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Changing my mind again? Ryzen vs i7/i9 and Thunderbolt

pderbidge

Senior Member
OK, I have ordered everything except the CPU for a Ryzen build but now I'm second guessing myself. Now that I've seen the i9 9900kf come down in price $419 and the fact I can get a Z390 board like the Aorus Extreme, which has better VRM's and is cheaper than the Asrock Steel Legend I ordered for the 3700x Ryzen, I'm beginning to wonder if that isn't a better option. I know I can also get an Aorus Extreme for the Ryzen for the same price but it doesn't support Thunderbolt for some reason like it does for the Intel platform, which brings me to some questions.


1. Is Thunderbolt Necessary? Currently I have a Scarlett with 2nd gen drivers, which seem to be fairly decent for a USB interface when looking at the list of latency scores for tested Audio Interfaces. If I ever decide to upgrade it will be because I want to get my latency down even more. Without thunderbolt my options will be limited to PCIe for lower latency which means less options from Manufacturers since very few seem to be making PCIe Audio interfaces. If I stop obsessing over having a Thunderbolt support and 128GB Ram support I can get an X470 board and do away with the pesky chipset fans.

2. Is128GB Ram- necessary? I am starting out with 64GB of Ram giving my self the option to upgrade to 128GB in the future. To keep 128GB as an option my choices are either X570 boards or an Intel 1151 board. I will have all samples on a few internal SSD's and my boot drive will be an NVME PCIe x3 - So I wonder if the SSD's will make me feel like I don't need the extra ram.



It looks like a z390 Aorus Extreme is $169 and an i9 9900kf is $419 for a total of $588. For a 3700x and an Asrock Taichi (which is more comparable to the Aorus Extreme) then my total is actually more money - $628 - If I was getting an 3900x with the Taichi motherboard for the price of $628 then I would definitely do that but since that's not the case and we're talking about a 3700x which is a bit behind the i9 in performance it seems there is not a good reason to go that route unless I plan to upgrade to a 3950 in the future and sell off my 3700x. On the other hand I could just keep the Asrock Steel Legend, which should be fine for running a 3700x at all cores turbo, but I'm not sure it would be the best board for trying to do that with a 3950x in the future, if I even feel the need to upgrade the CPU on this board in the future. See my dilemma?

Here is another way to look at this.

Pro's for 9900k with Aorus Extreme - 1. A little bit faster CPU especially when overclocked. 2. No chipset fan. 3.Thunderbolt support. 4.128GB Ram support.
Cons for 9900k with Aorus Extreme- 1.No more possible CPU upgrade. 9900k is basically the end of the line for this platform. 2. Less efficient in Content Creation/Video editing and multitasking.

Pros for 3700x with Taichi - 1.Better Multitasker. 2. 128GB Ram Support. 3. Thunderbolt Support. 4. Can later be updated to newer Ryzen CPU
Cons for 3700x with Taichi- 1. Chipset Fan 2. Cost a bit more. 3. Does not peform as well as i9 for Virtual Instruments

One more thought: If I could give up my obsession of future proofing for Thunderbolt and more Ram, I could probably save money with Ryzen by going X470 and 3700x or maybe even spend close to the same amount and get a 3900x. Now that might be worth it.

What do you think?
 
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pderbidge

pderbidge

Senior Member
OK, after a whirlwind of researching and pondering etc.. I think I'm calming down a bit. I will likely keep what I have on order but still deciding if I should upgrade my Asrock to the Taichi or not. Nevertheless here are my thoughts on this release as it relates to both musicians and content creators.

AMD has put forth a very formidable new chip. They have "almost" gotten every thing right, and when I say "they" I'm including the Motherboard manufacturers in this.

First off. Why would you release an X570 board and neglect Thunderbolt? Asrock is the only company that hasn't missed the mark here. It's a shame, because Gibabyte has a board that is $200 with way better VRM's (meaning more capable of handling a 3900x at all cores turbo) than the Asrock price equivalent but the Gigabyte lacks Thunderbolt. Since they(AMD) seem to be touting their chips to content creators then how did they(Motherboard makers) miss Thunderbolt! Thunderbolt is not just for us music studio guys or gals:)- I'm pretty sure there are many content creators that rely on Thunderbolt connections. Am I wrong?

