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Drenwick
25-09-2012, 01:31 PM
Hey guys,

So I've had this system for a couple of years now, and I'm looking to upgrade soon. As of right now I can run most games on the market at usually mid-high settings at 1440x900. If I try to run some games at 1920x1200 on the same settings I get significant slow down, others no slowdown.

For example, GTA IV on high settings at 1440x900 gets me around 50-60 FPS. At 1920x1200 it goes down to 20-25 FPS. I realize jump in required power, but I'm trying to identify the short coming before upgrading. Similar thing with Skyrim.

Specifications:

Motherboard: GA-890FXA-UD5
Processor: AMD Phenom II X6 1055T 2.8GHz
Memory: 8GB
GPU: GeForce GTX 550 Ti (4GB Memory)

Thanks guys!

tmrafi
25-09-2012, 01:40 PM
Basically when you are going up from 1440x900 to 1920x1080 you are actually going from 1.3 Megapixel to 2 Megapixel so you are looking at 40% more load on the GPU. Your card is currently ranked at 63 on this list (http://community.futuremark.com/hardware/gpu) (slower than a much older 9800GX2). So that would be your first thing to look at upgrading.

inphinity
25-09-2012, 01:46 PM
Depending on the game, for most it is the GPU. The 550Ti is entry-level gaming. To run at 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 (depending on your monitor aspect ratio of course - the former is far more common) you'll really want to look at at least a 660Ti/7870 or better, imo.

A few games will also be CPU-limited in your setup, though GPU will have a bigger impact.

pctek
25-09-2012, 01:56 PM
some games at 1920x1200 on the same settings I get significant slow down, others no slowdown.

For example, GTA IV on high settings at 1440x900 gets me around 50-60 FPS.

It's the game.

GTA was badly written too.

If you want super performance and high res on all games, well, you go to to an i7, 8GB and the lateste (or last years) top end GPU.

Or accept that some games will do that once you crank the res up.

better to have a bit lower res and all the affects instead.
Or if you have the budget the super cool GPUs....

Drenwick
25-09-2012, 02:03 PM
Thanks for the quick replies. My first thought was a 660 ti for an upgrade, but I wanted to check with you about the CPU. Doing a CPU upgrade means a new motherboard as well, so I may stick to a new GPU first.

SolMiester
25-09-2012, 02:44 PM
Here are some interesting benchies showing how the CPU can effort the game if using the same GPU..
42904290
When OCing IB Intel CPUs, performance increase is almost linear
4291
New AMD FX Chip, not so much
4292

inphinity
25-09-2012, 02:46 PM
Here are some interesting benchies showing how the CPU can effort the game if using the same GPU..

Do note, though, in this case the GPU is a GTX680, which is rarely a bottleneck in any current game at 1920x1200 ;)

Chilling_Silence
25-09-2012, 03:16 PM
Do note, though, in this case the GPU is a GTX680, which is rarely a bottleneck in any current game at 1920x1200 ;)

I noted that too. In this case, the 6-core 2.8Ghz AMD is going to be *far* more than ample, whereas the 550Ti is definitely going to be holding things up. You could easily spend $500 on a new GPU and I'd suggest it'd still be the bottleneck.

After that, I'd personally look at getting a SSD before upgrading your CPU.

dugimodo
25-09-2012, 03:20 PM
Don't forget the extra power requirements of a 660Ti, it'd be a good Idea to check with a PSU calculator to make sure you have sufficient power.
The GPU is definately the weakest point of your system, and the only part you can upgrade without a total MB/CPU upgrade.

I'd reccomend upgrading the graphics and leaving it at that for now, some games may be CPU bound but most will not. and you can always keep the graphics card if you end up upgrading more later.

The 660Ti would be Ideal but if it's too much a cheap 2nd hand 560Ti or better could be worth considering for decent performance (a lot of people seem to have upgraded from these since the 6 seies came out so they are around 2nd hand for now). They are a couple of levels slower than the 660Ti but still more than fast enough for most current games at these resolutions. I have both a 580 and a 560Ti and honestly can't tell the difference 99% of the time.

If you spend your money smartly the more you spend the longer it'll last you.

SolMiester
25-09-2012, 03:28 PM
Do note, though, in this case the GPU is a GTX680, which is rarely a bottleneck in any current game at 1920x1200 ;)

Eh?...The benchies show the effect of different CPU matched with the same GPU...If pairing the GTX680 with the OP's CPU he will lose almost 20% of the GPU performance, hence someone said the X6 will become a CPU bottleneck......Clock the Intel up to 4.5Ghz, and the AMD chip is losing almost 28% of the GPU performance....

Its not about the GPU being a bottleneck at all?!

