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Relationship between GPU, CPU, LCD monitors and gaming resolutions?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 4, 2007 1:27:18 AM

Hi, I'm a soon-to-be reborn gamer who's setting up a brand new rig over the Christmas holidays. I'll most likely be going for the Q6600 and a G92 8800GT/GTS Graphics card along with all the other relevant components.

One thing that has been bugging me, however, is the fact that I only have a 19 inch LCD display right now. I've been hearing things about higher resolution being more GPU intensive and lower resolutions being more CPU intensive, but I'm not completely sure about these things. The main motivation of buying these components is because I want to be able to play, for the first time in my life, a new game at around around a 1600x1200 resolution with all settings cranked up to very high. I'm afraid however, that my investment in a new GPU will be wasted if I stay with my current 19 inch monitor. (visually, how much of a difference would there be?)

So if anyone has any advice (or if anyone can direct me to a helpful article explaining exactly the relationship between CPU/GPU bottlenecking at different resolutions) I would be very much thankful!
December 4, 2007 1:58:09 AM

It all depends on your choices really. What resolution is your 19 inch LCD? 1280x1024?

The statement about higher resolutions requiring more from your video card is true. The higher the memory, the more textures it can utilize in a pass. If you plan to game at 1600x1200 and above. I really would recommend a 512mb card or higher. Which with your 8800 GT/GTS g92 is fine. At that res, you begin to see a hit in performance with lower memory solutions, at 1920x1200 that gap widens drastically.

Regarding the statement of being more cpu intensive at lower resolutions, is completely false. The higher you go in resolution, the more your computer will need to process. It's very much GPU bound more then anything though. But the higher you go, it still does affect the CPU.

You basically just need a blend of the three. A good gpu and cpu, and an lcd monitor. Personally...I can't stand TN panels. Heck, I can't stand lcds, getting myself a fw900 CRT with my new rig. But you'll need to get a new monitor to support the 1600x1200 res. I really would recommend nabbing a PVA/MVA monitor...Colors are important to me. But that's up to you if you want a fast, responsive TN panel, or slower but more rich PVA panel.

If you stay with your current monitor...It wouldn't really be a waste...You'd be able to play most games on the highest settings with cranked eye candy, aa/af (not crysis though...heh). But choice is yours if you want to do so. Keep in mind though, If it's a TN, and a older TN to boot...colors won't really be rich...IMO. Why spend money on a great gaming rig with a low quality/color monitor? Really takes away from the feel.

Regarding the CPU/GPU bottlenecking. Don't know of any articles although there are probably a few. But don't worry about that too much. As long as you have a higher up Athlon X2 or middle segment Core 2 duo...you'll be able to last a while. Considering the price of the e6750...it would be a great partner with the card.

Are you planning to buy a GPU, CPU and LCD?...or?..Also, make sure yoy get/have atleast 2gb of memory. It's the bare minimum now-a-days with 4 gb becoming a reality within the next couple of years.
December 4, 2007 2:29:06 AM

It's not so much about the amount of memory, it's about the speed of the memory and the speed of the GPU. A 512mb 7600 GT isn't going to let you play at 1920x1200. A 256mb 3850 would do better at that resolution, even though it has less memory it's simply a much more powerful GPU with much faster memory.

Having said that, yes: high-end cards are really only worthwhile at high resolutions, and the CPU's bottlenecking effect is greatly diminished above 1600x1200.

The other thing to consider is that when people speak of CPU bottlenecking they are often talking about meaninglessly high framerates. The typical LCD peaks at 60 Hz, or 60 frames per second. So who cares if you'll get 124 fps with a core 2 duo or 95 fps with an Athlon X2 at 1280x1024? Your monitor is limited to 60 frames per second anyway. At higher resolutions like 1920x1200 with higher levels of eye candy enabled, the bottleneck shifts to the video card, and you will see the framerate difference between different CPUs drop off dramatically.

Therefore, regardless of CPU, it makes little sense to buy a powerful card like an 8800 GT or 3970 if you plan to play at 1280x1024, unless you plan to upgrade your monitor later.

(Or unless you want to play Crysis, which will cripple a high-end rig with maxed out details at 1280x1024. :D  )


In any case, your Q6600 will be fine. And if you plan on getting a bigger monitor in the forseeable future, I'd still recommend you get the best videocard you can afford: if you don't have enough cash now get yourself a better monitor later.
Monitors, like everything else in the PC industry, get exponentially cheaper with time...
a c 130 U Graphics card
a b à CPUs
December 4, 2007 7:12:37 AM


I think a lot of the CPU/GPU Bottlenecking went out of the window with the advent of the dual core processors,Basically what happens is that the CPU does a lot of the physics for the games ie where stuff is on the screen so in big battle field type games where there are a lot of differant things on screen at once the CPU is doing a hell of a lot of calculations.
So if you are running at a lower res the GPU goes hey this is easy and runs off at a rate that the CPU cant keep up with trying to do the calculations as fast as the GPU is rendering. This is when CPU bottlenecking occurs.
Mactronix
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