Question An upgrade for an i7 4790K

VermilionNeko

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Hi

What modern CPUs are worth upgrading to from an i7 4790K? I highly doubt I’ll be upgrading my PC any time soon, but I’m just curious. Every thread I’ve come across about this ends along the lines of ‘it’s not worth upgrading’, but is that still true in 2022? Obviously, I would need to upgrade the mobo and RAM too. I’m still rocking DDR3

Also, according to Bandai Namco support, my CPU is to blame and the cause of me experiencing random crashes in Elden Ring because it doesn’t meet the minimum system requirements.

Thanks
 

VermilionNeko

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Anything up from an i7-4790k requires a new motherboard and RAM.
Then you have to also think about the PSU.

So basically, a new PC.

Then, what GPU is involved here?
At the moment I have a Corsair CX 750W 80+ Bronze and an MSI GTX 1080. No idea what GPU I’d be getting in the future though.
 

VermilionNeko

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I really couldn't tell you. I don't recall it ever saying. I might have the box somewhere, but I'm not in a position to find it at the moment. It was bought some time ago now, though. In 2016, I believe. I remember my previous PSU packing up around the time when I was playing through Doom (2016).
 

USAFRet

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I really couldn't tell you. I don't recall it ever saying. I might have the box somewhere, but I'm not in a position to find it at the moment. It was bought some time ago now, though. In 2016, I believe. I remember my previous PSU packing up around the time when I was playing through Doom (2016).
I ask, because the green label was one of the worst things Corsair put their name to.

Even if NO parts are changed, that needs to go.
 
GTX1080 is still serviceable at 1080P/1440P in vast majority of games....

Now just choose between a 12400F/B660 and 5800X/B550 and an adequate DDR4 RAM kit (might as well get 32 GB, 16GB x 2), and you should be good for 1-2 more years and can start shopping for an RTX4060, etc...
 
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VermilionNeko

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GTX1080 is still serviceable at 1080P/1440P in vast majority of games....

Now just choose between a 12400F/B660 and 5800X/B550 and an adequate DDR4 RAM kit (might as well get 32 GB, 16GB x 2), and you should be good for 1-2 more years and can start shopping for an RTX4060, etc...
Hmm. I’ve started toying with the idea of having a big splurge on an upgraded rig. I don’t know when exactly. It might be in the next few weeks, the next few months, or in a couple of years time. But hypothetically, if I were to get a pretty decent setup to last me a few more years, I’d like to know roughly how much it’ll cost. As you say, the 1080 is still pretty decent, but the RAM, CPU, mobo and possibly PSU will need replacing.
I’m certainly not after the latest and greatest, but definitely something that’ll see me through the next few years. Hell, I’m still not using 4K at the moment, and I can’t say I’m too fussed, as I’m still content with 1080p. :)
I should point out too, that along with gaming, I do game art. I’m working towards breaking into the games industry, so I’m specialising in character art. I use a lot of software packages too like 3ds Max, Maya, ZBrush, Substance Painter etc. Though they all run perfectly fine on my system as it is.

I suspect, that when I do upgrade, the 4000 or 5000 series of GPUs will be released. But I’m also concerned regarding the price inflations and what with Bitcoin data miners affecting the costs of new GPUs. It might be best to just stick with my 1080 for a few more years and just upgrade the rest, like I’ve already mentioned. Might work out slightly cheaper too.
 

PsychoPsyops

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Funny enough, I had just rebuilt my pc after having the same CPU you do. I went with the i7 12700K. It was pricey, but I'm the type of person who can't stand not having the best available hardware when I do upgrade. I tend to rebuild my pc around every 6 years, with some standalone gpu upgrades in between, depending on the new display tech that comes out. I digress though. My point is the performance difference is very noticeable and probably will still be if you went with the less expensive 11th gen i7. And yes, newer cpus do require newer mobo and ram, however Windows 11 does as well and probably future Windows OS's will.
 
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punkncat

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... big splurge on an upgraded rig.... a pretty decent setup to last me a few more years, I’d like to know roughly how much it’ll cost. As you say, the 1080 is still pretty decent, but the RAM, CPU, mobo and possibly PSU will need replacing..... still content with 1080p. :)

(snip)use a lot of software packages too like 3ds Max, Maya, ZBrush, Substance Painter etc.
So basically, a new PC.
At this point, yes, new PC with only the GPU being recycled. Would probably be a good idea to consider looking up the particular software packages and see if they specify a recommended spec. If not, default to the games you are considering + some.

