Maximizing i5-9400F performance - both custom-built and OEM branded?

Aug 25, 2001
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#1
I ordered a combo with an i5-9400F and an ASRock B365 Pro4 ATX mobo from Newegg. (See Hot Deals for thread.)

Anyways, I'm hopeful that performance for this CPU can be improved somewhat. I saw someone in another thread, mention using Intel's XTU overclocking utility, to set the all-core turbo multiplier to 41, since that is the max turbo speed that this CPU can handle.

I was wondering, how would I go about doing that, and can it be done from the BIOS (preferred, since I sometimes boot into Linux on rare occasion)?

One question was, does this "XTU 41 multi tweak" require a Z370 or Z390 mobo? Or can it be done on any mobo?

The other question was, can this be done with branded OEM pre-built rigs? Are the BIOS hooks for XTU present?

I'm hopeful that performance can be boosted for this CPU, but cautious, as this is not meant to be an overclocking mobo, I don't think.

Ideally, the BIOS would implement max MCT as a single feature that can be enabled, or enable it along with XMP, if the RAM can be overclocked.

RAM choice is 2x kits of 32GB (2x 16GB DIMMs), DDR4-2667, 1.2V, CAS19, "OLOy" brand. (Yeah, I know, it's an off-brand, but I had good luck with some that I bought before, in lesser capacities.)

After checking the manual, under CPU Options, there's a "Boot Performance Mode", but it's unclear to me whether this will implement MCT. Will have to test.

http://asrock.pc.cdn.bitgravity.com/Manual/B365 Pro4.pdf
 
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Apr 27, 2000
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#2
Reading the manual indicates that you may be able to achieve some bclk OC, but I see nothing in there to fix the CPU to its max turbo multi. You're going to be at the mercy of Windows if you want to use XTU.
 

Wuzup101

Platinum Member
Feb 20, 2002
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XTU is a cool little program, I've used it mostly on my laptop to undervolt and play with the clocks. The processor in my notebook is the rare intel non-K SKU that is actually unlocked. Unfortunately, I don't have the cooling and the laptop motherboard prevents me from altering the power / TDP envelop for more than a few seconds (XTU will change it, but the motherboard basically changes it right back).

Unfortunately, changing the all core boost to 4.1 isn't going to get you a huge increase in performance, because the all core boost on that processor is already 3.9 (per my googling of the specs). Still, it's something. Assuming your thermals are okay, it probably will be running at 3.9 all core stock without an issue. The good news is, that's still pretty fast and it's a definitely a good value product.
 
Aug 25, 2001
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#4
I didn't realize that the ACT was 3.90Ghz already. That's pretty sweet, actually. Maybe I won't need to OC it then. Thanks. :)
 
Oct 27, 2006
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#5
I didn't realize that the ACT was 3.90Ghz already. That's pretty sweet, actually. Maybe I won't need to OC it then. Thanks. :)
That's true. The last 200Mhz isn't a big deal.

I'd still definitely recommend checking XTU out though. You can extend turbo window quite considerably, etc, and run the XTU to check for throttling by either heat or power constraints.

Throttlestop is another one to look at, pretty cool project by one guy that has all sorts of neat switches to throw lol. :)

Both have been invaluable to me in getting loads of extra performance from both locked and unlocked Xeons with mobos that have no OC options. Have a 1650v2 @ 4.3Ghz currently on a Lenovo S30!

I'd be interested in hearing what the B360 board does with that 9400f. Probably not a whole lot extra, but definitely worth a look.

Nice score btw. While Ryzen 2/3000 is amazing, it's not like Intel 8/9 gen stuff is a slouch at any level honestly. It's just dang nice to be back in exciting CPU times.
 

PPB

Golden Member
Jul 5, 2013
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2019 and still making short lived purchases? Gues Larry never learns.
 

JoeRambo

Senior member
Jun 13, 2013
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What exactly is "short lived" in the price segment of 9400F? 4.1Ghz modern six core from Intel sure isn't. It's not like AMD will sell 8C in this segment at this price any time soon? R5 3600 is going to be full like $50 pricier, having ~ same clocks and ~same IPC?
 
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Aug 25, 2001
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2019 and still making short lived purchases? Gues Larry never learns.
On the contrary, I purchased this modern 6-core Intel CPU (w/o iGPU) to test, and so to learn, how that they perform. Plus, I'm probably just going to flip it anyways after I build it.

I mean, I've been on the Ryzen bandwagon for two years, thought that I might take an Intel detour for a brief bit. After all, up until maybe a year or two ago, when Ryzen hit, Intel was selling 2C/4T CPUs (Core i3 CPUs) for $130+. The fact that I can get a six-core Intel with a 3.90Ghz ACT on a modern platform, with a decent ATX mobo, for ~$210 (with the CPU being $140-160 of that), is fairly incredible, given Intel's history.

I've been using a Ryzen R5 1600 CPU (stock clocks) as my daily-driver for a while now, so I thought that I would compare Intel's "value" 6-core CPU, which it is most similarly compared to.

