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Question On average how much of a performance gain would a CPU upgrade net me for gaming?

Darth Brandon

Commendable
Dec 5, 2016
8
0
1,510
0
Hello, I was hoping some of you might be able to help me decide if it's time for an upgrade? I have a i7-4770 non k cpu@3.40GHz with a gtx 1070. And the rest is basic but working components in my rig, far as mobo and ram is concerned. I was wondering if I would net a significant gain on upgrading my current cpu to say a 9700k with an overclock? I understand that I would also be having to upgrade my mobo as well as my ram. I plan to transfer my current gpu, psu, and ssd over to the new build. I understand that AMD is doing very well right now, but for the sake of this question can we just say that I'm looking at a 9700k. Thank you for any feedback you can give me!
 
It all depends on how cpu centric your games are.
Such games tend to be on the mmo, sims or strategy category.
Fast action shooters are more dependent on fast graphics.
Any way you look at it, the 9700K is about the best gaming processor around .

You might get some indication of how cpu limited you are by trying a couple of tests.

a) Run YOUR games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.
If your FPS stays the same, you are likely more cpu limited.

b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
Go to control panel/power options/change plan settings/change advanced power settings/processor power management/maximum processor state/
This will simulate what a lack of cpu power will do.
Conversely what a 30% improvement in core speed might do.
 
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Darth Brandon

Commendable
Dec 5, 2016
8
0
1,510
0
It all depends on how cpu centric your games are.
Such games tend to be on the mmo, sims or strategy category.
Fast action shooters are more dependent on fast graphics.
Any way you look at it, the 9700K is about the best gaming processor around .

You might get some indication of how cpu limited you are by trying a couple of tests.

a) Run YOUR games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.
If your FPS stays the same, you are likely more cpu limited.

b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
Go to control panel/power options/change plan settings/change advanced power settings/processor power management/maximum processor state/
This will simulate what a lack of cpu power will do.
Conversely what a 30% improvement in core speed might do.
I will try some testing on some of the current games I am playing and see what I come up with on lower settings. When I bought my gtx-1070 a couple of years back I said to myself that I was going to run my current cpu as long as I could before upgrading it. I think I'm at that point, based on the amount of in-game stuttering I get on current titles as well as the first reply I got. TY for the advice!
 

dorsai

Honorable
Nov 23, 2013
579
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If you keep your 1070 and run it with a 9700k you'll see a nice boost in gaming...most likely you'll go from being cpu to gpu limited. The only down side to the 9700k is the limited 8 core architecture...if you want to stream while gaming only having 8 cores will hold you back...but if that's not something you care about then the 9700k makes for a compelling gaming setup with todays games.
 
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Darth Brandon If I may make a suggestion, I recommend that you not upgrade to the i7-9700K. I say that for two reasons: (1) While it is indeed 8 core, it lacks hyper-threading, therefore it only has 8 threads. I believe that's going to be a huge detriment in the next 18 months with triple A titles. Also, the new Intel platform is supposed to release this January, with an entirely new socket; LGA 1200. There is a "rumor" that Intel will be adding hyper-threading to their entire line at that point.

Were it my money, I would either: (1) buy an Intel i9-9900K and possibly enable all-core boost to 5.0 GHz, (2) wait for new LGA 1200 platform coming this January, or (3) buy a Ryzen 7 3700X or 3800X, because it has simultaneous multithreading (aka Intel hyperthreading), and the i7-9700K doesn't. While the 9700K has high FPS on performance chats, what those chats don't show you is the mediocre frame pacing, which can result in stuttering in certain games. Also if the budget would allow, I would buy 16 or 32 GB (preferable) of RAM, and an Intel 660p NVMe SSD. Ultimately it is your choice of course. Friendly regards.
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
I agree with rcald, Comet Lake rumors strongly suggest SMT will be enabled across most of the board to match AMD's Ryzen and that would be a fairly significant bump in performance per dollar over the current i3/5/7.

Gaming-wise, most games lag current-day upper-end hardware by 4-5 years, so I wouldn't worry much about current-day i5 and up CPUs becoming inadequate any time soon. The real disappointment is over-paying for a chip that will get supplanted by a 30-40% faster similarly priced chip two or three months later. My general opinion here is that by the time I can't bear my system's performance anymore, 30% more would only be 30% less inadequate and still disappointing anyway. Then there is also the caveat that this 30% extra performance from having more threads is only achievable in code that can scale linearly with thread count, which is rarely the case with games.
 
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There are two reasons to upgrade.
  1. Your current performance is inadequate.
  2. You simply have the "itch" for something new.
I would not obsess about hyperthreading which is an intel term.
It uses residual parts of a main core to dispatch an added thread.
Such added threads will not have the full performance of a single main core.
The situation with ryzen is similar.
An 8 core 9700K with a Z390 motherboard can usually get to 5.0 clock on all cores with a good chip and a good cooler.
The situation with ryzen is a bit more murky.
Max turbo clocks seem to be limited to a few threads, and not at the 5.0 level.
With more threads and a multithreaded batch workload the added threads are a big plus.
The lower clocks hurt a bit with gaming.
Ultimately, any intel or ryzen current gen processor in the $300+ class is going to game well.
The limitation is more likely to be the graphics card.

From what I read, the only category of games that can effectively use more than 6 threads is multiplayer games with many participants.
For them, ryzen is a very good deal.
 
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InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
I would not obsess about hyperthreading which is an intel term.
It uses residual parts of a main core to dispatch an added thread.
Such added threads will not have the full performance of a single main core.
There is no "main" core, all SMT does is allow each core to maintain two or more thread contexts so it can mux instructions from different threads as dependencies allow to maximize execution resources usage.
 

