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AMD or Intel (I'm an Intel guy).. Thinking i9-9900K

dcdansk
  • 13 months ago

I bought an AMD processor years ago (2006) and hated it. I love Intel and bought them ever since.

I'm pretty set on buying an i9-9900k but should I consider other options? I bought a i7-8086K for my personal home build (got a really good deal) and have been very happy with it.

This is for a workstation build to replace my current work computer at the office. I work in finance and run a lot of financial models so this is not for gaming (maybe solitaire once a year). My company gave me the OK to build what I want. The most important part is the CPU, followed by RAM, then some last year EVOs. The issue is that I haven't really used AMD in years.

I mainly run Excel models which have huge limitations and throwing more cores at it virtually does nothing. Trust me, I've tested on everything from Xeon's to this 8086k (running at 5.4ghz) which has been the fastest (marginally). Basically, I've realized that you can buy a 10K computer and it will not run an excel model any faster than a solid 1800 build. That said, I write financial programs/database work that multithread well but just happen to use Excel as my benchmark.

If you've read this far, thank you. Should I consider the Threadripper?

I was just so turned off that I don't want to make a stupid "oh, this will be awesome" decision to buy something I may or may not like. Generally speaking, I know what to expect with the i9-9900k and I'm sure that will satisfy me needs; however, maybe I'm wrong and would be happier with something else.

Thank you!

Comments

  • 13 months ago
  • 3 points

If I'm reading you right, you are asking for the fastest single-core (or few-core) speed you can get. If that's right, I think there are probably two answers to that. Answer one, the i9-9900K is the fastest you're going to find, running stock, with very good cooling, price no object. Answer two, the i3-8350K with good cooling, carefully overclocked to 5GHz or a bit more if you can get it, will come within a couple percent of the 9900K single-thread, will be easier to cool, and will cost significantly less. (Now, if you take that 9900K and overclock it, dealing with the attendant heat and power issues, I expect it will beat the 8350K again -- while it heats the office for you.)

Neither of those options is going to beat your 5.4GHz 8086K by much, if anything.

You'll of course want to get high speed memory and a good motherboard.

Neither Threadripper nor Skylake-X would seem to have any obvious benefit given what I'm hearing. Both are multi-core beasts but have no real single thread advantage, unless running more than 64GB memory or having lots more PCIe lanes would matter.

Added: the one thing the 9900K will give you over the 8086K is the extra two cores, of course. Whether that matters in your environment, I don't know.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! I’m bummed because I just wrote you a really nice response thanking you and lost everything while doing something else for my wife. Thank you. That’s what I suspected. In my experience no perfect processor exists. I’ve been super happy with Intel. The whole “5.4” thing (although accurate in this case) is so marginal it doesn’t matter. We’re talking someone waiting 23 seconds vs 27 seconds. More cores is about the same. I’m not bragging about the i7-8086k which is nice but far from perfect. Rather just looking for a better work horse. I guess that’s Intel is better for me. I love the competition but just happen to favor Intel at the moment. Regardless, thank you. I read a number of comparisons which supported my belief. AMD might win on some but Intel works better for what I want across the board.

  • 13 months ago
  • 2 points

The Ryzen 2700X was absolutely the right choice in my environment, where I wanted max number of cores without having to get into the next tier of expense with Threadripper or $$kylake-X. Threadripper 2 is a multi-core value beast. The Intel 8th/9th gen are still the single thread speed champs. It will be interesting to see where Zen 2 comes in, but I don't see Intel losing the single core edge any time soon.

  • 13 months ago
  • 2 points

You mention Monte Carlo simulations? A very demanding and interesting workload, to be sure. Here and here are a couple benchmarks I'll be referencing. I've also seen some other tests and speculation across Excel versions (2007 and earlier is terrible, 64 bit may be better, 2019 may have further multithreading improvements). What I'm getting from all this is:

  1. More cores is becoming more useful for this workload, but clock speed is still a primary factor. There are some macros that are exclusively single-threaded.

  2. RAM speed and timings can play an important role in responsiveness and speed.

  3. Some people have discussed exporting the data sets for use with MATLAB or SQL databases, and allowing for potentially higher parallelization. This allows better usage of multithreading or even use of GPUs, Xeon Phi, etc. I am not an expert, but figure it is worth mentioning. Sometimes a change in workflow can make a significant difference.

  4. Your highly overclocked 8086k is actually near the top for this workload if you have a lot of macros or other single threaded functions, and thus may benefit more from faster RAM with tighter timings. If you don't, then a HEDT processor with good cooling for overclocking could potentially speed up the workload. See the Monte Carlo/Excel benchmarks I mentioned.

That's my two cents, at least. Hopefully that helps.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

That absolutely helps, thank you for the thorough and thoughtful answer. My current build (which I have yet to publish or I would share) uses a delidded i7-8086K and a 32GB 3200 RAM (14-14-14-34; CAS Latency 14). It's a personal build that's a dual boot Windows/Mac (I'm writing this on iOS on the 8086K). I typically don't run it at 5.4 because it becomes unstable but keep it at 5.2. Honestly, I was hoping that it would be a little faster (mind you it's mind blowingly quick) but that's the limits of Excel so I need to move it to something else. I use to write C DLLs and send information from Excel to the DLL for the hard work and return it. I use SQLserver/Postgres, Python of course, R, a boat load of VB/VBA, and lots of other tools.

In tests on multiple different configurations and processors I can tell you a few things. Excel (64) hates hyper-threading. Don't believe me? Just set the number of processors in the options on Excel to your actual number run a test and then turn it off to run everything. RAM absolutely matters (just the above RAM is overkill because it's difficult for me to see the difference in performance (but databases love RAM like that), fastest single core wins in Excel (unfortunately) but additional physical cores help. Last is the one no one talks about. It's the CPU cache. The bigger the better. Unfortunately, you usually have to sacrifice either speed or cache (databases love cache more than incremental speed).

I love my current build and that's why I was leaning towards the 9900k so I can take advantage of everything the 8700/8086K offer and more.

  • 13 months ago
  • 2 points

In your boat, you could tentatively look at the x299 platform. I, for my number crunching, have usually gone with Intel's more specialized platform, not so much for the core counts, but features - RAM, PCIe lanes, and the CPU cache is a part of that since the X series of chips is generous here. If you have not ordered the 9900K yet, you could look towards the 9900X instead. It is slightly slower than the 9900K but it no slouch when it comes to single threaded performance and I believe it has 10cores/20threads and overclocks very handsomely if you take the time to liquid cool it. Of course, platform is slightly overkill, and 10 cores is definitely more than you need. Option is there, will cost more than i9-9900K, but when it comes to professional equipment, money spent is money made. A liquid asset that is a tax deductible.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

I have not, I will evaluate. I plan on buying everything early next week...

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

P.S. You seriously don't work in finance? If you live anywhere close to NYC PM me.

  • 13 months ago
  • 2 points

LOL, no, but I keep myself an informed citizen in a variety of topics outside my specialization. I do not live amazingly far from you, I live and work in VA and do visit NYC occasionally. About a 6hour'ish drive. I will definitely PM you if I am in your neck of the woods.

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