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juzz86
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Selecting my next Internals

Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:15 am

Hi Guys,

So, an interesting development arises across the pond (Australia)... Tax time for us is June 30 onwards. Tax time for me this year will be good, as I finish my student (HECS) loans and have been paying voluntary tax to ensure a nice return.

This gives me a 'spare' ~AU$1,500 (based on my tax estimates) for a new 'guts' (CPU, Motherboard, RAM). Existing system in signature is current. Despite keeping my incidentals (SSDs, GPUs, Case, Watercooling etc.) up-to-date and switching back-and-forth between Z77 and X79 on several occasions, the actual platform hasn't had an update in at least four years.

I've had both a Ryzen 1600X / Board / 32GB and a 7700K / Board / 32GB combo on wishlists at local retailers for a bit now (since Jeff's Part II for Ryzen 5, actually) but canned the Ryzen setup just last night because I don't think the (gaming) gains are worth it. After today, that AU$1500 also now buys me a 7740X, a nice motherboard, and the same 32GB of RAM. I understand the Kaby-X has a lot of shortcomings, but the possible longevity of X299 intrigues me, based on how long both X79 and X99 remained actively supported.

I'm basically looking to buy into a more modern platform, and get a somewhat decent CPU gain along the way. Z77 and X79 have been very good to me, but I have M.2 SSDs and Type C USB and even Thunderbolt gear now, so the home rig needs to come up to speed a bit. Gaming is my primary goal here. I don't do anything other than browse and game on this machine now. Here are my shortlists:

Z270:
Image

X299:
Image

Supply is a bit limited in Australia of course, and X299 only showed up today so there's bound to be other boards eventually. I expected X299 to land higher, and the better CPU SKUs certainly do - but I'm not chasing cores here - or PCIe lanes for anything other than a single GPU and at most, a pair of M.2 SSDs, plus a couple of SATA ones for Steam.

In my shoes, which platform choice would you make (I'm more interested in this than in your actual part choices)?
7700K, 32GB, 980Ti, 960 EVO, PG278Q - DG-87
 
JustAnEngineer
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Re: Selecting my next Internals

Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:41 am

juzz86 wrote:
AU$1500 also now buys me a 7740X, a nice motherboard, and the same 32GB of RAM. I understand the Kaby-X has a lot of shortcomings, but the possible longevity of X299 intrigues me. Gaming is my primary goal here. I don't do anything other than browse and game on this machine now.
You love swapping hardware. Why would motherboard longevity be your most important criterion? If you're going to get a Kaby Lake processor with its two memory channels, it belongs on a Z270 LGA1151 motherboard. I like Gigabyte's GA-Z270MX-Gaming 5, but there are other good options.

Because Kaby Lake has only two memory channels, you would be better off with 2x16 GiB of memory rather than 4x8 GiB. I would choose something like GSkill's F4-3200C14D-32GTZKW or F4-3200C14D-32GVR kit of PC4-25600 (DDR4-3200, 14-14-14-34), if your local pricing isn't too bad compared to memory with lower frequency or higher latency.

Adding more M.2 ports is easy as long as you have a free PCIe slot.
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juzz86
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Re: Selecting my next Internals

Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:04 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:
You love swapping hardware. Why would motherboard longevity be your most important criterion? If you're going to get a Kaby Lake processor with its two memory channels, it belongs on a Z270 LGA1151 motherboard. I like Gigabyte's GA-Z270MX-Gaming 5, but there are other good options.

Because Kaby Lake has only two memory channels, you would be better off with 2x16 GiB of memory rather than 4x8 GiB. I would choose something like GSkill's F4-3200C14D-32GTZKW or F4-3200C14D-32GVR kit of PC4-25600 (DDR4-3200, 14-14-14-34), if your local pricing isn't too bad compared to memory with lower frequency or higher latency.

Adding more M.2 ports is easy as long as you have a free PCIe slot.


