Bottleneck Calculator is one of the most know tools for determining if one of your internal PC components is not being fully utilized or in other words, it is calculating the bottleneck.
What Is “Bottleneck”?
First, let’s determine what bottleneck is. Max water flow through the bottle is determined by the width of the bottleneck. So if you stream to much water in the bottle, the excess will go to waste. Let’s say that the excess water is basically unrealized GPU potential. It is not the ideal analogy, but it is easy to understand.
It is similar when GPU (graphics card) is being a bottleneck or tied down by CPU (Central Processing Unit AKA processor). In our case, let’s say the bottleneck is CPU, and your GPU can stream more water than CPU can manage. Let me switch the word “water” for “data.” So there is some max amount of data per second your CPU can process. If graphics card can deliver more than CPU can handle, the system will throttle GPU performance back so it won’t be entirely or near 100% utilized. We can easily spot this with software that measures component utilization. If the percentage is consistently under 100% (for GPU), then the system is being held back, or your GPU is being bottlenecked.
You can actually detect the bottleneck if you use MSI afterburner in-game. Usually, CPU is a bottleneck for CPU. It is a common problem when upgrading an old system with a new GPU.
A huge bottleneck will be let’s say if your CPU is at 100% utilization while GPU is at 50%. That would mean your graphics card is not being fully used. It would also be a waste of money since you could buy a much cheaper graphics card and would have the same performance in this particular hypothetical system. Anything below 90% GPU utilization consistently should be considered as a bottleneck.
Why Should You Not Use Bottleneck Calculator as a Primal Decision Maker?
This percentage numbers bottleneck calculator is giving us should be taken with a grain of salt, and even on their page of bottleneck calculator, there is a “little disclaimer” that says, this calculator should not be used as a primal decision-maker. While it could be helpful in some cases, it is not the “Holy Bible” of bottleneck determination.
Why is the bottleneck calculator terrible for figuring out the system bottleneck? Because this so-called CPU “bottleneck” is influenced by so many factors: operating system, temperatures, running apps, gaming engines, optimization, monitor resolutions, and so and so on. So assuming this calculator can predict all these factors would be just too much to handle.
So-Called the Term »Bottleneck« Can Also Be Described for Other Things That Slows Your Computer.
The system could be bottlenecked by the Power supply unit(PSU) when overclocking. Random Access Memory (RAM), and one of the most significant and most common bottlenecks are HDDs, especially if you are using windows 10. You should have your operating system always Installed on SDD because you will dramatically decrease loading times.
So everything in the PC must be in order and balanced to run your machine efficiently and also to save a buck. While this calculator could be used if the person is not that knowledgeable in building its own PC but in any case, you should further ask someone who knows a bit more about building and optimizing computers. You can always ask and “trust” some random strangers on the internet where they can harvest valuable internet points in exchange for correct answers. Joke aside, always ask somebody that is experienced in computer hardware optimization, and PC builds for the second opinion.
Bottleneck Calculator Example
Testing the bottleneck calculator with Ryzen 2700x and GTX 1060 will produce a 55.14% bottleneck, but your GPU will be bottleneck according to this calculator. I think the creator of this calculator is taking internet jargon of the so-called »bottleneck« a little too far, and it kinda misses the point of bottleneck. You see, GPU cannot bottleneck CPU, but GPU could be bottlenecked by CPU.
In this test, GTX 1060 is too weak for Ryzen 2700x. I know what the creator of this bottleneck calculator trying to say is. He is trying to tell you that if you are building a gaming computer, you don’t need the AMD Ryzen 2700x to utilize GTX 1060 performance fully. Instead of saying that your graphics card is too weak for your processor, it should tell you that your system or CPU can handle this or better graphics card with ease. Or It should say if you intend building this system primarily for gaming, you could invest less money in CPU and more in GPU, and it could also show some good GPU and CPU pairs.
Processor bottleneck is most common in correlation with the graphics card. This means some CPUs cannot handle some better performance GPUs on the market, so graphic cards cannot run to its full potential. An excellent recommendation is Ryzen 2600x, which is 170$ processor and is one of the best choices right now. It can handle almost any demanding graphics cards out there, well unless you are pairing it with RTX 2080Ti graphics card, then I would suggest getting a bit faster CPU. Also, Ryzen 3000 series is around the corner, so hold your horses and just wait for it if you are in buying spree. I have the feeling Ryzen 3600 /3600x will knock it out of the park in only a couple of days.
Cpus Recommendations If You Are Experiencing Bottleneck
With the new Ryzen 3000 series, AMD had done really well for himself and the consumers. Not only that, they made a really good “kinda” budget gaming CPU, which is also really versatile. Even in the high-end bracket Ryzen, with its 3900X, got his rightful place in the market because it’s a powerful chip. Let’s hope for the sake of consumers that Intel will have the answer to the new AMD market position and will soon release a new 10nm CPUs.
