Gaming: Why is a GPU more important than a CPU?

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Oct 16, 2011
I've always known it as a fact that between having a modest CPU and killer GPU vs a modest GPU and a killer CPU, the former would probably be the better choice.

I mean, I hear it all the time. People would generally advise upgrading the GPU b/c the cpu that comes with most prebuillt computers are enough to run games.

I searched on Google looking for an answer to my "Why" but nothing turned up. Can someone explain why it would generally be better to upgrade your GPU rather than CPU?


Your processor is tasked with basic computing problems to run the system, and the underlying framework of the game and supplying the GPU with information to process.

The graphics card is tasked with loading and rendering textures. It is much easier to create a wire framework compared to a heavily detailed texture for it. This is why its best to have a strong GPU, in terms of gaming it will provide better visuals and FPS (If your processor is up to the task)


Oct 23, 2010
Basically they are both important, but even low end CPU's are all really good these days. It's like if you're building a speaker systems, the amplifiers and the speaker wire are both important, but since even the cheapest wire is pretty good, people don't have to concern themselves with it as much.

Taken from above link:

"A simple way to understand the difference between a CPU and GPU is to compare how they process tasks. A CPU consists of a few cores optimized for sequential serial processing while a GPU has a massively parallel architecture consisting of thousands of smaller, more efficient cores designed for handling multiple tasks simultaneously."

Make sure to watch that Mythbusters video at the bottom of that page for a "visual representation" of the above paragraph. =)
Because the CPU primarily takes the data sent to it, calculates what needs to be rendered, and sends that info to the GPU, which does the lion's share of the work (eg the actual rendering).

It does however help to have a fairly powerful CPU if you A) plan on high end SLI/Crossfire, B), do a lot of video encoding, or C) engage in any other calculation intense work such as 3D modeling, etc.

CPUs specialize in raw calculations, GPUs specialize in graphics rendering work. GPUs can of course calculate as well, but it needs the help of the CPU when it's busy doing a lot of rendering.

Game processing is done in micro steps using buffers, the result of which has the illusion of being simultaneous, but in reality it's all very quick and efficient sequences of data strings.
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