Can You Use AMD GPU With Intel CPUs?

Building your own PC is a great way to get the perfect machine for your needs, and it can also be a lot of fun. A PC usually consists of a CPU, GPU, motherboard, power supply, and case. You can usually choose which parts to use based on your budget and needs.

When building a PC, there are two brands you’re going to hear about a lot, AMD and Intel. AMD is known for making GPUs and CPUs, and Intel is mainly a CPU company, however, they are getting into the GPU market. When building a PC, you may wonder whether these components are compatible with each other considering they’re practically competitors.

Answer: To answer your question, yes, you can use an AMD GPU with an Intel CPU. GPUs are made to be compatible with multiple CPUs from different companies. So as long as the GPU fits in your PC case and plugs into your motherboard, you should be good to go. You can also use non-AMD GPUs with Ryzen processors, PCs are pretty versatile.

How To Know Whether GPU Is Compatible With Your PC

The two most popular GPU brands are AMD and NVIDIA, while they’re rivals, the goal these GPUs have in mind is practically the same. AMD and NVIDIA GPUs are both able to work with Intel processors, and Ryzen processors.

Usually, your GPU is compatible with any CPU, but that doesn’t mean it will be a good pair. If you pick up a CPU that is too slow for your GPU, you will encounter bottlenecks that can impact your PC’s performance.

If you’re not sure whether your GPU is compatible with your CPU, there are bottleneck calculators that are able to determine whether a specific CPU/GPU combination can cause bottlenecks. If you encounter bottlenecks, specifically caused by your CPU, you will experience lower frames per second in games.

You may also want to do some research on benchmarks and independent reviews of GPU/CPU combinations to get an idea of how they perform together in real-world applications. Remember, the goal is to always create a balanced build. So a powerful GPU should only be paired with an equally powerful CPU.

Why Pair Your AMD GPU With An Intel CPU?

People usually use Intel CPUs because they are considered to be some of the best processors on the market. They are known for their high performance and reliability when overclocking. Intel processors typically excel when it comes to single-core performance which is beneficial for gaming. So, serious gamers will usually go with team blue/Intel.

Best High-End Options – While AMD processors are great, Intel processors can be seen as a high-end premium option, featuring huge clock speeds and core counts. As of right now, the best Intel processor is the Intel I9 12900K which pretty much beats its closest competitor, the Ryzen 9 5950x in both gaming and productivity workloads.

Great Mid-Tier GPUs For Gaming – Intel processors have I5 processors which are known for being great mid-tier options. If you are looking for a GPU that is powerful enough to run games at high settings but don’t quite want to go all out, Intel I5 CPUs are a great option. The thing with I5s is that they usually come with clock speeds pretty close to I7s, and I9s, so the in-game performance shouldn’t differ too much.

Great For Professional Work – Besides gaming, Intel processors are also great when it comes to professional work such as video editing, 3D rendering, and other creative workloads. While you will be able to find an AMD CPU that can excel in these tasks pretty easily and for a cheaper price, Intel CPUs are able to provide the best performance going with their I9 CPUs.

Best For Overclocking – When you hear about overclocking, AMD offers reasonable overclocking potential, but Intel is a whole different story. Intel CPUs offer pretty much the best overclocking potential, and they are also pretty easy to overclock. Intel offers voltage tweaking options that are more user-friendly, which makes it easier for users to overclock their processors.

So, you can tell Intel processors are more geared toward gamers, pairing your AMD GPU with an Intel CPU will ensure that you get the most out of it in gaming situations. But, you will usually pay slightly more going with Intel, they’re not seen as the budget option.

So What Matters When Installing A GPU?

We’ve established that your GPU can play nice with any CPU you pair it with on paper, but there are a few things you need to consider. Usually, the slot you install the graphics card in can have an impact on the performance. Also, ensure that you have enough clearance when installing a GPU.

Install In The x16 PCI-E Slot – Ensure your motherboard has an X16 slot, your GPU will only be able to fit in this slot. The X16 slot is usually the first PCI-E slot found on your motherboard, and it is usually labeled. It is also the largest slot, this is to accommodate devices such as the GPU. Generally, if your motherboard has multiple PCI-E slots, the top or first one is usually a true x16 slot.

Check The PCIe Lanes – A GPU will use at least 16 PCI-E lanes, this is because it’s a demanding expansion card. If you don’t provide enough PCI-E lanes to the GPU, then you will be bottlenecking it. Not all PCI-E x16 slots will come with 16 PCI-E lanes, you should check the motherboard manual to see what it has to offer.

Ensure You Have Enough Clearance – GPUs can come in different sizes, and some of them are pretty big. Make sure you have enough clearance for the graphics card by checking its dimensions, and whether your case can accommodate it. You don’t want to be stuck with a GPU that you can’t use because it doesn’t fit in your case.

Smaller form factor cases will usually run into such issues, so if you have a form factor case, you will usually need to go for a tiny graphics card. Luckily, there are “Mini” GPUs that should be able to fit inside smaller form factor PC cases.

Check The TDP – The TDP is the power draw of a device, and it’s important to make sure your PSU is able to supply enough power to the graphics card. The power requirements shouldn’t be as the power going to your GPU determines how it runs. Underpowered GPUs are known to cause instability and other issues, so it’s really important that you get a PSU that matches the requirements of your GPU.

Benefits of Using AMD GPUs With AMD CPUs

Since you’re pairing both AMD GPU and CPUs together, it isn’t wrong to assume that they will have some sort of advantage. After all, they’re made by the same company, they’re most likely going to make their CPUs work extremely well with their GPUs. Well, AMD states there are certain benefits you’ll get.

Smart Access Memory – Smart access memory works by providing a higher bandwidth between the CPU and GPU. It was originally developed for Ryzen 5000 CPUs and RDNA 2 GPUs, so it was only available to owners of the latest hardware. You could actually experience up to a 15% performance boost in games, but it’s likely heavily application dependant.

The way CPUs and GPUs communicate is limited without this new feature. Previously, the processor could only access a maximum of 256MB of the graphics card’s VRAM. This was more than enough for a long time, but today’s games are much more demanding. This bottleneck essentially made it so that your processor could not keep up with the graphics card, resulting in reduced performance.

Pairing your Ryzen CPU with an AMD GPU will essentially reduce this bottleneck, you may actually experience more FPS in games going with a full AMD build. But, it’s pretty much application dependant, not all games will show a 15% increase in performance.

Verdict

To finalize the post, yes you can pair an AMD GPU with an Intel CPU, and there are certain benefits to doing so. The main benefit being you’re able to have amazing gaming performance across the board, as well as huge overclocking potential.

Your biggest concern will be ensuring that your CPU will not bottleneck your GPU, and ensuring that your GPU can fit in the case. If you have all these factors sorted then you don’t need to worry about incompatibilities relating to your GPU. Also, ensure that you have enough power delivery to your GPU, you will want your GPU to be fully powered so you don’t run into instability issues.