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Which is beter to invest in, a beter CPU or a beter GPU?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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Which is beter to invest in, a beter CPU or a beter GPU?

Total: 12 votes

  • a stronger CPU
  • 17 %
  • a stronger GPU
  • 84 %
June 24, 2006 4:16:37 PM

HI, I was planing to build a new pc using either a cenrone core 2 duo (the 2.1 Ghz) and a ati radeon x1900xt gpu, im curious in regards to which is beter to have a higher clocked cpu, or a beter gpu? The parts cost about $224 for the cpu and the cheapest price wor that gpu was $399 , (ddr2 ram about 180, and mobo around 220 or so)
I was also thinking maby i should wait till 2007 when ati releases new dx10 gpu's and maby (just maby) the price of teh 2.4 Ghz cpu will go down(so it would be a bit more afordable for me). Im planing to spend about 1200-1300max on the build (I just need the mobo, ram, gpu, and the cpu, + maby the vista or the xp os, if ill go win xp ill probably get the OEM version, and i hote win Vista will not cost more than that $200 or so. And i might use the psu that im using now a Thermaltake 480W purepower PSU)

My question:
Is it beter to invest in a beter cpu or a beter gpu? I know that a balanced match is important, what would You recomend for lets say a mediocore dx10 gpu type or if anything a ati 1900xt ?

I mainly play strategy games(because my pc cant handle mutch newer games anyway)but i would like atleast to enjoy the next gen games like crisis, project offset, battlefield 2142 in a medium high gameplay quality if possible with these parts (or a bit beter ones...but which?)
I will probably not overclock anything, and i would like the system to last me that 3 or 4 years or so (considering im still using my pc that was bought in 2001/ with a intel P 4 1.7 and an oldie ati aiw 7500 and 512 of ram....so the new build will be a huge step up for me.)

Thank You for all replies.
June 24, 2006 4:51:44 PM

For gaming I would say GPU as long as you have a good CPU.

Overclocking a CPU with good graphics card is my suggestion


Get a AMD 3700+ overclock To 2.4 Ghz easy close to FX-60 in some benchmarks
with 1900 series ATI card
That should do it


Wait... but then something else will come out and you will be waiting again
June 24, 2006 4:55:11 PM

In my opinion, if you're going to build a system, go ahead and get a decent GPU now. My reasoning is that Core 2 Duo will come out before DX10 is introduced, and you can easily upgrade to a new CPU before you'll need to upgrade to a different GPU.
Related resources
June 24, 2006 5:06:12 PM

the thing is that i would like to build a pc with good enough parts in that price range so that the pc would last me a bit without upgrades, maby except adding more ram (but i think 2 gigs would be enough)

and in regards to teh ati's dx10 gpu's will they be mutch more beter than their 1900xt series card? so far i know thyll have i think 64 shaders and teh cuurent 1900xt , and itll come with ddr3 if im not mistaken has 48 will that make a huge difference? fps/quality wise?
June 24, 2006 6:49:43 PM

Since you say you play strategy games, I looked at the system requirements for a couple of the newer games in that genre; Rome, Total War Alexander & Spellforce 2; and it seems like the CPU is more important. I know you say that you don't want to upgrade, but if you have to, it's an easier upgrade to put in a new GPU. So, for those reasons, I'd advise a better CPU. By the way, I noticed that RAM requirements for those type of games are stiff, so 2GB of RAM is a good idea. You should make sure that you have a video card with 256MB of memory, also. Seems like memory is important all around when you play strategy games.

You're right when you say the CPU and GPU have to be balanced and since we don't know how those CPUs will perform it's hard to give advice. But, there's no use getting a monster video card if your CPU can't keep up.

I wouldn't worry too much about what's coming out next year. If you're going to use this rig for 3-4 yr. you're going to be missing a lot of technology updates, anyway.

Hope this helps.
June 24, 2006 7:04:46 PM

Hey, I understand your dilema. I have an old AMD t-bird 1.4 OC'd a little to 1.6 and have an older 9800XT. I also have a much faster P4 3.2 Northwood OC'd a lot to 3.9 on air w/ a 9700 Pro. Both have 2GB of Corsair RAM, except the latter gig has PC3200 XMS. I know there are other minor subtlties but overall, the two most important factors...CPU and GPU, are about the same.....The frame rates fluctuate, but overall, they stay about the same. Even with the P4 blasting at 3.9ghz, the slower video card is a drawback. And with my 1.4 T-bird setup, the CPU is slower but the GPU makes up for some of the slack.

I hope this helps a little.

