Cpu for 4k gaming?

Some1helpme

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Aug 17, 2014
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Wondering what cpu to get for 4k gaming. Got me a good priced 1080ti but my aged i5 4690k only runs it to 80 ish %. Thinking about getting an i7 8700. This is what i got so far.

https://ibb.co/iQHOYe

Going to reuse case, hhd and ssd.
 
My suggestion is to first buy your 4k monitor and see how you do.
Some games are graphics limited, and some are cpu core speed limited.
Very few can actually make effective use of more than 4 threads.
4k resolution puts a higher demand on the graphics card, but not necessarily on the cpu to deliver the frames.

Have you overclocked your current I5-4690K?
If not, you should do so.

80% cpu busy is indeed a high number.
Be careful how you view task manager stats.
Windows will spread out cpu processing among all available threads.
With a 12 thread 8700, you should see a lower total utilization.
But, your actual performance will not differ because the individual core speeds will not be different.
Such a move might be good if you play multiplayer games which are the type that can use many threads.
If you go 8th gen, buy a 8700K instead and a z370 motherboard.
Ehen you oc a 8700K you can get some 30% stronger cpu performance.

But... I would not do that.
I would go 9th gen which should launch soon.
At a similar price, you should be able to get a I7-9700K with 8 full cores and likely a better overclock than any 8th gen processor.

What is your case?
If it is a good one with 160mm available for an air cooler, I would go air.

My canned rant on liquid cooling:
------------------------start of rant-------------------
You buy a liquid cooler to be able to extract an extra multiplier or two out of your OC.
How much do you really need?
I do not much like all in one liquid coolers when a good air cooler like a Noctua or phanteks can do the job just as well.
A liquid cooler will be expensive, noisy, less reliable, and will not cool any better
in a well ventilated case.
Liquid cooling is really air cooling, it just puts the heat exchange in a different place.
The orientation of the radiator will cause a problem.
If you orient it to take in cool air from the outside, you will cool the cpu better, but the hot air then circulates inside the case heating up the graphics card and motherboard.
If you orient it to exhaust(which I think is better) , then your cpu cooling will be less effective because it uses pre heated case air.
Past that, A AIO radiator complicates creating a positive pressure filtered cooling setup which can keep your parts clean.
And... I have read too many tales of woe when a liquid cooler leaks.
Google for AIO leaks to see what can happen.
While unlikely, leaks do happen.

I would support an AIO cooler primarily in a space restricted case.
If one puts looks over function, that is a personal thing; not for me though.
-----------------------end of rant--------------------------

Your pc will be quieter, more reliable, and will be cooled equally well with a decent air cooler.
 

Budge414

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Jan 2, 2013
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I'm pretty sure OP already has a 4K monitor, and he's stating that his 4690K can only push his new 1080 Ti to 80% on the GPU usage.

I can agree on the air cooling over AIO liquid cooling at this price point. I assumed that by choosing an AIO liquid cooler it was by preference over air cooling.

Some1helpme - If it matters not to you, an equivalently priced air cooler is better overall at this budget:

CPU Cooler: Noctua - NH-U12S 55.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($57.99 @ Amazon)

CPU Cooler: be quiet! - Dark Rock 3 67.8 CFM Fluid Dynamic Bearing CPU Cooler ($62.88 @ OutletPC)
 

Some1helpme

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Not necessarily on a budget. Rather bite the bullet and have a good system for a while, as was the current i5 I have. I want to upgrade to the lga 1151 to use ddr4 ram. My current system only has 8 gigs, didn't need more at the time, so rather spend more on a good system then on catching up an old system.Dont think I need the unlocked, dont plant to oc. Thinking about doing away with the water cooler, or do a custom look down the line. Also i use a 4k 55' samsung tv. Dont have all the gaming whistles as a monitor but I use it for other stuff. And works great.
 
At higher resolutions you don't need a top end CPU. When you move to 4k, the bottleneck moves from the CPU to the GPU. I would go with an 2600 which will get you the same performance for half the price of the 8700.

