Question Upgrade CPU or GPU

tsunme

Honorable
Jul 21, 2013
189
0
10,690
2
Hello all, I come today asking the ever-burning question of which should I upgrade first, CPU or GPU? Currently my setup is as is:

I5-6600k
GTX 980

Currently I'm mainly gaming in 1440p playing games such as Apex, World of Warcraft, Warframe, and most single player games. I currently will stream every so often, but I would like to start streaming a lot more often.

I'm wondering, would it be more beneficial to upgrade to the 8700k (or even the 8600k), or if going to a 2070 (or 2060) would yield better results? Or even switching over to the 2700x (2600x) would be better.
 

korv

Upstanding
Dec 26, 2018
363
26
340
31
Well, i5 8600k? Defiently not if you're going to stream since it only got 6 threads which isn't enough. 8700k should do the work as it fot 12 threads. If you're more into value for performance please choose one of the ryzen cpus such as 2700.

Not sure if there will be any botleneck. A i5 6600k has 4 cores which probably isn't enough for gpu and at the same time running example AAA games. This is what i call a bottleneck. I could be wrong!
 
4 core and 4 thread CPUs are not the best for gaming and 4 threaded CPUs are not going to be great to stream+game simultaneously. 6 cores and 6 threads of the I5 will stream better than the 4t I5 8600k but similarly priced Ryzen CPUs like the R5 2600 has 12 threads and will stream+game even better for less money.

I would suggest 6 cores and 12 threads at a minimum for streaming.

You could Buy an 8700k @3.7ghz with 6 cores 12 threads which will do the trick, however, Ryzen offers much better streaming performance for the money. The 6 core 12 thread I7 8700k cost $375 @3.7ghz (turbos to 4.6) but the 6 core 12 thread Ryzen 5 2600 @3.4ghz (3.9ghz turbo) only costs $165. The 2600 is a fair bit worse in games but the I7 isn't worth the double the price and both will game and stream well. The 8 core 16 threaded Ryzen 7 2700 @3.2 (turbos to 4.1ghz) is also quite good at $230 and will easily beat the I7 8700k at tasks like streaming for $ 150 less.
 
Last edited:
Hello all, I come today asking the ever-burning question of which should I upgrade first, CPU or GPU? Currently my setup is as is:

I5-6600k
GTX 980

Currently I'm mainly gaming in 1440p playing games such as Apex, World of Warcraft, Warframe, and most single player games. I currently will stream every so often, but I would like to start streaming a lot more often.

I'm wondering, would it be more beneficial to upgrade to the 8700k (or even the 8600k), or if going to a 2070 (or 2060) would yield better results? Or even switching over to the 2700x (2600x) would be better.
You might not see a performance increase by changing just the GPU.
You might need to upgrade to a newer platform (i7 8700k / Ryzen 7 2700x)
 

ragnar-gd

Reputable
Sep 30, 2014
850
3
5,865
230
Consult the "Most-bang-for-buck"-article on THW: https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gpus,4380.html

Sidenote: Streaming - over the internet to your PC, that is - is limited by your connection speed. This is true even more for streaming FROM your PC. I assume you have at least 100MBitDownload/50MBit Upload, and you are streaming to others, ok?

Otherwise, you GPU is barely ok for Full HD Gaming. 1440p is a job for GTX 1070/GTX 2060/ GTX 1660 Ti, at least.
A GTX 2070 is futureproof for 1440p, as is a GTX 1070 Ti.
Your CPU won't bottleneck those GPUs in high resolutions.
 
Some cpu dependent games may not reach 60 fps with any gpu , resolution, and a 4 threaded i5. I suggest keeping the 980 and upgrading to a ryzen 7 2700, a great deal right now. A 980 is fine for 1080p. I wouldnt try to stream at 1440p.
 

tsunme

Honorable
Jul 21, 2013
189
0
10,690
2
Some cpu dependent games may not reach 60 fps with any gpu , resolution, and a 4 threaded i5. I suggest keeping the 980 and upgrading to a ryzen 7 2700, a great deal right now. A 980 is fine for 1080p. I wouldnt try to stream at 1440p.
Well, I down scale it to 720p since that's what twitch allows me atm, but I get you.
 
