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CPU for 144hz Overwatch

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I want to get some opinions...

I play Overwatch pretty religiously. I've got a i5 4690 (non-k) and a gtx980Ti. My monitor is 144hz. At full quality in overwatch, I can get around 120 fps solid. Bump the settings down a bit, and I get a decently solid 144 fps, but get occasional dips down to 120. Bumping down settings any further provides no more benefit, and my CPU is normally pegged out during a match. So I'm thinking I'm bottlenecked a bit by the CPU at such high frames. It seems if I could overclock, I could make up the difference and get that last few %, but alas, it's a non-k. I've already tried bumping up the base clock, and it just isn't going to happen.

Now I've read all the benchmarks and all that, but I want some totally subjective, anecdotal evidence from people who actually play the game at 144hz. Everything I read is that there isn't really any reason to upgrade to a newer CPU because of the small amount of improvement, and that earlier generation intel processors are still "fine" for gaming. Obviously, I'm not looking for "fine." But at the same time, I don't want to spend money to upgrade my platform just to be in the same boat as before, which seems to be the consensus around the web.

What do you guys think? Should I max out my platform with the best i7 that will work? Or would that be a waste of money? Would an upgrade to mid-range modern intel get me to a solid 144hz? What about Ryzen? In your experience, does ram speed matter? (if it does, obviously I'd want to upgrade to a DDR4 platform.)

This is why I want anecdotes instead of benchmarks... tell me your rig, and if it satisfies your need for a solid 144hz.
 

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If you have a Z board, get a K chip and roll with it.

Ryzen is great, but for 144hz single threaded performance is king and thats where an OC'd intel shines the most.

You dont mention your monitor resolution, but a 980 probably cant cut 1440p 144hz without turning settings down
 
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If you have a Z board, get a K chip and roll with it.

Ryzen is great, but for 144hz single threaded performance is king and thats where and OC'd intel shines the most.

You dont mention your monitor resolution, but a 980 probably cant cut 1440p 144hz without turning settings down
Not a Z board, unfortunately. No point in buying a new board without upgrading generation anyway, so that's a bust. Why does it need to be a Z board? My board has the options to overclock the multiplier IF my chip supported it. Can I not get a K chip and use my current board? (ASRock h81m-vg4 r2.0) I've been out of the overclocking game since the C2D days... simply haven't cared enough.

Monitor is 1080p, and I don't have any reason to upgrade at the moment. I'll have upgraded my graphics card by the time I'm worried about upgrading my monitor.

(also, if the detail matters, I have an overclocked 980Ti, not a vanilla 980.) That also being said, in this case, image quality is far less important to me than the frame rate. I'll turn settings down as far as I have to. The problem at the moment is that turning down settings doesn't help.
 
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Mussels

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most H/B series boards with multi control only offer very limited overclocking even on K series, some will let you 'choose' a multi but only as high as the stock one, or the turbo one.

a quick google shows that overclocking on that board (the threads are specific to the unlocked pentium chip) are conflicting and show that certain BIOS versions prevent and block overclocking in certain OS's - so in theory it should work, but theres no guarantees of it overclocking high. If it works as planned then 4GHz or so should be rather easy to achieve.
 

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You're not going to like this: to properly improve your framerate, you need to upgrade your CPU and especially your graphics card to at least a GTX 1080 and run it no higher than 1080p. Overclocking the CPU will help noticeably, too.

I see that you're like me and want the fastest, smoothest framerates possible at a vsync-locked 144Hz with no dropped frames and this is the only way to do it. If not, you have to resort to dropping the resolution and/or detail. If the CPU is the bottleneck at a particular point, then even this may not be enough to avoid the framerate drop.

Say you just did the graphics card, then a lot of the time, the system will run at above 144fps which you can vsync lock to 144Hz, but you'll still get those lower dips when the CPU is the bottleneck.

Get the 8700K if you must have it now and forget about AMD - you'll get lower framerates with even the fastest AMD CPU, but probably not by all that much. The next gen AMD CPUs might correct this and will be released soon, so I'd wait. Intel is clearly running scared of them now, so that means something.

In the end, it's often not possible to completely avoid framerate dips in modern games, but they can be greatly minimised to the point where they don't matter so much.
 
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That motherboard would blow up in half a sec with OC xD

Change graphic card ? wtf he has a 980ti lol.
 

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That motherboard would blow up in half a sec with OC xD

Change graphic card ? wtf he has a 980ti lol.
I have a 980, and it cant handle 1440p 144hz in the games i play without turning things right down. Without specifying in the OP the res he could have been running 4k 144hz for all we knew (he did post 1080p, which means he should be alright on that front)

That mobo wont handle high voltage OC, but he could still achieve 4GHz or so at stock voltage, or barely above it.
 
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most H/B series boards with multi control only offer very limited overclocking even on K series, some will let you 'choose' a multi but only as high as the stock one, or the turbo one.

a quick google shows that overclocking on that board (the threads are specific to the unlocked pentium chip) are conflicting and show that certain BIOS versions prevent and block overclocking in certain OS's - so in theory it should work, but theres no guarantees of it overclocking high. If it works as planned then 4GHz or so should be rather easy to achieve.
I see. Well, I'm not going to spend money on an outdated K chip on the off-chance that I might be able to overclock it, when the other possibility is that I've completely wasted money on it lol. And as I said, I'm also not spending money on an outdated motherboard AND K chip, unless I just happen to find both for a stupid good deal. So I guess maxing out my platform here is a no-go. Thanks for the info!

You're not going to like this: to properly improve your framerate, you need to upgrade your CPU and especially your graphics card to at least a GTX 1080. Overclocking the CPU will help noticeably, too.
I see that you're like me and want the fastest, smoothest framerates possible at a vsync-locked 144Hz with no dropped frames and this is the only way to do it. If not, you have to resort to dropping the resolution and/or detail. If the CPU is the bottleneck at a particular point, then even this may not be enough to avoid the framerate drop.
Say you just did the graphics card, then a lot of the time, the system will run at above 144fps which you can vsync lock to 144Hz, but you'll still get those lower dips.
Get the 8700K if you must have it now and forget about AMD - you'll get lower framerates with even the fastest AMD CPU, but probably not by all that much. The next gen AMD CPUs might correct this and will be released soon, so I'd wait. Intel is clearly running scared of them now, so that means something.
In the end, it's often not possible to completely avoid framerate dips in modern games, but they can be greatly minimised to the point where they don't matter so much.
I'm 100% sure that my graphics card is up to the task... it sits at like 50-60% usage constantly. As I said, I've already dropped detail to the point it no longer helps.
 

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I'm 100% sure that my graphics card is up to the task... it sits at like 50-60% usage constantly. As I said, I've already dropped detail to the point it no longer helps.
Then your CPU is bottlenecking for sure. If you don't mind playing at low detail, then perhaps you can get away with just upgrading the CPU. What resolution do you run at, by the way?

Note that you might have to be prepared to replace your mobo and RAM. Your PSU is 800W? That would be enough, but it's not very clear. Also, what brand is it? Should be a quality one.
 
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With a 4690 I'd say that you might be able to upgrade to probably a 4790k or non k if you can find one for a good price. I have a friend who was an idiot and bought an h97 board with a 4790k and it works fine.
Sidenote: locked processors do have some extra multipliers in them from my experience (2400 & 3770) and you can "unlock" this sometimes either in your mobo or using a tool like Intel's XTU utility. Personally done this with both the 2400/3770 on a p8p67 board, as well with the 3770 on a z77 board. Also, you can base clock overclock like this (again my p8p67 lets me do this) for some small gains.
 
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His 980Ti is capable of 1080p Ultra @144 fps locked (if overclocked)



but his cpu is holding him back as you need at least a 6700K if you want locked 144 fps



He can get a 4790K and he'd hit that 144 fps, but I would strongly advise against that CPU on his crap mobo.

He should get himself a b360 + i5 8400 + ddr4 2666. Getting a faster GPU will get him nowhere as he's cpu limited







He can try with a 4770/4790 but for God's sake have a 120mm blowing on those vrms 24/7
 
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His 980Ti is capable of 1080p Ultra @144 fps locked (if overclocked)

but his cpu is holding him back as you need at least a 6700K if you want locked 144 fps

He can get a 4790K and he'd hit that 144 fps, but I would strongly advise against that CPU on his crap mobo.

He should get himself a b360 + i5 8400 + ddr4 2666. Getting a faster GPU will get him nowhere as he's cpu limited

He can try with a 4770/4790 but for God's sake have a 120mm blowing on those vrms 24/7
Thanks for the info. That shows a 4770k would suffice, even at stock... do you really think that a stock running 4770k would be a problem on my motherboard? I mean yea it's pretty low end, but why would it have a problem running it stock?

The 2600 too, i had the p8p67 + 2600 at 4.5GHz
Unfortunately, that doesn't apply to the 4690. They got rid of that before then.
 
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Realistically upgrading your current setup for Overwatch will not provide a meaningful boost. GPU wise, certainly not, this game runs on a toaster. But when it gets really crowded yes you can get a slight drop to 100. I even see it here on my rig and I also play it frequently.

Tip: use Fast Sync and set a cap at 160 fps, drop IQ settings one notch below Epic

This bench confirms that's the way to go :)

Beyond 100 FPS you cannot just say 'muh, CPU bottleneck, need more Ghz'. There are other factors in play like netcode (you have FPS higher than the server tickrate or close to it) and the game engine.

Even with this knowledge, does my rig satisfy the high refresh rate, zero tear experience? Absolutely. No complaints. Its smooth & responsive as can be. Tiny difference is my panel is 120hz.

 
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Realistically upgrading your current setup for Overwatch will not provide a meaningful boost. GPU wise, certainly not, this game runs on a toaster. But when it gets really crowded yes you can get a slight drop to 100. I even see it here on my rig and I also play it frequently.

Tip: use Fast Sync and set a cap at 160 fps, drop IQ settings one notch below Epic

This bench confirms that's the way to go :)

Beyond 100 FPS you cannot just say 'muh, CPU bottleneck, need more Ghz'. There are other factors in play like netcode (you have FPS higher than the server tickrate or close to it) and the game engine.

Even with this knowledge, does my rig satisfy the high refresh rate, zero tear experience? Absolutely. No complaints. Its smooth & responsive as can be. Tiny difference is my panel is 120hz.

Thanks for the input.

The only problem I see with that benchmark is that it doesn't cite what CPU is there. I can tell you for 100% certain that if I set my graphics to low, that I will not get anywhere near those numbers.

I would assume that whatever CPU was being used for those bench runs was significantly newer or faster than mine. Hence... why I say I have a bottleneck.
 

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Thanks for the input.

The only problem I see with that benchmark is that it doesn't cite what CPU is there. I can tell you for 100% certain that if I set my graphics to low, that I will not get anywhere near those numbers.

I would assume that whatever CPU was being used for those bench runs was significantly newer or faster than mine. Hence... why I say I have a bottleneck.
Those benchies above are handy for giving an idea of how the game will run, but it doesn't change a thing when you want to avoid frame drops as much as possible. Remember, it doesn't matter if the game gets 1000fps most of the time, it's only the times it does less than your refresh rate that matters. That's not me saying it, the boss of NVIDIA said a version of this at one of his new card presentations a couple of years ago, so it carries weight. If you're happy to game at 120Hz or 100Hz vsync locked, then that will help significantly to avoid frame drops.

In the end, get the fastest CPU and GPU you can afford, end of story. If you can't afford to spend that much now and you're ok with low settings, then a faster CPU looks like the way to go and perhaps drop that refresh rate down a bit too.

@Vayra86 you mentioned the tickrate. Tell me, how does it look onscreen if the PC is rendering at the full 100Hz/144Hz etc vsync locked, but the tickrate is a lot lower, say 30fps? As someone who plays mostly single player, I honestly don't know. Do the characters move smoothly, do they judder, rubber band? I'd imagine shooting accuracy wouldn't be too good, at least.
 
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Those benchies above are handy for giving an idea of how the game will run, but it doesn't change a thing when you want to avoid frame drops as much as possible. Remember, it doesn't matter if the game gets 1000fps most of the time, it's only the times it does less than your refresh rate that matters. That's not me saying it, the boss of NVIDIA said a version of this at one of his new card presentations a couple of years ago, so it carries weight. If you're happy to game at 120Hz or 100Hz vsync locked, then that will help significantly to avoid frame drops.

In the end, get the fastest CPU and GPU you can afford, end of story. If you can't afford to spend that much now and you're ok with low settings, then a faster CPU looks like the way to go and perhaps drop that refresh rate down a bit too.

@Vayra86 you mentioned the tickrate. Tell me, how does it look onscreen if the PC is rendering at the full 100Hz/144Hz etc vsync locked, but the tickrate is a lot lower, say 30fps? As someone who plays mostly single player, I honestly don't know. Do the characters move smoothly, do they judder, rubber band? I'd imagine shooting accuracy wouldn't be too good, at least.
I appreciate the input... I really do. I'm sorry if it didn't come across well, but you're bringing up things that are way beneath the scope of this discussion. This is far from my first rodeo. I'm fully aware of the difference between average and minimum framerates, and the implications of both. I will never *ever* use vysnc in a first person shooter because of the input lag it introduces. Dropping the refresh rate would be completely counter to what I am trying to achieve here (the highest stable framerate possible, up to my monitor's maximum refresh rate of 144hz.)

I also understand that getting the fastest machine I can afford is the end of the story... that's really not the point though. The point is not to *waste* money. I could build a whole new machine today if I really wanted to. But when performance gains from CPU upgrades are so small these days, I want to make sure that I'm making a decision that makes sense. I don't want to spend a grand on a machine that's only 10% faster than mine, or even worse, doesn't produce a perfectly stable 144hz. By the same token, I don't want to spend a grand on a machine that will do 300fps when I only want 144hz and a $100 processor upgrade will get me that.

