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CPU Bottleneck?

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Last response: in CPUs
July 18, 2009 12:22:14 AM

Hi, I'm pretty sure I have a CPU bottleneck in gaming, even though everyone says that, according to my specs it should be the GPU. Well, I'll post my specs here:
CPU: Athlon X2 6000 3.1ghz 512Kx2 L2 cache, 5200MT/s HyperTransport, disabled C'n'Q, nothing's overclocked.
RAM: 4GB DDR2 800 5-5-5-18
GPU: nvidia 9800 GT 512MB (1440x900 native resolution on my screen)
Chipset: nforce 520LE (430+geforce 6100), has PCIe version 1 @ 100mhz)
Mobo, gigabyte GA-M52L-S3 rev.2

Okay, straight to the Crysis 64 bit benchmarks:

GPU Benchmark:

40fps @ 1440x900 (avg.)
39fps @ 800x600 (avg.)

Conclusion: CPU is bottlenecking system.


CPU Benchmark:

36fps @ 1440x900 (avg.)
36fps @ 800x600 (avg.)

Conclusion: GPU is definitley not bottlenecking.

Final Conclusion: GPU is being held back by other component(s), probably the CPU.

So do you think that this data backs up my theory that it has to be the CPU, or at least definitely not the GPU, that's bottlenecking my system? Also, do you think that my CPU/GPU is running

Whatever it is, I'm going to upgrade to a Phenom II 940 quad core later this year, not just for gaming but other stuff like video rendering etc, plus running virus scans while gaming, and GTAIV which takes advantage of quad cores.

Thanks in advance


More about : cpu bottleneck

a c 83 à CPUs
July 18, 2009 2:22:22 AM

I would agree that your Athlon is bottlenecking your system, not significantly, but it does.
a b à CPUs
July 18, 2009 3:16:11 AM

Though it may be bottlenecking, it may not be a big bottleneck. What I mean is that you may spend $200 in a quad core and get 45 instead of 40 FPS. That's just a rough number, you may or may not see a bigger improvement.
For gaming, I'd upgrade the CPU when you decide to upgrade your GPU too. But if you do other stuff, then the Ph II will be a smarter choice ;) 
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July 18, 2009 3:41:26 AM

You could try overclocking your X2 6000+ to 3.4Ghz and see it makes any difference to GPU & CPU benchmarks under Crysis.
a b à CPUs
July 18, 2009 5:32:08 AM

^ as wuzy said, if overclocking your CPU raises your scores almost by the same percentage, then it's your CPU that's holding you back.
July 18, 2009 5:53:43 AM

The GT isnt so fast as to create a major cpu slowdown effect, it seems somewhat balanced with your cpu. OC the cpu, see what it brings. I agree, getting a faster cpu that costs alot wont give you too much from your gpu
July 18, 2009 6:07:37 AM

What I have seen from benchmarks is that the cpu is heaver taxed with rendering at lower resolutions. Yes, you will have higher fps with a newer processor, but the gpu isnt being bottlenecked by the cpu.
July 18, 2009 11:47:22 AM

@loneninja: Okay. Well i'll see what it's like when I get the new CPU.

@ct1615: I don't actually run virus scans while gaming, I'm just saying that's what I'll be able to do with the new CPU

@sanchz: Well I was thinking of upgrading the CPU, then saving for a new GPU. The CPU would definitely benefit me in other areas though in the mean time, as you said.

@wuzy: I'm never gonna overclock this CPU. It overheated at stock, I had to undervolt it. Yes, the HSF is on fine it's just that my room gets very hot at summer time.

@megamanx00: ^^

@jaydeejohn: Okay, well I'm not just getting the new CPU for gaming. Also, I play games like GTAIV which will definitely benefit as it's a quad core + faster and it's a sandbox game.

@Snowbum: So why is the fps exactly the same for 800x600 and 1440x900? Doesn't this suggest that the CPU is holding the GPU back at at least the higher resolution?

EDIT: Another thing I tried is overclocking my GPU from 600/900/linked to 800/1200/linked, and it didn't make any difference at all in fps.

Thanks for all the replies, guys!