At least when not streaming, a graphics card upgrade would undoubtedly provide the most performance benefit when running games at 1440p with high graphics settings. A GTX 980 performs roughly similar to a 1060 6GB, which doesn't exactly have enough performance to comfortably run most recent games well at 1440p without lowering settings a fair amount. It's more of a 1080p card at this point. A 2070, by comparison, offers roughly double the graphics performance at 1440p, making it a lot more suitable for that resolution, and you would likely see a big uplift in performance in most titles.

Most games will still get along fine enough on a quad-core, so a processor upgrade would not improve performance much at all in those cases, as the per-core performance of processors hasn't increased much in recent years. This would especially be true in configurations where the graphics card is what's limiting performance, which would often be the case with a GTX 980 at 1440p. There are a handful of games like Battlefield V that can show some notable performance benefits from having access to more cores, but for the most part developers still try to keep their games running well enough on a quad-core, since that's still what most people have.

As for streaming, that can certainly increase load on the CPU, and will impact performance more substantially on a quad-core processor. The exact performance hit could vary a lot based on the setup though. A CPU-based video encoder would definitely need access to more cores, but a GPU based encoder like NVENC would be much less demanding, and the improved NVENC in the 20-series graphics cards could provide better image quality for the stream over the version in Nvidia's prior generation cards.

In general, I think you would likely get the most performance benefit out of a graphics card upgrade. Your CPU will likely hold back performance when streaming, but your existing graphics card will be holding back performance whether streaming or not with most newer games at 1440p. You may want a CPU upgrade eventually, but unless you are fine with running games at low settings, a graphics card would likely provide the most performance uplift, and would probably be what I would upgrade first.
 

tsunme

Honorable
Jul 21, 2013
189
0
10,690
2
At least when not streaming, a graphics card upgrade would undoubtedly provide the most performance benefit when running games at 1440p with high graphics settings. A GTX 980 performs roughly similar to a 1060 6GB, which doesn't exactly have enough performance to comfortably run most recent games well at 1440p without lowering settings a fair amount. It's more of a 1080p card at this point. A 2070, by comparison, offers roughly double the graphics performance at 1440p, making it a lot more suitable for that resolution, and you would likely see a big uplift in performance in most titles.

Most games will still get along fine enough on a quad-core, so a processor upgrade would not improve performance much at all in those cases, as the per-core performance of processors hasn't increased much in recent years. This would especially be true in configurations where the graphics card is what's limiting performance, which would often be the case with a GTX 980 at 1440p. There are a handful of games like Battlefield V that can show some notable performance benefits from having access to more cores, but for the most part developers still try to keep their games running well enough on a quad-core, since that's still what most people have.

As for streaming, that can certainly increase load on the CPU, and will impact performance more substantially on a quad-core processor. The exact performance hit could vary a lot based on the setup though. A CPU-based video encoder would definitely need access to more cores, but a GPU based encoder like NVENC would be much less demanding, and the improved NVENC in the 20-series graphics cards could provide better image quality for the stream over the version in Nvidia's prior generation cards.

In general, I think you would likely get the most performance benefit out of a graphics card upgrade. Your CPU will likely hold back performance when streaming, but your existing graphics card will be holding back performance whether streaming or not with most newer games at 1440p. You may want a CPU upgrade eventually, but unless you are fine with running games at low settings, a graphics card would likely provide the most performance uplift, and would probably be what I would upgrade first.
Thank you for the depth of info. Now I guess my next question would be: for a gpu how much difference is there between the 1660ti and the 2060, and how much more performance would a 2070 be over 2060/1660?
 
You should be able to get a rough idea of relative performance from a review like this...

https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GeForce_GTX_1660_Gaming_X/28.html

You can scroll down a bit for the 2560x1440 performance summary chart. Keep in mind that those are the averages across the 21 games they tested, and you can find their average frame rates for each game on other pages of the review. Performance may vary between cards from one game to the next, and the numbers for some cards could be a bit different depending on whether a card is factory overclocked or not. Some reviews from other sites may show differences in relative performance because of this, and other differences in testing methodology. Their test system is also is built around recent high-end components, which could result in some performance differences in certain games compared to your own system. And of course, they are not streaming when performing these benchmarks.

As a point of reference, a GTX 980 should typically performance fairly similar to a GTX 1060 6GB, though due to architectural differences, one or the other might be a bit faster depending on the game.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS