CPU speed VS. Video Card = Which one is more important to have a game running faster?

By alain ยท 17 replies
Mar 19, 2005
  1. When I'm playing a game , which is more important to have my game running smoother : The cpu speed or the video card ?

    -Alain :cool:
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Both are important.
  3. lzrdlps

    lzrdlps TS Rookie

    You happened to overlook one thing, MEMORY, will also increase game play. Consider shutting down all unnecessary apllications to free system resources. Just another 2 cents.
  4. isatippy

    isatippy TS Rookie Posts: 497

    like Nodsu said both are important if you have a fast cpu then you should get a better video card. :hotbounce give us some computer specks.
  5. alain

    alain TS Rookie Topic Starter


    You see I'm about to make my own computer.
    The CPU speed will be around 2 GHZ.
    The RAM will be 256MB.
    And I don't know what video card to get. I mean as long as it's cheap and runs games smoothly.

    But my main question is , although these parts are important , I need to know which one affects a game smoothness more.

    -Alain :cool:
  6. dopefisher

    dopefisher TS Rookie Posts: 444

    when you have a game, you will want (obviously) at least the minimum specs for the game. prefferably the recommended. and if you go above the recommended, your game should be running fine. if not, then you have some type of problem. here is microsoft's game advisor site, that will analyze your pc and compare it to the recommended specs for most games on the market today.


    Right now, I have an amd 64 2.1 ghz, 1 gig ram, geforce fx 5200 overclocked, and 30 gb free space. these are the specs the game advisor uses to determine performance on your games. i always have much higher than the minimum and recommended specs, and of course, i can run any game just fine. my video card still sucks, though, and i cant wait to get a new one.
  7. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    The CPU is OK. You definently need 512 megs of RAM. Buy the best videocard you can afford in upper midrange.
  8. Secondgunman

    Secondgunman TS Rookie Posts: 91

    Look at it this way

    Look at it this way building a computer is like building a car for the ground up.
    you need a good balance of cpu and gpu, I normaly look at it this way when I build someone a budget system I go about 10 - 15% above user needs, mid range I build at at 15 - 25% above user needs, high end work 25 - 50% and high end gaming is well 40%+ depending on customers budget as high-end gamers normaly want one of the top 3 -5 CPUs, RAM MoBos, GPUs, HDDs, Sound cards and ROM Drives there is.
    You don't whay to get bottlenecked so realy do your homework you are not going to put and nVidia Asus Extreme 6800 Ultra on a Intel P4 S478 P4 2.40A GHZ because you found a Motherboard for the chip that has a PCI-E slot, just as you would not use and AMD FX55 with an ATi 9800 All In Wounder 128 MB card. It is best to do this; 1 Look at what you need and want out of the system, 2 Look at what you have to spend 3 Look at what you allready own HDDs, ROMS, RAM and so-on ask yourself are you going to still run this computer if not will it be worth the effert to incoperate these parts into the new system? 4 Look at building a new system in stages would be better. 5 (MOST IMPORTANT) Is building this system in my abilities?... Alot of people think they can build a system till they do it, building a system is not the world's hardest thing to do but it takes homework and some thinking. This is more so when you have a system and you are upgrading it because some newer parts will error or may cause problems for the system, BIOSs and Window's install configs can brake your brain. I/O settings alone even in the world of PnP can realy be a mind drain you in some cases. I had to flash a BIOS after putting a new sound card in a system one time after working one the system for two days... Tip if you have a problem with a new setup the problem is allways the most simple problem that will be the last thing you think of. I know I straid a bit there but it is all things you need to know and may-as-well get it all in one shot buy the way make sure you Power supply Unit (PSU) is up to the job if that is not them all the money you spent one the system will make it a expesive doorstop.

    PS what games do you want to play and tasks are you going to run that is what you should start with look at the MSR for these games/apps and then go from there the othere thing is remeber ATi Cards and nVidia both make very good cards and fare around the same in AMD and Intel but nVidia will run better on AMD and ATi run alittle better on Intel when my website is up and running I will have a report on this posted compiled by students for the University Of Alberta's CEPD these kids know their stuff and have the toys to back their claims.
  9. satchmo

    satchmo TS Rookie Posts: 83

    Graphics card

    I still believe that graphics card has a bigger impact on game performance, especially 3D games (like HL2 and Far Cry).

    That's why this one component of hardware costs so much, and people are still willing to dish out the money for it.
  10. TS | Thomas

    TS | Thomas TS Rookie Posts: 1,319

    All matter really. If you have excess the requirements in 1 area only you won't be making up for the lack in others. You'll always be limited in some way by your slowest/lowest component. Then again, if you have concerns beyond gaming you can't ever go wrong with better/more memory & faster CPUs.
    Also with the balance between CPU/Graphics in games tends to vary. Some games benefit more from a better CPU than a change of Graphics card, others it's the opposite. I mean, I remember with Serious Sam there were timedemo's used to illustrate this, think I did a few of them myself - 1 timedemo stressed the graphics card, the other the CPU.
  11. lmantihacker

    lmantihacker TS Rookie

    hmm, There's more thing important than speed of the processor. Getting a 120GB hard drive is more important than that. Well, I upgraded it from 80GB to 120GB and it run real good. I maybe worry about the video card 'cause my video card is only the 32MB but it run very good for people who love playing Counter-Strike or Warcraft.
  12. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    I'd say buy the best in this order:

    1. Video
    2. RAM
    3. CPU
    4. HDD

    32bit CPUs are coming down so far in price that you can get a good one fairly cheaply. So if you have 2gz, I'd say fine. I know people still running 1.5ghz but do just fine with their beefy video cards.
    I would get at LEAST 512 RAM. And again, with prices so low, you can even get 1GB of PC3200 RAM under $100 at newegg. Not the best in the world, but still, a gig ain't shabby.

