Rob Ainscough

i9 7900X and/or X299 Motherboard water blocks?

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I'm replacing my aged 5960X - Asus RAMPAGE V Extreme with EK monoblock (CPU, VRM, PCH) with an i9 7900X and Asus Prime X299.  I'm struggling to find anyone with water blocks.  Any suggestions for sources (US preferred but willing to get outside US, like EK in UK)?

Cheers, Rob.

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Hey Rob.  I'm on the verge of a new build as well and thought I'd wait to see what Coffee Lake has to offer later this year.  Can you briefly describe the decision to go with Skylake-X right now?  I need all the information I can get.

PM me if you'd prefer so as not to derail your original question about cooling blocks.

Thanks!

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I expect very minor/marginal improvements in terms of FPS over my 5960X so my decision points are:

1.  Less heat
2.  Looks to be relatively easy to hit 5Ghz and is very OC friendly
3.  Improved chipset (X299) with slightly improved bandwidth and lower latency
4.  Less expensive than the 6950X and seems to perform single thread faster with OC

I thought Coffee Lake is primarily focused at Laptops and/or lower power devices (i.e. iMacs)?  IF Coffee Lake proves to be a good performance CPU with good OC, I'll relagate 7900X to a render PC and shift to Coffee Lake for my main FS PC.

My concerns with the 7900X is the size of the L3 cache (40% smaller than my 5960X and more threads 10c/20t that could fill it).  Other concern is ASUS's tradition of not providing enough power to their USB ports (especially when overclocking).

BTW, 7900X and Asus X299 are both Pre-Order so don't know how long it'll take before I actually get them, hopefully enough time for water block vendors to get upto speed with the various motherboard flavors.  I've also considered the EVGA "Dark" X299 motherboard but that's a bit of unknown for me and I doubt EVGA have the level of experience ASUS does, especially around OC.

Cheers, Rob.

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13 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

I thought Coffee Lake is primarily focused at Laptops and/or lower power devices (i.e. iMacs)?  IF Coffee Lake proves to be a good performance CPU with good OC, I'll relagate 7900X to a render PC and shift to Coffee Lake for my main FS PC.

Good point.  I should have specified the rumored Coffee Lake-X (CFL-X) series expected in early 2018.  The CFL-S/U series will be released earlier and are for mid-range desktops and laptops.  CFL-X are also rumored to use Socket 2066 and X299 chipsets.  

That might just be too far out for me to wait for a new build.  I'll start studying the 7900X now with water cooling like you're planning.  I've read the Skylake-X series are a bit toasty.  I'll follow this thread with interest... thanks.

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I know this has probably been beaten to death, but I think it would be wise to see what threadripper has to offer.  We all know that the high core count x299 are going to have minimal benefit to flightsim.  Especially kaby lake x.   Sure, high clock speeds but the pci express lanes are neutered, the memory is cut to two channels, and you need to put it on a hedt Mobo($$$$$).  

33 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

My concerns with the 7900X is the size of the L3 cache).

The L3 has been replaced by much bigger L2, and L3 is now a "victim" cache, so that could be good or bad.

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The mounting bracket is the same ; if you had lga2011 compatible water blocks in use before , you may continue to use the same ..

Got this from ekwb, please do verify it on their shop/site too :) 

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5 hours ago, OneWhoKnocks53 said:

The L3 has been replaced by much bigger L2, and L3 is now a "victim" cache, so that could be good or bad.

L3 is shared, I don't think L2 is ... the shared L3 was beneficial when disabling extra cores giving more cache for fewer cores to use.  Asus are claiming 69GB/s for memory bandwidth, which is higher than my 65GB/s OC quad channel setup for the X99.

5 hours ago, jafferhussain11 said:

The mounting bracket is the same ; if you had lga2011 compatible water blocks in use before

Good to know, but I can't use my EK mono-block since it covers PCH and VRM and CPU, however, if LGA2011 might work, I'll look into that option until mono-block becomes available.

Cheers, Rob.

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Quote "We all know that the high core count x299 are going to have minimal benefit to flightsim."

Can't say as I agree with that comment. Might have had some believers for much of the 32 bit days however my experience with quad cores and six core cpus in 64 bit flight sim is just the opposite. With a core manager employed that allows you to hive off for example Trackir, Moving map, Fraps, Chaseplane, Weather programs that all run their own independent exe separate to the sim and communicate to the net as well to pull data, I can see 8,10 12 16 or 18 cores being used  to the full limit of your terrain settings and getting a smooth flight with extensive LOD and quality. Hooray - can only see good times ahead for immersive simming.

