Been out of the game for a while and have a few upgrade questions

patric

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Hey, so I'm finally upgrading my editing PC which is a i7 2600k. It's pretty much only going to be used for Photoshop and Lightroom.

That said, I'm looking at either the i5 8400 or i7 8700 non-k. I'm really not interested in overclocking this one. But going to 6 cores will be nice. Does hyperthreading still make much of a difference with PS/LR with a 6-core CPU?

Second question is about motherboards. Since I'm not overclocking is getting a Z370 chipset mobo really necessary? And if not, what are the major differences between some of the other chipsets like the H370, B360, and H310?

Third question is RAM. I currently have 16GB and it seems to do fine with my current setup. Should I go to 32GB when I upgrade?

And lastly, video card. I have a couple of choices laying around that I could use, a GTX 670 and a GTX 750ti. Is there any really compelling reason to upgrade to a current video card for a non-gaming PC? And if I stick with one of those cards, which should I use? The 670 looks to be a bit faster in every way, but it'll also generate a lot more heat in my office.

Thanks guys!
 

Dan_D

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If I were you, I'd go with a Ryzen 2700 setup. More cores for Lightroom. That will give you 8 cores and 16 threads instead of 6c/12t. And yes, Hyperthreading is a benefit to those applications. As for chipsets, on the Intel side the short answer is; "no." You don't need Z370 specifically. However, the motherboards that use it will be higher end than the ones that don't. You will lose out on PCIe lanes in some cases and overall connectivity. Lower end boards may be more limited in storage, BIOS options and other features. It's all up to you as to what you feel you need. Motherboards built with Z370 may be overbuilt in terms of VRMs. Lesser chipsets that don't support overclocking generally won't be as they can't be pushed as hard.

For graphics cards, Photoshop supports GPU acceleration. I do not know how much of an impact that makes. I don't know what you do specifically with Photoshop, so I can't say what difference that will make. I'd go for the faster card but I doubt you'd gain much with an upgrade if you aren't playing games. As for heat, I've never found a single GPU in one computer to make a big difference in room temperature. I'm sure there will be some difference in ambient temperatures around the PC, but I doubt it will be a huge deal for an entire room. You get a couple GPUs and a couple of systems going and things change. My office can get hot as hell but at anytime I can be running three to five machines and pushing some of them very hard.
 

sinisterDei

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If I were you, I'd go with a Ryzen 2700 setup
Definitely agreeing with Dan_D here. You could even consider the 1700 (1st gen 8-core) or 2600 (2nd gen 6-core) as both would compare favorably against the i5 8400. You'd want to stick with the 8-cores probably though.

Here is a good comparison between the Intel chipsets, should you go that route. If you're not overclocking, then the H370 is likely fine.

If you go AMD, the B350/450 and X370/470 chipsets are nearly identical, with the only functional difference coming into play with their PCIe arrangement; the X370/470 can do x8/x8 for dual GPUs, where the B350/B450 cannot (they run in x16/x4). If you're running a single GPU, and you should, then the B350/B450 is fine.

DDR4 is expensive. On the AMD side, the motherboards are *very* picky, so make sure to only get memory that is explicitly listed on your chosen mobo's qualified memory list. For Intel, it matters a lot less. If you're fine with 16 GB now, then you could stick at that point, or move up to 32 GB. Whatever you do, do it with two sticks to leave you expansion room later on.

Photoshop, and other editing apps, are getting more and more GPU accelerated as time goes on. I'd invest in a GPU, if it was me. Something small like GTX 1050/RX560 class. If nothing else, moving to a more modern GPU will give you better display output options.
 

craigdt

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Im an Intel fanboi, but if I were doing what you were, you'd have to choose the Ryzen 2700 as suggested above.

That being said, the similarly priced 8700k or upcoming 9 series Intel processors are beasts.
 

Dan_D

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Im an Intel fanboi, but if I were doing what you were, you'd have to choose the Ryzen 2700 as suggested above.

That being said, the similarly priced 8700k or upcoming 9 series Intel processors are beasts.

The 9 series is one thing but I wouldn't buy any current Intel CPU's due to their security issues. The fixes for those impact performance fairly significantly in some cases. Also, in the HEDT space Intel can go fuck themselves over their vROC horseshit. Not only that, but in cases where you need multi-threaded performance, AMD offers considerably more bang for your buck. My next processor will be an AMD Threadripper 2950X and I've only used Intel in my own boxes since the Core 2 Duo processors came out.
 
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Hakaba

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Want to chime in here real quick, AMD is supposed to stick with AM4 through 2020 (several website cite AMD, i cannot find it straight from the horses mouth). Meaning you can get a decent x4xx motherboard (or x3xx), run a a previous/current/future generation Ryzen processor and upgrade to a new CPU when something better comes out or if you under estimated your processing needs.

