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CPU overclock - is it truely worth it for DCS?


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Pretty much every time I see someone post his/her system specs here, I see they overclocked their CPU. I'm struggling a bit to see what my pc's bottleneck is. I've build a heavy test mission that gets my 1080ti to 100% usage in Windows task manager, while the cores of my 8700k show ~40%. This mission, basically a bunch of F-14's, Mig-29's doing a/a combat over Abu Dhabi and many ground units and SAM's, gives me 20 to 30fps. I already learned that this is not a correct CPU reading, as DCS only uses 1 core (please correct me if I'm talking nonsense) Anyways, I've seen a lot of people here with similar system specs, that have their CPU overclocked. So I thought, it should probably help, right? I've been doing some CPU overclocking and testing over past few weeks, but I don't really see improvement when it comes to framerates. Actually I didn't see any improvement at all. Only thing I see increase, is my CPU core temp. I eventually overclocked my CPU to 4.7GHz (core temp got stable at 85-90 deg C), but as said above, I don't see any increase in fps in my test mission. Still 20 to 30 fps, just like without the CPU overclock. I'm probably missing something here, as I'm a layman when it comes to overclocking and testing. Problem is also, that I'm bound to testing my system performance in DCS, because I use a very low res monitor. So any regular 2D benchmark program runs flawless. Can anyone explain to me, what exactly causes high CPU demands in DCS? Because at this point, I don't see the sense in risking CPU overheat due to overclocking, while not seeing any results. Edited by sirrah

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System specs: i7-8700K @stock speed - GTX 1080TI @ stock speed - AsRock Extreme4 Z370 - 32GB DDR4 @3GHz- HP Reverb v2 - Saitek Pro pedals - TM Warthog HOTAS - TM F/A-18 Grip - TM Cougar HOTAS (NN-Dan mod) & (throttle standalone mod) - Pointctrl & aux banks <-- must have for VR users!! - Andre's SimShaker Jetpad - Fully adjustable DIY playseat

 

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  • ED Team

People like to overclock to get the best out of their cpu's and sometimes it can help. It can also have a negative effect, I have helped many over the years with driver and dcs crashes that were created by bad overclocks.

 

If you have a stable overclock in DCS great, if you start to get constant crashes, chances are its the overclock.

 

thanks

Edited by BIGNEWY
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I do notice a difference and I also believe you should really overclock if you have bought a K CPU.

 

I personally try to find the sweet spot, which is 4,8Ghz for my CPU. I would have liked to reach 5Ghz, but that requires a lot more voltage on my chip. Not worth the heat increase.

I run it at a fixed voltage, which actually gives me lower temperatures and core voltage than it was at stock settings.

 

It can be time consuming and a lot of trial and error to get there though. And if, like you said in your case, you don't notice any fps increase in DCS, then it might not be worth the time/effort.

 

Br,

 

Mud

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People like to overclock to get the best out of their cpu's and sometimes it can help. It can also have a negative effect, I have helped many over the years with driver and dcs crashes that were created by bad overclocks.

 

If you have a stable overclock in DCS great, if you start to get constant crashes, chances are its the overclock.

 

thanks

Thanks for answering BN, I understand this.

 

However, that's not really what I was trying to get cleared out. In the end I obviously want to know, if overclocking my CPU is worth the "risk".

 

But at the moment I have no idea what makes DCS strain the CPU and what puts strain on GPU. Most probably my test mission isn't realistic and perhaps it is mainly heavy on my GPU (which would explain that I don't see any improvement after overclocking my CPU).

 

Maybe someone could explain to me what in DCS uses CPU strain and what uses GPU strain.

 

 

Edit:

And thanks Mud. Our posts just crossed

(Yeah, it took me 20mins to post.. My GF was talking to me.. non stop..)

Edited by sirrah

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System specs: i7-8700K @stock speed - GTX 1080TI @ stock speed - AsRock Extreme4 Z370 - 32GB DDR4 @3GHz- HP Reverb v2 - Saitek Pro pedals - TM Warthog HOTAS - TM F/A-18 Grip - TM Cougar HOTAS (NN-Dan mod) & (throttle standalone mod) - Pointctrl & aux banks <-- must have for VR users!! - Andre's SimShaker Jetpad - Fully adjustable DIY playseat

 

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I've been doing some CPU overclocking and testing over past few weeks, but I don't really see improvement when it comes to framerates. Actually I didn't see any improvement at all. Only thing I see increase, is my CPU core temp.

 

I eventually overclocked my CPU to 4.7GHz (core temp got stable at 58-90 deg C), but as said above, I don't see any increase in fps in my test mission. Still 20 to 30 fps, just like without the CPU overclock.

