Can You Use AMD GPU with Intel CPU?

You absolutely can use AMD GPU with Intel CPU. There should literally be no conflicts or issues here when running an AMD graphics cards with an Intel processor.

Often people assume that since AMD and Intel are rivals in the microprocessor segment, that their products would be incompatible with each other.

Fortunately, this isn’t Microsoft vs Apple. There is a level of respect between the two loved brands by PC builders and thus most of their essential products are cross-compatible.

So rest assured, the answer to the question “can you use AMD GPU with Intel CPU?” is a resounding yes. 

In the following text, I talk about what actually DOES matter when installing a GPU.

What Actually DOES Matter for Installing a CPU

The CPU brand DOES NOT matter when installing a graphics card.

What does matter is that you have the right slot and the right amount of power cables for the graphics card.

So here are the details: 

1. Essential: An x16 Slot – Ideally with 16 PCIe Lanes

The most important ingredient for a graphics card is that you have an x16 slot. A graphics card itself has an x16 connector and can ONLY fit in an x16 slot.

An x16 slot is the largest slot on the motherboard and in ideal cases it has the most PCIe lanes. The higher the PCIe lanes a slot has the more data it can carry.

x16 slot pcie
A PCIe x16 slot

In addition to that, the more demanding an expansion card is, the higher the amount of PCIe lanes it requires. A graphics card is the most demanding expansion card you can install on a PC and hence it requires an x16 slot with full 16 lanes. Which brings us to the next point.

An x16 slot DOES NOT always feature 16 lanes.

does it matter which pcie slot I use w
Note that the bottom x16 slot actually only has 4 lanes. You can figure this out by reading the specsheet of the motherboard.

You can see above that the bottom x16 slot has the full length but only has four lanes.

As a rule of thumb, the first x16 slot (top most) on a motherboard almost always features the full 16 lanes and hence this should be your choice for installing the graphics card.  

An AMD graphics card can also run on x8 and an x4 PCIe slot as well, however, at a reduced performance. 

Read in Detail: Which PCIe Slot for GPU is Ideal?

2. Essential: Sufficient PCIe Power Cables

PCie Power Cables
PSU must have all the required power supply cables.

The second most important aspect for a graphics card is that you have sufficient PCIe power cables.

Different graphics card require different power connectors.

Some AMD graphics card may require 1 x 6 pin PCIe cable only, others may require 3 x 8 pin PCIe cables. Generally, the more powerful a graphics card, the more PCIe power cables they need.

ASUS Tuf Gaming Radeon RX 6800 XT OC Edition requires 2 x 8 pin PCIe Power Cables. Source: Asus

The PCIe power cables come from the power supply unit and all of the connectors on a graphics card have to be connected in order to power it.

graphics card connected
This GPU requires 2 x 6 pin. Both of them are connected.

In addition to that, there are other important factors that you want to look into such as:

  • Ideally the PCIe version of the motherboard and of the graphics card must match
  • Ideally a CPU should NOT bottleneck the graphics card.
  • The size of the case must be large enough to accommodate the graphics card

You can read about this in detail here: How to Know if Graphics Card is Compatible With Your Motherboard?

So Can You Use AMD GPU with Intel CPU?

Yes, it can. There are absolutely no caveats and you should have absolutely no issues when using an AMD GPU with an Intel CPU.

Everything should work as normal.

While there should no compatibility issues here. There are, however, SOME benefits to using an AMD GPU with an AMD CPU.

Benefits to Using AMD CPUs with AMD GPUs Only

The benefits, AMD claims, when using an AMD GPU with an AMD CPU can be seen through the AMD Smart Access Memory. 

This technique, as AMD claims, can improve the performance as much as by 15% on the top end AMD GPU models (not a drastic improvement in reality though).

What is AMD Smart Access Memory and how does it benefit?

Well essentially, this technique improves the data link between the CPU and graphics card’s VRAM.

Traditionally, the data link between the two has been kept at 256 MB in order to keep GPU compatible with 32 bit CPUs.

However, CPUs are far more advanced compared to when the 256MB data link was conceived and while this technique was great for older GPUs that only featured 256 MB or 512 MB VRAM. It is not feasible for modern GPUs that offer 4GB, 6GB, 8GB or more of VRAM. The traditional data link, in essence, is a bottleneck.

Smart Access Memroy
Smart Access Memory expands the data link.

AMD Smart Access Memory expands this link so that a CPU can now access a larger chunk of data from the graphics card at a given time.

This technique has hardware limitations though. For starters, it only works if you have an AMD CPU and an AMD GPU.

In addition to that, it only works if you have the following AMD hardware:

Can You Use AMD GPU with Intel CPU
AMD Smart Access Memory Requirements. Source: AMD

So you have to weigh for yourself whether having an AMD CPU along with an AMD GPU is worth the added benefit for Smart Access Memory.

Also Read: Can You Use NVIDIA Graphics Card with AMD Processors?

AMD/Intel Motherboard and CPU – The Only Compatibility Relation that DOES NOT Work

AMD graphics card with an Intel CPU is not an issue at all.

The only brand-centric incompatibility is with the motherboard and CPU. You cannot install an AMD processor on an Intel motherboard and vice versa.

This is because the motherboards of the respective brands feature chipsets that are tailor made for their CPUs. 

Also Read: Can a Motherboard Bottleneck a GPU?

Final Words

If you have concerns regarding whether can you use AMD GPU with Intel CPU or would it cause any kind of bottlenecks then rest assured you have nothing to worry about.

It would be quite unfruitful for AMD to release their products that do not work on a vast number of the Intel based PCs out there.

Similarly, it would also be unwise for Intel to block AMD GPUs as that would disenfranchise a vast number of users who like gaming or working with AMD graphics cards.

Also Read: Can I Replace My AMD Processor with an Intel Processor?

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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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