Originally Posted by Annihilannic
I have an aging but still well loved system with:
- Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R motherboard
- Intel Core i7-960 3.2GHz 4 core 8MB CPU
- 24 GB G.SKILL Ripjaws RAM (6 x 4GB DDR3 PC3-12800 1600MHz (9-9-9-24) F3-12800CL9T-12GBRL)
- EVGA NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti hybrid
I'm thinking of upgrading the CPU to the best available for that motherboard, which appears to be the Core i7-990X 3.46GHz 6 core 12MB. Should I bother?
Is it even possible with my RAM? According to the specs here the i980X/i990X only support DDR3-1066 RAM, and I'm not sure my PC3-12800 qualifies for that - it appears to be running at 800MHz in CPU-Z. I only recently upgraded the RAM, so if it doesn't match, I definitely won't bother with the CPU upgrade until I move to a new chipset completely.
Also, bonus question... does this also mean my tri-channel RAM is useless in future chipsets (i.e. I would be happy to stick with 4 x 4GB with a faster CPU/motherboard combination) or is it too slow/incompatible anyway?
Thanks for reading,
Regarding the RAM, the i7's are officially rated for 1066 Mhz DDR3 and the 32nm hexacore Xeons for 1333 Mhz, but both of them will do 1600 Mhz just fine. As to the kit's usability in future chipsets, only if you move to X79, that's the only newer HEDT chipset that works with DDR3, newer ones like X99 and X299 work with DDR4 and next year we'll probably have DDR5 motherboards.
As to your RAM being reported as working at 800 Mhz by CPU-Z (under Memory -> Timings -> DRAM Frequency), that would be correct, "DDR" stands for "double data rate", and your memory does run internally at 800 Mhz, but you get double the throughput, that's why it's called DDR3 1600 Mhz for simplicity's sake, even though it's not very accurate; purists will refer to the transfer rate (1600 MT/s) or bandwidth numbers (PC3-12800 for 12.8 GB/s bandwidth for each channel of DDR3 1600 Mhz).
Also, depending on what you do with the system, you may find better performance in gaming by running only 16 GB in dual channel (especially minimum fps), you'll get less latency. If however you do professional stuff, the amount of memory at your disposal may be of higher interest.