Before anybody steps in a says they can do that on 4 cores (or a single thread)  we know that it works, however I believe P3D v4 can bring any CPU, GPU and big screen to its knees if you crank the visual/ performance settings high enough, (HDR lighting and speed trees anyone) there is a section of the sim community that want to enjoy the experience to the maximum available other will continue to wind the settings back to suit their setup. Of course that is just my opinion based on personal experience.

I will be upgrading in about 2-3 months once the Bios has matured  (and we know what Threadripper is about) as that seems to be the major issue at the mo (as it was for Ryzen). Heat isnt a problem with a decent cooler and as for power, the old i7 3930K I have chugging away at 4.3MHz and using all 12 virtual cores in Process Explorer is seemingly in the same power consumption range for about 40% of the performance of a i9 7900K.

There is no doubt we have AMD to thank for the halving in price from the previous Intel 10 core and that is great also - we wanted faster and bigger CPUs - may the battle continue.

Rob I hope you find a good CPU block because I will be interested also to see your feedback on here as to how the new system performs.

Cheers all

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Numerous reviews had mentioned the diffitulty they had experienced on cooling the 7900x which was partly due to the fact that thermal paste is used instead of soldered tin between the processor die and the heat spreader. 

this review is one of them from tomshardware

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-core-i9-7900x-skylake-x,5092-11.html

I was interest in upgrading as well, however the potential performance gain was quite minimal and probably not worth the effort of doing it. 

Hopefully Intel will be able to iron out a few bugs before the final product is released. 

At the moment, I sincerely hope that the Threadripper will be giving out at least comparable flight sim performance as what the i9 is expected to give. 

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I personally am an Intel user for years, but at the moment I would not go with Intel. Just my 2 cents :-)

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Well it looks like my pre-order missed the first batch of 7900X, more listed as coming next week.

I'd love to see AMD succeed, consumers need to see some competition.  Intel's X series CPUs are definitely "out there" in terms of profit margin (i7 6950X comes to mind) as are some of their server CPUs.

Cheers, Rob.

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On 6/20/2017 at 0:34 AM, Uteman said:

I will be upgrading in about 2-3 months once the Bios has matured  (and we know what Threadripper is about) as that seems to be the major issue at the mo (as it was for Ryzen). Heat isnt a problem with a decent cooler and as for power, the old i7 3930K I have chugging away at 4.3MHz and using all 12 virtual cores in Process Explorer is seemingly in the same power consumption range for about 40% of the performance of a i9 7900K.

My plan was to keep my 3930K which has run flawlessly at 4.42Ghz on a Noctua air cooler and another trick another 6mo or so to see where 7900X or K if there is to be a K model, but the box just recently stopped in mid flight w/ no BSOD, just shut itself down, and now does not even post, and sometimes doesn't start the fans running.  I'm thinking it's the mainboard but haven't completed troubleshooting.  

I'm reading about massive wattage when you o'c all cores on the 7900X:  pushing 300-400watts, hence the  need for massive cooling which I'm not going to do--and that kind of power draw is just flat rediculous, but perhaps that is only running Prime95 not P3D.  My 3930K never used more than 130W if memory serves me, at 4.42Ghz.  I see the max turbo setting is 4.5Ghz, but this is w/ just two cores--the others are maybe running peak at 4Ghz or something like that.  In this scenario, can one choose which two cores run at 4.5?  If so you could assign the main thread to one of those and leave the rest for everything else including terrain loading and it could work.

Unless I find out its my Titan GTX or PSU which I can replace and be good to resume, if it's mobo or CPU then I'm out of the game until I can settle on a 6+ core highest end CPU and start anew, which might take a while.  Never had to use water cooling but maybe that's now what has to be. 

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Just a quick update, my 7900X shipped and will arrive Tuesday, the Asus PRIME X299 Deluxe MB will arrive Wednesday, and G.Skill DDR 32GB 4266 Wednesday also.  I was able to locate a water block from EK A240 kit (EK-Supremacy AX) ... I really only need the CPU water block from kit, supposed to ship today.  The EK CPU water block is probably just temporary as I'm hoping EK (or someone) provides a full coverage mono-block (CPU, PCH, VRM) similar to my Rampage V Extreme mono-block.  EDIT: once more water cooling block options are available, I'll also try out an external water chiller if I can find one quiet enough.

