Question Intel i7 CPU: Engineering Sample vs. "T" model? Need to match or beat a Ryzen 3600!

AnitaPeterson

Diamond Member
Apr 24, 2001
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Hello everyone,

Please note this post is rather long and very detailed, so I apologize in advance for making you read a lot :)

I've been putting together this new project inside a NR200 case.
I already have the motherboard, RAM, GPU and fanless PSU.
I also have a couple of spare coolers (but more about that later).

The goal is to build a machine that's as powerful as possible, but also as quiet as it can be.
Ideally, it should match or surpass a similar computer powered by a Ryzen 3600. Not just in gaming, but as an all-rounder (from Photoshop to Handbrake encoding and Topaz AI video processing).

I know it's crazy to also expect quiet operation, but there's a method and a purpose to this madness.

Since we're talking about a mATX Socket 1151 motherboard (yes, some mATX boards will fit in the NR200!), I need a matching CPU.
The board will take 8- and 9-gen Intel processors, but I'm hesitant to go for the i5 series, since these will top at 6 cores with no hyperthreading.
Even if gaming won't be affected, other applications like the ones listed above would greatly benefit from hyperthreading... if you think I'm wrong, please provide solid arguments.

Anyway... I'm looking at eBay and kijiji, since the regular retail prices are a bit rich for my blood (and I'm in Canada, so not that much choice to begin with).

One of the things that first drew my attention was this offer on ebay from a highly respected source, selling what seem to be very cheap (US$135, shipping included) i7 Coffee Lake CPUs. Can't post the actual link, but you can see them for yourselves if you search for "COFFEE LAKE Processor I7-9750H".
The prices are the same for their entire i7 catalogue, but two particular models caught my eye: the 8700B and the 9750H.

Pretty good, right? But there's a catch: these are LAPTOP processors, modified by a specialized third-party for LGA 1151.
They also require BIOS modding - and I'm not talking about loading a file on a USB stick and flashing the board from a command prompt, but real, actual BIOS chip.
The seller does offer BIOS files for various motherboards (including my model), but they also told me via private message "You need to flash the BIOS file to the IC with some kind of programmer."

That sounds more daunting than I expected. So this avenue is closing.

But eBay also has people offering engineering samples, as well as "T" series CPUs.
Both of these categories are cheaper than "regular" chips; both are offered at prices starting from US$180.

Now, engineering samples are just generic, unbranded versions of the retail chip, right? Unless I'm mistaken, general performance and TDP should be roughly equal.
On the other hand, since the "T" series is clocked lower, it should run cooler. In fact, I see the 8700T is rated at 35W.
Suddenly, that opens the door to passive CPU cooling. Something like a Raijintek Ereboss Core Edition (and I have one already) is - at least in theory! - capable of passively cooling chips up to 70W.

Of course, even with a fanless PSU and passive CPU heatsink I can't eliminate the fans completely. There's no sensible way to cool the GPU without a fan, and even a passive CPU heatsink benefits greatly from a quiet case fan that creates a draft inside the enclosure. But that's a really strong point for the "T" chips.

Granted, I've seen cheaper stuff on Aliexpress (search for "QN8H ES"). But I must confess I don't have much trust in this online merchant. At least eBay has several protection mechanisms...

So... what are your thoughts? Would the "T" chip fit the bill? Am I crazy to contemplate passive cooling? Am I wrong to avoid Aliexpress?
 
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Feb 4, 2009
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Why not go with a Ryzen cpu to avoid such demanding cooling or is the i7 you are looking at “cooler” than a Ryzen?Maybe a more conventional build and use custom water cooling, I know that brings much more cost but I am sure it can be quiet.
I find my AIO Corsair water cooler to be pretty quiet but don’t confuse that with silent. The noise it makes is imo more pleasant lower frequency kind of sound.
 

