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Does CPU matter when choosing a GPU upgrade?

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Hi all,

I'm on the market for a new GPU to replace a R9 270x 4GB I've had since 2014.

The RTX 3070 is looking like the perfect option for me (considering the prices start going down again with the upcoming 40-series and eventually ARC, when it comes out in 10 years...): mainly I want a card that will last me ideally another 8 years of solid gameplay at 1080p with possible in-home streaming at a higher resolution or with DLSS.

 

At this moment I'm only going to upgrade my GPU but it's possible I upgrade my whole rig in the near future. So should I take a future CPU upgrade into consideration when choosing a GPU?

Would there be a clear advantage to choosing an AMD card in order to pair it with an AMD CPU in the future? Instead of NVidia + Whatever?

 

At the moment my PC is:

  • ASUS RADEON R9 270X DirectCU II Top (1120 mhz, 4096 mb, 5600 mhz, fan) (90YV04U3-M0NA00)
  • INTEL Core i5 4690K (4c, 4t, 3.5 ghz, 6 mb, 88 watt, boxed) (BX80646I54690K)
  • ASUS Z97-PRO(WI-FI AC) (90MB0I10-M0EAY0)
  • G.SKILL 8GZH (8192 mb, 2400 mhz, CL10, 1.65 v, non-ecc, unbuffered, kit of 2) (F3-2400C10D-8GZH)
  • XFX PRO650W (650 watt, atx) (P1-650S-NLB9)
  • COOLERMASTER Hyper 412S (s775, sAM2, s1366, sAM3, s1156, s1155, sFM1, s2011) (RR-H412-13FK-R1)
  • FRACTAL DESIGN Define R4 Black Pearl (black, no psu, atx) (FD-CA-DEF-R4-BL)

Thanks a lot for the help.

 

Cheers,

Paulo

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You'd want to avoid a CPU bottleneck. With that 4690K a 3070 would perform the same as a 1660, maybe even worse.

 

There's no real advantage going with an AMD GPU if the CPU is also AMD, it does not work that way.

 

 

I am not allowed to have my PC specs in my signature.

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16 minutes ago, 191x7 said:

You'd want to avoid a CPU bottleneck. With that 4690K a 3070 would perform the same as a 1660, maybe even worse.

 

There's no real advantage going with an AMD GPU if the CPU is also AMD, it does not work that way.

 

 

Smart Access Memory, Rage Mode

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of course there would be problem using an old CPU and a super new high end GPU. you would have a big bottleneck. upgrade your CPU and Motherboard if you really need to with a new GPU, Performance being left on the table is Performance not being used and Wasted

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At 1080p and that CPU, you'll be CPU limited in most games these days which unfortunately isn't where you want to be. A 3070 will go underutilized pretty heavily and result in a poor experience as that CPU is going to be hammered at that resolution. 

 

Upgrade to a modern platform or just spend less on a the GPU. 

5800x/3090

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CPU matters to the point where it is fast enough to keep the GPU fed with data to work on. If the CPU is too slow to run the game's code and keep the GPU supplied at the same time, your GPU won't be able to run at full speed.

 

The higher the resolution/details, the more work the GPU has to do, the less often it will require new data to work on. Conversely, at low resolution/high fps, the CPU usage will also increase.

 

So it kind of depends on the games you play and how much CPU they need.

 

2 minutes ago, DANK_AS_gay said:

Smart Access Memory, Rage Mode

SAM (or rBar) also works on Intel. Rage mode shouldn't depend on the CPU?

Remember to either quote or @mention others, so they are notified of your reply

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Posted (edited)

Agree with others here, and to add this point -- without upgrading a lot of other things, and at least to a six or eight core processor, going any better than a GTX1650 Super or equivalent (which hardly has eight years of staying power) is pointless. And while 16GB is sufficient for most gaming, I found 32GB to be a whole lot better. But you need faster RAM as well -- something your current system board isn't likely to support.

Edited by An0maly_76

OP: My PC cuts off and crashes. Is the 1000W PSU enough?  ME: 1000W is plenty, PSU or system board could be faulty. Get both tested.

OP: I don't think so, both parts were purchased last week.        😒  Why bother asking if you second-guess the advice?

Friends don't let friends use Apple.                                              NOTE: Recently diagnosed autistic. I don't intend to ruffle anyone's feathers.

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Core count isn't the full problem, its the Intel 4th gen platform being as old as it is. A 12100f is a screamer of a 4-core chip for gaming and its only $100. 

