Does CPU Affect FPS Count? [Definitive Explanation]

Written By Steven Arends

You want a shiny new gaming PC but can’t decide if you need a better CPU or a better GPU, right?

Well then, you’ve come to the right place.

In this post, I will discuss everything you need to know about the role of the CPU in PC gaming.

So, does the CPU affect FPS?

CPU affect FPS, but only up to a certain point. You need a CPU powerful enough to keep up with the GPU and feed data to it, along with a decent room to spare. Anything more than that will yield diminishing returns and lower the FPS per dollar ratio.

Read the full post to learn more.

Also, if you are interested to have a better shooting experience in FPS games then check out our separate post on how to change mouse acceleration.does-cpu-affect-fps

Why CPU Impacts FPS In Games?

The CPU or the Central Processing Unit is at the center of all the computing in your PC.

Be it the ports, the peripherals, the OS, the monitor, your RAM, or storage – everything talks to it. Your CPU has the full responsibility to divide roles and give commands so that your PC works smoothly.

When you’re playing a game, your CPU will talk between the different parts of your PC. It will instruct and feed data to the GPU to render the textures and scenes.

Therefore, if you have a weak CPU that’s not fast enough to keep up and instruct the GPU, you’ll get low FPS, your games will lag, and overall it’ll be a bad experience.

So you’d want a CPU that’s at least fast enough to keep up with the GPU you have.

Now I say at least because you’d want to spare some room for other activities on your PC. Remember when I told you your CPU is at the center of everything? Hence needs to do a lot of stuff than just keeping up with the GPU. If you are unable hear anyone of discord then here’s the fix.

When you have a powerful enough CPU, anything more than that will give you diminishing returns. It might still gain you some more FPS, but in the big picture, you’re spending more for less.

There are some genres of games that are more CPU intensive than others like MMO or strategy games. Other genres like racing or shooting games are usually GPU intensive.

Ideally, you’d want to have a decent CPU that is fast enough for modern titles and can keep up with future games. So you’ll have a CPU that it’s future proof which is necessary as people don’t upgrade the CPU as much as they do with the other parts.

Once that’s checked, you can spend the rest of your budget on a powerful GPU.

Remember, more GPU power equals more FPS. So if FPS is what you’re after, spending your budget behind a GPU is a wise way to go. Also check out how to enable 144hz on your monitor.

How Does CPU Affect FPS

CPU influences FPS in a lot of ways. As I said earlier, the CPU is the heart of the PC and communicates with all the components. When you run a game, a lot is going on under the hood.

Here’s how CPU influences FPS in games:

  1. When you launch a game, the CPU works with the storage to find the necessary files and resources and put the required ones into the RAM for faster access.
  2. The CPU instructs the GPU and feeds it with data to render the textures and models and create the scene, which is then displayed on the monitor.
  3. Every time you give input via keyboard, mouse, or some other input device, the CPU processes that input and calculates the movements and positions. Accordingly, it also needs to instruct the GPU what to show on the screen.
  4. In some games like strategy games or simulation games, many mathematical calculations need to be done. The CPU handles these.

So as you can see, the CPU plays a central role in gaming. In every step, the faster the processing is via the CPU, the more smooth everything is.

Of course, ultimately, it’s your GPU that renders the graphics that you see on-screen, and FPS is a direct measure of the number of frames your PC can produce per second.

So GPU has a direct influence on your FPS count. Nonetheless, if the CPU is holding back your GPU, then the GPU can’t do anything about it. Also, Check out how you can access the Steam Screenshot folder.

That’s why I said that you need a decent CPU first, then go for the best GPU you can get as better GPU equals better graphics and more FPS.

How To Balance Budget Between CPU And GPU

When you’re buying a gaming PC, you need to balance your budget between CPU and GPU such that you get the best GPU possible, along with a CPU capable of keeping up.

Of course, you can build a gaming PC for a varying budget.  So there’s no single formula that’ll work for everyone. Instead, I’ll give some rough ideas.

If you’re on a tight budget, you should look for a decent CPU first and then the best GPU you can get for the rest of the money. Over time, you can buy a better GPU to upgrade your PC.

If you’ve got a decent budget, you can spend 40-50% of funding on a powerful GPU and split the rest between a decent CPU, fast storage and RAM, and other components.

You’d typically have 3-4 CPU options here as you have a decent budget, so GPU should be your primary concern. Quickly Check what power supply do you have.

Lastly, if you have a high budget, you can feel free to buy a top-tier CPU and GPU. It’ll make sure you’re set for years to come and have enough headroom for powerful upgrades into the future.

How Many FPS Do You Need

Your FPS depends a lot on your graphics settings and screen resolution. Higher resolution and better settings will be more demanding; hence you’ll get less FPS.

As a baseline, you’d want to have a minimum of 30-40 FPS for a game to be playable. 60 FPS is considered by many to be expected for smooth gameplay.

If your FPS count is beyond that, you can change your settings to have increased graphic details. After some tinkering, you’ll find the sweet spot between graphics settings and FPS. Here’s an epic guide on how to use host mode on Twitch.

Why You Should Not Overspend On CPU

You shouldn’t overspend on CPU as a better CPU doesn’t equal higher FPS. If you cross the point where your CPU is no longer a bottleneck in your system and even has some room to spare, spending more will not give your FPS count much boost.

Instead, you should spend the money on a powerful GPU since a better GPU is directly proportional to a higher FPS.

Overall speaking, you’d also want fast storage and RAM. Without them, fast CPU and GPU can’t do much.

Lastly, you’d want to cool everything down properly. So don’t forget to spend money on better cooling systems. Use the Roblox FPS Unlocker to boost your FPS count.


Question: How does CPU affect gaming?

Answer: CPU affects gaming as it’s responsible for feeding data to the GPU and coordinating between your PC’s other components. Without a powerful enough CPU, your gameplay wouldn’t be smooth.

Question: Does RAM affect FPS?

Answer: RAM affects FPS to a degree. If you have the amount of RAM required by the game, more RAM won’t help with the higher FPS. But RAM with higher frequency and lower latency will have a direct impact on the overall gameplay.

Final Thoughts

CPU can play a role in your FPS count in varied ways.

It will directly impact your FPS up to a certain point. After that, there’s minimal gain.

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