Question What is the actual difference between CPUs

Nov 12, 2020
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I know... kind of a weird title but hear me out.
I've been building PCs for about 16 years. My PCs are a combination of work, Gaming (Sim Racing and Sim Flying and HTPC/Media Servers). My last Simulator PC was built back in 2007/2008. Its an Asus P6T6 WS Revolution Mobo with an Intel i7 990X CPU overclocked to around 4.1ghtz. Seems to work great but its struggling to run DCS with my EVGA 2080ti and Pimax 8Kx VR Headset. It's been 12 years so I figure I've gotten my money's worth so it's time for an upgrade. I'm collecting the parts for my first custom open water-cooled PC. Is going to run an i9 10900K hopefully overclocked to 5.1. (Silicon Lottery tested it this CPU and says it can run stable at 5.1 on ten cores)

Here is the question.

The base clock for the 10900K is 3.7. Let's say that I overclocked it to 4.1. That would be the same speed that my current 990X is running. If I ran it at that speed and used the same GPU and same 24gig of memory would I see a performance difference and if so why? Is it because the new CPU is able to perform a higher volume of calculations even though those calculations are being run at the same speed?

I'm a big fan of being able to re-use older stuff and not just buying the latest new thing unless you really have to. I'm trying to demonstrate that to my boys with their PC builds too. So we are curious as to what the reality is behind the marketing and the specifications.
 
Larger caches, faster bus speeds, less latency....even newer "slower" CPU can often be more powerful than "faster" older ones due to such factors.
Aside from that, in a CPU that old you are missing instruction sets that new games leverage and there is really nothing to be done about that. I would say that you got your monies worth out of it, for sure.
 
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Mtop

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I can't compare exactly but, 6 mos. ago I went from 980X to I9 9900k
My 980 I clocked to 4.2 ghz with fastest recommended ram.
My 9900K is clocked to 5.0 ghz with faster ddr4 memory now.
This system handles tomb raider in ultra mode without trouble and is snappier all around. ( I had to clear out some win10 bloat)
Your system should perform lots better
 

USAFRet

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I know... kind of a weird title but hear me out.
I've been building PCs for about 16 years. My PCs are a combination of work, Gaming (Sim Racing and Sim Flying and HTPC/Media Servers). My last Simulator PC was built back in 2007/2008. Its an Asus P6T6 WS Revolution Mobo with an Intel i7 990X CPU overclocked to around 4.1ghtz. Seems to work great but its struggling to run DCS with my EVGA 2080ti and Pimax 8Kx VR Headset. It's been 12 years so I figure I've gotten my money's worth so it's time for an upgrade. I'm collecting the parts for my first custom open water-cooled PC. Is going to run an i9 10900K hopefully overclocked to 5.1. (Silicon Lottery tested it this CPU and says it can run stable at 5.1 on ten cores)

Here is the question.

The base clock for the 10900K is 3.7. Let's say that I overclocked it to 4.1. That would be the same speed that my current 990X is running. If I ran it at that speed and used the same GPU and same 24gig of memory would I see a performance difference and if so why? Is it because the new CPU is able to perform a higher volume of calculations even though those calculations are being run at the same speed?

I'm a big fan of being able to re-use older stuff and not just buying the latest new thing unless you really have to. I'm trying to demonstrate that to my boys with their PC builds too. So we are curious as to what the reality is behind the marketing and the specifications.
GHz is not nearly the only consideration.

2004, we had a Pentium IV with a 3.4GHz clock speed.
2020, we have a 10th Gen i7, with a base clock of 3.8GHz, turbo to 5.1.
 
Oct 21, 2020
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I recently upgraded a 10 year old rig as well. Most of the applications I use are single-core heavy so clock-speed is far more important in my day-to-day use than core count and in these, the newer system is by far much faster. What's been mentioned earlier probably has more of an impact on performance than the clock speed itself in single-core tasks. The overall system is just optimized to run better together.

For example, the move from Sata SSDs to SSDs running on PCI-e lanes which basically has a larger, straighter shot to the CPU, has made a HUGE difference to load times and perceived performance.
 
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These will help shed some light on the answer to your question:
https://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/110/Intel_Core_i7_Extreme_Edition_i7-990X_vs_Intel_Core_i9_i9-10900K.html

The biggest improvement is the single thread performance which is almost double.