5800x/3090

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33 minutes ago, pauloforte said:

I want a card that will last me ideally another 8 years of solid gameplay at 1080p with possible in-home streaming at a higher resolution or with DLSS.

 

At this moment I'm only going to upgrade my GPU but it's possible I upgrade my whole rig in the near future. So should I take a future CPU upgrade into consideration when choosing a GPU?

 

If you want a service life that long then first you need to drop the idea that you will stay at 1080p. Sooner or later you will either by market force or changes in priorities (for example you mentioned in home streaming) that will raise your base desired resolution up. Long service lives require looking further down the road in planning.

 

At this point in the GPU market you are better off waiting until you can upgrade everything as none of your current parts are really worth keeping for the next build and if you want to gamble a bit you might be able to pick up a 3000 series card for cheaper once the next gen launches but in any case expect to have to drop big bucks if you want 8 years of service.

"The Codex Electronica does not support this overclock."

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Hi guys, I really appreciate the answers, especially from those who stuck to the topic.

 

Like I said, I'm upgrading my GPU only, at this moment. Obviously there are going to be bottlenecks somewhere in that system: it's from 2014 running a 30-series GPU!... Obviously there is room for upgrade. Obviously I'll be CPU-bound. Obviously the RAM is still DDR3. Obviously many things. But I'm not going to get a whole new system just because my GPU needs an upgrade. I don't care about "performance not used is performance wasted" when that performance is enough for what I want now. I rather get a good GPU now and the rest of a new system within a couple years, when this one doesn't serve my purpose anymore.

And I'm certainly not going to upgrade to anything less than current gen (30-series) given how utterly ridiculous the prices are for past generations. Talk about wasting money...

This being said, obviously, if I don't get the performance I want from the system with the new card in I'll think of upgrading. But that wasn't my question. 🙂

 

And to clarify: I'm talking about whether choosing an AMD card would limit my options for a future CPU upgrade. And the same thing for a NVidia card.

If I understand correctly from the best answers above, there is no significant advantage to a specific CPU/GPU pairing, right?

 

Cheers

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27 minutes ago, Hybris5112 said:

 

If you want a service life that long then first you need to drop the idea that you will stay at 1080p. Sooner or later you will either by market force or changes in priorities (for example you mentioned in home streaming) that will raise your base desired resolution up. Long service lives require looking further down the road in planning.

 

At this point in the GPU market you are better off waiting until you can upgrade everything as none of your current parts are really worth keeping for the next build and if you want to gamble a bit you might be able to pick up a 3000 series card for cheaper once the next gen launches but in any case expect to have to drop big bucks if you want 8 years of service.

Thanks.

I've been holding out on pulling the trigger for a few months waiting for both this launch and ARC. (and going insane in the process) But honestly that doesn't change what I'm looking for: I'm going for a 30-series card anyway since the 40-series will certainly not be priced under the current gen. And upgrading my whole setup now seems the perfect waste of money at this moment: I'm at a point when I have to make choices with my money.

 

Speaking of future-proofing and resolutions: I only game at 1080p. To game at higher resolutions you need higher resolution monitors and I just upgraded mine. It suits what I need. Plus, even if in the future I will run higher resolutions, a 3070 seems like it will do the trick. For Home-streaming to my TV: I'm sitting 3 m away from a 55' TV. Normally the recommended resolution would be 4k but I do not notice a difference between 4k and 1440p and hardly any when viewing 1080p content from that distance.

I certainly understand where you're getting at: something made to handle multiple 4k monitors at 240Hz would last me longer than a card which is made to handle 1440p in 2022. But I can't justify spending over $3K on a PC right now when I can spend $500... 😬

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1 hour ago, pauloforte said:

Thanks.

I've been holding out on pulling the trigger for a few months waiting for both this launch and ARC. (and going insane in the process) But honestly that doesn't change what I'm looking for: I'm going for a 30-series card anyway since the 40-series will certainly not be priced under the current gen. And upgrading my whole setup now seems the perfect waste of money at this moment: I'm at a point when I have to make choices with my money.

 

Speaking of future-proofing and resolutions: I only game at 1080p. To game at higher resolutions you need higher resolution monitors and I just upgraded mine. It suits what I need. Plus, even if in the future I will run higher resolutions, a 3070 seems like it will do the trick. For Home-streaming to my TV: I'm sitting 3 m away from a 55' TV. Normally the recommended resolution would be 4k but I do not notice a difference between 4k and 1440p and hardly any when viewing 1080p content from that distance.