Here is the review for the 2600, at 4k there was a 1% difference in performance between the 2600 and the 8700k in the 12 games tested.

https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/Ryzen_5_2600/15.html

Additiaonlly, if I were you I would just go for a used 4790k. Save the money from a complete platform upgrade. The 4790k will get the same fps as the 2600 at 4k.
 

Budge414

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For gaming at 4K the R5 2600 is a solid shout, and would save a heap of cash to spend elsewhere.

Upgrading to DDR4 alone is not a worthy reason to move to a whole new platform, with all the extra expense it brings. However, you have a 1080 Ti, and you play at 4K, so extracting the best performance out of these components is paramount IMO, and it seems like that'd be your opinion too.

Here are some paths for you:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel - Core i7-8700 3.2GHz 6-Core Processor ($309.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: CRYORIG - H7 49.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($36.40 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: MSI - Z370-A PRO ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($103.89 @ OutletPC)
Memory: G.Skill - Ripjaws V Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200 Memory ($139.99 @ Newegg Business)
Power Supply: EVGA - SuperNOVA G3 650W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($69.89 @ OutletPC)
Total: $660.16
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-10-02 03:53 EDT-0400

- Your current potential upgrade. Necessary for your use? Probably not. More of an all-round machine good for years to come.
- Feel free to switch back to the MSI Z370 Gaming Plus for a few bucks extra if you prefer the aesthetics.


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 2600 3.4GHz 6-Core Processor ($165.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: MSI - X470 GAMING PLUS ATX AM4 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill - Ripjaws V Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200 Memory ($134.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: EVGA - SuperNOVA G3 650W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($69.89 @ OutletPC)
Total: $490.86
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-10-02 06:16 EDT-0400

- Highlighting feelinfroggy's suggestion, this path saves you $$ with minimal difference to gaming performance at 4K.
- No need for a cooler here, the included AMD's stock cooler is ample.
- RAM selection needs some thought on AMD's platform. There are significant improvements to performance at higher speeds, but this is coincided with compatibility problems for many kits.
- Stretch to an R5 2600X if you'd like, the boost isn't too bad for the price if you don't plan to manually overclock.
 


Well, if you want to spend 100% more on your CPU for a 1% performance gain, then go for it. But for me, I would rather spend my money on something that would actually make a difference.

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 2600 3.4GHz 6-Core Processor ($165.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $165.99

CPU: Intel - Core i7-8700 3.2GHz 6-Core Processor ($309.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $309.99
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
Op is looking at the whole thing cockeyed. It only pushes the gpu to 80% says everything. He is under the assumption he needs a stronger cpu in order to push the gpu to 100%. Common mistaken assumption.

Cpu sets the fps limits. Gpu deals with details and resolution. The gpu has no impact whatsoever on the fps limit set by the cpu. The gpu can only raise or lower fps inside that limit according to detail settings and resolution.
So, if that i5-4690k is capable of 80-100fps according to the game engine, it's capable of that fps at any detail or resolution. The issue lies then on the gpu to live upto that limit. The higher the detail settings, the harder the gpu must work. If it takes 50% gpu usage to achieve that 100fps limit, that's what it takes, raising detail levels or lowering them will not change that limit, it set by the cpu.

At 4k/60Hz the fps limit is 100fps. At 1080p its 100fps. Resolution is all gpu. If at 100fps on 1080p you see 50% gpu, at 4k you'll probably see closer to 80-100% gpu, depending on the gpu. At that usage, the gpu can't maintain both detail and resolution, so fps drops and while the cpu is capable of 100fps, it'll end up only pushing 50fps as the gpu becomes a bottleneck and can only sustain 50fps.

Simply put, as geofelt said, try the cpu with the 1080ti first. It's strong enough to easily handle 60fps in most every game, it'll be the gpu that's the breaking point at 4k as 4k resolution is literally 4x 1080p in the same square area, having no affect on the cpu fps limits, but a huge affect on the gpus ability to reproduce that many pixels at higher detail settings.
 

Budge414

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Jan 2, 2013
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I'm not sure if I've missed something here, but OP is stating he ALREADY has the 1080 Ti. The post isn't theorising, they are the results he's currently experiencing with the i5-4690K AND the 1080 Ti that he's purchased:


Sorry if I'm completely misunderstanding your post here Karadjgne.
 

