Question Is the i5 10400 worth upgrading? If so, what is my best pathway?

NoeWuh

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i5 10400, MPG Z490 GAMING PLUS, 3060ti, 32GB DDR4 3600, 2x1TB NVME SSDs. It seems as if the current bottleneck in my system is the older 10400 and I think the right move is to upgrade soon, however, I'm contemplating what the best choice is:

  • Stay with the Z490 LGA1200 and upgrade to a 11900k or 10900k with a beefy AIO for OC, or
  • Upgrade to a newer 12 or 13 series chip, and get a new LGA 1700 board.
Keeping in mind that I would like to get the best performance for the best price, what would be the best value option? Also, is it even worth upgrading now? Any feedback is much appreciated!
 
Hey there,

What res do you play? The 10400 is still pretty relevant. Also quite balanced with the 3060ti. If playing 1080p then yes, a new CPU might give you a few more FPS, if gaming is all you do. But at higher res, the bottleneck (I hate that term) shifts more towards the GPU. What do you want to achieve in terms of the upgrade? Performance in what?
 
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NoeWuh

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Hey there,

What res do you play? The 10400 is still pretty relevant. Also quite balanced with the 3060ti. If playing 1080p then yes, a new CPU might give you a few more FPS, if gaming is all you do. But at higher res, the bottleneck (I hate that term) shifts more towards the GPU. What do you want to achieve in terms of the upgrade? Performance in what?
Gaming at 1440p, not primarily concerned with FPS currently, more so CPU utilization. Multitasking has gotten a bit frustrating and I can notice some slowness while gaming. Also, the intel stock fan has been getting pretty aggressive on medium loads which is a bit of an annoyance, but getting an aftermarket cooler for a non OCable CPU seems a bit overkill (up to be corrected on that though).
 
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Hmmmm. In that case, I'd prob stick with your current mobo. Update bios and go with an 11900k, which at 1440p will prob give you as good results as the 12th/13th Gen. Get the extra cores and IPC and be happy out gaming for a good while yet.

If on the other hand you absolutely have to with a more recent gen build, the suggestion would be to go with a DDR4 based 12th/13th Gen, rather than DDR5 based. You could re-use your ram/GPU/PSU etc. But, again at 1440p, the difference won't be huge compared to a 11900k.

What option would be cheaper where you are? An 11900k and keeping everything else, or new mobo, potentially new ram if you go DDR5, and CPU to boot?
 
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NoeWuh

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Hmmmm. In that case, I'd prob stick with your current mobo. Update bios and go with an 11900k, which at 1440p will prob give you as good results as the 12th/13th Gen. Get the extra cores and IPC and be happy out gaming for a good while yet.

If on the other hand you absolutely have to with a more recent gen build, the suggestion would be to go with a DDR4 based 12th/13th Gen, rather than DDR5 based. You could re-use your ram/GPU/PSU etc. But, again at 1440p, the difference won't be huge compared to a 11900k.

What option would be cheaper where you are? An 11900k and keeping everything else, or new mobo, potentially new ram if you go DDR5, and CPU to boot?
I'm in Ontario, most likely the 11900k with an aftermarket cooler or AIO. The new board would be upwards of 150-200 plus RAM would be 120+, and the 12/13th gen would be 300+. From what I can tell, the 11900kf hovers around 500, and a cooler would be anywhere from 50-150, non iGPU model might be a good way to save money.

On a separate note though, I almost want to recorrect my last statement, would getting an aftermarket cooler improve performance through better temps, at least in the short term? Until I'd eventually do a complete upgrade to next-gen, I wouldn't expect an insane boost in performance, but quieter fans and a slight boost to performance might be worth holding off until a move to next-gen would be cheaper (or better sale).
 
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I'm in Ontario, most likely the 11900k with an aftermarket cooler or AIO. The new board would be upwards of 150-200 plus RAM would be 120+, and the 12/13th gen would be 300+. From what I can tell, the 11900kf hovers around 500, and a cooler would be anywhere from 50-150, non iGPU model might be a good way to save money.

