Upgrading from overclocked i7 920

Jan 20, 2000
197
0
71
#1
I have an ancient i7 920 running at ~3.7hz. I build this system when the CPU was released, and it's been fine for the nearly 10 years that I've owned it.

That said, I recently upgraded the GPU to a GTX 1060 6GB. The card is fine and games run at low settings, but I feel like I'm still somewhat limited with the cpu.

1) Am I CPU bound on modern games? I'm playing mostly FPSs
2) What would a moderate upgrade look like? for <$500 for CPU, MB, Ram. I assume everything else I have will be fine. Power supply is good, drives, etc. I think my Noctua D14 Cooler should still work, too. Happy to spend less if I can get away with it.

I don't want to spend a ton, and I don't want to go crazy with high end ram to overclock to the max. I'd be happy with moderate overclocking with basic parts, or even no overclocking if there is a decent value upgrade that will easily outperform what I've got now
 
Last edited:

scannall

Golden Member
Jan 1, 2012
1,283
102
136
#2
I have an ancient i7 920 running at ~3.7hz. I build this system when the CPU was released, and it's been fine for the nearly 10 years that I've owned it.

That said, I recently upgraded the GPU to a GTX 1060 6GB. The card is fine and games run at low settings, but I feel like I'm still somewhat limited with the cpu.

1) Am I CPU bound on modern games? I'm playing mostly FPSs
2) What would a moderate upgrade look like? for <$500 for CPU, MB, Ram. I assume everything else I have will be fine. Power supply is good, drives, etc. Happy to spend less if I can get away with it.

I don't want to spend a ton, and I don't want to go crazy with high end ram and a high end cooler to overclock to the max. I'd be happy with moderate overclocking with basic parts, or even no overclocking if there is a decent value upgrade that will easily outperform what I've got now
Well, this would cover you just fine. Assuming you are reusing the case, power supply etc. Bare Upgrade Cheap

The 1600 comes with a perfectly fine cooler already. And overclocks well.
 

tamz_msc

Platinum Member
Jan 5, 2017
2,148
86
106
#3
I think there's some other problem if the GTX 1060 6GB is only running games at low settings - it should easily run most games on High at 1080p with >60FPS. Even if your i7 920 is a bit of a bottleneck, it should still not have much trouble keeping up with the GTX 1060.
 

pantsaregood

Senior member
Feb 13, 2011
993
0
91
#4
Even today, an i7 920 shouldn't be giving you issues running at low settings. Consider trying to push it up to 20*200 for 4.0 GHz before you purchase a new CPU.

In all honesty, Nehalem at 4.0 GHz is still fine for 60 FPS.
 

Topweasel

Diamond Member
Oct 19, 2000
4,562
185
126
#5
While I second everyone statements that Nahalem should be quick enough for that. Sandybridge was a much much faster CPU. Best bang for the buck and could net you another 10 years of use (well I can't promise that, its a little far out for my comfort), I would look into getting a Ryzen 5 1600x. You get 6 cores, 12 threads. You can get a B350 Mobo for $80-$100 and 16GB is about $140.
 

Kenmitch

Diamond Member
Oct 10, 1999
7,118
43
126
#6
Have you tried upping the settings? Lowering them does make you more cpu dependent in the end.
 

EliteRetard

Diamond Member
Mar 6, 2006
5,880
0
131
#7
I'd suggest something similar, but I'm going to include a build with the 1600x and a nicer cooler. You can find the same MOBO but combo with the 1600 around $30 less on Newegg, and using the stock cooler saves another $20...all total it's $50 less to go with the lower 1600/stock cooler. Advantage for the 1600x is higher stock speeds and potentially easier or better overclocking (especially with aftermarket HS/F).

The particular MOBO in this combo is the cheapest with the much newer/better ALC1220 audio (vs 880/890 series), but it lacks USB C...otherwise it's got similar features/functionality to everything else in the price range. Another idea to consider is a higher end MOBO, with either the 1600 or 1600x. Including all the best options. ALC1220, Intel NIC, USB C and 3.1 (10gbps), and maybe even an M.2 WiFi slot (use for example an Intel 8265 / 9260) example:
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16813157758

For RAM I just selected the cheapest name brand 16GB kit of DDR4 3200MHz, which appears to be the sweet spot for high speed RAM on AM4. You may want to select a different kit that is on the QVL list for the MOBO you choose to get. RAM speed does help on AM4, so it's worth the small extra cost to step up from the lowest end kits to 2800+...and you definitely want 16GB if you'll be keeping this a few years.

