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Need references for comparison between average GPU and strong CPU vs strong GPU and average CPU in games

I read many threads about choosing a strong GPU and an average CPU, rather than an average GPU and a strong CPU in games. However, I don't see any benchmark and real tests to support it.

Something similar to this link http://www.pcgamer.com/will-your-cpu-bottleneck-your-graphics-card/ is fine. Unfortunately, the link doesn't have a test showing how games perform if I pair a full 4-core i5 CPU with a weak GTX 460 SE.

Thank you.

PS: I would like to see upgrading to a powerful CPU doesn't gain as much as upgrading to a powerful GPU.
10 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about references comparison average gpu strong cpu strong gpu average cpu games
  1. Games are a lot more GPU intensive than CPU intensive. So it's a lot harder to max out a CPU than a GPU. Using a strong CPU with a weak GPU is useless, because your GPU will reach 100% usage while your CPU might hover around 50%. In that case the strong CPU won't give you any advantage over a weaker CPU that might hit 90% usage while gaming. There is no point in having a strong CPU if your GPU can't keep up.
    I don't have any benchmarks I could link to you right now. But just look up CPU benchmarks compared to GPU benchmarks. In CPU benchmarks even an I3 almost always reaches 60 fps when paired with a strong GPU (980ti/Titan X). But when you look at GPU benchmarks, They pair it with a top level CPU like the i7 6700k or even 5960X, but a gtx 950 still won't reach 60 fps.
  2. rhelmar1 said:
    Games are a lot more GPU intensive than CPU intensive. So it's a lot harder to max out a CPU than a GPU. Using a strong CPU with a weak GPU is useless, because your GPU will reach 100% usage while your CPU might hover around 50%. In that case the strong CPU won't give you any advantage over a weaker CPU that might hit 90% usage while gaming. There is no point in having a strong CPU if your GPU can't keep up.
    I don't have any benchmarks I could link to you right now. But just look up CPU benchmarks compared to GPU benchmarks. In CPU benchmarks even an I3 almost always reaches 60 fps when paired with a strong GPU (980ti/Titan X). But when you look at GPU benchmarks, They pair it with a top level CPU like the i7 6700k or even 5960X, but a gtx 950 still won't reach 60 fps.


    Complete misinformation. It depends on workload/intended use. Many high unit/player count multiplayer games are incredibly CPU intensive. That means most ~64 player first person shooters, MMO's, and RTS's. Those are basically the most popular types of PC games played today (minus MOBA's).

    You can always turn down graphical settings and/or resolution to remove a GPU bottleneck. However, the only things you can do to boost performance when CPU bottlenecked are overclock your CPU, buy a new CPU, or play a different game.

    For reference, here is a video of a i5-4570/GTX 750ti setup playing BF4 64-player at ~100fps.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aD87NIZ2GlQ&list=FL-a1y0YMDOAwe4KvDHEVf1g&index=3

    I myself currently use an i7-4770k and a GTX 750ti, as my AMD 7950 died recently, and I'm playing everything I own at over 100fps once I adjust my visual settings down to medium at 1080p.

    The simple formula is this:
    - A high-end CPU with a low-end GPU will allow you to play games at high FPS with low visual settings
    - A low-end CPU with a high-end GPU will allow you to play games at low FPS with high visual settings
    - A high-end CPU with a high-end GPU will allow you to play games at high FPS with high visual settings
    - A piece of junk with a low-end CPU and a low-end GPU will allow you to play Farmville
  3. TBH, I see enough words and sentences (threads are going on and on), so it will be more convincible if I can see real tests and benchmarks.
  4. Expensive CPU's and expensive GPU's run games well. It's as simple as that.

    If you can overclock then you can get away with spending less on CPU and more on GPU. If you can't then you're going to have to spend a lot of money on both.
  5. It's too dependent on the specific game as you can see from pcgamer link you showed and the different cpu and gpu usage. Knowing what would make a balanced build is what requires knowledge and there really isn't a simple article or quick and easy way too show why I'd choose specific setups at different price points.
  6. Best answer
    Anonymous said:
    TBH, I see enough words and sentences (threads are going on and on), so it will be more convincible if I can see real tests and benchmarks.


    There's no one test or benchmark that's going to show everything. You have to look at the types of games you play and the conditions you play in, and then start researching and searching for similar games and setups on YouTube. Even specific games that are similar in type can have varying component requirements. For instance, Counter-Strike: GO and ARMA 3 are both first person shooters, but ARMA 3 is brutally CPU intensive, whereas Counter-Strike: GO is far more forgiving. Whether or not you play singleplayer games or multiplayer games makes an enormous difference as well, as mutliplayer games tend to require much more CPU horsepower to calculate everything that's happening in real-time.

    You also need to figure that it's FAR easier to upgrade a GPU than a CPU. So if you plan on upgrading within the life of your machine, starting with a weaker GPU if it allows you to purchase a stronger CPU often makes a lot more sense.

    In either case, you need to state your intended use before people can give you more insight.
  7. VenBaja said:
    Anonymous said:
    TBH, I see enough words and sentences (threads are going on and on), so it will be more convincible if I can see real tests and benchmarks.