    Then comes, in my opinion, the most important. The video card. Out of any part in your case, you will (should) spend the most on this one part. Check out this list of cards and decide where you want to compromise:

    The sky is the limit on video cards.

    Lastly, the hard drive. It's important to get a 7200rpm with an 8mb cache. This is common these days. But you never know if a "budget" hard drive happens to be 5400rpm.

    Happy hunting
  13. Baby Huey

    Baby Huey TS Rookie


    I totally agree with Vigilante! If you surpass any one area over the others, the weakest link will still negate your gains (a 6800GT 256MB video card will never perform up to par with a 1800 Sempron processor). If you have, say $500 to spend, don't put it all on one item, spread the wealth. Bump up your processor, add a little ram, and upgrade the video card evenly. The results will show instantly without you having to say, "I've got this killer video card and when I upgrade to 1GB of ram, this thing is gonna fly!"

    But then again, if you plan is to continually upgrade the system, go ahead and get the best "affordable" options you can in each area (go ahead and get the 6800 GT if your budget plans are to upgrade to a 3GHZ processor in a month or so followed by 1GB of ram the next month).

    If you only have, say $100 or so to invest (with nothing else planned in the future) get the video card or the ram (whichever is the weakest currently in your system.......RAM is my guess).
  14. Secondgunman

    Secondgunman TS Rookie Posts: 91

    Yes up-grade....

    Yes up-grade the weakest thing or the most expensive thing first with the harddrive being last, unless it dies.... even if you can find a 100 GB 15000Rpm drive with a 16 MB buffer you will not see much diffrece then a 80 GB 2 MB buffer 7200 Rpm and in some cases you will be better of with the slower and cooler drive as it is cooler. more Harddrive I would look at the 7200s with 8 Mb buffer or if you can find one 16Mb buffer is what I would use. Heat is not a computers friend. your RAM should have a Cas Latency of 3-3-3-8 or 2-2-2-6 is good to look at the RAM I use can be either of these depending on the speed of you FSB... most RAM can now and I preffer Kingston as the RAM is the warrenty.
  15. Secondgunman

    Secondgunman TS Rookie Posts: 91

    Buy the way if you are...

    By the way if you are realy going to get into gaming I would look at going to the AMD build rigs with nVidia GPUs but if you are going into just have fun gaming then what ever even an Intel but never spend alot on Intel because the company is a bunch of greedy crooks and only get my money when I have no choice Day-to-day/top-end-gaming I allways use AMD. Either way onless you have a few Gs to playwith get a few parts now and then mabe even parts not as good as what you realy want, most parts can be sold for small loss aslong as they are not droped or better parts come out. In my case i build my system with an AMD 3500 and earlyer today I put my FX55 in that I got then sold my 3500 to my brother for 50 less then what I paid because he is now starting to build his new system.
  16. kol_indian

    kol_indian TS Rookie Posts: 316

    what aboyut the mother board

    Does nt the mother board play an important role????!!!

    U may have the latest graphisc card but if dont have a decent chipset to support it then what ????
  17. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    As long as the motherboard meets the requirements of your parts. After that, it's all about which mobo has the better name out there. Are they reliable? How good is tech support? Are they good about upgrading the BIOS and drivers? Does the layout of the board fit your needs? Such as, does the CPU area give you enough room for your monster heatsink.

    If you have the best DDR400 RAM, the board just has to support 400fsb. If you have the fasted AGP 8x card, the board just needs to support 8x.

    But I wouldn't take the board for granted either. Some boards/manufactures can and do, use better components then others. So just do the research!

    The other part not mentioned much thus far is the power supply. Same thing, there's the cheap ones, and the good ones. Some output cleaner power, some are more resistant to surges and brownouts.
    The short answer is, don't stick with the stock PS from a case, unless you bought a super-high-end case. Some generic 300w no-name PS will cause trouble if you have high-end components. And will burn up at the first sign of trouble.
  18. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    Nodsu is right.

    But, I will add. Processor is only as important to a certain point.

    If your running a 400mhz CPU and expect to play new computer games, it won't happen, but for example if you are running a 2600+ or 2800+ CPU then, your video card IS going to be MORE important. Keep that in mind.

    There isn't as much of a performance difference between these two CPU's, but your going to see a huge performance increase between a better video card.

    RAM is also very important. To be a gamer, you need at least 512MB. That will run any game in existance these days. Unless were talking about the really bad programming that is Battlefield Vietnam and Star Wars Galaxies. Those two games have such bad memory leaks, 512MB just is not enough. 768 makes BFV run so much better, and without 1GB of RAM in Star Wars Galaxies, well, you can barely even move in some of the large cities.

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