As far as what it's "worth" to upgrade at this point? Well, the game you can't play only needs a 3300/8400 based system. You can build a much newer system off that spec for sub $500 (ish) if you chose to go with i3/R3, DDR4 based system. In essence an i3 10100 is practically a performance match to the 4790K. Anything above that in performance and budget is icing.

Decide on a budget, get your timeline to zero day, and ask this again.
 

VermilionNeko

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Funny enough, I had just rebuilt my pc after having the same CPU you do. I went with the i7 12700K. It was pricey, but I'm the type of person who can't stand not having the best available hardware when I do upgrade. I tend to rebuild my pc around every 6 years, with some standalone gpu upgrades in between, depending on the new display tech that comes out. I digress though. My point is the performance difference is very noticeable and probably will still be if you went with the less expensive 11th gen i7. And yes, newer cpus do require newer mobo and ram, however Windows 11 does as well and probably future Windows OS's will.
Cool. I’ll have to look into that model. What about the RAM and mobo? I’ll probably spend £2K at max. Hopefully it won’t come to that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it does. Or slightly over. If not, then I don’t mind spending that extra bit more if I can get something better that’ll last longer.
Can’t say I’m too fussed about Windows 11 at the moment, but the option to have it if I decide to is always nice. Pretty happy with Windows 10 at the moment.
 

shady28

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Cool. I’ll have to look into that model. What about the RAM and mobo? I’ll probably spend £2K at max. Hopefully it won’t come to that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it does. Or slightly over. If not, then I don’t mind spending that extra bit more if I can get something better that’ll last longer.
Can’t say I’m too fussed about Windows 11 at the moment, but the option to have it if I decide to is always nice. Pretty happy with Windows 10 at the moment.
Well, 4790K was released 8 years ago. So to survive 8 years as best as possible, I'd suggest focus on connectivity :

-Make sure you have a pcie 5.0 x16 slot, you'll need this in a couple more gens of GPUs
-Go for 32GB DDR5, no it's not the best deal right now, but DDR4s days are numbered and it'll be about as useful in the future as your DDR3 is now. Get DDR5 that is fast (>6000 C36), but not horribly expensive - chances are good you'll upgrade it in a few years. You may never upgrade this, but if you do in a few years, you'll be glad you have DDR5.
-Make sure to have at least two PCIe 4.0 m.2 slots; what type of drives you get right now is probably less important as they will undoubtedly be replaced over time
-Make sure you have multiple USB 3.2 2x2 - and preferably at least one of those on USB-C

I'd suggest getting a high end chipset motherboard with some solid VRMs too. Z690 or if waiting for Zen 4 an X670. Capacitors and VRMs decay over time.

I can summarize the above by saying - get a good motherboard with plenty of modern connectivity.

The other decision is CPU, go for current Alder Lake, or wait for Zen 4 / Raptor Lake. The new CPUs will likely be expensive on release, and possibly hard to get.

An Alder Lake rig will allow you to upgrade to Raptor Lake later if desired, just make sure the manufacturer is planning to release a bios patch - most are for Z690 and B660.
 
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VermilionNeko

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Well, 4790K was released 8 years ago. So to survive 8 years as best as possible, I'd suggest focus on connectivity :

-Make sure you have a pcie 5.0 x16 slot, you'll need this in a couple more gens of GPUs
-Go for 32GB DDR5, no it's not the best deal right now, but DDR4s days are numbered and it'll be about as useful in the future as your DDR3 is now. Get DDR5 that is fast (>6000 C36), but not horribly expensive - chances are good you'll upgrade it in a few years. You may never upgrade this, but if you do in a few years, you'll be glad you have DDR5.
-Make sure to have at least two PCIe 4.0 m.2 slots; what type of drives you get right now is probably less important as they will undoubtedly be replaced over time
-Make sure you have multiple USB 3.2 2x2 - and preferably at least one of those on USB-C

I'd suggest getting a high end chipset motherboard with some solid VRMs too. Z690 or if waiting for Zen 4 an X670. Capacitors and VRMs decay over time.

I can summarize the above by saying - get a good motherboard with plenty of modern connectivity.

The other decision is CPU, go for current Alder Lake, or wait for Zen 4 / Raptor Lake. The new CPUs will likely be expensive on release, and possibly hard to get.