I certainly understand where you're getting at: something made to handle multiple 4k monitors at 240Hz would last me longer than a card which is made to handle 1440p in 2022. But I can't justify spending over $3K on a PC right now when I can spend $500... 😬

Then the best I can say is look to the other posts because as they have stated you will have severe bottlenecks.

"The Codex Electronica does not support this overclock."

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53 minutes ago, Hybris5112 said:

Then the best I can say is look to the other posts because as they have stated you will have severe bottlenecks.

2 hours ago, GuiltySpark_ said:

... you'll be CPU limited in most games these days which unfortunately isn't where you want to be.

2 hours ago, BionicSeaSerpent said:

problem using an old CPU and a super new high end GPU. you would have a big bottleneck. upgrade your CPU and Motherboard if you really need to with a new GPU, Performance being left on the table is Performance not being used and Wasted

3 hours ago, 191x7 said:

You'd want to avoid a CPU bottleneck. With that 4690K a 3070 would perform the same as a 1660, maybe even worse.

2 hours ago, Eigenvektor said:

(...). If the CPU is too slow (...)

I guess this thread has a new theme... *sigh*🙄

Thanks guys: I am well aware of the bottleneck.

To be fair, I've seen videos of fairly similar systems running 30-series cards and performing more than adequately.

Is it 1660-like performance? Maybe. Do I think that's a reason to consider another card? No. Did I expect the same performance from my system compared to a Ryzen 5600x? No. Will I upgrade my whole system now and spend over $3000 when I do not need that? Heck no.

 

So the question to be posed at this moment is: what is so utterly menacing about the bottleneck I'll have? I get the feeling people are trying to warn me about some impending doom but it seems to me the difference is comparable to running a game at medium settings instead of at high.

 

This is a serious questions though: what system-breaking and/or experience-breaking impact can such a bottleneck have? I'm not talking about getting 70 fps instead of 120: I'm talking about seriously damaging system-breaking impact.

 

Thanks in advance for your replies. 🙂

 

Cheers

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Simple. Being that heavily CPU bound doesn't lead to just poor framerates, it can be a stuttery and inconsistent mess.

 

As long as you know that, we're all good.

5800x/3090

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6 minutes ago, GuiltySpark_ said:

Simple. Being that heavily CPU bound doesn't lead to just poor framerates, it can be a stuttery and inconsistent mess.

 

As long as you know that, we're all good.

Thanks. Considering that I'm buying a card because the old one died (meaning: I'm not buying it to play newer games or the intent of playing games at better resolutions/settings), and that I was already getting acceptable performance with a R9 270x, will the bottleneck give me worse performance?

 

(and just to add: I know I could get an older card but I want the new card to still be relevant when I take it into a new system)

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For the price of an RTX 3070 you can upgrade the whole platform (CPU, RAM, MBO) and get a GPU, a combination that would give you more frames (and more consistent) than a 4690K paired with a 3070.

I am not allowed to have my PC specs in my signature.

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1 hour ago, pauloforte said:

So the question to be posed at this moment is: what is so utterly menacing about the bottleneck I'll have? I get the feeling people are trying to warn me about some impending doom but it seems to me the difference is comparable to running a game at medium settings instead of at high.

There's nothing menacing about it. If you are aware of the bottleneck and this is a temporary situation, there's nothing to worry about. People are warning you, because it's typically a waste of money to mix a high-end GPU with a low-end CPU. You won't get the performance you paid for, because the GPU will be held back by the CPU.

 

1 hour ago, pauloforte said:

This is a serious questions though: what system-breaking and/or experience-breaking impact can such a bottleneck have? I'm not talking about getting 70 fps instead of 120: I'm talking about seriously damaging system-breaking impact.

It won't break your system. It will break your experience in the sense that you will get worse-than-expected performance for such a card until you get a CPU fast enough to keep it running at full speed. It might result in your CPU running at 100% load during gaming, which could result in increased heat output and noise levels, but at the same time, the GPU will probably output less heat so… no real (dis)advantage 😛

Remember to either quote or @mention others, so they are notified of your reply

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Of course, all discussion is pointless, unless you supply us with the budget you have in mind.

OP: My PC cuts off and crashes. Is the 1000W PSU enough?  ME: 1000W is plenty, PSU or system board could be faulty. Get both tested.

OP: I don't think so, both parts were purchased last week.        😒  Why bother asking if you second-guess the advice?

Friends don't let friends use Apple.                                              NOTE: Recently diagnosed autistic. I don't intend to ruffle anyone's feathers.

