Question improve on i7 4790K without new mobo?


Aug 16, 2014
I have a Win 10 system on a ASRock Z87M Extreme4 mobo with an i7 4790K cpu at stock speeds with 16Gb medium speed RAM and RX570 gpu.

I run a range of image processing software and looking task manager reports, the CPU is often almost maxed out during some of the processes but not the graphics card.

So can anyone answer what, if any, could I upgrade to without changing the mobo? I looked at the Asrock cpu support list but am confused. It looks like the i7 4790 is pretty much the highest it supports, but it lists Pentiums which I know nothing about.

Alternatively, any suggestion of a new cpu/mobo - Intel or AMD please without breaking the bank ie under $300??? Stop laughing!


Mar 27, 2019
Hey buddy,
your 4790k is the fastest cpu on that socket. I wanted one at that time, but couldnt afford it :)
What kind of cooler are you running? That cpu was more or less the last big overclocker. I would try to get a bit more juice out of it for now.
Your 300 $ budget is a tad too low for a substantial upgrade I fear. You will need a cpu, motherboard and ram. On top of that may I ask how old your psu is?

PCPartPicker Part List:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 3.6 GHz 6-Core Processor ($172.39 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus TUF GAMING X570-PLUS (WI-FI) ATX AM4 Motherboard ($189.99 @ Best Buy)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory ($74.98 @ Amazon)
Total: $437.36
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-05-22 15:36 EDT-0400


The i7 was the largest and fastest of the iCore series, having 4 cores and Hyperthreading, which divides a cores bandwidth and enables the possibility of 2 threads per core vrs a non hyperthreaded, single thread core.

The Pentium series is far older than the iCore series, starting out years before with a single core cpu. As far as more modern cpus goes, iCore is the top of the heap, the Pentium on the bottom.

There is no upgrade from a i7-4790k. It's the pinnicle of 4th gen mainstream lga1150 cpus.

There's only replacement. Which is what you'll need to start rethinking as software has also advanced since that time and developers have finally realized that you can get more work done on 2 threads at 2.6GHz than on 1 thread at 5.0GHz. So you are suffering because your software now can use well beyond 8 threads, but the cpu can only supply upto 8.

For that kind of crunching, I'd be looking at amd threadripper, but that's not going to happen on a $300 budget, and even a move to lower end Ryzen more cores/threads isn't going to help that much as the IPC on the 4790k is almost equitable.

The Intel alternative would be a dual Xeon 2011 setup where you'd get better IPC than the TR's and just as many threads possibly, but again, those motherboards aren't cheap. You can get a 2011 board from $200+ and a couple of E5 2670 v2 will run $50ish each and that'll get you 16 cores, 32 threads at 3.3GHz, depending on your cooling. Of course the 2011-3 series costs more, but are superior in speed. Having much larger Lcache and greater access to higher amounts of ram doesn't hurt either, it'll depend on exactly what your software needs and can use.

With a dual Xeon setup and 64Gb of ram, even if individual newer cpus are slightly faster, you'd have the resources to run a Virtual Machine and complete 2 projects simultaneously faster than a single machine could complete 2 projects back to back.

You have options, but a $300 budget isn't one of them for any kind of meaningful upgrade, any change possible within that budget would be at best a side-grade or at worst a down-grade and therefore a waste of $300.
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