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Should I upgrade my CPU for the RTX 4080?

Could your old CPU be hindering your GPUs performance?

Updated: Jan 12, 2023 10:08 am
Should i upgrade my CPU for the RTX 4080

The RTX 4080 release is in full swing, and with tens of thousands of gamers clambering to get a taste of the latest GPU hardware, it’s easy to forget about the other components in your system.

Now read: Best CPU for RTX 4080

The CPU is just as important as the GPU when it comes to keeping a stable system. You don’t want to be hindering the performance of your shiny new RTX 4080 with an outdated CPU, do you?

Luckily, we’re on hand to answer the question “should I upgrade my CPU for the RTX 4080”.


What is a CPU bottleneck?

To understand if your CPU is sufficient enough to pair with the RTX 4080, we must first understand what a CPU bottleneck is.

What is a CPU bottleneck

A CPU bottleneck is when the CPU is unable to “keep up” with the rest of the hardware in high-load scenarios, in this case, it is the RTX 4080. The CPU is responsible for arithmetic, Input/output, and telling the rest of the system what to do.

The CPU has to feed or call upon other components of the PC when needed. So when you’re playing a game, the CPU feeds the GPU information. If your CPU is older and unable to keep up with the 4080’s rendering speed, it will cause a bottleneck.

When the CPU is causing a bottleneck, the GPU is forced to wait for the CPU to send instructions in order to execute them. This is why it’s called a bottleneck because much like the neck of a bottle, the flow of liquid is slowed and constricted.

Now Read: What is a CPU bottleneck?

How do the CPU and GPU work together?

The CPU has to receive information and initialize it before it can be processed by the GPU. Everything the PC has to do is first run through the CPU, as the CPU has to designate a component best suited for the task and appoint input or output.

So all the information a GPU gets is first run through the CPU, that’s why it’s very important you not only find the best CPU and GPU, but you find the best pair that can work efficiently together.


Do I need a motherboard upgrade for the RTX 4080?

Motherboards have just as much to do with performance as CPUs do these days. And just like CPUs, you’re going to want to have the best hardware if you want to take full advantage of the RTX 4080.

Do i need a CPU upgrade for the RTX 4080

The RTX 4080 is PCIe Gen 4, meaning you’re going to want to make sure you’re not rocking a PCIe Gen 3 motherboard. Be careful here, as we recommend you go no lower than the top-end AM4 CPUs, but some older AM4 motherboards are PCIe Gen 3.

PCIe Gen 3 is roughly half the bandwidth as PCIe Gen 4, at 8 GT/s vs 16 GT/s, this means that PCIe Gen 3-enabled motherboards are theoretically only half as fast at transferring GPU data as PCIe Gen 4 motherboards. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have a PCIe Gen 4 motherboard, you don’t want to be limiting your 4080 via lesser PCIe Generation transfer speeds.


Do I need to upgrade my CPU for the RTX 4080?

The answer depends on what CPU you have already. If you have a relatively new 12th-gen or 5000-series CPU, then you should be okay. If your CPU is old, you might want to consider upgrading.

We’d recommend that you upgrade your CPU if you’re running a CPU lower than the 12600K for Intel and the 5600X for AMD. These CPUs are what we would consider “bottom of the barrel” for CPUs to pair efficiently with the RTX 4080.

Upgrading your CPU will ensure that your 4080 is properly supported by your other hardware and little to no bottleneck should occur.

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