Gtx 1060 performance with a low end cpu i3 2120

Zotac Gtx 1060 Amp edition

Zotac Gtx 1060 Amp edition

Last week I bought Zotac Gtx 1060 amp edition for around $390 here in India as the prices are terrible. But at the same time I was happy that I can now get rid of my gtx 650 ti which wasn’t giving me good performance. But I also knew that I have an entry level cpu i3 2120 which will bottleneck my graphics card. So I had two choices, either to upgrade to skylake platform and buy i5 6600k with a Z170 chipset motherboard and ddr4 Ram OR buy a high end graphics card.

I decided to buy the card first as upgrading to a powerful processor won’t make much difference with gtx 650 ti. I will upgrade my processor and motherboard anyways in a few weeks. But what I wanted to see was the performance of gtx 1060 with this entry level i3. I did benchmarking in different games and I got the results as expected. But does i3 2120 bottlenecks it too much? find out in the benchmarks.

Entry level rig specs:-

Processor: i3 2120 @3.3ghz

Motherboard: Asrock h61m-vs3

Ram: Corsair Vengeance 8gb ddr3 memory clocked at 1333Mhz

PSU: Corsair VS 450 Watts

GPU: Zotac Gtx 1060 Amp edition 6gb gddr5

HDD: 1 TB WD blue 7200 rpm

Battlefield 4: 1080p ultra settings, V-sync: ON

Campaign mode: Min fps: 45, Max fps: 63, Average fps: 60
Multiplayer 48 players(No AA, Vsync: On): Min fps: 47, Max fps: 63, Average fps: 59
Multiplayer 48 players(No AA, Vsync: Off): Min fps: 50, Max fps: 107, Average fps: 75

The game ran smoothly with and without v-sync on ultra settings but on multi-player I had to switch off the anti-aliasing because then the fps would drop to 30’s which made the game unplayable many times. But with no AA and everything maxed out, I was getting 60 fps with Vsync On and 75 fps with Vsync off.

I was surprised to see that when I changed the settings to medium the fps were same because battlefield 4 is cpu intensive and it really doesn’t matter on which settings I would play the i3 2120 would hold back. From watching the videos of battlefield 4 on youtube on a rig with gtx 1060 and high end processor like i7 6700K, I have seen that battlefield 4 was not getting enough fps. on high end rig with same gpu people are getting 90-100 fps on an average which is way more than I am getting.

Dying Light: 1080p max settings, V-sync: ON

Min fps: 36, Max fps: 63, Average fps: 56

The game was smooth. Even with V-sync On I was getting playable frame rate. When I switched V-sync off the minimum fps was going down in 30’s again because of the cpu but max fps was going upto more than 100. Overall the avg fps would be 70+ but the gameplay wasn’t smooth and felt like stuttering. That’s why I was forced to switch ON the V-sync. Watching gameplay of dying light on other high end rigs, it is mostly gpu intensive and here I was getting just fine performance.

Fallout 4: 1080p ultra settings, TXAA

Min fps:31 , Max fps:63 , Average fps:48

This game is cpu intensive and i3 2120 was clearly bottlenecking it. Although the average fps are just fine for playing but it was dissatisfying to see this on gtx 1060. People are getting more than 70 fps on average with i5’s and gtx 970 which is a slower than gtx 1060. Again i3 was making the gameplay stuttery.

Tomb Raider 2013: 1080 ultimate settings, V-sync: OFF

Min fps:49 , Max fps:79 , Average fps: 63

I maxed out everything in the settings even the Hair quality. This is a clear gpu intensive game and here i3 didn’t bottlenecked much. It’s totally playable and wasn’t going down below 50 at all. I benchmarked it in gameplay through fraps like all other games and didn’t feel to use the in-game benchmark program as it gave me average fps 85 which is way more than in-game.

The Witcher 3: 1080p ultra settings, V-sync: ON

Nvidia Hairworks ON: Min fps:34 , Max fps:49 , Average fps: 42
Nvidia Hairworks Off: Min fps:41 , Max fps:69 , Average fps: 54

It ran upto my expectation. We all know that witcher 3 is cpu intensive and of course I cannot get 60+ average fps on i3 2120. But with Hairworks off, I was getting 50+ average fps with V-sync On.

Result and Conclusion:

The result came as it was expected and I wasn’t able to extract all the power from gtx 1060. But I just wanted to see if people with older generation processors like i5 3470 or i7 2600 upgrade to a high end card like this, will they get better performance than the i3’s. I did this upgrade but I won’t be recommending this to anyone as you don’t want to hinder your card’s power. First get a good cpu before getting a high end gpu. i3’s can only handle graphics cards like gtx 960 but combining it with a gtx 980 equivalent card is not a good decision. But if you are going to upgrade your cpu as well, then there is no problem in getting one.



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