I am looking to upgrade my video card and I have been wondering if my current CPU will bottleneck the GPU. I want to upgrade from my Radeon HD 6850 to either a R9 290x, R9 280x, GTX 980, or a GTX 970. My CPU is an Intel Core i7-3820. It is a quad core CPU that does 3.6 GHz with a 3.8 GHz turbo boost.


No you will be totaly fine ☺

Thank you!

Yeah your i7 3820 is good to go for any of those. Right now I would go gtx970 or 980. Other wise wait a few weeks as the new AMD graphics cards should be out soon.

I wouldn't buy the 980. It is over $200 more than a 970 for a gain of around 5-12FPS. 

Grab a 970 or an R9 290. The 290 is $100 cheaper than the 970 and is again not that much slower. At 1440p+ they are very similar. 

The 280X really isn't in the same league as the other cards but it is much cheaper. The 290X isn't worth it either. $50-80  more than a 290 for again very little increase in FPS. 

I'd say either 970 or 290. It is up to you if you think the 970 is worth it. 

GTX 970 is currently the sweetspot IMO. The R9 290 is good, but'll usually draw around 50-100W more power than a GTX 970 (depends which model you get, its clock speed etc.). If you find a good deal on it or a 290X then go for it though. At the same price, I would take a 970 over either the 290 or 290X personally.

I'd have to agree that the GTX 980 isn't really worth it. Like most flagship cards, you pay a premium. Costs 50% more than a GTX 970 for a 15-20% performance gain. Nothing to snuff at, of course; the value proposition is just off IMO.

Definitely not, go for R9 290 or GTX 970, both are very good! Pick whichever is cheaper or more comfortable with.

Thanks for all the awesome advice! Right now, I am considering either the GTX 970 or the R9 290, leaning more towards the 970.

I faced the same graphics card decision for my new build and I went with a R9 290x I picked up a good aftermarket cooled one for 300$. Contrarily to what everyone is saying, a 290x will beat a stock clocked 970 in most configurations/applications and they are less money. Win Win, however they do use lots more power so make sure your PSU is up to the task! 

All that being said I've seen some 290s selling for around 200$ at that price point its just crazy, I would strongly consider that option as well. The 970 is a great card, but, at its price point you would have to either pay tons for electricity or be out of your mind to buy one! 350$ for a good 970 when 290x's are selling for sub 300 level and perform better?!? Is that even a thing?