Hi everyone i have a intel duo core e7300 @ 2.6ghz paired up with a GTS 250. I left my e7300 at stock speeds (no OC). Will this bottleneck my gts 250 (512 mb)? If not what is the best possile gpu for the e7300 at stock speeds without experiencing a bottleneck. Also what about if OC'ed, how high of a card can i get? i know it can go from 2.66 to around 3.5ghz. Basically i need to know whats the best gpu my cpu can support at stock and OC speeds. I will be using this along with 4 gb ram, 750 hd, 585w as a mid budget gaming rig to play blizzard titles like SC2, WoW and D3. Thanks for the help!
Your gaming performance is almost entirely determined by the gpu, not the cpu.
What resolution are you using?
At 1920 x 1200 you can get great performance ingeneral with a GTX460 or 5830.
At 2560 x 1200 you need an even stronger card.
Your cpu will drive any of these cards sufficiently, particularly if you OC.
To get some insight into this relationship for your particular games, try these two tests:
1) Run your games, but reduce the resolution and eye candy to a minimum. This will simulate what will happen if you upgrade to a stronger graphics card. If your FPS improves, it indicates that your cpu is capable of driving a stronger graphics card to higher levels of FPS.
2) Keeping your graphics resolution and settings the same, reduce your cpu power. Do this by removing the overclock, or by using windows power management to set a maximum cpu% of perhaps 70%. If your FPS drops significantly, it indicates that your current cpu is a limiting factor, and that a faster cpu would help.
Alternatively, OC your cpu and see what improvement you get.
What is your display resolution?
The GTS 250 is a low-mid range card which doesn't pump out much frames anyway, so you less worry of bottlenecks.
You could go all the way to a HD 5830 or Gtx 460 before bottlenecks could become a problem with the stock e7300.
The card will be bottlenecked at lower resolutions (but even then you usually get such high frame rates that the absence of the extra ones won't be noticed).
At the CPU overclock you mention, it would be enough to cope with a 5850 or 470.