[SOLVED] My gaming PC...is the upgrade worth it?

prince_xaine

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Feb 3, 2018
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Specifications

Motherboard: MSI Gaming Plus Z370
Processor: Intel Core i7-8700K @5.0 GHz [All Cores]
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D15
Graphics: Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 Ti [Core: 2085 MHz | Memory: 7450 MHz]
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 4x8GB [32GB]@4.0 GHz
Storage: Samsung 970 Pro 500 GB [Windows 10/Programs]
Storage: Samsung 850 Evo 500 GB [Emulator Games]
Storage: Samsung 850 Evo 500 GB [Junk]
Storage: Western Digital Black 6 TB [Steam]
Storage: Western Digital Black 6 TB [Windows Store, Origin]
Power: EVGA SuperNOVA 850 P2 80+ Platinum
Monitor 1: Predator 2560x1440p 160Hz G-Sync IPS Panel
Monitor 2: Asus 1920x1080p 144Hz TN-Film Panel

Okay specifications out of the way, I just have a few questions:

  1. Processor Upgrade: Is the i9-9900K a good upgrade over the i7-8700K for gaming, or would I waste two cores?
  2. Cooler Upgrade: My air cooler keeps my processor under/around 80C. If I eventually decide to make the move to an AIO, which one should I get? Honestly, I've heard horror stories about AIO coolers and I am not sure I am ready to make that leap. But I am thinking, the i9-9900K would require an AIO to keep cool under a 5 GHz all-core overclock.
  3. Motherboard Upgrade: My motherboard has all the features I need. So this can stay the same way without any loss in performance?
Other things:

1. When overclocking a graphics card, I always overclock the card as far as possible without increasing voltage. This usually results in a gain of FPS of around 1 FPS for every 10 MHz, but slowly losing the gain each time, resulting in a need for more speed for more increase. Like this: + 10MHz = +1 FPS, +30 MHz = +2 FPS.
So basically I am asking, does adding more voltage take away the degradation of gained FPS at a cost of heat and power, or does it allow me to push it a bit further with the same price for FPS increase, but with added heat and power?

Sorry for a lot of information, these are the things I have been asking myself for a while.
 
1. For purely gaming, 8700K@ 5.0 is as good as you are going to get.
Few games make effective use of more than 4 threads.
You can run this experiment:
Reduce you thread count by one or two.
You can do this in the windows msconfig boot advanced options option.
You will need to reboot for the change to take effect. Set the number of threads to less than you have.
This will tell you how sensitive your games are to the benefits of many threads.
If you see little difference, your game does not need all the threads you have.

If you are also heavily multitasking only then perhaps might a 9900K be worth it.

2. HN-D15 is as good a cooler as you are going to find. Period.
That includes any AIO cooler.
Your specs do not include your case.
I assume it is a good one with at least two front 120/140mm front intakes to feed the NH-D15.

3. 9900K does need a motherboard with very good power capability.
The z390 motherboard seem more capable in that respect.
Your Z370 motherboard will likely need a bios update to support the 9900K.

Graphics card vendors bin their chips and use the better ones in factory overclocked versions
that they can sell for more. You may be able to OC more, but then again, perhaps not.
They try to differentiate by adding cosmetics and fancy coolers which also sell for more.
I do think you get fair value from a modest factory overclocked card.
With a RTX2080ti, you have nowhere to go for a stronger card in base form.
 
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nicholas70

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You're cpu should run games no problem for at least the next couple of years. Upgrading to a 9900k would be a waste of money and you'd likely have to buy a new mobo to push a 9900k to its max anyway. If I was you and I really wanted to upgrade I'd try to hold out until Intel 10nm cpus start dropping or maybe switch to Ryzen 3 when that comes it if it looks really good.
 

prince_xaine

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Feb 3, 2018
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Thanks for the replies!

Both of you commented on the Z370 motherboard having total compatibility with the i9-9900K, so I will take that into full consideration. $500 is a lot to spend on a CPU I might not be able to get full performance out of. It took me a year to build my rig, and I am definitely happy with how it performs now.

@geofelt
1. Yes I know most games are okay with four cores, but there are many modern ones that use six now. And I can't help but wonder if there are a few that can use eight cores.
I use my second monitor primarily to watch my temperatures and utilization while I play games. When playing some games, such as Anthem which I play most right now, it uses 100% of my CPU, effectively bottlenecking my framerate, even at 1440p. I get between 80 FPS and 130 FPS in Anthem at 1440p depending on the scene. My monitor is able to sync up to 160 FPS, so other than turning settings down, I was thinking the i9-9900K might help in this regard. Maybe I should see some benchmarks with the i9-9900K on my motherboard before I decide.

