Question I need help making a CPU decision for a new build

Morgoth780

Member
Jul 3, 2014
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I'm having a very hard time making a decision about when to build a new PC, as well as what CPU I should get. For some background:

I currently have desktop with an i5 3570k and a gtx 960, which is really starting to show its age. I'm going to be moving in a week, so I was planning to just leave my desktop behind both for convenience and my desire to build a new pc. I'm going to be taking my laptop with me, which can certainly handle some games, but I wouldn't really want to rely on it for an extended period of time (probably a month or two, max).

All I do on my pc is play games - being able to do a little streaming might be nice, but that's really not a priority. I certainly play a lot of AAA games. That said, I do keep my PC around for a very long time - I've had my current processor for 6.5 years, and to some extent I regret not investing in an i7 at the time.

I don't have a strict budget for my CPU, but I want to get something that provides reasonably good value. For instance, I know I'm going to get a 5700xt, since I feel like the performance jump to a more powerful card is not worth the price increase.

Mainly, I'm considering the 3700x, 3900x, and i9-9900k. I could also wait for the 3950x or wait all the way til the next generation of Intel processors (November ish?). I've also considered just building a system and dropping in a cheap 2600 while waiting for the 3950x. And I'm also waiting for aftermarket 5700xt's to show up, since I'm not keen on getting a blower card. I could always switch to a 2070 super if I want to build before the custom 5700xt's release.

I know this is a lot of info, but thank you if you made it this far. I'm feeling really conflicted about what to do, so I'll appreciate any advice I can get.
 

Markfw

CPU Moderator, VC&G Moderator, Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 16, 2002
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Well, for gaming only, the 3700x should be great. The 9900k is not upgrade able., and almost the same speed as the 3700x in games. The 3900x beats it a little bit, but if you are on a budget, get the 3700x.
 

ehume

Golden Member
Nov 6, 2009
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Don't spend your money on a CPU. Instead, with limited funds, your first priority is an SSD. After that, spend money on a good GPU. An SSD and an upgraded graphics card will get you a lot more bang for your buck.
 

chrisjames61

Senior member
Dec 31, 2013
341
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Don't spend your money on a CPU. Instead, with limited funds, your first priority is an SSD. After that, spend money on a good GPU. An SSD and an upgraded graphics card will get you a lot more bang for your buck.

He isn't upgrading his cpu nor any components. He is doing a whole new build.
 

beginner99

Diamond Member
Jun 2, 2009
4,209
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Since the focus is gaming, it's important to know which games, some still heavily favor intel and if you play that game 50% of the time...What also matters is your display resolution. If you don't have a 120hz+ display and game at 60 hz, CPU doesn't matter that much. Depending on budget fire sales 2600(x) could be a solution or a 3600 over a 3700x. Depending on budget that money is better spent on an ssd and better gpu. ssd for general use and gpu for gaming.
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
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Out of those options, 2600 would probably make the most sense. 3700/3900 are better still, but without a really good GPU (eg; 2080+) you won't really be able to tell the difference, and you can easily swap it out after 3xxx prices get better and the firmware more mature.

9900k is the fastest gaming CPU, by double digits once overclocked with 5+GHz all core, but that's extremely expensive and would only be noticable really with both a great Gysnc/Freesync 144+ display AND a 2080ti / Titan RTX for most cases. And I'm 99% sure Z370/390 is not going to see further compatibility, the next wave of desktop releases may end up being DDR5, new sockets, etc.

As it sounds like you're going to be pairing this with less exotic GPU/display, going 2600 (or even 2700X, a great option IMHO) leaves more $ on the table for your GPU, SSD, and if you haven't upgraded display in a while, I can't recommend a variable refresh model enough. Dips below 60 on a standard monitor cause a variety of bad things to happen, while on VRR, things remain smooth all the way to the bottom cutoff, as well as typically higher framerate potential as well.

For Mobo, a good B450 is a nice bargain and you can choose from a variety of models. 570 seems a bit hit or miss and pricey, and there's little OC to worry about with Ryzens, so don't feel like you're missing out whatsoever. Frustratingly, B550/520 boards aren't even arriving this year at all.
 

IEC

Super Moderator
Jun 10, 2004
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Aftermarket 5700XTs should show up next month. Pair that with a R7 3700X and you have a more than capable gaming rig without busting a budget. On a stricter budget, R5 3600 is hard to beat at $199. On an even stricter budget, R5 2600/X are on fire sales right now and can be had for <$130 or even less with motherboard combos...

If you have access to a Microcenter their combo deals are pretty much impossible to beat, and they'll even update the BIOS on X470/B450 boards for you if that is necessary. B450 "MAX" variant boards with Ryzen 3000 series support out of the box should be coming soon as well. Those would provide the best value for motherboards and keep costs down.

Other thoughts:
Just buy DDR4 3200 CL16 memory or better and run XMP. Gains beyond 3000 are extremely minimal and not worth spending a lot more $.
R9 3900X is not worth the premium for "a little streaming". Especially if you don't really do anything else on the PC that could require more than 8c/16t. The 3700X @ 65W TDP is a far better choice for most gamers.
i9-9900K is not worth the premium for a few % more FPS at 1080p, especially with that video card. If you're gaming at 1440p or even 4K even less reason to go higher than a 3700X, as you will see zero gains from spending more on the processor. The biggest lead for the 9900K would be when maximally overclocked (>5GHz) with a RTX 2080 Ti at 1080p with a high refresh rate (144Hz or 240Hz) monitor. Then you can see gains of >10% in some games. But to spend double to still game at 1080p...
 

ehume

Golden Member
Nov 6, 2009
1,427
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He isn't upgrading his cpu nor any components. He is doing a whole new build.
What I'm saying is that he should forgo any wholesale upgrade, improve storage (if he doesn't have an SSD) and GPU, and save his money, for now. He is budget-limited, and those two upgrades are the best bang for the buck, bar none. Upgrading the CPU gains anyone less.
 

GaiaHunter

Diamond Member
Jul 13, 2008
3,519
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He is budget-limited,
Unless I've misread he doesn't say anything about a small budget?

The 3700X is the conservative approach - cheapish, good performance, upgrade path to 16 cores later.

The 9900K is surely faster for gaming now, but at 1440p and above differences are minimal.
And is the same price as the 3900X which is a 12 core. 50% more cores or a few %points now?
I would go for extra cores.
The X570 is also a more modern platform.
 
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rbk123

Senior member
Aug 22, 2006
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ehume is suggesting the GPU and SSD upgrade for *now* (since both can migrate to his new setup), and check to see if the performance gain is sufficient. If so, hold off on the CPU for *now* and just keep monitoring the CPU landscape.

However info on which games and what monitor the OP plays/has are also important elements needed before recommendations should be made.
 

Jimzz

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2012
4,277
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I am in a similar boat, 3770 CPU/Z77 system.

I am looking at the 3600X with a X570 based board. Myself I don't play the newest games but like the rest of the system to be updated as well, let alone I want it to have a upgrade path and support since I keep my systems a long time.

So a 3700X or 3600X with a X570 should work well. Either, or even 3900x, will be an upgrade over your current system.
 

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