Here's the setup:

  • AMD Athlon 750k (4*3.4GHz, however I can probably bump it up to 4GHz)
  • AsRock FM2A75M-ITX
  • 2*4GB Team Elite 1333MHZ DDR3

For what graphics card should I get for casual gaming? This CPU scores ~2100 single-core and ~5700 multi-core on geekbench.

R9 280 seems good. GTX 970 would be perfect, though I'm a bit concerned it would be bottlenecked by this AMD CPU. Any other interesting options?

UPD: currently I'm gaming on retina macbook on 1080p. It's GPU scores 1300 on http://www.videocardbenchmark.net; sometimes FPS it just too bad.

UPD2: when investigating this question couple of days ago I've seen these places where people suggest r9 280 / 290 is a good match. I'd just like to hear couple more opinions though.



  • 1
    I think the critical thing you might be missing is your display resolution and rough quality expectations. a 970 or even 960 is plenty for a 1080p display at everything turned up to 11, quality wise. a 970 is probably good up to 1440p (hell, my 660 handled that fine). a 980TI would be a good idea if you wanted to go 4k Commented Apr 16, 2016 at 23:48
  • @JourneymanGeek right, thanks. At this point I use 1080p, though for quite a long time I'm already thinking about getting 4k. I believe I'm probably looking for the best graphics card match for this CPU. So I wonder would something like R9 280 work best with this CPU and that's probably it, or would GTX 970 work file to it's potential in this setup. Thanks
    – Dannie P
    Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 8:05

2 Answers 2


It not only depends on your CPU. Games differ by CPU utilisation some are more CPU dependent (for example Arma III) some are more GPU dependent (for example Far Cry 4, Witcher 3).

To avoid CPU bottlenecking in all games I would recommend you:

  • GTX960 - from NVidia
  • R9 380 - from AMD

If you compare versions with the same amount of VRAM the results are comparable. I would personally recommend version with 4 GB VRAM because new games use more and more VRAM.

To avoid CPU bottlenecking in GPU dependent games I would recommend you:

  • GTX970 - from NVidia
  • R9 390 - from AMD

The second option is in my opinion maximum for your overclocked Athlon. I would recommend not to go higher than GTX970 or R390 with your CPU. From this duo I would recommend GTX970 if you want to play only in FHD and R9 390 if you want play in higher resolution.

Edit: What case do you use with your ITX motherboard ? How long GPU will fit to your case ? It can be important if your case is not aired enough you should look for card with lowest TDP.

  • Thanks for the answer! The case is CoolerMaster Elite 120 eu.coolermaster.com/en/case/mini-itx/elite-120-advanced - claims to support full length graphics card; interestingly enough both AMD graphics cards score somewhat less then the NVidia counterparts on this bench videocardbenchmark.net/gpu_list.php Just wonder why you'd highlight r9 390 for higher resolutions?
    – Dannie P
    Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 15:45
  • 1
    @DannieP Your case isn't a leader of low temperatures but like you said it will fit normal sized GPU's. Answering your question about R9 390 it will be better in higher resolutions because it has 8 GB VRAM (not 4GB) and it has 512 bit memory bus (not 256 bit). For example you can check scores in this article.
    – ivaan
    Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 16:09
  • I wouldn't recommend the GTX 970 on principle due to the 3.5GB memory issue, which in itself is dishonest, however it also can severely cripple performance in general when tapping into the defective 512MB of VRAM. Honestly, the GPU itself would be better off with only 3.5GB of VRAM, however, if your PC attempts to use more, performance will sink. Furthermore, the R9 390 is much more powerful as well as cheaper most of the time. As for power consumption, an extra $2 or so to your electricity bill should be off no concern, although many nVidia fans will argue avidly around that one point.
    – Rubydesic
    Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 15:50

1080p's pretty common and 'trivial' to drive - any midrange card should be able to handle it at high or ultra settings on 90% of games.

I'm an nvidia guy myself, and I'd say a 960 (or even a 950) ought to handle it with no issues. I've pushed a 660 up to quad HD (1440p) with most settings turned up on relatively modern games, and it served well. (I went 4k, and needed something with a little more oomph. Card got rehomed, and the new owner's pretty happy with it).

I'd also suggest this as an interim card. It will handle 4k output but not gaming. When you do get a 4K monitor, it would make sense to pair it up with a 980ti (or its pascal or polaris equivilent). You have a good usable card now, and can get a less than top of the line card when you need it. On a all nvidia setup, you could use the old card as a physics co-processor. DX12 will also let you use 'mismatched' cards together.

The 970's a decent card but in the situations where you need all that texture ram, the last .5 gb's on a slower bus. Typically not an issue, but taking a step up (to the 980) or down (to the 960) might be an idea.

I'm not familiar with AMD, but the same rule of thumb, that the mid range cards are a good buy with the view to a future upgrade should hold through.

  • thanks for taking the time to lay out your opinion. So what do you think on which graphics card would be a good match for the CPU? It scores ~2100 single-core and ~5700 multi-core on geekbench. I'd like to know which graphics cards this CPU would start to bottleneck.
    – Dannie P
    Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 16:44
  • Would you generally trust videocardbenchmark.net ? According to this the performance of GTX 970 is ~8'700 points and GTX 980ti ~11'600
    – Dannie P
    Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 16:48
  • Thanks for the tip @JourneymanGeek! Just googled that phycis co-processor thing (name PhysX) and it does significantly improve FPS in some cases: volnapc.com/all-posts/…
    – Dannie P
    Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 16:57
  • 2
    Sounds about right. The 980TI is a beast of the card, and about the only thing that can do 4k gaming with a single monitor. However, with the new cards coming out soon, and promising 20-30% better performance, it dosen't make sense to throw 700/800 dollars into a card that's overkill for 1080p.My suggestions are sensible, midranged options. I'm running a 980ti with an intel 3770 - its a 3 generation old, high-mid range quad core processor, and 16gb of ram. My geekbench scores are 3151 and 12471, so its a faster processor, but I'm of the opinion modern processors are rarely the bottleneck Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 23:56
  • 2
    That said, its all the more reason to go with a modern, midrange gpu until you need more power. Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 23:56

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