Looking for some upgrade advice

Ryno917

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Hey guys, a little out of the loop here. I'm looking at my upgrade options so I can start budgeting for it. I'm currently running an i7-4790K, GTX1080, 32GB RAM (DDR3 I believe, don't know the speed). It's starting to show its age both in AC and with work stuff, so it's time to upgrade.

As some background, in addition to sim racing I do a lot of 3D CAD (Solidworks), rendering (Keyshot; so CPU speed and thread count are king) as well as fairly heavy Photoshop and Illustrator work. Unfortunately the variety of stuff I do means that I need good parts for pretty much everything since everything is heavily utilized by different software.

I've already got a beefy Noctua CPU cooler I'll keep using provided it fits with the newer chip architecture (I'll have to look into that), and I'll keep running my GTX1080 for a while.

I think I'm set on an i9-9900k as it seems to be just about the best on single-core performance (for AC) and has 16 threads (for Keyshot). Now, I have no idea what to get for a Mainboard, nor what to get for RAM. Obviously it'll be DDR4, and probably 32GB, but beyond that I'm lost. What brands to get, or to stay away from? What's the impact of the various different variants?

I'm in Canada, and it looks like I should be expecting to dole out about $1500 for the CPU, Motherboard and RAM.

Does anyone have any specific items I should consider?
 

sdubbin

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I would wait until the ryzen 3000 chips are released. I’m holding of at the moment but specs shows that intel will be put in their place.
 

RasmusP

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Exactly, wait for the new ryzens.
Regarding mobo and ram:
I overclocked a lot of CPUs over the last years and the easiest and most stable overclocking was always done on mid to high end Asus boards. The hero series is awesome but I think the cheaper ones will be sufficient too. Just don't get the cheapest and read a few reviews.
I worked with gigabyte, msi, asRock and Asus boards. Asus hands down!

Ram: corsair and hyperx are my favourites. Not the rgb ones with big coolers etc. The rather thin and Sleak ones for a good price and some small but decent cooling solution.

For ram pricing there's mostly a big gap at some point. Like
2400 = 100€
3000 = 115€
3200 = 122€
3400 = 150€
4000 = 350€

Get the highest before the gap. In this example case 3200! It's different for each county.

For Intel it's not that important to get faster speeds. For amd it's a lot different currently. Not sure about the upcoming ryzens!
For amd you need some special memory to run higher frequencies while higher frequencies boost your performance quite a lot. So you want to read through some computer forums and you should find some lists about "working ram for AMD". The get the fastest you can afford.

Btw I have an asRock p67 Pro 3 for my I7 2600k. Two friends have the i5 3570k and the asRock z77 pro 3 and 4. We all wouldn't buy it again and instead get an Asus board.
Another friend had and i5 2500k and now a ryzen 2600x. Both gigabyte boards.
While the board has awesome features, working with them is a pain...
 

Ryno917

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Thanks, guys! I'll into the new Ryzens. Old experiences with AMD chips left a bad taste, though, and I'm still seeing a lot of complaints that newer sims don't play so nice (AC and pCARS come to mind) - is that still the case? Any word on pricing for the new set stuff?

For the motherboard, I don't need any fancy features. I don't understand any of it, and I won't be overclocking; my computer is my money-maker and I need rock-solid stability all day every day. I can't afford to break anything, nor can I afford instability. I also can't afford to overclock and let it run stress tests for hours/days to ensure it's stable. I can take a day or two off to rebuild and reinstall but that's really it. My "play" rig is the same as my "work" rig and I just need it to work.
 

RasmusP

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Thanks, guys! I'll into the new Ryzens. Old experiences with AMD chips left a bad taste, though, and I'm still seeing a lot of complaints that newer sims don't play so nice (AC and pCARS come to mind) - is that still the case? Any word on pricing for the new set stuff?

For the motherboard, I don't need any fancy features. I don't understand any of it, and I won't be overclocking; my computer is my money-maker and I need rock-solid stability all day every day. I can't afford to break anything, nor can I afford instability. I also can't afford to overclock and let it run stress tests for hours/days to ensure it's stable. I can take a day or two off to rebuild and reinstall but that's really it. My "play" rig is the same as my "work" rig and I just need it to work.
You hear complaints about the AMDs for AC and pcars because like I said, they lack single thread performance and the Sims all barely use more than 2 threads.
The upcoming AMDs (June/July) seems to be a lot better in that regard plus the additional core count over Intel!

