Is Intel's X299 Platform Better than the X99? @ [H]

Discussion in 'Intel Processors' started by Kyle_Bennett, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. Kyle_Bennett

    Kyle_Bennett El Chingón Staff Member

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    Is Intel's X299 Platform Better than the X99?

    New processors and another socket means a new chipset. Intel's X299 Express chipset replaces the venerable and X99 Express Chipset and updates it's HEDT platform to match it's mainstream offerings and then some. This chipset promises to be the most versatile and feature rich Intel has released to date, but is it really an improvement?
     
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  2. Shotglass01

    Shotglass01 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Hell of a good write up! Thanks for your take on X299. I kind of wondered, even though I have no plans to buy HEDT now, what it brought to the table. Seems we're still a bit hungry.
     
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  3. lazz

    lazz Limp Gawd

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    NVMe over PCIe 3.0 x4 brings the most significant benefit IMO, and this wasn't really touched on in the article, but otherwise I certainly agree with the meat of the write-up. Incremental, almost iterative refreshes are getting old and stale, when we as enthusiasts really just want a good reason/interesting new tech to upgrade.
     
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  4. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    That's true, but we've already been able to do that on X99 with PCIe adapters and PCIe SSD's. Also keep in mind that SSD's were generally slower when X99 launched. Intel's SSD 750's specs have it at 2400MB/s read and 1200MB/s write. This is achievable on X99 through PCIe slots and I've tested this. Granted, anything that goes over the DMI 2.0 link is going to be limited. Fortunately, the limitations until recently have been mostly on the read side as write speeds are still more or less within the bandwidth limits of DMI 2.0. Now that we have drives performing upwards of 3500MB/s read and 2100MB/s write or multiple drives in RAID, DMI 2.0 is an even bigger limitation now than it was when X99 was released three years ago.
     
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  5. Skyblue

    Skyblue Limp Gawd

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    Nice writeup. Will you do some mb recommendations for x299?
     
  6. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    I will as soon as I get more of them on my test bench. I've only had one on my bench so far. It worked well and you'll be reading about that very soon.
     
  7. DigitalGriffin

    DigitalGriffin 2[H]4U

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    Threadripper for me.

    4GHz is good enough for gaming at 1440p+ and I can use the extra threads for handbrake and compiling as well as testing my code.
     
  8. britjh22

    britjh22 Limp Gawd

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    Threadripper is somewhat appealing, and even Ryzen 7, but for now my 5820k is just fine. I also got the itch to upgrade to one of the new platforms, but decided it would just be because I felt I wanted shiny and new, certainly not needed.
     
  9. daglesj

    daglesj [H]ardness Supreme

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    I'm happy with my choice to go with a 5820K and a X99. I don't upgrade all that often (previous rig was a dual Xeon X5470 Dell that i picked up mint for £100) and the lure of X99 was the potential to pick up some interesting 2011v3 Xeons on Ebay in a few years.

    My 5820K is a late one so I reckon will go much higher than the 4GHz it sits at now. I like nice round numbers.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
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  10. RevPuk

    RevPuk [H]Lite

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    "X299 has felt as mature as anything Intel's launched in the last few years"

    This is really why I went with x299 > Threadripper. I knew I needed the upgrade over my i5 Ivybridge, just for capacity's sake.It was time to move to a better class of machine for the stuff I work on. Looking at the options between Intel and AMD - on paper the AMD platform looks fantastic. The thing is, this is AMD's first step into HEDT arena, and I rely on my workstation for a living. As much as I like and want the AMD, I NEED to have the more mature system for sake of reliability. I just have more faith in the Intel platform for that reason alone. I do hope to see AMD succeed with TR. I could easily see myself jumping ship to, say, their 3rd iteration of the HEDT platform, pending how long the x299/i9 lasts for me.
     
  11. Killerxp100

    Killerxp100 Gawd

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    I'm thinking my x99 setup will easily last as long as my x58 one. 5930k 4.6ghz @ 1.26v, doesn't get much better then that.
     
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  12. virtualheretic

    virtualheretic Limp Gawd

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    Yup, still sticking with my i7-920
    Maybe NEXT generation....
    fwiw the only thing Im really looking forward to in upgrading is m.2 sata
     
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  13. DrBorg

    DrBorg Limp Gawd

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    I bought a 3930k system in 2011; I've added video cards over the years, but since gaming concentrated on supplying crap on boxen to idiots, I've felt no need to upgrade.

