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What CPU for optimal usage of GPU?

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January 25, 2011 5:02:29 PM

Hi guys,

Am new on this forum and am from Denmark so my gramma sucks. Wanted to try this forum out, since my danish site, does not have that much experts.

I am not excelled on hardware but am not a novice either.

Last time i upgrade my computer was 4 years ago. The reason why am making this thread is that Shogun 2 total war is coming soon. 15.03.11. So i have almost 2 more month (1,5) to wait prize drop even more. Am also waiting for Diablo 3. As i know that would not be as demanding as Shogun 2 total war.

This game require a much better computer then i have right now. Here the system requirements: http://www.totalwar.com/shogun2/news/4808

I do not OC. Prefer stability. ofc. oc can be stable, but i prefer not to mess arround with the standard settings.

My current computer: monitor: 19" samsung 931bw 2ms(4 years old) 1440x900 (60 hz V). MAIN HD: Raptor 150gb (Vista home premium+ small storage drives. 4x1gb kingston dd2 ram 1066. Phenom 9600 BE. (not stable, error version). Asus M3A 770/SB600. 8800 gts 320 mb :) . PSU: truepower antec 430 watt (really old!!!)

My budget is not big. Here is what i decide:

ASUS M4A89GTD PRO:: I do not need usb 3.0.

XFX RADEON HD 6850 Black Edition:: Should be able to run smooth with my sceen resolution, was debating to buy a samsung
Samsung 24" SyncMaster P2450H, but my current budget does not accomendate that desire :( . Imo this card really gives alot valor, plus in future 2 of these in crossfire would differently kick ass.

Corsair 8GB DDR3 1333Mhz (2x4GB) XMS3 PC3-10666 (new):: 8 GB should be suffiently. But should i get the 1600 instead to make it more versaile, if i need the bigger speed? I keep this new setup for a long time anyway.

Antec High Current Gamer HCG-900 900W:: Really nice Amp! seems to be suffient when the comes call for 2x6850! Could go for a earthwarrs 750 but for few bucks more to the gamer 900 is worth it imo.

Main HD: Reusing my 150GB raptor 10k rpm. Am current at 90gb free space. Shogun 2 is 20gb and diablo proably the same. and is only those 2 i use. so no need to spend more money on a newer exspensive 300g-600gb raptor!.

So my questions is what CPU should i invest in that can fully use the whole power of 2x 6850 black edition?
I will run with one single 6850 for a long time. But good to know that the CPU will in the future could fully use the power of 2 6850 BE cards.

Its had cost me some headache thinking of my budget and what i should buy, and should i pay little ekstra etc.
(In denmark i pay 25 % taxes on products!!!)

Here som CPU i being looking at:

AMD Athlon II X4 645 3.1 GHZ
AMD Athlon II X4 640 3.0 GHZ

The 650 with 3.2 GHZ should come in Q1 2011.

Nice CPU and cheap ones.

the 25 to 35 % more exspensice CPU:

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 3.2 GHZ
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition 3.4 GHZ
AMD Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition 3.5 GHZ

(I keep them in standard settings. NO OC, my local vendors do not sell non black edition)

I being reading that is more value in increasing GPU power rather then CPU to improve games. But Also the bottleneck if the CPU cannot fully use the full potentiale of the GPU.

Thats why i make this thread. But seek advice on What CPU to buy that gives most value, and can use all the power of 6850 Black edition XFX? Also the CPU should be powerful enough to use 2x6850 in crossfire.

Can a AMD Athlon II X4 handle it? or should i give ekstra for and Phenom?

Like i said my needs are really not that big. I do not play "Demanding games". I really do not thing my current pc can handle Shogun 2 but can probably handle diablo 3. (like starcraft). My new settings that i choice will be light years better then my current pc.

The 6850 is like 7-8 tiers higher then my 8800 gts 320 mb.
The CPU are 2.5-3 tiers higher.

I really like to think alot over things. Did i forget something ? Plz give me your opinion and feedback on my thoughts!

Thanks!!!

