In many ways PC performance has leveled off. There are minor improvements in CPU and memory speed but nothing big. But there has been a significant improvement in performance with the Skylake platform supporting SSD connected via PCI Express.
Based on a little research, here were my goals:
- fast SkyLake CPU
- 32gb DDR4 ram
- 512 gb M2 SSD
- small case (no external cards or drives)
- 4K IPS monitor
- Asus Z170I Pro Gaming mini ITX
- Intel Core I7-6700K 4.00 GHz
- Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4 DRAM 2666MHz (PC4-21300)
- Samsung 950 PRO - Series 512GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD
- Fractal Design 202 case
- ASUS PB279Q 27" 4K/ UHD 3840x2160 IPS
The case was the smallest I could find that would fit this stuff. The frustrating part is that it could be half the size. The empty half of the case is for cards or external drives, but I didn't want either of those. It's a little hard to tell from the picture, but the motherboard is only 7" square, not much bigger than the fan. The power supply is almost as big as the motherboard.
And here's a comparison of my new SSD (top) to the old one (bottom). Higher numbers are better.
The big advantage of SSD over hard disks is the seek time for random IO. But the biggest gains here were for sequential IO. Still, some respectable improvements across the board. Of course, how that translates into actual overall performance is another question.
I try not to buy new machines too often. At least I know my old one, which is still working fine, will be put to good use by someone else in the office.
I'm not a hardware expert, here's where I got some advice:
Building a PC, Part VIII
Our Brave New World of 4K Displays