Upgrade AMD 7970 or FX 8350 first?

Definitely upgrade the CPU to a ryzen. The 8350 is really showing its age now, especially with games that properly use more cores. That 7970 is still going strong in games. And what’s up with people forgetting the fact that amd cards have open source drivers? That’s one of the main reasons I’d get a Vega GPU, easily over nvidia proprietary crap.


Just laying out an example of what 600 quid can do:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 1600 3.2GHz 6-Core Processor (£186.00 @ Amazon UK)
Motherboard: ASRock - AB350M Pro4 Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard (£73.79 @ CCL Computers)
Memory: Team - T-Force / Night Hawk 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 Memory (£124.99 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Video Card: Sapphire - Radeon RX 580 8GB PULSE Video Card (£221.69 @ Amazon UK)
Total: £606.47
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2017-08-20 07:45 BST+0100

I would agree with others here.

CPU + Motherboard first, even then clean out the whole case and go from there. Put your old GPU back in and keep saving for a better one.

Pretty much what everyone else is saying - upgrade the CPU. That’ll mean going to a new platform, but your 7970 is still a very good card, even nowadays, 5 years from when it was released. It’ll run basically everything at 1080p with pretty high settings, and in older games like Bioshock Infinite will happily push 1440p without a hitch. Part of me wishes I still had my old 7970 because I loved that card so much.

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Looks like about everyone has roughly the same opinion.

Upgrade to Ryzen would be my advice, as an 8350 will be the bottleneck in most computing scenarios, let alone games.

I’m throwing my hat in for the CPU and Mobo upgrade. Going from a FX 6300 to a Ryzan 5 1600 was so nice


I dont think thats true, opencl on the gpu is largely cpu independant.

At least for the programmes I use it for (gpu accelerated 3d rendering).

It honestly depends on the workload really.

I know from cinema4d’s latest release I could have just stuck with my old 8350 from ages ago, bought vega and my render times would have been just as fast as a setup with a 7700k because the gpu is doing all the work.

lol I guess I didn’t consider literally any and all rendering tasks when I typed that. What I had in mind, mainly, was the fact that the 8350 is most certainly a definite bottleneck in any demanding title being advertised today. That, and, for some reason, 7zip compression and decompression are always what come to mind when I think of general computing scenarios; no clue why.

What % of the time are you gaming vs programming?

Upgrading the CPU will have a 0-5% increase in gaming performance.

Upgrading the CPU will have a 2x the performance in CPU encoding/compiling.

Upgrading the GPU will have a substatial performance increase in gaming.

Upgrading the GPU will have a 0% increase in (nearly) everything else.

If you mostly game, upgrade the GPU. The 8370 will not bottleneck most games until you get to a 980 Ti, 1070 or above. Until you actually have a 1070, or Vega, upgrading the CPU is basically pointless for gaming.

If you mostly do programming with a side of gaming, Ryzen over FX will offer 2x the performance. Don’t bother upgrading the GPU since CPU compiling will show a 0% improvement with a better GPU.


Don’t expect games to be any better when using Ryzen over FX.

Related threads: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Scaling with FX and Ryzen on Windows 10 and AMD FX 8350 versus AMD Ryzen 7 1700 Scaling on Windows 10


For overclockers the later versions of Ryzen next year should be better at OC’ing.
AFter a boom comes a bust, whether the housing market or GPU’s
So I would start looking at Monitor upgrade, even SSD’s are overpriced.
I would wait till cyber monday in 4 months and make the jump to the biggest 4k monitor you could afford.

It is also a great time to experiment with GPU overclocking, the best time to learn about overclocking is just b4 you upgrade :slight_smile:
CPU and GPU cooling stuff is another area that is not insanely overpriced

Deffinetly the GPU, even though old, the FX. 8350 has its place, and really does well.
It should be noted i would get a RX 580 instead of vega(dependant of its “current price” due to miners…).
else throw a few more bucks into the mix and do a full upgrade.
e.g. gpu, and CPU and all that follows.

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meh, I knew this thread would run, and run, and will probably still be going in another 10 days and the OP whilst be playing with the new Vega :smiley:

Why has no one asked - “If you spend £600 on one thing, when will you be able to upgrade the other?”