Darth Brandon

Commendable
Dec 5, 2016
8
0
1,510
0
Some very interesting suggestions here and some a bit confusing for a guy with limited knowledge about cpu's like myself. I won't be streaming ever so I will mainly just be focusing on gaming when searching for the right cpu upgrade. I understand that the ddr3 switch to ddr4 should net me some performance as well. Will definitely be getting 16GB at the very least, I hear 3200Mhz is the sweet spot from most sources, so I'll be looking for that far as ram is concerned.

I will do some more research about Comet Lake, if anything it might be worth waiting for the price drops for a 9700k or 9900k. Or maybe the new line won't be too highly priced, will all depend on how much it is, as well as the pricing of the motherboards with the socket change. I kind of want to stick with Intel just for the fact that this 4770 non-k of mine has never let me down over the last 4 years. Yeah maybe in performance recently but it has never failed on me or anything major like that.
 

falcon291

Great
Jul 17, 2019
150
23
95
2
Hello, I was hoping some of you might be able to help me decide if it's time for an upgrade? I have a i7-4770 non k cpu@3.40GHz with a gtx 1070. And the rest is basic but working components in my rig, far as mobo and ram is concerned. I was wondering if I would net a significant gain on upgrading my current cpu to say a 9700k with an overclock? I understand that I would also be having to upgrade my mobo as well as my ram. I plan to transfer my current gpu, psu, and ssd over to the new build. I understand that AMD is doing very well right now, but for the sake of this question can we just say that I'm looking at a 9700k. Thank you for any feedback you can give me!
With or without overclock you will have a significant gain. Overclock maybe would give you 3-4 more frames, but this thing heat a lot, and buy a good cooler, Noctua NH-D15 or a liquid one. I did have a 3820 with GTX 1070 and upgraded to 9700, the gain was immense. If you do not have a freesync or G-sync monitor, also think about upgrading it, after 3-4 months of the upgrade, I bought Aorus AD27QD, and my gaming experience even improved, I am a BFV player, my K/D in 3 months increased from 0.86 to 1.01.
 
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InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
I will do some more research about Comet Lake, if anything it might be worth waiting for the price drops for a 9700k or 9900k. Or maybe the new line won't be too highly priced
Intel hasn't dropped prices on its mainstream CPUs by a meaningful amount in the past 12 years thanks to the miracle that is just-in-time manufacturing. If a chip's sales drop, Intel reduces manufacturing volume as needed to maintain the original pricing. Expect Comet Lake SKUs to launch at about the same prices as current SKUs, just like most Intel chips for the past several years.

The only Intel chips that are seeing major price cuts are HEDT where they are about to get obliterated by ThreadRipper 3xxx.
 
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Darth Brandon

Commendable
Dec 5, 2016
8
0
1,510
0
Intel hasn't dropped prices on its mainstream CPUs by a meaningful amount in the past 12 years thanks to the miracle that is just-in-time manufacturing. If a chip's sales drop, Intel reduces manufacturing volume as needed to maintain the original pricing. Expect Comet Lake SKUs to launch at about the same prices as current SKUs, just like most Intel chips for the past several years.

The only Intel chips that are seeing major price cuts are HEDT where they are about to get obliterated by ThreadRipper 3xxx.
Didn't know that about the prices not dropping after a next-gen release, or the new cpus being at the same price, thx for the heads up! I wonder if motherboard pricing will be high with a new cpu line though? Or does that relatively stay the same as well?
 

Darth Brandon

Commendable
Dec 5, 2016
8
0
1,510
0
With or without overclock you will have a significant gain. Overclock maybe would give you 3-4 more frames, but this thing heat a lot, and buy a good cooler, Noctua NH-D15 or a liquid one. I did have a 3820 with GTX 1070 and upgraded to 9700, the gain was immense. If you do not have a freesync or G-sync monitor, also think about upgrading it, after 3-4 months of the upgrade, I bought Aorus AD27QD, and my gaming experience even improved, I am a BFV player, my K/D in 3 months increased from 0.86 to 1.01.
Nice!!!...Yup G-sync monitor is next on the list! I have a 1440p 60Hz ips monitor right now, but no G-sync. So I have to use V-sync and maintain that 60 fps which kind of sucks. But after the next 1-3months I should be good to go with cpu upgrade and new G-sync monitor. Course I'll be saving for a new gpu after all of that, lol.
 

falcon291

Great
Jul 17, 2019
150
23
95
2
There is no "main" core, all SMT does is allow each core to maintain two or more thread contexts so it can mux instructions from different threads as dependencies allow to maximize execution resources usage.
That is correct but, hyperthreading does not make 8 cores, 16 cores. The core used by two threads at the same time, and in some cases the gain from hyperthreading can be as low as 17 percent.
 

falcon291

Great
Jul 17, 2019
150
23
95
2
Nice!!!...Yup G-sync monitor is next on the list! I have a 1440p 60Hz ips monitor right now, but no G-sync. So I have to use V-sync and maintain that 60 fps which kind of sucks. But after the next 1-3months I should be good to go with cpu upgrade and new G-sync monitor. Course I'll be saving for a new gpu after all of that, lol.
Check the prices, G-Sync monitors are even nice, but somehow more expensive than Freesync monitors, as Nvidia also supports Freesync now, it just does not worth paying more.
 
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InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
That is correct but, hyperthreading does not make 8 cores, 16 cores. The core used by two threads at the same time, and in some cases the gain from hyperthreading can be as low as 17 percent.
Since SMT adds ~5% to core complexity (Intel's ballpark from the Netburst days), even at a lowball 15% it is still one of the most cost-effective general-purpose optimizations possible hardware-wise for workloads that can make any meaningful use of it.
 

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