CPU vs GPU Gaming: Is One More Important Than the Other? (2023)

CPU vs GPU gaming is a difficult comparison to make, because while the CPU is considered the brain of the computer and is important for executing data requests, it’s impossible to play most modern titles without a GPU.CPU vs GPU Gaming: Is One More Important Than the Other? (1)

So is one more important than the other for PC gaming, or are both of them equally important? Let’s understand the essential differences between the two so that you can determine which one is more important, depending on the games you wish to play.


  • CPU vs GPU Comparison Table
  • What Are the Differences Between CPU And GPU Gaming?
    • – Importance
  • What Is CPU Gaming Best For?
    • – Understanding the CPU
    • – CPU for Gaming
    • – What CPU To Get
  • What Is GPU Gaming Best For?
    • – Understanding the GPU
    • – Importance of GPU for Gaming
    • – What GPU To Get
  • FAQ Section
    • – Is a GPU Much Better Than a CPU?
    • – Does CPU Affect FPS?
  • Conclusion

CPU vs GPU Comparison Table

Kind of processorSpecializedGeneral-purpose
PurposePerform graphics-related calculationsExecute game logic and physics
ProcessingMultitaskingSequential processing

What Are the Differences Between CPU And GPU Gaming?

The main difference between CPU and GPU gaming is that the CPU acts as the brain of the computer and there’s nothing you can do without it, while the GPU directly affects your gaming performance and experience. You need a GPU with enough power to play most of the high-quality titles available today.

– Importance

A CPU consists of many cores that perform sequential processing, while the primary purpose of a GPU is multitasking. The latter consists of numerous small cores that can handle hundreds and thousands of instructions or threads simultaneously.

Many people find the graphics card to be more important when it comes to gaming. This is because it is responsible for rendering the animations, scenes, and images. Most fast-paced games available today demand high rendering power that only a GPU can provide. But at the same time, they’re designed such that they benefit from the multiple cores that the latest CPUs offer.

This means that both the GPU and CPU are equally important. If you want to play demanding games, you need a powerful GPU along with an efficient CPU. But if we had to choose one of the two, the answer would depend on the games and the purpose.

CPUs are assigned in-game tasks that a GPU is not too good at, such as the AI or NPC discussed above. However, many tasks are better performed by the GPU. Similarly, some games run more smoothly if they have a greater number of cores available, while others are designed to run on only one core.

For instance, Minecraft runs using only one core, so there’s no need for additional power. As a result, the only thing that can affect the FPS is the speed of the CPU.

What Is CPU Gaming Best For?

Quick-moving games available today, including first-person shooters, open sandbox, and multiplayer games, are designed to benefit from the advantages provided by the multiple cores of the latest CPUs.

– Understanding the CPU

Wondering about CPU meaning in gaming? Let’s take a closer look. The CPU or central processing unit is responsible for carrying out and controlling the instructions of the computer program by performing I/O operations, logic, and basic arithmetic. It is a crucial part of a computer and receives and processes all the data.

Since it’s considered a critical component, it is often called the brain of the computer and the same goes for gaming – it’s considered quite important for gaming. This general-purpose processor can execute different kinds of operations, like attending online meetings, opening spreadsheets, video editing, and browsing.

– CPU for Gaming

When it comes to gaming, the CPU is primarily responsible for handling the physics and logic of the game and describing how each object in a game should appear and behave. It also captures the user interactions, determines the effect they have on the game, and then relays the results to the GPU.

It’s easier to understand the role of the CPU in gaming by looking at two examples. The first example involves NPC (non-player characters) and AI (artificial intelligence). When you play a game, you interact with the world within the game, which contains different enemies, fields, and objects. The way you interact with this in-game universe must be governed by some conditions and rules.

For instance, if you play something like NBA, then you need to put the ball through a basket to score a goal. Such rules are created by developers, and it’s the CPU’s responsibility to execute them. The CPU calculates if the ball landed in the basket and tracks the score.

In some cases, the game conditions might adapt to your skill level. Here, too, it’s the CPU’s responsibility to create that kind of adaptability. The second example involves detecting collisions and hitboxes, especially in first-person shooter games where you must aim accurately to win a round or kill the enemy.

In games like this, the CPU calculates if and where the bullet lands on the target and tracks many hitboxes (invisible 3D boxes or shapes attached to characters in the games). The same is the case in a car racing game, where hitboxes are used for detecting collisions or determining if a punch hits the opponent in a fighting game.

– What CPU To Get

The best CPU for gaming depends on the title you want to play. For example, to get the best gaming experience while playing Black Ops 4, you need a quad-core processor at least. In this case, you can either choose the Intel Core i5-2500K (a quad-core processor) or the AMD Ryzen R5 1600 X (a processor with 6 cores).

Meanwhile, competitive players playing on monitors with a high refresh rate should get the Intel i7-8700K (one of the fastest processors available with the highest clock speed) or the AMD Ryzen 1800X.

Similarly, you need a quad-core processor for the World of Warcraft, too. If you’re looking for recommendations, we recommend the AMD FX-8310 or the Intel i7-4770. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a processor for GTA V, go with the Intel i5 3470 or the AMD FX-8350. And for Fortnite, make sure you have at least a core i5 with 4 cores.

What Is GPU Gaming Best For?

GPUs are best for tasks like mapping textures, rendering polygons, processing 3D graphics, and so on. Many games available today demand quite a lot from a GPU and understandably so. The faster the GPU is at processing information, the more frames per second you get to enjoy.