If it’s £600 and then nothing for another 2 years I would probably say go with @stconquest suggestion. If it’ll only be a couple of months before you’ll have some more cash ready just stick with the GPU already ordered and upgrade the rest once you have the readies.

BTW a GPU upgrade by itself won’t make that much difference to FSX - the engine is over 10 years old and pushes a lot of work onto mostly 1 or 2 threads of the CPU. If you upgrade to the new Dovetail Flight Sim World or X-Plane 11 then a Vega should make a nice improvement over the 7970 as their modern engines push much more onto the GPU and use multiple CPU threads to optimise texture loading and AI aircraft etc.

It is not 1-2 threads. Dx 11 throws everything it has on core 0(essentially it is a while loop with some branches) and uses up to 3 seperate cores/threads for some minute computation e.g. ~25-50% load(which is why the IPC of processors has been in focus for so long), where as anything of never generation e.g. vulcan or DX12, uses more cores by spreading the load “abit”(actually ALOT) more.
The fx has 8 cores which actually holds up somewhat compared to even ryzen(somewhat… and there is 8 of dem cores). While the gpu is sort of a one trick pony, and you get what you pay for, and 500 bucks for a GPU which WILL be bottle necked by the CPU is not worth it. Unless you’re planning within the next 6 months to throw another 600 bucks at it and buying a CPU/system upgrade.


Thanks for the insight. For interest go and read up on FSX, the engine is DX9… The more advanced payware add-ons ended up writing their own engines to run outside of the main sim, but that of course doesn’t help the ancient render engines.

Dx12 and vulkan have yet to debut in flightsims.

Thanks for all your advice and replies. This was my first time posting on any tech forums and the response has been incredible!!

Well, I have a work laptop which runs an i5(no discrete graphics) so I do most of my programming on it. I just do some casual programming on my personal computer but mainly gaming and a lot of CAD(Solidworks/NX) stuff.

After listening to all your advice, I went ahead and did my own little investigation on the games I play. This is what I found using the NZXT CAMM software:

FSX: 1x100% CPU - 20% GPU
Division: 8x55% CPU - 100% GPU
PUBG: 8x45% CPU - 100% GPU
Terraria: 1x35% CPU - 30% GPU
Cities Skilines: 4x65% CPU - 65% GPU

So I guess @Lauritzen was right, in the sense that FSX basically only uses one core while all 7 others were chilling at around 0-3% even though I had PMDG aircrafts, FSPassengers and other Mods active. In this case, upgrading to Ryzen might improve frames slightly but I don’t think it’s worth £600.

Terraria and Cities Skylines are perfect examples of how balanced this system is I guess. Both CPU and GPU are being utilized equally across a fair number of cores.

PUBG and Division are I guess examples of modern games which there will be more of in the future. They both utilise only about 50% of the CPU as they are completely limited by the GPU. Hence, as I’m most likely to purchase games in the future similar to these, I think its best to upgrade the GPU. Do you guys agree?

On that note, the choice falls mainly either on the RX580, Vega 56 or Vega 64.
RX580 - £320
Vega54 - £400
Vega64 - £600

Hence, I guess the question now becomes which GPU to buy or if its even worth it to upgrade my 7970. Is Vega 64 worth double as much as the RX580? If not, is Vega54 a better value than the RX580 so should I wait for Vega54 to release and then get that?

You guys probably know best hence why I’m humbly requesting your advice. Please note that I am sticking to AMD GPU’s purely because of personal reasons. Not a fanboy but morally inclined to support good business practices.

Thanks in advance for you response and advice.


Hey, I find your post really interesting. Any particular reason why you say that?
Could you please have a look at my most recent post regarding CPU and core usage along with GPU usage.

What do you mean by open source drivers… surely, you run he drivers directly available on AMD website? I may be oblivious to the GPU Driver market. Apologies if I sound super uninformed.