    The best game we are currently playing is Q2, followed by UT3 and Crysis wars.

    All over 10 yo, at this point.

    Doom needed 2x 7970 cars, same as Rage, but it's playable on a single 7970, if you're ok with texture popping.

    I upgraded to a RX480, which is as fast as 2 7970's, and more memory, so it's all good.

    Games Suck, currently.

    As long as Game development sux, CPU development and Graphics development will suck.

    The progression systems, and constant grinding required in FPS games is ridiculous; go play diablo if you want to grind.

    I'd love to see a Quake that didn't suck; they certainly didn't take any of the feedback I offered for QChamps, which doubled down on the suckfest.

    Games== Sales for high end hardware; without the games, no one buys the hardware, and CPU development stagnates, like we have now.


    I guess the next revolution is going to be cooling; time to buy stock in Vapo-Chill. :)
     
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  14. dgingeri

    dgingeri 2[H]4U

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    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
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  15. warmon6

    warmon6 n00bie

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    It because of the "X"... It cost more you know? Lol.

    On a serious note, I dont think anyone but intel could tell you what your looking for... Maybe electrical/signalling reasons? Dont know because as you pointed out, on the surface, they are about the same.

    https://ark.intel.com/products/98089/Intel-Z270-Chipset

    https://ark.intel.com/products/122941/Intel-X299-Chipset
     
  16. burton14e7

    burton14e7 [H]Lite

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    I actually need the 10 sata ports. I'm looking to upgrade my HTPC that has 8 3.5 bays and 2 2.5 bays but the current mobo I'm looking at will suck two of the 10 sata ports if I use a m2 drive which is lame. I'm guessing this chip has less sata ports because they're using some of them for the expanded m2 functionality.
     
  17. SixFootDuo

    SixFootDuo [H]ardness Supreme

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    You're going to love the Samsung NVMe PCIe SSD's ,,,, they are incredibly fast.

    read is around 3,500 MB/s ... which is about 7 to 8x faster than a SSD.
     
  18. Crooth

    Crooth n00bie

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    Intel believes you will transition all your SSDs to NVMe and stop using SATA for anything but HDD. This is why they feel safe reducing the number of SATA devices. If only half of those 8 or 9 SATA drives you have are SSDs converted to NVMe, you'll need 16 lanes just for that. Add to that double GPUs (as rare as that is becoming) at 16 laness each and you can see why Intel is - in general - increasing the PCIe lane count.
     
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  19. {NG}Fidel

    {NG}Fidel [H]ardness Supreme

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    I fall in the same camp on this one. I really am just looking to upgrade to a 5960 instead of building an x299 system.
     
  20. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    Actually, I think it's because HSIO lanes and thus PCIe lanes are allocated in blocks of four. 8 ports works out, 10 doesn't. SATA Express requires two lanes per port. Four SATA Express ports equals 8 SATA ports. That's also just four lanes.
     
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  21. gxp500

    gxp500 Limp Gawd

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    I think i've only seen one board with 10 sata ports and it was some asrock extreme 11 thingamajiggy, why not a pcie sata card for extra ports?
    Geez look at all those sata ports http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/X99 Extreme11/index.asp
     
  22. arestavo

    arestavo [H]ard|Gawd

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    All this talk about faster NVME speeds and for the average Joe and for the gamer it means jack shit over the lowly, quality SATA III SSD. But it does make for some epic E-peen, amirite?

    Or the fact that 7900X can actually be a step back from the 6950X in game performance even though it can overclock higher. Something that I really hope Intel will address/fix with the refresh.

    BUT! You can get more cores (well, not at the time of this writing) that you can overclock on the X299 platform which can be a huge boon for professional work (that isn't critical - ya don't overclock critical systems, you crazy person!), as time is money and if you can do the work faster you can do more work for more money. Or just enjoy that extra time off :sleep:
     
