Ask a PC expert: Should you spend more on a CPU or a graphics card?

We answer a common question from our Full Nerd community!

Credit: Brad Chacos/IDG

In this video, PCWorld CPU guru Gordon Mah Ung and GPU expert Brad Chacos weave their way through a crucial question: Should you spend more on your graphics card or your processor?

Like all things in life, striking a balance between the two is probably the best answer for most people, especially gamers. But what you spend on your computer should be tied to the workloads you plan on running. Brad and Gordon delve into what sort of workloads are CPU-limited and GPU-limited, to give you an idea of when it might be worth spending more on one or the other. There’s no “right” answer to this question. There’s only the right answer for you. But if you’re not sure what your workloads need, play it safe by keeping the budget or class of your processor and graphics card roughly equal.

If you’re looking for more concrete product reviews and recommendations, be sure to check out our guide to the best graphics cards for PC gaming, as well as Gordon’s reviews of the Core i9-9900K and Ryzen 9 3900X, Intel and AMD’s respective (pricey) flagships. Gamers sticking to more mainstream budgets would be best served by considering a Ryzen 5-series processor.

We’re trying out a new format here, responding to common questions we receive on our Full Nerd podcast. If you like it let us know!

Have a PC- or gaming-related question? Email thefullnerd@pcworld.com and we’ll try to answer it in the future. You can also join the PC-related discussions and ask us questions on The Full Nerd’s Discord server. And be sure to follow PCWorld on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch to watch future episodes live and pick our brains in real time!

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Brad Chacos

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
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