If you just want to continue using the software you’ve already been using, then the FX 8350 should be ok for a few more years. But if you plan on branching out to linux, emulating windows within linux with GPU passthrough (which requires CPU VT-D support, which is only available on newer cpu’s such as ryzen) or trying any new technologies, I would highly recommend getting a ryzen 5 or 7 to replace that. You have to get a new motherboard and ram, but it’s worth it, you’ll be on a platform that is highly upgradeable and up-to-date, you have high-speed DDR4 RAM (which is great for Virtual Managers like emulating windows 10), Ryzen CPU’s have a built-in machine learning feature that increases performance over time by learning your usage patterns and predicting them, you can emulate windows instead have having to install it on your machine, you have a much faster cpu which in turn allows you to upgrade to a better GPU and monitor in the future. If you keep your 7970, upgrade to ryzen, and later when you have the funds buy a beefy nvidia graphics card with UEFI support like a 1080 Ti, you can use the 7970 with the open source amd drivers in linux, while you use the 1080 Ti for the windows virtual manager to play your games maxed out, all within the safety of linux. Basically I think upgrading to ryzen will open a crap-ton more doors for you in the future than getting a new GPU.

As for what AMD open source drivers are:
Open source and proprietary are two different ways of developing a piece of software. Closed-source means that the developers only developed the app among themselves with no transparency to the outside world and released it for use. They don’t provide any method to modify the code usually, in hopes that they can control the piece of software they built, and no one else. Exceptions are when game developers provide the proprietary developer tools used so that people can create game mods, like Skyrim. However the game is only modifiable within the tools provided, and someone would have to reverse-engineer the code to modify it directly.

Open source is the complete opposite. The code is open to the public to see and contribute to from the start of the project. The project also abides by certain licences; for example the GPL licence. Licenses have requirements for what code is provided and how things are recorded. Corporations like LG are required to release the source code of their OEM Rom’s that are put on their phones, because they use an open-source piece of software under an open-source licence, Android. The license android has requires that legally, anyone using the software is required to reveal the source code of their project. The main benefits of open source for the average user, is that the code is transparent compared to the secrecy of proprietary code. This allows the user and the community to audit/inspect the code in a project to make sure they can trust it enough to install it on their PC. This provides you knowledge if a backdoor has been put in the program. There are NSA backdoors in windows that have been discovered that microsoft refuses to fix or be transparent about, and we can’t do anything about it other than use linux instead because windows is closed-source. Open source is also more secure in the sense that the code is open and being fixed constantly by people all over the world, whereas windows security patches are being developed by exclusively microsoft employees when they decide to patch them. You can patch an open source software yourself if you know of a security hole and how to fix, whereas it’s nearly impossible to do so on windows.

AMD drivers being open source allows linux developers to easily design their software around AMD’s drivers, reducing overall bugs and increasing the rate of fixes and updates along with better security and support. The problem with Nvidia’s proprietary drivers on linux is sometimes there isn’t an update for months, and no one has any way of knowing if their is an unfixed security hole in the driver. Developers have a harder time developing their software around nvidia’s drivers if they don’t want to use nvidia’s proprietary tools, resulting in more bugs and less overall performance (which I experience myself).


I would go with GPU first.

Even though the FX CPUs arn’t state of the art anymore and lust for a strong PSU, a FX-8350 isn’t low end either.
Swapping in a RX 580 would give you a huge bump in graphics capability and gaming framerate. Yes, a Vega 56 or GTX 1070 would be bottlenecked, but the overall perfomance increase a lot more noticeable compared to a Ryzen 5 1600 with the 7970. Crank the clockspeed of the FX to get the most out of it.

For work (software development) I have a 5 year old Core i7 machine, which could be a fine system to work on with a SSD and a bit more memory. A new CPU is always welcome but would not have much impact on the speed of my workflow.

Keep in mind that for the past couple of years CPUs held up to gaming demands for a longer time then the graphics cards did, so you don’t want to cheap out on this invenstment. (r5 1600 would be the choice right now) The unreasonable GPU pricing is what makes this a tough decision, but I am still on team GPU first.

Since you hardly get a Vega54 for 400 Pounds go with the Polaris card for now, it will give you a great gaming experince. Those high end cards are worth considering once that mining bobble popped.

Ouch thats a very hard choice to get VEGA since that $100 USD spike which make them very bad for cost effectiveness in general. I say if going with the GPU route do some nvidia cards like 1070 or 1080.