Question Upgrading my Rig's CPU, Motherboard, & RAM while keeping everything else

SkruDe

Distinguished
Dec 30, 2012
166
6
18,685
0
Hello everybody. In 2013/2014 I built my current rig with the extensive help of Tom's Hardware members. It's been nearly 10 years, and my rig is going strong, though, over time I've updated the GPU probably 3 times. Everything has basically stayed the same since 2014, so there is some outdated features to my rig.

My current rig's specs are at the bottom of this post. The reason why I am posting is I want to upgrade my rig for 2022 and beyond, while also getting into the compatibility range for Windows 11. As a Sandy Bridge CPU user, I'm not supported by W11 (current cpu: i7-3930k).

I want to keep my Case, PSU, GPU, and SSD/Hard drives.
I want to upgrade my MoBo, CPU, and RAM.

When I started using online "PC Builders/Part Pickers" a few days ago, I found that a brand new rig from scratch is out of the budget. Primarily due to GPU prices. So I want to save money by re-using as much as I can while upgrading the very core of my rig (MoBo/CPU/RAM).

At this time, I feel I want to go AMD in lieu of Intel. Since I built my rig in 2014, I've seen great, impressive strides from AMD and I believe I am ready to go in that direction. I like the Smart Access Memory feature, I like the performance, and I like the prices.

I would like to ask for some thoughts and help on my idea for upgrading my rig.

CPU:
My current rig is using an Intel i7-3930k. At one point, early in it's life, I was stable at 4.8Ghz - 4.9Ghz overclock (watercooled). Over time, the CPU got weaker and weaker (when BSOD's start happening), where I had to bring back my overclock in increments year after year, until about a year or two ago where it finally had to be put back to stock clock. So, I'm confident that I've beat up my 3930k to the point of no return.

As mentioned, I want to go with an AMD theme, so I'm looking at the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X as my replacement and brains of this renovation build. So, as a CPU with an AM4 socket, that takes me to the new MoBo....

Motherboard:
The "ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero AM4 AMD X570S" motherboard. Really, I came up with this via just applying filters for my build and heavily researching user reviews. Below you can see my existing Case, so it should be able to swap in just fine since it is an ATX form factor, correct?

RAM:
I want 32GB (2x 16GB sticks) of DDR4 3600 RAM memory. I'm eyeing up either the G.SKILL Trident Z Royal Series or Neo Series. Low CAS Latency sticks.

Note on GPU:
I've updated my GPU, as I said, about 3 times since 2014, so right now, to save money, I have no issue keeping my current GPU and saving money. It's not a 6000 series GPU, so I know that off the rip I won't have access to AMD Smart Access Memory, but my plan would be in the future to upgrade to a GPU capable of such.


Here is my current/existing RIG:
CPU: Intel i7-3930k
MoBo: ASUS Rampage IV Extreme (no Wi-Fi, I used a USB external device for Wi-Fi)
RAM: GSKILL Trident X (4x 8 GB DDR3 1600)
GPU: Radeon RX 580
PSU: Corsair AX1500i
SSD: Samsung 500GB, Intel 120GB (OS)
HD's: 2 TB Storage, 4 TB Back-ups
Case: Coolermaster HAF X Full Tower
Watercooling: XSPC for CPU w/ Top Mount radiator and 2-push and 2-pull fans
Displays: 3x 1440p PLS monitors
OS: Windows 10 (64 bit)


So, finally the back story is done, here are some questions...

1.) First off all, thoughts on my plans?
2.) Obviously, with a new MOBO and CPU, my watercooling system will need a re-vamp. It would be nice to maintain the tubing, reservoir and pump (since the tower will stay the same). Do you guys think it would be possible to just switch out the CPU waterblock and maintain the rest of the watercooling system?
3.) Should I get RAM that ties into the watercooling system, or is air-cooling sufficient for this type of performing RAM?
4.) Am I missing anything, or not thinking of anything?
 

SkruDe

Distinguished
Dec 30, 2012
166
6
18,685
0
Thank you for the response. Yes, the OS, I'll need to get myself a new W11 install. I'll add that to my shopping list.

Good to settle the non-need for RAM watercooling. I didn't think so either.
 
Last edited:
Reactions: helper800

Nighthawk117

Upstanding
Sep 27, 2021
311
78
290
5
The Smart Access Memory feature is not something unique to AMD systems, this is also possible with Intel CPU's (10th gen+) and Nvidia GPU's so it's not something that should impact your purchasing decision.
https://pokde.net/system/pc/gpu/intel-smart-access-memory-amd

However totally understandable you want to try an AMD system. The 5900X is a fantastic CPU and an appropriate successor to your 3930K.

1.) First off all, thoughts on my plans?
Upgrading your existing system sounds sensible if you want to save some money. Is there any reason you want such an expensive board? If it were me I would spend a little bit less and get 64GB of ram instead. For example:
https://www.ebuyer.com/899213-asus-rog-strix-x570-f-gaming-am4-ddr4-atx-motherboard-rog-strix-x570-f-gaming

2.) Obviously, with a new MOBO and CPU, my watercooling system will need a re-vamp. It would be nice to maintain the tubing, reservoir and pump (since the tower will stay the same). Do you guys think it would be possible to just switch out the CPU waterblock and maintain the rest of the watercooling system?
Not sure on this.

3.) Should I get RAM that ties into the watercooling system, or is air-cooling sufficient for this type of performing RAM?
Totally unnecessary.

4.) Am I missing anything, or not thinking of anything?
Get a PCI-E gen 4 NVME SSD for your OS drive, I would suggest 1TB (and please get one with a DRAM/SLC cache like the Samsung 980 Pro)
If your doing things that merit the need for a 12 core CPU then your probably going to need more SSD storage than what you have. A large SATA SSD like the Crucial MX500 might be appropriate or another NVME drive.
 
Reactions: helper800

SkruDe

Distinguished
Dec 30, 2012
166
6
18,685
0
Couple Questions....

First off, I really like this new i7-12700k... thanks for turning me on to it!
I see though, it's compatible with only two types of RAM. The DDR4-3200 and the DDR5-4800.
Problem here is, Motherboards are one or the other. Either DDR4 or DDR5. So, picking up DDR4 now with the plan to upgrade in the future when DDR5 advances more is not in the question.

So... If I went the 12700k route, I think I'm going to end up getting a DDR5 motherboard. I'm kind of a ASUS lifer when it comes to motherboards, they are the only brand I've never had an issue with so I wanted to stick to ASUS. I was looking at this motherboard:
E Board
https://www.newegg.com/asus-rog-strix-z690-e-gaming-wifi/p/N82E16813119512?Item=N82E16813119512
or F Board
https://www.newegg.com/asus-rog-strix-z690-f-gaming-wifi/p/N82E16813119503?Item=N82E16813119503

So that means I'm going for DDR5 RAM... and I see finding DDR5 RAM is like finding the end of a rainbow....

Now I am not sure to go high end DDR4 3200.
Or go DDR5 and wait for the RAM to be available.

It's worth noting... my current rig is working... so I do have the ability to be patient.

The i7-12700k is On Sale so I probably will buy that tomorrow.
Wait and see if any sales happen on the MoBo's.
And then wait for DDR5 availability??

Thoughts?
 
Reactions: Why_Me
Couple Questions....

First off, I really like this new i7-12700k... thanks for turning me on to it!
I see though, it's compatible with only two types of RAM. The DDR4-3200 and the DDR5-4800.
Problem here is, Motherboards are one or the other. Either DDR4 or DDR5. So, picking up DDR4 now with the plan to upgrade in the future when DDR5 advances more is not in the question.

So... If I went the 12700k route, I think I'm going to end up getting a DDR5 motherboard. I'm kind of a ASUS lifer when it comes to motherboards, they are the only brand I've never had an issue with so I wanted to stick to ASUS. I was looking at this motherboard:
E Board
https://www.newegg.com/asus-rog-strix-z690-e-gaming-wifi/p/N82E16813119512?Item=N82E16813119512
or F Board
https://www.newegg.com/asus-rog-strix-z690-f-gaming-wifi/p/N82E16813119503?Item=N82E16813119503

So that means I'm going for DDR5 RAM... and I see finding DDR5 RAM is like finding the end of a rainbow....