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  23. DrezKill

    DrezKill Limp Gawd

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    I upgraded to X99 from X58 back in 2014. Been pretty pleased with X99. Saw no reason to grab Broadwell-E, especially after I saw Haswell-E remained a better overclocker. Almost no IPC improvements in Broadwell-E as well. Better to just grab Haswell-E and overclock the shit outta it. I'd really like to have DMI 3.0 but it's not worth the cost of moving to a whole new platform. It'll be at least a few more years before I even think about another platform upgrade. I still got upgrades planned for my current machine, such as an NVMe M.2 SSD. I'm nowhere close to being done with my current system. As for Skylake-X, uh yeah I think I'll take my HEDT CPUs with solder under the IHS, thank you very much. Got a lot of homeys still rockin' Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge. In this age of console ports, there hasn't been much need for high-level PC hardware, and you can stretch out what you got for years and years. Really fuckin' glad AMD is back with Ryzen and Threadripper. Definitely keeping my eye on those, gonna see how things shake out over the next couple years or so. Been a long time since my overclocked Opteron 165 system on an nForce 4 board. As an X99 user, I looked at X299 and then passed on it. We live in an age where we end up skipping multiple generations just cuz we can stretch systems for so long. Don't know what I'll be using after X99, but by then I'll have gotten tons of use outta my X99 system. Meanwhile I'll kick back and see where AMD and Intel take things from here. Things have finally gotten interesting thanks to AMD's comeback.
    EDIT: fixin' spellin'
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
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  24. Azphira

    Azphira [H]ard|Gawd

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  25. daglesj

    daglesj [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yeah a little perspective is required here.

    I went from a Sandisk Extreme Pro pushing 560MBps to a Samsung PM961 pushing 3500MBps on my X99 based rig. Amazeballs amirite?

    Well...in all honesty I cannot for the life of me tell the difference. In RL usage...there is little to any change.

    Going NVMe may neaten up your system but that's about the only major benefit most will get over SATAIII.

    It always amazes me now how few if any NVMe reviews will actually say "well the benchmarks are great but when you actually use it for day to day stuff, you wont tell the difference between the fastest and the slowest drive in this list probably!"

    Now I await the responses from those that can tell Battlefield1 loads up 0.001ms faster on their rig and it's the best thing ever. Like those on Hi-Fi forums that swear they can hear one digital bit audio error in 65536 a second.

    What we really need in storage especially on Windows is a more modern disk file system that can handle masses of small files far more efficiently. That's where the benefits are IMO. And no, ReFS is not the answer.
     
  26. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    Given what I've seen of Threadripper and the Core i9 7900X, my gut feeling is that if you want to play games then Intel is the way to go. If you want to do work that can leverage those cores, Threadripper might be the better way. That said, Intel's platform is typically less of a pain in the ass to work with. Memory compatibility issues on X370 have been beyond stupid. I don't know if X399 will be the same way or not, but I suspect it will be more difficult to work with than X299.

    All speculation on my part. I've worked with one excellent X299 board and zero X399 boards. I'm all for HSIO and more PCIe lanes. One of my issues is that you can get X299 with the useless Kaby Lake-X CPU, which defeats the whole purpose of buying into HEDT in the first place. HEDT isn't intended for the average Joe. It's intended for people who will make use of what the platform has to offer above and beyond what Z270 and Kaby Lake can deliver. If your sticking to the same limited CPU, despite the clock increases I think you are doing it wrong. I've got a Core i7 7740X on my bench and it's my least favorite CPU Intel's probably ever produced.
     
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  27. Biostud

    Biostud n00bie

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    Obviously it is better, but is it three years better?

    Besides the extra PCIe lanes and support for newer processors, not much has happened,...
     
  28. Archaea

    Archaea [H]ardness Supreme

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    My Samsung evo 960 nvme benchmarks at 3200MB/s read as expected on my Gigabyte x99 ultra gaming board. Am I'm missing something Samsung magician does not show?
     
  29. Archaea

    Archaea [H]ardness Supreme

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  30. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    No you aren't. Performance of NVMe over the X99 chipset depends on the lanes the device is using. X99 supports PCIe 3.0 and PCIe 2.0. The 2.0 lanes attached to the chipset and any M.2 / U.2 implementation that shares specific lanes with the SATA Express ports transfer over the DMI 2.0 link and are limited to around 2000MB/s. If your M.2 slot or any NVMe capable device are attached to PCIe 3.0 lanes, you'll be able to realize their full performance. This is why I didn't slam X99 in the article as full utilization of M.2 performance is possible on the platform. Implementaiton varies wildly, with some early X99 boards using Gen 2 PCIe lanes for M.2. In some cases, I believe a few boards used only 2x PCIe Gen 2 lanes which is even worse. We saw the same thing on Z97 chipsets.
     
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  31. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    What X299 really offers over Z270 is more PCIe lanes, more memory channels and the ability to use 6, 8, 10, 12, or 18 core CPUs. Otherwise they have feature parity.
     
