Question Planning to repair my 3770K by just upgrading it to 9700K, thoughts?


Oct 5, 2002
I know the first thing on many people's minds is going to be "Why Intel? Why not AMD? Especially such an older CPU?"

Believe me, if this was an entirely new build, and more importantly if I had the money, I would be tossing a 5700X minimum in this. However, I don't have the money, and this is more of an emergency upgrade as my old system broke and I need to get it working soon. The 9700K is $220 currently at Microcenter (was $200, hate that I missed out on that), Z390 boards are cheaper too while most of them are still available.

This is what my PC currently looks like:

The two 1TB SSDs are in RAID0 managed by the motherboard, and the HDDS are in a RAID5 controlled by the raid card listed there.

I shut it off to swap a drive, and then it would not post again. After several days of troubleshooting, everything points to the motherboard being damaged. Won't post with any SATA drives connected, and even without that and trying to boot from USB only posts about 70% of the time, and when it freezes on post it tends to reset CMOS settings to default (Yes I checked the battery, it's nearly at full power). If I do manage to get it to post and boot however it seems to run fine, tried many stress tests and the CPU, RAM, GPU, and PSU seem to be working fine. (Three runs of memtest86+ that took over 12 hours turned up nothing, over 24 hours of Ptime95 with no errors, and then added an hour of furmark on top of that Prime95 and still was running fine, so I don't think the CPU, RAM, or PSU are failing).

Unfortunately, that motherboard is near-impossible to find. Cheapest I could find was $225 or so.... from China. Or $175 with $500 shipping from Russia. Even trying to downgrade to a lower-end model was pricy. Some of the highest-end Z390 boards are cheaper.... and Microcenter currently has the 9700K on sale, so I figured might be best to just upgrade my setup to a 9700K.

Another issue is that while I do have backups of my data, they are a bit old and if possible I would like to get an image of the drives in their current state. The RAID5 drives should be no problem, since they were being controlled by their own card I should just be able to plug the card and drives into any board/psu that can handle them and read them. The RAID0 is a little trickier, and also another reason I am sticking to Intel. I was told on /r/DataHoarder that as long as I use the same or newer Intel chipset, there should be a good chance the new board would just recognize the drives as being in an Intel raid and mount it like normal. (and if not, I can attempt to use dmraid, however I am not very experienced with Linux and worry I might overwrite or erase it by accident by using the wrong command, wasn't able to find many videos/instructions on how to use it, only sites that just print out it's MAN page which is not that clear on what you should do) And finally, I really want to have to avoid re-installing and setting up years of Windows applications and tweaks so I want to see if I can migrate my Windows install to the new motherboard (I know there are features like sysprep to help with this, but I would need to be able to boot into that install first..) .... going from Z77 to Z370 is already going to be messy, going from Intel to AMD would be a LOT messier. (Like I said, if this was a new build I would just go with a 5700x and none of this would be a concern, unfortunately however I have both compatibility and budget restrictions).

So I researched around and came up with this list of parts to upgrade it with, replacing the CPU, RAM, Motherboard, and Cooler:

Microcenter has the 9700K for $220 right now, and I have seen open-boxed versions sometimes appear for $150-160, though they go fast, any opinions on those? Should I get an open-box CPU from Microcenter or is that risky?

The motherboard seems to be the closest equivalent to my current board (It's missing a POST code display, the ability to to flash the bios without any cpu/ram installed, and on-board Power and Reset buttons, but I could not find a board under $200 that had those) and is available near everywhere for $180. Anything higher-end than that board seemed to have more or less been sold out everywhere unless I want to pay marked up prices by shady 3rd party resellers, though Newegg had the ultimate, but it's $70 more and the only one of those features it has over the board I chose is the POST code display, I can just get a $20-ish POST test card for that.

The cooler... I wanted to reuse my old one since the D15 is expensive, but one problem with my current D14 is that it barely has any RAM clearance on many systems, on my current (dead) system the fan is BARELY clearing the RAM with almost no room, and I worry that can become a problem or not clear at all on my new setup. Plus that makes any troubleshooting/upgrades if I need to remove the RAM a pain, the D15 had spaces cut specifically for RAM clearance purposes. I just wish it wasn't so expensive, but since I am going to likely keep this upgraded setup for years, I want to have upgrade options. It's $90 on Amazon.

The RAM... I am not finalized on that yet, but I will likely get those or something similar. I read that the board and CPU supports up to 128GB of RAM.... I don't see myself using that much RAM now by any stretch of the imagination, but I have hit the 32GB limit a few times on my dead system, so I figured I would go 64GB and leave two slots empty if I ever need more years from now since I will be stuck with that system for quite a while. I DO have one concern about the RAM though. PcPartPicker warned me that some Z390 boards might not support 32GB RAM modules without a BIOS update. I looked up the BIOS update history of that board and saw this:

The F9 "2‎019/03/15" update mentions: "Support of future 9th Generation Intel® Core™ processors" and "Support 32G UDIMM". From what I was able to Google, UDIMM is just a more specific term for what most consumer DIMMS are (the part about "future 9th gen cpus worries if it will be compatible with a 9700k out of the box too). So does this mean if my board does not come with at least BIOS version F9 or higher out of the box, it's not going to POST with that RAM? I don't have any other DDR4 on me to use if that is the case. Sadly it does not appear to have that feature to be able to flash the BIOS with nothing but a PSU installed (another feature my messed up board actually had...). The RAM seems cheapest at Newegg for $228.

So, that's my situation and the upgrade I am planning. Anyone have any opinions or suggestions or anything about this?