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1 hour ago, 191x7 said:

For the price of an RTX 3070 you can upgrade the whole platform (CPU, RAM, MBO) and get a GPU, a combination that would give you more frames (and more consistent) than a 4690K paired with a 3070.

That's objectively not true. I mean: that's may be true if I wanted to waste my money on a temporary system, one I would feel the need to upgrade in a mere couple of years, compared to a full system I would only have to upgrade hopefully in 8 years like the current one. In the long-run it's a better investment.

1 hour ago, An0maly_76 said:

Of course, all discussion is pointless, unless you supply us with the budget you have in mind.

This is very true, although I wasn't really looking for input on how to upgrade, originally. But all help is gladly taken! 🙂

Well, my first idea when the GPU died was getting a current gen one and upgrade the rest later if I feel like I have to AND have the budget for it. For the GPU at this moment, my budget is €500.

IF I would upgrade my entire system: in 2014 I paid around €1200 for the system above. It was just below top-tier at the time and nowhere near enthusiast-tier - a place I deemed as my sweet spot for price/performance. Ideally I would pay the same now for the same tier, seen as the investment really paid off: I was very happy with my set-up up until a year or so ago. I don't really know how realistic that would be, since I've been focused solely on graphics card pricing.

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If you're on that tight of a budget that you think you can only upgrade the GPU, OP, it IS possible to do both. A 1650 Super is about the best GPU you can get for your current package that won't be hindered by your 4-core CPU. But even those start at around $300 these days, and you can get similar performance while paving the way for future upgrades for under $700, as seen in this list.

 

https://pcpartpicker.com/user/An0maly1976/saved/#view=fzYfdC

 

To put things in perspective, the GTX1650S is the best you can do without upgrading nearly everything else, and the GTX1650S starts around $300. But the 5600G's iGPU is similar in performance, and requires a better board to start with. That better board will allow better Zen3 upgrades later, that will have enough horsepower for the likes of the RTX3xxx cards. Just be aware that while you won't need a better PSU or cooling for this list of upgrades, they will be needed for the better stuff that it paves the way for.

OP: My PC cuts off and crashes. Is the 1000W PSU enough?  ME: 1000W is plenty, PSU or system board could be faulty. Get both tested.

OP: I don't think so, both parts were purchased last week.        😒  Why bother asking if you second-guess the advice?

Friends don't let friends use Apple.                                              NOTE: Recently diagnosed autistic. I don't intend to ruffle anyone's feathers.

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35 minutes ago, An0maly_76 said:

If you're on that tight of a budget that you think you can only upgrade the GPU, OP, it IS possible to do both. A 1650 Super is about the best GPU you can get for your current package that won't be hindered by your 4-core CPU. But even those start at around $300 these days, and you can get similar performance while paving the way for future upgrades for under $700, as seen in this list.

 

https://pcpartpicker.com/user/An0maly1976/saved/#view=fzYfdC

 

To put things in perspective, the GTX1650S is the best you can do without upgrading, and it starts around $300. But the 5600G's iGPU is similar in performance, and requires a better board to start with. That better board will allow better Zen3 upgrades later, that will have enough horsepower for the likes of the RTX3xxx cards. Just be aware that while you won't need a better PSU or cooling for this list of upgrades, they will be needed for the better stuff that it paves the way for.

This is great!! I actually never considered looking at it in this perspective: upgrading the PC to accommodate a much better CPU, with a much better (i)GPU than the card I had, and getting a dedicated card later... Thanks!

To be honest I wasn't paying the slightest attention to what's going on in the PC space until I needed to buy a GPU, and even then I only looked at GPU prices and performance. That is: until today, when watching the LTT video on Ryzen 7000 series. That actually made me consider upgrading my whole system.

Do you think it's feasible to wait until then?

 

(It's really like Linus said in that video: it's a really exciting time in the PC space, even if you know that chances are your brand new PC will be obsolete within a much shorter timespan...)

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Assuming you go for 3070 and that it works ok in your hardware.

 

For the games that are CPU limited you won't get any more FPS from the new card but you can really turn up the eye candy.

 

For the games that are GPU limited the new card would almost certainly yield higher FPS and more eye candy too.

 

The new card would also allow you to make a less painful move tp higher resoltion monitor when you are ready.

 

I've been running i7-3770K, with HT on and overclocked, for years and my upgrades (in order)

8 > 16 GByte RAM

GTX 970 > GTX 1070

24" 1080p 60 Hz Monitor > 27" 1440p 165Hz Monitor

GTX 1070 > RTX 2070 Super

 

If you don't mind used then an i7-4790K would make a big difference as more games seem to be taking advantage of multiple threads

 

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There are two issues facing your CPU. IPC (instructions per clock) and core count. The IPC is outdated but not horribly so. However combined with only 4 cores, it will bottleneck a 3070.

