GPU Upgrade? Or not? Or something more? + CPU/Intel Discussion

Alright. I built my modest system nearly 4 years ago. I just have an i5 6500 with an ASRock mobo that allows BCLK overclocking. I actually never got around to overclocking as I figured I never really needed it. I love my 960. It’s probably the fastest model that’s ever been made. It holds up great against older games. It KIND of shows its mid-tier performance in games like Fallout 4 where performance suffers in some areas and I have to take the graphics down a little bit.

Honestly, I don’t want to put anymore foreword in here. I’m just kind of worried about my CPU. I’ve decided to buy a 1440p monitor for the holidays and figured that would get rid of any potential excess frames and lessen load on the CPU, thus lowering any potential CPU bottleneck. However, the 960 won’t really be enough for 1440p. I’ve already seen benchmarks of some games I play like Doom. The bump up from 1080p takes a substantial performance cost overtop of whatever it takes to currently run what you’re playing.

This is where i’m torn. I don’t know if I should get my GPU in the next couple of months alongside my monitor. Or if I should wait. The reason for this is simple. The new consoles. I’ve enjoyed approximately 60% more performance than the PS4’s GPU with my 960. It’s been great overall. But I know what’s coming. An entire console generation. And I have to be prepared to be able to run the next Elder Scrolls - or Cyberpunk in less than a year. I was thinking of finally owning a 7-tier Nvidia cars like a 2070 Super. Ideally I like having 100% the performance of consoles. Or more.

So with all of that pile of text in mind, what does everyone think? Should I simply wait until I do a GPU upgrade? Later next year, closer to when the new consoles come out? I also ponder the idea of building a new i5 9600K system, salvaging what I have. I keep thinking about the idea of being able to plug drives right in without installing. Running a Caviar Blue and 850 EVO for OS. I really don’t know what to do now… I sometimes hate technology.

The entire premise of my build was to use it for some designing and gaming, waiting until Intel release their next Nehalem - something borderline revolutionary (responding to Ryzen in full force basically) and then retiring the system to my dad as it’d be perfect for him. He can get himself a new case, BAM, transplant the guts of this system into and it’s a done deal. Then I get to finally build the savage system i’ve always dreamed of. The problem is, Intel is a mess. And to be fair, have been since releasing Skylake. I can’t believe I paid $CDN 260 for my non-K i5. And they charged $CDN 450 for the 6600K when it released. No cooler? Intel are great at making new CPU designs and doing things like Nehalem. But they were NEVER good at being reasonable and giving people something solid for their money. I really wish Ryzen was available when I built this thing.

So there it is. A flood of thoughts, and I just plain don’t know if I should splurge a little or if I should just do a GPU upgrade and wait a couple years. Supposedly Intel have something planned for 2022. A “new generation” of CPUs. Hopefully this time it’s not an i7. “NOW FEATURING 8 CORES YET AGAIN! YEAH! WITHNOMULTITHREADING.”


You’re overthinking it.

The release of the next-gen consoles doesn’t affect your PC performance at all. Your budget might make you choose to upgrade one or the other, but they’re seperate upgrade paths.

And they’ll all be running Ryzen-based APUs with technology you can put in your PC today, if you were so inclined.

If you need an excuse to build a new system, ditch the whole thing and build a Threadripper system. :stuck_out_tongue: It’ll be fun, you’ll love it.

If you want to improve your PC gaming performance, swap out your 960 for a 2070 Super like you said and call it a day. The 6500 is still a capable CPU, with plenty of life left in it.


Yeah, you’re right. I tend to overthink. Because if anyone knows me on here from previous posts, i’m paranoid AF. But the real question now is which exact GPUs will be in the new consoles? Guess we’ll have to wait in order to see actual metrics? I don’t want a 2070 Super if it doesn’t have double the performance. Although I’ll be surprised if the new consoles even come close to 50% of that.

Let us all repeat this.

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Since you’re worried about how consoles will perform for some reason, the answer is they will have lower performance than a 5700 XT.

Once the 5500 is out we can start guestimating, but doing so is literally a waste of time since we’re talking about PC performance here.

The recent 5700XT seems to be the current reasonable path to 1440p gaming. Im sporting an i5-6600K myself - also not overclocked despite having the capabilities. RTX isnt really up on the prime time like Nvidia promised, you should probably wait for a generation or two before adopting ray tracing tech.

My advice is: Let the mobo+cpu die on its own. If your current setup still runs fine, there is no particular reason to touch it just yet.

Im guessing you are sporting a z170 or z270 series Intel mobo and it really cant fit a 9600K. You cannot salvage the motherboard and just upgrade the CPU. Only the RAM, SDD/HDD, PSU, and Case+Fans are the ones you can really save internally. Ryzen 5 3600x is all rage today. The tech youtubers suggests that i5s has less value for money vs its AMD counterparts. So just get a x570 or wait for the b550 series so you can enjoy the Ryzen goodness.