An Alder Lake rig will allow you to upgrade to Raptor Lake later if desired, just make sure the manufacturer is planning to release a bios patch - most are for Z690 and B660.
Thanks for the advice. I'm guessing PCIe 5.0 is backwards compatible with 3.0 chips, right? Also, I know it tends to be just part of the silicon lottery, but my current rig can't handle much in the way of CPU overclocking. Even with a K chip. I take it having a mobo with solid VRMs will contribute to how well a CPU can be overclocked?

I'm so behind on hardware, but I'm guessing getting Zen 4 will end up costing a lot more if it's on the verge of being released. May have to go for the previous generation.
 

shady28

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Thanks for the advice. I'm guessing PCIe 5.0 is backwards compatible with 3.0 chips, right? Also, I know it tends to be just part of the silicon lottery, but my current rig can't handle much in the way of CPU overclocking. Even with a K chip. I take it having a mobo with solid VRMs will contribute to how well a CPU can be overclocked?

I'm so behind on hardware, but I'm guessing getting Zen 4 will end up costing a lot more if it's on the verge of being released. May have to go for the previous generation.
PCIe 3.0 will work on PCIe 5.0 That goes for the m.2 slots as well.

I'm just saying to make sure you can use the newest standards if you plan to keep the rig anywhere near the 8 years you kept your current one. I would imagine in a couple of years, all the new m.2 SSDs being released will be 5.0 and all the new GPUs ( RTX 50X0 \ RX 8X00 etc) will support and probably need PCIe 5.0

Zen 4 is going to be on AM5 socket. which will have PCIe 5. There aren't any AM5 socket boards right now, won't be until Zen 4 arrives.

Going AM4 \ Zen 3 right now would be like, going the opposite direction, an obsolete socket and a board that at most supports PCIe 4.0 That's fine for now, next couple of years probably, but beyond that not so much. Zen 3 is also behind Alder Lake in performance, and that gap will grow with Raptor Lake.

Waiting for AM5, advantage is that AMD has a long history of supporting multiple CPU gens on the motherboard. Very good chance that you'll be able to use Zen 5 in 2 years and possibly Zen 6 on it in 4 years - no guarantees. Disadvantage - you have to wait, possibly quite some time depending on how much AMD can produce and what the price is.

Going Alder Lake means you get all the PCIe 5.0 stuff (pick the right motherboard) now, and can upgrade to Raptor Lake late this year / early next year. Beyond Raptor Lake you're done on CPU upgrades, Meteor Lake in late 2023 will not use the same socket.

The reason I'm all over the connectivity part, something like the device below may well become mainstream for PCIe 5.0 rigs in 3 or 4 years. 14GB/s, 3M IOPS, 128TB.

If you limit yourself to PCIe 4, well...

https://www.tomshardware.com/news/silicon-motion-unveils-montitan-sm8366-pcie-5-ssd-controller
 
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Zerk2012

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Hi

What modern CPUs are worth upgrading to from an i7 4790K? I highly doubt I’ll be upgrading my PC any time soon, but I’m just curious. Every thread I’ve come across about this ends along the lines of ‘it’s not worth upgrading’, but is that still true in 2022? Obviously, I would need to upgrade the mobo and RAM too. I’m still rocking DDR3

Also, according to Bandai Namco support, my CPU is to blame and the cause of me experiencing random crashes in Elden Ring because it doesn’t meet the minimum system requirements.

Thanks
The PC requirements for that game says i5 8400 your 4790K has right at the same performance.

I went from a 4790k to a 10600k for the extra cores.
Upgrading today the 12600k or 12700 would be good choices for gaming.
 

Why_Me

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Hmm. I’ve started toying with the idea of having a big splurge on an upgraded rig. I don’t know when exactly. It might be in the next few weeks, the next few months, or in a couple of years time. But hypothetically, if I were to get a pretty decent setup to last me a few more years, I’d like to know roughly how much it’ll cost. As you say, the 1080 is still pretty decent, but the RAM, CPU, mobo and possibly PSU will need replacing.
I’m certainly not after the latest and greatest, but definitely something that’ll see me through the next few years. Hell, I’m still not using 4K at the moment, and I can’t say I’m too fussed, as I’m still content with 1080p. :)
I should point out too, that along with gaming, I do game art. I’m working towards breaking into the games industry, so I’m specialising in character art. I use a lot of software packages too like 3ds Max, Maya, ZBrush, Substance Painter etc. Though they all run perfectly fine on my system as it is.