 

Hi,

 

The reason you dont see Improvement is because your 8700k already has a sort of builtin overclock. So, while the base frequency of your cpu is 3.7 GHz, the "turbo boost" frequency for a single core is 4.7 Ghz and is automatically achieved by the processor on its own and maintained for a brief time.

 

When you increase the base frequency to 4.7 you dont get a higher short-term increase, and if maintained for a longer time it results on heat triggering the thermal protection of the cpu, which can actually reduce performance in an attempt to save the processor from heat induced damage.

 

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Hi,

 

The reason you dont see Improvement is because your 8700k already has a sort of builtin overclock. So, while the base frequency of your cpu is 3.7 GHz, the "turbo boost" frequency for a single core is 4.7 Ghz and is automatically achieved by the processor on its own and maintained for a brief time.

 

When you increase the base frequency to 4.7 you dont get a higher short-term increase, and if maintained for a longer time it results on heat triggering the thermal protection of the cpu, which can actually reduce performance in an attempt to save the processor from heat induced damage.

 

Best regards.

I completely understand and although I wasn't sure, this confirms what I expected.

 

So, why do I see multiple signatures on this forum, where people state that their 8700k OC is at, for instance 4.5, 4.6, or even 4.7. How I see it now, for DCS, that's pretty useless...

 

But again, maybe I'm missing something..

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System specs: i7-8700K @stock speed - GTX 1080TI @ stock speed - AsRock Extreme4 Z370 - 32GB DDR4 @3GHz- HP Reverb v2 - Saitek Pro pedals - TM Warthog HOTAS - TM F/A-18 Grip - TM Cougar HOTAS (NN-Dan mod) & (throttle standalone mod) - Pointctrl & aux banks <-- must have for VR users!! - Andre's SimShaker Jetpad - Fully adjustable DIY playseat

 

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The reason why people give their OC information is the same as why some drive fat cars or wear extremely expensive watches etc. - namely, showing off. :music_whistling:

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The reason why people give their OC information is the same as why some drive fat cars or wear extremely expensive watches etc. - namely, showing off. :music_whistling:

 

Mind you, I'm not saying it's useless to show system specs (heck, I do so myself), so that when there's a discussion about performance and settings, one doesn't have to list their specs each time.

 

My point was, overclocking a 8700K to anything less than 4.8GHz, seems pointless to me.

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System specs: i7-8700K @stock speed - GTX 1080TI @ stock speed - AsRock Extreme4 Z370 - 32GB DDR4 @3GHz- HP Reverb v2 - Saitek Pro pedals - TM Warthog HOTAS - TM F/A-18 Grip - TM Cougar HOTAS (NN-Dan mod) & (throttle standalone mod) - Pointctrl & aux banks <-- must have for VR users!! - Andre's SimShaker Jetpad - Fully adjustable DIY playseat

 

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My point was, overclocking a 8700K to anything less than 4.8GHz, seems pointless to me.

 

Not if you do it better than the system does it on auto. The VID will often request more voltage than is required, leading to higher VCORE voltage and temperatures than a manual overclock.

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Yeah. It is worth it. At least on Intel's side: they is low hanging fruit and you can easily get a decent few percent increase in DCS performance and all round performance from clicking a few buttons in bios. And provided that you don't have a completely potato PC ventelation and CPU cooling performance there is very little cost and no risk to doing so. Marginal downside (bit of extra power consumption and Saint Greta of Stockholm is angry with you, that's all), small upside. But to push a high overclock starts to involve compromises and is best left to someone that knows what they are doing.

 

On AMD the built in algos are so effective that, no, overclocking is not worth it and more often that not you go backwards.

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Some just really like to do it. For me it's about a real nice fast stable DCS.

 

These days I'm just running 4.8

To get the systems (All parts) to have real good throughput for a very dynamic software, hard to know where the drops are, will be or when etc.

 

So start with great motherboard, this ties it "Altogether"

Good CPU / RAM / GPU

 

My system is a bit old now, but because I went that little bit more and push it, say 20% more. It holds 60 fps locked, max settings @1440p on the largest server, it never rarely drops from that. Still very happy with that.

 

Down the road when I see what the 30XX cards will do, perhaps 120 locked will be possible. Like VR, just don't want to wear a headset all the time when online and trackir plays nicer at 60, 120.

 

Overclocking is just one little part to get max throughput.

 

It's like replacing a turbo on a car, or more boost, without putting the appropriate exhaust and cooling etc. (throughput) to maximize the mods.