Now I am not sure to go high end DDR4 3200.
Or go DDR5 and wait for the RAM to be available.

It's worth noting... my current rig is working... so I do have the ability to be patient.

The i7-12700k is On Sale so I probably will buy that tomorrow.
Wait and see if any sales happen on the MoBo's.
And then wait for DDR5 availability??

Thoughts?
https://www.tomshardware.com/news/scalpers-ddr5-ram-ebay-2500-dollars

 

Nighthawk117

Upstanding
Sep 27, 2021
311
78
290
5
Now look what you've done @Why_Me, you've turned him to the dark side. The issue with DDR5 is, it's super expensive and like DDR4 it will be later kits that will offer the notable speed improvement not the ones at launch. My two cents would be 64GB DDR4 instead of 32GB DDR5 but entirely up to you.

Perhaps not a consideration for you if your using open loop cooling, but the 5900X runs cooler and uses less power than the 12700K, otherwise both chips are very powerful.
 
Reactions: SkruDe

SkruDe

Distinguished
Dec 30, 2012
166
6
18,685
0
I do fully intend to use open loop cooling, so the thermal increase of the 12700 I can live with.

Today, the i7-12700k is $100 off at the Microcenter next to my house ($350!), so I'm heading over there once it opens to buy it. I will then take a little time to figure out how I will build around it (DDR4 vs DDR5) since MoBo's and RAM are not on sale right now, only the CPU.

Side question: The Samsung 980 Pro m2 SSD.... is the heat sink version the one I want to buy?
 
Last edited:
Reactions: Why_Me

Nighthawk117

Upstanding
Sep 27, 2021
311
78
290
5
I do fully intend to use open loop cooling, so the thermal increase of the 12700 I can live with.

Today, the i7-12700k is $100 off at the Microcenter next to my house ($350!), so I'm heading over there once it opens to buy it. I will then take a little time to figure out how I will build around it (DDR4 vs DDR5) since MoBo's and RAM are not on sale right now, only the CPU.

Side question: The Samsung 980 Pro m2 SSD.... is the heat sink version the one I want to buy?
Most motherboards will come with their own M.2 heatsinks, this is especially true for those in the price range your talking about so I wouldn't bother. The heatsinks on motherboards are typically larger too. Just when you install the drive, you don't need to take off any labels or anything like that, the one on top is also made of copper. By labels I mean the Samsung one on the drive (it voids the warranty), you absolutely need to take off the plastic cover on the M.2 heatsink thermal pads.
 
Last edited:
Reactions: Why_Me and SkruDe
I do fully intend to use open loop cooling, so the thermal increase of the 12700 I can live with.

Today, the i7-12700k is $100 off at the Microcenter next to my house ($350!), so I'm heading over there once it opens to buy it. I will then take a little time to figure out how I will build around it (DDR4 vs DDR5) since MoBo's and RAM are not on sale right now, only the CPU.

Side question: The Samsung 980 Pro m2 SSD.... is the heat sink version the one I want to buy?
Like @Nighthawk117 pointed out, pretty much all boards and come with m2 heatsinks these days. In fact all the Z690 boards tmk come with m2 h/s and most of them come with two or even three h/s.

 
Reactions: Nighthawk117

SkruDe

Distinguished
Dec 30, 2012
166
6
18,685
0
Just got back from Micro Center. Bought the 12700k for $349, and bought the Samsung 980 Pro 1TB for $169 (no heat sink). Both were on significant sales. Both brand new. I love Micro Center, ha.

Now, I will research and wait for sales on MoBo and RAM.
 
Reactions: Why_Me

SkruDe

Distinguished
Dec 30, 2012
166
6
18,685
0
I've been doing research all afternoon.

Looking at things like PCIe 4.0 vs 5.0, DDR4 vs DDR5, Wifi 6 vs Wifi 6E, all that fun stuff.

From what I gather, first of all PCIe 4.0 is plenty fast for now and into the future, but how far into the future? It looks like I can build pretty much equivalent performing machines today between a PCIe 4.0 rig with DDR4 RAM vs a PCIe 5.0 rig with DDR5 RAM. Today, both systems would pretty much benchmark and perform very near each other. The differences are the PCIe 4.0 build with DDR4 RAM would be nearly half the price to build, BUT... at the expense of full bore future proofing. Would you guys agree with that?