I dont know if your HDD is NVMe yet. Mine certainly isnt - that may also be an avenue for an upgrade. Get a PCIe NVMe SDD for your old system if you wish to prolong its life.

You should also consider getting your father an Intel NUC. It’s small and wont eat too much electricity. Easier to clean as well.

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  1. are you in a financial postion to upgrade?

  2. are you happy with the performance (gaming resolution, framerates, quality and production tasks) you are getting with your current system?

  3. do you depend on your computer for work?
    3a) if you depend on it for work what tech or features (nvenc, cuda, opencl, tensor cores) do you need?

I wouldn’t upgrade unless performance is unbearable.

If you want to upgrade, I’d recomend a 5700 or a XT, unless you need the new nvenc for single pc streaming or tensor cores for machine learning.

Your CPU shouldn’t really bottle neck a lot. I think the cheapest solution is to buy a new gpu over a platform upgrade. If you are getting performance issues 2 months after buying a gpu, I’d consider a upgrade.

I ran into a similarish situation this summer. The 2700X and tomahawk 450 were on sale and I was getting performance issues in overwatch while streaming on the gpu. Turns out overwatch prefers super fast ram. By the time I got my RAM and tested it with my old system my mobo, cooler, and cpu came together.

At the time I justified the purchase for editing and rendering videos for a job.

So if you do upgrade, I’d try to upgrade everything else before you commit to a platform upgrade. If the ram or gpu upgrades don’t improve performance, you can carry them over to the new build


Now would be a better time for the 1070’s
After the 3070’s come out would be the best time for a 2070 purchase IMHO.

My biggest performance issue in gaming has always been getting shot


Though if you want similarish performance 1080 ~ 2070’s perf

Only reason to get 2070, is either for tensor cores or the new nvenc, if your gaming, a 1080 or 5700 is cheaper.

Buying previous the best of last generation is the best way to schedule upgrades, assuming you aren’t a techtuber or there isn’t a huge performance improvement between current and last.

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I agree with the above.

Does your pc run the games you play today at acceptable performance for you?

If yes: do not upgrade.
If no: upgrade

If you currently have a 960, anything RX570 and up will likely be a significant performance upgrade. But - GPUs will be cheaper the longer you can hold off.

In terms of CPU… again, if you’re being held back - upgrade. If you can wait - cpu performance is only going to get cheaper in future.

Bclk overclocking will disable the AVX instruction sets
Your i5 is more than capable stock

Since i went from an i5 6500 and 1050ti on 1440p 144Hz to an Ryzen 5 3600 and 1070ti, here are my thoughts:

Your 960 will struggle at 1440p, no doubt about that. You’ll be fine with e-sports titles and more demanding stuff at low or minimum settings. That’s what i did with my 1050ti.
The i5 will only be a Bottleneck, if you play Cities Skylines or exceed 120FPS. I found that it only ever was a Problem in Games where i specifically wanted 140-160FPS for competition. Anything sub 120FPS wasn’t a major Problem. Yes, you won’t be streaming at the same time, and you might have to watch what your PC is doing a bit, but it’ll be fine.
Rarely do games use more than 4 threads, so if you aren’t heavily multitasking or trying to push 160 FPS, your CPU is decent enough.

My personal opinion: If the 1440p Monitor is set in stone, look for a 2060 Super or 5700 as a GPU upgrade. Throw them into your PC and see how it goes. If you feel that your CPU is holding you back, i can highly recommend the Ryzen 3000 Series.


Well… I’m not worried about how they will perform for the sake of THEIR performance. I thought I was clear enough, guess not. I want a performance metric so I KNOW what GPU to get. If we don’t know the performance levels of the new consoles, how do I know how much faster my new GPU is than the new consoles. I like double, preferably closer to 150% the performance.

Oh yeah, i’ve been using a 1680 x 1050 monitor for 11 years now, it’s long overdue. I’m getting a nice Dell panel that’s 1440p, very nice from all the things i’ve read and videos I’ve watched. Plus it’s 165Hz. Running something like Witcher 3 or Crysis 3, you won’t be getting 120+ frames at 1440p cranked to the max anyway. I don’t care too much about 120+ frames. I like the pixel density. It’s 23.8" and 1440p. Perfect size. A great upgrade. My 960 will be fine for some older games I play, but I worry about things like Doom Eternal at 1440p. I’ve seen a benchmark of Doom 2016 running on Ultra @ 1440. Can’t maintain 60FPS. 1080? No sweat. I’m running at my ALMOST 1080 1680 x 1050. :rofl:

I was actually thinking a 2070 Super to be sure it lasts an entire console generation. But again, we don’t have exact performance metrics for the new consoles. So I don’t know how much faster a 2070S is. Part of me thinks a 1080 Ti will destroy the new consoles. :thinking: Even the 2070 S. Perhaps even a regular 2070?