About fancy stuff and overclocking:
The new CPUs all run some automatic clock speeds so if the cpu stays cold enough they go uuuuuuppp!
And a good mobo will ensure that all features are enabled and active and running stable. My as Rock board lacks support for the onboard gpu and also can't run the full turbo speeds so I have to manually overclock the cpu to reach the performance other boards would enable at defaults.
You also want to have a good mobo to make sure the high frequency memory is running. Om my board only the hyperx memory runs at 2133 MHz (Intel states 1600 being the maximum).
For the new DDR4 Intel states 2400 MHz being officially supported yet you can install and run up to 4000 MHz memory with good motherboards.

Also modern day overclocking isn't like it was with my or your cpu. You just buy a motherboard that has good features and then you just tell the cpu to be allowed to clock higher and that's it.
Sure, for the absolute maximum you still need to do all the fancy stuff but to get an i9 9900k to 5 GHz you really don't need anything else than a good cooler :)
 
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Ryno917

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And a good mobo will ensure that all features are enabled and active and running stable. My as Rock board lacks support for the onboard gpu and also can't run the full turbo speeds so I have to manually overclock the cpu to reach the performance other boards would enable at defaults.
You also want to have a good mobo to make sure the high frequency memory is running. Om my board only the hyperx memory runs at 2133 MHz (Intel states 1600 being the maximum).
For the new DDR4 Intel states 2400 MHz being officially supported yet you can install and run up to 4000 MHz memory with good motherboards.
What features specifically should I be on the lookout for? Is supported RAM frequency explicitly stated in most online stores or am I going to have to go digging across multiple sources to find the info myself? It's so easy to get lost in all these intricacies it seems. Waiting for the Ryzen is the likely scenario simply because I don't have the money right now anyways, and I still have to pay my taxes so I'll be quite skint for a bit, probably until after they launch. I'd imagine once they launch the MB landscape will change to suit, too, as new boards come out to work optimally with the new chips?

Thanks for the help :)
 

RasmusP

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What features specifically should I be on the lookout for? Is supported RAM frequency explicitly stated in most online stores or am I going to have to go digging across multiple sources to find the info myself? It's so easy to get lost in all these intricacies it seems. Waiting for the Ryzen is the likely scenario simply because I don't have the money right now anyways, and I still have to pay my taxes so I'll be quite skint for a bit, probably until after they launch. I'd imagine once they launch the MB landscape will change to suit, too, as new boards come out to work optimally with the new chips?

Thanks for the help :)
Sadly I'm not that familiar with the specific features. It's just my general experience over the last 15 years that it's worth it to not grab the cheapest motherboard. It's 100€ for the next 8 or so years. And since you can't upgrade your motherboard after 5+ years, the moment you'll regret your decision, you won't be able to find a better one for the same, "just 100€".
Memory is a pain. I have a friend who only waits for ryzen 3xxx to hit the market and he got some bookmarks with compatibility lists for the current ryzen.
With Intel, mobos and memory it's a bit a game of luck but a good mobo will support lots of xmp profiles and good memory will have a profile too. You load that and boom, high speed ram :)

And yes, new motherboards will come together with the new ryzen. Although amd is backwards compatible in most cases, some of the features might be exclusive to the new chipsets. Like the advanced auto overclock was with the second ryzen gen. Not much löst apart from a few hundred MHz but still a feature that was missing in some cases.

Reading your posts, I'd say you should definitely wait for the new AMDs :)
 
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RobertR1

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A couple of things:

- 9900k's need good VRM's so you'll need a decent motherboard. Minimum would be Gigabyte z390 Auros Pro or Asus z390 Strix and upwards. Stay away from MSI this time around. The Asrock Taichi (and ultimate) is fine also
- RAM. You'll want the lowest timing and highest bandwidth combo you can afford. 4x8 = 32 better than 2x16gb. The boards above are "T-Topology" and perform better with all slots filled. I'd look for CL17 and 3600mhz or better. Samsung "b-die" is the best you can but generally costs more
- RAM overclocking. It's hit n miss. Some workloads will have a great boost while others see nothing. Asus boards are the best at compatialbiyt and overclocking. RAM overclock on a 2 DIMM board is always better than a 4 dimm board. Like Asus Apex, Gene and EVGA Dark. RAM overclocking is also a lot of work and testing
- Photoshop and adobe is intel's playground due to their IPC and clockspeed advantage

I expect my 9900k to stay relevant for the next 5 years comfortably. 5ghz with 8 cores and 16 threads is just a lot of performance anyway you cut it.
 
