Question Is my PC CPU-bound? (i5-3450s, GTX 1050 2GB, competitive games at 144hz)


May 22, 2017
Is my PC CPU-bound? I like to play older games (CS:GO, R6S) competitively, so every increase in fps counts.

I occasionally get stuttering/frame drops, nothing serious for casual gameplay but crippling in a competitive game.

Intel i5-3450s 2.8 Ghz
RAM: Kingston - HyperX Fury Red 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1866 Memory
GPU: GTX 1050 2GB
Mobo: (ebay deal, no problems AFAIK): Asus - P8B75-M LE PLUS Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard
Storage: (games and OS installed here): ADATA - Premier Pro SP600 256 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
PSU: 420w thermal master

Unactivated Windows 10.

(edit: added PSU info, corrected mobo info)
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Easy to tell, either use MSI Afterburner or Windows Task-manager to see what the usage of both your CPU and GPU are during gaming. If one or the other is hitting 100% then you know whats limiting your performance.

Personally I would upgrade form a 1050, while not bad its a pretty low end card. Depending on your PSU (a decent brand and model 500watts or greater) you could find an RX570 or RX580 pretty cheap. And if you want something that is low power but still better then your 1050 the GTX 1650 is a good choice as many are powered from just the PCIe slot.
Reactions: boju


Much depends on you. Those 3rd gen cpus (yes I own a 3770k and a 3570k) are still viable for that older stuff, they work just fine in CSGO, I get 300fps in Office if that helps. Competitive is slightly different. Those are not stock default maps, but maps made by users that became popular, were voted in etc. So more than a few are quite detailed as they were put together on higher end systems. Which is still OK for Ivy's, but fps can get some bounces.

As for you, your mobo vendor stopped supporting that board sometime in 2013, and didn't offer any chipset driver fixes/updates until 2017 with the advent of Windows 10 Creators edition, which threw everybody from AMD to nvidia to Asus for a loop. There were multiple legacy driver issues. So you'll need to go check and make sure you have the last set of chipset drivers. ALL of them. Audio, Lan, Sata, USB family, Intel engine, everything latest. Bios too.

Make sure your registry is optimized. Over the years, or at least since the last clean windows installation, everything deleted, temp directories etc all leave orphans behind. These are dead end addressing, one line of code pointing to a program address. If you get duplicate addresses, things get confused, glitch, shutdown, recover and you see it as a momentary halt/freeze. I suggest ccleaner from, run it through, run the registry tool, run it through again, then reg tool again. That'll clean out the orphans, temp files/folders, all the detrius that windows delete, surfing, gaming etc leaves behind. Use default settings and when it asks to save, click Yes.

The rx570 isn't much better than your 1050, 10fps is chump change when you should be well over 200. Cpu sets fps limit, gpu either lives upto it, surpasses it, or not. That's going to be game dependant and detail settings dependant. Nothing a gpu can do will raise fps, period. It is whatever the cpu says it is. If the gpu cannot equal that, then upgrade, if it already does equal that then even an RTX2080ti couldn't get more.

Easiest test is play at ultra settings. Get the average (use msi Afterburner as suggested). Then drop settings to medium, play, low, play. If fps goes up as you lower settings then the cpu is fine, the lowered workload on the gpu is just catching up, gpu issue. If fps doesn't really change much at all, then the cpu is capping out and the gpu is fine.

This will change with every game. Some games like CSGO are 2 thread and easy on the gpu. Other games are 4 thread and murder on the cpu. So you'll see differences between games. There's no cure for all, without spending out on mega pc's that have over the top performance.

Unactivated windows doesn't matter. It's still a fully functional version of windows, as far as windows goes. The only difference is you cannot make it yours, no personalization and no Microsoft/Windows support if things get funky.
Neither your CPU or your GPU is something I'd say is good for high refresh rate gaming. You need an i7. Even the old i7 3770 would be viable for 144 fps in cs go. Also you need a GTX 1060 at least. I'd personally go for a 1660 ti.


I have an MSI Mpower Z77 mobo, MSI was nice enough to include audio and Lan driver updates in 2017 and again in 2018. If using Win10CE, you may need to check the windows 7 x64 as well, since those are mostly the same drivers for that generation of mobo. Win10CE itself isn't supported on that mobo, it was old when W10 came out. Win8 was always odd, although 8.1 was far better, W10 is by far the most comfortable and comparable to W7.

Just get the latest possible of all the drivers
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