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Thread: CPU and Video Card effects ?




  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    Default CPU and Video Card effects ?

    I remember reading a post about some guy who wanted to upgrade his video card to a 6800 ultra or 7800GTX. He was only using a celeron processor and got a reply of not to bother because the the CPU wouldn't be able to handle everything those cards could do. This got me thinking about how much a CPU effects the performance of a card. Also what CPU's go best with what cards as far as being able to take advantage of them fully etc.

    My old comp just fried so i have a new one on the way. The processor is a Athlon 64 3000+ (939). I am guessing that it could handle a 7800 np and take advantage of what that card has to offer but i could be wrong. With the way cards are moving lately they are pumping them out bigger and better at an incredible rate.

    So i guess my question is what CPU would be the minimum of handling such a card and what are the benifits on game performance when looked at a video card and cpu? People always upgrade vid cards over years but the CPU normally gets left behind. Is there a point when you can't upgrade your vid card till you get a higher CPU? Have there ever been any tests on such things lately? Thx.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    Default Re: CPU and Video Card effects ?

    Quote Originally Posted by FartyMcCrabLice
    So i guess my question is what CPU would be the minimum of handling such a card and what are the benifits on game performance when looked at a video card and cpu? People always upgrade vid cards over years but the CPU normally gets left behind. Is there a point when you can't upgrade your vid card till you get a higher CPU? Have there ever been any tests on such things lately? Thx.
    Your Athlon 64 3000 will be right around the minimum needed to prevent CPU limitation when using a 7800GT/GTX. This will vary from game to game though. It probably wouldn't be CPU-limited on a Barton 2800 running Doom 3, for example, but it probably be if you were running Battlefield 2.

    Anandtech has done several tests for CPU limitation in specific game. I think they've done one for Doom 3, Half-Life 2, and Battlefield 2.

    Based on my own machines, I can tell you a few things about older video cards.

    I have an Athlon 1GHz with a Radeon 9600 and 512MB of RAM. It's processor is the most limiting feature in most games, but suprisingly enough the RAM and CPU can be limiting in some games, too. There's no game it can't play on the market, yet. It plays Battlefield 2 extremely smoothly in the 16 player LAN games it has been used for. Basically, it's a pretty well-balanced system.

    I have a Pentium 4 2.0A with 512MB of RAM and a Radeon 9800 Pro. On this one, it's CPU-limited in most games. The exceptions (that I know of) are Doom 3, which is (of course) GPU-limited, and Battlefield 2, which is more RAM-limited.

    My main gaming machine is a Mobile Athlon XP 2400 Barton@2.2GHz with 768MB of RAM and a 6800GT. It's quite balanced in most games, but the RAM holds it back in Battlefield 2. It used to use the 9800 Pro, and the upgrade to a 6800GT did nothing except a moderate framerate increase and allowed me to run it at 4x AA with Lighting on High. Textures won't go to the High setting unless this machine gets more RAM.

    Basically, for your system a 7800 wouldn't be very CPU limited, provided you maintain your system properly and don't run a lot of background programs. I'd say that unless you have a lot of RAM (over 1GB), you'll be RAM-limited more than anything else. Of course, if you don't play Battelfield 2, than this probably doesn't even apply.

    Everything I've said here applies mostly to modern first-person shooters. The only modern strategy game I use all three of these machines for is Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. It's a little bit more CPU-reliant than most first-person shooters, but for the most part these machines' hardware remains very balanced even if you take this game into account.

    I haven't tried many role-playing games on the other two. Guild Wars has been played on all three, but there's no one limiting factor in it for any of the machines. Neverwinter Nights has been played on the 2.0A, and I'd have to say it is CPU-limited, but not by an overwhelming amount.
    Last edited by Yawgm0th; 09-04-2005 at 09:20 AM.

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