I've been working on upgrading my test rig for a while, but it got to the point that I was waiting on hardware for far too long... so I shifted over to new partners and it sped up considerably. I'm still waiting on some components, but the core system is now ready and I will begin re-testing everything next week.
The previous GPU test rig that I've been using for all GPU reviews here on TweakTown was powered by ASUS and their X570 ROG Crosshair VIII HERO motherboard. I switched from the AMD Ryzen 7 3800X to the newer Zen 3-based Ryzen 9 5900X recently, but now we're upgrading again.
In the new 2022 test rig, I'm using Intel's latest 12th Gen Core "Alder Lake" CPU in the form of the Core i9-12900K processor which is slotted into the beautiful, and ridiculously high-end ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboard.
Sabrent was the biggest help in supplying the harder-to-get DDR5 RAM, with the company sending over 4 x 16GB sticks of their latest Sabrent Rocket DDR5-4800 RAM. I'm using 64GB of Sabrent Rocket DDR5-4800 memory, while the company also provided a deliciously large, and super-fast Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB SSD. Yeah, 8 terabytes of Gen4 SSD goodness, I can install Call of Duty: Warzone twice, just!
- Read more: TweakTown GPU Test Bed Upgrade for 2021, But Then Zen 3 Was Announced
- Read more: TweakTown's new GPU Benchmarking Rig (Updated for 2017)
The plan is to use the new Core i9-12900K system for our GPU reviews moving forward, leading into NVIDIA's next-gen Ada Lovelace-based GeForce RTX 40 series GPUs and AMD's next-gen RDNA 3-based Radeon RX 7000 series GPUs. Oh, and we can't forget about Intel entering the race with their desktop Arc Alchemist GPUs later this year.
This is my build so far...
CPU: Intel Core i9-12900K
Intel was very kind to send over their Core i9-12900K a few months ago now, or else I would've pushed for the KS variant... but the Core i9-12900K is a great CPU, one of the very best you can get. We have 16 cores and 24 threads at up to 5.2GHz.
I had personally purchased a Corsair iCUE H150i ELITE CAPELLIX cooler for a previous build -- the Core i7-12700K system from last year that I played with -- and then purchased the iCUE H150i ELUTE LCD Display Upgrade Kit. The results speak for themselves: it looks absolutely awesome, and it keeps the Core i9-12900K nice and cool.
Here it is built and ready, with its 360mm radiator at the top with some great-looking RGB fans. I might make some changes to the CPU cooler before these systems are finished, but we'll see.
Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme
I asked ASUS if they could help out with their flagship ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboard, and after some back and forth with them, they truly delivered. ASUS sent over not one, but two of the flagship ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboards.
We have the LGA 1700 socket that houses Intel 12th Gen Core "Alder Lake" CPUs, where I'm using the Core i9-12900K processor here. We have PCIe 5.0 support, ready for PCIe 5.0 SSDs and some upcoming PCIe 5.0 GPUs of the future as well.
ASUS has truly over-built the ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboard, which is why I chose it: we have 24+1 teamed power staged raged for 105A, ProCool II power connectors, a gigantic heat sink across the motherboard which keeps the Z690 chipset cool, and the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB NVMe M.2 SSD.
You can fit a few NVMe M.2 SSDs here, with 3 x slots (the first M.2 slot is PCIe 5.0 capable) but I'm using the second M.2 slot as the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB SSD inside is a Gen4 SSD. Once I've got a Gen5-capable SSD then I'll use that additional M.2 slot above the GPU. Ooooh boy, Gen5 SSDs... bring it, Sabrent.
ASUS does a great job with 90-degree 24-pin ATX power connectors, perfect actually when it comes to a motherboard for a GPU test bed. You'll also require 2 x 8-pin EPS power connectors to get the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboard up and running.
Even the back of the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboard looks great, one of the best backplates on a motherboard I've used, ever. It's truly beautiful, and it's a shame, because you'll never see it. However, it will protect the back of your board from any damage during installation, and acts as a huge heat sink.
Maybe I need to find a chassis where I can check out the motherboard from behind, too... hmmm.
RAM: 64GB Sabrent Rocket DDR5-4800 + SSD: Sabrent 8TB
Sabrent helped out in a huge way, sending me over both a bunch of DDR5 RAM, and a huge 8TB Gen4 SSD. First off, we have the Sabrent Rocket DDR5 16GB DDR5-4800 sticks: 4 x 16GB DDR5-4800 for a total of 64GB of Sabrent Rocket DDR5-4800 memory. Oooh boy. That's a big upgrade over the 32GB of DDR4-3200 that I was using in the previous GPU test rig.
I think the Sabrent Rocket DDR5 RAM looks great: there's no RGB bling, and while I'd like that in some ways, the design stays in line with the Rocket-branded SSDs.
Took some beautiful glory shots with my Mercy statue from Overwatch, I'm a Mercy Main in the game and had to balance that damn stick of DDR5 RAM for an unbelievable amount of times to get these photos. But man... they're worth it.
Sabrent helped out in an even bigger way, with an incredibly huge 8TB version of its Rocket 4 Plus NVMe M.2 SSD. Yeah, 8TB... with speeds that will hit 7.5GB/sec (7500MB/sec). The motherboard can take in a PCIe 5.0-based SSD, but we'll wait a little while longer and I'll have a second system ready and shift over to Gen5.
While I was getting the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB SSD into the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboard, I thought I'd take some photos with the 8TB drive and its 4TB brothers. Don't they all look dapper together? So much super-fast storage there, enough to install Call of Duty, twice.
Well, that's the new TweakTown GPU test bed for 2022 and 2023 so far. I've got some cooling, fans, power supplies, and cases to get yet... then it'll be finalized, but there will be a sister system that will have AMD's new Zen 4-based Ryzen 7000 series CPU later this year.
The first game to get pumped into this system is Hitman 3 which I'm running right now, and once the first three resolutions are finished I'll do some 8K benchmarking starting on the Core i9-12900K. The huge new 8TB SSD from Sabrent is glorious to use, as I can now better fill the SSD with games without stressing of needing another drive. 8 terabytes of 7.5GB/sec+ SSD goodness feels so OP.
I'll be spending the next month or so benchmarking everything all over again, introducing some new games and tests into the fray as well. We are only a couple of months away from next-gen GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD, and then the entry of Arc Alchemist GPUs from Intel, finally, maybe, hopefully.
I'd like to extend a gigantic thanks to Sabrent and ASUS... they helped me immensely in this build, and thank you to Intel for sending over the delicious new Core i9-12900K processor. Sabrent and ASUS helped in a huge way, with ASUS providing an amazing flagship ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboard, and Sabrent to help me fill it with Rocket DDR5 and 8TB of Rocket 4 Plus SSD storage.
Now, I just need to get some coolers, some PSUs, fans, and cases and it can all be finalized. Until then, benchmarking my life away is my fuel. Thanks, everyone!