Dein's PC Update Thread

Dein's PC Update Thread

Postby Phauss » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:03 am

As the thread title implies, it's time to find parts to upgrade Dein's rig. I really enjoy doing builds and comparing parts, so let's dive right in.

First things first, what do we know? Well, we're looking at a CPU and memory upgrade. The rig's using a 4th-gen i5 processor, the 4690k, and 8GB of memory, which means the mobo has an LGA1150 socket and likely uses DDR3 RAM. Unfortunately, the 1150 socket fell out of fashion about the same time the 5th-gen processors came out. That means we're probably (definitely) looking at a new mobo. The computer is already supporting a GTX1070 GPU, so I doubt the power supply needs to be replaced. We'll look at 7th-gen CPU's and also explore going 8th-gen for the faster Z370 motherboard chipset, depending on overall cost. 7th-gen CPU's are not compatible with 8th-gen boards and vice versa, unlike earlier processors.

We don't know the speed of the old RAM, but that doesn't matter. The DDR3 RAM will be replaced with DDR4 with the new board. I don't want to go less than 16GB 2100Mhz, just so there's plenty of wiggle room with lots of running processes. If I find 32GB of decent memory for a good price, I'll consider it. I was lucky when I got my 32GB on sale for cheaper than some 16GB kits.

We don't know the form factor of the board in the case right now, so we're going to end up with several options depending on size constraints. I sure hope the case isn't limited to mini-ITX. I don't even know if they've gotten the 8th-gen boards that small yet. (Though if we went with a 7th-gen mini-ITX system, I could clone my recent build from this thread.)

That being said, lets get some baseline prices out of the way.

>>>Processors:

  •  i5i5-Ki7i7-K
    7th-gen$220 (7600)$230 (7600K)$305 (7700)$330 (7700K)
    8th-gen$190 (8400)$260 (8600K)$330 (8700)$375 (8700K)
  • I was pleasantly surprised to see that 8th-gen CPU's don't cost much more than their older counterparts. Seems like the final package will ultimately come down to the cost of the board and/or memory. We're not even going to consider i9 processors. Those are no less than $1000 a pop.
  • 7th-gens are 4-core, 8th-gens are 6-core. 7's have faster cores, while 8's have more of them. What your needs are really depends on how many things your programs are trying to do at once.
  • K-series chips are "unlocked" versions of the processor. They are slightly faster out of the box for a small cost increase. They can also be overclocked easily, if that's your thing.
  • Interestingly, there is no non-K 8600 chip, so I listed the fastest "locked" 8th-gen i5, an 8400. It's 2.8GHz per core to the 8600K's 3.6GHz. Almost no comparison there. A 7th-gen i5 would be a better investment, were it not for forward compatibility.

>>>Motherboards:

  • Form Factor7th-gen8th-gen
    ATX$155 (ASRock Z270 Extreme4)$130 (ASRock Z370 PRO4)
    uATX/eATXN/AN/A
    mATX$120 (ASRock Z270M PRO4)$130 (ASRock Z370M PRO4)
    mITX$150 (ASRock Z270 Gaming ITX/ac)$135 (ASRock Z370M-ITX/ac)
  • We don't yet know exactly what form factor board is in Dein's case yet, so I checked both Z270 and Z370 boards of the common sizes and came out with this list.
  • I searched for boards specifically with a Z-series chipset. B and H series can be used for gaming, but they are much better suited for other tasks, like business or HTPC use.
  • The motherboard had to have many reviews and frequently high ratings. ASRock consistently came out on top, and the price point made them that much better. My latest builds here and here both used ASRock boards and I have had absolutely no problems.
  • Other mobos that could have made the selection were cut due to issues like audio isolation issues (hissing in the speakers), fitment issues in the case, or conflicts between m.2 and SATA channels, among other things. Research has been conducted.
  • I went out of my way to select mITX boards that had integrated WiFi, since the only PCI slot on the board will be occupied by a GPU. The other boards have extra slots for something like a WiFi card if needed.
  • I checked to see if any uATX or eATX Z-series boards existed, but there were only B and H series. Not even going to waste anyone's time here.

>>>Memory:

  • Speed4x4GB (16GB)2x8GB (16GB)4x8GB (32GB)
    2400$210 (Corsair)$170 (Mushkin)$355 (G.Skill)
    2666$220 (Corsair)$180 (G.Skill)$380 (Corsair)
  • Memory is still expensive, but not as much as it was.
  • 7th-gen processors can natively handle 2400 memory without overclocking. 8th-gen can handle 2666. The difference is negligible.
  • Shopping for memory is a bit like shopping for power supplies. Get a trusted name brand, read reviews, and you should be alright. I don't really trust no-name sticks. Mushkin is a newcomer to the scene, but I've only read good things about their solid state products. Their prices are good, too.
  • There is a slight performance increase when you populate all the RAM slots, so I differentiated between 4x4GB and 2x8GB. Basically, load sharing is better across four sticks than two. There is a cost increase, though. Also, if you got 16 gigs now and decided to get 16 later, the 2x8GB would be ideal. Just make sure you get exactly the same sticks. This does not apply if you need a mITX mobo and it only has two slots.
  • I decided to look up four-stick 32GB kits just for kicks. This will likely set us over as far as cost, and it's not really necessary.

>>>Miscellaneous:
  • It's probable that your existing CPU cooler will work with both 1150 and 1151 sockets, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to get a new one for the 1151 socket just in case. A sealed watercooling unit like this one is usually a safe bet as long as you have a spot for a 120mm fan on the rear of the case.
  • If you replace the mobo and CPU and reuse the same drives, Windows is going to figure out something's changed. It's likely that you won't need to do a fresh OS reinstall, but be prepared in case you have to. (I upgraded this server's mobo/CPU and swapped the old drive in without issues, though WinXP did give me a pop-up window saying it detected changes. Later OS's should be alright.)

In conclusion, it turns out that both generations are similarly priced. An i7-7700K chip with a compatible ATX board and 2x8GB of 2400 memory will set you back about $650, and about the same with an i7-8700, ATX board, and 2666 memory. The main trade off is more cores vs. faster cores. Do the programs you use utilize all the cores? If so, the 8th-gen is probably the way to go. Do your programs prioritize a single core at a time? Maybe 7th-gen is preferable. If you're looking to be forward compatible, the motherboards for 7th-gen and earlier will not be compatible with anything 8th-gen and later, so that's something to think about.
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