I have recently Purchased a EVGA 8800GTS and I'm wondering if the 1gb of ram will ultimatly affect FPS. I have not seen much difference in counter-strike: source since it is mostly CPU bound, and I was already getting 100 fps+ on my 7600GT. It still seems like On games like oblivion I regularily get lag spikes, but other than that I get silky smooth fps outdoors with HDR and AA-"It looks Amazing". And ever since I got this new card, Company of Hero's looks terrible.
A more ram demanding games like Oblivion, FEAR, BF2, Quake and other more demanding games at 1280x1024 rez and higher will require 2Gb of ram for optimum frame rates. So I suggest you add some ramage if you want better performance.
I really dont mean to be rude, dont take it this way, but your computer is not balanced at all.
The graphic card is much too powerful compared to the rest of your computer. When running 3d games, everything will be slowing down the graphic card.
1st with such a graphic card, the games that you will want to run to really use this will be expecting a faster CPU and more memory!
2nd, you have a socket 754 board/CPU, so you dont have dual channel memory, which slows you down.
3rd a socket 754 AMD 3700+, does that even exist? It's an athlon 64 right, not a sempron???
If you decide to add memory and wish to keep this system for a while, add 1 gig. But, since you seem to want to play games that require very good and fast hardware, I would have 2 suggestion for you.
1st, sell your board/cpu/ram
I suppose you are on a tight budget since you only want to add a 512 meg, so I would suggest you to build a computer just like mine:
a core 2 duo e4300 (thast I have overclocked to 2.88 Ghz)
a gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 (to overclock, better have the right hardware for it)
2 gig of cheap G-Skill DDR2-800 (it's good memory, dosent overclock much, but hey, that's not the RAM you want to overclock, it's the CPU)
Some good heat sink for it, I personally have the thermalright XP 120 (had it for a while, so I just ordered the brackets for LGA775).
you could wait for the price cut on core 2 duos and buy that future 266$ CPU...
But hoestly, your current rig wont give you what you expect! Sure more RAM would help, but your CPU just isint fast enough. And if it's a sempron, dont put one more dollar on this system, keep it as it is or change board/CPU/RAM.
EDIT: damn, sorry, just noticed the "@ 2.8 Ghz".... Well, overclocked this way, it must be better Well, you could consider just adding RAM, but 1 more GB, not 512 MB... You have 320 MB of graphic memory, a game that will use this will often give you a hard time with less than 2 GB of RAM
The overclock must really help... But have a look at the CPU charts right here on tomshardware, you'll see those cards really need a solid CPU to keep up. For example, a regular not overclocked athlon 64 3700+ (a socket 939, so faster than yours not overclocked) is doing 84 FPS in quake 4 in 1024x768 while the a core 2 duo e6600 (still only 2.4 Ghz) does 174 FPS... The CPU really does play a very important role in 3D gaming many people seem to underestimate.
Just for a comparison, can't tell you the exact FPS, but on my computer, Quake 4 runs very smoothly (that's at least 50 FPS) in 1600x1200 ultra high details. You already know I have a core 2 duo e4300 @ 2.88 Ghz, but what you dont know is that my graphic card is only a Geforce 7600GT, that's A LOT SLOWER than your Geforce 8800GTS, but I bet I run Quake 4 smoother than you.
I'm not trying to make fun of you, just trying to help you understand and see for yourself the importance of the CPU in 3D gaming.
If you stilll dont beleive me, what about a little test in 3dmark (2005 or 2006, 1024x768), even though your graphic card is worth 3 times more than mine, you might just get surprised what a fast CPU can do!
Well games that are more CPU bound than GPU bound will have a greater effect. So games like Quake 4, which I dont play will benifit more from a new cpu, than a new gpu. Games like oblivion, which are more gpu bound will be mostly affected by GPU performance. So I used to have a 7600GT. It played most games well. but games like COH and oblivion, It just didnt have the GPU power it needed. I get very good FPS in oblivon compared to my old 7600. Also I can play most of my games with 16x aa and 16x af, something I couldn't do with my 7600GT. It could barely do 4x aa and 4x af. And anything over 100fps will be limited by the CPU.
To be honest it really depends on the games you play. I was reading a hardware review for Command and Conquer 3 last night.
C&C3 put a fps cap on their game and when tested 1gig got it to that cap and 2 gig did nothing for the game. I can't really relate this to any other games atm.
I would say if what you are playing now is good to go don't buy more ddr memory. DDR3 is going to be out relatively soon. Just hold out till you are tired of that 3700+. Brings me back to my 3200+ with the nforce2 board
I am willing to bet that once dx10 gets here you are going to be buying a new system to make that 8800 work with dx10 games. I'm sad to say I just don't know that what you have now will cut the mustard for it. Don't upgrade to memory you are just going to toss to the side soon enough.