RCFProd

Champion
Herald
If your CPU isn't topping at 100%, that's a good thing not a bad thing. 100% implies the GPU demands more but the CPU can't pull more than It's already doing. 80% means it can do 20% more if the GPU demands more processing power.
 


What games are you running? What background processes do you have?

Some CPU heavy games that can utilize more threads will push your 4690k to 100% because it only has 4 threads. If you are running a lot of background processes like discord, or listening to music, they will also use CPU resources. So this could push your CPU usage to 100% which is a sign that there is a bottleneck.

If it were me, I would just buy a used 4790k to drop into your current system. It has twice as many threads that your 4690k and it will keep your GPU fed in those CPU heavy games plus allow you to multitask. At 4k, the CPU does not make the same impact that it does at lower resolutions as the GPU will be the weaker link.
 

Some1helpme

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Going to do a bit of research on that, would be cheaper then a (almost) full new system. This was on assassins creed origins. Only thing I had running beside game was msi after burner to get the ingame stats. Plus what ever windows needs in background. Like to keep unneeded processes off even if I'm on something simple as gmail. Going to try fc5 and see how much the CPU is at there
 
It will be difficult to find trustworthy 4k benchmarks online comparing 4k gaming performance with a 4790k and a 8700k.

According the userbenchmark.com, a 7700k is 11% faster than a 4790k.

http://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel-Core-i7-7700K-vs-Intel-Core-i7-4790K/3647vs2384

According to the techpowerup.com benchmarks, the 8700k is 1% faster than the 7700k in the games tested at 4k.

https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/Ryzen_7_2700X/15.html

If a 7700k is within 1% of an 8700k at 4k gaming and a 4790k 10% slower than a 7700k, then you are look at a 10% performance swing plus or minus a few points here or there. I would actually expect the numbers to be less than 10% because at 4k resolution, the GPU will be holding the CPU back.
 

Budge414

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What's your CPU usage now?

And what are 4K results?
 

Some1helpme

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Never saw it hit more then 90%. Hovered around 80 most of the time. But pc did a win 10 and nvidia driver update. Dont know if that had much to do with it. Had frames locked at 60 as well. Might try going back to 4k and see
 




What game are you playing and at what settings? This is important as you can compare it to other reviews and see if it is way down or pretty close. A tale-tale sign of a CPU bottleneck is the CPU would be a 100% usage. In your case, it never went above 90%.

At 84C the 1080ti is going to thermal throttle. Meaning it will downclock to prevent the card from getting too hot. This will lower GPU usage. You need to adjust to a more aggressive fan curve on the card through MSI afterburner or EVGA precision X. This will lower your temps and increase the card's boost, which in turn will increase GPU usage.
 

Some1helpme

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Yeah in going to get a better case aswell. This one isn't to great and have to tear the whole front of it to access the filters. Right now I have a walmart mini fan blowing on the gpu
 

jwcrellin

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Any resolution to your issues? The logic in my head says that with a 1080ti in your system, upgrading from an i5 to an i7 will net you very few fps at 4K gaming.
 

Karadjgne

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Herald
Depends entirely on the game. Many games use low thread count, games like CS:GO using 2-3 threads. In that case, the extra threads of an i7 are basically not there, the 4690k and 4790 being basically the same cpu with the same IPC. So fps won't realistically change at all. However games like GTA:V or the Battlefield series or even WoW use generally 8 threads, so play on those with an i5 is problematic for good fps as threads get prioritized and queued into waiting for available space. This'll drop the fps limit attainable, an i7 setting those threads free for use getting considerably better available fps limits.

But game code is game code. It makes absolutely no differential to resolutions. The cpu will pump out the code only so fast, that's the fps limit. It's then upto the gpu to paint the picture. It's here that resolution makes a huge impact, 1440p being @1.7x as many pixels as 1080p, 4k being almost 4x as many as 1080p. In 4k, the gpu becomes the bottleneck to any cpu of decent power and 3rd gen or newer i7's are plenty capable of most games at 60fps.
 

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