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Will It Bottleneck Me?

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March 22, 2006 4:52:21 AM

Hello everyone, I am about to upgrade my computer from previous specifications to run a game called The Elder Scrolls Oblivion. Now I'm upgrading my motherboard to PCI-E and getting a new video card (since Oblivion is very graphically intensive).

The video card I'll be upgrading to is called the SAPHIRE Radeon X850XT 256 MB. The current socket 754 processor I have will stay the same, it's an AMD Sempron 3000+ 1.8 Ghz processor.

Will this new Video Card be bottlenecked by my processor, if so, how badly? If I need to upgrade to see quite a bit of a performance increase, what should be suffient to keep from bottlenecking on most of the high-end video cards out today (and perhaps tomorrow)?

Thanks in advance,
Daniel

More about : bottleneck

March 22, 2006 5:06:34 AM

Yes, and no.
That Sempron has only 128k of cache, so it will be the bottleknck in your system. Will it make the game unplayable? No, you should still have decent quality, and reasonable framerates.
If you already had a s754 board, that you could re-use, I would suggest getting one of the venice core 3200s (yes, it's the only venice core for s754).
As it stands, stick with the new gfx card and the sempron. It means you will need a major upgrade sooner, but, that way you may end up with a better setup later, and will have accepable perf now.
March 22, 2006 5:39:20 AM

OK, so you're buying a new socket 754 motherboard??? What the.. Why can't you just ditch the sempron crap and get an Athlon 64?
I say this because if you do this now, then you will save yourself a lot of trouble down the track where you have to buy yet another motherboard (and the hassles that come with it), just to get a faster processor.
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March 22, 2006 7:07:51 AM

You can get that card in AGP, which would be as good and saves buying a new motherboard.

Better to upgrade to a new setup that's faster and more powerful in every way, sometime sooner or later.
March 22, 2006 12:08:47 PM

I echo some of the suggestions:

Buy a Socket 939 motherboard and a low end Athlon 64 or Opteron. This will give you upgradability in the future.
March 22, 2006 12:24:54 PM

Personally,
I'd stick with the motherboard/CPU and just upgrade the graphics card to a fast AGP, card.

1) Upgrading the motherboard just for PCI-E with the same socket leaves you at a dead end.
2) Upgrading to an s939 motherboard will need a new CPU+graphics card. Also s939 is coming to the end of it's life with AM2 around the corner.

So save your money and put up with a minor upgrade, i.e. enought to make you game playable and then go for a major upgrade later with
AM2, CPU and PCI-E graphics card (option 2 above)
March 22, 2006 1:09:46 PM

i second stimpy's motion.
March 22, 2006 1:30:33 PM

Socket 754 officially supports A64s at speeds of up to 2.4Ghz. More, if overclocking (especially a 754 board bought now, as they'll no doubt all be very mature products).. so let's assume he'd be able to get a venice 3200+, as endyen says, and run at 2.5Ghz.

OK, so he won't have the option of dual-core, but I don't have a dual core chip, and all my games run fine. The simple fact is, doing what he wants will be cheaper in the short-term, and dual-core is not going to become necessary for games for a looooong time. Sure, it may well help, but it won't be a requirement.

By the time he wants/needs to upgrade, 939 will be just as dead as 754. It'll be a long time before he gets a game that runs unplayably because of his CPU.

Quote:
Upgrading the motherboard just for PCI-E with the same socket leaves you at a dead end.
This is true of all motherboards and sockets, and always has been. Every new socket launches with the promise of supporting newer, faster processors... But every time I've wanted to upgrade my CPU, it's always involved a new motherboard. Not necessarily a new socket, but there's always a better board required to fully take advantage of newer tech. For example I went through 3 socket A boards, a KT133 one, then a KT333 one, then an nforce2 ultra one. The vast majority of people simply are never in a position to get a noticable improvement through just swapping out a CPU. by the time they reach a point where it's struggling, it's down to RAM and Graphics over the CPU.

The Kind of guy who bought a sempron in the first place isn't the type of guy who will feel satisfied at replacing a 2Ghz 3200+ with a 2.6Ghz X2 in three years' time.

A Replacement motherboard is a much smaller expense than even a mid-range chip. Assuming you don't buy some ridiculous thing with 8 million PCI-E slots for SLI and stuff that is, which most people don't of course.

Everyone looks at 'how upgradable' a motherboard is as if it's the most expensive thing in the PC, whereas in fact it's not by quite a long way. My RAM, Power supply, Case, Graphics card and CPU all cost more.

Righto, Rant over. :mrgreen:
March 22, 2006 2:03:05 PM

Quote:
Personally,
I'd stick with the motherboard/CPU and just upgrade the graphics card to a fast AGP, card.

1) Upgrading the motherboard just for PCI-E with the same socket leaves you at a dead end.
2) Upgrading to an s939 motherboard will need a new CPU+graphics card. Also s939 is coming to the end of it's life with AM2 around the corner.

So save your money and put up with a minor upgrade, i.e. enought to make you game playable and then go for a major upgrade later with
AM2, CPU and PCI-E graphics card (option 2 above)


Great idea, I think this is the optimal solution. If all you are really going to change is the video card then just get an AGP one. They have a GeForce 7800 GS that comes in AGP as well as other versions that are at lower prices.

Then, once you find that your system isn't fast enough (1 or 2 years from now) you can do a major upgrade of CPU, MOBO, Video card.
March 22, 2006 3:19:42 PM

its always a good idea to spend more so your not dissapointed. although 939 will not be the newest when the new amd socket comes out...lets just say its lightyears better than 754
March 22, 2006 9:16:08 PM

Indeed, I agree. I am going to build a completely new computer after the next generation hardware is released, right now I just need the power to play the game, and spending $200 by upgrading to a new mobo and getting virtually the same power card as the 7800 GS for a hundred dollars less seems more practical for now to me.
March 22, 2006 9:54:49 PM

You should be shot for using bottleneck as a verb!

The bits that end up on the ground should be incinerated for using a socket 754 processor too!
March 23, 2006 11:31:57 AM

Quote:
You should be shot for using bottleneck as a verb!


hmmm... Not really. According to Dictionary.com

"His laziness has bottlenecked our efforts to reform the system" is totally valid.....

[/pedant]
March 23, 2006 12:16:24 PM

not a serious bottleneck ..but still .. go for a venice processor
March 23, 2006 12:23:59 PM

Quote:
You should be shot for using bottleneck as a verb!


hmmm... Not really. According to Dictionary.com

"His laziness has bottlenecked our efforts to reform the system" is totally valid.....

[/pedant]

Oh god lets not get in an english debate 8O

As for video card choice, I recently saw my friend play Obilvion on an Xbox 360 and it looked nice (ok its not PC but stick with me). I personaly would NOT get a X850XT simply because it does not support Shader Model 3.0. I assume that Obilivion for the PC uses SM3.0 of course, in that case I would go with a 7800GT or an ATi equivilant (i dont remember the right model # off hand). Just don't short yourself SM3.0 if your going to upgrade.[/b]
March 23, 2006 12:25:05 PM

Socket 754 compared to socket 939: what's the difference if you're not using dual channel?

If you're only using it for games, what's the advantage of PCI-E over AGP 8x?

Going with a good 7800 AGP card would be cheaper, and not be any slower than changing mobo AND gpu.

However, a 1.8 GHz cpu is a bit too little to handle those 7x00 beasts, so if you're ready to change your mobo, go all the way.
March 23, 2006 12:35:55 PM

The 7800GS is a superior card to the X850, its in the same generation as the X1800 series, and it shouldnt be much more expensive if at all.


I know the 7800 has been around nearly as long as the X800, but thats just because ATi couldnt get the x1800 to work, not because its not as good :) 

I'd go with the 7800GS AGP myself.
March 23, 2006 12:39:18 PM

Quote:
Socket 754 compared to socket 939: what's the difference if you're not using dual channel?

If you're only using it for games, what's the advantage of PCI-E over AGP 8x?

Going with a good 7800 AGP card would be cheaper, and not be any slower than changing mobo AND gpu.

However, a 1.8 GHz cpu is a bit too little to handle those 7x00 beasts, so if you're ready to change your mobo, go all the way.


PCI-e is necessary for the future but as of now has little performance benefit unless you do bridgeless SLI. The reasoning behind PCI-e is the power requirements for GPU's keep growing and AGP has become uncapable of delivering the necessary power to the cards across the bus. Yes I realize there are external power cords. The main reason, as i understand it, is the 8x AGp is roughtly equivilant to 4x PCI-e and so there is much more headroom for GPU's.

S754 v S939 Diffrences (that i know of): Dual Channel memory, Higher HTT speeds, better processors. I am by no means an expert on these diffrenecs, just a few that i remember off the top of my head.
March 23, 2006 12:59:47 PM

Quote:
The reasoning behind PCI-e is the power requirements for GPU's keep growing and AGP has become uncapable of delivering the necessary power to the cards across the bus. Yes I realize there are external power cords. The main reason, as i understand it, is the 8x AGp is roughtly equivilant to 4x PCI-e and so there is much more headroom for GPU's.

S754 v S939 Diffrences (that i know of): Dual Channel memory, Higher HTT speeds, better processors.


Dual Channel: I saw it first :p 
Hypertransport: useful when dealing with Dual Channel, pretty much useless without (the RAM is the bottleneck)
Better CPUs: irrelevant since he doesn't want to change his cpu, but true.
AGP 8x is worth PCI-E x8 upstream, and no graphic card is able to exceed such data flow by much yet.

I stand your point, and mine.
March 23, 2006 8:07:16 PM

Are there any other PCI-E video cards you'd recommend for about the same price ( $160 - $180) with Shader Model 3.0 support?

Also, a good portion of the games you see today (much like Oblivion) only give the recommended system specifications for processing in Intel's operating frequency, does anyone know a conversion for what the equivelent of a Intel processor to an AMD processor is (say a 2.0 Ghz AMD is equivilent to a 3.4 Intel or something)? I'd like to know how my 1.8 Ghz compares to the Intel line of processors.

Thanks, (and thanks again for all the replies),

Dan
a b à CPUs
a b U Graphics card
March 23, 2006 9:21:44 PM

"The 7800GS is a superior card to the X850"

Only the massively overclocked 7800GS variants even come 'close' to offering "7800"(GT) levels of performance....; it might defeat the 850XT, but the 7800GS is not worth $300....; at $200, it would be! :-)

IMO, even labeling it as a 7800 did the 7800GT a great disservice by asociation;....it's more of a die-shrink 6800Ultra than it is a 7800; too few pipelines, shader units, and too low of a core/mem clock....
a b à CPUs
a b U Graphics card
March 23, 2006 9:28:24 PM

A Sempron 3000+ is usually defeated (barely) by a socket 939/2800+, which roughly equals a socket 775/3.0 P4 in typical games/applications...; I'd say it would offer parity with a decent running Northwood "C' core at 2.8G..

(My daughter has a socket 754 Sempron 3000+ rig, and we are both quite satisfied with it; she is usin via integrated video at the moment, and is bugging me to install the old 9800 Pro sitting next to it!)
March 23, 2006 11:04:04 PM

So it's about a 3.0 Ghz P4, eh (give or take)? Awesome! Thanks for the advice guys, think I'm going to stick around these forums.
March 24, 2006 12:05:21 AM

Quote:
"The 7800GS is a superior card to the X850"

Only the massively overclocked 7800GS variants even come 'close' to offering "7800"(GT) levels of performance....; it might defeat the 850XT, but the 7800GS is not worth $300....; at $200, it would be! :-)


To be honest I wasnt aware of the pricing on the two cards, I know the 7800GS is no GT, but as we have both said it would be better than the 850XT

Having just looked at prices here (UK, so £ not $ :p  )


7800GS AGP - £199

850XT PCI-E - £152
PCI-E Mobo - £60
Total - £212



Given that the 850XT solution is more expensive here, and the s754 PCI-E mobo will need upgrading next CPU upgrade anyway. I'd go for the 7800GS.

The only advantage of the 850XT is that if you later upgrade to a 939/AM2 mobo you can re-use the gfx card...

EDIT: 850XT AGP is £176 over here, tbh I'd spend the extra £20 and get the 7800GS still :) 
March 24, 2006 7:19:28 AM

I'm an Nvidia fan - has been since I got myself a Riva TnT - so I'd recommend a 7800-something, or go all out and get a 7900.

You could also consider one of the few AGP+PCIe motherboards out there as a later upgrade, and keep whatever card you'd choose now.
March 24, 2006 3:32:23 PM

Actually I just read an article on processors and they found that processors don't have as much of an impact as you would think. Would you have slightly better performance with a faster processor, yes. But it will not make or break your gaming experience, no. The video card and ram are far more important.
You would benefit from above 2ghz processor and dual channel ram. Since you are getting a new mobo I would change to a 939 processor.

http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTAwMiwx...
March 24, 2006 3:52:56 PM

A general rule that has been around for a while is that you should spend as much on your processor as you did for your video card. But that is not a requirement by any means. That is just a guideline to acheive a nice balance in your system.
March 25, 2006 7:15:50 AM

@Akifuddin: hear to that.

@Cisco: I didn't know about this rule, it does sound neat - but you could also spend more on the video card, get a nice low-end CPU and fine-tune it (unlock multiplier, raise FSB/HT frequency, nice o/c) and achieve comparable performances while saving a few bucks.

I did so on a Duron 950, and I got a 20% performance boost out of it by making it go from 9.5*100 to 7.5*133 (RAM was 222-6-1T, synchronous in both cases) - with a GF4 ti 4200, it meant going from 'unplayable Doom3 demo' to 'playable Doom3 Demo in 800x600, low quality' - roughly Athlon 1000 performances, but half the CPU price.

However it DOES require some tweaking.
March 25, 2006 4:35:07 PM

It's not a hard and fast rule but for those who don't want to mess with OC'ing its a nice way to look at building a system. I personally agree with you and would rather get a cheaper CPU and OC it, but I know there are a lot of people who don't.
April 11, 2006 9:28:17 AM

I agree with you...

Most test have shown that you don't require a fast CPU in order to take advantage of a fast GFX card. In any case, I'd go for the 7800 GS (since 939's will be getting somewhat old shortly) and OC it to a descent level.

So save your bucks for AM2 and enjoy a ride with one of nVidia's last AGP-monster :) 
April 11, 2006 9:37:20 AM

True - but right now I've just gotten a 939 mobo with an X2 mounted on it, if I want to power it up I'll overclock it and add a second RAM stick (enabling dual channel this way). So I'm good for some time I'd say.

Yes, I buy stuff depending on how much I can tweak them up later on.
!