For the CPU cooler, I wanted to suggest the little known Cryorig M9 series. I'm not certain if they are shipping an AM4 bracket with their coolers yet (Newegg is selling straight from the manufacturer)...but they are offering free adapter kits with proof of purchase. The M9a is for AMD, the M9i is for Intel, but other than the bracket they are the same...these are great coolers for the price. Reviews I've seen show these perform much quieter and a hair better than the CM 212 EVO that everybody recommends as a budget cooler. For $20 the M9 is cheaper and better.

Anyway, here's the list with the 1600x and cheaper MOBO combo, I'll link the better MOBO combo below.

PCPartPicker part list: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/HBtBpb

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 1600X 3.6GHz 6-Core Processor ($239.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: CRYORIG - M9a 48.4 CFM CPU Cooler ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte - GA-AB350-GAMING 3 ATX AM4 Motherboard ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill - Ripjaws V Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200 Memory ($119.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $489.96 - $14.99 combo - $20 rebate = $454.97
Shipping here is $3.99

MOBO / 1600x CPU combo:
https://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.3482315
Same w/ 1600
https://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.3482316

Better MOBO / 1600x CPU combo:
https://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.3482545
 
Jan 20, 2000
197
0
71
#8
Even today, an i7 920 shouldn't be giving you issues running at low settings. Consider trying to push it up to 20*200 for 4.0 GHz before you purchase a new CPU.

In all honesty, Nehalem at 4.0 GHz is still fine for 60 FPS.
I can reach 60fps, but I have a 120hz monitor and want to maintain as much as possible.. FPS twitch shooter..

Also, to your point, I did look into the best CPU I could put in my current system, and I could pick up a i7 975 for under $100 on ebay. Might drop that in and see what I can do for max overclock. My 920 peaked at about 3900 when new, and I had to back it down over time to maintain stability for 10 years.
 

scannall

Golden Member
Jan 1, 2012
1,283
102
136
#9
I can reach 60fps, but I have a 120hz monitor and want to maintain as much as possible.. FPS twitch shooter..

Also, to your point, I did look into the best CPU I could put in my current system, and I could pick up a i7 975 for under $100 on ebay. Might drop that in and see what I can do for max overclock. My 920 peaked at about 3900 when new, and I had to back it down over time to maintain stability for 10 years.
The Xeon 5650 or 5660 will work in place of your 920. 6 cores easy to hit 4.2 Ghz. About 35 bucks on eBay.
 

pantsaregood

Senior member
Feb 13, 2011
993
0
91
#10
The Xeon 5650 or 5660 will work in place of your 920. 6 cores easy to hit 4.2 Ghz. About 35 bucks on eBay.
Good advice - just make sure that it is compatible with your motherboard.
 

ZGR

Golden Member
Oct 26, 2012
1,765
28
106
#13
Upgrading to an old 6 core Xeon won't help increase your your framerate much. I suggest looking at X299 and the i7-7820X.

If budget is a concern go for Z270 and 7700k. These games need high IPC and clockspeed.
 

scannall

Golden Member
Jan 1, 2012
1,283
102
136
#14
Upgrading to an old 6 core Xeon won't help increase your your framerate much. I suggest looking at X299 and the i7-7820X.

If budget is a concern go for Z270 and 7700k. These games need high IPC and clockspeed.
With a $500 cap, that's way out of budget.
 

Ancalagon44

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2010
3,272
0
106
#15
Upgrading to an old 6 core Xeon won't help increase your your framerate much. I suggest looking at X299 and the i7-7820X.

If budget is a concern go for Z270 and 7700k. These games need high IPC and clockspeed.
Skylake-X has been getting terrible reviews due to inconsistent performance and very high power draw, not to mention it is out of the OPs budget as one poster said.

OP - I think it is time for you to upgrade. It will be a big leap for you - your windows will start quicker, framerates will be higher, etc etc. The 1600X build above looks good.
 

ZGR

Golden Member
Oct 26, 2012
1,765
28
106
#16
I know it is way out of budget, but gaming at 120hz is not really the best for Ryzen or especially Westmere.

Many games today can't even get 120 fps even with a 5 ghz i7-7700k. It really comes down to what OP plays.