I suspect, that when I do upgrade, the 4000 or 5000 series of GPUs will be released. But I’m also concerned regarding the price inflations and what with Bitcoin data miners affecting the costs of new GPUs. It might be best to just stick with my 1080 for a few more years and just upgrade the rest, like I’ve already mentioned. Might work out slightly cheaper too.
Pair it up with a set of either DDR4 3200 or DDR4 3600.

https://www.awd-it.co.uk/components/motherboards/intel-motherboards/h610-b660-h670-chipset-lga-1700/gigabyte-b660m-gaming-x-ddr4-intel-micro-atx-motherboard-lga-1700.html
Gigabyte B660M GAMING X DDR4 £131.99

https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/B660M-GAMING-X-DDR4-rev-10

https://www.box.co.uk/BX8071512400F-Intel-Core-i5-12400F-12th-Gen-Desktop-Pr_4094468.html
Intel Core i5-12400F £173.99

https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/134587/intel-core-i512400f-processor-18m-cache-up-to-4-40-ghz.html

i5 12400 / 12400F gaming benchmarks.

 

VermilionNeko

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The PC requirements for that game says i5 8400 your 4790K has right at the same performance.

I went from a 4790k to a 10600k for the extra cores.
Upgrading today the 12600k or 12700 would be good choices for gaming.
I wouldn't be surprised, if/when I upgrade to something modern, I still get the random stutters and momentary freezes. Bandai told me it was my CPU to blame, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's not 100% the case.
 

VermilionNeko

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PCIe 3.0 will work on PCIe 5.0 That goes for the m.2 slots as well.

I'm just saying to make sure you can use the newest standards if you plan to keep the rig anywhere near the 8 years you kept your current one. I would imagine in a couple of years, all the new m.2 SSDs being released will be 5.0 and all the new GPUs ( RTX 50X0 \ RX 8X00 etc) will support and probably need PCIe 5.0

Zen 4 is going to be on AM5 socket. which will have PCIe 5. There aren't any AM5 socket boards right now, won't be until Zen 4 arrives.

Going AM4 \ Zen 3 right now would be like, going the opposite direction, an obsolete socket and a board that at most supports PCIe 4.0 That's fine for now, next couple of years probably, but beyond that not so much. Zen 3 is also behind Alder Lake in performance, and that gap will grow with Raptor Lake.

Waiting for AM5, advantage is that AMD has a long history of supporting multiple CPU gens on the motherboard. Very good chance that you'll be able to use Zen 5 in 2 years and possibly Zen 6 on it in 4 years - no guarantees. Disadvantage - you have to wait, possibly quite some time depending on how much AMD can produce and what the price is.

Going Alder Lake means you get all the PCIe 5.0 stuff (pick the right motherboard) now, and can upgrade to Raptor Lake late this year / early next year. Beyond Raptor Lake you're done on CPU upgrades, Meteor Lake in late 2023 will not use the same socket.

The reason I'm all over the connectivity part, something like the device below may well become mainstream for PCIe 5.0 rigs in 3 or 4 years. 14GB/s, 3M IOPS, 128TB.

If you limit yourself to PCIe 4, well...

https://www.tomshardware.com/news/silicon-motion-unveils-montitan-sm8366-pcie-5-ssd-controller
Yeah, I completely understand. The rest of my rig (CPU, mobo, RAM) are definitely dated and holding me back now, and future proofing a bit would make sense. I'm just apprehensive how much they'll cost if they're not released yet. I was toying with the idea of upgrading after I complete my Masters at university next August/September. As sort of a treat for myself. :3 Certainly have a lot of research to do until then...

Also, I don't have a lot of knowledge/experience with m.2 SSDs. I think I have one in my laptop, but I'm not as clued up on the specifics of them. I've mainly been using regular SSDs from Samsung in my PC.
 

shady28

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I wouldn't be surprised, if/when I upgrade to something modern, I still get the random stutters and momentary freezes. Bandai told me it was my CPU to blame, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's not 100% the case.
Actually on that topic, I'll say this.

Every PC has a bottleneck. Up until about 3 years ago when it came to games, any 'current' CPU would always bottleneck on the GPU - even the fastest GPU. You'd have to have a really old CPU to get CPU bound.

But conversely for a long time, CPU performance only went up 5% or so a year while GPU performance was were going up 10-20% per year.

