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Whats more important, my CPU or GPU? (for gaming)

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Last response: in Systems
June 19, 2008 9:03:17 PM

Getting a new computer but it will need upgrades. I picked out some nice parts but I have one question. At first I'm going to have an AM2 AMD 2.2GHz processor. Please tell me how much this will bottleneck my system. I'm going to be playing pretty much all games so I don't want a bottleneck. If the processor is a big problem then how much can it be overclocked? Hopefully a good 2.6GHz would be fine until I can afford to upgrade it.

More about : whats important cpu gpu gaming

June 19, 2008 9:19:24 PM

Be more specific. For example NCIX Canada sells several AMD AM2 2.2GHz processors. The Phenom 9500 or 9550 is just fine IMO for any games. The X2 BE-2400 is also good, except in games like Flight Simulator X that really like quads. The Sempron is best avoided (small cache hurts). The single-core is totally obsolete, don't buy that one.


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2 AMD Phenom X4 9550 Quad Core Processor Socket AM2 2.2GHZ 4MB Cache 95W Retail Box (HD9550WCGHBOX) (29156)
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3 AMD Athlon 64 X2 BE-2400 Dual Core Processor Socket AM2 2.2GHZ 2X512KB 65NM 45W Retail Box (ADH2400DOBOX) (29884)
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4 AMD Sempron 2300+ Dual Core Processor Socket AM2 2.2GHZ 512KB L2 Cache 65W Retail Box (SDO2300DOBOX) (28904)
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5 AMD Sempron LE-1250 Single Core Processor 2.2GHZ Socket AM2 512KB L2 Cache 45W Retail Box (SDH1250DPBOX) (29890)

If you can get the Phenom or at least the X2 BE-2400 you'll be fine.

In general, the GPU is a lot more important than the CPU in games. For example a $200 CPU and a $300 GPU is usually much better than a $300 CPU and a $200 GPU.

June 19, 2008 9:22:56 PM

you said you picked out some stuff but htat sounds like maybe you havent bought it.

the e7200 - $130 over clocks like a mad man on crack, the best proc you can get for under $190

add that to a 8800 gts (g92) - $150 after MIR.

Those together is going to give you a rig that will play almost every game you got on HIGH
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June 19, 2008 9:31:15 PM

What is more important CPU or GPU is totally dependent on the resolution you plan on using. The higher the resolution the more powerful your GPU needs to be. If you are under 1680x1050 then you are mostly CPU dependent. Lower than that(1680x1050) res, you'll want to enable more AA/AF which relies on the GPU to "smooth" the image, however that is really where you get into the nitty gritty of the specific GPU's. The higher you go on resolution the less you want, need or even notice AA/AF.

I could also say that if you plan on gaming with less than 1680x1050 you'll want a more powerful CPU. If gaming is your main concern then I would recommend spending most of your money on a super high res monitor(1920x1200+) and a powerful GPU.
June 19, 2008 9:39:11 PM

Generally the GPU is more important than the CPU. It might be better to let us know how many parts you are buying or if you're building from scratch, and also what sort of budget you're working with. Also let us know what monitor size/resolution you're going to be using or would like to buy, that'll be a big factor as well (like what T8RR8R was getting at).
June 19, 2008 9:39:47 PM

Heres the deal. 1 or two years ago my brother started building a gaming PC. He never really finished it so now hes giving it to me. I am getting a new monitor, mouse, keyboard, headset, hard drive, and video card. I can't figure out what to do with the CPU though. It's an AMD 2.2GHz dual core processor. Not very impressive but can it handle the latest games until I can afford an upgrade? If it doesn't look good then how much should I be able to overclock it? If you need more details then just ask.
June 19, 2008 10:06:04 PM

A cpu that speed should be fine, put your money towards the GPU, 8800gt/s or maybe one of the new 4850s. If you still aren't sure you can always see (roughly) how hard the cpu is working during a game via the task manager.

You mentioned it has a video card in it, what is it? And what are you planning to play on this rig?
June 19, 2008 10:09:16 PM

Well if it's the X2 BE-2400 then that's not the end of the world and means you likely have an AM2 chipset/motherboard. Is that right? The name/model of the motherboard would be really helpful.

