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CPU/GPU matching for a combination gaming/compute machine

Dkuespert
  • 1 month ago

I'm just getting back into PC building, and in my absence, things have gotten more complicated. I'd appreciate some advice in selecting CPU and GPU for my new machine.

Use case: 85% gaming, 15% compute (with Mathematica). I tend not to play FPS style games unless they've got CRPG elements, so I'm looking at games like The Outer Worlds, Fallout 4 (a bit older), etc. I play a fair amount of "classic" games as well (like the original Fallout series).

I'm looking to future-proof a bit, which is driving me toward AMD Ryzen chips since x570 boards offer a pretty clear upgrade path. Also Intel keeps having to issue mitigations for security flaws. Because of the compute requirements, I've been considering a 3700X or 3900X. I'll be using an AIO cooler, so I can push the processor a bit, but I'd rather just turn on PBO than fuss with hours of overclocking CPU and memory.

Monitor is my 55" TV, capable of 1080p or 4KHDR/120Hz over HDMI, which limits me to those two resolutions, effectively--I don't think it can do 1440p. Although maybe I can upscale the signal with integer scaling.

I'm kind of torn on which graphics card to go for given the current offerings. It appears to me that a 2060 Super or a Radeon 5700 would suffice for 1080p gaming for the foreseeable future, but that locks me out of 4K gaming to a large extent. Do people tend to get acceptable performance on 4K from something like a 2070 Super/2080 Super or does one have to step up to the 2080 Ti? Nvidia's pricing on those cards seems...predatory. I'm not particularly budget-limited on this project, but I kind of choke on paying $1200-1500 for a graphics card.

I was thinking it might be best to get a card capable of stellar 1080p gaming and pretty good 4K, like a 2070 Super, for using over the next couple of years. Once Nvidia and AMD come out with their next latest-and-greatest, perhaps the cost of high settings 4K will have dropped.

Does that make sense? (I know I rambled a bit.) What's your idea of a good CPU/GPU combination for the above use case?

Regards, Dan K.

Comments

  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

You have researched well. Yes an X570 board and one of 3700X or 3900X would do very nicely for gaming and simulations. GPU wise, keep going with the 1080p gaming and get the RTX 2060 Super. If you decide to go with 4K gaming Nvidia and AMD have new cards coming out by end of year that will expand your 4K gaming options.

It appears to me that a 2060 Super or a Radeon 5700 would suffice for 1080p gaming for the foreseeable future,

Yes indeed. Correct. Both excellent choices.

but that locks me out of 4K gaming to a large extent. Do people tend to get acceptable performance on 4K from something like a 2070 Super/2080 Super

Absolutely, just tweak settings to get everything running nicely.

or does one have to step up to the 2080 Ti?

I would wait for next gen Nvidia. Should get 2080TI performance or close to it out of that generation's 70 Super series card - assuming they keep the naming going. Get a 2060 Super for now and upgrade to the next gen's affordable 3070/3070 super equivalent which should do 4K nicely. Cards should be on the market by end of this year or early next depending which rumor mill sources you read.

I'm looking to future-proof a bit, which is driving me toward AMD Ryzen chips since x570 boards offer a pretty clear upgrade path.

Not really, one release upcoming then nothing. While it is tempting to think this is a two shot process it only is if buying now and upgrading in a few months when AMD dump the new CPU's on the market. With most folks keeping their CPU for 3 or 4 years by the time you want to upgrade, the x570 chipset and CPU's that will run on it will be long outdated. This will make the build one shot. I really would not advise buying a Ryzen 3700X today only to upgrade to a 4700X for a 15% bump in performance. Chances are eight in ten or higher you will want to get some life out of the 3700X/3900X and then upgrade to a more modern CPU and chipset in the future. Bit like being stuck with a Kabylake board and an i5 today. As tempting as it would be to ugrade to the i7, the only logical upgrade is an entirely new Chipset. You will find yourself in that predicament in 3/4 years - and to be honest it is a fun predicament.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for your cogent and very illuminating reply.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Sets you up fairly well even for 4K gaming.

The 2080ti is not worth the price increase over the Super.

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/rMMQcq

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, thanks. I look askance at any graphics card that costs $1000 more for about 30% more performance. Not a value.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Their about a 15% performance increase depending on the game for a 60% price increase.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

I don't know about 3700X, but in 3900X AIO will do nothing. Both Hardware Unboxed and Tech Yes City tested it and while yes some improvment can achieved in frequency department andobviously temperatures, there is basically no performance improvement in games.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Thanks.

  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

Ahh yes I must add onto the point that was made here: Since you have been a long time out of the game, things have changed. AMD chips, while overclockable, offer little to nothing or even worse performance doing so - at least on the 3000 series. While it is in the PC builder's best interests to keep the CPU running as cool as possible your cooling solution need not be elaborate like Liquid Cooling. Liquid cooling for an AMD chipset is largely conducted for sake of looks. Intel on the other hand, if you plan to overclock, necessitates a liquid cooling solution. AMD not so much. Since air coolers, particularly good ones run huge and need a huge case with at least 170mm of clearance, a liquid cooling solution offers a higher priced but smaller footprint solution as long as you have a slot for a radiator.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Yes, as I said, not planning to overclock beyond activating PBO, and I'll benchmark whether it actually does anything. Liquid cooling is more of a silencing thing for this application, I think--the PC will be in my living room. A 360mm radiator with three slowly-turning fans is likely to be far quieter than a 2500rpm air cooler. Thanks for your input!

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