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At what point is my system throttling a new video card?

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Premium Member
May 17, 2003
So I don't do any real gaming anymore, though I might consider some light gaming if I have a rig that can handle it. Current setup is in my sig SkyLake i7, Z170 MB, 16GB RAM.

Currently running a very old ASUS Matrix GTX580 and I have the itch for a new video card, as I feel that is the thing holding back my system the MOST. And my son just got a system with a GTX 2070 Super, so of course, I need to be able to compete at least in theory, right?

So I'm going to be in KCMO this weekend and I found they have a couple of 3070s in stock at Microcenter. I see an ASUS Dual OC and an ASUS TUF Triple OC, as well as an EVGA Ultra. I am seriously thinking about picking up one of these, but is my processor/MB combo going to throttle its performance? I mean, I'm not above building a new machine piece by piece over the next couple of months as decent parts and deals become available again, but I don't want to pay a premium just because parts are scarce right now.

So I'm not sure where the line is as far as when a video card would be throttled by my CPU/MB. Am I being silly considering anything faster than a 1060, or can I take relatively good advantage of 20-series or even 30-series cards?

Again, I might do it anyways, just on the thought that I might upgrade other parts later, too. (and to tweak my son's nose, lol)
I'll start off by saying don't hold your breath on those cards will be in stock by this weekend because chances are they are already gone regardless of what the website says. You might get lucky though.

I'm sure the more knowledgeable will chime in here soon but from what I understand the core count matters more than the age when it comes to the CPU being the bottleneck with these cards. An I7 from that period will run fine but you will see some bottlenecking from the CPU, probably not one that you will notice though. With a 2000 series you probably won't see any at all.
The 6700k is fine to a point, especially if you game at 1440p on high settings or 4K the graphics card will still likely take the brunt of the work. However if you game at 1080p a card like that is overkill anyway for that resolution but it will be bottlenecked by the cpu at high FPS.

You will find that the 6700k is starting to struggle in some games anyway. Game such as assassins creed valhalla or shadow of the tomb raider take good advantage of high core CPUs and the difference is noticeable and in those cases you will gain significant FPS if you paired a 3070 with a newer cpu.

Not saying you need to upgrade right away as that cpu will do a good job, but I would put it on the list for a future upgrade. But looking at your pc right now, you will gain the biggest performance boost by upgrading the gpu and your money will be best spent there.

Sorry for the double post but I just noticed you are running a single stick of 2800. Buy a dual set of at least PC3200. You are running slow memory and not even getting DDR rates. Samsung B Die like this is $129 and will do just fine.
You see them in stock today... I wouldn't expect them there tomorrow even... I hope I am wrong. :)

It's not so much throttling (the card doesn't lower clock speeds, etc) as it is a glass ceiling put on by the CPU.

That aside, how low the glass ceiling depends on a couple of factors.... first, your resolution. What do you game at? If it is 1080p, that is a CPU bound resolution with the latest mid-range to high-end cards. The higher the resolution you play, the less the CPU matters.

If you're at 1080p, you will still see a significant FPS increase over your current card with 2000/300 series (or AMD cards - also as rare). It just won't reach it's potential due to the CPU. You can overclock the CPU to raise the ceiling. That said......... it's a 4c/8t CPU which can be a limit on some titles in and of itself. ;)

EDIT: As others have said, the 1 stick of RAM is concerning too. Dual channel has been around for ages and you should be running 2x sticks for best results. You'll need that for best results at any resolution. Single channel RAM can hold things back. No reason to run one stick.
ANybody in KCMO wanna go to MicroCenter for me????

And the 'monitor' I use is a 50" 4k TV. I don't know the refresh rate, it's just a cheap TCL. I can swap in some better RAM at any point, that's no big deal, either.

- - - Auto-Merged Double Post - - -

And if I can't get one of these cards when I'm in KC, that's ok, I'll just wait until I can find something reasonable. I'm obviously in no hurry, I'm just feeling some change jingling in my pocket.
At 4K UHD, the CPU isn't holding you back much on clock speed and IPC. That said, 4c/8t can still be a glass ceiling in some titles. Regardless, I would get a GPU as it will be worth the upgrade regardless. :)
What games are you currently playing?