Valid points Boss - thankyou.

Unfortunately with a young fella around now, the ability to swap gear in and out at will, will... go away. Wouldn't have it any other way of course, but priorities need to be re-adjusted.

I read the Canucks review of the 7740X and came away a little underwhelmed, but just have this lingering feeling that X299 is the 'wiser' choice - of course, this assumes that a suitable plug-in upgrade becomes available from whatever refresh hits X299 - and that of course means Intel would need to repeat KBL-X with CNL-X or whatever comes next - which is a huge unknown.

Throw that up against the fact that the Z270 board I've selected pretty much ticks every box, and I'm at a crossroads.

Local options for 2 x 16GB are all 2400MT, a bit lower than what I'd like. Of course I'm not opposed to shopping at the 'Egg - they ship some stuff to Australia now!

Thanks mate.
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Re: Selecting my next Internals

Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:16 am

I'd go with the regular 1151 build for gaming and general use. HEDT is all about throwing lots of cores at high end applications, which doesn't fit your use case.

If you do think the HEDT thing interests you though, I'd skip the foreplay and go straight for the i7-7820X sweet spot. CPUs don't get much better between generations aside from occasionally gaining some cores (what happened with Sky/Kaby X) so if you upgrade later on you're effectively throwing away 500 bucks. Also bear in mind that while the X99 chipset was around for a couple of generations, not all gen 1 boards were compatible with Broadwell-E. So will the board that you choose be one of the lucky winners? No way to know.
 
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Re: Selecting my next Internals

Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:31 am

NovusBogus wrote:
If you do think the HEDT thing interests you though, I'd skip the foreplay and go straight for the i7-7820X sweet spot.
I agree.

I linked to some Australian e-tailers above. These folks have horrific web design skills, but their prices are competitive. They don't list any 16 GiB DIMMs on their flyer. PC Case Gear has 16 GiB DIMMs listed, but they're all low frequency. If you shop at Newegg, they have many kits listed. I might choose the US$337 G.Skill F4-3200C14D-32GVR, though the large L3 caches in newer processors make them less sensitive to memory latency than was the case in the past.
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Re: Selecting my next Internals

Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:27 am

I'm expecting X299 prices to disintegrate when Threadripper arrives. At the rumoured $850 price point for a 16C/32T CPU, it's going to make the vast bulk of the X299 platform look pointless. Sure, AMD are still 20% behind Kaby lake in the outright performance per thread department, but when you've got 32 threads and 64 PCIe lanes for a similar total platform cost as Intel's 16 threads and 28 PCIe lanes, Intel's 20% advantage might as well be pissing into the wind.

For anyone who's not in need of a high core count, an overclocked 7700K is still the way to go for unmatched performance on a low thread count.
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Re: Selecting my next Internals

Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:29 am

I agree that the X299 is not a good general purpose/gaming machine (good luck with that while a toddler is running around). The best reason I could think of to still go with X299 is there is a chance you will repurpose the hardware as a home server. Even then, the AMD choice looks much more attractive. The advantage of the X299 is the memory bandwidth you can get with the higher-end chips and AVX512. But it comes at the expense of power consumption. So, unless you need the CPU crunching power power or memory bandwidth, go the "normal" Intel chip route. If you have dreams of reusing the hardware as a server, go AMD.
 
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Re: Selecting my next Internals

Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:15 am

Go Z270.
What in the world do you think you're going to need such an expensive motherboard for?
Get 2x16GB RAM.
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Re: Selecting my next Internals

Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:19 am

Juzz86, I agree with everyone else - go big or go 1151. In either case, you should consider that Intel tends to switch sockets on a regular basis, and a meaningful upgrade might not end up available for the board you purchase.

I'd recommend that CPU and motherboard form a lifetime partnership. With that in mind, I'd also spring for a less-expensive motherboard model. Make sure whatever you purchase has the ports and slots you'd end up using within the first year of the build. Anything beyond that isn't worth paying a premium for.

