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Top Five PC Hardware Launches To Watch Out For In 2019

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The AchieVer

You certainly can't claim that 2018 was a dull year for PC hardware. Every area saw fantastic new products from motherboards and SSDs to the on-going processor war with Intel and AMD as well as Nvidia's controversial RTX series graphics cards. Thankfully, 2019 is shaping up to be just as gripping and here are my top five PC hardware launches you should watch out for in 2019, with a generous helping of leaks and rumors on the side of course.

AMD 3rd generation Ryzen/Threadripper (Zen 2) processors

Undoubtedly the most anticipated launch of 2019 and for very good reasons; AMD's third move in the processor war is also it's most important as it launches its 7nm Zen 2 architecture, the performance of which will dictate how the CPU war between it an Intel will play out over the next few years. Higher core counts are certainly on the cards, with the latest rumors of the so-called 3000-series pointing at up to 16 cores on its mainstream Ryzen range.


AMD's Zen 2 CPUs could have up to 16 cores in 2019AMD

However, there are high expectations for increased frequencies and increased IPC (instructions per cycle) than 2nd generation Ryzen CPUs as these are both areas where Intel currently enjoys advantages, particularly in the former. This would enable AMD to close the gap in areas such as gaming and lightly-threaded workloads and with Intel already on the back foot when it comes to value thanks to great CPUs such as the Ryzen 7 2700X, any improvements here for AMD could see the market swing dramatically in its favor.


In my opinion, it needs to increase core counts, frequencies and IPC to stay competitive and to maintain the pressure on Intel as well as drive Ryzen forwards. For this reason, Zen 2 is probably the most important architecture of any Ryzen processor as it will reveal not just how competitive AMD will be in 2019, but how Zen will fare in 2020 and beyond. What is fairly certain is that the new CPUs will be backward-compatible with older AM4 motherboards, which is great news if you already own an X370 or X470 board.


The AMD Ryzen 7 2700X offers sizeable gains over the Ryzen 7 1800X - what will the 3000-series offer?ANTONY LEATHER



Release date: There's no official launch date, but the word is that we'll hear some concrete details on the Ryzen 3000-series at CES in the second week of January, with a full launch in the first half of 2019.

AMD X570 chipset

With AMD's X470 chipset having landed in early 2018 and with a brand new range of 7nm Zen 2 processors on the horizon, the rumor mill has already started to turn as to what we’ll see in terms of chipsets for the Ryzen 3000-series. We’ve even seen some leaked slides that supposedly show an X570 chipset, but it doesn’t take a genius to predict that we’ll likely see a new range of motherboards using new chipsets that are launched at the same time.


X470 chipset motherboards offered slim benefits compared to previous models, but were more refinedANTONY LEATHER

There haven’t been too many new features introduced in the past between chipsets, with the biggest improvements coming from the physical designs of the motherboards themselves – better cooling and memory compatibility for example. Otherwise, the main difference between X370 and X470 was StoreMI support – not a feature that would warrant an upgrade for most people. However, one rumor points at X570 supporting PCI-E 4.0, which would make it the first desktop chipset to do so. This would offer twice the bandwidth of PCI-E 3.0, although few, if any PCI-E devices get close to pushing PCI-E 3.0 to its limits so its real-world use is maybe somewhat limited at this point.

Release date: The X570 chipset will probably be announced at the same time as 3rd generation Ryzen and will be launched at the same time, which is early 2019.

AMD Navi graphics cards

AMD hasn't had an easy time with desktop graphics in the last 12 months. It's RX Vega 56 and Vega 64 graphics cards were competitive - the former especially so - but the cryptocurrency mining craze saw stocks of both them and the equally-good RX 580 dwindle to non-existent levels. At the very least you'd be looking at spending unreasonable amounts, but with prices now easing and the new RX 590 proving to be a decent choice against an aging Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB, any moves from AMD on the graphics front will be very welcome.


AMD's recent graphics cards have been popular with miners hoping to cash in on the cryptocurrency crazeANTONY LEATHER

Thankfully, that's exactly what the company has in store with its long-awaited Navi 7nm GPUs expected in early 2019. Details are still sketchy, but the latest rumors point at mid-range competition for Nvidia's RTX 2070, RTX 2060, GTX 1070 and GTX 1060 in the form of the Radeon RX 3080, 2070 and 3060, with very competitive pricing. With Nvidia's RTX series proving quite pricey and older Pascal-based cards slowly disappearing from shelves, both AMD and Nvidia seem to be gearing up for major GPU launches in 2019.

Release date: The word is that Navi details will be announced at the CES trade show in Las Vegas next week with availability in 2019, perhaps in the first half, although some reports point at 2020 for the flagship RX 3080.

Intel 10nm Sunny Cove Processors

The recent Intel architecture day revealed a new direction for Intel as well as the apparent side-lining of the long-delayed Cannon Lake 10nm architecture. Instead, Intel renewed its 10nm plans and offered a new timeline of a 2019 for the launch of Sunny Cove – its new 10nm architecture. What this means for previous rumors of a 10-core desktop CPU to do battle with AMD’s 3rd Generation Ryzen CPUs isn’t clear – it could still be on the cards, but what seems more certain is that we’ll have to wait till the end of 2019 to see anything significantly new from Intel. That said, a 10-core desktop CPU could certainly give 3rd generation Ryzen CPUs a run for their money, given how dominant the Core i9-9900K is right now.


Sunny Cover CPUs will also see Intel's first steps towards Foveros 3D chip stackingINTEL

With Sunny Cove, though, Intel is planning its main assault and with both an architectural redesign and smaller manufacturing process, it’s aiming at a ‘tick’ and ‘tock’ in the same move, which could dramatically increase performance. AMD will certainly steal much of the limelight in the first half of 2018 with both new Ryzen and Threadripper CPUs due at some point. However, to dismiss Intel as having lost the CPU war is to forget what happened the last time the blue team was on the back foot.

Release date: Intel has indicated that Sunny Cove 10nm CPUs are on track for a late 2019 launch, but there’s still a possibility that more 14nm Coffee Lake-based CPUs will be launched in the meantime, both increasing the maximum core count from 8 to 10, and also adding to the range below the Core i5-9600K.

Nvidia RTX 2060 and GTX 1160

Nvidia can certainly be proud of what it has achieved with the RTX series, both in terms of AI, but more importantly for PC enthusiasts, in pushing the envelope of PC game graphics - something that's been expanding at ever slower rates. Sadly, the cost of the RTX series and an obsession with frame rates has meant these feats have got a bit lost in a sea of complaints. Ironically, it’s the prowess of Nvidia’s own GTX 1000-series Pascal GPUs that has lead to this mixed reception, but the company seems to be aware of this, at least in the mid-range, with the latest rumors pointing at a GTX 1160 GPU.


Nvidia GeForce RTZ 2080 TiANTONY LEATHER

Designed to offer decent frame rate boosts, but without the expense of adding ray tracing support, the GTX 1160 could offer much better value than the RTX 2060, and offer some competition to AMD’s Navi GPUs too, especially if you’re more concerned with frame rates than the latest visual tweaks. The RTX 2060 will be the cheapest ray tracing-enabled card, but a lot will depend, as always, on price. Early leaks show performance in the region of GTX 1070 levels, with some showing nearer GTX 1070 Ti performance, but clearly, if you can buy the GTX 1070 for less, the value proposition here might still end up being questionable.



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