Upgrade CPU+RAM+MOBO or just GPU (for gaming) ?

Sir Lord Chris

Jul 12, 2017
Hi guys, quick and easy (?) question: with these specs what should I upgrade (for today's games)?

GPU: R9 280X 3GB to a GTX 1060 3GB


CPU: i5 3470 to a Ryzen 3 1300X and RAM: 8GB DDR3 1600MHz to 8GB DDR4 2400MHz and an overclockable AM4 mobo.

They cost the same, but I'm leaning towards the CPU-RAM-MOBO combo since there's 3 parts vs just one.

Thanks for reading!


Feb 16, 2015
I believe the new gpu would give you a much larger increase in gaming performance. that CPU is still very adequate for today's games whereas that gpu is showing its age


Oct 10, 2008

You are always going to be seeing a bottleneck. Just depends on the application. The vast majority of the games out there will be GPU limited, outside of BF1 and a couple others which would be limited by your cpu.

If you are running at 1080p 60fps, you would see a bigger performance jump with the 1060, shoot for the 6 gig not the 3 gig.

not that much it will utilize your CPU fully only few of the games which are mostly CPU dependent
and one more thing from GPU to CPU or CPU to GPU there is always bottleneck from one another:p
For cost-effective upgrade, overclock your CPU if you have non-H mb, I know it is locked, but check http://www.overclock.net/t/1322812/overclocking-i5-3470-to-4ghz. Then get GTX 1060 6gb :) When you have enough money, get coffee lake/canon lake new build in the future, while 1060 6gb can be reused. Sell your R9 280 X on ebay to get some money back as well.
What would be more effective is determined by the games you play.
Here is my stock approach to finding out:

Some games are graphics limited like fast action shooters.
Others are cpu core speed limited like strategy, sims, and mmo.
Multiplayer with many participants tend 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.

ryzen 3 1300x is somewhat of a sideways move.
I5-3470 has a passmark rating of 6636 and a single thread rating of 1912.
R3-1300X has a rating of 7304 and a single thread rating of 1852.

My guess is that a graphics card upgrade would be more effective.


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