CPU Upgrade - your opinion

Hi there,
I have followed discussions regarding upgrades. My plan for 2021 is to achieve 2K on high to ultra with around 30 fps in high density areas with airliners.
My current setup is: i5-8600K running at 4.6 GHz , 16GB RAM (2933), GTX 1660S, 1080p, most settings on high, around 25fps, mostly VFR in GA.
FPS currently restricted by both, main thread and GPU - 1 core is always maxed out, GPU does seem to be a bit under-utilized.

Question: for budget reasons it would make sense to upgrade CPU first and GPU later. I feel I have two options that would cost about the same:

  • keep the MB and go for an 9th generation i7 or i9
  • go for AMD, new B550 and Ryzen 5 5600X (higher would be out of budget)

Any advice is highly appreciated.


For gaming and in particular MSFS, the 5600X is a top performer, so if you purchase right now, that would be my choice.

That said, Intel is releasing another set of CPUs by April, so that will reshuffle things and will probably mean price cuts. Your choice to wait or not.


If you can just replace your cpu to a i7 without buying a new motherboard, I would start from their. As far as the main thread being maxed out, alot of people are reporting this, with better rigs then yours.

I have an i7-7 16gigs of ram and various drives (think im up to 5 now) and I run 1920x1080 on ultra at between 28-39fps in New York, and mine always reports main thread maxed out.

Id start with processor, your graphics card should be fine, add an SSD if you dont have one, you’ll probably need to swap your system memory out for some faster memory since the i7 will be faster then the i5.

Id say upgrade the GPU first .

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You will yield much better results upgrading the GPU first. That CPU should be capable of feeding a 3060ti or 3070. I run a 2060super with an i5 8400 on 1440p although its inferior to the 8600k most of the work load is done on the GPU and the performance has been decent.
The difference is never huge when changing cpus unless you’re coming from several gens back and your current cpu ain’t that bad with a decent OC.

Upgrade GPU first. I think the i5-8600k OC should be able to handle GPU up to RTX 3060 Ti.

You’ll get higher average FPS, yes you will still see it’s not being 100% maxed out but I think even the FPS isn’t stable on the latest Core i7/9 and Ryzen R5/7/9.

Thank you for your feedback. Much appreciated.
I will go the route update CPU first with more and faster RAM to avoid stuttering (which always happens when CPU is maxed out). 1440p capable GPU will be later this year when available at reasonable prices.

What model/type is your current mobo?

ASUS Pro Z370-H. BIOS is upgraded to take 9th gen

Do you have M.2 sdd’s? else the best (less cost effective ) improvement is to replace the current SSD into an M.2; step 2 increase RAm >32GB; step 3=replace GPU (most cost effective). Activate XMP on the mobo (no costs :wink: ) .

So you wouldn’t go for a new CPU at this stage? The Mobo has two M.2. RAM will definitely be upgraded. 3200 CL16?

RAM: basic without OC=2133
With OC you could upgrade to 2x 16GB DDR4@4000 with lowest CL value
SPECS mobo: 4 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 4000(O.C.)/3866(O.C.)/3733(O.C.)/3600(O.C.)/3466(O.C.)/3400(O.C.)/3300(O.C.)/3200(O.C.)/3000(O.C.)/2800(O.C.)/2666(O.C.)/2400(O.C.)/2133 MHz
Changing CPU is cost effective;

Thank you!

Just replacing current RAM from 16 to 32 GB (2x 16 / 3200 / CL16) has given me 10 extra FPS in addition to cloud settings from medium to high. And I haven’t even started overclocking the RAM.

Great, very happy!

Yeah… now we’re getting somewhere :wink:
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