The bottleneck point has changed the last few years, starting with Turing (RTX 20X0). I remember one video where back in early 2020, I think it was 'Tech Jesus' (Gamers Nexus) was saying that you'd need a 2070 Super or higher to see any FPS loss from using a 3600X or 10400.

Well, a 3060 Ti released 6 months later performed between 2070 Super and 2080 levels. Suddenly, someone with a brand new 10400 or 3600X paired with a 3070 would get CPU bound.

The absolute worst bottleneck to have as far as user experience is on the CPU. People are still in the mode of telling others to buy as much GPU as possible and not so much the CPU. That's because that was the right answer for 5 or 6 years as the GPUs were nowhere near bottlenecking on the CPU. You could use an i7-2600K from 2013 with a 980 Ti in 2015 and be just fine.

It's really not the right answer anymore. And, if you go 100% on the CPU it starts to interfere with basic usability - mouse movement, disk IO, network speeds, outlook checking your email server, an on-access virus scanner checking a file - anything the system tries to do can cause stutter and hitching when the CPU is at 100%.

Point being - don't get too little CPU for your GPU.
 

Zerk2012

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VermilionNeko

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They told you complete BS your CPU is about 25 / 30% better than this old i5 2500K and their not crashing.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KniuvRy9_Vw
Hmm. Curious. Then again, customer support channels for game companies tend to be terrible. They're very quick to blame things on your end rather than investigating the game and what's actually wrong with it. Just like how they get you to check various things that have absolutely nothing to do with the issue, such as having the latest GPU drivers. In all my experience, upgrading to the latest has never fixed any stutters, crashes or performance problems. It usually ends up being some optimisation issue.
 

VermilionNeko

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Actually on that topic, I'll say this.

Every PC has a bottleneck. Up until about 3 years ago when it came to games, any 'current' CPU would always bottleneck on the GPU - even the fastest GPU. You'd have to have a really old CPU to get CPU bound.

But conversely for a long time, CPU performance only went up 5% or so a year while GPU performance was were going up 10-20% per year.

The bottleneck point has changed the last few years, starting with Turing (RTX 20X0). I remember one video where back in early 2020, I think it was 'Tech Jesus' (Gamers Nexus) was saying that you'd need a 2070 Super or higher to see any FPS loss from using a 3600X or 10400.

Well, a 3060 Ti released 6 months later performed between 2070 Super and 2080 levels. Suddenly, someone with a brand new 10400 or 3600X paired with a 3070 would get CPU bound.

The absolute worst bottleneck to have as far as user experience is on the CPU. People are still in the mode of telling others to buy as much GPU as possible and not so much the CPU. That's because that was the right answer for 5 or 6 years as the GPUs were nowhere near bottlenecking on the CPU. You could use an i7-2600K from 2013 with a 980 Ti in 2015 and be just fine.

It's really not the right answer anymore. And, if you go 100% on the CPU it starts to interfere with basic usability - mouse movement, disk IO, network speeds, outlook checking your email server, an on-access virus scanner checking a file - anything the system tries to do can cause stutter and hitching when the CPU is at 100%.

Point being - don't get too little CPU for your GPU.
I swear I've read various forum posts even saying an i7 4790K bottlenecks a 1080...? Not sure if that's been the case for me or a game's optimisation, but some games haven't always maxed out the GPU; it hasn't looked to be using full utilisation of it.

I certainly don't want to be skimping out on the CPU side of things though. I've made that naive mistake before. I know ZBrush is quite reliant on the CPU and RAM and I use that for art work. Though I think that relies more on core speed.
 

VermilionNeko

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Run this and post a link to the results.

That's a cool and handy tool. Here are the results:

UserBenchmarks: Game 89%, Desk 86%, Work 74%
CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K - 83.7%
GPU: Nvidia GTX 1080 - 107.9%
SSD: Samsung 860 Evo 1TB - 84.6%
SSD: Samsung 850 Evo 500GB - 92.2%
SSD: Samsung 850 Evo 120GB - 83.3%
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 1TB - 68.5%
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 1TB - 25.6%
HDD: Toshiba P300 3TB - 89.9%
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 500GB - 62.9%
USB: HDT72252 5DLAT80 250GB - 19.9%
USB: TOSHIBA EXTERNAL_USB 1TB - 37.4%
RAM: Unknown CMY16GX3M2A1600C9 0215 CMY16GX3M2A1866C9 0215 CMY16GX3M2A1866C9 24GB - 44%
MBD: Asrock Z97 Extreme4
 

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