Is the CPU really important in gaming?

hazim abu shaikha

Jan 3, 2015
hey,so I have a video card (nvidia gtx geforce 770) and a 4 giga RAM and a 1st gen cpu i3 ,and I was able to run almost every game I played on ultra settings ,and then assassins creed unity came out and I couldn't even run it on medium settings :( ,and I think all next gen games will be like this,so,my question is : should I replace the CPU with a new one(replacing it will obviously make me replace the mother board,which I really can't do right now),or replacing the 4 giga ram with an 8 giga ram should be enough.


Dec 6, 2014
Some games are very hard on the CPU, and some aren't. Right now as a rule of thumb, for best performance-

Intel- 2nd/3rd/4th gen quad-core/hexacore (i5/i7)- 3ghz or higher runs almost any game perfectly. 3.8 to 4.0ghz or higher and you're in heaven.

AMD- FX-series quad/hex/octo- 3.5ghz or better (the more cores the better. AMD's current CPUs are quite a bit slower than Intel's when clocked the same, so go for high clock speed and lots of cores)

Some older CPUs still get the job done in most games too. 1st generation Intel i5/i7 quad-cores are still pretty strong for gaming and other tasks. Once overclocked to 3.5ghz or higher, they are still quite fast. AMD Phenom II X4's clocked at over 3ghz are still fairly competent, as are equally-clocked Intel Core 2 Quads. These CPUs are getting long in the tooth and will probably fall on their faces with some "next gen" multi-platform games.

The strength of your GPU is more important for the majority of games, as long as your CPU meets the above criteria.


Nov 19, 2013
Your CPU is severely bottlenecking your graphic card. Not to mention that you need 8gb for games nowadays. Assassin's Unity is VERY, VERY, VERY FREAKING POORLY OPTIMIZED. But still, you'd get much more out of your 770 if you were to get another "triforce" (cpu, mobo, memory).

My advice for now, if you don't wanna spend much and yet get a solid system:

i5 4690k
Asrock Extreme 6 Z97
G.Skill 8gb 1866 CL 9

Also, always check for video card driver upgrades. If you have Geforce Experience software installed, it will do it for you.


Automatic driver updating utilities suck, no matter what OEM their from. Update drivers manually so you know you have the most current version. You can't imagine how often we see GE and other similar utilities that indicate things are up to date and when you manually check you're one or two versions out.

Undoubtedly the CPU is rather weak for that card though, I'll agree on that. But that's a pretty severe drop in MMO only. Do you ever get drops like that playing offline?


Jan 3, 2014
Honestly, I believe a set-up listed below would secure future gaming requirements for at least a few years:

1. AMD FX-8350 paired with an R9 285/270X

2. Intel i5 3750k paired with a Nvidia GTX 970

Both are quite expensive but will defenitely allow you to play future games as well as ones for current gen! Good luck!


You won't need a new motherboard. You can always upgrade the i3 to an i5 or even an i7, in either locked or unlocked (k branded) cpu depending on the motherboard designation, only z boards and some few b/h boards will currently allow OC. So there is that option.

Yes, the cpu is important. Every game made is a program, it is comprised of lines of code. This gets interpreted by the cpu, then the graphics get sent to gpu while audio etc is processed by the cpu. If you have a slow, weak cpu, it'll hurt the gpus performance, and a strong gpu just gets under utilized.

Ram will help considerably. Windows itself uses @1.5Gb-2Gb of ram to run, and most cpu intensive games like unity, bf4, Skyrim and WoW can use 4-5Gb. I have 16Gb, and when running heavily modded skyrim, I've seen it use 57% ram, or about 9Gb. So an upgrade to 8Gb will help.

As far as Ac Unity goes, don't feel bad about poor fps. It's the game engine, not your pc. The Ac series use different game engines, and alone are pretty good, but unity had to cobble together 4 different engines into 1, making it quite hard on the cpu and gpu to keep up with it. Honestly, if you are not running an overclockable i5/i7 with at least the gpu power of a gtx970, Unity is pretty much going to suck.

Option: upgrade cpu to i5/i7 maybe k for OC (requires a decent cpu cooler)
Option: upgrade ram to 8Gb
Option: OC your i3 if possible.

While not as powerful as a 970, the 770 is still a respectable gpu and will still get decent fps in Unity although not at the highest detail settings.


Guess it would help to know the CPU model number as well as the motherboard before we can know what is or is not supported as an upgrade. If he's got a gen1 i3 he might also have an OEM or very cheap motherboard that won't allow for a decent CPU or overclocking.


Nov 30, 2012
GPU is usually the more important component but CPU is also important. You want a balanced system. I began playing AC: Unity today with my 860K and R9 290 (not an example of a blanaced system). Obviously there is a bottleneck but it was playable IMO. 1080P, Max settings excluding AA which was disabled and Shadows which was lowered one setting from Max. Most of the times I got Mid/High 40s and mid 30s in crowded places. Rooftops and places with less NPCs got up to 60FPS.

At the end you want a balanced system. Tell us your motherboard model, cpu model, etc and a lot of people will help you out with a good setup to go with your GPU.

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