TTFN
June 24, 2006 8:08:54 PM

thx for the replys thats why i didnt know if it the 2.1 core 2 dou would be good enough for the 1900xt (or possibly one of teh new dx10 gpu's) so far in some reviews the core 2 dou beats teh pentium D 950 whithout any oc'ing so i guess its a quite nice cpu , but to be honest i was thinking of the 2.4 if anything but the $100 price increase for less than 0.4 GHz is a bit 2 mutch for me for now , and in regards to RAM i was opting for 2 gigs and later on i could always add another 2 gigs (the mobo will suport max 8 gigs) so that kind of upgrade i dont mind but its jut that i prefare to get one good thing and stay with it for a while than get a cheaper one and replace it later on (relatively soon) so i was thinking if i would have goten maby the dx10 gpu fot the similar price of $400 (if there will be one like that) that gpu would last me longer than the 1900xt (which is an awsom card but considering that new series wil come out in what ...about 5 months or so the 1900xt will look like the 1800xt nowedays :( 
To be honest i wanted to get teh 1900all in wonder but i decided that a 1900xt + a separate tv tuner would be a beter choice ...i think,
So back to the 1900xt (and maby the dx10card) would the core 2 dou 2.13 be strong wnough? or would it be beter to take that $100 and invest into the 2.4 Ghz version of it and use teh $300 on the gpu? looking at teh cpu market im shoor that by next year this time there will be 3.0GHz and up versions of the core 2 dou as well as multicores (quad cpu's(servers)...which i think are an overkill for a regular user)


p.s.
would the 2 gigs of ram and that core 2 duo 2.13 with ati's 1900xt be good enough for playing crisis? atleast on medium levels, would waiting for the dx10 series(for a similar price ranged unit change mutch the game experience)

p.s. #2
i actualy found info on the specs of the pc that run a crysis demo in E-3
http://www.crysisplanet.com/index.php?act=...details&f_...

And found this for the requirements:
Minimum: 2.0Ghz CPU, 512 MB RAM and a Shader Model 2.0 card.
Running at E3: Intel EE Dual Core, 2GB RAM and ATi x1900 Crossfire

so does it mean that the core 2 dou at 2.13 would realy suck at this game?
considering a 2.0 is required? will teh fact that core 2 dou is a dual core change the game play mutch ( i know it depends on teh fact that it depends on the developers of the game) but just curious ?
thx
June 24, 2006 10:40:58 PM

Better GPU for sure. You can actually see a difference if you have a good GPU. Getting a higher clocked CPU might not give any preformance gains at all.
June 25, 2006 4:23:38 PM

but wont a lower cpu make the game also "jumpy" ? but the 2.13 core 2 duo is an ok cpu isnt it? paired with a 1900xt gpu? and 2 gigs of ram?
June 25, 2006 4:31:21 PM

By "jumpy", do you mean low framerates? No, if you have a card like X1900, the CPU does little work, so then it depends on the video card. 2.13 Core 2 with 2gb of RAM will not cause any problems in gaming. You'll max out all games for sure.
June 25, 2006 4:48:46 PM

thx, btw for how long would that configuration be "good" until i would have to put ingame video options lets say on medium lvls?
I was planing on being able to play these titles with good visual quality:

Crysis, battlefield 2142, Project offset, Alan Wake, Battle for middle earth 2, and some other titles coming in 2007, will the 1900xt be suficient for those games, I hoped this configuration would last me atleast 3/4 years (with expantion of ram to 4 gigs later on)
June 25, 2006 5:18:10 PM

Dont look at the ghz minimums, its not an objective evaluation since the amd k8, intel netburst and core, all have different performance/clock.

If you whant to keep that pc for 2-3 years without magior upgrades i'd sugest one of the following:

1.2.6 ghz conroe or bigger and the best gpu you can afford for the rest of your money, save and later go dx10( youl be able to play todays games decently and tomorows, and you can just forget about the cpu until some new architecture comes in, at that point youl just build another

- on the other hand dx10 is a bit of a gamle as in we dont know what to expect :roll: )

2 get that x1900(the water cooled even better) and a cheppo cpu to later buy a killer( this will let you get better graphics today but an overall slower computer, it will last o
longer but with more upgrades: fast conroe, dx10 eventually and retirement.

i had the same problem, chose the first option but when those dx10's come i'l be plaing crysis on max all the way 8O 8O 8O !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
June 25, 2006 6:34:22 PM

2.13 Core 2, 2gb of RAM, X1900XT should play those games pretty good. You might need a true DX10 card. Either from 8-series or R6xx core, but that's not known now if you'll need it.
June 25, 2006 6:50:01 PM

ok , thank You for the information
!