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Bottleneck: Graphics Card or CPU/Memory?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 1, 2010 7:02:28 PM

I've got an ancient computer with the following specs:

Willamette P4 @ 2.53 GHz (this is an old P4 that pre-dates hyper-threading)
512 MB Rambus RDRAM @ 1066 MHz
An AGP GeForce FX 5500 with 128 MB of video memory

I know it is probably more cost effective to simply spend $1000 and buy a new gaming rig, however I am only willing to spend about $100 now. I noticed that I can buy a "VisionTek 900284 Radeon HD 3650 1GB 128-bit DDR2 AGP 4X/8X" for about $90.

My question is, is this too much video card for my current system? Is the performance bottleneck between the main CPU and main memory? How can I determine that? Also if the CPU/Memory is the bottleneck then which video card (with lower performance that the one mentioned above) should I buy, to save even more money?

My goal would be to be able to play games with Doom 3-like performance requirements at 1280x1024 resolution around 60-70 FPS.
March 1, 2010 8:05:07 PM

Not exactly the scientific process I was looking for, but still good advice. Thanks.
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a c 130 U Graphics card
March 1, 2010 8:13:28 PM

Mjl3434 said:

My question is, is this too much video card for my current system?
Yes.
Is the performance bottleneck between the main CPU and main memory?
No, memory has barely ANY factoring in gaming, usually by less than 2 fps. However, another 512MB stick will do you justice in loading speed.
How can I determine that?
Get FPS of games. Add another stick of memory. Get FPS of games. Compare.
Also if the CPU/Memory is the bottleneck then which video card (with lower performance that the one mentioned above) should I buy, to save even more money?
The card I posted is cheaper, and better (though irrelevant). Something that would go well with your system is the X850XT.
My goal would be to be able to play games with Doom 3-like performance requirements at 1280x1024 resolution around 60-70 FPS.



Better?
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March 1, 2010 8:31:01 PM

Yeah that's better, and I by no means was complaining about your help.
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a c 130 U Graphics card
March 1, 2010 9:23:16 PM

Oh no, I know. It's my fault for not completely answering your questions.
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a b U Graphics card
March 1, 2010 9:28:49 PM

Scientific processes are for slow people trying to figure out stuff to hard for their brains!

hahaha, no! Just joking.

An AGP BUS will choke any video card past the 7800/X1800 era (thinking mid-upper cards).

Cheers!

EDIT: Typo xP
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a c 262 U Graphics card
March 1, 2010 11:49:44 PM

I think your 512bm of ram is nowhere near enough. You should have at least 2gb, preferably 3 or 4gb.

Test to see if your cpu could drive a faster graphics card.
Reduce your game resolution and eye candy to a minimum and play your game.
If the FPS increases,, then your cpu could drive a faster card.

I really think you should save your $100 and undertake a plan to rebuild.



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a c 216 U Graphics card
March 2, 2010 12:04:04 AM

Trying to upgrade your system is a lot more costly than normal. I personally would just save your money until you can build a new one. Rambus ram is expensive, AGP gpu's are expensive and both will under perform compared to newer stuff. You can't make a meaningful CPU upgrade without a new mobo too and that would also require a new GPU.

You could get a new card, but you'll still have troubles with newer games, and the new GPU you buy will be a loss with a new system.
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