I've heard good and bad regarding the 7900X in it's default mode "Auto" (everything) it out performs the 6950X in both single thread and multi-thread operation.  I've read about no problems reaching 5Ghz but again no actual details on exactly how that was done and what BIOS/EFI settings were used ... have you ever wondered why some people who claim higher GHz never actually publish their settings (all of them)?  I publish my EFI/BIOS settings for others to use, but it does raise BIG doubts why others claiming to be "experts" don't ... they just show frequency results and "look it booted" (for 30 seconds).  Anyway, once I get the 7900X up and running and spend some time reaching my OC goals, I'll post some detail results and settings.

But like I said before, I have fairly low expectations it will perform that much better than my existing 5960X @ 4.6Ghz ... but who knows, maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised, trying to stay optimistic.  Objective is to have all 10 real cores (HT disabled) running at 5Ghz.

Cheers, Rob.

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51 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

But like I said before, I have fairly low expectations it will perform that much better than my existing 5960X @ 4.6Ghz ... but who knows, maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised, trying to stay optimistic.  Objective is to have all 10 real cores (HT disabled) running at 5Ghz.

Cheers, Rob.

Good luck on that!

"At a Vcore of 1.4V, the system stayed stable for 10 benchmark runs. Intel's Core i9-7900X consumed an average of 261W, while individual peaks jumped as high as 293W. A test at 4.8 GHz using 20 instances of a year-long shading computation for a rooftop photovoltaic array, including profit calculation, pushed power consumption all the way to 335W. The motherboard shut down after we started Prime95 without limiting AVX. The last recorded value was 364W."   Tom's Hardware

No way I would take a $999 proc and put 1.4V on it!   Maybe i7-7800 for the much lower cost.  For I9-7900X to reach its 4.5Ghz max turbo only 2 of 10 cores run at that clockspeed, and apparently the system determines which of those cores to use.  This being said, I guess one could look at CPUeze to see which are running at that speed, and then route P3D's main thread to one of those cores provided it was always that core that met the test.  If so, perhaps that's a way to go for me.   I won't be putting much of a voltage increase to achieve o'c it's just not worth it.

Can't wait to hear of your initial reports.  I've done everything possible to test my dead PC now so I'm side-lined until I can pick out parts.  Which reminds me, I do have another box w/ an older nV card in it I can at least see if the Titan GTX has died.  Do you know on a system w/o any graphics component *should* complete POST, even though you can't see it on a display screen?  I doubt it's Titan as it's never been o'clocked.

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Hi Noel,

Haha, you know I don't believe in luck or the silicon lottery.

Reports I saw were 1.13v at 5Ghz, but again without knowing the details hard to separate fact from fiction.  I would have no problem running 7900X at 1.4v or higher so long as Thermal protection is active and CPU temps are acceptable ... my water cooling setup is pretty good (not a chiller) two 2" thick 480 radiators and two pumps with water flow and water temp sensors.

As to your POST issue, does your motherboard have error reporting LEDs, if so consult the manual to see what they are reporting.  I assume you haven't added anything to your system recently on the hardware side?  A few months back I tried to add my 3rd USB 2.0/3.0 card and my system just wouldn't boot, wouldn't even power on.  Removed the 3rd USB card and all was good, booted backup.  If you suspect the GPU, move it to a different PCIe slot.  Also, some motherboards provide the option to disable PCIe slots via jumpers, try to disable those you don't use.

Failing that, use a peripherals jumper on the power supply MB cable, this will allow you to PSU on peripherals only without powering up the motherboard ... most newer PSU provide a jumper connection, but if you don't have one I think it's pins 15 and 16 (see here: http://www.smpspowersupply.com/connectors-pinouts.html).

Cheers, Rob.

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The error LEDs didn't indicate a problem w/ CPU, memory, or VGA.  I did r/o my Titan as I had an old GTX 280 that still worked.  After a few other maneuvers I eventually got the thing to beep, and the beep pattern was one continuous followed by 4 short beeps, and that equates to 'Hardware Component Failure', whatever that means.  The 3930K has been flawless and runs cool, and memory is always stock volts and rated frequency, so I am guessing it's something in the mobo.  The HX850 Corsair I don't think I can blame at only 4.3y of flawless use, run off of a APC IR-1200, but perhaps it's still in the mix.  The mainboard and CPU were the most stressed components in the system and it has a lot of 4.42Ghz hours on it, so I have to think it's likely either the CPU or mainboard.   The CPU was subjected to 1.32v for half of its 4.3y of use, or 1.29 for the other half.