Now I am sure all of that is subject to change and one cannot predict the future, but know if engineering designs call for a new socket well.... you get the idea.
 

Dan_D

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Want to chime in here real quick, AMD is supposed to stick with AM4 through 2020 (several website cite AMD, i cannot find it straight from the horses mouth). Meaning you can get a decent x4xx motherboard (or x3xx), run a a previous/current/future generation Ryzen processor and upgrade to a new CPU when something better comes out or if you under estimated your processing needs.

Now I am sure all of that is subject to change and one cannot predict the future, but know if engineering designs call for a new socket well.... you get the idea.

The problem is that AMD often sticks with a socket to its own detriment. At some point sticking with an older socket design constrains the design of a newer CPU. Eventually you end up building around TDP's and thermal considerations that become inadequate. On the motherboard side, processor compatibility that broad is very complex in terms of supporting so many CPUs and their microcode. You also end up missing out on power savings features and other things when running an old board with a much more modern CPU. We've seen these issues time and time again with AMD's platform.

Intel gets a lot of flak for changing sockets too often, but some of them have lasted three years or more. Socket LGA 2011-3 comes to mind. On the mainstream side it happens too often I'd agree, but AMD doesn't change its sockets often enough. 2020 is reasonable, but lets hope AMD has learned its lesson and doesn't hold onto AM4 or TR4 for too long.
 

OFaceSIG

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I'm going to lean with Dan on this one. Ryzen makes sense. Unless you have money to throw around and just want Intel for the sake of Intel; Ryzen will get you more mutlicore perf for less money.

Being a server guy I can say the perf impact of Spectre/Meltdown can vary wildly on the workload. However there is a perf penalty, no way around it.

I'm currently all Intel on my personal and tertiary machines. However I have extensively used AMD in the past. They are in a really good spot right now for mutlithreaded apps.
 

Dan_D

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Definitely agreeing with Dan_D here. You could even consider the 1700 (1st gen 8-core) or 2600 (2nd gen 6-core) as both would compare favorably against the i5 8400. You'd want to stick with the 8-cores probably though.

Here is a good comparison between the Intel chipsets, should you go that route. If you're not overclocking, then the H370 is likely fine.

If you go AMD, the B350/450 and X370/470 chipsets are nearly identical, with the only functional difference coming into play with their PCIe arrangement; the X370/470 can do x8/x8 for dual GPUs, where the B350/B450 cannot (they run in x16/x4). If you're running a single GPU, and you should, then the B350/B450 is fine.

DDR4 is expensive. On the AMD side, the motherboards are *very* picky, so make sure to only get memory that is explicitly listed on your chosen mobo's qualified memory list. For Intel, it matters a lot less. If you're fine with 16 GB now, then you could stick at that point, or move up to 32 GB. Whatever you do, do it with two sticks to leave you expansion room later on.

Photoshop, and other editing apps, are getting more and more GPU accelerated as time goes on. I'd invest in a GPU, if it was me. Something small like GTX 1050/RX560 class. If nothing else, moving to a more modern GPU will give you better display output options.

X370 is picky with RAM but X470 isn't. The latter is far better when it comes to memory compatibility.
 

sinisterDei

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Intel gets a lot of flak for changing sockets too often, but some of them have lasted three years or more. Socket LGA 2011-3 comes to mind.

Intel definitely changes socket/platform too often, and their flak they get for it is more than deserved; even your given example is relatively poor. The 2011-3 sockets supported Haswell and Broadwell based chips (i7 5XXX/Xeon E5 v3 and i7 6XXX/Xeon E5 v4 respectively) and that's it. On the desktop side, that means you had the option to buy the i7-5960X (8-core, 3.0/3.5 GHz) when it launched in late 2014, and then later on in 2016 you could upgrade to the i7-6950X (10 core, 3.0/3.5 GHz) or i7-6900K (8-core, 3.2/3.7 GHz). While I won't argue that's an upgrade, it's not particularly... substantial. And that's their best case; on the mainstream side, the only platform that supported an upgrade was the 100-series chipset, that started out life on Skylake and could later take Kaby Lake chips. No change in core count and hardly any change in actual performance was observed, so that was a pretty nothing upgrade. People who bought the 200-series chipset platform were hosed in short order when the 8th gen stuff came out and the near-identical 300-series chipset came out but was incompatible.

