Are Games More Demanding on GPUs or CPUs

We may earn compensation from the products mentioned in this post. Please see our Affiliate Disclaimer.

Every year, games advance to a higher level of complexity, which in turn drives up the cost of the associated gaming equipment. You’ll need to know if gaming is more demanding on your computer’s central processing unit (CPU) or graphics processing unit (GPU) if you want to update your PC for the best possible gaming experience.

This is true whether you’re interested or planning to upgrade your PC. I’m sorry to say there isn’t an answer that is really simple or straightforward, but rather than leaving you hanging, we’ll go a little more into the subject matter.

Is the processing power of the CPU or the GPU more taxed while playing games?

Modern games, with their complex 3D visuals and high-resolution textures, place a greater demand on the graphics processing unit (GPU) than ever before. The computer processor is responsible for AI and game mechanics, such as determining whether or not two objects are touching. The graphics processing unit (GPU) is essential for the high-resolution rendering of textures and shaders.

As most new games now have 3D visuals and high-definition textures, I would argue that gaming is becoming more GPU-intensive. Contrarily, they often don’t do a large number of calculations simultaneously. Well, they are doing a lot of computations, but current computers have no trouble keeping up.

Due to this, many games may be played on subpar central processing units (CPUs) but need high-end graphics processing units (GPUs) to work smoothly. Likely, future video games will only improve visually by adding more complex textures.

Although the central processing unit (CPU) is involved in rendering these elements, the graphics processing unit (GPU) often plays a more significant part in gaming. Some games put a greater demand on the CPU than the graphics processing unit (GPU); sometimes, tweaking the settings can even achieve this effect. However, newer games are more demanding of the graphics processing unit (GPU) than older titles.

How to tell whether a game is CPU or GPU heavy?

Playing the game while keeping an eye on your system’s resources using Task Manager or another tool is the best approach to determine which component a game relies on more heavily. Intense graphics processing unit (GPU) use indicates that your system is likely to become a bottleneck in the game; conversely, high central processing unit (CPU) consumption indicates that your GPU is likely to be underutilized.

The system requirements for the game are listed on the game’s official website. The requirements for playing a video game often include both a bare minimum and a set of suggested minimums. You may check into each of them and learn more about the central and graphics processing units.

An indication that a game is more CPU-intensive is when it recommends a CPU that is much more powerful than the GPU. The game is more likely to be GPU-heavy if it cannot be played on a 4-core CPU.

The game’s mechanics may also help you guess what’s going on. There is a greater likelihood that the GPU will be taxed if the game has high-quality visuals such as realistic textures and complex shaders. A game with advanced artificial intelligence, flashy dynamics, and realistic computations would likely need greater processing power.

What Should you upgrade first? GPU or CPU?

The graphics processing unit (GPU) should be the first to be upgraded. Most importantly, newer games will run noticeably better when you upgrade your GPU. Updating the CPU is recommended if you’re using a really old processor (i.e., 4 cores or fewer). However, going from 6 to 8 cores will not have nearly as great of an impact as upgrading the GPU.

Depending on the situation, a GPU upgrade may or may not be the best option, but in most cases, it will result in a significant performance improvement. 

In particular, this holds true if you’re upgrading from no dedicated GPU to a high-end RTX card. However, moving from a 4-core to a 6-core CPU will likely provide noticeable performance gains in-game, but further upgrades will likely yield diminishing returns after that.

It would be best to acquire a solid, mid-range CPU and then spend as much as possible on a better graphics processing unit. Naturally, GPUs may also have decreasing returns. Think about the game(s) you’ll be playing. There is no use in upgrading your GPU if you can play a game at its highest settings with your present GPU and still maintain a framerate of 300 or more frames per second. Most displays cannot keep up with that many frames per second, so even if you manage to get 400 FPS, it will likely appear the same.

What Should the CPU & GPU Usages Look Like?

There must be a distinction between the amount of time spent using the central processing unit and the amount of time spent utilizing the graphics processing unit. To guarantee that your machinery is being used to its utmost capacity, at least one of these numbers should be in the nineties or one hundred.

In some scenarios, such as gaming, it is intentionally encouraged for one program to use the graphics processing unit (GPU) or the central processing unit (CPU) much more than the other. To put it more simply, you don’t want the percentage of time your CPU is being used to go too close to 100 percent. It is a very heavy load when the weight percentage exceeds 80 percent.

If your computer’s processor is already being pushed through a substantial amount of work, it won’t have much capacity left over for any more duties that could come up in the background. As a direct consequence of this, there is a possibility of annoyance, delays, and even overheating. If, on the other hand, your GPU has enough cooling, operating at 100% for lengthy periods of time is not only very typical but also perfectly safe.