On a separate note though, I almost want to recorrect my last statement, would getting an aftermarket cooler improve performance through better temps, at least in the short term? Until I'd eventually do a complete upgrade to next-gen, I wouldn't expect an insane boost in performance, but quieter fans and a slight boost to performance might be worth holding off until a move to next-gen would be cheaper (or better sale).
So, yes, if you got an aftermarket cocoler, chances are the CPU will perform better. By better, I mean it will be cooler, and boost to it's max all core boost more often and for longer periods. The stock cooler is sufficient at best. You won't get a massive bump in performance, but you might have less throttling, if that's happening.
 
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punkncat

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IMO, if you were inclined to look at an 11900K, take a look at the 11700K as well with price considerations in mind. The i9 IS faster, but the i7 has been available at a lot of outlets really cheap. A 10850K would be a very worthy upgrade if you can happen across one as well.

To be sure though, for pure gaming performance the i5 you have now is still a strong contender. If pricing isn't right I might consider holding off a bit and keep watch on 12th and 13th gen for the price cuts they will take in a year or less. Obviously, that is also a new mobo and possibly RAM if you decide to modernize with DDR5.

I run an 11900K and it's fast, no doubt. They are also power hungry and hot. Mine readily runs over 5GHz without any OC or adjustments on a Z590 board. With the recent Nvidia driver improvements I see really good frame rates alongside a 3070, of which the 3060ti is 'barely' not as capable, perhaps even more on par if it's a partner card. I have the FE.
 
The cheapest drop in replacement would most likely be the 11700K. I would not bother with an 11900K, it is barely faster than the 11700K. The 10850K would be a viable option if you can find one at a reasonable price. My daily driver is a 10850K but I've used the 10400F. The latter is still a pretty decent CPU but it does become saturated in some very demanding titles. Can I ask what games you play and at what refresh rate?

Also what is your max CPU temperature and what is your all core boost speed?
 

NoeWuh

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The cheapest drop in replacement would most likely be the 11700K. I would not bother with an 11900K, it is barely faster than the 11700K. The 10850K would be a viable option if you can find one at a reasonable price. My daily driver is a 10850K but I've used the 10400F. The latter is still a pretty decent CPU but it does become saturated in some very demanding titles. Can I ask what games you play and at what refresh rate?

Also what is your max CPU temperature and what is your all core boost speed?
I'm all over the place tbh, I've played Cyberpunk, Skyrim, Minecraft, Madden 22, Age of Empires 4 in the last month alone. I play on 165hz.
 

NoeWuh

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So, yes, if you got an aftermarket cocoler, chances are the CPU will perform better. By better, I mean it will be cooler, and boost to it's max all core boost more often and for longer periods. The stock cooler is sufficient at best. You won't get a massive bump in performance, but you might have less throttling, if that's happening.
Ill do some benchmarking and see if CPU temps/throttling is an issue. I think getting a cooler for the short term is probably my best bet. Can do a big upgrade in a couple of years.
 
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Yes, this is prob a good idea. I've a 5600x, and although a little faster than your 10400, in many ways, is comparable. With 6c/12t you have enough to game. At 1440p it's not so much of a difference. Yes, you could get a little more FPS from a newer CPU/Arch, but with the 3060ti been the limiting factor at higher res, your CPU is still relevant as I mentioned.

Try get a good cooler. See what legs you can get from the 10400, and judge from there. If you feel you are lacking, then come back and we can advise further. CPU utilization will vary from system to system. Game to game.
 
I'm all over the place tbh, I've played Cyberpunk, Skyrim, Minecraft, Madden 22, Age of Empires 4 in the last month alone. I play on 165hz.
Cyberpunk will max out the 10400. I got a fairly good experience out of it, but with all the trimmings on it will dip below 60 FPS. Running that at 165hz is extremely difficult. Do you try to play all games at 165hz or just some?
 
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