AnitaPeterson

Diamond Member
Apr 24, 2001
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Why not go with a Ryzen cpu to avoid such demanding cooling or is the i7 you are looking at “cooler” than a Ryzen?Maybe a more conventional build and use custom water cooling, I know that brings much more cost but I am sure it can be quiet.
I find my AIO Corsair water cooler to be pretty quiet but don’t confuse that with silent. The noise it makes is imo more pleasant lower frequency kind of sound.
I'm looking at Intel because I already have the motherboard :)
And the rig I'm looking to "beat" in terms of power and noise is built around a Ryzen 3600 that I put together last year, but it's too noisy for my taste (even after changing three cooling solutions, playing with BIOS settings and downvolting the case fans). I keep that computer on my desk, and the noise is driving me crazy whenever I start running something demanding. So I'm thinking about giving it to my son and building the new one as a replacement.

Watercooling is also a possibility, because I have a spare Deepcool AIO.
 
Feb 4, 2009
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Yeah you should look into the water cooling idea, again it won’t be silent but as I said the noise it does make is more pleasant to my ears.
Per reading over the years going totally silent is not possible unless you start doing extravagant and mostly difficult things but it is a great side project if that is what you want to do.
Since you have an unused deepcool why not try it out in the Ryzen machine and see what the noise is like. Maybe your solution is as simple as an AIO cooler.
 
Feb 4, 2009
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Also be wary of the pump setup, seems many AIO coolers default to nearly silent and that doesn’t cool so well. Make sure your pump & fans are set to an appropriate value. I can’t help you on how to do that with a deepcool.
 

AnitaPeterson

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Apr 24, 2001
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[...] Since you have an unused deepcool why not try it out in the Ryzen machine and see what the noise is like.
Alas, that case won't take a watercooler. It's the Thermaltake F1. No room for 12-cm fans, unless you sacrifice the 20-cm fan at the front, which means you lose cooling for the already-cramped motherboard.
 

blckgrffn

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May 1, 2003
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I built my son's 8700K rig in a Antec Dark Phantom mATX case (just to say it's not some silent thing, it has dust filters on all openings but plenty of large openings to let sound escape) and a RM750 PSU (so no fan on idle).

It has three additional 12CM fans - two Ares Gamer ARGB fans from the $20 heatsink (used the heatsink too) and one really nice Cooler Master $20 ARGB fan on the rear (wanted it to be on the HS because it looks way cooler but the mounting mechanism didn't work out so... yeah). These are all high pressure, relatively weak CFM fans. This is paired with a 2.5 slot 6700xt.

It's an MSI Z390 matx board and I spent about 5 minutes setting the fan curves, rebooting and seeing how they played out IRL. They are pretty aggressively set to be low until 70C+. I also set the PL1 and PL2 limits manually, multicore enhancement off, XMP on.

Punch line - it's really freaking quiet. It sits on the desk, next to the monitor and it never seems to vary it's pitch but I have to turn off everything else in the room to even hear it. It makes me annoyed a little every time I am using my gaming PC because its so much quieter.

I think the 8700T and nice heatsink with a slow fan is going to do you really well. I'd pay for the 8700T over an ES just for peace of mind - or just get a 8700K and set it's TDP level, PL1 and PL2 levels very conservatively.

It's waaaay less variable in sound than my 5800X setup is, which is worse then my 3600 was.
 

AnitaPeterson

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Apr 24, 2001
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[...] It's waaaay less variable in sound than my 5800X setup is, which is worse then my 3600 was.
Thank you for the entire reply, but this quoted part really made my day!

Fans ramping up and down with no seeming reason (no matter how you try to change their speed curves beforehand) annoy me to no end.
In fact, my go-to "strictly for work" PC is dead silent, no moving parts (see this old thread: https://forums.anandtech.com/threads/core-i-core-m-possibly-fanless-mini-pc-better-value-than-500-2014-mac-mini.2477791/post-38420847).
 

coercitiv

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Jan 24, 2014
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So... what are your thoughts? Would the "T" chip fit the bill? Am I crazy to contemplate passive cooling? Am I wrong to avoid Aliexpress?
Go for regular desktop chips, use power management in motherboard's UEFI to configure chip TDP and boosting behavior depending on the cooling setup you end up implementing. The modified laptop chips, engineering samples, and even T chips will introduce limitations to how you can use the CPU that will likely hinder performance at best, or waste your time and money. Just find a good deal on a 9700, 8700 or maybe 9900 if you're lucky.

