PC hardware compatibility is something one’s never sure of. Differences in make or generation alone can render particular hardware incompatible with special other hardware. CPUs and GPUs are some of the most critical components of a PC (the latter especially for gamers), which is why questions regarding their compatibility are entirely reasonable.
Currently, AMD is the only major PC component manufacturer that creates both CPUs and GPUs. Lately, many gamers and even casual PC users tend to prefer AMD Zen 4 and Zen 3 processors over Intel’s processors. The same is not valid for AMD’s graphics cards because Nvidia dominates that market. In no way does this mean that AMD GPUs are rarely preferred.
It’s just that some of the trademark features of modern Nvidia GPUs (like raytracing and DLSS) make them a clear preference.
The good news is – yes, you can use an Nvidia GPU alongside an AMD CPU because almost every modern GPU uses the same PCIe slot on the motherboard. Both AMD and Intel make motherboards with the same PCIe slots, which makes compatibility between AMD CPUs and Nvidia GPUs inevitable.
The compatibility between the two components isn’t a formality either. Nvidia’s GPUs are made to utilize CPUs of both Intel and AMD. So, issues are significantly less likely. It is, however, evident that AMD’s GPUs are made to synergize better with its CPUs. Still, the potential advantages fail to outweigh raytracing alone.
Are There More Advantages of Using AMD GPUs with AMD CPUs?
There are certain advantages of using an AMD GPU alongside an AMD CPU. An obvious benefit is the GPUs’ better compatibility with AMD CPUs’ APU technology. The best benefit, however, is the Smart Access Memory (SAM), which works only between Zen 2 and newer AMD CPUs and RDNA2 GPUs.
SAM relies on an expanded data channel that uses the CPU PCIe lanes that help operate the GPU itself. With that, the PCIe express increases the bandwidth, allowing CPU access to more significant temporary assets from the GPU.
TechPowerUp tested it on 22 games with a Radeon RX 6800 XT and reported a 2% increase in relative performance for every resolution.
Does Nvidia Have a SAM Equivalent?
While it obviously won’t be as compatible with an AMD CPU as SAM, Nvidia’s Resizable Bar works perfectly fine alongside both Intel (only 10th gen and onwards) and AMD (including support for the 400 series).
There are a few downsides, though, because rBar works only with the Ryzen 5000 series CPUs and thus doesn’t support Zen 2 processors. There are also only 17 gaming titles that it currently supports.
Nvidia vs. AMD – Which is Better?
AMD GPUs may offer more compatibility for AMD processors, but we’d still give Nvidia’s recent graphic cards the edge over AMD based on features and specs. AMD GPUs mainly intend to have a tremendous raw performance in video games but are outdone by Nvidia in terms of rendering and other features.
Let’s weigh in their performances within a few essential GPU aspects:
3D Rendering and Workstation Performance
Since raw gaming performance and higher framerates are what AMD GPUs prioritize, they fall short in rendering due to their lower core count. Their lack of raytracing alone puts Nvidia above them in this regard. Modern graphic rendering is utilized better with more raytracing cores, which Nvidia outdoes AMD.
The Nvidia RTX series especially is overpowered by its CUDA cores, which elevate the performance of heavier 3D rendering engines. AMD GPUs also perform weaker on professional editing and content-creating software.
Price and Energy-Efficiency
AMD is easily better at both of these aspects, but that’s not as much of an advantage in terms of output.
Tom’s Hardware found out through benchmarks that the RDNA2 Radeon RX 6000 series GPUs had more energy efficiency than Nvidia GPUs of the same price range.
AMD GPUs are also known to be much more affordable. They typically have higher framerates than their equivalent Nvidia GPUs and are also prominently cost-efficient.
Open-Source Drivers and Artificial Intelligence Performance
Graphics-rendering Application Programming Interface (API) for Linux users finds much better support from AMD GPUs. Nvidia has always lacked in terms of open-source drivers, while AMD’s Catalyst is regularly updated for both Windows and Linux systems.
AI, on the other end, is optimized better by Nvidia GPUs, especially alongside Intel processors. Nvidia’s Tensor Cores, alongside Intel’s DL Boost, have outstanding benchmarks for AI and machine learning applications.
So, while AMD and Nvidia GPUs have different advantages, Nvidia GPUs find the perfect balance of performance and result due to better rendering. However, if you prioritize higher framerates and affordability, AMD GPUs are the better option.
Will Using Nvidia GPUs Alongside AMD CPUs Affect Performance?
Since Nvidia doesn’t produce any commercial CPUs, its GPUs offer no advantage or disadvantage to any CPU manufacturer. A good reason to go for an AMD CPU and Nvidia GPU combination is the former’s affordability alongside the latter’s outstanding rendering.
The combination of Intel processors and Nvidia GPUs may optimize Artificial Intelligence performance, but there’s no such advantage for the variety of AMD CPUs and Nvidia GPUs.
They are, however, brilliant and cost-efficient gaming CPUs that would still provide a glorious raytracing experience alongside an Nvidia RTX GPU.
Not only is it possible to use an Nvidia GPU alongside an AMD CPU, but the combination is also not disadvantageous. While the best CPU and GPU combination may depend on the intended use, an Nvidia GPU with an AMD CPU is an excellent combination for those who seek to experience raytracing alongside a quality processor for gaming.
We hope all of your concerns regarding this CPU and GPU combination were answered in the article.