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Thanks for all the feedback guys :thumbup:

 

So as I said before, is it safe to say, that overclocking a 8700K (with a default boost speed of 4.7GHz) to anything less than 4.8GHz, is in fact pointless?

 

The only reason to set it fixed to 4.7GHz could be, that the default Intel boost might increase the voltage unnecessary high.

 

Did I understand that correctly?

 

 

 

(anything above 4.7GHz could actually cause performance increase. Anything up to 4.7 is basically already used by default, right?)

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Thanks for all the feedback guys :thumbup:

 

So as I said before, is it safe to say, that overclocking a 8700K (with a default boost speed of 4.7GHz) to anything less than 4.8GHz, is in fact pointless?

 

The only reason to set it fixed to 4.7GHz could be, that the default Intel boost might increase the voltage unnecessary high.

 

Did I understand that correctly?

 

 

 

(anything above 4.7GHz could actually cause performance increase. Anything up to 4.7 is basically already used by default, right?)

 

It depends on too many variables and especially on the user case.

I usually say to think of overclocking as the computer equivalent of automotive "hotrodding" and "tuning".

One can go "mild" or "extreme" on it.

 

If your 8700K is "stock" (default factory settings), then when you think about CPU clocks (or frequency), going from the base clock to the max boost clocks, there's a process/algorythm that you can imagine working like a throttle on a car.

It's the algorythm that decides when to increase or decrease the clocks.

It never stays fully boosted for endless time, it'll be going up and down (usually staying at ~4.3Ghz on 8700K), which you'll notice if you can monitor that when gaming/simming.

 

Because every CPU is different (the silicon lottery) the base/boost clock algorythm is there, and is quite conservative, to guarantee the most reliable experience for the user.

And this is why OC'ing became so interesting in gaming for Intel "K" processors, especially the "all core OC" type, where you lock it at a desired frequency, so to be at "full-throttle" every time the CPU does work.

 

Even in use cases such as for single/dual core applications where IPC is important (most games, and that includes simulations, like DCS, MSFS, P3D, etc), and at 1080P or even 1440P resolutions, there are benefits with OC.

So, yes the overclock on Intel "K" processors can be very effective and very worth it, if you have good hardware to support it (good cooling, quality motherboard with 10+ phase, sub 80ºC VRM temps).

4.7Ghz is perfectly safe on the 8700K, I've seen cases of 5.1Ghz working for over 2 years with no hint of degradation.

 

Search youtube, there are plenty comparos of "8700K Stock VS OC": https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=8700k+vs+8700k+oc

 

 

T.L.D.R.: even a 4.7Ghz "all core" OC will increase performance over "stock" algorythm of 8700K, for sure.

Will you see notorious improvements? Well, it really depends on user case. For gamming/simming, yes, I'd say it's worth it. :)

Edited by LucShep

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Absolutely, yes, if you have a Z motherboard and K processor and you aren't overclocking you are just throwing money away.

 

Make sure the BIOS on your MB is current. You will get the most stable overclocks that way, for your CPU and RAM.

 

What kind of cooling do you have? I've read people getting good results with a Noctua air cooler, but ideally you want a 240mm or 360mm AIO or liquid cooling.

 

I have a custom loop with a THICK (more surface area) EK 360mm radiator. All the copper blocks, rads, and fittings aren't cheap, but they don't really wear out and aren't subject to Moore's law.

 

If you are worried about frying your CPU just keep voltage @ 1.4v (1.35v even better). I'm a big fan of adaptive voltage, otherwise your CPU is drawing more current and creating more heat than necessary.

 

Temps will throttle a Skylake Intel chip at 100° C, but you want to keep it below about 85 for daily driving.

 

Ideally if their is a specific guide for OCing your motherboard or ASROCK BIOS, you would want to use that. This is good general guide that covers most BIOS, don't worry that is says 9900K, not really that much of a difference between your chip and mine except 2 more cores.

 

https://www.tweaktown.com/guides/9225/intel-core-i9-9900k-kf-overclocking-guide/index.html

 

Two other good sources are r/overclocking on reddit and overclock.net. Be forewarned, they're not really noob friendly, so best to read a lot and follow the guides before you ask too many questions.

 

Look into Intel XTU, you can overclock per core. Intel chips come stock with a turbo boost that affects 2-3 cores depending on chip. They designed it this way for a reason, games don't use all the cores of a modern CPU. You will get more beneficial overclocks per core with less voltage and heat than trying to OC your whole chip. That really only helps for Cinebench scores, not for gaming. BTW, the 40% usage stat you cited is most likely for the whole CPU, you want to look at usage per core as DCS will be limited by single core performance, which is why it responds so well to overclocking. Over Intel XTU is a lot more user friendly than overclocking through BIOS for noobs.

