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Question Can an i7 2600K support a modern high end graphics cards?

Sunburn74

Diamond Member
Oct 5, 2009
4,094
1,443
136
Hello,

I'm running a rig with an i7 2600K (sandybridge still kicking) and a radeon R9-290.
I'm no longer able to run modern games at recommended settings. I've been thinking about either building an entirely new rig once AMD releases their next line of CPUs vs just doing a smaller move like buying a modern GPU. However I am concerned that my CPU won't be able to actually fully support a modern high end graphics card (say something that costs 300-350 dollars). I mostly game at 1080P and I have no high end CPU needs (mostly office stuff and some gaming and rarely using some statistical software which doesn't need a lot of horsepower behind it) overall though it would be nice at some point to do an upgrade.

What would you guys recommend? Wait till december/early jan for AMDs next line of CPUs and do a total overhaul or is my current CPU powerful enough to support a modern GPU now?
 

Red Hawk

Diamond Member
Jan 1, 2011
3,269
168
106
In the here and now, your 2600K will play just about anything that's thrown at it. I had 3770K in my old build, which is marginally better than the 2600K. I upgraded to a Radeon 5700 XT from 290X, and used it with my 3770K before building a whole new system. I definitely still saw a huge performance improvement with just the GPU upgrade.

If you upgrade to something like an GeForce RTX 2060 or a Radeon 5600 XT, you will definitely be able to get good performance out of them in current games with the 2600K. Sandy Bridge really is still kicking.

My concern is that we are on the verge of a new console generation. The Xbox Series X and PS5 will both feature full 8 core, 16 thread Ryzen CPUs and high performance SSDs. They will both support hardware ray tracing. So while you will see performance improvements from a GPU upgrade right now, you will want to eventually build a new system to keep up with next gen console games.
 

Spjut

Senior member
Apr 9, 2011
890
72
91
A 60 FPS target would probably be an issue in notoriously CPU demanding games like Assassins Creed Odyssey, but in general, you'd be able to play every modern game smoothly again.

And I always refer to the PS4 and Xbox One as being the standard experience, and the i7 2600k paired with a better GPU would be superior to them in all cases.

I'm using the i7 4770k myself and am not planning on upgrading anytime soon. It's easy to say that since there isn't any particular game I'm really looking forward to, but it feels risky to buy a new PC today when the next-gen consoles could change the playing field completely.
 
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lobz

Golden Member
Feb 10, 2017
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A 60 FPS target would probably be an issue in notoriously CPU demanding games like Assassins Creed Odyssey, but in general, you'd be able to play every modern game smoothly again.

And I always refer to the PS4 and Xbox One as being the standard experience, and the i7 2600k paired with a better GPU would be superior to them in all cases.

I'm using the i7 4770k myself and am not planning on upgrading anytime soon. It's easy to say that since there isn't any particular game I'm really looking forward to, but it feels risky to buy a new PC today when the next-gen consoles could change the playing field completely.
I respectfully disagree.
 

DAPUNISHER

Super Moderator and Elite Member
Moderator
Aug 22, 2001
22,180
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We are in a weird time right now, my advice will reflect that.

Disclaimer out of the way, here is my take. PSUs and mobos are overpriced and the selection is spotty. IMO that equals wait it out. In the meantime, redo the T.I.M. on the CPU and GPU and dust the system, if you have not done it of late. If you are not overclocking both, now is the time. And you can always tweak game settings that are the hardest on the card, to improve the game's performance with minimal loss of quality. Search for a optimal settings guide for the game in question.

That should keep you going until the market normalizes more, and we see what new kit is available. Because that setup is still competent for 1080p if all of the above is efforted.
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
49,607
5,625
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Hmm, is a RTX 2060 Super faster than a 290X? You'd gain RTX, and a decently-fast 1080P / semi-1440P card to boot.

Then again, most people consider the RX 5700 XT a better value for price/performance, though you would lose out on RTX.

But if you're going to get an RX 5700 XT, might as well wait on "big Navi", to get RT capabilities anyways. Sigh.
 

Hans Gruber

Senior member
Dec 23, 2006
994
292
136
I would suggest getting a B550 motherboard when Zen 3 comes out later this year. My 3570K is still a beast with basic browsing and older games. BF5 was the 1st game where I realized I had to retire the 3570K from gaming duties. People with newer Intel CPU's are realizing even their 4 Core i7's are not good enough for gaming anymore. 6 cores or more are what you need today.
 

Hans Gruber

Senior member
Dec 23, 2006
994
292
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Hmm, is a RTX 2060 Super faster than a 290X? You'd gain RTX, and a decently-fast 1080P / semi-1440P card to boot.

Then again, most people consider the RX 5700 XT a better value for price/performance, though you would lose out on RTX.

But if you're going to get an RX 5700 XT, might as well wait on "big Navi", to get RT capabilities anyways. Sigh.
Larry, the standard 5700 with the 5700XT bios is the value play. Have seen them for $271 after rebate.
 
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Red Hawk

Diamond Member
Jan 1, 2011
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I emphasized that in your comment as I replied. A 4C/8T Sandy Bridge can not run every modern game smoothly.
It wasn't my comment, but I saw what you highlighted. I'm asking what reason do you have for that very claim, if you have any examples.
 

Hans Gruber

Senior member
Dec 23, 2006
994
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It wasn't my comment, but I saw what you highlighted. I'm asking what reason do you have for that very claim, if you have any examples.
I am speaking from personal experience. Ivy Bridge is newer than Sandy Bridge. @ 4.5ghz my ivy bridge in BF5 put up respectable FPS @ 1080P. My computer was dropping a ton of frames that the FPS monitor doesn't account for. With a Ryzen 3600 it's buttery smooth with no dropped frames. The experience is slight stutter and choppiness with 4 core CPU's. Hyperthreading means nothing on a 4 core CPU. It doesn't help in newer CPU's. People with 7700K's have told me they have noticed similar issues as well.
 

lobz

Golden Member
Feb 10, 2017
1,508
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It wasn't my comment, but I saw what you highlighted. I'm asking what reason do you have for that very claim, if you have any examples.
I'm sorry, I'm really not in the mood for data mining. Look at big CPU comparisons from reliable reviewers (Gamers Nexus, Hardware Unboxed etc.) and look out for min. fps or 99th percentile fps numbers. Average fps means nothing, because stutter from bad minimum fps can happen even in scenarios where the game is mostly GPU limited.

To prevent arguing about non-existent claims: it's not a crime to buy a high-end GPU into a 2600K rig and still holding off the CPU upgrade till either Zen 3 or Rocket Lake, everyone knows that the 2600K is a timeless classic. Hoping it won't hold back a high-end GPU though? I don't need to say anything more than this: the i3 10100 is a much faster CPU than the 2600K. Would you pair it with a high-end GPU?
 
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Red Hawk

Diamond Member
Jan 1, 2011
3,269
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I am speaking from personal experience. Ivy Bridge is newer than Sandy Bridge. @ 4.5ghz my ivy bridge in BF5 put up respectable FPS @ 1080P. My computer was dropping a ton of frames that the FPS monitor doesn't account for. With a Ryzen 3600 it's buttery smooth with no dropped frames. The experience is slight stutter and choppiness with 4 core CPU's. Hyperthreading means nothing on a 4 core CPU. It doesn't help in newer CPU's. People with 7700K's have told me they have noticed similar issues as well.
Were you monitoring frametimes with something like Afterburner? I believe GamersNexus has shown that hyperthreading does make a difference on quad core CPUs in both framerates and lowest percentile frametimes, at least between the 7600K and the 7700K.

I'm sorry, I'm really not in the mood for data mining. Look at big CPU comparisons from reliable reviewers (Gamers Nexus, Hardware Unboxed etc.) and look out for min. fps or 99th percentile fps numbers. Average fps means nothing, because stutter from bad minimum fps can happen even in scenarios where the game is mostly GPU limited.

To prevent arguing about non-existent claims: it's not a crime to buy a high-end GPU into a 2600K rig and still holding off the CPU upgrade till either Zen 3 or Rocket Lake, everyone knows that the 2600K is a timeless classic. Hoping it won't hold back a high-end GPU though? I don't need to say anything more than this: the i3 10100 is a much faster CPU than the 2600K. Would you pair it with a high-end GPU?
The thread OP suggested a price range of $300-$350. Nowadays that's mid-range at best. For building a new system if you were on a tight budget, I something like an i3 10100 or a Ryzen 3 3100 would go fine with a 5600 XT or an RTX 2060. The issue with the 10100 right now is more that only Z490 mobos are available, when really it should be paired with a B or H series board, just like the 3100 shouldn't be paired with an X570 board.

Anyways, at present current quad cores are still serviceable, and I don't think an overclocked 2600K will fall too far behind current quad cores.
 
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loki1944

Member
Apr 23, 2020
94
31
51
Hello,

I'm running a rig with an i7 2600K (sandybridge still kicking) and a radeon R9-290.
I'm no longer able to run modern games at recommended settings. I've been thinking about either building an entirely new rig once AMD releases their next line of CPUs vs just doing a smaller move like buying a modern GPU. However I am concerned that my CPU won't be able to actually fully support a modern high end graphics card (say something that costs 300-350 dollars). I mostly game at 1080P and I have no high end CPU needs (mostly office stuff and some gaming and rarely using some statistical software which doesn't need a lot of horsepower behind it) overall though it would be nice at some point to do an upgrade.

