Upgrade or Replace?

Nov 4, 2019
My beloved desktop is getting old. I'm running a GTX 770 with a i7-4770k on an ASUS z87 Pro Motherboard that I build myself several years ago and things are starting to slow down quite a bit. my HDD slowed to crawling speed so I replaced it with a large SSD (2tb) which helped speed everything up greatly, but all my graphic settings keep creeping lower and lower on new titles.

I play with a BenQ 1080p 144hz monitor which I think I'd probably like to keep. I want to get my frame rates up much higher to fully utilize the high refresh rate coupled with high or maxed graphics. I plan on playing a bit more now that COD:MW has cross play since it's putting me back in touch with some old friends. Obviously I need to perpetuate the dogma of the PC Master Race to my console brethren.

I've been looking into just updating the GPU with a RTX 2070 Super (my primitive research seemed to suggest it would be compatible), but I'm worried that I'll bottleneck the RTX with my CPU. I can't really upgrade to the CPUs I was looking at (think along the lines of i7-9700k or i5-9600k) because they aren't compatible with my motherboard.

Replacing the mother board to upgrade the CPU and GPU seems like it's getting into regions where it'd be better to just simply start from scratch. Alternatively, if I could get away with just replacing the GPU but avoiding a massive bottleneck I'd be happy with that too. I want something a little future proof but I'd probably do another computer in 3-4 years anyways.

Thoughts? Should I upgrade the GPU only? Start over and do a new build? Wait for the RTX 3000 series? Thanks for your insights in advance.


Upgrade the GPU and see how it goes. Worst case you start shopping for a new CPU after that.

If it is pure graphics performance you need, a GPU will get you that. i7-4770k is still comparable to late model i5 and mid-range Ryzen CPUs, so you aren't missing out on much.

Only real gains I had going from a 4770k (4.3Ghz) to an i7-7700k (5Ghz) was NVMe storage capability. You've already invested in a large SSD, all you really need.

Now people will throw that bottleneck term around a lot. Yes you could get more performance with a faster CPU, but that is because of the game engine running more efficiently and being able to send more to the GPU. If you crank the graphics settings up, then it may still reach 100% on the GPU. Always a balancing act.

At 1080, you do tend to rely more on CPU performance, but only if we are talking 200+ FPS. If you are satisfied with 144FPS and you want better graphics settings. GPU all the way.

It is a HUGE jump going for a 770 to a 2070 Super. (Kepler, Maxwell, Pascal, Turing)Talking three whole architectures and one massive process node shrink (one one slightly smaller one, 32nm-16nm-14nm) 10 series was almost double 900 series. Really the technological equivalent to your 770 would be the RTX2060. The 2070 Super (TU104) creeps into the next GPU class up this time around. (The classic RTX2070 (TU106).

I think you could spend a lot less and get the desired results is what I am saying. But if you still think your future plans involve a new CPU, then no reason to hold back now on the GPU.

Nothing really out of Nvidia on a 3000 series. They are still releasing new Turing SKUs (1660 Super last week) In the past they have 'prototyped' new process nodes by release lower end cards (see GTX750, 750Ti, before using that node for larger silicon 900 series) But they seem to be confident enough now and AMD has been using TSMC's 7nm process for a good while now, so if they get some of that fab time, they could probably jump right in.