Gamer Pairs RTX 4070 with Pentium. DLSS 3 Makes it Playable

When you’re building a PC for gaming, you want to put a lot of your budget into buying one of the best graphics cards, but you need to save a few dollars for a CPU that’s capable of keeping up. Normally, you wouldn’t pair a $599 GPU with an $89 CPU, because the processor would hold performance back. 

However, in the interest of science, YouTuber and Gamer RandomGaminginHD put a new RTX 4070 into a test system alongside and a Pentium Gold G7400 and the results were surprisingly playable (opens in new tab), thanks mostly to the card’s DLSS3 frame generation feature. You can see the output in detail in the video below.

The Pentium Gold G7400 CPU features just two physical cores and four threads total with a base frequency of 3.7 GHz. The chip, which currently goes for $89 in the U.S., launched in 2022 and runs in the same LGA 1700 socket as an Intel 12th or 13th Gen Core CPU. So it’s not an old product, just a really cheap one.

Just launched last week, the RTX 4070 uses an AD104 GPU with 5,888 GPU cores, 184 Tensor Cores and a boost clock of 2,475 MHz, along with 12GB of VRAM. In our review of the RTX 4070, we noted that the card offers excellent ray tracing and AI for a fairly-reasonable (by today’s standards) $599. 

RandomGaminginHD begins his video by showing some games that run decently with this fast GPU / slow CPU combo and no frame generation. He demos Forza Horizon 5 running at 1440p ultra with an 83 fps average and 44 fps 1% low. Red Dead Redemption 2 at 1440p Console Quality settings averages 64 fps with a 35 fps 1% low. Many gamers would argue that any frame rate above 30 fps is playable while  60 fps is the minimum smooth experience.

When we tested an RTX 4070 with a Core i9-13900K CPU, which ensures that there is no CPU bottleneck, we got much higher numbers. Forza Horizon running 1440p Extreme (higher than ultra) ran at an average of 118.7 fps with a 102 fps 1% low. Red Dead Redemption 2 running at 1440p Max settings played at an average of 85.6 fps with a 1% low of 66 fps.

However, RandomGaminginHD shows that many games are more CPU-dependent and will give you an unplayable experience with a Pentium CPU. For example, he demos Kingdom Come Deliverance running at an average of 45 fps with a 1% low of just 10 fps. That low rate would be slide-show like.

Nvidia’s RTX 4000 series GPUs, including the RTX 4070, are the first to feature the company’s DLSS 3 (Deep Learning, Super Sampling) technology and its Optical Multi Frame Generation feature, which uses AI to create additional frames using the card’s tensor cores. Because all of this processing takes place on the GPU, frame generation should help with CPU-limited games.

To see how much of a difference frame generation makes for a low-performance CPU, RandomGaminginHD showed Cyberpunk 2077 playing at 1440p with ray tracing overdrive and low crowds. Without frame generation, the game ran at an average frame rate of 43 fps with an unplayable 1% low of 25 fps. However, with frame generation on, those numbers jumped up to 70 fps average with a 30 fps 1% low.

Cyberpunk 2077

(Image credit: RandomGamesinHD YouTube Channel)

However, not all games become playable when frame generation is enabled. In the video, we see Witcher 3 running at a 55 fps average with a horrible 1% low of 3 fps, despite having frame generation on. It’s also important to note that the game itself must support DLSS 3 and, right now, only a few dozen games do so.

So, what we learned from RandomGamesinHD’s video is that you can use a low-end, Pentium GPU with a medium-end card like the RTX 4070 and some demanding games will be playable. This is a highly unlikely situation in the real world, unless you had a very low-end PC, had just enough money to buy a GPU and decided to delay your CPU upgrade for a few weeks. However, in general, you should go with a better processor, preferably one of the best CPUs for gaming.