2. The NH-D15 is the best air cooler, but I've seen YouTube channels such as LinusTechTips where an AIO kept their temperatures down below 70C at max load, overclocked. So this is why I was thinking about the upgrade to an AIO. But maybe the risk of water damage isn't enough to constitute a higher overclock or lower temperatures?
Also, my case was around $50, it's a Deepcool case, with three 120mm RGB corsair fans on the front and two 120mm RGB corsair fans on top, with one 120mm RGB corsair fan on the back. The NH-D15 is neutered to one fan, as the other fan did not have enough clearing in the case to fit, by literally less than a couple mm. I could remove a couple sticks of RAM to make it fit, but I like having more RAM than I need, rather than having 'just enough' to run some titles that need 16 GB. The temperature difference from my old case with two fans on the NH-D15 is about 5C, so I figured the cost of having more RAM was acceptable.

3. Graphics card overclocking never really worked well for me in the begin with. When I upgraded my first system, it was a SFF Optiplex, and upgrading over time means making certain compromises so you can use all the parts right away, but still use them later. So I bought a Zotac 1080 Ti mini for my Optiplex 7010 potato, and this thing did not overclock well at all, even with more voltage. I just retired that 1080 Ti into a Asrock Z77 build with a i7-3770K @4.7 GHz (which pairs better than you'd think) but this means I just have no real experience overclocking graphics cards, and if what you are saying is true, it'd be rather negligible to even bother overclocking further.
 
1. If you look at task manager and see activity on all threads, that does not mean effective use.
Windows spreads out the activity over all available threads.
That is why I am curious on how sensitive YOUR games are to many threads.
Realize that game developers want the largest market for their games.
If they require 8 core processors to run properly, they will not sell many games.
Past that, it is difficult to design and program multithreaded apps.
The most successful are multiplayer games.
The underpinnings of this is in amdah'ls law:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amdahl's_law

Games such as sims, strategy and mmo tend to depend on the performance of a single master thread.

Your i7-8700K has 12 threads and a passmark performance rating of 15970 and a single thread rating of 2703.
A i7-9700K has 8 threads and a rating of 172254 and a single thread rating of 2825.
The i9-9900K has a rating of 20165 and a single thread rating of 2900.

Yes, the 9900K has a small boost in single thread capability, but the value of such an upgrade depends on how many threads your games can make good use of.

2. With three 120mm intakes, you should have plenty if cooling intake air.
I suppose higher rpm intakes could increase that but I would not bother.
Under load, 75c is perfectly fine.
The processor will throttle or shut down to protect itself if it senses a dangerous temperature.
That is around 100c.

Cooler tests are done usually in an open test bed where a aio cooler does well.
Mounted in a case there are issues depending on where the radiator is mounted and it's orientation.
If you mount it in front as an intake, your motherboard and graphics card will get the hotter radiator exhaust for cooling.
If you mount the radiator up top as exhaust, the cpu will not be cooled as well.

How high you can overclock is determined by your luck in getting a good chip.
At 5.0 you got a good chip.
as of 3/22/2018
What % of I7-8700k chips can oc
at a aggressive vcore near 1.4 or so and delidded
4.9 99%
5.0 88%
5.1 54%
5.2 22%

Note the delidded caveat.
delidding makes the chip easier to cool.

With decent cooling it is the vcore you will tolerate that becomes the limiting OC factor.

If you want better compatibility than the NH-D15, use a NH-D15s.
It is a high compatibility version that makes room for ram clearance and is also offset a touch to clear graphics cards mounted in the first pcie slot.
 
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prince_xaine

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I really love how detailed your posts are! Very informative! That aside, I appreciate you going through lengths to explain the gaps in my knowledge about things. I only just learned about computers in the beginning of the year, and have come so far. Please excuse my ignorance of some things.

My voltage is set to 1.330 and the overclock is set to the turbo on all cores at 5.0 GHz. If I go to 5.1 GHz, it requires 1.600v to be stable and runs above 90C during a stress test (without hitting 100C). So the performance/heat + Power trade-off is far greater for the 8700K at 5.1 GHz, than the 9900K might be at the same clock speed. Or I could get a bad chip that doesn't overclock well. Who knows?

I believe the NH-D15s would have less cooling capacity than it's larger counterpart, so I think I'd be better sticking with the one I have, plus the $100 price tag might not be worth a few degrees, unless I can hit 5.1 GHz without going above 80C.
 
I doubt that you need any change in cooler.
The NH-D15s and NH-D15 have almost the exact same cooling towers.
The difference is that the s is offset a bit and has more room for ram clearance.
The performance difference is negligible.
Here is one review:
https://www.legitreviews.com/noctua-nh-d15s-versus-nh-d15-cpu-cooler-review_188613

With one fan the results were the same.
With a second fan the D15 did a bit better.
But, there is no reason why one could not add a second fan to a D15s.

Changing out the cooler does not seem to be warranted since your cooling is now very adequate.
 
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prince_xaine

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Feb 3, 2018
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After some...tweaking and with help of Prime95 and Cinebench, I managed a 5.1 GHz on all cores with maximum temperatures of 80C, and voltage set to 1.350

Turns out running the overclock on my turbo boost was just raising the temperatures more.

Thank you for the assistance in my future upgrades. I will probably just keep my build as is for some time.
 

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