8th generation Coffe Lake – the i7-8700K and of course the Z370 chipset. Biggest difference will be the 6/12 (physical/logical) core setup which was very missed during couple of last generation releases. AMD was always famous for it`s multiple core count, as an enthusiast of high end hardware I cant`t be more happy to see that Intel finally feels breath of the competition on his neck. Unfortunately it`s very unlikely that new generation of Cpu`s will be fully supported on previous two platforms.. Who remembers Intel`s previous policy moves dating back to socket 423 shouldn’t be surprised. But this is yet to come, let`s focus on what we have now. Z270 provides full native support for Intel Optane memory, two M.2 SSD slots with NVMe support, U2 connector depending on the mobo manufacturer and model, DDR4 2400MHz dual channel controller and upgraded Intel HD630 integrated graphics (code name Kaby Lake GT2). Of course enthusiast motherboard models can go beyond that easily, but this is what we get from Intel officially. And of course we should mention the top-of-the-line X99 (socket 2011-3) and X299 (brand new socket 2066) motherboards for real monsters like i7-6950X and i9-7900X but first of all, unfortunately they are still beyond my financial reach, second of all they are more professional graphics design, rendering and video editing orientated than gaming purposes like i7-7800K and Z270 setup. Those things considered all together gives us a perfect base for the crown jewel released this year by NVIDIA 🙂
Blaise Pascal was among other things a french mathematician and physicist. But as far as we are concerned, he gave a name for the fifth CUDA based NVIDIA Gpu architecture – Pascal (or the Powerful Pascal as I like to call it 😉 ). Since first CUDA cards from Tesla architecture (beautiful GTX 8800 Ultra which will be featured soon in Solo Parts section) , NVIDIA started to manufacture graphics card from another dimension compared to AMD when it comes to performance. Further Fermi, Kepler an Maxwell cards only made the gap bigger. But then the reign of Pascal begun. NVIDIA claims that GP102 (Titans and 1080 Ti) chip is almost twice as fast as previous GM200 (same class). In high end segment this is almost unbelievable upgrade in performance. When the first 10th series high end card – the GTX 1080 (GP104) – hit the market, it immediately killed NVIDIA`s previous performance king the GTX Titan X (GM200-400 chip version). Card which was almost half the price, performed very simillar or slightly worse than most expensive gaming card of that time. Not to mention the afordable version of GTX Titan the GTX 980 Ti which was simply trashed by the new contestant. Of course few months later NVIDIA released the new version of it`s most advanced processing unit – the Nvidia Titan X (GP102-400 – Titan lost the GTX prefix to distinguish it from previous gpu families). Again it settled a new record establishing the price level at whooping 1200$ (200$ more than the previous Maxwell Titan). But soon enough it was again a fratricidal battle, because the market was again enriched by the GTX 1080 Ti (GP102-350) in a few months. It was basically a Titan X without 1GB of vram but slightly faster memory and boost clocks. Only major difference was bus width, Titan X was the only 10th series card at the time with 384 bit bus (352 bit for the Ti) and 8 less ROPs. You have to ask yourself, are you willing to spend extra 500$ for this small differences and give up on custom cooling solution and upgrades provided by other manufacturers ? The Titans can only be bought from NVIDIA itself, and are only available in OEM = Founders Edition version. Benchmarks all over the internet show precisely how all people who ordered Titans X few month earlier simply threw their money straight to the bin. To cover up this indignity to all NVIDIA fans a little bit, company released after a month it`s final, most powerful Pascal – the Nvidia Titan Xp (GP102-450). This time almost all parameters of the chip were upgraded and you can safelly say it`s the ultimate Pascal. One thing that haven`t changed was the price. All things considered the Ti seems to be the smartest choice, especially when you like to build and run multiple card setup. Titans seem to be a better choice when you want to go full water cooling with your PC or simply like to burn your cash for no particular reason 🙂 Of course this is ProRetroPC and we don`t see anything wrong with even 4-way Titan SLI or Quad SLI Titan Z setups but still you just simply have to be able to afford it.
After this rather “short” historical introduction, let`s get our hands on the live flesh. This build is a little different than all others you will see on this site, because it`s my main PC and a birthday gift from my beloved wife 🙂 I`ve chosen parts that i liked the most considering performance and appearance. I plan to upgrade it as much as possible but as of now there is not much to do except SLI and RAM upgrade to currently unnecessary 32 GB. On the last minute I`ve changed the whole parts set form Asus products to Gigabyte. Let`s be honest, I`m a die hard Asus fan. Unfortunately current mobo and gpu offer just does not catch my eye at all. The ROG boards don`t have their gpu equivalent so you have to be stuck with Strix series which isn`t exactly my thing. On the other hand Strix boards – for me – are just ugly and I wanted all my parts to match perfectly. This is why I`ve chosen the Gigabyte premium line which is named Aorus. This build already had almost four revisions (and I believe it wont`s stop there 😉 ), but let`s go through the evolution proces one step at a time.