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Will core i3 bottleneck the Nvidia GTX 660?

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March 30, 2013 5:17:25 PM

Hi, I'm thinking of getting a new GPU next week. My choice of GPU according to my budget is the MSI Nvidia GTX 660 2GB Twin Frozr chipset. It's a PCIe 3.0 card and I have a PCIe 2.0 motherboard, I know it's backward compatible, but my question is will my intel core i3 (OCed to 3.22) be able to handle this 2GB graphics card through those PCI 2.0 slots efficiently? Or should i need to upgrade my processor/MoBo too? I play recent games and in highest possible graphics setting. Screen resolution vary from 1024 x 768 to 1920 x 1080. I have 4 GB of RAM (I'm hoping it's enough as i don't multitask while gaming)

If you have your own suggestions please feel free to share.
Thanks.
March 30, 2013 5:20:43 PM

Simple answer
YES in recent games
NO for 3 year or more old games

Suggestion : Get quad atleast 3.3GHz
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March 30, 2013 5:27:25 PM

I'm guessing the core i3 you have is the 3rd gen ivy bridge architecture(edit:guessing not becasue you have pcie 2.0) That will be okay for some of the newer games, but for crysis3 you would definitely benefit from a true quad core. Is your motherboard an 1155 socket? If so then I would suggest getting the video card first, seeing how it performs. If it performs below what you expect(everyone has their own preference) then think about upgrade your cpu to a newer i5.

pcie express 2.0 would only bottle neck slightly if it were at 4x speed. 16x 1.0 is that same as 8x 2.0 and the same as 4x 3.0. Each pcie generation is about twice the bandwidth from one another.

Also 4gigs is enough for most games, it's recommended to have 8gigs now for newer games and especially if you like to max your games out.
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March 30, 2013 5:45:45 PM

If you got LGA1156 there will be times the CPU will hold you back in certain parts of the game NOT entire game. So still enjoyable@1080p without upgrade As the GFX Card will be most important than Processor.

If you have a LGA1155 based i3 with Hyper Threading,
You will be fine 90% times considering you will game on 1080p

But recent games and upcoming games might show some cpu bottoleneck
But nothing major !

I would suggest in future upgrade to an i5 quad core like 3470 if possible.
For now 90% times your fine.

Crysis3 is very CPU hungry game even a 6 core CPU struggles.
But most games hardly uses more than two core.

Happy Gaming.

Edit: PCIE 2.0 will not reduce any performance for your Card and system.
If you were on multi monitor with SLI/Xfire then could notice some difference.
No worries :) 
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March 30, 2013 6:02:27 PM

Actually most newer games benefit from having a quad core. Especially games like the battlefield bad company 2, bf3 and rts games, so it depends on what you play.

Here is a 3 year old benchmark showing difference between dual and quad so any newer games in the last year will be using more threads for sure.

http://www.overclock.net/t/659536/contagion-review-dual...
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March 30, 2013 7:38:32 PM

@cdrkeen @imomun
Thanks a lot for your detailed and informative answers. :) 
anyway, i have a first generation core i3 540 processor. (Guess it's time to change the old brain), Gigabyte h55m-s2v MoBo with 1156 socket. I heard that turning off hyper threading and then OC-ing a bit more is helpful, any ideas? I don't think i'll be getting a processor+MoBo anytime soon, and i'm really looking forward to play crysis 3. [ maybe not with the highest setting after all :(  ]

Actually the whole idea of getting a new GPU is that my dangerously OCed raedon 5570 can't handle recent games when set to highest settings. :p 
Thanks a lot guys, really appreciate your efforts. CHEERS! :) 
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March 30, 2013 7:58:35 PM

I would leave the hyper threading on. BF3 didn't work well with it for awhile actually worsened fps, but that's fixed. That first gen is about 15 percent slower than 2nd gen i3's so it won't be a huge difference if you overclock it, which you did a bit. Graphics card will be the biggest help obviously, you should be good with that setup for another year or so giving you plenty of time to save up some money for a new platform.

I wouldn't count on playing crysis 3 with anything over medium settings though. That game melts my computer even and well as you can see I put some money into it. I get between 50-100 fps everything maxed besides msaa which I keep at 2x. I can run 8xmsaa but it dips into the upper 30's
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March 30, 2013 10:08:14 PM

@cdrkeen
Okay so i'm going for the gtx 660 and 8 gb ram for now... do you think for a below $300 card gtx 660 is the best choice? i'm quite confused, ATI cards are much cheaper but they don't have hardware accelerated physx (which i think matters after i missed so much fun in arkham city... right?) and i want a card with 2GB gddr5 memory (more would be overkill, less would be pathetic while running my 4k textured modded skyrim) confused confused... :/ 
I know I've sort of drifted from my main topic but i'll be forever grateful if you could help (^_^).
Thanks for the support.
-F.A.
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March 30, 2013 11:03:19 PM

red_wine said:
@cdrkeen
Okay so i'm going for the gtx 660 and 8 gb ram for now... do you think for a below $300 card gtx 660 is the best choice? i'm quite confused, ATI cards are much cheaper but they don't have hardware accelerated physx (which i think matters after i missed so much fun in arkham city... right?) and i want a card with 2GB gddr5 memory (more would be overkill, less would be pathetic while running my 4k textured modded skyrim) confused confused... :/ 
I know I've sort of drifted from my main topic but i'll be forever grateful if you could help (^_^).
Thanks for the support.
-F.A.


i think with your cpu there is no point going further than the 660, its a great card, and once you get a new cpu you will notice an even bigger difference. For now, maybe get a good cpu cooler if you dont already have one and OC the crap out of your i3. Maybe even search for a second hand quad core i5 750 to fit your motherboard, they still perform pretty well.
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April 1, 2013 4:40:28 AM

@iam2thecrowe
Thank you for clearing that up for me. I see you too use this card and i'm pretty sure this is a good card.

edit: You have a 650w PSU! Mine is a 450w, i hope it's enough to handle this card. :/ 
take care and happy gaming! :) 
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