What would you guys recommend? Wait till december/early jan for AMDs next line of CPUs and do a total overhaul or is my current CPU powerful enough to support a modern GPU now?
My i7 920/50/60/80X systems top out around 1070Ti on the Nvidia side and around R9 Fury/RX 580 on the AMD side; Vega 56/64 and GTX 1080/1080Ti give little performance increase past that. I would think a 2600K being newer would have a bit more leg room.
 

ZipSpeed

Golden Member
Aug 13, 2007
1,298
160
106
I should chime in that I probably have one of the most imbalanced systems on AT at the moment. My HTPC is a 2600K @ 4.2 GHz paired with a RTX 2080 Ti. Now, before anyone is wondering if I should be stoned to death for making a ridiculous choice, I did buy the 2080 Ti during the Folding@home race with Toms back in March/April. I was caught up in the moment and wanted something to drastically increase my PPD. I do game at 4K on my TV and with the GPU being the bottleneck most of the time, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the 2600K performed. I can still play many titles at 60 FPS on high or ultra. Is it perfect? Definitely not, and I do notice dips on occasion, but it doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would. All said, I am slowly piecing bits together for a new 3900X build so don't laugh at me too much. :)
 

ZGR

Golden Member
Oct 26, 2012
1,856
272
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It all depends on the games you play. ARMA 3, Kerbal Space Program, 7 Days to Die, Fallout 4, Dying Light, Space Engineers, and GTA V (with mods) are my most recently played games where I cannot hit 60fps in any of them once the CPU is stressed. Even in GTA V, all 8 threads are at 100% usage when all the scripts and traffic mods running. Pretty cool to see.

Then there is other games where that 2600k is fine for 144hz gaming. I would post the games you plan on playing.
 
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GodisanAtheist

Platinum Member
Nov 16, 2006
2,544
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Thing with a GPU is you can always carry it forward into a new system. Its not like buying it now will somehow mean you have to buy it again later.

And a GPU upgrade will always improve your experience for gaming. Either you up your framerate, you up your image quality, or you up both. A lot of people forget about the built in SSAA modes in both NV and AMD drivers, so you can always shift the bottleneck off the CPU and onto the GPU.

Only thing with this specific moment in time is the practically guaranteed shift in the GPU landscape coming at the end of this year. I wouldn't wait at this point for any technical reasons, but mostly to see how things shape up with the launch of the next gen cards.
 

Hans Gruber

Senior member
Dec 23, 2006
994
292
136
Another thing to point out with regards to the 2600k. CPU have silicon/transistor degradation. I have seen it myself with my Intel 3570K over the years. How many 2600K's can run @ 4.9-5ghz in 2020? I see most threads with 2500k or 2600k's running 4.5-4.6ghz. Over the years it takes more juice to squeeze out performance on any CPU.
 

Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
Super Moderator
Sep 13, 2008
4,695
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I would wait for now, see what the new cards and refreshed Ryzens are like.
 

AtenRa

Lifer
Feb 2, 2009
13,548
2,522
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My 3770K @ 4.2GHz + RX 570 4GB can play all games at 1080p/1440p custom settings. I can even play games at 1440p 144Hz though with lower IQ settings. Most of the time this system is GPU limited.
Core i7 2600K at 4.0 to 4.5GHz could easily use up to RX5700/RTX2060.
 

pauldun170

Diamond Member
Sep 26, 2011
7,168
2,350
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Up until March, I was gaming away with a 2700K (at stock speeds) and an RTX2060.
I also game at 1080p
The RTX2060 replaced a GTX780 (Same ballpark as your R9-290) which is way past its prime at this point.

A 2600K with a modern GPU would make a nice little gaming rig that can hold you over until next year when AMD new stuff is out in the wild with a good selection of stable boards.
 

Midwayman

Diamond Member
Jan 28, 2000
5,642
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I had one previously. The issue I was running into was that it couldn't get more than 60-70fps in some games no matter the graphics settings. If you want to drive a 4k monitor at max settings you're probably going to be fine. It's certainly possible to game well on that CPU, you have have to make sure you pick a GPU/resolution that won't outrun it too badly. Its a poor choice if you're hoping to make the most of a 144hz monitor. Fine if you want high res and all the eye candy.
 

Sunburn74

Diamond Member
Oct 5, 2009
4,094
1,443
136
Thanks for the responses. I think in aggregate it appears that its ok to run a 2600 K with a modern card but I think overall I'm leaning towards just waiting till christmas and making a move at that time with the latest tech. I'm also contemplating a monitor update. In addition, the one game I had to run on low settings I beat and currently I really have nothing to play anyway that needs a nice card. If something comes up in the interim, I may make a move and just grab a card but for now I'm planning to sit tight. Thank you all for your input.
 

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