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RasmusP

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A couple of things:

- 9900k's need good VRM's so you'll need a decent motherboard. Minimum would be Gigabyte z390 Auros Pro or Asus z390 Strix and upwards. Stay away from MSI this time around. The Asrock Taichi (and ultimate) is fine also
- RAM. You'll want the lowest timing and highest bandwidth combo you can afford. 4x8 = 32 better than 2x16gb. The boards above are "T-Topology" and perform better with all slots filled. I'd look for CL17 and 3600mhz or better. Samsung "b-die" is the best you can but generally costs more
- RAM overclocking. It's hit n miss. Some workloads will have a great boost while others see nothing. Asus boards are the best at compatialbiyt and overclocking. RAM overclock on a 2 DIMM board is always better than a 4 dimm board. Like Asus Apex, Gene and EVGA Dark. RAM overclocking is also a lot of work and testing
- Photoshop and adobe is intel's playground due to their IPC and clockspeed advantage

I expect my 9900k to stay relevant for the next 5 years comfortably. 5ghz with 8 cores and 16 threads is just a lot of performance anyway you cut it.
Thanks for the detailed insight!
About your ram oc part: do you mean that it's hit and miss to overclock the memory beyond its specs or to get a 3600 MHz stick to run at 3600 MHz?
It's "overclocking the cpu controller" to run such a ram stick but it's only running the specs of the stick.
Can you clarify on this?
 

RobertR1

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Thanks for the detailed insight!
About your ram oc part: do you mean that it's hit and miss to overclock the memory beyond its specs or to get a 3600 MHz stick to run at 3600 MHz?
It's "overclocking the cpu controller" to run such a ram stick but it's only running the specs of the stick.
Can you clarify on this?
You would ideally want to check the QVL list of a particular board to see if that particular mem kit is XMP rated for that board. If it is, you just set XMP and off you go.

QVL is more important for the high mem kits more so than run of the mill stuff.

Once you go beyond XMP and start doing manual overclocking of timings and frequency, it's a combination of:
- Board topology: 2 DIMM, 4 DIMM (T-Topology or Daisy Chain)
- Mem kit itself: Samsung B-Die being the best at high speeds and overclocking
- IMC of the chip: Certain chips will handle mem overclocks than other. 9900k's IMC is actually quite good

Then you need to do a lot of playing around and learning how timing dependencies work when tuning.
 
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Ryno917

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- RAM. You'll want the lowest timing and highest bandwidth combo you can afford. 4x8 = 32 better than 2x16gb. The boards above are "T-Topology" and perform better with all slots filled. I'd look for CL17 and 3600mhz or better. Samsung "b-die" is the best you can but generally costs more
Could you elaborate on this? By 'lowest timing' I assume you're not referring to the MHz rating?

- Photoshop and adobe is intel's playground due to their IPC and clockspeed advantage
Do you think this will hold true with the upcoming Ryzen series?

Thanks for the info :)
 

John-Eric Saxén

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I find the second chart of this site useful when comparing the IPC of different generation CPU's. As can be seen, very little has happened on the IPC front over the last five years, especially on Intel's side. For example the i7-4790K of OP has only about 10% IPC deficit compared to the latest and greatest Intel's.

Intel currently holds an IPC advantage of less than 10% over AMD current gen Ryzens and I would expect AMD to at least catch up and probably surpass it with their next gen CPU's. The more significant limitation has been the lower frequencies of AMD CPU's compared to Intel, but I expect the 7 nm process to improve things nicely here as well. IMO there is little reason to think AMD wouldn't be able to catch up in the high end competition with the Ryzen 3 series.
 
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RCHeliguy

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I think we are about to see our first substantial jump in CPU performance in many years in 2020. Intel will finally get their 10nm process going which is comparable with AMD's 7nm process and both companies will start leveraging 3D packaging with vertically stacked components. I don't care which company is the fastest. They will both see big jumps. We will all win.
 

Durge Driven

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Sorry was not directed to you ..... yes for sim racing and was rhetorical ;)

I agree with others skip 8/9 series
 

RobertR1

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Could you elaborate on this? By 'lowest timing' I assume you're not referring to the MHz rating?



Do you think this will hold true with the upcoming Ryzen series?

Thanks for the info :)
When you looking at RAM, you'll see something like:

16-16-16-36 3600mhz

The first set of number is your latency. In simple terms you want this number to the lowest it can be while the "mhz" number is the highest it can be. Then it comes down to your budget.

I chose that set of numbers because it's real and a good match for a 9900k.
 
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