Question Advice on big step GPU/Display upgrade

Based on this post, you'd recommend a:


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Aug 5, 2019
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APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE:
Within the next 2 weeks, I'd like my new setup up and running before the release of the COD:MW remake.

BUDGET RANGE:
I'm somewhat flexible with the budget, even so flexible that I've considered buying a 2080 Ti. This is a hard one because without first-hand experience it is hard to decide whether the extra performance of a Ti will actually make a conceivable difference during my gaming sessions. I have however had a taste of 144hz once before and I am fully convinced that that is what I need.

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) - I'm planning on playing the campaign with RTX ON at max settings, getting 144fps is not that important to me here, getting the most sharp and realistic graphics is.
GTA V - highest possible settings for 144fps @ QHD, I know this is a stretch, that's why I put "highest possible settings".
CS:GO
League of Legends (why even put this on here)
World of Tanks
Rocket League

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY:
GPU:
GeForce GTX 970 GAMING 4G
https://www.msi.com/Graphics-card/gtx-970-gaming-4g.html

PSU:
Seasonic Focus Plus 650 Gold
https://tweakers.net/pricewatch/829903/seasonic-focus-plus-650-gold/specificaties/

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS:
PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: Intel Core i5-8400 2.8 GHz 6-Core Processor
Motherboard: MSI Z370-A PRO ATX LGA1151 Motherboard
Memory: Team Vulcan 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory
Case: Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 5 ATX Mid Tower Case

Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-10-07 06:03 EDT-0400

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:
https://tweakers.net/categorie/49/videokaarten/producten/

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
The Netherlands

PARTS PREFERENCES:
A watercooled (AIO) GPU might be very cool to try out, never dealt with watercooled components before. And from what I've heard, thermal throttling can make a big impact on performance, so if possible I'd very much like it. Ideally you'd present me with a model/brand that has good air cooled GPU and a water cooled variant I can check out.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes / No / Maybe
Maybe, I'd like to OC if it makes sense with the specific recommended card.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes / No / Maybe
No

MONITOR RESOLUTION:
2560 × 1440 @ 144hz
1920 x 1080 @ 144hz is an option, but only if my requirements are unrealistic for QHD 144hz, thing is that I already know most games I play today can easily make 144fps QHD with any 2000-series card. I would really, really like to push out the extra performance (and if necessary, money).

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
I've done a lot of looking around myself, but preferably I want to hear from people that have hands-on experience with a 2000-series card and 1440p@144hz gaming. Note that I will also be having a second monitor that's 1920x1080@60hz, so that's not too much to worry about GPU wise.
 

13thmonkey

Titan
Moderator
To hit 144Hz at any resolution, in my opinion you need a faster CPU, 6 cores at 2.8Ghz is not enough, 6+ cores at 4.5Ghz would be more like it.

You'll have to look at reviews, but steady 1440p@144Hz is likely to need a 2080super or better, for a game that has yet to be released that's a tricky thing to assess.

I wouldn't bother with exotic GPU cooling, the extra cost will let you go up a model or more and get more of a benefit.
 
Aug 5, 2019
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To hit 144Hz at any resolution, in my opinion you need a faster CPU, 6 cores at 2.8Ghz is not enough, 6+ cores at 4.5Ghz would be more like it.
This is what I was mostly afraid of.. I cheaped out on my CPU with my last upgrade (from i7-920 to i5-8400, I had no intentions of going QHD 144hz back then..) and I highly regret it. To upgrade it now is possible, but I wouldn't want to cheap out again. So that means get a coffee lake CPU. But i've read online that z370 mobo chips do support coffee lake, but not as good and it could hurt both component's lifetime. So that'd come with a mobo upgrade as well... Thanks for the insight either way, and it's good to hear that a 2080 Super should suffice!

Final question: When you say "to hit 144hz", do you mean that there is a difference in getting 144 fps and supplying a 144hz monitor for the CPU? If yes, how does the CPU help for hitting a certain refresh rate?
 