IDK folks. All I know is I wanna be playing Doom Eternal at 1440p when it comes out. I don’t wanna switch down to 1080 on my new display. If I have to I will. But i’d like to for once see a higher resolution and witness that higher pixel density firsthand.

Upgrade your gpu firstly and look how that is going to perform.
When you encounter any cpu bottlenecks,
then you can always decide to upgrade your cpu + mobo lateron.
But for now, i would say stick with what you have and just upgrade the gpu.

Depending on your budget, i don´t really think that a 6500 would really be a bottleneck for a todays midrange gpu like a 5700XT / 5700 or RTX2060 Super.
A RTX2070 Super might push it a little bit in certain cpu demending games.
But it still should be fine for the most part.

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Rather than maximum frame rates, i think the bigger benefit you will get from upgrading from an i5 will be frame rate consistency.

A quad core in 2019 is going to give you stutters, dropped frames, etc. if anything happens to happen in the background, or if things get hectic on screen.

The difference between a machine that will momentarily drop to single digit fps from an average of 90 fps is WAY worse than say, a machine that maxes out at 80 fps and drops to 60.

But that said, your machine is more gpu limited than CPU. A 960 is getting on and was always only a mid-range card to start with. As i said above, even a 570 will be a BIG boost. Seriously. I went 760 to rx480 and performance was about double. With higher details at the same time.

Part of the reason i’m going with a 1440 display. It should lessen the load on the CPU significantly, no? Going up to 1440 from 1080 you see quite a bit of loss in FPS. I don’t think a 2060 is going to cut it for a whole console generation.

@thro Oh yeah, and I forgot to ask. Why are GPU and CPU prices going to inevitably be cheaper in the future?



Oh yeah. Almost forgot. I have an ASRock mobo and one of the reasons I got it was for Sky OC. Whenever I boot up I have an option to press ‘X’ and enable Skyboost OC? But I only have my stock Intel cooler. I’ve been hesitant to enable it.

Yes, when you go up in resolution the more gpu bound you will get.
A RTX2060 super or 5700XT are pretty decent 1440p cards as far as i know.
But in comparison to a 5700XT a 2060 Super might be a bit pricy for its performance.
Because the 5700XT is faster around the board i think.

I recently upgraded to get that 1440p level of performance (I still need to upgrade my monitor though). I went with a 3700X and a 5700 XT. For 1440p in my opinion there are 3 opotions: 5700, 5700 XT and 2070S. Which you choose depends on preference. For high settings I wouldn’t go lower than 5700 XT, I would only choose the 2070S if you insist on having raytracing but realize that this adds little with the current implementation. The 2060S is off the table, the 5700 XT just is a better option unless the pricing in your country is weird. You can overclock the 5700 to get around 10% higher performance than what AMD allows by using a soft-mod if you game on Windows but that requires quite some effort and the CPU-fan will get rather loud.

With regard to the CPU: 2600X 3600 or 3700X. For 1440p gaming it is less required to have the latest and greatest, the 2600X will handle it fine but the 3700X and 3600 handle it better. Once Intel its new generation comes out the prices of Zen2 should drop if the rumor about the prices of Intel its next generation CPU’s are true. Something to consider if you are willing to wait. By the way, I used an i5-750 and HD 7850 until recently, I know all about Nehalem but I would say that the 2000-series was the best moment to buy a new Intel-CPU. Hindsight is 20/20.

Be careful with generalisations about getting more GPU-bound @1440p, though that is true to some extend it really depends on the game and the graphics card and CPU how much the CPU is a bottleneck. With 4k it mostly (there are some exceptions) is purely a GPU-bottleneck, at least with high settings. With 1440p it depends more on the game.
Generally speaking you could argue that buying a better graphics card gives more longevity but given the current pricing of Nvidia and the fact that the next 2 generation we might see some big changes with raytracing-support I would recommend to not ‘overbuy’ and not consider the 2080 if you want 1440p gaming, unless you insist on 100 FPS and ultra-settings for all the games.

Want to add a +1 to domsch’s feedback, my experience concurs.

Have been waffling on a new build. Finally found a 27GL850 (1440p 144Hz FreeSync) and 5700 on sale for MSRP. So, replaced my 750Ti, but kept my 4690k. Still on the fence with dual booting or trying to go VFIO, so can’t decide between B450/X470/x570 and 3600 or 3700x. In the mean time I am getting 144Hz+ with ultra in esports (mainly Rocket League) and finally playing through TombRaider in Ultra, minus a couple lighting effects, and averaging >100fps with lows >=60fps. Lows are few and far between, honestly only notice the dips when I am monitoring with FRAPS.

I do have to make sure nothing else is loading the CPU in bigger games or frame rates can suffer. But I am probably delaying my mobo/cpu upgrade another 6+ months given how well the 4690k and 5700 are working.

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Now the real question is… how will our CPUs handle Cyberpunk?