Edit: I guess, in hindsight, you're at least partially right, I intended to build it, test it, and flip it, so in that sense, it was a "short term purchase", but so are all of my other "for sale" build purchases.
 
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WildW

Senior member
Oct 3, 2008
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#9
Larry - did you get around to trying this tweak? I just built a 9400f system with a B365 board and saw this thread yesterday.

I haven't actually used XTU before. I installed it but didn't find many buttons to tweak with the 9400f. There was some kind of switch in the turbo settings - in one mode it listed the maximum multipliers for each number of active cores, and in the other "per core" mode it appeared to show x41 next to every core. However, after changing to this mode the all core turbo was still only working at 3.9 GHz.
 
Oct 27, 2006
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#10
I think it might be less common to work completely with B mobos :( Does your bios list MCE?
 

WildW

Senior member
Oct 3, 2008
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#11
No, no interesting options in the bios. Not a big deal, but I'd take free extra performance if there was any on offer.

Is multi core enhancement just an Asus thing or do other manufacturers do it too? (My board is ASRock)
 
Oct 27, 2006
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#12
My Gigabyte lists it as EMC / Enhanced Multi Core. Seems like different vendors can vary a bit in what they call it, but it all amounts to more aggressive turbo across more than default 1-2 cores at max speeds. As far as I've personally experienced, this is usually a feature seen on OC-oriented motherboards, which for Intel means Z series stuff. But with so many companies making so many models, it wouldn't surprise me if some were able to get some levels of further tweaking/enhancements with some configs. My brother for example has a Lenovo P500 and locked 10C/20T Xeon E5 v3. XTU was able to increase his turbo window and cross-core turbo clocks (not beyond max multiplier, but taking it to the multiplier).

In the case of the 9400f, it's more of a novelty, a 200mhz bump is relatively tiny in the grand scheme of things there, and even at 3.9 it's a solid performer and easily the best $/perf thing Intel makes imho.

I certainly wouldn't worry about changing mobos or anything like that for this, but it's something to keep in mind down the line should you be building a new gen in the future. If Intel keeps with the ways of reserving unlocked / OC type functionality primarily with Z series stuff, it's not all that expensive to start with one, even if you don't think you need it at the beginning. I seem to see Z370/390 ones in the $100 range regularly. Not stuff you'd probably want to run 5Ghz 9900k on, but I've used more than a few for 8600k/8700k/9700k builds with very comfortable thermals and performance.
 

WildW

Senior member
Oct 3, 2008
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#13
Yeah, I realise that a 200mhz bump wouldn't mean much, but if it's there for free I'll take it. I'm really happy with the 9400f system I just built (replaced a heavily OC'ed 2600k at last that was sort of dying on me) - good performance with no fuss for not much money. I was also considering the 8700 (non-K) but it was double the price for a few hundred MHz more and hyperthreading.

Got an ASRock B365 Phantom Gaming 4 board, mainly because it was the only board they had in stock that I was sure would ship with a compatible BIOS for a 9-series CPU. Feels like Intel have really dropped the ball on CPU compability with available boards. Even the Z390 boards I was looking at might have arrived with an incompatible BIOS according to the manufacturer support sites.
 
Oct 27, 2006
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#14
I understand the apprehension. I have good news there though, I installed a couple of 9400Fs over the past 6 weeks into Z370 mobos (ASRock and MSI), and even though their bios was old version, it worked fine. Instead of giving the proper name of 9400F, it stated something like 'Intel Processor FC058' @ XXXXMhz, and worked without issue to the point where I could install Windows and update the firmware.

Generally this is how it works with CPUs that are same gen (Coffee Lake 8xxx and CL revision 9xxx/9xxxF) as long as the lithography and voltage / bus / memory are the same. Where you really have to be careful is when you jump a process node and stock voltage may exceed safe levels on unrecognized CPUs, such as going from 32nm Sandy to 22nm Ivy on an old P68, or Zen+ to Zen2 down to the new 7nm.

Running CPUs that aren't officially supported is an interesting experience, and always kind of fun when you can go beyond the documented limits. Did that with various Phenom IIs on ancient 760/780 mobos, Quad Xeons on old Conroe mobos, etc. But as far as 300 series and 9xxx, I've yet to encounter more than lack of CPU identification, nothing that prevented operation. Not to say that it's impossible to have that issue by any means. But 9000 and 9000f are a rebadged Coffee Lake in basically every respect, with some new SKUs in the stack.
 

WildW

Senior member
Oct 3, 2008
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#15
That's good to hear. I had people telling me that an unsupported CPU would straight up not work and you'd need to have a supported CPU just to do the bios update (including various sales staff.) I know I remember doing bios updates for CPU compatibility with the problem CPU installed back in the distant past (maybe P4 or Athlon XP era).
 
Aug 25, 2001
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#16
That's good to hear. I had people telling me that an unsupported CPU would straight up not work and you'd need to have a supported CPU just to do the bios update
That's been the case with my experience with the AM4 platform; good to hear that the Intel 1151 300-series platform is a little more "forgiving".
 


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