As for the tick rates, you won't see anything visually. If you're blessed with fast enough eyes, you might notice that your shots don't land exactly where you shot them. For overwatch, the 60 tick rate is perfectly fine, in my opinion.
 
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I played quite a bit with 120hz ulmb v-sync enabled and it didn't feel laggy as 60hz would.
 
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Just lower

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Your FPS will maintain a steadier FPS easier. I had a RX 480 with a 750mhz profile running it at 100fps steady on High 1080p. Ultra didn't add much and who the hell looks at shadows unless you like looking at them when Hanzo or Genji climb up walls while Widow head-shots you.
 
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Just lower

FOG
Dyn Refl
Shadows

Your FPS will maintain a steadier FPS easier. I had a RX 480 with a 750mhz profile running it at 100fps steady on High 1080p. Ultra didn't add much and who the hell looks at shadows unless you like looking at them when Hanzo or Genji climb up walls while Widow head-shots you.
I have everything low or off except texture quality, model detail, effects detail, and AA. Which are all turned up until they start causing frames to drop (don't have the settings in front of me atm.) Lowering settings any lower will not provide higher frame rates. I have verified this 100%.
 
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My settings in Overwatch

Graphic Quality: EPIC
Advanced
Render Scale: 100%
Texture Quality: High
Texture Filtering Quality: High - 4X
Local Fog Detail: Medium
Dynamic Reflections: Medium
Shadow Detail: Medium
Model Detail: High
Effects Detail: High
Lighting Quality: High
Antialias Quality: High - SMAA Medium
Refraction Quality: High
Screenshot Quality: 1x Resolution
Local Reflections: On
Ambient Occlusion: On

980 TI should definitely be faster if your running it at stock or OC it should do 120-144fps easy since I'm using the RX 480 with a half-speed profile @ 750mhz and still managing 100fps with those settings on a 3770K stock clock system. No dips during game play no matter the Map
 
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My settings in Overwatch

Graphic Quality: EPIC
Advanced
Render Scale: 100%
Texture Quality: High
Texture Filtering Quality: High - 4X
Local Fog Detail: Medium
Dynamic Reflections: Medium
Shadow Detail: Medium
Model Detail: High
Effects Detail: High
Lighting Quality: High
Antialias Quality: High - SMAA Medium
Refraction Quality: High
Screenshot Quality: 1x Resolution
Local Reflections: On
Ambient Occlusion: On

980 TI should definitely be faster if your running it at stock or OC it should do 120-144fps easy since I'm using the RX 480 with a half-speed profile @ 750mhz and still managing 100fps with those settings on a 3770K stock clock system. No dips during game play no matter the Map
That's a fair point, but that's how bottlenecks work. You're managing 100fps on a 3770k with an RX 480. Im getting 120+ fps on a 4690 with a 980Ti. The 4690 isn't that much faster than a 3770k. So no matter much faster the 980Ti is, if the 4690 (and by proxy the 3770k) is not able to feed it past 120 fps, then it won't get higher. I could have a 1080Ti and not get any faster frame rate.
 
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That's a fair point, but that's how bottlenecks work. You're managing 100fps on a 3770k with an RX 480. Im getting 120+ fps on a 4690 with a 980Ti. The 4690 isn't that much faster than a 3770k. So no matter much faster the 980Ti is, if the 4690 (and by proxy the 3770k) is not able to feed it past 120 fps, then it won't get higher. I could have a 1080Ti and not get any faster frame rate.
If i recall the short time i played overwatch with my 6800k and 980 my frames hovered somewhere in the 150 fps mark at 1080p. Not sure and dont take what i said as fact, however that's about where i think my system sat.
 
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That's a fair point, but that's how bottlenecks work. You're managing 100fps on a 3770k with an RX 480. Im getting 120+ fps on a 4690 with a 980Ti. The 4690 isn't that much faster than a 3770k. So no matter much faster the 980Ti is, if the 4690 (and by proxy the 3770k) is not able to feed it past 120 fps, then it won't get higher. I could have a 1080Ti and not get any faster frame rate.
With a 1080 Ti you would have a faster frame rate just not as fast as others cpus. Aside from spending money on the system. Have you looked at background apps running to minimize any potential resource hogging apps.
 
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Is your CPU clock fluctuating while your gaming?
With 4 cores active, it should turbo to 3.7GHz.
But on most Haswell boards you can lock the chip to the max turbo boost which is 3.9GHz. So you could get your 4 cores to stay @3.9GHz.
 
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