Question i7 7700k upgrade options/wisdom

9-Ball

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Folks,

I'm considering a significant upgrade on my current main system, built in 2017. Current spec is as follows:
  • Gigabyte Z270x Aurora G9
  • Intel i7 7700k at 4.4Ghz on air cooling (Cryorig R1, keeps it at <60 degrees on heavy load)
  • 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 3000 (PC4 24000)
  • Nvidia 1080 Ti
  • U.2 Intel 750
  • Several SSDs for storage
  • Seasonic 1200 PSU
I'm planning to upgrade and add a an m.2 drive and 2080 Ti in the next few weeks and am looking at a CPU upgrade at the same time.

My mobo will support the following CPUs:
  • i9-10940X
  • i9-10920X
  • i9-10900X
  • I9-9980XE
  • I9-9960X
  • I9-9940X
  • I9-9920X
  • I9-9900X
  • I9-9820X
  • I7-9800X
  • I9-7980XE
Use case: lots of 1440p gaming on a 36" ultrawide 120hz monitor, especially flight and racing sims, heavy office multi-tasking, web/software production, video encoding.

Questions then: with the 2080 Ti upgrade, I've read mixed messages on the benefits/worthiness of upgrading to a 9900x or other CPU at the same time, so I don't need to look at another upgrade or rebuild for at least 3 years.

Some articles suggest overclocking the 7700k might be a good idea, but I'm a bit leery of messing with that, especially on air cooling and at risks of instability. My budget is pretty free so I'm looking at the 9900x and weighing the benefits, between improved (marginal?) performance versus the additional heat.

Wondering what advice others might have who've followed similar paths.
 

logainofhades

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Your Z270 motherboard does not support those CPU's. Your 7700k is as far as you can go, with that board. An overclock, on that CPU, to my knowledge is pretty simple. If you want new, I would look at an i5 10600k, or i7 10700k, if you want to stick with Intel.
 
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9-Ball

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But but but ... that's what I get for checking the wrong Gigabyte mobo link at 3am. Ugh, that complicates things and costs, significantly.

Definitely preferring Intel. Why the 10700k vs the 9900k? Benchmarks and pricing seems relatively even.
 

RodroX

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I would also go with 10th gen, I would get the newest platform in order to have atleast 1 more cpu gen upgrade down the line.
The 9900K platform is basically ended, dead, end of the road.

I honestly don't know much about flight simulators and why are soo hard on the CPU, or maybe they are not that hard on the CPU but instead they are not well optimazed to use the threads available I don't know.
Anyways, with a little teawking and nice speedy memory the Core i5 10600K can work as fast (on most games) as the i9 10900K. So Im guessing the i7 10700K will do as well, and having the extra 2 cores and theads as an advantage is always nice. Once again Im not sure how this threads may or not affect a flying simulator.

Whatever you pick, i9 9900k, i5, 10600K or i7 10700k you will need the right motherboard and the right cooling solution (bascially a big bulky air tower cooler like the Noctua NH-D15 or beQuiet DarkRock Pro 4, or at least a decent 280mm AIO liquid cooler).
 

logainofhades

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Throwing as much money, on a dead platform, as you would on the latest platform, is simply a terrible idea. The 10700k has the IHS improvements, that were added to 10th gen, so it should also run cooler. For straight up gaming though, the i5 10600k is the price/performance champ. As mentioned earlier, you will also get a shot at the 11th gen CPU's, and maybe, just maybe, finally PCI-E gen 4.0, with them.

Given Intel's current process woes, I am not so certain that Intel is a great option, and truly expect AMD 4th gen to take the performance crown, as they are not all that far behind now. If Ryzen 3000 could match Intel's high clocks, they would be beating them, slightly, as it is.
 
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beorn

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Hands down the AMD 3900X. Will perform within a few percentage points or so for gaming and will have a significant advantage in anything heavily threaded. And it is less expensive than either the 9900K or 10900K. I have a new 3900X build myself and I'm quite impressed. Never thought I'd go AMD (I've had Intel builds the last 15 years) but the choice is clear here
 

9-Ball

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Thanks all for the detailed input, thoughts and recommendations. Based on past experience over about 20 builds for myself and family/friends/coworkers, I have to admit a heavy pro-Intel or more accurately anti-AMD processor and GPU bias. Based on research of CPUs from 2018+, it seems like it might be time to revise that on the CPU front, if not the GPU. So, now I'm looking for a good motherboard to marry to the R9 3950x, which probably means the Gigabyte X570 Auros E.

