CPU or GPU Bottleneck?

Hey guys

I have a laptop with a i5-450M and a GT335M. I've noticed that when I'm playing games, it seems to be running smooth and then at one point it will start lagging, especially at like explosions and stuff (Crysis 2), but overall it seems to be running smooth. BTW I was running Crysis 2 at 1366x768 with the lowest settings (High?).

Now, that will sound like it's a GPU bottleneck, but I was playing F1 2011 the other day, and I found out that if I was on a Time Trial lap, it never lags. But if I switch to Career and start driving with 24 cars on the track, it'll lag from time to time, almost like a stutter. I'm beginning to think that this is a CPU bottleneck, because it's calculating a lot more things when racing with 24 cars than 1 car? Even when I'm way in front in the lead (GPU load should be the same as when on a Time Trial), the very often stutter still happens... *Running at 1366x768 with Medium settings, 2x AA.

I'm not thinking about an upgrade or anything, I would just like to know whether it's the CPU or GPU that's messing with me.

Thanks for all the replies in advance!
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  1. I don't think anything's bottlenecking your that laptop.
    It's just that your laptop isn't really that good for gaming. You may want to lower the settings too if you want more performance.
  2. this could be down to having power savings set wrong... if there set to minimum cpu usage 100% windows will throttle as often as it can, as its trying to save power all the time. set minimum cpu usage to 5% so when your cpu usage drops below 5 percent the power savings become active. as your playing games the cpu should be using more than that so should not throttle.

    do this in the advanced power settings. from windows control panel...
  3. You shouldn't really be upgrading your video card, as it's a middle class gaming laptop you're running your games on, so you should be good. And I doubt it you would be able to upgrade it even if you wanted to.

    Just as HEXiT said, make sure you don't have your power settings set on "saving" and never play games running on battery only. Also, try to monitor your temps when gaming, as laptops get hot while under stress, thus your video card might exhibit a performance decrease.
  4. Hey guys, thanks for all the replies. Like I said, I'm not looking for any upgrade nor would I be able to do it if I wanted to anyway. This is completely based on my curiosity...

    So I did some test with the same game (F1 2011), and there was something odd going on. I tried playing the game with 640x480, no anti-aliasing, lowest settings possible, and guess what? I was still getting an average of 32FPS. If I moved it to 1366x768, 2x anti-aliasing, and medium graphics settings, I would still get an average of around 30 FPS. Move it to 4x anti-aliasing then it starts dropping to around 20 FPS. So I would assumed that my laptop is capable of playing it with pretty decent graphical settings, the problem now is: What's restricting my system to use the resource to its full potential?

    P.S. I've tried various setting already, no matter what settings I use, I would get a CONSTANT result of 3x FPS when running with anything equal or lower than 1366x768, 2x anti-aliasing, and medium graphical settings.
  5. its your gpu, for good 1080p gaming in med settings a GTX560m would be suitable

    your card isnt capable of gaming,

    cpu doesnt matter much maybe a 2 or 3 fps boost may be gained.
  6. king game said:
    its your gpu, for good 1080p gaming in med settings a GTX560m would be suitable

    your card isnt capable of gaming,

    cpu doesnt matter much maybe a 2 or 3 fps boost may be gained.


    So are you saying that my graphics card is not capable of playing games at 640x480? That is obviously not true... I was even able to play Battlefield 3 at 1366x768 with medium-low settings, so I'm pretty sure that the card is capable of gaming, just maybe there is something wrong with the particular game...?
  7. it may be the game. it may be a tempriture issue. the latter being the biggest issue for laptop gamers... if your lappy is more than a few months old. i can guarantee it will be full of dust... even in the cleanest house they will be the dust magnet.
    if you have laminat or hard wood floors the dust problem is worse because there is no carpet to trap the dust so its a lot freer to be swept up by your lappys cooling.

    so run a temp check with gpu-z while your gaming. get gpu-z and realtemp/coretemp to monitor in the backround and create a log... post you highest temps for both the cpu and gpu
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