I'd echo the point that once your little one hit age 2 you won't really be using your computer unless YouTube is running - if you have any spare money I'd invest in a second monitor.
 
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Re: Selecting my next Internals

Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:26 am

DPete27 wrote:
Go Z270.
What in the world do you think you're going to need such an expensive motherboard for?
Get 2x16GB RAM.



I'm sure a big part of it is the result of their $17 an hour minimum wage because that price for the MB is beyond belief.
 
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Re: Selecting my next Internals

Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:32 am

You say you are not chasing cores and I understand that but in the same breath want to future proof and you use it only for gaming.

I think its safe to say that games ARE going to use more cores in the future and maybe one of these, since you are sticking with Intel may be the better option.

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Re: Selecting my next Internals

Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:45 am

 
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Re: Selecting my next Internals

Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:26 pm

When it comes to future-proofing, my advice is to buy the minimum motherboard you need for the current CPU choice.

In the case of a 7700K with a reasonable overclock, you're looking at $150 for a good quality but non-bling Z270 board. Treat this as a DISPOSABLE board that will be replaced when (or if) you replace the CPU. If you buy an X299 board now and then upgrade to a new CPU from now, you may find yourself lacking features and wishing you'd bought a new board to go with the new chip anyway.

Imagine buying an i9-7900X today and using a 2014 X99 board. Pretending they are socket-compatible you would still be lumbered with dead/outdated SATA-Express ports, it would only have a single M.2 slot at most, and there would be no USB 3.1, Thunderbolt, or USB-C ports to speak of. That's not a fault of the X99 board, those things were simply what we had three years ago. For the sake of "wasting" $150 now on a Z270 board for the i7-7700K, you buy a board that matches the chip at the time you purchase the new chip rather than optimistically hoping that no new standards or ports appear in the years between buying your "future-proof" board and it's eventual upgrade CPU.
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Re: Selecting my next Internals

Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:40 pm

From a gaming perspective, is there any real reason you feel the need to upgrade? That 3770K is still a pretty good processor for gaming, especially on a 980Ti. I was running an RX 480 on an overclocked 3750K and it I didn't see the processor impacting performance in a negative way.

I understand the desire to use USB-C, Thunderbolt and other newer gear, but it seems like a bit of a waste to upgrade a processor that probably isn't negatively impacting your gaming when new CPUs will be out in the very near future.

32gb of RAM also seems like a crazy amount. you sure 16GB wouldn't be everything you need for gaming? I have 16GB of RAM and I don't think I've ever come close to using even 2/3rds of it while gaming.
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juzz86
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Re: Selecting my next Internals

Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:22 pm

Wow, some brilliant feedback here folks and a lot of points I hadn't considered - thankyou very much.

Seems 1151 is the general consensus, and the sound plan here. As above, the justification for considering X299 was that a drop-in replacement for Kaby-X may become available on the same socket, and so I might get away with the same board for ten years instead of five.

My days of regularly swapping gear are passing, and that's fine. That's half the reason for the pricey motherboard - I want as much of what I use now as integrated as possible - and Thunderbolt on Z270 outside an AIC is a bit rarer than what I'd thought, given it was on a fair few Z170 boards.

I also have to be honest and consider that this machine is also built for looks. It's a flashy case, with a good loop and a bit of colour - that I can now change to suit game/surroundings/little man's mood etc. It's very tidy for a big rig, and I am leaning on M.2 and the like to keep it streamlined moving forward. This means add-in cards and whatnot are a no-go - I'm even looking to do away with the SB Recon3D I use currently.

I can regularly shoot (total) RAM usage up into the 19 - 21GB range on ARK as reported by CAM/Afterburner, but only after a long session - 16GB is far easier to find in a quick, tight kit and may be the worthier choice initially.

Again, thanks all for the words of advice and suggestions. Z270 wins the day - and I'm not dissatisfied about that at all.

Cheers!
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