Every gamer has at least once faced the issue of their system not performing up to par. The reason behind this is a bottleneck. A PC bottleneck means that one or more aspects of the computer are putting a cap on the ideal performance.
Various components can influence this problem. As you know, the neck of a bottle allows a limited amount of liquid to pass through. The bottleneck in a PC suggests that the most performance output is being hampered.
This bottleneck can be a slow GPU, CPU or other components such as the HDD, SSD or the RAM. In an ideal situation, the components of a computer are well-balanced. But, the issue of bottleneck is a regular occurrence.
What Does a Bottleneck Do?
The bottleneck in a system limits its output or capability. The PC can consist of extraordinary components. The entire PC’s performance is inefficient if even one component is faulty. It can be RAM, CPU, GPU, and so on.
A computer is like a well-oiled machine. It has parts that correspond to each other. These parts work together to produce optimal output. If they are not synchronized, the machine and system will fail.
The components of a PC can age and deteriorate like the parts of any other such machine. The components in good condition will perform well. Those in bad or deteriorating conditions will not be productive and efficient.
A well-balanced system does not get bottleneck issues. Unbalanced systems usually face a lot of bottleneck problems. It can be in different parts, such as that of a machine.
How To Tell if Your CPU or GPU is The Bottleneck?
The coordination between a CPU and a GPU is vital to your system’s performance. These are two of the most important processing units in your PC. The CPU is the prime force behind most of your gaming outputs such as the character AI and other codes that run a game.
The GPU focuses on rendering high-quality images for these games. This purports that the GPU is more relied on when it comes to gaming. If you are pondering over which one of these is the bottleneck, the answer is right below.
How to Find Bottleneck in PC
The monitoring systems can detect a bottleneck in your system. It is present by default in most windows. It can be brought up by using the win+G hotkeys. If this does not work, you can use third-party monitoring software such as the MSI afterburner.
These are some rules that will help you identify the bottleneck in your system. They are common rules that apply almost everywhere.
- Check to see If the CPU usage rate is nearing 100% while the GPU usage rate is below this range. This means your CPU is the bottleneck as it is not responding to the GPU’s needs fast enough.
- Check to see if the CPU usage is below the range of 99-100% and the GPU usage is at 100%. If the frame rate that you desire is still not being achieved, then the GPU is the bottleneck.
Besides these two common bottlenecks, the overuse of the VRAM or RAM can turn it into a bottleneck as well. These are not very common but can be found in some cases.
What is CPU Bottleneck?
Imagine that you have an average processor as compared to the rest of the build. It will not be able to transfer the data for processing fast enough. This results in a CPU bottleneck. The GPU can operate it only as fast as it can receive the data. If this data is not coming fast enough, then the processing will not be fast either.
Take the example of a high-end graphics card such as the GeForce RTX 3080. Pair it with an average processor such as the Intel Core i7 3rd gen. One would expect that a higher-end graphics card would run the game on better graphics.
In this case, the slow transfer speed of the processor will hamper the card’s efficiency as well. Since the processor has failed to keep up with the processing speed of the GPU, the CPU bottleneck occurs.
The CPU processes the in-game data, character AI, and the physics of the game. The limited potential of the processor leads to this CPU bottleneck.
What is GPU Bottleneck?
The GPU bottleneck works on the same principle as the CPU bottleneck but the roles are a bit reversed. In a GPU bottleneck, the quality or the processing speed of the GPU is average. It works with a high-end processor.
Take a high-end processor such as the Intel Core i9 9th gen, and pair it with an average card such as the GTX 750Ti. The gaming result will be decent, but it will be the best output of this card. This means that the processor’s potential is being limited. In this case, the GPU will not render the images as fast as the processor is transferring the data to it.
The screen rendering quality will be the best that the GTX 750Ti can provide. This is not optimal enough for the i9 9th gen processor. This causes a GPU bottleneck as GPU is the primary source of limiting the computer’s potential.
Possible Fixes for a Bottleneck
The GPU and CPU pairing is the most vital to a PC’s gaming performance. The first issue you need to check is that of the compatibility of these two. Pairing a compatible CPU and GPU is vital to achieving the best performance.
Maintaining a Balance Between the CPU and the GPU
Keep in mind the balance between the CPU and GPU. This will help you create a good build. Most experts have specified builds that are the best-rounded. Researching these can be very productive.
