Question Very confused about CPU choices

Nov 21, 2022
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Hello All

It is upgrade time for me after about 7 years. I am a gamer but am going to decide CPU first (given GPUs scarcity) then build my system around that.

My only real criteria are
  • 4k gaming
  • Budget is uncapped but I am not looking to waste money just to get the absolute best. If I have to pay 50% more for an extra 5fps that isnt worth it to me
  • I dont much care about upgradability. I do this so rarely that chances are we have cycled through several more cycles before I am back in the market
I've done quite a bit of research so far but am really struggling with what makes sense. I've been mainly using the Tom's CPU rankings but some of the performance levels are very confusing to me

https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-cpus,3986.html

Options I've looked at are:

AMD
I had a good look at the 5800X 3D as its being heavily discounted and seems to deliver a lot of bang for the buck. However I then read a bunch of comments here saying it really only made sense to get that chip now if you were upgrading an existing AMD mobo (which is not the case for me) otherwise it made sense to go Ryzen 9. I'm very open to that, but the ~$550 Ryzen 9 7900 looks significantly worse than the 5800X3D and a long way behind some significantly cheaper Intel offerings like the Core I7 13700.

Am I looking at Ryzen 9 overly harshly here? I get that the boards and ram are more expensive and dont really mind that, but what I do mind is buying a chip that is actually going to be slower than other options simply because I will be able to upgrade again in 2 years (as said that likely isnt something I'll do)

Intel
As with AMD, I get that this is sort of capping me with architecture that is likely to be replaced, but I dont mind that. Where I struggle like hell though is the naming convention with Intel and understanding whether the chips I'm looking at that appear to be newer tech are actually better or worse.

I get that that the Core I9 13900 is the daddy, but it feels excessive vs the I7 13700, which in the Tom's ranking is only slightly slower but is $200 cheaper. Then I see other Core I9s like the 12900 which I see discounted a lot, but then again it seems way slower than the 13700.

So my question is whether the 13700k is the best 'bang for the buck' processor right now for a high end rig, or whether I should just yolo and get the 13900. I will buy the right kit to put around it so power consumption/temperatures etc should not be an issue.

Lastly, if it were a case of 13700k or Ryzen 9 7900X (which seem very similarly priced) which one would be best?

Or is there another processor I'm looking at that I should be grabbing? One I'm missing maybe.

Thank you in advance
 
How quickly must you make the decision?

More Intels due in January...13700 and 13600. Not "K" versions.

I suspect most would steer you away from 12900 and 13900 CPUs. They are way out on the curve of diminishing returns. Significant heat.

Leaving you with AMD, 12600K, 12700, 13600K, 13700K or the upcoming 13700.

Core count slightly different among the Intels. Benchmarks show some difference if you are driven by benchmarks. 13 series generally 5 or 10 percent "faster" than 12 series equivalent...for a bit extra money.

Are you prone to buyer's remorse?

How rigid is your budget? 75 dollars a significant issue?

If you have to buy before late January, ignore 13600 and 13700.

Shouldn't be any reason to buy 12th generation at all unless budget forces you.

Leaving you with 13600K or 13700K.
 
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larsv8

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CPU doesn't really push down the 4k door all that much, its mostly GPU.

You said you want "bang for you buck", which is a good approach.

What GPU are using? Are you looking for an entire platform (Mobo, Ram and CPU)?

What specific monitor are using.
 
Nov 21, 2022
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Thanks guys. To answer some questions

- I'm not budget sensitive really, I just dont want to waste money for tiny incremental gains. If the different between a $600 chip and a $400 chip is like 4fps, that feels pointless. If the cost increase matches the peformance to at least some extent, I would be ok to shell out for the higher cost item. I guess a decent example is in the GPU space where I would pay full price (if MSRP were ever achievable lol) for a 4900 because it is just so much better than a 4800 or 3900TI.

- In terms of timing, I guess I dont have to pull the trigger right now, but I've been trying to get this done for 6m and keep putting it off for the next bit of tech around the corner. The last thing I was waiting for was RDNA3 so now waiting again until Jan feels a little frustrating. If the Jan chips are expected to be materially better I guess I could put it off, but if its likely to be more small gains for dramatically higher price I'd sooner just pull the trigger now. I don't get buyers remorse unless the decision was truly daft (like I overpaid for something by 50% or something)

- 'Monitor' I am using is an LGC2. I'd like to drive it in 4k if possible

- GPU is a TBC but the answer is the best one I can get my hands on at a sensible price. Ideally a 4900 but I'm not paying scalper money so realistically either the best RDNA3 card I can get in December, or a 3090TI or even a 4800 if I can snag a deal on one. Honestly if the 4090 MSRP was 2k I'd probably buy it but something sticks in my craw about paying a scalper so I'm not going to do that.

- Lastly, I am looking for an entire platform but decided to select CPU first. I will spend what it takes to surround the CPU with the right components

I appreciate your responses gents
 
Pretty hard to imagine anyone being disappointed with a 13600K.

The upcoming 13700 non-K not likely to have significant improvement on 13600K for all but a few use cases that can take advantage of the extra cores. 13700 maybe 50 or 60 more dollars?

I'd say jump now on a 13600K unless you are sure you actually take advantage of the extra 2 performance cores on the 13700K.

Maybe agonize over DDR 4 versus 5 a bit if you haven't decided. I'd lean toward DDR 5.

Don't know about AMD comparisons.
 
While cpu doesn’t matter as much, considering you won’t upgrade for let’s say 5 years as an example, I’d get the best cpu you can. By the time you are ready to build again hopefully the cpu you buy now will have held up well over that time.

Ddr5 is probably a good call. If you were someone budget conscious or using an existing ram kit then ddr4 makes sense. But since the prices are coming down and you likely won’t upgrade for a while I’d suggest ddr5.
 

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