  32. arestavo

    arestavo [H]ard|Gawd

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    You mean unlocked 12, 14, 16, and 18 core CPUs (when they're released).

    Most X99s can use V3 and V4 Xeons with lots of cores, but those are multiplier locked. Like the mammoth 22C 44T 2699 V4.
     
  33. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    Yes.
     
  34. dgingeri

    dgingeri 2[H]4U

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    Those are ALL options from the CPU, and not from the chipset.
     
  35. dgingeri

    dgingeri 2[H]4U

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    Yeah, from the CPU. As far as the chipset itself is concerned, there is no difference between X299 and Z270, even the interface to the CPU is exactly the same, and yet Intel charges $27 more for X299.
     
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  36. daglesj

    daglesj [H]ardness Supreme

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    As I mentioned elsewhere this whole limited PCI lanes just takes me straight back to the days of limited IRQ's and the sheer terror and disappointment of looking up in Device Manager after a rebuild and finding that your sound card, AGP card and USB ports were all sitting on IRQ 11 or similar. Grrrrrrrr!

    We haven't come as far as we thought really.
     
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  37. mikecli

    mikecli n00bie

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    Regrettably I fully agree with you and I'm going to be doing the same. I'm on X58 and I've been eyeing this cycle for an upgrade for a long time. It's great having Threadripper to compete and I have been really looking forward to convincing myself in making the switch to Threadripper. Unfortunately despite AMD's commitment to the platform, there's just no track record with something like Threadripper/HEDT, which is really AMD's first foray into this space. I do want the new platform to last me a long time as X58 has done for me so I'm really looking at this from the long view. Here's how I see it:

    - It just seems like there's too many trade-offs to get Threadripper on parity with Intel. Let's be clear, I definitely sit in the enthusiast/private workstation camp so I'm not going to be using my computer as a render farm - for me, single threaded workloads and Amdahl's law will still matter for some apps. Threadripper is definitely innovative in getting us brute force cores but Intel has the better balance.

    -AMD have gone all-in with Infinity Fabric so if they want to make up the difference in the long run, it's either going to be with a better fabrication process or further IPC improvements.
    - It's unclear how AMD are going to overcome the fabrication advantage Intel have. GloFo 7nm is supposed to close that disparity. If Intel are struggling with 10nm then we can't assume smooth sailing for GloFo 7nm.
    - Despite Ryzen's impressive IPC gains, I'm doubtful whether AMD can accomplish another significant improvement on IPC given their R&D investment. Also we need to bear in mind there's nothing but rocket fuel currently been lit under Intel's arse so we can expect a fightback.​

    - But most importantly as you mentioned, in terms of stability and optimisations this should heavily favour Intel, and it always will until we see AMD gaining significant traction in market share and profits.


    As for X299 vs X99, in some ways we have regressed. An 8 core Broadwell-E will have more PCIe lanes available than an 8 core on Skylake-X and that is the most disappointing thing for me - the anti-consumer behaviour.
    My heart wants a Threadripper but my head says X299 is solid. It's bizarre, it's been so many years since my last upgrade and I should really be looking forward to it but it's really irking me that I'm going to sell my soul and go X299 this cycle.
     
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  38. Archaea

    Archaea [H]ardness Supreme

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    What do you think won't be optimized for threadripper so much so that it still wouldn't vastly outperform the Intel counterpart that costs the same money? (Productivity related?)
     
  39. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    Fair enough, but you wouldn't have those options with any combination of CPU or motherboard with Z270. I'm primarily talking about the platform as a whole. Given that your processor choices are limited to one or two chipsets throughout a processor's life time, I think it's fair to say that considering a chipset on it's own makes little sense. Back in the 440BX and earlier days, you could choose one of 6 or more CPUs from three or more manufacturers and chipsets could be considered on their own. It's not 1996 anymore.
     
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  40. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    The CPU has the memory controller, but there are some physical differences between Z270 and X299, even if their feature sets are nearly the same. X299 supports double the amount of memory and double the amount of memory channels that Z270 does. The Z270 supports passthrough of integrated graphics on CPUs and X299 does not. Furthermore, the package of Z270 is 23x24mm instead of 24x24mm. They are physically different. What drives up X299's cost over Z270 is unknown, but you can't say the chipsets are exactly the same. They are clearly not even if they largely have the same feature sets. There are technical differences, and not understanding those precise differences is not a reason to say the cost of the chipsets isn't justified.
     
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