Actually, that X6 is at 2.8, not the 3.3 in the benchies, so the OP CPU is worse still....

inphinity
25-09-2012, 03:38 PM
Eh?...The benchies show the effect of different CPU matched with the same GPU...If pairing the GTX680 with the OP's CPU he will lose almost 20% of the GPU performance, hence someone said the X6 will become a CPU bottleneck......Clock the Intel up to 4.5Ghz, and the AMD chip is losing almost 28% of the GPU performance....

Its not about the GPU being a bottleneck at all?!

Actually, that X6 is at 2.8, not the 3.3 in the benchies, so the OP CPU is worse still....

Yes, but he also has a 550Ti, not a GTX680. I doubt his CPU is his bottleneck in many gaming situations. I agree with your general point that a CPU *can* bottleneck (and I believe I said as much in a previous post), but I don't see it's relevance to the OPs question about which component is his bottleneck in his system and don't want to cause too much undue confusion.

Paul.Cov
25-09-2012, 03:50 PM
I've got a much cheaper and immediate solution for these performance issues:

I downgrade my expectations!

I downgrade the effects, the anisomtropic, the specular reflections, the camera bloom, the chromatic abberration, and if necessary, I downgrade the resolution.

Saves a bundle!

dugimodo
25-09-2012, 04:02 PM
Yep that works, someone I know games on a 19" 1366x768 monitor and by sticking with that he's managed to play everything on his aging HD4850 without issues.
I have a 27" monitor but I chose one with 1080P for the same reason, higher res would just stress out the graphics card without really making the games look all that much better. Matching your graphics card to your monitor is a good strategy. I overshot with the 580 which performs close to the same as a 660Ti meaning I'll skip this series altogether.

Chilling_Silence
25-09-2012, 04:03 PM
I downgrade the effects, the anisomtropic, the specular reflections, the camera bloom, the chromatic abberration, and if necessary, I downgrade the resolution.

:D

You can never have too much antialiasing / antistropic filtering ;)
Besides, playing with post-processing effects in DayZ are *so* much more fun than playing without!

SolMiester
25-09-2012, 04:08 PM
Yes, but he also has a 550Ti, not a GTX680. I doubt his CPU is his bottleneck in many gaming situations. I agree with your general point that a CPU *can* bottleneck (and I believe I said as much in a previous post), but I don't see it's relevance to the OPs question about which component is his bottleneck in his system and don't want to cause too much undue confusion.

Where did I say his CPU is a bottleneck?....I was just pointing out that his CPU is costing him ~20% of his GPU performance.

Chilling_Silence
25-09-2012, 04:17 PM
Where did I say his CPU is a bottleneck?....I was just pointing out that his CPU is costing him ~20% of his GPU performance.

Not specifically. If he had a GTX680 that would be the case, but he doesn't.

Also, that's *just* for Borderlands 2, not all games pwn the CPU so much.

SolMiester
25-09-2012, 05:54 PM
Not specifically. If he had a GTX680 that would be the case, but he doesn't.

Also, that's *just* for Borderlands 2, not all games pwn the CPU so much.

BL2 shows the CPU scaling, however weaker CPUs still have a detrimental effect on the GPU performance, as the GPU still relies on the CPU for data.

pctek
25-09-2012, 06:42 PM
Yes.
GPU
Then GPU and RAM.
Although the game can affect that, MSFSX for instance uses CPU more.

Chilling_Silence
27-09-2012, 01:17 AM
BL2 shows the CPU scaling, however weaker CPUs still have a detrimental effect on the GPU performance, as the GPU still relies on the CPU for data.

Confirmed after playing Borderlands 2 now for what's roughly 6- hours that the CPU in the OPs system will not be the bottleneck, though it will probably be getting kind of close AFTER the GPU has been (heavily) upgraded.

My Dual-core 3Ghz AMD CPU sits usually between 60 -> 75% utilization. My GPU (1G HD6870) however is maxed out running at 1920x1080. It's certainly no slouch though, but the detail and anti-aliasing could probably be bumped a little higher. Manage to maintain a solid framerate though, even with me and 3 mates blasting countless enemies and explosions, acid spray and electric shocks going off left / right & center :D

I'm not ruling out that the CPU has no effect, of course it does, but in this case I doubt it's going to be close to being the bottleneck vs the 550 Ti :)

SolMiester
27-09-2012, 03:46 PM
Confirmed after playing Borderlands 2 now for what's roughly 6- hours that the CPU in the OPs system will not be the bottleneck, though it will probably be getting kind of close AFTER the GPU has been (heavily) upgraded.