AMD hasn't had much of an upgrade yet on AM4 (Ryzen 1800X to 2700X wasn't particularly substantial) and hopefully Zen2 will be better. With that said, on TR4 for their Threadripper platform, which is more analogous to the 2011-3 example given anyways, their 2017 release platform supported the 1950X (16-core, 3.4/3.7 GHz) and one year later that same platform supported the 2990WX (32-core, 3.0/4.2 GHz). In half the lifetime of 2011-3, the TR4 platform has played host to a more significant same-socket upgrade than 2011-3 ever received.
 

Dan_D

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Intel definitely changes socket/platform too often, and their flak they get for it is more than deserved; even your given example is relatively poor. The 2011-3 sockets supported Haswell and Broadwell based chips (i7 5XXX/Xeon E5 v3 and i7 6XXX/Xeon E5 v4 respectively) and that's it. On the desktop side, that means you had the option to buy the i7-5960X (8-core, 3.0/3.5 GHz) when it launched in late 2014, and then later on in 2016 you could upgrade to the i7-6950X (10 core, 3.0/3.5 GHz) or i7-6900K (8-core, 3.2/3.7 GHz). While I won't argue that's an upgrade, it's not particularly... substantial. And that's their best case; on the mainstream side, the only platform that supported an upgrade was the 100-series chipset, that started out life on Skylake and could later take Kaby Lake chips. No change in core count and hardly any change in actual performance was observed, so that was a pretty nothing upgrade. People who bought the 200-series chipset platform were hosed in short order when the 8th gen stuff came out and the near-identical 300-series chipset came out but was incompatible.

AMD hasn't had much of an upgrade yet on AM4 (Ryzen 1800X to 2700X wasn't particularly substantial) and hopefully Zen2 will be better. With that said, on TR4 for their Threadripper platform, which is more analogous to the 2011-3 example given anyways, their 2017 release platform supported the 1950X (16-core, 3.4/3.7 GHz) and one year later that same platform supported the 2990WX (32-core, 3.0/4.2 GHz). In half the lifetime of 2011-3, the TR4 platform has played host to a more significant same-socket upgrade than 2011-3 ever received.

Fair enough, but I don't think a three year life span for a socket is particularly unreasonable. Granted, it depends on the chipset and advances on the platform side in a given span of time but I wouldn't normally want to run a motherboard that's three to five years old with a new CPU.

Your right in that the 300 series chipsets from Intel were bullshit and I've said as much. Its one of the more egregious examples Intel's had over the years. As much as I deride X299 for vROC and its minimal changes over X99 where the rubber meets the road, it was somewhat of an improvement in the I/O department and there were numerous advances over the early X99 offerings. I don't mind buying a new motherboard every 3 years or so to support a new processor. I can't think of very many if any points in the two decades I've been doing this where I wouldn't have wanted to change the motherboard with the CPU. It also depends on how far you want to push a processor through overclocking. We've seen time and time again how second generation motherboards using an older chipset may have more optimization for overclocking a particular generation of CPU.

On the AMD platform we've often seen motherboards that could only support certain processors because the limitations of their VRM's. That's one thing that too much backwards compatibility buys you. As I've said, there is a middle ground between Intel's super fast socket / chipset changes and AMD's unending support for aging platforms and sockets which limit the design of future CPU's.
 

sinisterDei

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On the AMD platform we've often seen motherboards that could only support certain processors because the limitations of their VRM's

Absolutely; AM3 lived too long. On the other hand, I think that was at least in part because AMD's actual CPU upgrades were so weak in that era that if you were forced to spend the money to upgrade your platform, the smart buyer would have probably have picked a non-AMD platform, so they did what they could to cram them into existing sockets.

For me, it's less about the age. I just really, really appreciate the ability, when I buy a new PC, to upgrade it later down the line rather than just replace it. I purchased a 6700K/Z170 a while back, and it has no upgrade path because the 7700K isn't an upgrade. When my PC was one day old, it's upgrade path was essentially dead. I didn't know it at the time, but it was. And if I do buy a 300-series chipset to support a tangible upgrade to the 8700K, the money spent on the motherboard will be a side-grade; there is nothing on the Z370 that is compelling over the Z170. Nobody likes to spend money treading water.

I think that's a disservice to Intel's customers, and I'm glad AMD is seeming to move down a different path. They've done a good job on TR4, and "everyone says" they're supporting AM4 till 2020 and that Zen2 support should come to the existing platforms. That's all wait-and-see and I hope they deliver. The AM4 stuff will be 3 years old at that point, and that'd be a good end to the platform I think. By then I'll want PCIe 4.0, or USB 3.1 gen 3, or whatever the hell comes next. If Zen2 isn't a tangible upgrade over Zen, then all the 'platform support' in the world till 2020 won't have mattered, since again nobody wants to spend money to tread water on performance.
 

