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CPU or GPU holding back the system?

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a b B Homebuilt system
July 8, 2010 3:03:07 PM

Hi guys,
I wasn't sure whether to post here or possibly the graphics card or CPU forum, but seeing as I spend a lot of my time here, I decided I would ask the question in the forum I call home :) 
I built my wife a system a few years back:
CPU: E8400 (now slightly OC'd to 3.4)
GPU: 8800GTX
RAM: 2gb Corsair 800mhz CL7
Mobo: Gigabyte...can't remember the exact model
Monitor: Acer 24 inch 1920 x 1080 resolution

Anyway, she mostly uses the computer for surfing the net and watching movies, however, the one game she does play is Everquest 2 and she tends to suffer lag a fair bit (the issue is not helped by the fact my new i5 750 and 5850 system runs it smoothly). All in all I consider it still a pretty good system though the GPU is a bit dated nowadays.

So, I am trying to decide what the main cause for her lag is. Due to the high resolution of the monitor my usual assumption would be to claim the GPU is the issue and needs replacing, however, I do know that Everquest 2 is a CPU intensive game (as most MMOs tend to be) so I am not entirely sure whether or not a new GPU would help her much.

Any guidance, info or advice is greatly appreciated
July 8, 2010 3:53:31 PM

Its probably abit of both, I would replace the processor if i was gonna replace something.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
July 8, 2010 4:04:31 PM

Get 2gb more RAM first, that should do it.
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July 8, 2010 7:53:25 PM

This topic is very especially relevant to my interests.

I play a lot of Everquest 2 and I'm upgrading right now from an e8400 with a 9800GX2 to a 5850 and trying to decide on the processor. I know EQ2 is heavily CPU dependent, I overclocked an old AMD I had from 2.2 to 2.6 and saw a significant performance improvement.

You say your i5 runs EQ2 smoothly? What is your current clock speed? I was under the impression that EQ2 did not benefit from more than 2 cores, and increased clock speed was the way to gain a framerate improvement. Would you mind posting an approximate minimum/average framerate, and what resolution and settings you play at?

In an attempt to answer your question, I would say that with the recent introduction of Shader 3.0 in EQ2 (if you use it) she would see an improvement from a
graphics card upgrade, other than that I'm guessing CPU is the culprit. I stress "guessing", though.
a b B Homebuilt system
July 9, 2010 8:25:39 AM

My wife had an improvement when I OC'd her processor to 3.4ghz, but it is still not perfect, the card is rather old so I am hoping replacing that will help - if it helps enough I will delay upgrading her actualy system. Do me a favour and buy the 5850 first and let me know how it does! :D 

On a serious note to answer your question, I will have to let you know fps sometime this weekend as I have not monitored it regularly - though the few times I had it on I was 80-100, of course I was not in killer zones like raids. I do have fauna off - mainly because I don't like it.

I have not Overclocked my i5 so far, and while EQ2 may not benefit from 4 cores, the new i generation are much better than the previous generation and so despite a slower clock, they do run much better. But perhaps it is the new card helping a lot, it really is hard to tell.
So, actually, before you upgrade it may not be a bad idea to buy the card first and slotting it in your machine to see how things go, it may well be that the e8400 does not need dumpping for awhile
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
July 9, 2010 9:08:41 AM

Yes, uhh the ram should be a thought of an upgrade, but I don't think you need to upgrade the cpu if you seem to be doing fine. Your CPU will most likely not bottleneck on the 5850 sanadin.
And Asteldian, probably the reason for no REAL performance increase after your i5 OC is most likely because many games don't utilize ALL 4 cores of a CPU, EQ2 may be cpu intensive but unless a game is coded to utilize all 4 cores, usually quad core OCs do not increase A DRAMATIC amount of performance.
a b B Homebuilt system
July 9, 2010 12:19:31 PM

My i5 750 is not Overclocked, it works perfect as is, it is the wifes E8400 that seems to be struggling (OCing it to 3.4 helped a bit), but I am not sure if it is the card (8800GTX) or the CPU causing the lag.
If it were any other game I would just replace the GPU as it is old, but because EQ2 is a CPU intensive game I am unsure how much help a new GPU would be.

I don't think the RAM will help too much, it is running on Windows XP and 2gb tends to be fine. In fact my new system with Windows 7 64bit was running on only 2gb of RAM (due to having to send 2gb back for RMA) and it ran fine
!