PC bottlenecks and gaming

By dubnubb
Jun 20, 2008
  1. with an average to above average computer system and the very best of graphics cards, the graphics card will always be the bottleneck....

    myth or reality?

    this presumes the build was thought out and researched to some degree!

    if you believe it is a myth, why? how? will this change anytime soon?
  2. mopar man

    mopar man TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,379

    I had never thought about this. I guess the GPU is always a bottleneck in games, if that is the case....
  3. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    It's the CPU that would bottleneck the video card, not the other way around. You'd need a fast CPU to keep up with a fast video card. A slow video card paired with a fast CPU is not bottlenecked because it's not fast enough on its own. Almost all games are more GPU-dependent than CPU-dependent. A game like UT3 running on an 8600GT will not look or play any different whether it's on a Pentium D or a Pentium Dual-Core E2140. The scenario changes when you get to an 8800GT though, since the GPU then needs a very fast CPU so it doesn't "lag behind".
  4. mopar man

    mopar man TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,379

    Oh, well now that you put it that way, I see your point.
  5. dubnubb

    dubnubb TS Rookie Topic Starter

    This is interesting as i have not heard such before in my vast research on the matter...has anyone seen a site that has cpu and gpu ratios for optimal performance?

    Is someone testing this out on an ongoing basis to find the optimal cpu for the latest graphics cards?

    Seems this approach to gaming computer building would save some people money.
  6. mopar man

    mopar man TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,379

    That is precisely what I was thinking. If it really is the CPU that bottlenecks, you could go for something like an E8400 and a 8600, while performing just as good as a 7200 with an 8800gt.
  7. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    Almost every site that tests graphics cards uses a high-end dual\quad-core CPU, so as to remove any bottleneck and show what the card is capable of. FYI, most people who are into heavy gaming use at least a 2GHz+ CPU, a dual-core one at that and it's usually OC'd as well. Any Core 2 Duo or AMD X2 CPU running at 2.5-3GHz will not bottleneck any single video card. Thus the reviewers aim for real-life conditions when they test the card. I've heard of people trying to run 8800GTs on single-core Celerons and not getting any performance boost at all. So yes, knowledge about this plays an important role in avoiding it.

    Also FYI, bottlenecking can also be caused by slow\insufficient RAM. An example would be running an E8400 with an 8800GS and DDR 333MHz RAM. The RAM's frequency is far lower than that of the CPU's FSB, causing a serious performance penalty. A similar case would be when trying to run a game like Company of Heroes on 512MB of RAM. The HDD would be accessed very frequently, which would show up as stuttering in the game and so the RAM would be a bottleneck in this case, since it cannot hold much information and the game would constantly go to swapfile.
  8. mopar man

    mopar man TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,379

    Ahh, yes, true, but I was seeing ram as being a decent kind, DDR2, 800MHz at least, while running the test in my head... XD

    I did notice that every review site used Q6600, E8400, or sometimes better.
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