Second. The chipset fan is the most annoying thing I've seen. I'm sure there are ways around this but perhaps due to time constraints they needed to just get something out to the market for the Ryzen Gen 3 release and the Chipset fan was the cheapest and quickest fix. But once again, if you are advertising to content creators, most of those people are very noise concious, unlike the gaming community that are either blasting their speakers with video game noise or using headphones. I'm hoping they'll come out with some fan and heatsink mods for these chipsets or I may just come up with my own. Since I have a separate room for my PC, the chipset fan noise isn't going to be a big issue for me but if I had to have my PC in the same room then there is just no way I would go with these new X570 boards, which I think is a missed opportunity for AMD until this gets resolved. I'm sure this could be tackled with some cases that focus on silent computing, however without removing the chipset fan and modding it I'm not sure just how much any case can help with this added noise. I'll know better once I get my hands on it and hear for myself.

Third. I think a bios update for x470 that included Thunderbolt support and 128GB of ram could remedy the issues I described above since most of us care more about memory access and Thunderbolt then we do about pcie4 and then we could get away from that evil little fan. Perhaps Thunderbolt would not work though because I think they would have to have some type of physical header or pathway on the board for that to work? I really don't know. I understand that memory support can be somewhat limited as well based on the motherboard memory components but "I think" that has more to do with the speed of the memory so 4x16 2100MHz sticks of memory should still be feesable in an X470 motherboard if the Bios supported it. Am I wrong? It's also entirely possible that the new bios updates for the X470 may already be capable of more memory and we just don't know it since it's not being advertised. Even without Thunderbolt I may be swayed by an X470 with more memory support and just accept any audio interface upgrade will have to be PCIe. That might limit me to RME and MOTU, but both of those are still solid options to be limited towards.

OK, I digress, I promise. Once I get my Ryzen 7 3900x and my Asrock Board (still deciding on sending back the Steel Legend for the Taichi) then I'll report on what I think.
 
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pderbidge

pderbidge

Senior Member
So, you settled for the 3900x and the Taichi finally?
Not quite. That was a typo. I meant 3700x. The issue I have with going with a 3900x and the x570 Taichi is that it is actually $200 more right now than getting an i9 9900kf and a Gibabyte Aurous Elite which has similar quality VRMS to the Taichi so running an all cores turbo as shown in the DAWBench tests should be easily doable. However, the 3900x, according to Dawbench does out perform the i9 9900k and definitely out shines in all other multitasking benchmarks so at least you get a performance boost for the extra money. Even if chip prices on the 3900x are similar to the i9 9900k, the platform is more money(due to x570 mobo costs) unless you are willing to sacrifice Thunderbolt and the ability to go 128GB of ram with an X470 motherboard.

Since I don't really want to spend that much on a 3900x combo right now that brings me to the 3700x, which outperforms in multitasking but in the Dawbench results is not quite as good as the i9 9900k. Due to the fact that the X570 Taichi is roughly $100 more than an equivalent Z390 board the cost is actually about $50 more to go with the 3700x over the i9 and the aforementioned Gigabyte board . The advantage to Intel is higher Dawbench results and no chipset fan. The advantage to the 3700x is better multitasking and the option to upgrade beyond 9900k performance in the future without changing platforms. If I don't ever upgrade to a 3900x or a 3950x then the extra money is wasted. I could go with a lower end board that would suit the 3700x just fine but that won't likely be the best board for upgrading to a 3950x in the future but the cost would be about $50 less than the i9.

It sort of feels like that for us musicians who needs virtual instrument performance then the 3900x makes more sense, but at a premium to Intel unless you don't care about extra Ram and Thunderbolt then the 3900x is the same price and definitely the better buy (assuming you don't mind the chipset fan). It would be nice if it were more clear cut, but it's not. My recommendation for most people would be to wait and see how the dust settles. Unfortunately, I'm a unique case and just need to make a decision. A couple of months ago I would have been happy with an 8700k so all of this is gravy for me. If Intel would just do what they need to do and slash the price on the 8700k by $100 I'd probably be fine just going with that.

I guess the net net of this is that even though all the hype right now is that you get more bang for your buck with Ryzen, that's only if you compare CPU costs. It doesn't take into account the entire platform. Once you look at the CPU and Motherboard feature set together, there is still a valid argument for the i9 9900k. For all the other Intel chips, the AMD definitely seems to have a cost advantage.
 
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pderbidge

pderbidge

Senior Member
Yep, I read about that issue. Since I wasn't going for the fastest ram I wasn't too worried. The only thing that was making choose Asrock over Asus and Gigabyte was the support for Thunderbolt. But I'm not sure it's worth it "to me" anymore to buy a $300 board when some of the other brands have just as good or equal VRM's in their $200 boards. I'm thinking that the reason the others didn't include Thunderbolt is because they know that USB4 is coming and it's likely that it should work with the existing Thunderbolt 3 devices. Even if that wasn't the case I'd be fairly happy with an RME HDSPe AIO over what I currently have so maybe having Thunderbolt isn't all that necessary?
 