Any thoughts on the best air cooler to match with the 3950x? Currently have a Noctua D15S on my shortlist, or maybe the giant BeQuiet Dark Rock thing (can't remember the model off the top of my head) as while I've used/loved Noctua coolers for years, those fans are uglier than the back end of a dead cow.

Other than that, the biggest procrastination choice is finding a good and attractive full ATX case. Case design seems to have gone the Honda/Toyota route (i.e. everything looks the same/bland) or the full-on sedate-me RGB neon lighting route, which might give me epilepsy. Case design needs some Scandinavian blood. Any thoughts on custom or less well known big cases good for air cooling but also with some unusual design features? Price not a major obstacle.
 

gtarayan

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I have to admit a heavy pro-Intel or more accurately anti-AMD processor and GPU bias.
My last AMD build was with Athlon 64 3000+ cpu and a DFI mobo - 3 intel machines before that and MANY more after - until now. Intel will earn my money when it gets off the 14+++++++++++++ nm Skylake derivative process. Current AMD offering is a much better platform despite the fact that intel gives you a 5% gaming frame rate edge.

which probably means the Gigabyte X570 Auros E
good motherboard choice- can't go wrong with that.

Any thoughts on the best air cooler to match with the 3950x?
I'd go with R5 3600 for CPU. It is not likely to be significantly cheaper than $160 it sells for now. Six months from now, sell it and drop in a high end 4000 part.

280 or 360 AIO such as EVGA CLC 280 400-HY-CL28-V1 or CLC 360 360 400-HY-CL36-V1 fare good choices

Other than that, the biggest procrastination choice is finding a good and attractive full ATX case.
Lian Li O11 Dynamic XL is a good full size ATX case. I would add a couple of extra fans for an outstanding air flow.

.
 

9-Ball

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@gtarayan... thanks for the input.

I care about that +/- 5%, regarding the Intel edge, but I think with the higher end Ryzens it looks like I can swallow that, especially with the 2080 Ti and 64GB Ram.

Any thoughts on an air cooler, as I noted in the last post? I'm not interested in liquid cooling - air outperforms it, is quieter, is cheaper and has zero points of failure by comparison - a large cooler will cope with passive cooling even if a fan dies, which is also easy to diagnose/bandaid and then fix. Only way I'd go with liquid cooling is a big custom loop which I don't want to mess with, primarily due to that failure issue. It looks like you're on the other side of that fence?

Thanks for the case recommendation. I'll look that up tomorrow.
 

gtarayan

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Any thoughts on an air cooler, as I noted in the last post?
This one is simple - Noctua NH-D15 (no affiliation with the link below)

https://www.amazon.com/Noctua-NH-D15-heatpipe-NF-A15-140mm/dp/B00L7UZMAK/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=Noctua+NH-D15&qid=1596587591&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyVFpXTkJCSUNTMkI2JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwODY0NzA3M0pVSFE1SVdUSUYyRiZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMjE0ODIyMlBVMEsyT0pKV1UyViZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

It looks like you're on the other side of that fence?
It used to be that AIOs were noisy and problematic - current offerings are truly trouble free. There is no conventional cooler comparable to a 280mm (never-mind 360) AIO. Also, AIOs make it much easier to fit RAM sticks with ever growing heat sinks.
 

Karadjgne

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I have to admit a heavy pro-Intel or more accurately anti-AMD processor and GPU bias.
You were faced with Intel Core i series vs AMD FX, Nvidia GTX vs R7/9 series room heaters. I for one will not hold it against you for being anti-AMD when faced with such glaringly obvious discrepancies.

10700k is nothing more than a revamped and better 'fixed' 9900k, which is basically nothing more than a couple of cores added to a 8700k, which wasn't much different to your 7700k. Until Intel finally decides to move fully away from the 14nm architecture, all their new cpus are basically just revamped copies of Skylake with a couple of tweaks. Honestly not worth the money output to upgrade for gaming purposes unless you just have to have the best. Right now.

Ryzens are good enough, and sometimes that's all that's really needed, is good enough.
 

