Will I Be Bottlenecking a Radeon 3850?

By Route44 ยท 8 replies
Feb 28, 2008
  1. Okay, I asked this question at another tech cite:

    Motherboard 939 with Athlon 64 X2 3800+, 2 gigs of RAM, XP PRO sp/2, SATA HD 7200.

    I want to upgrade from my old X800GTO 256 DDR3 to either a 3850 in 256 or 512.

    Question: Will my dual core bottleneck either version?


    The answer I received was:

    I think the 3850 will bottleneck the 3800+ on the latest games that are the most demanding. The 3800+ X2 is ok for desktop stuff. Chatting email and so forth. It's also ok for games that have been around for a while.


    To which I ask my TechSpot family, "What is your understanding?" Surely an Athlon 64 X2 3800+ can do a little more than "desktop stuff." No, its not the latest or greatest but few of anything software takes advantage of dual core as it is, including, with a few exceptions, games.

    A video card purchase will be my last upgrade to my 939 system for a long while until I am forced to upgrade to another OS and by that time I'll have moved on.

    So I'd like to get your thoughts on my inquiry and any other recommendations for a video card.

  2. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    Let's be clear on what IS the bottleneck and when.
    if you install the readon 3850 with 512M:
    For most NEW games...your bottleneck will be the AMD 3800, then the amount and speed of RAM and then your HDD.

    I'm assuming the 3850 is the equivalent of the nvidia 8800 series?
  3. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    The bottleneck will not be very significant, but might or might not be noticeable depending on the game. You can avoid most of it by using high resolutions which will dump more load onto the GPU and load the CPU less. Another solution would be to buy a good aftermarket CPU cooler and OC the CPU as far as it can go. You might try checking out reviews of the chip where it's been OC'd, so you have an idea of how high it can go.
  4. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 11,984   +72

    Thanks for the replies. I could be wrong but I think the 3850s (as well as the 3870s) was ATI's answer to the 8600, et. al. not the 8800. It is a fantastic mid-range card. Nvidia has countered with their new 9600 offerings.

    So what if I went with the 256 as opposed to the 512 since it seems we are basing this more off the 512 than the 256.

    Rage, my Viewsonic is two years old and so it is limited to the maximum resolution of 1280x1024 32 bpp.

    Any other suggestions? I have looked at the ATI 2600 series and the Nvidia 8500 but both put out a lot of heat.

    Any recommendations will be most appreciated. Thanks again.
  5. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    What about OCing? Or are you not comfortable with it? In any case, most games are still more GPU-dependent than CPU-dependent, so you'd still see performance improvements. IMO, get the card and forget about the bottleneck. You're probably going to be upgrading later anyways. As for the onboard memory, 512MB is not needed since you're not going to be running a very high resolution, so 256MB will be fine for you.
  6. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 11,984   +72

    Okay, thanks for that piece of information about megs of video RAM and resolution. This is an area that I don't have a lot of knowledge in so I learned somthing new.
  7. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,674   +990

    I just recently ran an Athlon X2 with a Radeon 3850 myself and it will really depend on the game run. I used an X2 4400+ which is a bit speedier but I still found that depending on the title I would get limited by either the amount of video memory or the CPU.

    I ran Crysis a lot which in general still puts my new Radeon 3870 X2 and Q6600 to shame, but I found that if you wanted to run any other games that are not Crysis, say Bioshock or UT, you should do quite well with a Radeon 3850 and the Athlon CPU.

    Rage is right to point out that if you won't run high resolutions (above 1280x1024) then 256mb should suffice.
  8. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    For a brief explanation of video Ram and it's effects on performance vs resolution you could read Appendix C from my article on building your own gaming rig.

  9. Acclamator

    Acclamator TS Rookie Posts: 261

    I think the point is that the X2 3800+ will be your bottleneck; the problem, if any, will only be slight.
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...