I would go with Ryzen only if you know the game will run above 120fps with that cpu.
 

scannall

Golden Member
Jan 1, 2012
1,283
102
136
#17
I know it is way out of budget, but gaming at 120hz is not really the best for Ryzen or especially Westmere.

Many games today can't even get 120 fps even with a 5 ghz i7-7700k. It really comes down to what OP plays.

I would go with Ryzen only if you know the game will run above 120fps with that cpu.
If someone tells me their budget is $500, then I assume they know more about their budget than I do. ;-) And work inside that budget accordingly. That's part of the fun of being an enthusiast. Squeezing the best performance you can from what you have to work with. Westmere is a $35 upgrade. As fast as the $500 solution? No, of course not. But, it's only $35 and a quick install.
 

ZGR

Golden Member
Oct 26, 2012
1,765
28
106
#18
If someone tells me their budget is $500, then I assume they know more about their budget than I do. ;-) And work inside that budget accordingly. That's part of the fun of being an enthusiast. Squeezing the best performance you can from what you have to work with. Westmere is a $35 upgrade. As fast as the $500 solution? No, of course not. But, it's only $35 and a quick install.
OP says he wants higher FPS for his 120hz monitor. Upgrading to the 6 core will gain him about 500 mhz if he's very lucky with the overclock. That is barely any performance boost :(
 

beginner99

Diamond Member
Jun 2, 2009
3,925
66
126
#19
FPS twitch shooter.
While the xeon is a cheap solution on the quick I doubt it would give you what you want for your use case. FPS and 120 hz monitors screams for a 7700k or waiting for coffeelake. Since you already waited 10 years, waiting another 2 month for coffeelake 6-core is for sure worth it. You get a lot better single threaded performance and 2 more cores.
 
Last edited:
Aug 11, 2008
10,389
43
126
#20
Well, this would cover you just fine. Assuming you are reusing the case, power supply etc. Bare Upgrade Cheap

The 1600 comes with a perfectly fine cooler already. And overclocks well.
It only "overclocks well" because the stock frequency is low. Realistically, 3.8 to 4.0 ghz is the absolute maximum overclock. Not the answer for max FPS on a 120 hz monitor.
 
Aug 11, 2008
10,389
43
126
#21
While the xeon is a cheap solution on the quick I doubt it would give you what you want for your use case. FPS and 120 hz monitors screams for a 7700k or waiting for coffeelake. Since you already waited 10 years, waiting another 2 month for coffeelake 6-core is for sure worth it. You get a lot better single threaded performance and 2 more cores.
Ding, ding, ding. Correct answer.
 
Apr 20, 2008
10,136
0
126
#22
I'd go for the x5650. It's literally $18, 32nm, 6 cores, 12 threads, 95w... Why wouldn't you go for that? The i7 920 he has is 45nm, 4c8t, and 130w. The Xeon is unbelievably better and is one of the cheapest CPUs out there to buy.
 

ZGR

Golden Member
Oct 26, 2012
1,765
28
106
#23
I'd go for the x5650. It's literally $18, 32nm, 6 cores, 12 threads, 95w... Why wouldn't you go for that? The i7 920 he has is 45nm, 4c8t, and 130w. The Xeon is unbelievably better and is one of the cheapest CPUs out there to buy.
I think it is unbelievable performance for the money, but it lacks the IPC in modern games for 120hz.
 
Apr 20, 2008
10,136
0
126
#24
I think it is unbelievable performance for the money, but it lacks the IPC in modern games for 120hz.
If he overclocks it anywhere near where he has his 920, it'll be nearly indistinguishable to a modern non-k i7 with better multi-threading performance. . If he can keep cool that furnace of the 920, the x5650 is a breeze. If I were him I'd just try it (it's $18!) and likely could hold him over from buying a new system for a long time. A new platform is ~$450. For $18 shipped its worth it just to see if it's good enough. If not it'll make the resale of his computer extremely better. I'm contemplating picking up an LGA 1366 motherboard and switching to that seeing how cheap the Xeons are now.
 

pantsaregood

Senior member
Feb 13, 2011
993
0
91
#25
You can also try driving your RAM speeds up a bit. Minimum framerates can be heavily affected by RAM bandwidth.

Triple channel DDR3-2133+ would be ideal, but I don't think the Nehalem nor Westmere IMCs are likely to handle that. See if you can manage DDR3-1866 - go higher if possible, of course.
 


ASK THE COMMUNITY