CPU or GPU Upgrade for Gaming?

My current setup is predictably struggling a little with AAA games (assassins creed etc) since I jumped to 1440p.

Looking to upgrade either GPU or CPU (can't really afford both rn).

Budget is around $600 plus whatever I sell the old parts for. Hoping to find a black Friday deal somewhere.

I guess it's either:

Ryzen 5 3600 and a B450 board or i5 10th gen and B460?

or an RX5700 8gb

Current spec:

i5 - 6500, B150m Pro 4 mobo

Sapphire RX580 8gb

16gb RAM

1440p 27" 75hz freesync monitor

What's going to give me best bang for buck for gaming?


  • +2

    GPU - If you can, go for the 6000 series; if not, the 5700 with a flashed 5700xt bios works a treat!

  • +2

    December 2nd is when RTX 3060ti releases, supposedly. That's less than a week away.

    But good luck finding stock :P

    • Yep, I think it's around 10% slower than the 3070?

      The dream GPU for me is 3070ti 10G6X at $600~625USD with PLE's EVGA pricing…

  • +1

    GPU improves gaming performance more than CPU.

    • +4

      Unless the cpu is bottlenecking the current gpu.

  • +1

    Definitely GPU.

    I just recently built a new computer, and went from an i7-2600 to a Ryzen 3900x. I initially had the 3900x set up with my old GTX 960 (I was waiting a few more weeks for the RTX 3070 to come out hence why I didn't upgrade it at the same time as my CPU).

    The new CPU with old graphics, I barely noticed a different. I maybe got an extra 5 FPS.

    Now I have the RTX 3070 and hitting very high FPS (an extra 50FPS in some games).

  • -2

    GPU = Graphics Processing Unit

  • +5

    CPU upgrade is only a 25% jump in performance, but that GPU upgrade is a 50% jump.

    If you're planning on upgrading both I would go with CPU now during the sales, and save up to buy an RTX 3060ti when they're actually available to buy for a 90% jump. If you won't be upgrading anything else for a while then get the GPU upgrade as it'll make more of a difference immediately.

    • Might be a good idea.

      I guess prices of existing GPU's will drop once the new ones are available? Might be able to do the CPU now and pick up a 5700 around xmas/new year

      Is the RTX 3060 Freesync compatible?

      • +1

        Yeah current ones are already dropping as stock clears out, but I'd go for the 3060ti regardless so you get modern ray tracing. Should cost around $600 for a decent brand by January/February, there's almost no reason to go for a 5700. The new RX 6000 AMD cards could be good too, but you'll be waiting a bit longer.

        It'll be Freesync compatible too, I'm using an RTX 3080 on a Freesync monitor without issue. All Freesync monitors have been compatible with Nvidia GPU's for a while now.

        A 3600 CPU and 3600ti GPU combo will last you a good 3-4 years, basically the dream pairing for <100hz 1440p right now.

        • Legend - thanks.

          Any suggestions on best CPU + board to look out for? i5 10th gen or R5 3600?

          • +1

            @SJDR: R5 3600 all the way, this generation of CPUs belongs to AMD. Good 10th gen z490 motherboards start at $200, good b450m motherboards start at $100. The CPU prices are similar but you get so much less value from Intel all up.

            Can recommend the MSI PRO-VDH max, good cheap B450 board, can get them for $125 pretty often. Good VRM, 4 RAM slots, nothing wrong with it other than lacking WiFi and Bluetooth, sort of the intersection between price, features and quality. MSI Mortar isn't bad either if it comes under $130, who knows with black friday.

  • CPU, then upgrade the GPU when some of them actually come in stock. All the parts you'd want, except GPU, are in stock now. Turn your old PC into a seed box and media server.

  • depends what games

  • Without knowing details, GPU upgrade is usually the safer bet for gaming performance upgrade.

  • gpu upgrade is nice but your cpu will really start to struggle in the coming years, if i were you i'd upgrade that first and just play on lower res/detail

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