What Is CPU GPU Bottleneck? [An In-depth Answer]

CPU GPU bottlenecks can hurt your gaming performance and experience.

But, what is a CPU GPU bottleneck? Here is everything you need to know.

CPU Bottleneck and GPU Bottleneck Explanations

CPU Bottleneck

A CPU bottleneck happens when the CPU is not capable of keeping up with the GPU hence the drop in framerates.

You can experience slowdowns or stuttering spoiling your gaming experience.

It is something like having water flowing from a pipe. Let’s say we have a pipe that can discharge 5 litres of water per second.

Connecting a hose to it will make it discharge water at 3 liters per second. This causes a bottleneck because you are limiting the amount of water it can maximally discharge.

The pipe is the GPU and the CPU is the hose.

An example is having a custom built PC having an Intel Core i3 and a RTX 3070.

A CPU bottleneck will happen because the Intel Core i3 won’t be able to keep up with the processing speed of the RTX 3070.

A CPU/GPU Bottleneck Happening

In the video, notice how the game is stuttering? This is because the CPU usage is at 100% but the GPU is not.

This is a perfect example of a CPU bottleneck. The GPU has to “wait” for the CPU to process the data before it can send more. That is why the GPU usage rises and falls but the CPU is always at 100%.

GPU Bottleneck

Just like there is a CPU bottleneck there is also a GPU bottleneck. A GPU bottleneck is vice versa of a CPU bottleneck.

A GPU that is incapable of keeping up with the processing speed of the CPU.

An example is having an Intel Core i7-10700K paired with a GT 1030 graphics card. The GT 1030 won’t be able to keep up because the i7 can processes data faster than the GPU.

Other causes of CPU/GPU Bottleneck

Apart from the CPU/GPU components games also contribute to causing bottlenecks.

Games are made different. We have the CPU dependent games such as Resident Evil 7 and GPU dependent games like Crysis 3. CPU dependent games have high framerates on low settings.

GPU dependent show low frame rates on low settings if the GPU is not strong enough but if played on a more powerful GPU there’s considerable improvement in frame rates.

How to improve a bottleneck

You can’t fix a bottleneck but only reduce its effects. You need to find the right components that will be able to optimize their performance very well. to play your type of games.

Going by this won’t fix or get rid or get rid of it but it will make sure the effects are greatly reduced.

How Do I Know If My CPU or GPU is Causing a Bottleneck?

If your CPU usage is very high – higher than your GPU. Then there is a high chance that your CPU is bottlenecking your GPU.

Because in gaming, the GPU usage has to be higher than the CPU. Since its the main component responsible for handling graphics.

The same logic applies vice versa, if your GPU (100% usage) is bottlenecking your CPU (30-50% usage).

Task manager is a great way to monitor CPU and GPU usage. Open Task manager by pressing CTRL + ALT + DELETE. Then head over to the performance tab to take a look at the CPU and GPU usage graphics.

MSI Afterburner is another great software to monitor CPU and GPU usage.

How To Fix CPU and GPU Bottlenecks?

The only solution to this problem is to pair the right components to each other. This Bottleneck calculator finds the percentage of bottleneck between two components.

If your PC is already experiencing CPU GPU bottleneck issues. The best solution is to look upgrade or downgrade the component that you suspect is causing the bottleneck.

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