DoubleTap

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One often overlooked advantage of the Z270/Z370 chipset vs the non OC chipsets is you can run your RAM above 2666Mhz
 

sinisterDei

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One often overlooked advantage of the Z270/Z370 chipset vs the non OC chipsets is you can run your RAM above 2666Mhz

This is of marginal value on an Intel platform. Here is a comparison article, I've looked at a few, and the general consensus is that while there is a performance difference, it's pretty minor and often within the margin of error of a lot of benchmarks. And that's comparing DDR4 2133 to 3200. I understand AMD platforms are more sensitive, but I haven't read as much on the topic.
 

Dan_D

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This is of marginal value on an Intel platform. Here is a comparison article, I've looked at a few, and the general consensus is that while there is a performance difference, it's pretty minor and often within the margin of error of a lot of benchmarks. And that's comparing DDR4 2133 to 3200. I understand AMD platforms are more sensitive, but I haven't read as much on the topic.

Another fair point. However, this depends on the CPU to some degree. Skylake and Kaby Lake seem to benefit from it to some degree (depending on the situation) while Haswell, Haswell-E, Devil's Canyon etc. do not. Intel CPU's do benefit from increased memory bandwidth but gain almost nothing from tighter timings. AMD on the other hand gains from both.
 

DoubleTap

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This is of marginal value on an Intel platform. Here is a comparison article, I've looked at a few, and the general consensus is that while there is a performance difference, it's pretty minor and often within the margin of error of a lot of benchmarks. And that's comparing DDR4 2133 to 3200. I understand AMD platforms are more sensitive, but I haven't read as much on the topic.

Whether it's of value to your or not, it's still one of the major differences between the chipsets.

Whether it's worth it or not will depend on what you're doing, but in a high end gaming system, very fast memory can make a big difference.

2166 vs 3866 shows a good 10-20+ fps improvement in many games.

 

sinisterDei

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2166 vs 3866 shows a good 10-20+ fps improvement in many games.

2133. It's 2133MHz, despite the big huge "2166MHz" in his video the whole time (he has it right in the title at least). He also has the specs reversed when he shows the CPU-Z stuff for the 2133 vs the 3866. Regardless, I'm sure his results are valid, though he had to go to some level of extreme to get them. Firstly his CPU is OC'd to 5 GHz, which presumably amplifies its need for higher speed memory. DDR4 @ 3866 is pretty high end too, and obviously represents a massive gulf in raw clockspeed versus the 2133 as his other comparison point. Those facts aside, he's still managed to find a performance difference which is pretty cool.

Not sure any of it applies to the OP though, since there's no plan to OC (or game). Heck, technically even using XMP timings on a Z-series board counts as OC, though that's some pretty baby-steps kind of stuff there.

I think if you bought a Z series board, the best benefit might be a longer secondary market shelf life; nobody wants to buy non-overclockable 2nd/3rd/4th gen Intel kit, but the overclockable boards (and CPUs) held value long after their direct retail presence ended.
 

DoubleTap

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2133. It's 2133MHz, despite the big huge "2166MHz" in his video the whole time (he has it right in the title at least). He also has the specs reversed when he shows the CPU-Z stuff for the 2133 vs the 3866. Regardless, I'm sure his results are valid, though he had to go to some level of extreme to get them. Firstly his CPU is OC'd to 5 GHz, which presumably amplifies its need for higher speed memory. DDR4 @ 3866 is pretty high end too, and obviously represents a massive gulf in raw clockspeed versus the 2133 as his other comparison point. Those facts aside, he's still managed to find a performance difference which is pretty cool.

Not sure any of it applies to the OP though, since there's no plan to OC (or game). Heck, technically even using XMP timings on a Z-series board counts as OC, though that's some pretty baby-steps kind of stuff there.

I think if you bought a Z series board, the best benefit might be a longer secondary market shelf life; nobody wants to buy non-overclockable 2nd/3rd/4th gen Intel kit, but the overclockable boards (and CPUs) held value long after their direct retail presence ended.

Yeah, there is a typo and yes, it may not be applicable in the main use case of the OP, but lots of people read this and I think it's important to point out that very fast memory has advantages in high end systems.

Back when DDR3 was new, there was a lot of press about how memory speed really didn't matter much and you should try to get more vs faster memory. These narratives can be really sticky and don't always hold up over time.
 

OFaceSIG

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Memory is so expensive now, if someone has a decent video card are they going to buy super high end memory to chase 10-20 frames? I wouldn't.
 

sinisterDei

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Memory is so expensive now, if someone has a decent video card are they going to buy super high end memory to chase 10-20 frames? I wouldn't.
Haha, for sure. I'm super glad I bought 32 GB of DDR4 3200 when I did; I think I paid $125 or something.
 
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