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Question about CPU + GPU in games

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January 8, 2014 6:03:56 PM

I have a question for some people who have played around with many different builds. Let's say I wanted to play a CPU heavy game, like Planetside 2. I have a very good processor that can play on ultra settings with the right graphics card, but I don't have the right graphics card. So basically, very good CPU, terrible graphics card. Could I play the game on VERY low settings, but still get a very good frame rate?

If I was confusing, just ask me to clarify.

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January 8, 2014 6:19:10 PM

Yes, your theory holds true. A very good CPU combined with a mediocre GPU will still perform extremely well on the lowest settings. A terrible GPU (you should list yours specs so I know what parts you're referring to when you say "very good processor" and "terrible graphics card") can mean not being able to play the game at all, but like I said, I mean it has to be terrible. If we say that the GPU is mediocre and is capable of performing well enough on the lowest settings of a game, then combined with an excellent CPU you'll still get a great stable frame rate on the lowest settings.

This is because when you choose settings for a game, the vast majority of these settings refer to task load on a GPU. By upping or lowering these settings, you're also respectively increasing or decreasing the task load on the GPU and hence either giving the GPU more or less work. However, when you change the work load of a GPU, that doesn't necessarily mean you're changing the work load on the CPU. Sometimes, big open world games or MMOs which are quite CPU bound don't really have options to reduce work load on the CPU beyond a few smaller operations, i.e. reduced physics. Really, the only way to reduce work load on the CPU is on the part of the developer, and its up to the developer to figure out what the most efficient algorithms are to make the game less CPU intensive.

That's why CPU bottlenecking is such a hard thing to deal with. When I encounter something in a game that drops my framerate because my CPU isn't up to snuff, I can't really do anything about it. If my frame rate drops because my GPU isn't up to snuff, I can turn down eye candy in the settings and my problem is solved.
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January 8, 2014 6:26:52 PM

Deus Gladiorum said:
Yes, your theory holds true. A very good CPU combined with a mediocre GPU will still perform extremely well on the lowest settings. A terrible GPU (you should list yours specs so I know what parts you're referring to when you say "very good processor" and "terrible graphics card") can mean not being able to play the game at all, but like I said, I mean it has to be terrible. If we say that the GPU is mediocre and is capable of performing well enough on the lowest settings of a game, then combined with an excellent CPU you'll still get a great stable frame rate on the lowest settings.

This is because when you choose settings for a game, the vast majority of these settings refer to task load on a GPU. By upping or lowering these settings, you're also respectively increasing or decreasing the task load on the GPU and hence either giving the GPU more or less work. However, when you change the work load of a GPU, that doesn't necessarily mean you're changing the work load on the CPU. Sometimes, big open world games or MMOs which are quite CPU bound don't really have options to reduce work load on the CPU beyond a few smaller operations, i.e. reduced physics. Really, the only way to reduce work load on the CPU is on the part of the developer, and its up to the developer to figure out what the most efficient algorithms are to make the game less CPU intensive.

That's why CPU bottlenecking is such a hard thing to deal with. When I encounter something in a game that drops my framerate because my CPU isn't up to snuff, I can't really do anything about it. If my frame rate drops because my GPU isn't up to snuff, I can turn down eye candy in the settings and my problem is solved.


Yes I was more or less just attempting to make it clear. My GPU isn't TERRIBLE, and my CPU isn't he best, but with my old CPU and current GPU i was playing Planetside 2 on the lowest settings possible with a decent frame rate (Not in big battles of course.) My old stats were an AMD E2 E3200 APU dual core 2.4Ghz and an nvidia GT 610. I recently upgraded to an i5-2300 quad core 2.8Ghz but have the same GPU. Also, thanks for you quick reply.
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