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Lower Resolution Gamers upgrade worth it??

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 14, 2008 10:18:00 AM

So let me ask you guys a question. Believe it or not I like to game 1024x768 because I like everything to look nice and big on my screen so my eyes dont strain. I always stay at 1024x768 so is it worth it to upgrade to a better card?? I currently have an 8600GT and runs everything pretty damn well at least at 1024x768. So my question for you is it worth it to upgrade to the 8800GT series if you run games at such big and low resolutions??? I always wondered because at higher resolutions the Icons become to small for me, I just like not straining my eyes and to games same rule applies. I have never gamed or had a resolution of 16 like most people.
March 14, 2008 10:45:24 AM

I'm in kind of a similar boat; have an old LCD, pretty much do everything at 1024x768... but my GPU is older then dirt, and I'm building a new rig. I want to get an 8800GT, but not so much to push the res to extremes, more to just be able to turn on all the bells and whistles (lighting, texturing, AA, etc..) without lagging. Plus, a slightly stronger video card will just last that much longer before I have to upgrade.

I'd say stick to your current card if the graphics are to your liking, and there's no lag. Especially if nexgen cards are around the corner, just hang on and ride it out a little..
a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2008 10:51:08 AM

The 8600GT should do well at 10x7. One area I can see though is the 8600GT may struggle to run high fsaa in some new games, and if I was gaming at 10x7 I'd want 4xaa anyway. But You only upgrade if it lets you down in a game(s) important enought to justify the cost of upgrading. What games (if any) do you desire more performance in? Crysis is about the only one I can think of where you'd be GPU limited with an 8600GT at that res. (and no fsaa)

ANother thing to consider, At low resolutions things can get CPU limited too, so depending on your system and the games, you may not get higher performance with a better card if the 8600GT is not struggling (not what's limited your fps).
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March 14, 2008 11:29:20 AM

At 1024x768 your bottlenecked buy the processor and not so much the GPU, my old Pentium 4 @ 3GHz with my 7800GTX 256MB 2GB RAM system was seriously bottlenecked by the processor. When I upgraded to the Core 2 E6600 my old 7800GTX was unleash like never before!
March 14, 2008 11:40:04 AM

At what resolution would you start to become CPU bottlenecked?

Ive a 22" TFT @ 16 x 10 but lately I've been using my HDTV @ 1360 x 768 (sat 6 feet away - my eyesight has improved too, crazy!)... and I can admit I dont mind this resolution one bit... but will I be CPU limited at this kinda resolution?
March 14, 2008 11:59:55 AM

dev1se said:
At what resolution would you start to become CPU bottlenecked?

Ive a 22" TFT @ 16 x 10 but lately I've been using my HDTV @ 1360 x 768 (sat 6 feet away - my eyesight has improved too, crazy!)... and I can admit I dont mind this resolution one bit... but will I be CPU limited at this kinda resolution?


Me? At 1280x1024 playing Oblivion, even Doom 3. My frames in Doom 3 were not so good, because Doom3 is heavy CPU bound rather than GPU.
a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2008 12:01:46 PM

dev1se said:
At what resolution would you start to become CPU bottlenecked?

Ive a 22" TFT @ 16 x 10 but lately I've been using my HDTV @ 1360 x 768 (sat 6 feet away - my eyesight has improved too, crazy!)... and I can admit I dont mind this resolution one bit... but will I be CPU limited at this kinda resolution?

Totally depends on the game, setting's and video card you have. Crysis on high with fsaa will still hammer most GPU's at 1024x768.

Look how GPU limited it can be at low res and medium even. Paired with an X6800, there is scaling at every resolution depending on the card being used. http://www.gamespot.com/features/6182806/p-5.html (edit fixed link)

And paired with an 8800GTX, it's CPU bound at 10x7: http://www.gamespot.com/features/6182806/p-6.html

Combine those two charts, you can esimate that an FX-60 is still plenty for a X1950 pro or 2600XT at 10x7 medium no fsaa. Make that 10x7 high 4xaa, probably good for just about any card.

That's not to say that parts of the game or minimum fps during battles won't be more CPU limited. Just stating that Crysis can be very GPU limited at low res even.
a c 273 U Graphics card
March 14, 2008 3:42:44 PM

dev1se said:
At what resolution would you start to become CPU bottlenecked?