9-Ball

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This one is simple - Noctua NH-D15 (no affiliation with the link below)

https://www.amazon.com/Noctua-NH-D15-heatpipe-NF-A15-140mm/dp/B00L7UZMAK/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=Noctua+NH-D15&qid=1596587591&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyVFpXTkJCSUNTMkI2JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwODY0NzA3M0pVSFE1SVdUSUYyRiZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMjE0ODIyMlBVMEsyT0pKV1UyViZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=



It used to be that AIOs were noisy and problematic - current offerings are truly trouble free. There is no conventional cooler comparable to a 280mm (never-mind 360) AIO. Also, AIOs make it much easier to fit RAM sticks with ever growing heat sinks.
Revisiting this as I'm only really stuck on CPU/GPU cooling solutions in putting together a new fall 2020 build.

I've read a lot on tests/research between liquid cooling (AIOs) versus high end cooling, conducted in early 2020, so not old products, and I consistently see the following results:
  1. Air still outcools liquid, except big custom loops
  2. Air oddly remains quieter, at least in terms of the high end Noctua offerings
  3. Critically, for me, air does not have the giant risk/fallibility of liquid - the pump can't fail. Even if the fans fail on a big air cooler, you still have efficient passive cooling for most use-cases
  4. It's notably cheaper, too
If I could find a liquid cooling solution for the Ryzen 9 3950x that doesn't have issue 3, above, in some virtually fool-proof way, I'd be more serious tempted to go with it. I prefer how it looks and the benefits to case air flow, and I will concede with OC'ing or otherwise pushing the ... er... loop on performance, liquid ultimately is more efficient eventually, but I find it really hard to get past that point of failure on a 2-3000 dollar mobo/cpu/ram setup, and the associated risk.

Thoughts?
 

Karadjgne

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1. No. There's 2 criteria, efficiency and capacity. Aios in general have greater capacity, especially the 280mm +, coming in at @ 300w+.even the biggest air is limited to @ 250w, which is roughly the same as a 240mm AIO. Efficiency is totally different. That determines which heat exchanger does a slightly better job, capacity is the limits of the job.

The 140w Corsair H60 gets identical performance to the 140w CM Hyper212 Evo. Same temps, same curve, same limits, same everything (within margins of error).

2. Apples and oranges. They don't compare. Aios/aircoolers don't make any real discernable noise, the FANS do. Comparing a Noctua fan at 1300rpm to a Corsair SP at 2400 rpm is a no brainer. Put those Noctua on a Corsair H100i and the Corsair's on a NH-U12A, and the Noctua heatsink will be considerably louder.

I7-3770K at 4.9GHz, nzxt Kraken X61, 70°C P95.
I7-3770K at 4.6GHz, Cryorig R1 Ultimate, 70°C P95.
The kraken was not only far quieter, also far better OC for the same temp. The R1 Ultimate is a short-hair behind the NH-D15 (ahead of the NH-D15S) in performance.

3. Personal opinion. For me, after 6 years at 4.9GHz, 24/7/364, the FANS on the kraken x61 finally failed. Not a problem with the pump, not a problem with leaks. I've had Phanteks top line aircoolers with warped base, I've had Noctua aircoolers with leaking heatpipes, I've had CM hyper212's with heatpipes seperated from the base, I've replaced countless mobo's that warped under heavy aircooler usage breaking the traces/solder. Everything has a failure rate, just AIO's are slightly more spectacular according to viral videos.

4. Not really. When you figure a decent rgb/argb 360mm AIO costs @ $150, and that includes 3x argb fans, put that up against a decent aircooler at @ $90 plus @ $25 per argb fan X3, the AIO comes out cheaper. Ppl tend to forget that most cases only come with 1-2 fans, only the specialty cases will come with more. And aircoolers will definitely require case fan additions.

5. Unspoken. Differences in loads. Fan volumes are taken at maximum speeds, which is not really comparable. A fair test would be the same speed, for volume, and the same temp for capacity. But they aren't done that way. Also figure every site has its own settings and own setup, so you'll get multiple differences in loads, none of which truly challenge the larger coolers of any sort. Comparing the efficiency of a NH-D15 to a 240mm AIO when they use an i7-8700k on one site, a i7-4790k on another, using 100 - 150w loads is bogus, as is making set claims and statements that one is better than the other. There are no uniform tests, so you'll not get uniform answers or results.
 