 

Make sure you XMP profile for you RAM is enabled (setting in BIOS) as well.

 

Intel sells an overclock warranty for like $20 if you are really worried about. Keep your CPU under 85°C and 1.35V for daily OC and you'll be fine. People have run overclocks for years on chips at the edge of specs with no issues.

 

There's a whole lot more, overclocking is kind of a rabbit hole, but that should get you started.

 

You can definitely hit diminishing returns and for most people the money would be better spent on a new CPU or better GPU but if you already have top tier components and want to squeeze all the performance out you can, and you like to tinker a little bit, overclocking is a lot of fun. And you get instant gratification in you game frame rates and graphics settings. A lot depends on how much fan noise you can tolerate if you don't have liquid cooling :D

 

Make sure your Windows power settings are on high performance and the same for you Nvidia driver. Everything comes with energy and heat saving features on by default, you want to turn those off for a gaming rig.

Edited by Sn8ke_iis

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Thanks for all the feedback guys :thumbup:

 

So as I said before, is it safe to say, that overclocking a 8700K (with a default boost speed of 4.7GHz) to anything less than 4.8GHz, is in fact pointless?

 

The only reason to set it fixed to 4.7GHz could be, that the default Intel boost might increase the voltage unnecessary high.

 

Did I understand that correctly?

 

 

 

(anything above 4.7GHz could actually cause performance increase. Anything up to 4.7 is basically already used by default, right?)

 

Best to go right to the source, I can't remember all the specs on these chips they're all binned a little differently each gen.

 

https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/126684/intel-core-i7-8700k-processor-12m-cache-up-to-4-70-ghz.html

 

From looking at that you'd need to push 1-2 cores to 4.8 GHz or better to see any improvement over the stock turboboost. The 8700K is a good chip, you bought well. You may not have gotten a golden sample for overclocking, but they're good chips. And a 8700K/1080 Ti is one of the best builds you could have done in recent memory in terms of performance/price and longevity. Money well spent...

 

You can still squeeze a little more out of her though. If you can pick up a second 1080 Ti and like to play at 1440p or 4K you'd see a lot of improvement with that as well.

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The reason why people give their OC information is the same as why some drive fat cars or wear extremely expensive watches etc. - namely, showing off. :music_whistling:

 

Or..Or, when you're discussing performance, it stops the endless "what HW do you have, what ram? what speed, hdd sdd?, etc.etc.etc.

 

What kind of dolt would "show off" via something so trivial like what the computer spec is? You'd have to be a very shallow person to think you're showing off and a very envious person to covet someone else's.

 

As for cars and watches, maybe they can afford it and just enjoy it. Who wouldn't want a Ferrari or Lambo in their garage if they coudl afford it?

Edited by hansangb

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Thanks for all the feedback guys :thumbup:

 

So as I said before, is it safe to say, that overclocking a 8700K (with a default boost speed of 4.7GHz) to anything less than 4.8GHz, is in fact pointless?

 

The only reason to set it fixed to 4.7GHz could be, that the default Intel boost might increase the voltage unnecessary high.

 

Did I understand that correctly?

 

 

 

(anything above 4.7GHz could actually cause performance increase. Anything up to 4.7 is basically already used by default, right?)

 

I yanked my 8700K because I had it delid'ed and ran just fine at 5.1GHz. The temp was lower with 5.1GHz than default after delid'ing it. So it was "free" upgrade save for the delid kit ($40 I think).

 

Also, for VR players, EVERY FPS matters so we're like junkies in wanting the eek out every fps we can. :)

 

A while back, I got Process Lasso and it made VR better. It could have been placebo effect, but it hasn't hurt. So there's yet another variable to consider.

hsb

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Thanks for all the feedback guys :thumbup:

 

So as I said before, is it safe to say, that overclocking a 8700K (with a default boost speed of 4.7GHz) to anything less than 4.8GHz, is in fact pointless?

 

The only reason to set it fixed to 4.7GHz could be, that the default Intel boost might increase the voltage unnecessary high.

 

Did I understand that correctly?

 

 

 

(anything above 4.7GHz could actually cause performance increase. Anything up to 4.7 is basically already used by default, right?)

 

 

But remember, the turbo boost doesn't work on all cores, right? Whereas the OC'ing does boost all cores.

hsb

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But remember, the turbo boost doesn't work on all cores, right? Whereas the OC'ing does boost all cores.

 

So, quick question on this.

 

DCS uses 1-2 cores or whatever. But what I see is that DCS will bounce around on different cores, probably for thermal balance reasons.

 

So questions are, does the turbo boost take time to ramp up, when it bounces to a different core?