Quasar

Senior Member
Yep, I read about that issue. Since I wasn't going for the fastest ram I wasn't too worried. The only thing that was making choose Asrock over Asus and Gigabyte was the support for Thunderbolt. But I'm not sure it's worth it "to me" anymore to buy a $300 board when some of the other brands have just as good or equal VRM's in their $200 boards. I'm thinking that the reason the others didn't include Thunderbolt is because they know that USB4 is coming and it's likely that it should work with the existing Thunderbolt 3 devices. Even if that wasn't the case I'd be fairly happy with an RME HDSPe AIO over what I currently have so maybe having Thunderbolt isn't all that necessary?
The chipset fan would be a red flag for me until such time as it's in the wild long enough for a consensus on its impact. Plus, the 3900x has shot up in price from $500 to $850 or something? Wow.

If I were building now and thinking about downgrading to the 3700x because of cost, I would simply go ahead and get the Intel 9900k instead without thinking twice.

TB support is of course an entirely subjective choice. It appears that USB 4 will be open standard, render TB3 unnecessary and simplify everything. That's the rap Intel is handing out at least. (I do have an HDSPe AIO and am 110% happy with it so it's not an issue in my case. With all of the current variables I'm very glad I'm waiting until early 2020 to build. IMHO it's wise to let the current dust settle, if possible.)
 
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pderbidge

pderbidge

Senior Member
I was originally worried about the chipset fan but then after some research found that it wasn't that big of an issue with many owners of old boards that had those fans. I'll bet we'll see some aftermarket heat sinks for this in the future. I also have some ideas to do my own simple mod with a fan over the fan just as a backup.

Interesting thing is after doing some more research on the Intel Z390 boards, I found many of them didn't support up to 128GB of ram. The Gigabyte one I was looking at says it does but it has nothing on it's compatibility list that shows support for a 32GB stick of ram. The Asrock X570 Steel Legend on the other hand lists this memory stick as compatible https://www.avadirect.com/32GB-M378A4G43MB1-CTD-DDR4-2666MHz-CL19-DIMM-Memory/Product/12763278
Although I'm sure I could find someone somewhere who has made it work on the Gigabyte z390 board I like that Asrock has "officially" listed a supported ram.

I like the idea of the Steel Legend but was worried about the Vrams at first, however, after looking at some reviews of their Z390 version of the board I learned a few things. The Z390 Steel Legend would have Vram throttling on the 9900k when overclocking to 5.1Ghz. The Z390 Steel Legend has an 8 phase Vram setup. This new X570 seems to use the same Vram chokes but with two more phases so now it is a 10 phase Vram. I'll bet a 10 phase Vram on the Z390 would have solved the throttling issue when overclocking and since the 9900k is waaaaay more power hungry than even an 3900x, I don't think I'll have any issues with this new Steel legend. It's cheaper than the Taichi, it supports 32GB Samsung sticks of ram so I can eventually upgrade to 128GB if I want to in the future. Things are starting to look up again:)
 
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pderbidge

pderbidge

Senior Member
Interesting thing is after doing some more research on the Intel Z390 boards, I found many of them didn't support up to 128GB of ram
Update: So far I've found these older articles that show Asus and Gigabyte adding support on their Z390 motherboards for the new Samsung 32GB UDIMM modules, which means you can now get 128GB of unbuffered ram(not ECC) on a desktop platform. Asus has not updated their website to reflect 128GB support on their Z390 boards but I'm fairly certain it should work.



This is the memory they are referring to https://www.avadirect.com/32GB-M378A4G43MB1-CTD-DDR4-2666MHz-CL19-DIMM-Memory/Product/12763278 although it isn't showing up on Asus or on Gibabyte's compatibility lists. I doubt they ever will just because marketing tends to move on to the latest new thing rather than spend time updating their website for older products. It isn't the fastest memory out their at 2666Mh but if you need a fully populated 128GB on a desktop platform it's about the best you're going to get.

For X570 boards I can only find this memory listed on the compatibility list of the Asrock Steel Legend so far but I haven't yet checked them all, I just know it isn't listed for the Taichi on either Z390 or X570

Edit: I've come to the conclusion that most of the boards that promote 128GB memory support are likely to support this Samsung 32GB module since it is about the only one currently in existence that is non-ecc. I believe Micron is the other contender but I don't know if they're on the market yet.
 
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