– Understanding the GPU

The GPU or graphics processing unit essentially helps accelerate the creation and rendering of animations, videos, and images. It is responsible for performing quick math calculations while making sure that the CPU is free enough for other tasks.

It’s important to mention that if you have an integrated graphics card, you won’t be able to run complex games with high-quality visuals. You will need a dedicated, gaming GPU for that.

– Importance of GPU for Gaming

Like the CPU, the GPU is also an important part of the gaming setup. In most cases where certain kinds of games are involved, it’s considered more important than the CPU. Primarily, the graphics card is responsible for the gaming visuals, since it gets frame details from the CPU and renders them into visible scenes and shapes.

It generates and renders patterns, shapes, shades, reflections, bodies of water, glowing effects, etc., in the game. More powerful GPUs can even display fine-grained polygons to provide users with higher image quality and increasing detail. The GPU also affects your gaming resolution.

– What GPU To Get

For instance, you should have the AMD RX 580, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB, or the GTX 970 4 GB. These mid-range graphics cards are suitable for 1080p gaming as well as for running games are medium or high settings and at higher resolutions.

If you’re a competitive player, you should get the Radeon RX Vega 64 or GeForce GTX 1080 for Black Ops 4. These high-quality cards are great for QHD gaming or playing on high refresh-rate monitors or VR headsets.

Similarly, if you want to play the World of Warcraft, you should at least have the AMD Radeon R9 280 or the GeForce GTX 960 4 GB. The great thing about the latter is that you get good 1080p performance along with power-efficient consumption. Plus, it is quieter and works cooler than its predecessors.

Other great options include the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, and the Nvidia RTX 3090.

FAQ Section

– Is a GPU Much Better Than a CPU?

Both chips differ in terms of architecture, so while the CPU is designed for quickly handling a range of tasks, it is limited in terms of concurrency (sequential processing). Meanwhile, a GPU can quickly render high-resolution videos and images concurrently.

– Does CPU Affect FPS?

Yes, there’s a high chance that you’ll notice a 40 percent increase in your frames per second if you pair the GPU with the right CPU. However, if you can afford to splurge on a more expensive CPU, you can install a more powerful one if you want a little more improvement.


As you’ve seen in this CPU vs GPU gaming review, both processors have their own dedicated tasks that they’re better at, and it’s impossible to declare one better or more important than the other when it comes to gaming.

While the CPU is important for executing all the physics and logic involved in the game, you need the GPU to render all the graphics and perform mathematical operations in parallel.

So while the CPU serves as the brain, and you need it to be able to run the game in the first place, you can’t play most modern games without a high-end GPU. That’s why it’s better if you get both a high-end GPU along with an efficient CPU if you want a great gaming experience.

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CPU vs GPU Gaming: Is One More Important Than the Other? ›

The GPU is an extremely important component of a gaming system, and in many cases, even more crucial than the CPU when it comes to playing certain types of games.

Is The CPU more important than GPU for gaming? ›

For many, the GPU is universally lauded as the most important for PC gaming. That's because the GPU is what actually renders the images, scenes, and animations that you see. Most of today's fast-paced games are incredibly demanding for the type of rendering power that the GPU provides.

Is it more important to have a good CPU or graphics card? ›

Simply put, if you're building a PC to play games, then the GPU will be your most important purchase. Other components can also impact performance, such as the CPU, storage, and RAM, but the GPU has the most direct connection to what you see on screen when playing.

Does a GPU or CPU matter more for FPS? ›

If the game is always slow, the gpu. If the game never slows down and your just asking, the gpu is more responsible, it's literally the graphics processing unit. Both. Both the CPU and the GPU has to do work between each frame.

Is My CPU or GPU the bottleneck? ›

If your graphics card is utilized between 95 and 100 percent, the processor is strong enough and supplies the GPU sufficiently. If the GPU is used 80 percent or less, that means you're hitting a strong CPU bottleneck.

How important is CPU for gaming? ›

From frame rates to scalable gameplay settings, the CPU is a vital component for gaming. A CPU's clock speed and core count help to indicate its performance capabilities. Certain CPUs contain additional features like overclocking and integrated graphics.

How many cores for gaming? ›

Today, you should probably get a six-core CPU even if you're just gaming. The bottom line is that while you can get away with a four-core CPU, you're not going to have a great time in all likelihood. Six cores is ideal, and eight cores will give you plenty of wiggle room.

Is fortnite more CPU or GPU intensive? ›

Fortnite does have good CPU utilisation, with the load being spread reasonably well across multiple cores. But it does lean a little more on the GPU performance for most of its PVE and PVP visuals, with CPU load only increasing in heavy moments of combat.

How much faster is GPU compared to CPU? ›

GPUs mainly enhance images and render graphics significantly faster than CPUs. Combining GPUs with high-end computer components can render graphics up to 100 times faster than CPUs. Despite their high speeds, GPUs are usually designed to perform simple and non-complex tasks.

Does a better GPU help with FPS? ›

A faster graphics card delivers higher frame rates that let you see things earlier and give you a better chance of hitting targets. That is why players with better graphics cards average higher Kill/Death (KD) ratios. NVIDIA GeForce GPUs deliver the highest FPS for competitive games.

Does a better CPU affect FPS? ›

The more cores your CPU has, the better framerate you get.” Having multiple cores isn't the only important thing to consider, however. “Certain aspects of our simulation are less easily parallelized, such as the AI processing,” Dell explained.

Does GPU matter in FPS? ›

Here's the answer to your question: Yes, a graphics card directly affects the fps (frames per second) while playing games. High-end graphics cards are capable of producing more FPS as compared to entry-level graphics cards.

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