With that I think it's time to start putting together a new box so yes I look forward to what you learn w/ your new i9-7900X machine.  Initially I will use my GTX Titan in a fresh install of V3.4 so I can get a better sense of what the new CPU offers.  And then pick up 1080Ti or Titan Xp and call it good hopefully for another 4-5y.  I'll likely skip the overclock if I can get 20% better CPU performance just on turbo 3, 4.5Ghz at stock voltage over my current 3930K at 4.42Ghz.  Apparently that's doable w/ air cooling, the 4.5Ghz.  

 

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4 hours ago, Rob Ainscough said:

Just a quick update, my 7900X shipped and will arrive Tuesday, the Asus PRIME X299 Deluxe MB will arrive Wednesday, and G.Skill DDR 32GB 4266 Wednesday also.  

I've heard good and bad regarding the 7900X in it's default mode "Auto" (everything) it out performs the 6950X in both single thread and multi-thread operation.  I've read about no problems reaching 5Ghz but again no actual details on exactly how that was done and what BIOS/EFI settings were used ... have you ever wondered why some people who claim higher GHz never actually publish their settings (all of them)?  I publish my EFI/BIOS settings for others to use, but it does raise BIG doubts why others claiming to be "experts" don't ... they just show frequency results and "look it booted" (for 30 seconds).  Anyway, once I get the 7900X up and running and spend some time reaching my OC goals, I'll post some detail results and settings.

But like I said before, I have fairly low expectations it will perform that much better than my existing 5960X @ 4.6Ghz ... but who knows, maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised, trying to stay optimistic.  Objective is to have all 10 real cores (HT disabled) running at 5Ghz.

Great to hear you snagged a 7700X.  Looking forward to your testing.  I have a lesser processor (5930K) than you currently run, so any of the improvement you realize would be even greater for my installation.

I'm still reading a good bit about Coffee Lake, how it will feature 6c12t at the base end, run on current m/b's (i.e., 1151), and likely be able to O/C to greater than 5Ghz.  No one knows for sure right now, but I'm patient enough at this stage to see what it has to offer before jumping on the 7700x.

Thanks again for all the effort you put in to testing and sharing your experiences.

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On 6/19/2017 at 2:14 PM, Rob Ainscough said:

I expect very minor/marginal improvements in terms of FPS over my 5960X so my decision points are:

1.  Less heat
2.  Looks to be relatively easy to hit 5Ghz and is very OC friendly
3.  Improved chipset (X299) with slightly improved bandwidth and lower latency
4.  Less expensive than the 6950X and seems to perform single thread faster with OC

Cheers, Rob.

This article suggests cooling requirements are steep:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-core-i9-7900x-skylake-x,5092-11.html

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4 minutes ago, Noel said:

This article suggests cooling requirements are steep:

Most likely because they're using Prime95 for testing ... I believe ASUS recommend NOT using Prime95 and I agree with them.  I've stopped using Prime95 (I used to use it for testing) as it doesn't really emulate real world application usage.  I'd be more inclined to use Adobe CC 2017 and a complex render project that will use up all my Cores or just use a good old P3D V4 test loop I know will be very hard on my CPU/GPUs, Orbx NorCal or SoCal with FB/FSDT comes to mind.

But will just have to wait and see ... my dual loop setup is pretty efficient as I rarely see water temps above 27C and CPU temps even on "low to normal" fan speeds peaking around 54C (average around 44C) under P3D V4 extreme loads.  I do like the idea of a liquid chiller though as it has re-use potential.  But wonder how the 18/36 SkylakeX processors are gonna do if the 10/20 heats up that much under Prime95?

Cheers, Rob.

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1 hour ago, Rob Ainscough said:

Most likely because they're using Prime95 for testing ... I believe ASUS recommend NOT using Prime95 and I agree with them.  I've stopped using Prime95 (I used to use it for testing) as it doesn't really emulate real world application usage.  I'd be more inclined to use Adobe CC 2017 and a complex render project that will use up all my Cores or just use a good old P3D V4 test loop I know will be very hard on my CPU/GPUs, Orbx NorCal or SoCal with FB/FSDT comes to mind.

But will just have to wait and see ... my dual loop setup is pretty efficient as I rarely see water temps above 27C and CPU temps even on "low to normal" fan speeds peaking around 54C (average around 44C) under P3D V4 extreme loads.  I do like the idea of a liquid chiller though as it has re-use potential.  But wonder how the 18/36 SkylakeX processors are gonna do if the 10/20 heats up that much under Prime95?

Cheers, Rob.

Rob, can you recommend a water cooler for me for SkylakeX?

That fits with what I've seen which is 130W while flying, i.e. that realworld test is a much more valid evaluation of what's needed for P3D or XP.  I'm fully out of order now so have to decide which route to go for CPU.  Looks like regardless of heat the 7900X is a serious processor.  I might also consider 7820X as well.  Beyond more cores, anything significantly different between the two that will materially affect our simming experience?

