[SOLVED] Should I upgrade my GPU or CPU?

May 22, 2020
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My current setup is:
i7 6700k
GTX 1070
Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 3
2x8GB Hyper X Savage 3000MHz RAM
EVGA SuperNova 650 P2 PSU

My question is which should I upgrade first and what should I upgrade it to?
 
RTX2070 super and RX5700XT are somewhat comparable, with the RTX2080s being a tad stronger.

If buying new vs. used, I think it is better to buy the latest gen.
They are in the market for a reason.
The price/performance is better than the previous product or they would not get launched in the first place.
Today, I think the I5-10600K would be an excellent pick.
 
I just wanted to know if I were to upgrade, which should I upgrade and what to. I haven't decided on whether I will or not yet, I just wanted to see what options there were, and if it seemed worth it I could decide myself what I was going to do
At the moment the system is nicely balanced for 1080p 60-100 FPS in modern AAA titles. Without an objective it is impossible to recommend an upgrade. For example if you wanted to game at similar FPS at 1440p or 4K I would suggest a big gpu upgrade. However if you wanted higher FPS but were willing to sacrifice game settings then a cpu/motherboard/RAM upgrade would probably be better.
 
My stock approach to this perennial 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.
-------------------------------------------------------------

If you do not have a ssd, I would do that first.
 
Your test suggests that your graphics card is your current limiting factor.
By lowering the settings, you ease the workload on the graphics card.

The thread experiments are only of value if you need a new cpu.
With 8 threads, I suspect you will find that you are not effectively now using all of them.
Good to know whenever it comes time to upgrade a processor.
 
Reactions: mctrader07
May 22, 2020
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10
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At the moment the system is nicely balanced for 1080p 60-100 FPS in modern AAA titles. Without an objective it is impossible to recommend an upgrade. For example if you wanted to game at similar FPS at 1440p or 4K I would suggest a big gpu upgrade. However if you wanted higher FPS but were willing to sacrifice game settings then a cpu/motherboard/RAM upgrade would probably be better.
That's true, I have thought about getting a higher resolution monitor but I think that plus a GPU upgrade would be too much money, and my current monitor is 144hz so it would be nice to get higher fps in games like GTA V so CPU would probably be the best to upgrade, what would you suggest I get? I will most likely not be able to do it until later this year so it could include stuff that hasn't been released yet
 
May 22, 2020
7
0
10
0
My stock approach to this perennial 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.
-------------------------------------------------------------

If you do not have a ssd, I would do that first.
For A I got higher fps with lower settings, for B it didn't seem to make a huge difference to fps <10 and i will do the thread one now
 
May 22, 2020
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Your test suggests that your graphics card is your current limiting factor.
By lowering the settings, you ease the workload on the graphics card.

The thread experiments are only of value if you need a new cpu.
With 8 threads, I suspect you will find that you are not effectively now using all of them.
Good to know whenever it comes time to upgrade a processor.
Thank you for the help, what graphics card would you suggest? I'm not looking to spend more than £400 if possible and I'll most likely get it later in the year so there could be newer ones out by the time I can get it
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Ambassador
Both nvidia and amd are dropping new gpus this year, but what those will be exactly is still undecided. Historically nvidia has gone down but equal, so a 970 is roughly equitable to a 1060 or a 2050, meaning a 2070 is quite superior to a 1070 and more equal to a 1080.

So for a meaningful gpu upgrade now would mean a 2070 Super, but future drops would be @ equal to a 3060, so a 3070 will probably be an easy 4k capable card, well capable of maxing out most 1440p games at 144Hz, and will be frame capped by the cpu in most games at 1080p. 3070-2080-1080ti.

While generally capable, I'm not a big fan of the amd cards, even if they can be cheaper for the same performance. The 5700xt goes almost head to head with a 2070 at $100 less. But, that's if there's no driver or hardware conflicts, overheating, necessary power supply increases etc. So for me, nvidia higher price tag is worth the decrease on the 'if' factor and the resulting frustration.
 
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You can speculate, but products and prices will change.
I can offer only a couple of generalities.