13thmonkey

Titan
Moderator
The CPU sends instructions to the GPU, the GPU renders. The CPU needs to send a set of instructions (or more) per frame, higher frame rates = more sets of instructions. So to hit 144Hz you need more than twice the CPU power, else the GPU has nothing to process.

This is in essence the bottleneck problem (as much as I hate that phrase), if the CPU cannot supply enough frames then the CPU will hit 100% and the GPU will be underutilised. If the GPU cannot render enough frames then the GPU will be at 100% and the CPU will be underutilised.
However it changes from game to game and moment to moment. In this case given a target of 144Hz we know you need a fast CPU, and for 1440p144Hz we know you also need a fast GPU.
 
Aug 5, 2019
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@13thmonkey Wow you explained that very well, thanks! I always wondered what exactly bottlenecks one of those parts. So I guess that's why currently my GPU is always at 100% while gaming and my CPU not close to it, 60hz is too easy for my i5-8400 I suppose. So a CPU upgrade is definitely coming, I just can't fit it in my current upgrade budget, so it'll have to wait a month or 2. I'll round your advice up to say

GPU: 2080 Super
CPU: any that has 6+ @ 4.5Ghz

Thanks again!
 

13thmonkey

Titan
Moderator
That's it, you could turn your GPU settings right down, and V-sync off, and see what sort of FPS you get from your CPU as a test, BUT more modern games need more power, especially AAA titles. The 4.5 was a estimate, but single thread performance is important and it's going to around there.
 

Hydroshot

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Jun 13, 2015
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@13thmonkey Wow you explained that very well, thanks! I always wondered what exactly bottlenecks one of those parts. So I guess that's why currently my GPU is always at 100% while gaming and my CPU not close to it, 60hz is too easy for my i5-8400 I suppose. So a CPU upgrade is definitely coming, I just can't fit it in my current upgrade budget, so it'll have to wait a month or 2. I'll round your advice up to say

GPU: 2080 Super
CPU: any that has 6+ @ 4.5Ghz

Thanks again!
I would suggest going with a Ryzen CPU much more performance per dollar than a Coffee Lake
 
There is always a limiting factor in game performance.
Usually it is either core speed or graphics card capability.
On occasion, the thread count is a limiter.
Here is my stock initial approach to your question:
Some games are graphics limited like fast action shooters.
Others are cpu core speed limited like strategy, sims, and mmo.
Multiplayer tends to like many threads.

You need to find out which.
------------------------------------------------------------
To help clarify your CPU/GPU options, run these two tests:

a) Run YOUR games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.
If your FPS stays the same, you are likely more cpu limited.

b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
Go to control panel/power options/change plan settings/change advanced power settings/processor power management/maximum processor state/
This will simulate what a lack of cpu power will do.
Conversely what a 30% improvement in core speed might do.

You should also experiment with removing one or more cores/threads. You can do this in the windows msconfig boot advanced options option.
You will need to reboot for the change to take effect. Set the number of threads to less than you have.
This will tell you how sensitive your games are to the benefits of many threads.
If you see little difference, your game does not need all the threads you have.



It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system,
and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.
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My suspicion is that yes, a graphics card upgrade will be your most effective initial upgrade.
Your PSU is excellent and can run any card you want.
I might think that a 2080 super would be good.
But, if budget really is no issue, go ahead and buy a 2080ti. If you do not, you will forever wonder what you might have missed.

If you determine that cpu speed or thread count is important, look at the i7-9700K upgrade.
You get a couple more threads and a faster all core speed.
9900K is worth it only for heavy multiplayer games.
 
Aug 5, 2019
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Thanks for your replies everyone!

I have decided on the following after absorbing all the information here, and doing a lot of research:

  • I will buy an RTX 2080 Super.
  • I will upgrade my CPU from a i5-8400 to a i7-8700k and OC it as much as I can
Again thanks for all your help!
 

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