Question Intel Core i5-6600 Upgrade Path

Dec 20, 2019
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Hi! I have a Core i5-6600 (stock cooler) on a Z170M motherboard in my personal rig (* I honestly don't know why I opted to choose/pair both of them - but it was built in early 2016 and I was quite ill-informed then*). I was wondering if it would be wise to pickup a used Core i7-7700K on the cheap to replace my 6600 and pair it with my Z170M motherboard (with the necessary BIOS updates); or, replace the CPU and motherboard all together for a Ryzen 5 3600 processor and a B450 motherboard. I have a really tight budget of around ~100 to 200 USD (exclusive of the money I'd have from selling the 6600) - *and I'm also planning on picking up another 8GB DDR4 stick. I generally use my PC for programming, gaming, video/photo editing, and other forms of media/content creation.

Any thoughts?
Thanks guys!

System Specifications:
CPU: Intel Core i5-6600 (stock cooler)
Motherboard: MSI Z170M Mortar
RAM: Kingston HyperX Fury 8GB 2400MHz DDR4
GPU: MSI GTX 960 2GB OC
Storage: Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD & (2) 1TB HDDs
PSU: Aerocool Rave 80+ 600W
 

Third-Eye

Distinguished
Hi! I have a Core i5-6600 (stock cooler) on a Z170M motherboard in my personal rig (* I honestly don't know why I opted to choose/pair both of them - but it was built in early 2016 and I was quite ill-informed then*). I was wondering if it would be wise to pickup a used Core i7-7700K on the cheap to replace my 6600 and pair it with my Z170M motherboard (with the necessary BIOS updates); or, replace the CPU and motherboard all together for a Ryzen 5 3600 processor and a B450 motherboard. I have a really tight budget of around ~100 to 200 USD (exclusive of the money I'd have from selling the 6600) - *and I'm also planning on picking up another 8GB DDR4 stick. I generally use my PC for programming, gaming, video/photo editing, and other forms of media/content creation.

Any thoughts?
Thanks guys!

System Specifications:
CPU: Intel Core i5-6600 (stock cooler)
Motherboard: MSI Z170M Mortar
RAM: Kingston HyperX Fury 8GB 2400MHz DDR4
GPU: MSI GTX 960 2GB OC
Storage: Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD & (2) 1TB HDDs
PSU: Aerocool Rave 80+ 600W
The only real upgrade path from an i5 6600 is an i7 6700/S/K or 7700/S/K with all of them costing around $150-250 used. Save your money until you can get a Ryzen 5 3600X for $200 (currently $10-15 more than 3600) and a B450 or B550 motherboard for about $70-100. Reuse the ram you have until you can get a 3000-3600Mhz 2x8GB kit for around $70. Edit The 3600X comes with the Wraith Prism CPU cooler which is close in performance to many 120mm tower coolers *. If you instead buy a Ryzen 5 2600X, and B450 motherboard, you are looking at around $190-225 before applicable taxes. You may want to get a 120mm tower cooler since it comes with the much worse Wraith Spire cooler.

* It's actually the Ryzen 7 and 9 that come with the Wraith Prism. I keep forgetting the 3600X come with the Spire.
 
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dorsai

Honorable
Nov 23, 2013
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I would go with the 3600...the i7-7700k is now discontinued by Intel while the AM4 platform still has the 4000 series coming next year and should give you some upgrade options down the road.
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
I'd start with upgrading to 2x8GB DDR4-3200-16 or anything better you may be able to get for about the same price in anticipation of upgrading everything else later. I don't know how intense your programming is but back when I did lots of programming, debugging data and logs could pretty quickly pass the GB mark and if you don't have enough RAM to keep both the IDE, whatever other windows you regularly refer to and running project in memory, things get miserable really quickly regardless of what CPU you have.
 
Sep 11, 2019
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9400f with a gigabyte b365 Ultra Durable like i did. And 8gb of ddr4 ram itll cost cheap plus youll still have money left over for the ram so my option is the best for budget
 

ohio_buckeye

Honorable
Jan 5, 2015
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Or, since you are tight on money, you could go to the ryzen 2000 series, along with a b450 board. Something like a 2600, overclock, and in a year or so, with any luck, your board manufacturer should have a bios update to support the new 4000 series CPUs when they arrive. So I'd consider that for your budget.

The Intel CPUs aren't a bad option necessarily, and ipc is a bit better than second gen ryzen. However, the i5 for example is only a 6 core CPU with no hyperthreading, and is locked.

The ryzen 2600 for example is 6 cores but has hyperthreading, so it can do 12 threads instead of 6 at once. Plus you can overclock it with a b450 board or x470 or 570.

For gaming today, maybe the i5 gives you 5-10% on some titles. Vs the 2600. The thing the ryzen brings to the table besides hyperthreading is upgradeability. You should be able to upgrade to the newer 4000 series next year. I left off the 3600 CPU due to your budget. However, if you can stretch save up another 50-100 you can get the 3600 and overclock it also. Just be aware with the 3000 series CPUs that they are not supported by b450 boards out of the box. Many manufacturers and retailers have updated their stock so that a 3000 series cpu will work fine from the get go. Just be sure to check with your retailer if the board has been updated or not.

To give an idea of the 2600 vs the i5 9400f vs the 3600, take a look at this review and you should get an idea.


But I think for the future either ryzen with hyperthreading will be decent. I5 is ok, but you won't have near the upgrade path imo. Whereas I think AMD is a lot better about that. For example, I've got a 2 year old b350 board with a ryzen 1700x in it. However, according to asrock's website, I can update the bios and jump to a ryzen 9 3950x tomorrow if I desired. Kind of hoping my old board will run the 4000 series CPUs as well. But for a board that only cost me around 60 dollars I'm happy with it. Very much doubt that i5 and whatever board goes with it will allow for that.
 
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