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What is my bottleneck?

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Last response: in Graphics Cards

What is my bottleneck?

Total: 9 votes (1 blank vote)

  • BFG 8800 GT OC 512MB PCIe card
  • 0 %
  • Dual core AMD 4200+
  • 60 %
  • 3 GB of PC2700 (333MHz) DDR RAM
  • 30 %
  • Win XP MC SP3
  • 0 %
  • Supreme Commander itself
  • 0 %
  • ASRock 939SLI32-eSATA2 motherboard
  • 10 %
September 23, 2009 7:04:51 PM

Okay, I'm sure you guys get a ton of annoying "what's my bottleneck questions, so if I make it simple as a poll maybe I'll get decent responses. If you feel I'm wasting your time, my apologies.

I'm not really sure what the problem is, I have been assuming processor.

For those saying "That's all old crap you idiot do a complete upgrade" I've got twins who are 2.5 yrs old and thus I am so house/baby poor that I try not to spent money on hardware until/unless necessary.

My worst issues are when running RTSes, especially with many units. Supreme commander with a couple of AIs and 750 unit max gets very ugly. Interestingly, I can actually run Crysis on the machine pretty well. I don't have the kinds of performance slow-downs that I do with big, busy RTS maps, especially Supreme Commander.

More about : bottleneck

a b U Graphics card
September 23, 2009 7:19:27 PM

- The 8800 GT should run anything out today on high @ 1280x1024.
- Windows XP also doesn't present any performance degradation compared to Vista, or 7. In fact Win XP performed better up to a certain point in time.
- Your AMD 4200+ would be a pretty good candidate for the bottleneck.
- 3 GB of 333Mhz SDRAM - Did you mean DDR SDRAM?

Supreme Commander is a highly threaded game, just take a look at the benchmarks. That is probably why you could play Crysis just fine, because FPS feed a lot to the video card but little processing power is needed for the AI, and other stuff (not physics).

Best bet for improving your performance would be for a speedier dual-core, or if your board supports it, a quad core.
September 23, 2009 7:24:03 PM

Mainboard... :p  but, I voted CPU & Memory
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September 23, 2009 7:34:50 PM

Like the first reply said, RTSs are pretty CPU hungry. Your video card is still very decent if you're not at 1920 resolutions and your CPU also is pretty decent for most games (aside from newer RTSs and flight sims). I can't really comment on your ram my knowledge games really don't require much high-end memory but if it truly isn't DDR then perhaps I am wrong. It's been quite awhile since I had non-DDR memory. I had some pretty weak memory in my last machine (5600+ CPU with 3GB of the cheapest DDR2 memory on the planet with a 4850) and I had no issues playing any game with 1680x1050 resolution, including Crysis. Granted a 4850 is a step up from your 8800GT, but if you're gaming at lower resolutions (1280 or 1440) then the difference is negligible.

If you want to play recent RTSs then a CPU upgrade (even just a newer dual core AMD which might even fit in your current mobo...~$50) would be the upgrade to make imo.
September 23, 2009 7:45:02 PM

Sorry, my bad. The memory is PC2700 (333MHz) DDR. Should have been more specific :)  Also added a vote slot for motherboard, specs of which can be found here:

I haven't asked about hard disks because a: doubt it is relevent, and b: They're new (need that movie space :) 
September 23, 2009 7:54:48 PM

Argh, very sorry. I updated the poll and now folks votes are gone. For the record, it was 6 votes on processor, 2 for memory (with 2 options possible). So basically all respondents so far are saying "upgrade your CPU".
a c 330 U Graphics card
September 23, 2009 7:59:36 PM

It's the CPU.
The 8800 is enough unless you're playing at high resolutions, in which case either lower it or lower some of the settings-AA and shadows are often a framerate killer, especially if combined. You might also turn down any physics effects, again, they are often hard on the system, even if the game uses PhysX.
Forget the memory, time and again it has been shown that memory speed has the least impact on framerates. Provided there is enough there is little reason to change it, and 3-3.5Gb is all 32 bit Windows will give you anyway.

EDIT: I did say you might just change the CPU, but not with a 939 motherboard, unless you get lucky on E-bay:( 
Sorry, the only other way is MB/CPU and memory, all at once, the newer CPUs all use DDR2/3 memory and cannot accept your existing DDR.
Try posting in the Homebuilt Forum for advice it's not cheap ($200-250 US) for all three but the only other way forward is to start searching the small ads for a better, used, machine.
September 24, 2009 2:29:30 AM

Thanks all, appreciate the feedback. Will go hit the low-end forums and system builder forums for more info on doing my board/CPU/RAM upgrade as affordably as possible.