So really, what it comes down to in my head, would be, well, how far into the future can PCIe 4.0 and DDR4 take me before the new generation of specs leave me in the dust? But, while also keeping in mind, speed at which programs and softwares utilize and adopt the new standards.

Ahh... hmmm... such a dilemma :)
 
I've been doing research all afternoon.

Looking at things like PCIe 4.0 vs 5.0, DDR4 vs DDR5, Wifi 6 vs Wifi 6E, all that fun stuff.

From what I gather, first of all PCIe 4.0 is plenty fast for now and into the future, but how far into the future? It looks like I can build pretty much equivalent performing machines today between a PCIe 4.0 rig with DDR4 RAM vs a PCIe 5.0 rig with DDR5 RAM. Today, both systems would pretty much benchmark and perform very near each other. The differences are the PCIe 4.0 build with DDR4 RAM would be nearly half the price to build, BUT... at the expense of full bore future proofing. Would you guys agree with that?

So really, what it comes down to in my head, would be, well, how far into the future can PCIe 4.0 and DDR4 take me before the new generation of specs leave me in the dust? But, while also keeping in mind, speed at which programs and softwares utilize and adopt the new standards.

Ahh... hmmm... such a dilemma :)
Z690 boards support PCIe 5.0
 
Reactions: SkruDe

Zerk2012

Titan
Ambassador
I've been doing research all afternoon.

Looking at things like PCIe 4.0 vs 5.0, DDR4 vs DDR5, Wifi 6 vs Wifi 6E, all that fun stuff.

From what I gather, first of all PCIe 4.0 is plenty fast for now and into the future, but how far into the future? It looks like I can build pretty much equivalent performing machines today between a PCIe 4.0 rig with DDR4 RAM vs a PCIe 5.0 rig with DDR5 RAM. Today, both systems would pretty much benchmark and perform very near each other. The differences are the PCIe 4.0 build with DDR4 RAM would be nearly half the price to build, BUT... at the expense of full bore future proofing. Would you guys agree with that?

So really, what it comes down to in my head, would be, well, how far into the future can PCIe 4.0 and DDR4 take me before the new generation of specs leave me in the dust? But, while also keeping in mind, speed at which programs and softwares utilize and adopt the new standards.

Ahh... hmmm... such a dilemma :)
BUT... at the expense of full bore future proofing.

No such thing.

For your average user a SATA SSD will work fine for many years.
 

Nighthawk117

Upstanding
Sep 27, 2021
311
78
290
5
I've been doing research all afternoon.

Looking at things like PCIe 4.0 vs 5.0, DDR4 vs DDR5, Wifi 6 vs Wifi 6E, all that fun stuff.

From what I gather, first of all PCIe 4.0 is plenty fast for now and into the future, but how far into the future? It looks like I can build pretty much equivalent performing machines today between a PCIe 4.0 rig with DDR4 RAM vs a PCIe 5.0 rig with DDR5 RAM. Today, both systems would pretty much benchmark and perform very near each other. The differences are the PCIe 4.0 build with DDR4 RAM would be nearly half the price to build, BUT... at the expense of full bore future proofing. Would you guys agree with that?

So really, what it comes down to in my head, would be, well, how far into the future can PCIe 4.0 and DDR4 take me before the new generation of specs leave me in the dust? But, while also keeping in mind, speed at which programs and softwares utilize and adopt the new standards.

Ahh... hmmm... such a dilemma :)
I really don't think you should worry about PCI-E gen 4's longevity. By the time you need PCI-E gen 5, it will have already been replaced itself at least once. To use gaming as an example, fast PCI-E gen 3 drives have been available on PC for years yet there are no triple A games currently available on PC that benefit in any perceivable way from anything faster than a SATA SSD. The reason for this is because the storage API's that games use to load in game and texture data were originally designed for hard drives. Only when Microsoft Direct Storage is utilized will that change, I've been hearing from tech reviewers for years that this is just around the corner but I'm still waiting. I'm not aware of any well known games that will support this on the desktop in the near future. Like with taking advantage of high core count CPU's, the software always takes time to catch up, I would expect PCI-E 4 to be more than sufficient for many years to come.