Now, you don't necessarily have to upgrade all the way to the 10900k to see serious gains. In fact, to keep costs down, you can move to a 4790k and still use your existing ddr3 ram and still have solid gains:
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare/Intel-i7-990X-vs-Intel-i9-10900K-vs-Intel-i7-4790K/867vs3730vs2275

One thing I've learned about upgrading is if you are trying to solve a specific problem, try to stay focused on a solution that just solves that issue otherwise you will have your goal creep all the way to a brand new system.
 
Yes, that is the point of my question.
And here's the answers to that exact scenario.

Performance difference is in the improve efficiency of manufacturing--the smaller die improves the performance per watt and also per cpu cycle:
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare/Intel-i7-10700K-vs-Intel-Pentium-4-3.40GHz/3733vs1077

And there's also all the new instructions available too:
https://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/791/Intel_Core_i7_i7-10700K_vs_Intel_Pentium_4_3.4_GHz_(RK80546PG0961M).html
 
Nov 12, 2020
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These will help shed some light on the answer to your question:
https://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/110/Intel_Core_i7_Extreme_Edition_i7-990X_vs_Intel_Core_i9_i9-10900K.html

The biggest improvement is the single thread performance which is almost double.

Now, you don't necessarily have to upgrade all the way to the 10900k to see serious gains. In fact, to keep costs down, you can move to a 4790k and still use your existing ddr3 ram and still have solid gains:
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare/Intel-i7-990X-vs-Intel-i9-10900K-vs-Intel-i7-4790K/867vs3730vs2275

One thing I've learned about upgrading is if you are trying to solve a specific problem, try to stay focused on a solution that just solves that issue otherwise you will have your goal creep all the way to a brand new system.
Yes, so on my current 12 year old system probably the biggest issue is fra
I recently upgraded a 10 year old rig as well. Most of the applications I use are single-core heavy so clock-speed is far more important in my day-to-day use than core count and in these, the newer system is by far much faster. What's been mentioned earlier probably has more of an impact on performance than the clock speed itself in single-core tasks. The overall system is just optimized to run better together.

For example, the move from Sata SSDs to SSDs running on PCI-e lanes which basically has a larger, straighter shot to the CPU, has made a HUGE difference to load times and perceived performance.
One thing that I did do over here was install NVMe drive via a PCie adapter on an old AMD motherboard with an Athlon 64 cpu. I thought that maybe I could resurrect an old system so my younger son could do homework on it. We installed Windows 10, it took a while but we were successful. The result was a system with a very interesting combination of speed PLUS lag! So some operations ran really fast, probably down to the fact that we had 16 gig of memory and the NVMe drive... but then other interactions would lag (like clicking on the windows menus). So that showed us what an old system would do when paired with new software and storage.

My goal with this new system is to be able to run DCS in VR at a solid 60 fps with a wide FOV in the Pimax VR headset and all visual settings on full or high. I'm running that now but I get fps in the high 30s with dips lower than that in certain situations. DCS isn't very well optimized for VR and I'm thinking that more processing power might help.
 
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USAFRet

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An NVMe drive in a 12 year old system was a waste of money and effort.
A SATA III SSD would have been cheaper, easier, and zero user facing difference vs the NVMe.

But it is still a 12 year old system, with all the issues with that.
 
Oct 21, 2020
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One thing that I did do over here was install NVMe drive via a PCie adapter on an old AMD motherboard with an Athlon 64 cpu. I thought that maybe I could resurrect an old system so my younger son could do homework on it. We installed Windows 10, it took a while but we were successful. The result was a system with a very interesting combination of speed PLUS lag! So some operations ran really fast, probably down to the fact that we had 16 gig of memory and the NVMe drive... but then other interactions would lag (like clicking on the windows menus). So that showed us what an old system would do when paired with new software and storage.
Yeah, I can definitely see that with the other systems becoming bottlenecks and causing lag elsewhere. It is fun to mess around with old cheap hardware but unfortunately the ROI on 10 year old gear make those systems no longer viable.

Except for a good case. Seems like a good case will last you a lifetime (barring you're immune to styling trends).
 
One thing that I did do over here was install NVMe drive via a PCie adapter on an old AMD motherboard with an Athlon 64 cpu. I thought that maybe I could resurrect an old system so my younger son could do homework on it. We installed Windows 10, it took a while but we were successful. The result was a system with a very interesting combination of speed PLUS lag! So some operations ran really fast, probably down to the fact that we had 16 gig of memory and the NVMe drive... but then other interactions would lag (like clicking on the windows menus). So that showed us what an old system would do when paired with new software and storage.