My Dual-core 3Ghz AMD CPU sits usually between 60 -> 75% utilization. My GPU (1G HD6870) however is maxed out running at 1920x1080. It's certainly no slouch though, but the detail and anti-aliasing could probably be bumped a little higher. Manage to maintain a solid framerate though, even with me and 3 mates blasting countless enemies and explosions, acid spray and electric shocks going off left / right & center :D

I'm not ruling out that the CPU has no effect, of course it does, but in this case I doubt it's going to be close to being the bottleneck vs the 550 Ti :)

Solid frame rates with a 3ghz dual core AMD and a 6870?....did you see the graph on the first page?....perhaps not. Here is another with i7-3960X @ 3.33 which is probably about 3 times faster than your CPU....and yet only 51 FPS...
4303

In other words, if the OP had a better CPU, i would probably get by with his 550t1 and medium setting.....but then again, i dont know what you call solid frame rates...

Chilling_Silence
27-09-2012, 04:26 PM
If I can figure out how to show the FPS, I'll do some tests tonight with accurate FPS and see :)

icow
27-09-2012, 04:28 PM
grab the fraps trial.

dugimodo
27-09-2012, 05:03 PM
Solid frame rates with a 3ghz dual core AMD and a 6870?....did you see the graph on the first page?....perhaps not. Here is another with i7-3960X @ 3.33 which is probably about 3 times faster than your CPU....and yet only 51 FPS...
4303

In other words, if the OP had a better CPU, i would probably get by with his 550t1 and medium setting.....but then again, i dont know what you call solid frame rates...
Thanks for that , thinking about buying that game and I'm 2nd from the top on the graph :)

As for the argument about frame rates, bottle necks etc it's pretty much been said to death. The OP's CPU is pretty good and will handle most games with reasonable framerates, the 550Ti is an entry level card and will not. It is undoubtably the bottleneck in this system. However the CPU will limit the max frame rate if the OP buys a sufficiently fast card. As long as that limit isn't below playable levels it doesn't matter.

It's not important what the bottleneck is as long as every component is capable of a steady 60fps Ideally (30fps as a minimum well staying playable). For most games the AMD CPU will handle that. Adding a 660Ti may well be overkill for a lot of games with the CPU becoming the limiting factor, but better to have too much GPU power than too little. On top of that the 6 core has a lot of untapped power that future games could take advantage off, most current games still only use 2 cores but with 4 cores becoming commonplace game developers could choose to change that.

I am intel i5 for gaming all the way personally (I like to stay ahead of what's needed :)), but I have friends still using dual and quad core AMDs and in one case a 2.66 core 2 Duo and so far they have been able to play everything. The one excepton was RAGE on a Athlon X2 5200+, unplayable. Upgrading to a PhenomII X3 fixed it and it's now completely smooth. There is still life in AMD systems for a while yet, at least until the next wave of game development

Chilling_Silence
27-09-2012, 08:05 PM
Doesn't go under 40 FPS, peaks just over 100. Hovers around 65.

http://min.us/mARfRep5s6gsq

Got screenshots but it didn't show the FPS :p
So remembering roughly:
1) 110
2) 110
3) 80-ish
4) 80-ish
6) 65
6) 42 (As I fired an incendiary weapon)

EDIT: Subsequent ones were fine, that was the *first* shot that dipped it that low
EDIT MOAR: Can I make it include how many FPS it's doing at the time of the screenshot?
EDIT: Wait my bad, I was looking in the wrong place, I'll take some more after this DotA2 game :D

icow
27-09-2012, 09:14 PM
I just ran a test, running the game on Max settings at 1080p.

48 Min
100 Max
74 Average

Specs:
965 @ 3.4ghz
7850 2gb
4gb DDR3

inphinity
28-09-2012, 07:48 AM
Just had a quick play of BL2 on both my PCs.. intersting result imo. Both at 1920x1080 with most stuff maxed. On the Phenom 955 w/GTX460, under various conditions the GPU & CPU both cap out (not necessarily at the same time, and CPU about twice as often as the GPU), which leads me to believe they're a fairly balanced pairing, and upgrading either would result in an increase in average FPS (by removing some of the 'dead'-zones' as it were). Average FPS was ~51, but min was 17. Alternately, i5-3570 w/GTX660, the GPU never got to 100% load, whereas the CPU did on occasion, average FPS was ~64, with a minimum of 33. Both combinations are definitely playable, but you can tell the i5/660 is smoother with no low-frame (sub-30 fps) encounters.

Skyrim, I note, never pushes either CPU seriously, and the GPU is the limiting factor on both machines.

Chilling_Silence
28-09-2012, 08:41 AM
http://minus.com/mSN1tURNOeDuF

You can see me fire an incendiary weapon, as well as sprinting a lot (Not still-shots, they're fast-action with lots moving).

My CPU peaked at 80% at one stage... Definitely don't believe it's the bottleneck :)

icow
28-09-2012, 04:12 PM
Shameless twitch.tv plug? :p

Chilling_Silence
28-09-2012, 06:34 PM
Oh nah that's my mate, its his steam name :p