2.2ghz will bottleneck you to some degree, especially in newer RTS games that are calculation-heavy. I'd say use it for now and see what you think.

Do you already have a Power Supply Unit, and if so can you get the model? That will impact which video card you can get right now. Also, do you have a specific budget? Or just kind of as low as we can go?
June 19, 2008 10:36:16 PM

if you happen to have the athlon x2 4200+ (2.2Ghz), just OC it a bit. I've pushed my 4200+ up to 2.6Ghz without any stability problems and only a slight increase in the temps. i did manage to get it up to 2.8Ghz but I didn't use it for long enough to comment on the stability. of course, keep trying for higher. with some luck you might be able to get up to 3Ghz.
June 19, 2008 10:55:42 PM

It's funny because I've been able to push my 2.13Ghz CPU to 3.8Ghz, runs into 70c territory, but it's totally stable, of course I don't run it like that all the time though. Anyway my point is that OCing is totally suggested.
June 19, 2008 11:01:11 PM

royalcrown said:
Don't get a crappy phenom...they SUCK at gaming, besides you can get good performance on the cheap if your MB supports AM2, with one of these:
I got a Intel duo2 e6700 for my gaming system and it runs games grate with no lag. Get a Intel duo2 they are good for gaming and duo 2 extreme is better but if you looking for affordable chip that dose good at gaming go for the Intel Duo2.
June 19, 2008 11:16:44 PM

liljone said:
I got a Intel duo2 e6700 for my gaming system and it runs games grate with no lag. Get a Intel duo2 they are good for gaming and duo 2 extreme is better but if you looking for affordable chip that dose good at gaming go for the Intel Duo2.

I wanna see you fit an Intel chip into his AMD motherboard.
June 19, 2008 11:22:17 PM

royalcrown said:
I wanna see you fit an Intel chip into his AMD motherboard.
lol forgot he said upgrade was thinking new build.
June 19, 2008 11:36:51 PM

Buy any P5k mobo, put in an E7200/E6750 and overclock them to 3.2GHz on stock voltage, This will out perform any AMD chip and dont cost much money, AMD are dead now and its common sense to use Intels C2D's, GPU's are generally more important however if your processor is running slower than 3.2GHz(high end phenom) it will bottleneck your system.

June 20, 2008 12:55:43 AM

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll overclock the processor until I can upgrade it. with the video card, it is crap and getting a new one is mandatory. I can't decide between the 9800GTX ($250 after rebate) or 9600GT ($150 after rebate). If I get the 9800GTX I wont need an upgrade for a while but I might need a new PSU, plus I will be broke and I'll have to wait a while for the CPU upgrade. If I get the 9600GT I wont need a new PSU and I'll be able to get the new CPU quicker, plus I can by a second 9600GT and run them in SLI if I need more performance. What would you recommend?
June 20, 2008 1:41:59 AM

If your PSU can't handle one 9800GTX then it can't handle two 9600GT either. Anyway, the 9600GT is a great choice if the budget is tight.
June 20, 2008 1:49:08 AM

9600gt, 3870, 8800gts640/320. Sometimes you can get some good deals on some great older hardware, but to be honest a 9600gt would be the best bet if you had an SLI capable mobo.

As far as CPU performance goes, you might just be better off getting an el-cheapo P35/P45 and an affordable e8400 or e7200. Go a little on the cheap side so you don't feel like you blew your wodd, but at the same time we dunno what games you're planning on playing and what resolution you're playing at so please inform us.
June 20, 2008 9:49:55 AM

Yeah I'll go with 9600GT (unless a better deal comes up) and after I get the new CPU I'll then get a second card and better PSU. I'll be playing any game (including Crysis) but I don't mind having to turn the settings down until I get my new CPU. BTW I have a 19" wide screen so I'll be on 1440X900. What do you think?
June 20, 2008 1:13:28 PM

You'll be fine with the 9600GT at that resolution, no worries.
June 20, 2008 4:59:57 PM

whats better, two 9600GT or one 9800GTX?
June 20, 2008 5:23:49 PM

I would say GPU is important for gaming, but if the cpu bottlenecks it, you probably need to upgrade cpu as well. Interesting link aevm.
June 20, 2008 6:40:52 PM

Yeah, that Firing Squad site is pretty good. :)