1. If you are going to upgrade graphics, make it a big jump.
Otherwise you may be disappointed if you do not see magical results.
Tom's gpu hierarchy charts may be helpful to rank various cards:
https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gpu-hierarchy,4388.html

2. Long time ago, I had problems with amd drivers. But times have changed so that should not be an issue.
In general, the RX cards need some 75w more than their equivalent performing nvidia cards.
Your 650w psu should be sufficient for any card you might want to buy.
Here is a handy chart on the recommendations for various graphics cards:
http://www.realhardtechx.com/index_archivos/Page362.htm

3. In the US, I favor EVGA as a brand. The underlying guts of different brands are the same.
But I like the warranty and support from EVGA. If you register the card, you get a transferable warranty.
You also get a 90 day trade up option if you should want to upgrade within that time period.
Don't know if any of this applies abroad.
 
May 22, 2020
7
0
10
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You can speculate, but products and prices will change.
I can offer only a couple of generalities.

1. If you are going to upgrade graphics, make it a big jump.
Otherwise you may be disappointed if you do not see magical results.
Tom's gpu hierarchy charts may be helpful to rank various cards:
https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gpu-hierarchy,4388.html

2. Long time ago, I had problems with amd drivers. But times have changed so that should not be an issue.
In general, the RX cards need some 75w more than their equivalent performing nvidia cards.
Your 650w psu should be sufficient for any card you might want to buy.
Here is a handy chart on the recommendations for various graphics cards:
http://www.realhardtechx.com/index_archivos/Page362.htm

3. In the US, I favor EVGA as a brand. The underlying guts of different brands are the same.
But I like the warranty and support from EVGA. If you register the card, you get a transferable warranty.
You also get a 90 day trade up option if you should want to upgrade within that time period.
Don't know if any of this applies abroad.
Looking at that I think an rtx 2070 super or rx 5700xt would be good options to upgrade to, do you agree? Also if I were to upgrade my cpu what would be my best options? I was looking at the R5 3600x or since it's cheaper the i5 9600KF
 
May 22, 2020
7
0
10
0
RTX2070 super and RX5700XT are somewhat comparable, with the RTX2080s being a tad stronger.

If buying new vs. used, I think it is better to buy the latest gen.
They are in the market for a reason.
The price/performance is better than the previous product or they would not get launched in the first place.
Today, I think the I5-10600K would be an excellent pick.
I think I'll get whichever of the graphics cards I can afford around christmas (or a newer one around the same price if there are any) and upgrade my cpu now since it's cheaper than gpu, but I won't be able to afford an I5-10600k, I don't have more than 200 to spend on cpu since I also have to buy a motherboard with it, is it worth waiting or would the 9600k be ok? Ryzen is also still an option and would be better for future upgrades since I wouldn't need a new motherboard every time but is slightly more expensive to buy now. What do you think of the R5 3600X?
 
Since you are not cpu limited now, I see no reason to buy a cpu upgrade.
Your I7-6700K has 8 threads and a passmark rating of 9031/2500.
A 3600X has 12 threads and a rating of 18263/2649 Very good if you need more threads, but the single thread jump is not so good.
The 9600K has 6 threads and a rating of 11041/2830.
A better jump in single thread performance, but I would not back off on the number of threads.
It is too soon to have passmark ratings for the 12 thread i5-10600K, but I suspect it will beat out the 3600X
ryzen overclocks top out around 4.3. K suffix processors are closer to 5.0


My advice would be to upgrade the graphics first since that is what you need most.
 
May 22, 2020
7
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10
0
Since you are not cpu limited now, I see no reason to buy a cpu upgrade.
Your I7-6700K has 8 threads and a passmark rating of 9031/2500.
A 3600X has 12 threads and a rating of 18263/2649 Very good if you need more threads, but the single thread jump is not so good.
The 9600K has 6 threads and a rating of 11041/2830.
A better jump in single thread performance, but I would not back off on the number of threads.
It is too soon to have passmark ratings for the 12 thread i5-10600K, but I suspect it will beat out the 3600X
ryzen overclocks top out around 4.3. K suffix processors are closer to 5.0


My advice would be to upgrade the graphics first since that is what you need most.
Ok I'll use the money I would have spent on the CPU on the graphics card so I can get a new GPU sooner and then get the 10600k around december or something newer if there is anything. Thank you
 

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