 

I mean if all the cores are at 4.8 all the time, I think bouncing the thread between them shouldn't effect performance.

 

Whereas if your core spd is 3.6ghz, and the current thread is running "boosted" at 4.8 and it bounces to a 3.6 core, which then needs to turbo up? Or does the CPU pre-boost the core it gets bounced to?

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So, quick question on this.

 

DCS uses 1-2 cores or whatever. But what I see is that DCS will bounce around on different cores, probably for thermal balance reasons.

 

So questions are, does the turbo boost take time to ramp up, when it bounces to a different core?

 

I mean if all the cores are at 4.8 all the time, I think bouncing the thread between them shouldn't effect performance.

 

Whereas if your core spd is 3.6ghz, and the current thread is running "boosted" at 4.8 and it bounces to a 3.6 core, which then needs to turbo up? Or does the CPU pre-boost the core it gets bounced to?

 

 

 

It would be very very hard to nail this down I think. I guess one way to test is to turn boost on and off to see if makes any difference? But jumping around could cause latency issues, so again, I don't know anyone here who would be able to know *for sure*.

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So, quick question on this.

 

DCS uses 1-2 cores or whatever. But what I see is that DCS will bounce around on different cores, probably for thermal balance reasons.

 

So questions are, does the turbo boost take time to ramp up, when it bounces to a different core?

 

I mean if all the cores are at 4.8 all the time, I think bouncing the thread between them shouldn't effect performance.

 

Whereas if your core spd is 3.6ghz, and the current thread is running "boosted" at 4.8 and it bounces to a 3.6 core, which then needs to turbo up? Or does the CPU pre-boost the core it gets bounced to?

 

One of the key features introduced with the 7th Gen Core-i ( 7700k etc. ) was the Ramp-Up Speed improvement. With my 2600k and 6700k it did matter if I set it to HP mode or not, aka lock the CPU's at their max Speed in HP mode or if I let it bounce around. With the 7700k I often forgot to change energy settings from "Balanced" daily use to "High Performance", I could not tell the difference anymore.

I still think it's better to lock the CPU and be safe, but if you forget to do so, you will not be punished as with previous CPU generations.

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So, quick question on this.

 

DCS uses 1-2 cores or whatever. But what I see is that DCS will bounce around on different cores, probably for thermal balance reasons.

 

So questions are, does the turbo boost take time to ramp up, when it bounces to a different core?

 

I mean if all the cores are at 4.8 all the time, I think bouncing the thread between them shouldn't effect performance.

 

Whereas if your core spd is 3.6ghz, and the current thread is running "boosted" at 4.8 and it bounces to a 3.6 core, which then needs to turbo up? Or does the CPU pre-boost the core it gets bounced to?

 

Does it really use only 1 core? When I check on HWMon, I see all cores moving pretty equally. Why is this?

 

As for overclocking, it is worth it only if you do it right. I've seen people with so much dirt and dust in their case even default clock was running at 70'C idle.

And you'll get best result wen CPU and RAM are OC'ed together.

 

As for what uses CPU in DCS, I believe AI, Avionics, weapon characteristics, Multiplayer... these types of computations mostly uses CPU cycle.

Resolution, MSAA, Pixel density, texture settings... graphic quality are mostly GPU.

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Does it really use only 1 core? When I check on HWMon, I see all cores moving pretty equally. Why is this?

 

As for overclocking, it is worth it only if you do it right. I've seen people with so much dirt and dust in their case even default clock was running at 70'C idle.

And you'll get best result wen CPU and RAM are OC'ed together.

 

As for what uses CPU in DCS, I believe AI, Avionics, weapon characteristics, Multiplayer... these types of computations mostly uses CPU cycle.

Resolution, MSAA, Pixel density, texture settings... graphic quality are mostly GPU.

 

 

Ahhh, the great debate of DCS. We know for a fact that it uses minimum of two threads. One for sound. But there are also reports of it using more threads than two EVEN when accounting for the DCS thread moving around from cpu to cpu (processor affinity)

hsb

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I have a 8600K which turbos to 4.3, is it really worth any performance gain by OC to say 4.8 for example?

 

 

For monitor 2D? Probably not. You probably can't tell the difference between 50 and 60FPS. For VR, it *could* help smooth it out. Every dropped frame can add up.

hsb

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i7-10700K Direct-To-Die/OC'ed to 5.1GHz, MSI Z490 MB, 32GB DDR4 3200MHz, EVGA 2080 Ti FTW3, NVMe+SSD, Win 10 x64 Pro, MFG, Warthog, TM MFDs, Komodo Huey set, Rverbe G1

 

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