Would a Gtx 980 ti or a R9 Nano not be used at the fullest potential?

Would a GtX 980 ti or a R9 Nano not be used at the fullest potential?

If i paired either one of these cards with the
Intel Core i5-4460
Asus Sabertooth Z87
G.Skill RipJaws (2x8) 16GB of RAM

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It'll be fine. Most games now a days are becoming more GPU Intensive than CPU.

You will be fine

A 980Ti will basicly not be used up to its full potential in certain games indeed with a 4460 that runs at 3.2GHz.
But it wont get unplayable or something like that.

But unless he plays @ 4k it won't matter all that much because even without going all out the 980ti will destroy 1080p and still do alright at 1440p

At 4K the 4460 would totaly be capable to maxout a 980Ti.
Because at 4k your allmost totaly gpu bound.
The cpu load does not realy change all that much if you go up in resolution.

Will be fine for most games

but I hope you don't plan on using one of those GPUs with a 1080p 60hz display, that would be a complete waste

Well, 1080p...
Even DX12...

1080p 60fps is kind of fine with the newest of the new games...

I think one could live with dropping some settings

"1080p and 1440p frame-rate and frame-time testing for The Witcher 3 on
top-tier GPUs. Ultra is demanding - though dialling back shadows and
foliage draw distance alone can save a lot of GPU time."

No. I disagree. I am not paying 700$ to drop settings. You buy this kind of graphics cards to push everything to the max...
Here are a few direct comparisons of similar GPUs with different CPUs - FX, i5, i7, etc...
You can see the difference by yourself. Negligible.

So pay $300 for a mid range GPU and get better performance per dollar lol, new stuff is on the horizon anyways, if it were 6 months back it would make a bit more sense to buy a top end GPU

Most of those seem to be far above 60fps though.

In short the i5 won't really present a bottleneck for the 980Ti. I would question the wisdom of buying one if you only have a 1080p 60Hz screen - sure some games might be able to make use of all that power but a lesser card and new monitor would proabbly be a better investment.