First, imagine a normal bottleneck. It is a tight spot, which limits the flow of a pouring liquid. It is that element that slows down the whole system. Now think about an excellent PC build – an Intel Core i9 processor, plenty of RAM, a good motherboard and a 10-year old GPU. Yes, the graphic card will be the bottleneck. In this case the bottleneck is obvious but usually it is harder to find.
First, monitor your computer and the moments when it starts slowing down. Check the CPU, GPU, RAM, and disk usage. If one of these is at 100%, it is the bottleneck of your system. If you are trying to run some very demanding software, more than 1 component can be running at full capacity. Then you will need to fix more than just a single element.
Bottlenecking caused by CPU
A weak CPU can result in laggy behavior, frozen screens and general problems with the speed. It doesn’t allow the rest of the components to run at their maximum speed.
Your processor might be slowing down the rest of the parts, but you may be able to fix the situation.
Overclock it. It is a dangerous game, but it might give you just enough extra power that you need.
Fix or replace your CPU cooling. If your cooling is not sufficient, your computer will throttle. If the sensors detect an overly high temperature, the computer will start suppressing the power to the CPU and it will result in less computer power.
Check if the motherboard limits the processor power. In some cases, you can put a new processor on an old motherboard, but that doesn’t mean you should. There is a problem when the motherboard limits the performance.
Bottlenecking can occur because of the GPU too. You can experience it when you use GPU-heavy applications like 3D modeling, rendering video effects, games, etc.
The main reason for GPU bottlenecking is the mismatch with the CPU of the system. Just putting a new GPU on an old computer causes a bottleneck in many cases.
Your great CPU and GPU will be in vain if you don’t have enough RAM. Apart from the amount, you should get fast enough memory. Laggy RAM will slow down the system.
Replacing your HDD with an SSD will bring a lot of speed. It will lower the time for video rendering significantly. The same goes for loading applications. It is also a lot faster for transferring files.
Carefully check how much power your system needs. Underpowering it will lead to bad performance and it is even a threat to the components. Read the manuals for your components and provide a sufficient power supply.
Conclusion and Tips
There will always be bottlenecking, no matter what components you choose. This doesn’t mean you can’t try to lower the negative effect as much as possible.
Read before buying – which CPU combines well with which GPU, how much RAM you need for a specific application, buy power supply and cooling compatibles with the CPU and GPU, etc.
Upgrade with common sense – don’t put a massive GPU on a computer with an ancient processor or vice versa.
Don’t forget the SSD, power supply, RAM, motherboard. Each of these parts can affect the overall performance.