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13 hours ago, Rob Ainscough said:

have you ever wondered why some people who claim higher GHz never actually publish their settings (all of them)?  I publish my EFI/BIOS settings for others to use, but it does raise BIG doubts why others claiming to be "experts" don't ... they just show frequency results and "look it booted" (for 30 seconds).

Overclocking is extremely individual based on the silicone, RAM and the motherboard. Each overclock needs to be specifically tailored to your build, so there's no point in showing how you got there. Some might get there with a simple ratio change, plus some added voltage. Some might need BCLK overclocking and others will be doing it via XMP with custom offset voltage values. Overclocking is fairly straight forward in the first place, not much sense in copying others settings. It's just a time consuming process of finding your own stable values.

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8 hours ago, dmiannay said:

Great to hear you snagged a 7700X.  Looking forward to your testing.  I have a lesser processor (5930K) than you currently run, so any of the improvement you realize would be even greater for my installation.

I'm still reading a good bit about Coffee Lake, how it will feature 6c12t at the base end, run on current m/b's (i.e., 1151), and likely be able to O/C to greater than 5Ghz.  No one knows for sure right now, but I'm patient enough at this stage to see what it has to offer before jumping on the 7700x.

Thanks again for all the effort you put in to testing and sharing your experiences.

True,

I am eagerly waiting for the CL chip too. I am already running a "nice" 6700K on my LGA1151 motherboard. But this tends to be insufficient for all my P3D V4 flights. I am hitting the 100% marker on all cores with this CPU over KJFK with numerous addons. The fun fact is that is is not constantly 100% but it has a load moment of 100% CPU usage (2 seconds or so) but this is enough to cause stutters. A 6-core CL chip at 5,0ghz could give more head space and not fill up all those graphs with 100% load. Otherwise the sim grinds to a halt each 5 seconds or so at multiple busy airport locations.

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On 6/21/2017 at 7:27 PM, Driverab330 said:

Numerous reviews had mentioned the diffitulty they had experienced on cooling the 7900x which was partly due to the fact that thermal paste is used instead of soldered tin between the processor die and the heat spreader. 

I give, why on earth would Intel create and market a HEDT CPU, then use ordinary thermal paste IF IT REALLY MAKES A DIFFERENCE?   The 2 explanations I can imagine are:

1.  It really makes marginal difference--TIM v soldered tin

2.  The cost is significantly more to use soldered tin:  NOT!  the bloody 7900X costs $999, and a little solder makes any kind a meaningful dent in production costs?  NOT!

I have to think it's mostly #1.  What is the real increase in headroom post delid given the same cooling solution?

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Hey Noel,

If I were to hazard a guess and from what I've seen of my own experience, you actually get more surface contact (for heat transfer) when you leave the chosen material alone ... some surface "roughness" is better for adhesion when combined with thermal paste.  Where you find the most variance in cooling will be how much thermal material is applied and a well designed the compression system that provides even distribution of contact.   Too much torque can be worse then too little torque.  So I'll suggest  #1 in your list is the answer along with other variables outlined above.

I think these elements provide far more variance cooling:

1.  Too much or Too little Thermal paste (Too much is often the case for many thinking it's safer when in fact it's really not)
2.  The Clamping system used
3.  Getting correct Torque specs (not too much and not too little)

A better CPU layout would be circular with a hole in the center (more like a donut) so that clamping forces can be applied in the inner as well as the outer perimeter.  And even the 3 above case, I suspect one would have to really mess it up to see any significant difference.

Cheers, Rob.

EDIT: Motherboard and water block (just need the block out of the A240 not the rest of it as don't see how one could cool anything with that tiny radiator) arrived today so I guess I'll be busy this weekend.

018aa331b839f5e1b2f19d1e9bc2daf1.jpg

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Thank you Rob.   Yes, should be fascinating to hear how it goes.

If you will, if I end up going 7820X or 7900X, what exact cooler parts do you recommend?  It sounds like the block from this A240, but a different radiator part?  

Can one run the closed loop immersed in for example a party cooler full of ice and ice water?  It's not very elegant but seems like it could be really effective, no?  Take a nice good sized picnic cooler, drill an in and out hole in the lid and submerge the loop  all the way on the bottom and fill it with ice and water.  Could last a while!  I guess the worry is condensation dripping off the tubing, but that does't sound technically terribly challenging.  Maybe that's what custom loops are?

 

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