One last thing. If you intend to use semi-passive cooling on the CPU then I highly recommend you aim only for the 9th series CPUs, since these use solder TIM under the CPU heatspreader, which dramatically improves thermal conductivity.
 

blckgrffn

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Thank you for the entire reply, but this quoted part really made my day!

Fans ramping up and down with no seeming reason (no matter how you try to change their speed curves beforehand) annoy me to no end.
In fact, my go-to "strictly for work" PC is dead silent, no moving parts (see this old thread: https://forums.anandtech.com/threads/core-i-core-m-possibly-fanless-mini-pc-better-value-than-500-2014-mac-mini.2477791/post-38420847).
Nice :)

Yeah, it's only anecdotal stories at this point, but I'll point out that even with a inferior heatsink/fan combo (the same fan that drives me nuts on my 5800x, actually), my daughters 9700K rig was similarly silent in a Corsair P65 until I added the GTX 980Ti to it.

Now there is a little more noise at idle, to the point where I can hear it over the noise floor. I think it is the PSU fan as the Ti must be drawing more at idle or something compared to the GTX 1660 it replaced. She's got a cheap bronze rated PSU so it's on my list to put a $50 EVGA Supernova w/ECO mode in there that I picked up from Amazon recently.

In any case, the 9700K is *also* no slouch and can be tempered via judicious use of BIOS settings as pointed out. It also tends to be very readily available it seems. I set PL1 to 88W and PL2 to 120W I believe.
 
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Arkaign

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I vote for the K CPU options, 8700K, 8086K, 9700K, as you can dial in very specific multipliers and undervolt as needed, yet with XTU, you can also choose to manually dial up temporarily directly from the Windows app without throwing your settings into disarray, should the desire for some temporary peak performance be desirable.

And of course in future should this hardware be repurposed outside of an ultra low noise project, or just to be resold, the i7 K will retain higher levels of performance and value vs an ES or ULP option.

I do have a note about IHS though. I had a 9900KS, and a friend built a 9900K box. My KS was absolutely killer, would do 5.2 at near stock volts and 1:1 cache/memory (uncore) at peak low 70c under a DH15 Chromax. His 9900K on the other hand would not run 5Ghz / 44 uncore stably at all. We eventually got the Derbauer delid tool and some conductanaut, and carefully removed the stock solder, which had some appalling missing coverage from the factory, and his IHS was just terrible as well. We ended up ordering a replacement aftermarket premium true flat IHS to go with it, and the end result was his 9900K matching my golden sample KS in every way, which was a monumental shift from not even being able to survive the Mobo stock all core turbo option.

I say this not because you're likely to chase extreme OC, yet the benefits from going premium IHS and liquid metal (or even shim + DD) will absolutely lead you to the peak potential for lowest stable vcore and lowest peak temperature.
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
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Edit:

Ryzen 3600 ... you need to beat..
Not possible without dedicated heatsink + Fan on any intel processor.

I really think your underestimating how powerful a 3600 is.
 

Magic Carpet

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Oct 2, 2011
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So... what are your thoughts? Would the "T" chip fit the bill? Am I crazy to contemplate passive cooling? Am I wrong to avoid Aliexpress?
I'd avoid passive cooling, unless you really must. Put a beefy heatsink on it and control your fan speed instead 0 - 600 RPM (you can do that on some mobos). You want a monolithic chip to save power, if it's Ryzen, it's got to be an APU. Ryzen 7 5700G looks very very sexy.
 
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Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
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I'd avoid passive cooling, unless you really must. Put a beefy heatsink on it and control your fan speed instead 0 - 600 RPM (you can do that on some mobos). You want a monolithic chip to save power, if it's Ryzen, it's got to be an APU. Ryzen 7 5700G looks very very sexy.
Yeah true no fan builds are VERY tricky to achieve without pretty severe cutbacks.

Given the OP's parameters of running an 8th/9th gen platform, I think he could get a functionally inaudible PC within a reasonable performance level of a 3600 Ryzen. People overromanticize Ryzen as a whole, when it really occupies 4 distinct stages. Zen2 represented the 'good enough' category for most 4-8 core applications while offering FAR better high core count options. In a few respects such as HFR gaming it was still notably behind. Zen3 put a clear barrier and left Intel behind with absolute authority (and a hefty price tag, but business is business).