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RodroX

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The Noctua NH-D15 or NH-D15S should be good enough (probably more than good enough depending on your room temp) for the Ryzen 9 3950.

I still don't think the R9 3950 is really worth it, most games don't cap 12 threads (yet). At least not the games alone. That powerfull cpu wont hurt, I just think is not worth it for gaming alone. A Ryzen 7 3700X or one of the core i5/7 already named may be really good enough.

Also been nvidia new 3xxx gpus launch soo close I would really wait to see whats coming.
 

Karadjgne

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Almost 7 years ago the king of gaming was the i5-3570k. Everybody said don't buy the i7-3770K, it's wasted $100 extra for 4 threads you don't use, no game uses. Save your money and buy the i5. There's even a Tom's article that says as much. And then Battlefield series hit. Grand Theft Auto. All of a sudden there's games that are 8+ thread optimized, so much so that the FX-8350 was second place, just behind the i7-4790k, and a good chunk of fps ahead of the much more powerful single thread i5-4690k. Yes, FX.

Do games use 12 threads now? Maybe not many. But then you forget about Discord, Streaming, mmorpg AI which on World Boss fights is cpu Brutality. And all the other stuff ppl are getting into that soaks up thread space.

The 3950x has a singular advantage over the 3700x. Probable longetivity.

I can still game somewhat successfully on my old i7-3770K, it's honestly not that far behind a 7700k. My i5-3570k is long since retired, 4 threads just do not cut it with today's demands. It's a gamble, future guesses, but settling for second best is just as much a gamble that it'll survive for more than a couple of years.
 

9-Ball

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Thank you, Karadjgne and RodroX for your thoughts. Some useful info here.

On the CPU, given my use-case isn't just gaming but also productivity, including compiling large software builds and video encoding, going for the largest/biggest and therefore longest-lasting CPU I can afford now, with the hope it will last at least 3-5 years in terms of viability means the 3950x seems the better choice. It's also cheaper than my original CPU choice.

I'm penciling this in for the fall as I'm waiting to see what the 3xxx GPUs look like. Seems wise.

So that brings it back to the CPU cooler question. Karadjgne, I appreciate the valid comments on the idiosyncrasies of comparing AOI liquid cooling solutions with high end air coolers. You make a number of valid points. I'm still stuck with the original concerns about the consequences of an AIO's failure versus an air cooler. I can brace a mobo against sag/warping. I already have a high end case with 593929 fans, assuming I use that. I can live with the extra noise if there is any (still far from convinced AIO's are actually quieter than the low RPM fans on big passive coolers) - I game and work with headphones on anyway, and my desk sits under a giant ceiling fan with a big floor fan 20' away - but nothing really resolves the concerns about a pump failure or leak.

I assume with a pump failure I'd have the redundancy checks/fail-safe of a mobo's thermal warning shut-down rather than melting my expensive CPU, but that still seems risky. As to the leak risk... well, an air cooler just isn't going to do that.

Is there any AIO product out there (regardless of cost) that you're aware has an all encompassing warranty against damage done by such a failure? I think I'd need to see that and think it trust-worthy to go down that road. Obviously, I'm still trying to talk myself into it.
 

Karadjgne

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Contrary to popular wisdom, most of what ppl regard as an aftermarket aircooler is nothing more than a pump-less aio. If it's got heatpipes, it's a liquid cooler. The heatpipes are not solid, but hollow, partially filled with liquid. As the base gets hot, it boils that liquid which travels to the tips of the heatpipes, cools off, flows back to the base in a constant cycle.

And yes they can and do leak.

Everything has a failure rate, even the solid finned chunks of aluminium ppl call heatsinks. As said, warped bases, leaked heatpipes, heatpipe seperation from base, fin seperation from heatpipe etc.

Say Corsair made 1 million AIO's last year. Figure on a 0.1% failure rate. Small huh. But thats still 10,000 unhappy users worldwide. Failures are anything from simple 'doesn't fit' returns to it blew up. So out of those 10k unhappy people, @ 10% had valid reasons for return due to pump breakage, doa, leaks. That's a measly 1000 people. Out of that 1000, 1% had disastrous experience resulting in catastrophic failure. Burst tubing, blown seals etc. That's just 10 people out of 1 Million. Except only 1 person made a video, he was that unhappy. Blasted youtube and Reddit with the story of his woes. That video goes viral because human nature can't pass by a horror story. Next thing you know there's 100,000 hits and 1000 of those ppl post here. Stories of aios are bad because they leak, don't buy one! And it gets passed on by all those sheep, bleating away about nothing they have a clue about.

