Many years ago I had the same question, but worry not the answer is easy, simple and is probably going to be very good news for you!
NVIDIA graphics cards are compatible with AMD. If you wanted to combine an NVIDIA GPU with an AMD CPU, you could do so, and they will work together as intended.
Let’s dive deeper into GPU compatibility and take a look at if there’s any performance hit you take from using NVIDIA with AMD.
Are NVIDIA Graphics Cards Compatible With AMD?
As we said, NVIDIA graphics cards and AMD CPUs can work great together, and you don’t have to worry about incompatibility.
The same goes vice-versa as well. If you wanted to use an Intel CPU with an AMD GPU, you could still do that without issue.
NVIDIA graphics cards are made to work with both systems and most modern motherboards as long as they have a PCI-E x16 slot.
There isn’t going to be a performance difference either based on whichever combination you choose.
You don’t get any bonus for going all AMD, and you don’t get any bonus for using Intel and NVIDIA.
You don’t get any performance loss either. That is primarily based on the parts you choose and will differ based on the power of the CPU and GPU.
Here’s a benchmarking video where you can see many AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards compared in various topics to see how similar they all perform.
You can skip ahead to the benchmarks. Comparing the similar GPUs from the current NVIDIA and AMD lineups you can see that for gaming they don’t perform significantly better or worse.
The next build I do will likely be AMD and NVIDIA because of how well AMD CPUs perform in CPU-related tasks and the reliability of NVIDIA.
If you have more questions about compatibility with motherboards and NVIDIA graphics cards, keep reading.
Are NVIDIA Graphics Cards Compatible With AMD Motherboards?
NVIDIA graphics cards are compatible with motherboards made for AMD CPUs. You still need to look for a PCI-E 3.0 port with a PCI-E x16 slot, but most new motherboards should have this.
Newer GPUs are PCI-E 3.0 right now, but if you happen to have a PCI-E 2.0 motherboard, your GPU should be backward compatible, so it should still function.
However, it might not work as well as it would with the technology it was made for, PCI-E 3.0.
Motherboards are made this way because it’s usually companies other than AMD that make the motherboards for the AMD and Intel chipsets.
So in order to get the most amount of people to buy their motherboards they have to make them work for more people.
Are NVIDIA Graphics Cards Compatible With MSI Motherboards?
As long as the MSI motherboard in question has a PCI-E x16 slot and is at least 2.0, but hopefully a 3.0, then they should be compatible.
If you’re ever worried about a specific part not working with another part, you could always plug all the parts of the build you want into PCPARTPICKER, which is pretty good at flagging incompatibilities.
MSI creates plenty of products for gamers that are of great quality and that extends to their motherboards.
As we mentioned with the AMD chipset motherboards, MSI makes their motherboards to accommodate both graphics card manufacturers.
This is great because that means all people can get a quality MSI motherboard regardless of the brand they choose.
Are NVIDIA Graphics Cards Better Than AMD?
Ultimately, you should combine whichever CPU and GPU are going to serve your purpose best and for a price within your reason.
Intel is great for high FPS and gaming, but even then, AMD has finally crept up to them in terms of performance in many games with their newest CPU lineup.
AMD has a reputation for being cheaper, much better for productivity apps, and constantly improving their CPUs.
If you use your computer for work outside of gaming, AMD is probably going to be the better choice.
They consistently score immensely higher than Intel in apps such as Blender, Adobe, and 7zip.
As for graphics cards, their performance isn’t all that different. You are choosing which ecosystem you prefer rather than the huge performance difference you notice with CPUs.
I will mention that driver issues can happen with either of these, but in my experience, I’ve noticed there are more driver issues with AMD GPUs.
NVIDIA graphics cards have always treated me well, and I’ve never experienced any driver issues in my many years of playing on PC.
However, I have heard that AMD is getting better, so take that information as you may and rely on user reviews and trusted resources for your info.
What Are Bottlenecks, And Do They Hurt Your Build?
As long as we are talking about compatibility, we should talk about bottlenecking. It IS NOT a result of putting together two parts from different brands, such as AMD and NVIDIA.
However, it is the result of pairing two parts together that have wildly different performance. One part is much slower, and the other being much faster.
It won’t hurt your components or break your build, but it can lead to parts in your machine not achieving their full potential.
For example, paring 1060 with a 5950x would probably mean your 1060 is going to bottleneck your build.
Getting a better graphics card would allow your 5950x to use a lot more of its power because it would give more tasks to the CPU that your GPU was previously holding back.
An important thing to know, though, is that there will probably always be a bottleneck in your build.
In most cases, there is going to be one part running a lot more than another. For a lot of people, this is the graphics card running at 80-100% usage and the CPU running below 40% usage.
In this case, this isn’t a problem because it is expected of your graphics card to be processing as many FPS as possible at your desired graphics settings.
It’s easy to lower this, but it isn’t likely to cause you issues by running this high.
However, if your CPU usage is at 100%, you can actually begin to notice more issues with the functionality of your system.
Your game may experience FPS drops, and your system may feel choppy when you try to complete any task.
This is because your CPU is used for almost everything, and when it gets maxed out, it has no more room for new tasks.
When building your new PC, try to get newer parts that are balanced in power, and you should be good.
Although the perfect world is to have both running at 50% or close to it, realistically, as long as you don’t have parts that are extremely imbalanced in power, you should be in the clear.
NVIDIA graphics cards are definitely compatible with AMD CPUs now and for the foreseeable future.
They are also compatible with the motherboards with the PCI-E x16, 3.0 slots we mentioned regardless of the brand.
However, you can always double-check any of your compatibility concerns on PCPARTPICKER, which is a very trusted and well-run PC building website.
What requires more thought is how you are going to balance your build and making sure you aren’t going to create a bottleneck.
But as we mentioned, most people will have a graphics card bottleneck which, in my research and experience having this hasn’t caused any issues.
Just try to get a CPU and GPU that fit your needs and are close in power. You may not be able to put them side by side, but you can take a look at benchmarks and consider your aim for the build.
If it’s a mid-tier build, get all mid-tier parts. If it’s a high-end build, go high-end across the board, and of course, if it’s a budget build, go budget across the board.
You can always upgrade in the future, which if you’re curious how often you can expect to upgrade your PC, you can read our article on when should I upgrade my PC.