Fixing Your CPU Bottleneck
Many aspects can affect a CPU bottleneck while gaming. Closing background tabs or browsers and changing in-game settings is helpful. The last option can be to upgrade the CPU. Here are some steps you can follow to fix the CPU bottleneck.
- While gaming, make sure to close all background tabs such as browsers or folders. Most people like to listen to music while gaming and this can affect the performance, even if it is by a little bit. Google Chrome browser is notorious for using up most of the system’s memory so close any tabs if they are open.
- You can shift the load from CPU to GPU by increasing the game resolution. This will aid the performance and efficiency of the system.
- There are many in-game settings related to CPU that reduce the bottleneck effect. These include the graphics settings such as population density and texture detail. World detail is also important. You can change the frame rate and limit it as well.
- Overclocking your CPU can lower the bottleneck issue. It also wears down the PC’s long-term health significantly.
- Upgrading the entire CPU is the most effective method. You can add better components and achieve better performance through them.
Fixing the GPU Bottleneck
Many of the steps associated with fixing a CPU bottleneck are simple. They are like those of the GPU bottleneck with small changes. They are as follows:
- Closing background tabs is necessary as it can cause overheating. This overheating can lead to faults in various components including the GPU.
- With the advent of next-gen cards, there has been an influx of driver issues as well. Make sure that your drivers are up to date and compatible with the games you play. Otherwise, the game might run properly but the system’s performance will be hampered.
- Almost everyone has faced the issue of Windows update between gaming sessions. You need to make sure that your windows are up to date. Before playing any games, make sure that windows are optimized.
- Game resolution and graphics settings play a vital role in allowing the game to run smoothly. Try lowering the screen resolution to take the burden off of the GPU. Graphics settings such as the screen render quality can affect the GPU’s performance.
- Overclocking the GPU through drivers or software can improve the performance instantly. The long-term health will deteriorate pretty quickly because of this.
- You can buy an entirely new GPU that is more advanced and compatible with your system. It will ensure efficiency and performance without too much hassle.
- You can lower the settings that impact the CPU such as the crowd density and character count. This will shift the load from the CPU to GPU.
You can increase the load on your GPU by increasing game settings such as game render quality. This will lower the burdens of the CPU. This does not mean that your frame rate will increase, only the picture quality will.
Best PC Bottleneck Calculators and Monitoring Software
There are many options to check and identify the PC bottleneck issues. The best option that is available in most windows is the default monitoring system. It can be opened by pressing the win+G hotkeys. Another software that is used regularly by most gamers is the MSI afterburner.
Moreover, there is a wide variety of bottleneck calculators available on the web.
This allows you to enter details about the components of the PC. This allows it to test and show the results of performance. This is a very good approximation. It also indicates any potential for bottleneck so you know what to buy and what not to.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a Motherboard Bottleneck a GPU?
Any significant component of your PC can cause the bottleneck issue one way or another. A motherboard is not required to be as extravagant as the CPU or the GPU. It is not usually associated with the problem of bottlenecking.
It is fine as long as it fulfills the basic compatibility requirements. If the GPU or CPU is overclocked then the motherboard can bottleneck it since it cannot keep up. A clear difference between the parts will lead to inefficient performance.
Can RAM Bottleneck a GPU?
RAM can have a significant effect on the GPU as every GPU has an optimal RAM need. For instance, if one were to run an RTX 3080 with low RAM such as 4GB, then the performance would be lower than optimal. All the high-end graphics cards such as the RTX 3080 need at least 16GB of available RAM to work at their best.
Can Bottlenecks Lead to Stuttering?
Bottlenecks can most definitely lead to stuttering. They are considered to be the main reason for stuttering in games. If a bottleneck is present in a system, it will not allow the other components to perform at their fullest.
For instance, a 32-Bit operating system does not recognize RAM more than 8GB. If this system has a high-end GPU and CPU, the performance will not be up to its potential. This will result in regular stuttering.
Can a Monitor Be a Bottleneck?
A monitor is rarely a bottleneck but there is a possibility that it can serve as one. Most high-end systems need high-end monitors but they can settle for average models as well. A basic requirement these days is 1920×1080 resolution and 60Hz refresh rate.
Nowadays almost all monitors in the market have a 60Hz refresh rate. The possibility of it being a bottleneck is extremely low unless you want to run 2k or 4k games on it. Hardcore gamers prefer to play in 2k or 4k resolution. For that purpose, 2k or 4k monitors can be very efficient.