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Is my cpu a bottleneck for my gamingsystem? (ati radeon)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 6, 2006 9:13:00 PM

Hi

My brother got a new videocard (HIS radeon x850XT VIVO 256 AGPx8). Before he used a Club 3d radeon 9600xt 128mb agpx8. I told him that the HIS-card will be a major upgrade cause I looked at a lot of tests on the net including tom´s of course. (And even without the tests common sense tells me that a high end card in a newer generation should beat a middleclass card in a previous generation.) His rig before the upgrade was:

motherboard: asus a7v8x-x, via kt400 chipset
memory: 1024 ddr 333mhz
hd: 80gb(don´t know the model but probably 7200 rpm and 2mb cache)
cpu: amd 2600+(Thoroughbred) 333mhz fsb

Now. 3dmark 2005 after the upgrade was about 5400points. It sounds a bit low even though I know that vga charts often use either amd 64 fx-57 or at least amd 64 4000+ cpu´s. My question is. Is the cpu(amd xp 2600+) a bottleneck here and if so, will my brother gain considerable performance with an upgrade to xp 3000+ Barton (cause it´s the maximum possible upgrade for the mo´board)

The thing is that the differnces in gaming after the upgrade was much smaller than I thought(visually). He complained that he could run Far cry with high quality with his older card at 1024x768 at approximate 30 fps and now he gets around 45??? The maximum framerate in quake 4 and doom 3 on his system is 60 and that is propably cpu-limited. Is the 2600+ cpu so weak that his new videocard/which is the best card he can get on a agp-system(except 850xtPE which he can easily overclock too) is not a good buy with that weak cpu?
January 6, 2006 9:26:48 PM

Yes the CPU is bottlenecking your FPS. I read somewhere in Toms the other day that going from a XP to a Athlon 64 could potentially increase your FPS by 31 %. Any 64 ( 3000, 3200 etc... ) would be a lot better than upgrading to another Socket A processor. I would suggest start saving your $ and get a new mother board that can at least take a socket 754 or a socket 939 processor and you would see a lot bigger difference in FPS than changing out your current Xp to a 3000 Barton. If you spent that much on a video card spend another $150 and get another motherboard and a proc.

Here are some examples:

Cheap Route:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Medium Route:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
This boards chipset (K8T800 PRO got awesome reviews reguarding FPS)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Expensive Route:
Go with a more expensive Processor with the board above in Medium. If you really want to do it right get rid of AGP card and go with PCI-X.

This would increase your FPS the most. Let me know what you think.
January 6, 2006 9:55:31 PM

Thanks for the confirmation. By the way my brother is not having an internet connection therefor I am writing for him(besides the fact that he´s 180 miles away).

Hmm a change of motherboard. I knew it. The thing is that me(that are alot better in computer knowledge than my bro) have never upgraded a motherboard. It sounds difficult. A lot of stuff can go wrong. We both don´t see upgrading the motherboard as an option. We rather buy a new computer that is considerably cpu-upgradeable.

You know, a lot of wires should be deconnected and then connected. Then descrewing, screwing and what if the BIOS messes? Neither I and my bro has no so ever knowledge in programming or working in DOS. And because pcie is the new standard he has to get rid of the graphics card as well. It means that he has to sell the memory modules, the harddrive(cause SATA is better), the cpu and the gpu and propably the 400w powersupply. In other words a new computer is the best solution for amateurs like me and my brother.

The money for an upgrade is not a problem. Still he don´t want to sell the computer until in january next year but if the upcoming games crave that he plays at 800x600 resolution he´d propably change his mind after summer. I already told him that F.E.A.R. is a game that he probably wont be able to play at a quality setting. Quality settings is important for him and his favorite games are first person shooters, 3rd person shooters, stealth and racing. Games that often can be demanding.

Anyway, thanks for the advice and the rapid answer. I live in Sweden and even though we have tomshardware in our version(in swedish) the forum here is not even close so big and then you have to wait for answers that often do not come.
!