0.1% of aircoolers fail. 0.1% of aios fail. 0.1% (or more) of psu's, cpus, motherboards, ram, drives, fans fail. Yet nothing achieves the notoriety of an aio failure because nobody bothers to make a video of ram that doesn't work. Or an aircooler with a warped base etc. Aio spurting non conductive coolant? Wow, gotta watch that poor guys vid.

It's funny. Look at Linus, Steve, Jay or any of the other more prolific reviewers. They all use either aios or full custom loops. Wonder why. Ppl love loops yet a loop has 4-5x the amount of failure points to an aio. 4-5x more places for leaks, and put together by questionable experience. Yet a loop is expected to leak, it's a normal occurance, happens to everyone and anyone at some point. Now go find me a viral vid on that.

At some point you just gotta quit worrying about minor things. BTW, 99% of all leaks are caused by the installer or person messing with the aio during cleaning. Watching videos of install procedures and they rip the rad out of the box, dragging the pump along for the ride. Nice way to stress the factory crimps and cause a leak.

In all the pc's I've built over the years I've only ever had 1 catastrophic failure. That was on an original h100 that had the harder plastic corrugated tubing. It split, factory failure. Corsair was contacted, they not only replaced everything, but reimbursed me the build time. This was long before youtube or even videos, the internet was a newborn thing and AOL was king. Aio technology has come a long way since then.

Leaks happen. Ram doa happens. Psu deaths happen. Motherboard quits. Happens all too often. It's just a thing that happens. To a select few ppl. Notice nobody tells the story about the 999,000 Corsair customers you just totally skipped over who have had nothing but good things to say.
 
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9-Ball

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Yes, I'm aware air coolers usually have fluid in their heat pipes. Hardly a new technology.

Not sure where the equivalency of '0.1%' air coolers failing, at the same rate as AIO's comes from. That just doesn't make much sense and I can't find any supporting references. The 0.1% also seems like a stat plucked out of thin air, aka Corsair/NZXT marketing departments.

The fans on air coolers may fail but the actual passive heatsink, short of some unusual environmental scenarios (extreme humidity and salty air) just don't fail, certainly not at that same (relatively) high rate. I've never had or read about one failing, outside the fans. I can't say the same about LQ. I'd venture the reason one can find so many more stories/claims/comments about liquid cooling failing than air cooling is because that's just the reality. That, plus the consequences are typically so much more difficult/costly to resolve. I wouldn't call that a 'minor thing'.

LQ might be much safer and more reliable than it was 5 or 10 years ago, and that may indeed be statistically very much higher, overall, but I've yet to find an argument that invalidates the bottom line: an air cooler has zero points of failure, in real terms. An AIO has at least two, with potentially critical consequences. I'm also, perhaps most tellingly of all, unable to find a warranty from any AIO product vendor that shows a level of confidence in their own products to match that. I'd love to be able to prove that wrong, and be persuaded an AIO solution is the wiser choice, but this didn't do much toward that goal, unfortunately.
 

Karadjgne

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Understand, failure rates are impossible numbers. Vendors are reduced to calculating those by sales vs returns, which in itself is invalid. I've seen documentation of Corsair claiming a failure rate of 0.1% on its psus, Seasonic too, and it's well 'known' that Thermaltake TR2 psu series has a 20% (ish) failure rate. Yet those numbers are not correct either. The average lifespan of the old green label CX is averaged somewhere around 18months. That's everything from Doa to ppl using a 650w psu for 5 years on a pc that only pulls 150w. And was so cheap that the return process was more of a hassle than simply trashing the unit and replacing it.

So returns are an accurate number, documented number, but actual failures is anyone's guess. If you warranty something, 9/10 times it's simply tossed in the bin and replaced, not tested, if you claim not working. Cost too much to check.

What I will say is that even on these forums, the amount of actual pump failures is very low, the amount of leaks is even lower, most cases of aio failure is user error on install, everything from not using the right headers, forgetting cables, not using supplied software, not aligning bios etc. You are far more likely to see a psu or ram or motherboard failure than an actual aio failure.
 

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