    There's no one test or benchmark that's going to show everything. You have to look at the types of games you play and the conditions you play in, and then start researching and searching for similar games and setups on YouTube. Even specific games that are similar in type can have varying component requirements. For instance, Counter-Strike: GO and ARMA 3 are both first person shooters, but ARMA 3 is brutally CPU intensive, whereas Counter-Strike: GO is far more forgiving. Whether or not you play singleplayer games or multiplayer games makes an enormous difference as well, as mutliplayer games tend to require much more CPU horsepower to calculate everything that's happening in real-time.

    You also need to figure that it's FAR easier to upgrade a GPU than a CPU. So if you plan on upgrading within the life of your machine, starting with a weaker GPU if it allows you to purchase a stronger CPU often makes a lot more sense.

    In either case, you need to state your intended use before people can give you more insight.


    Thanks. I don't play games much. I searched through many pages, threads, polls, and it seems like the majority of gamers prefer stronger GPU than stronger CPU. Everyone gave their arguments, and all of them make sense to me. However, I don't see any benchmarks and tests. Then I encountered a situation where "the whole country" (don't ask me which one) claim just choosing a not-too-bad graphic card, while investing most money into CPU in all cases, including games will be enough. Actually, what you said about online gaming vs offline gaming is opposite to what they said. They prefer a stronger CPU in offline games.
    If there's no benchmark and test like the link in my first post, I can't say anything (and of course, I myself can't argue back all of them)!
  8. Yes it very hard to find benchmarks for CPU about video games. caz you won't see much different in most of them. and that is why nobody do them.
    take a look at this 2 video.

    FX 6300 @ 4.6GHz + r9 380
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcs9hQFUpt0

    Intel Core i5 4460 4x 3.20GHz - Asus Radeon R9 380
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSe-I25zSEw

    FX6400 would be the "weak cpu" and i take that the i5 should be the "strong cpu" to most people. they both run on R9 380
    on Star wars battlefront. with both about 55-60 fps

    their maybe a few fps different 3?4? depending on driver and setting of computer. (motherboard, ssd, ram speed, etc etc) but for the most part. if your goal is to play games. than GPU is more important than cpu.

    I also came across with this http://wccftech.com/fx-8370-i5-6400-gaming-comparison/
    i don't know how the guy got this kinda number or how true the number are. but i find it very interesting myself.
    i take that the games are optimizing all the cores of the fx8370 so thats why the number are close?

    just a few thing you need to keep in mind when you read about "benchmarks" make sure if they show which driver they are using. the reason is for the same video card and cpu setup. and the same game. but a different video driver could mean a big different in fps.
  9. Good game benchmarks will have a cpu section and it's not hard to find. http://www.techspot.com/review/1096-star-wars-battlefront-benchmarks/page3.html The frostbite engine used in bf4 and battlefront work well with more cores. It's really more about just having a cpu powerful enough to let the gpu work to it's fullest aka the infamous bottleneck term. For a gaming pc, you do typically just need to upgrade the gpu to stay relevant before having to replace the whole pc. Like my 2500k is still kicking and just needed a bump up from the original 560ti.
  10. gonf said:
    Yes it very hard to find benchmarks for CPU about video games. caz you won't see much different in most of them. and that is why nobody do them.
    take a look at this 2 video.

    FX 6300 @ 4.6GHz + r9 380
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcs9hQFUpt0

    Intel Core i5 4460 4x 3.20GHz - Asus Radeon R9 380
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSe-I25zSEw

    FX6400 would be the "weak cpu" and i take that the i5 should be the "strong cpu" to most people. they both run on R9 380
    on Star wars battlefront. with both about 55-60 fps

    their maybe a few fps different 3?4? depending on driver and setting of computer. (motherboard, ssd, ram speed, etc etc) but for the most part. if your goal is to play games. than GPU is more important than cpu.

    I also came across with this http://wccftech.com/fx-8370-i5-6400-gaming-comparison/
    i don't know how the guy got this kinda number or how true the number are. but i find it very interesting myself.
    i take that the games are optimizing all the cores of the fx8370 so thats why the number are close?

    just a few thing you need to keep in mind when you read about "benchmarks" make sure if they show which driver they are using. the reason is for the same video card and cpu setup. and the same game. but a different video driver could mean a big different in fps.


    This post highlights one large issue that I've tried to address, and that is conditions that you play in. The issue is that almost all benchmarks are done using singleplayer games or in the singleplayer campaign mode of a game that offers both single and multiplayer. People do this because those are easily and perfectly repeatable conditions. However, multiplayer conditions are constantly changing/variable, and so they are very hard to accurately benchmark. But obviously many many people play multiplayer games and are interested in the performance they can achieve in them.

    This is where you have to look through forums where people actually talk about the game, the components they use, and how it performs; as well as searching through YouTube videos for multiplayer gameplay with an FPS counter using a variety of PC component configurations AND a variety of game settings. It's a lot more research/work than just looking up a benchmark or two, but it's the only way you can get an accurate picture of what kind of components you need to play certain games at your desired framerate and visual quality goals.
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