My goal with this new system is to be able to run DCS in VR at a solid 60 fps with a wide FOV in the Pimax VR headset and all visual settings on full or high. I'm running that now but I get fps in the high 30s with dips lower than that in certain situations. DCS isn't very well optimized for VR and I'm thinking that more processing power might help.
Interesting. Does the system have any type of add-in gpu? If what, what have you paired it with? If the motherboard is capable of an Athlon x2 or better, that will also help.
 
Yeah, I can definitely see that with the other systems becoming bottlenecks and causing lag elsewhere. It is fun to mess around with old cheap hardware but unfortunately the ROI on 10 year old gear make those systems no longer viable.

Except for a good case. Seems like a good case will last you a lifetime (barring you're immune to styling trends).
And this mainly happens because stuff that was never available is able to speed up things in ways that weren't even possible back in the era. Like how older dos games have speed problems on modern hardware even in emulators--it was just never thought of.

An nvme storage is like running everything straight from memory--something that was never imagined for that architecture, but that can really take advantage of the memory bus and cpu busses. Yep, the prices make stuff like this very easy to have a usable system that otherwise would cost 10x in modern hardware (because the slowest piece of junk systems available for $300-400 in retail stores can be the exact same speed or slower than something found for cheap or free from yesteryear).
 
Nov 12, 2020
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An NVMe drive in a 12 year old system was a waste of money and effort.
A SATA III SSD would have been cheaper, easier, and zero user facing difference vs the NVMe.

But it is still a 12 year old system, with all the issues with that.
It was kind of an experiment. I assumed that there was a high probability that I needed a whole new system so I bought the NVMe first and figured if it actually worked great! If not I would just use it in another build. (which is what we did end up doing).
 
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Nov 12, 2020
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Interesting. Does the system have any type of add-in gpu? If what, what have you paired it with? If the motherboard is capable of an Athlon x2 or better, that will also help.
Yes, I have a few older GPUs lying around. They are all about 10 years old, but still totally fine for workstation usage. I keep them around to use in builds for testing or to use for a headless server build to get it up and running and then I pull it out when I'm done.
 
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Nov 12, 2020
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And this mainly happens because stuff that was never available is able to speed up things in ways that weren't even possible back in the era. Like how older dos games have speed problems on modern hardware even in emulators--it was just never thought of.

An nvme storage is like running everything straight from memory--something that was never imagined for that architecture, but that can really take advantage of the memory bus and cpu busses. Yep, the prices make stuff like this very easy to have a usable system that otherwise would cost 10x in modern hardware (because the slowest piece of junk systems available for $300-400 in retail stores can be the exact same speed or slower than something found for cheap or free from yesteryear).
Yes, and that is was really surprised me. Taking a really old system and just using an NVMe or even just an SSD makes really old stuff useable to a point.
 
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Nov 12, 2020
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Thanks for the replies guys. It makes more sense now. It will be interesting to see when this new system is up and running. Going from the i7 990X to the i9 10900K will be a big difference... I cant wait to see exactly what that translates into w/r/t user experience.

Unfortunately this build is taking FOREVER! I've spend the last month modifying the case because the parts I bought (which were supposedly designed to fit the case) didn't actually fit the case. So its been a month of measuring, drilling, cutting and grinding metal with my Dremel, then painting and then repeat the whole process. It coming out pretty awesome but its a major journey... and I havn't even gotten to the hard part yet. But thats a whole other thread.
 
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Well perfect example currently are the new Ryzen 5000. Essentially the same clock speeds as the previous generation but vastly improved performance and watts. Clock speed use to be the main consideration years ago, but it's only a small part of what makes a good CPU these days. CPU makers keep tweaking the dies to get the maximum performance.
 

lga1156_ftw

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its not really THAT behind when compared to something like i9-9900k or ryzen 5 2600, here is comparison of your old chipset x58 supported processor x5660 xeon :
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IK0Yer4XTc


But yeah no avx is going to hurt it bad , depending on the game ofcourse. Im running x5675 on my second rig at around 4.5ghz, another downside is ddr3 is harder to get stable at above 2000mhz on my motherboard p6x58d-e (gulftown, bloomfield vs nehalem). Compared to even older (nehalem) first gen xeon x3470 paired with asus p7p55d i can get even 2666mhz on that one.

Intel didnt really have much ipc gains from 7th to 9th gen, but 10th gen i7 looks like a solid choice.

EDIT: Here is good thread for your motherboard ( http://i4memory.com/showthread.php?t=18752 ), read through carefully if you want to tweak it further. Since your already building a new pc that might be fun thing to do. If you want to remove turbo power limit / current protections just be careful when downgrading bios that the version has microcode support for 990x.
 
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