 

If you want to stay on the same platform, you can get an I7 4790k on ebay for about $100 to $120. This will pair decently with a rx 6600 (non xt). They go for around $330. That should give you a couple  years. (Not eight)

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Things are going a little off the rails I think. 

 

If the plan is truly to upgrade to a modern platform (CPU/RAM/Motherboard) at some point in the near future, get the 3070. 

 

It makes very little sense to buy something like a 1650 Super if you intend to do that at some point or you'd just be replacing that too. The 3070  will function, you'll just be underutilizing it and potentially have some less than smooth experiences at times as games don't play well when they're waiting on the CPU. 

 

If you DO plan to upgrade the platform, I see Zen3 mentioned above.. bad idea, 12th Gen Intel if you were buying today would make far more sense and Zen4 will be here in the fall with 13th Gen Intel not long after that. Zen3 is a dead end platform for upgradeability.

5800x/3090

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, pauloforte said:

This is great!! I actually never considered looking at it in this perspective: upgrading the PC to accommodate a much better CPU, with a much better (i)GPU than the card I had, and getting a dedicated card later... Thanks!

To be honest I wasn't paying the slightest attention to what's going on in the PC space until I needed to buy a GPU, and even then I only looked at GPU prices and performance. That is: until today, when watching the LTT video on Ryzen 7000 series. That actually made me consider upgrading my whole system.

Do you think it's feasible to wait until then?

That board, BTW, is the exact same one I used in my 5900X build, and no regrets except that I should have used the B550-PRO over the B550-PLUS, only because the Corsair 4000X case I used has a 3.2 front panel connector -- the PRO has a header for this, the PLUS does not. Either are a good foundation for a future 5800X / 5900X / 5950X upgrade, should you choose. The 5600G's iGPU can be disabled later for a dedicated GPU to be installed, and its core performance is on par with a 3900X, which should make it plenty capable of working with the likes of a 3070 / 3070ti, or even a 3080. The 3060ti is better matched to the 5600G's core performance, though, and is a good bit cheaper than the higher models.

 

As for waiting, I wouldn't if you don't want to, unless you'd ilke to push the envelope a bit more in the beginning. I don't see prices changing that drastically when the RTX4xxxx cards or the next-gen CPUs come out. Reason being that when I upgraded my previous R7-1700 from a GT1030 to a GTX1650S in 2020, everyone thought the coming release of the RTX3090 would drive prices down for lesser hardware. We ALL know how THAT turned out.

 

That said, this list allows you to reuse your current PSU and case. The PSU will be a consideration with a dedicated GPU, as Nvidia recommends 650W-750W with most of the RTX series (I use an 850W for good measure). Your current 650W would be at the limit on startup surge, and newer models have higher quality capacitors and cables. Should a PSU upgrade be required, I would look for 105C rated capacitors.

 

Also, while not a problem with the 5600G, the case can have an effect on cooling, though some cases are not as bad about cooling with the right cooling setup. I air-cool a 5900X with PBO enabled in a Corsair 4000X with a mere 34 sq in of intake area, using six 120mm fans and a monster Scythe Mugen 5 CPU cooler.

 

The B550 PLUS or PRO board upgrade with DDR4-3200 RAM and 5600G will give a nice performance boost similar (or better) than any single GPU would give with your current platform. I will say this -- while G.Skill is considered decent by most, I prefer Crucial Ballistix, and were I to do my build over again, I might have used Patriot Viper RAM and the WD Black SN750 or SN850 (actually exchanged an SN850 due to heat concerns that I'm told were not as founded as I thought).

 

Those components are more expensive, though, and I think the list I compiled is truly your best bang for the buck for now. And with 500 euros being roughly $536 USD, you're not that far off of achieving this. 16GB of RAM rather than 32GB, and a smaller M.2 would trim the budget enough to make it work, and then you could add a 2.5 or 3.5 SSD later with a dedicated GPU.

Edited by An0maly_76
Revised, more info

OP: My PC cuts off and crashes. Is the 1000W PSU enough?  ME: 1000W is plenty, PSU or system board could be faulty. Get both tested.

OP: I don't think so, both parts were purchased last week.        😒  Why bother asking if you second-guess the advice?

Friends don't let friends use Apple.                                              NOTE: Recently diagnosed autistic. I don't intend to ruffle anyone's feathers.

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