hey all, I recently saw an article on Tom's about the performance of an i3-530 as a gaming processor, and when using one 5770 there was really no benefit to using anything higher than the i3-530. I was considering purchasing an i3-530 and a 5770, but if i were to buy two 5770s and crossfire them would the i3 become a bottleneck to the system? the i3 540 also OC's better because of higher multipliers (from what ive heard) so i may also be considering using the 540 if im going to be going with a crossfire or SLI system.
for those that dont wanna read alot, the i3-530 is great for single gpu gaming. is it fine for CF/SLI builds as well or does it become the bottleneck?
You're over estimating "bottlenecking". A bottleneck is something more like a radeon 5970 with an athlon 3200+ trying to run
Crysis. If we are saying that "bottlenecking" is making a game unplayable at the same resolutions as you could easily play with a more powerful processor, then there is no bottlenecking at all. If that's not the case, keep reading.
I ran a test recently actually. I have an athlon IIx4. I played the special ops level "the pit" in MW2. I used fraps. There was no framerate drop alongside my radeon 3870 when I maxxed out the graphics except AA until all 4 cores were running at 1.8GHz. With two cores enabled only, I think I got down to 2GHz before there was any framerate drop and for single core, I think I had to drop to 2.2GHz or something. I did this a while ago and didn't write down the results. This was at 1920x1080.
One effect though, is that there is increased CPU load at lower resolutions. Not usually significant.
One thing I have noticed is that, paired with radeon cards, CPU usage seems to decrease compared to the nvidia cards.
Your CPU is probably about as good as the E8400.
For the most part, there are few games at normal gaming resolutions that greatly benefit from a better CPU, with the exception of the ones that take advantage of 4 cores. The closest to dual 5770s is the "4870x2" in the articles. Read the articles and make your own conclusions though.
The only place where you could be held back in games with the i3, is a game like flight simulator X or maybe GTA4. Those games are heavy on CPU usage and will run a lot better on a high clocked quad core.
Basically, especially if you overclock, you will see no benefit from a better CPU unless you are playing games that greatly take advantage of multiple cores. Currently the only game I know of that would see a significant advantage is Flight Simulator X. This game will actually run better with a i7 980x and a 5670 than it would with a core i5 and a 5870.
In my opinion, especially if you are willing to overclock, the i3 will be more than enough.