I feel my experience is unique but I'm sharing it with you. Base system is stock speed AMD 1700 and 2x8GB 2400MHz RAM. Went from a 5700XT which would play Fortnite pretty smoothly in the 150-190 range for FPS to a 3080 and my frame drops are killing me. Literally, killing me. I went from stock to overclocked on both CPU and RAM, so it has gotten better. I was OK with performance not increasing, I just did not expect performance to go backwards.

But other games I play aren't taxing enough or have somehow figured out how to not stutter so the issue isn't too bad.

Like you I plan on upgrading my system one piece at a time. I am hoping first quarter of next year I get a new CPU and am able to smooth things out.

I would seriously not consider any older generation hardware at the moment. The reason is some of that older hardware is price at or above what they were earlier this year. They do not present a good value. As an example an AMD RX580 for $200 while it has held up good enough the past year or so will not have the same future going forward. Heck even the 5700XT is losing its value advantage it had earlier this year.

I would keep an eye out for either a 3060Ti or a 3070. Both are great values. The 3060 will save you $100 which you can apply towards another stick of RAM.
Yeah I currently don't play anything, really. Work has kept me hopping this year, as I am in healthcare. But I might consider playing something... not Fortnite, but maybe something. I don't know.
In that case I wouldn't buy anything over a 3060Ti. Even a used 2070 Super would serve you well. 3070 or above would be a waste imo.
I would wait. Since you don't know which game you obviously aren't in desperate need for a card NOW. Set the money aside and either wait for inventory to stabilize giving you a better choice of cards, making sure you pair the card with the game/budget you have and also to see if last generation cards come down in pricing. I wouldn't buy last gen at their current prices since they offer less performance for same price as current gen cards.
If I can get a top end 3070 for the $550 range, that's cheaper than even 2070s on most websites. If that one is still there, I'll probably grab it, but if not, I won't feel bad.

If I have the card to do it, it might prompt me to look into trying some games.
Why not install Steam and head over to g2a.com and find a few cheap game keys and see which genre you like? From there you can narrow it down to a few games and see how the 580 handles it. I bet there are a lot of good titles that the 580 will handle easily.

I play more Age of Empires II than anything else on my 3080. I think I get around 25,000-26,000 FPS.:sly:
I play more Age of Empires II than anything else on my 3080. I think I get around 25,000-26,000 FPS.
Oh my.. it's been so long. I used to LAN across my apartment against my roommate in the early 2000s on that AOE III... good times. :)

That's a great way to check out some games and genres you may like, for sure. :)
That or signing up for a month of pc game pass for around $9 which gives a large number of games from Microsoft (not as many as xbox game pass though)

Oh sure, I've played AoE and stuff, I like that. I like Assasin's Creed stuff, though I would play that on Xbox more than anything. Hell, who knows. There probably won't even be any good cards left.
Ok, I'm keeping an eye on stock, going to be there tomorrow, maybe I'll be lucky.

I THINK I probably know the answer to this, but I want some opinions:

ASUS GeForce RTX 3070 TUF Overclocked Triple-Fan 8GB (1845MHz)


EVGA GeForce RTX 3070 XC3 Ultra Gaming Triple-Fan 8GB (1770 MHz)

My thought is the ASUS, not just based on clock speed, but also I think ASUS has a better reputation for durability and performance, although EVGA is no slouch and I have been very happy with all the EVGA products I've used in the past.

OR maybe....

EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 FTW3 Ultra Gaming Triple-Fan 10GB (1800MHz)


These have all been reporting as in stock there since yesterday --- yes, yes, I know that could change by the time I get there. The 2 3090s they had have disappeared, so they do seem to keep it up.
Both are excellent. I think more people talk about evga support over Asus

Both are excellent. I think more people talk about evga support over Asus

You can take that two ways... they talk about the support from EVGA over ASUS in that it is BETTER support, or it is more NEEDED support? The best support is the one you never need, right? Anyways, thanks for the comment. I agree both are excellent, I have multiple uses of EVGA and of course have this ASUS card running now for close to 10 years probably.
If I had the choice I would take the ASUS. Any of those would be great cards though. I'm running eVGA right now because that is what I could get but I prefer ASUS. I doubt you will have a choice. If any are even there you probably will have to take what is left. Good luck.