Can You Use Nvidia Graphics Card with AMD Processor?

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Absolutely! You can certainly use NVIDIA graphics card with AMD processor. As far as the compatibility goes, it wouldn’t matter whether you choose an AMD or an Intel CPU for your NVIDIA graphics card.

Building PC can be a bit daunting in the beginning. There are so many things to consider from PCIe lanes to CPU cores.

Therefore, it is quite reasonable for a person to ask if they can use an NVIDIA GPUs with AMD processors given the fact that NVIDIA and AMD are both rivals in the GPU market.

For those of you who are not aware, AMD manufacturers both CPUs AND GPUs. In the CPU market they are a direct competitor to Intel and in the GPU market they are a direct competitor to NVIDIA.

It is absolutely phenomenal for AMD to take on two of the most technologically advanced rivals in the market, yet AMD has shown profound results over time.

The Confusion

Can You Use Nvidia Graphics Card with AMD Processor Faetured

New PC builders in general, and gamers in particular, have a general notion that NVIDIA Graphics card may not be compatible with an AMD processors.

This is because they believe that since AMD and NVIDIA are both rivals, AMD would only allow their GPUs i.e from the Radeon series, to be compatible with their processors.

However, that is hardly the case!

Graphics cards from NVIDIA or AMD and processors from Intel and AMD are all compatible with each other.

So as far as the question of compatibility goes, you have nothing to worry about.

Also Read: Is a dual core processor good for gaming?

Can You Use Nvidia Graphics Card with AMD Processor?

As mentioned earlier, CPUs by AMD or Intel and GPUs by AMD or NVIDIA are all compatible with each other.

If you believe that you can achieve a higher performance/dollar ratio with an AMD and an NVIDIA GPU build then by all means go for it.

However, there certainly are a few benefits that are exclusive to pairing an AMD CPU with an AMD GPU. The benefits aren’t major though but still worth mentioning.

Also Read: Can You SLI Two Different GPUs?

Benefits to Using AMD CPUs with AMD GPUs Only

There are certain benefits when pairing an AMD CPU with an AMD GPU:

AMD Smart Access Memory

Smart Access Memory is an exclusive AMD technique that allows the processors to better access the VRAM found on the graphics card.

This, according to AMD, resolves a long forgotten bottleneck. As result of the improvement, you can see upto 15% performance gains – as claimed by AMD.

And of course, CURRENTLY this only works if you pair an AMD CPU with an AMD GPU.

So what does it do?

Often when we talk about the performance of a graphics card, we look at its GPU chipset disregarding the performance of the VRAM itself.

While the amount of VRAM your graphics card has and the type of VRAM it uses are an important measure, how the CPU communicates with it is often disregarded.

Smart Access Memory essentially improves the data link between the CPU and the GPU RAM. Basically, since the older days, the data link between the two has been kept at 256 MB to keep GPUs compatible with 32-bit processors. This is just how games and drivers have been designed.

This means that the CPU could only access 256 MB of VRAM at a time. This was good enough for GPUs 15 years ago, but for GPUs featuring upwards of 6GB VRAM today easily, the data link is certainly a bottleneck.

Since games these days are very complex and since multiple large assets can be requested from CPU to GPU (larger than 256 MB), the Smart Access Memory can efficiently transfer those immediately at a given time without having to queuing 256 MB chunks.

Smart Access Memroy
Smart Access Memory expands the data link.

There are limitation to the hardware required for this. Smart Access Memory only works with the following at the moment:

  • AMD 500 series motherboards i.e B550, X570
  • AMD 5000 series CPU i.e AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
  • AMD 3000 series CPUs (excluding the ‘G’ series 3000 series CPU such as the AMD Ryzen 5 3400G)
  • AMD 6000 series graphics card

In all honesty, there isn’t a drastic performance improvement as of yet, but as the game developers and game engines make better use of this technology and as more efficient drivers are released, things can start to change.

AMD’s Smart Access Memory Harnesses the PCIe Resizable BAR Technology in Essence

While Smart Access Memory would only work if you pair an AMD CPU with an AMD GPU, this technique essentially makes use of the PCIe resizable bar technology.

Resizable bar technology is an open standard, therefore, having a restricted set of hardware is a bit unfortunate, but that can certainly change in the future.

In comparison to this, NVIDIA’s GPUs can leverage the Resizable Bar Technology on both Intel and AMD CPUs!

The following table shows that NVIDIA GPUs support both AMD and Intel CPU from certain generations for the Resizable BAR technology.

Source: NVIDIA

Hence if you choose to pair a Ryzen 5000 series CPU with an NVIDIA GPU RTX 30 Series graphics card, you should have absolutely no issues with Resizable BAR feature.

Also Read: Is Intel Celeron Good for Gaming?

PCIe Slot and Their Configuration for Dual Graphics Card Setup

does it matter which PCIe slot I use
A budget motherboard often has a single x16 – 16 lanes slot (top) for GPU and another x16 – 4 lanes slot (bottom). This can be used for and extra AMD Graphics Card.

A graphics card generally takes up 16 PCIe lanes ideally. All motherboards have a dedicated PCIe x16 slot for installing a GPU.

However when it comes to a dual GPU build, AMD motherboards in the budget range, often offer an EXTRA x4 slot as well.

AMD GPUs can run on an x4 slot, the NVIDIA GPUs cannot. NVIDIA requires at least an x8 slot.

So in short, if you ever want a dual GPU build on a budget AMD motherboard, the AMD CPU + DUAL AMD GPUs would be a better option.

Also Read:

Final Words

In short, if you are wondering can you use NVIDIA Graphics Card with AMD processor, the simplest answer is a resounding yes.

There is absolutely no issue with using the two together granted that the rest of the system including the slots, PSU, motherboard and the driver are all good.

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Author:

Atif Qazi
Atif Qazi is the founder of PCGuide101. He is a digital nomad who loves everything PC. He is a PC builder, tech enthusiast, engineer, and a lover of single player lore-rich RPG games.

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