As for being left in the dust, given the nature of competition right now between AMD, Intel, Apple and new comers like Qualcomm, your going to see much larger generational improvements than we've seen in the last decade. So anything bought today will be fairly resolutely beaten by what comes out in a couple of years. The best thing you can do if you want some longevity in your system is to simply buy one of the top chips today like the 5900X, 5950X, 12700K or 12900K.

My two cents on DDR4 vs DDR5, the value of DDR5 just isn't there right now compared to any likely performance benefits you'll get in the near future. With that being said though, a little extra memory bandwidth never hurt anyone. If your prepared to pay the early adopters premium then by all means go for it. The only reasonably priced kit I can find available right now is:
https://www.ebuyer.com/1410637-crucial-32gb-ddr5-4800-udimm-ct32g48c40u5?utm_term=&utm_campaign=PLAs||AllProducts||Low&utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=ppc&hsa_acc=4863007528&hsa_cam=9233776249&hsa_grp=93110254025&hsa_ad=416152659484&hsa_src=g&hsa_tgt=aud-830650462268:pla-774651643891&hsa_kw=&hsa_mt=&hsa_net=adwords&hsa_ver=3&gclid=CjwKCAiAhreNBhAYEiwAFGGKPIG76GcQC9MD3llyPXNcZ6jpwRYMJhPqnTtfOQjGzO32toaxtSNs5BoCoqMQAvD_BwE

There should also be 5200Mhz kits coming in the near future.
 
Reactions: SkruDe

SkruDe

Distinguished
Dec 30, 2012
166
6
18,685
0
I think I may be overthinking things too much. Which I think is understandable since I haven't been in this position since 2014 when I originally built my rig. LOTS has changed since then, I'm looking at all kinds of things now and just exploring, but I will say I am very happy I got that 12700k. Very excited to get that thing firing.

Thanks for the confirmation & clarification on the PCI-E generations. As you said, the boards I'm looking at will be Gen 5.0 ready, but I realistically don't need to worry about that, all the PCI-E 4.0 hardware will go above and beyond for me for a long, long time. And all the MoBo's I'm looking at support both. So, really it's no issue.

My MoBo Selection has come down to the ASUS Strix Z690-F (DDR5) or the ASUS Strix Z690-A (DDR4)
I like both these boards. My 12700 can work with both. I'm leaning towards the F because of future modifications, style points and WiFi 6E. But we'll see, I do understand the terrible availbility and scalping of the DDR5 RAM, which I don't have any intention on being stupid and wasting money on scalped ones. The Microcenter next to my house is pretty good about NOT selling certain low availability items online, only selling them in-store, so I think I have a potential solution. Potential.

EDIT: Forgot to mention, I want to stay with ASUS MoBo's. I've had tremendous success with them, I trust them, I'm happy with the ROG theme and presentation, I'm satisified with the product, so I've concetrated my search to an ASUS MoBo. Just my personal preference.
 
Last edited:

jacob249358

Proper
Sep 8, 2021
208
53
160
0
Is intel paying you or something? I swear you post this exact post anytime someone mentions an upgrade or new build.
 

Nighthawk117

Upstanding
Sep 27, 2021
311
78
290
5
I know the feeling, I did the same when choosing my next CPU. In reality you can't really go wrong with any of them, I think you will be happy with whatever you buy. The Wifi 6E could be added with a PCI-E card at a later date but if it's something important to you then doesn't hurt to have it built into the board now, that also leaves the PCI-E slot free then as well. If you want to be sure that you will be extracting every last drop of performance out of your system over the next however many years, then maybe going to DDR5 now will suit you. It's just being the latest and greatest it's expensive and you may have to wait a month or so to get it.
 
Reactions: SkruDe

Nighthawk117

Upstanding
Sep 27, 2021
311
78
290
5
I really like the Strix boards, I would get the ASUS Strix Z690-F. I think you'll benefit from the psychological security of having DDR5, though it might make sense to wait until you've secured the RAM kit.
 
Reactions: SkruDe

ASK THE COMMUNITY