AMD Ryzen 5 3600
One of the most versatile and affordable CPU AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-core, 12-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Stealth Cooler. This CPU is the most versatile CPU in 2019. It is excellent for gaming, productivity, and basically everything. This baby can be a bit bottleneck for some best NVIDIA GPUs (RTX 2080/Ti/Super) in specific triple-A games.
Intel i5 9400F
One of the best budget gaming CPU Intel Core i5-9400F Desktop Processor 6 Cores 4.1 GHz Turbo Without Graphics right now on the market. If you are looking to squeeze max performance from a graphics card without breaking the bank, this is the answer. Its downsides comparing it to Ryzen 3600 is that it doesn’t support hyperthreading, and it’s maxed supported RAM frequency is 2666 also, you cannot overclock it. The stock cooler is also a bit worse, but it does the job. If you are willing to sacrifice those features for $50, this is it then. This CPU is also a “bottleneck” for the best graphics cards available on the market today. It’s not a good match for RTX 2080Ti and RTX 2080, other graphics cards should work just fine with it in most situations.
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
Overall great CPU AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-core, 16-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler for its price point. If you are not on the budget for the Ryzen 3600, this is the right chip for you. This one can deliver heavy multitasking, and it’s suitable for any workload and game streaming. It comes with RGB cooler so you, too, can be part of the RGB-master race. This big-boy can be paired with the mightiest graphics cards on the planet.
Intel Core i9-9900K
Intel Core i9-9900K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 5.0 GHz Turbo unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W is the best consumer-grade gaming chip on the market right now. It can reach the best possible FPS in games if the money is not the issue. It is excellent for gaming, game streaming, and for all kinds of workloads. It’s overclockable and supports hyperthreading. Of course, no GPU can be bottlenecked with this one.
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12-core, 24-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler is the best overall CPU that doesn’t require a particular type of motherboard. You can plug this CPU in the AM4 socket, and it will work fine. Be advised that on older AM4 motherboards, you have to update your BIOS while X570 motherboards work with new Ryzen 3000 series out of the box. It’s not far behind gaming king i9-9900K in terms of gaming performance, but it is better for some other workloads. If gaming is not the only thing you are doing with your PC, you should get this one. It’s the overall best consumer-grade non-quad channel chip right now on the market. This chip has no problem running with the best graphics card and should be suitable for some time in the future since games and software are getting more and more optimized for cores and threads.
What can happen is PSU is not delivering enough power to your system or components, thus bottlenecking your computer. It can causes system shutdowns or even destroy your hardware, so it is absolutely essential to choose a good one.
Make sure your computer has a decent Power Supply Unit or PSU. It should be a well-known brand, and at least bronze rated. When buying check efficiency graphs on PSU, you will be surprised at the difference between advertised Wats PSU can handle and at what percentage of those Wats PSU runs most efficient.
Having old and slow HDD with Windows 10 and modern components can severely slow down the whole system, so be sure to upgrade that old tech with SDD or M.2 NVMe SSD drive.
Especially noticeable in gaming when you fell hard stutters, and it makes for an unenjoyable experience, but in general, not having enough RAM slows down your whole system. 8GB RAM for today standards is essential while 16GB is preferable or recommended.
Why I insist there is no such thing as GPU bottleneck? Stop saying that GPU can “bottleneck” something in your system. If you have let’s say entry-level graphics card GTX 1050 paired with AMD Ryzen 2700x and processor is hitting 20% utilization while GPU is at 100%, it means that there is no bottleneck. Nothing in your system is slowing down any of the components because GPU cannot be a bottleneck by itself.
For the love of God, It just means if you want better performance in games, you need a better graphics card. Your graphics card by itself isn’t capable enough, and it is not that something is holding it back.
People that say your GPU is bottleneck they are essentially saying that your GPU is the cause for your bad/poor performance in games. It is a silly, misunderstood part of gaming jargon, and it is not exact to the definition or term of the bottleneck.
I hate the term bottleneck because it is getting abused for almost everything performance-related in your computer these days.
Anyway, It’s tough to determine the bottleneck percentage with some arbitrary numbers because it depends on so many factors. The best and most accurate way to assess bottleneck levels in your games is through the MSI afterburner or other application/software. But still, this bottleneck calculator can be used as some kind reference point or even help some poor ignorant soul out. Ultimately if you need this bottleneck calculator to tell you what to buy, you also need some actual opinions and arguments on your build.
If you read this whole thing congratulations you are not being bottlenecked by low attention span, thank you for your audience and have a good day.