To add to what pauldh & systemlord have already said, I find that NFSMW stutters like crazy with all the settings turned up, it does look gorgeous for the few seconds that it does run and those brief bursts are at triple figure fps's but then it stops, waits and off it goes again. Increasing the CPU clock from 2ghz to 2.3ghz reduced this stuttering quite a bit enough in fact to have me shopping around for a 680i mobo.
a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2008 4:21:11 PM

Is it the stutter bug with NFSMW? I remember when the game came out, some folks had major stuttering issues (Anywhere from every 2 to every 30 seconds) while others like me did not. I did have it on one machine, but not as bad as other people. It was a big complaint on the forums. And it seemed to happen on high end rigs too. There was one guy on the official forums that really dug into this and had quite the ongoing thread about it. Can't seem to find the offical forums anymore or I'd have searched for that old link. I don't think it was ever fixed/patched either.

But I agree with you that NFS games are very CPU limited. Try UG2, MW or Carbon on a lower end CPU and even medium details are under 30 fps no matter the video card.
a c 273 U Graphics card
March 14, 2008 4:34:58 PM

NFSMW is the only game I've had any issues with so far. Carbon did not get the Sli bars up when I was playing it on the 7900's IIRC whereas MW most certainly does but the bit that swings it for me is the major difference made by a small increase in CPU speed, whilst the game is nowhere near playable it is definitely improved.
a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2008 4:40:00 PM

Yeah, I can't explain why OC'in helps if it is the stutter bug.
March 14, 2008 4:51:25 PM

But i dont play NFS MW :lol: 
a c 273 U Graphics card
March 14, 2008 5:16:26 PM

I'm pretty sure I know of this 'stutter bug' and whilst I was afflicted it was very slight and did not detract from having a real hoot, no this is very different and I think stutter may be the wrong word. I had the game set up to run on a pair of 7900's @ 1280x768 (I think) and with Rivatuner's OSD was able to keep an eye on CPU usage which never went much over 90% on either core, even turning the settings up to the point the 7900's started to choke and bog down CPU usage would peak at around 95-98%. In went the 8800GT's and with the settings that the 7900's were running smooth at CPU usage was at 94-96% but the game runs buttery smooth (but still with that slight 'stutter') the fun comes when everything gets turned up which the 88's should be able to and indeed can do, CPU usage sits at 100% on both cores 100% of the time, a flat line on the graph, in game this means 15-25 seconds of motion, @ 140+fps I hasten to add, and then 2-3 seconds of static screen shot whilst waiting for the CPU to sort it's life out. Turning down the detail settings until the CPU usage drops below about 98% results in a very playable game, but I have two GT's why would I want to turn things down? :lol: 
a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2008 8:25:01 PM

Very strange for such an old game and a nice system. There is an isuue with dual cores for that game, but I assume you have the AMD and Microsoft hot fixes and have looked into this already. If not, See tweakguides for more info on how to resolve it.
http://www.tweakguides.com/NFSMW_8.html

I know I played NFSMW with everything cranked on a X1950XT and single core FX-55. And I believe I played 12x10 max details (no fsaa)on an A64 4000+ and 6800 Ultra. That's another bugger I'm having trying to figure this out, as the game wasn't that demanding yet you see gains by OC'in that CPU. How does it play with one 8800GT.

a c 273 U Graphics card
March 14, 2008 10:50:51 PM

[:mousemonkey:2] Now that is something I haven't tried yet, step back to move forwards, I like the thinking dude and shall endeavour to give it a try over the weekend.
March 14, 2008 11:58:36 PM

Most people will say that the golden rule of upgrading is to wait until the games you enjoy playing have unacceptable rates at the resolutions you play at.

To the OP; I ususally play at 1280 x 1024 or at 1024 x 768 and have recently upgraded. I had a Athlon64 3400+ paired with a Geforce 6800GT and only noticed about 6 months ago that I could not play recent games at those resolutions.
I now have a Geforce 8800GTS 512 which I'm sure some people will say is overkill for the resolutions I play at, and certainly apart from Crysis it doesn't even break a sweat even with AA & AF. However I plan to keep this card for a while - I had the 6800GT for 2 & a half years.

If you are happy with what you've got I'd say stick with it, however as others have said, at that resolution you may be bottlenecked by your CPU if you go with a top end card.
If though you have a good CPU you could go with a Geforce 9600GT instead of a 8800GT or even better wait until the summer and see what the Radeon HD 4xxx series bring; they will certainly bring huge price drops to the 8800GT & to a lesser extent the 8800GT especially as by then the full Geforce 9 series cards will have been rolled out.
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