Being what it is, a liquid metal + polished or aftermarket IHS + 6C/12T K series with an undervolt and tune for 4Ghz All Core would represent basically what he's looking for at very low heat.

At the same time, that is a LOT of effort, particularly if the user has never considered a delid, let alone delidding a soldered 9th gen, an extra spicy endeavor that risks damage if not done perfectly.

If it were my build? I'd honestly probably sell the 9th gen platform and go AM4 + Zen3 and simply throttle the poor thing into sub 50w territory. It would still easily blow away all Zen2/6C Intel options and be a superior long term platform.
 
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Abwx

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At stock settings a 5700G has about 60% better MT perf than a 8700K for comparable actual TDPs, and since the voltage/frequency of the former has more slope it will lose much less frequency when power limited by the user.

Also the 5700G can be set at 45W (eco mode) in RyzenMaster, at wich point it should still retain 80% of the stock perf.

Such numbers are way out of reach by the CFLs and other CMLs as a 45W set 8700K will be outmatched by more than 60% by said 45W limited Zen 3 APU.
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
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At stock settings a 5700G has about 60% better MT perf than a 8700K for comparable actual TDPs, and since the voltage/frequency of the former has more slope it will lose much less frequency when power limited by the user.

Also the 5700G can be set at 45W (eco mode) in RyzenMaster, at wich point it should still retain 80% of the stock perf.

Such numbers are way out of reach by the CFLs and other CMLs as a 45W set 8700K will be outmatched by more than 60% by said 45W limited Zen 3 APU.
Yep. Zen3 outright obliterates Intel lineup and Zen2 to an almost laughable degree.
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
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I'd like to also point out that right now in the US, the 5700G is about $500. It better be crushing a $180 8700K from 2017 at nearly 3x the price.
I think the 56/700G is overpriced even at MSRP tbh.

It has an IGP only moderately better than a GT 1030 (trounced by the old 1050ti), and is cut down sizably from the 5600X/5800X.

It's not a bad product, it's a bad price.
 

blckgrffn

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I think the 56/700G is overpriced even at MSRP tbh.

It has an IGP only moderately better than a GT 1030 (trounced by the old 1050ti), and is cut down sizably from the 5600X/5800X.

It's not a bad product, it's a bad price.
I 100% agree with you.

I didn't even know what the MSRP was ($359 according to Tom's) to be honest. It's one of those "it doesn't matter because the easiest way to get it is to buy an OEM system and gut it" PC components right now. MSRP is some made up number that doesn't matter, like the price of a 3080. Sigh.
 

Tuna-Fish

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Now, engineering samples are just generic, unbranded versions of the retail chip, right?
They are also stolen property, and expensive enough that the crime of purchasing them crosses over the more serious (felony) levels of receiving stolen property in most jurisdictions where such limits apply. Depending on your country, it can be unlikely that you would ever be prosecuted for it, but be aware that if you purchase one you are committing a serious crime.

(Intel never sells or otherwise relinquishes ownership of any ES chip they make, they are all on loan. Any that ever change hands for money are stolen.)
 

AnitaPeterson

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They are also stolen property, and expensive enough that the crime of purchasing them crosses over the more serious (felony) levels of receiving stolen property in most jurisdictions where such limits apply. Depending on your country, it can be unlikely that you would ever be prosecuted for it, but be aware that if you purchase one you are committing a serious crime.

(Intel never sells or otherwise relinquishes ownership of any ES chip they make, they are all on loan. Any that ever change hands for money are stolen.)

No offense, but now we're veering into "ludicrous" territory.
Wake me up when this guy goes to jail (and please note that the video covers PRECISELY the question I'm asking):

 
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blckgrffn

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American price: US$360
Canadian price: CAD$500 (50 dollars over exchange rate)
Ha, of course.

I hope everyone got the /s on my previous post as it was only implied and not explicit.

To be somewhat fair, it's pricing vs the 5800x seems fair. Drop some perf but get the IGP for about the same price. A subject for another thread, I'll quit hijacking this one.
 

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