More about : cpu optimal usage gpu

a c 164 U Graphics card
January 25, 2011 5:22:29 PM

Your system should be fine for Shogun 2, probably not for high settings, but will be running it OK. Why not wait till the game comes out, try it, if you don't like it, upgrade then.
January 25, 2011 5:28:42 PM

hang-the-9 said:
Your system should be fine for Shogun 2, probably not for high settings, but will be running it OK. Why not wait till the game comes out, try it, if you don't like it, upgrade then.



Hi,

You right i was thinking that too. But the problem is that i get more BSOD with the CPU i current have then i should get.

THe phenom 9600 BE is notorious bad with error. I have event upgrade the BIOS. The reason why i had keep the CPU is that after the service pakcs came for Vista it was stable. But could crash. And it would be a damm pain if am in middle of an intense battle!

I was thining to replace the CPU with another CPU. But my M3A 770 /SB600, Do not even support the Athlon 64 2x4.

I thought maybe buy and x2 but that is the same power as my current CPU. And i do not think that could use the whole power of an 6850?

So if i buy new motherboards with new CPU and new GPU. I thought myself why not make a little upgrade. Being years since. And i got some money to spare. not much but enough ;D.

Also i could also wait for the new AMD CPU to some late Q2... so the prizes could drop.
Related resources
January 25, 2011 5:43:38 PM

hang-the-9 said:
take a look here, may help you decide. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-cpu-overclocki...



Hi,

That article i have read. Is nice but it does not tell me if the CPUs can ultilize the full potential of an 6850 single and how much % in dual.

I also prefer x4 instead x6 since x6 more exspensive and does not seems matter in games. because the x4 higher ghz and more cheap.... so the x4 imo more value.


http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/game-performance-bottlene...
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/game-performance-bottlene...

interesting readings.
a c 125 U Graphics card
January 25, 2011 5:56:08 PM

That's much more PSU power than you need. Even with two 6850s I'd bet 500-600W would be enough, 750W for a little safety. At 900W you're just wasting money that could be put elsewhere.

8GB RAM is not a bad idea, but not really needed. 4GB is fine, but IMO if a 6GB kit is cheaper than 8GB, go with that. Still, 8 is nice to have... but again, you could save some cash.

As for CPU, I don't see a reason not to get the fastest one your budget allows (Phenom X4). An X6 is fine too if you can afford it but you won't see much improvement over the X4.
a c 164 U Graphics card
January 25, 2011 6:01:18 PM

For a 6850, I'd say you need close to the top CPU to ensure one is not bottlenecking the other. It also goes from game to game. Some games use the CPU more than others. You'd have to read some reviews on the 6850, and try to find one that they test with different setups. At some point, the frame rates in the tests will stay the same no matter how powerful a CPU they pair the card with, that is the CPU that matches well with the card.
January 25, 2011 6:09:05 PM

2303533,6,614406 said:
That's much more PSU power than you need. Even with two 6850s I'd bet 500-600W would be enough, 750W for a little safety. At 900W you're just wasting money that could be put elsewhere.

Some people said that i should get a more powerful psu, so it does not make so much noise since is not fully loaded.

ye you probably right. in Denmark a earthwatt 750 cost around 850 danish krone and the 900 watts gaming cost 950. and deliver twice the amp. so 100 different is not much. for such a powerfull PSU.

also the antec sites. recommend like 900 to 1000 watts after typing my new configuration on with 20 % more then i need. with 90 % load. cannot remember the link.
January 25, 2011 6:09:54 PM

hang-the-9 said:
For a 6850, I'd say you need close to the top CPU to ensure one is not bottlenecking the other. It also goes from game to game. Some games use the CPU more than others. You'd have to read some reviews on the 6850, and try to find one that they test with different setups. At some point, the frame rates in the tests will stay the same no matter how powerful a CPU they pair the card with, that is the CPU that matches well with the card.



yes you really right. i have over a months to google those reviews ;D

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/game-performance-bottlene...
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/game-performance-bottlene...

the gtx 460 is actually same tier as the 6850...

am not done reading those article, has seing dem before but just skipped to conclusion. am reading dem in detail atm.

hmm after reading it twice i now understand ....


a c 125 U Graphics card
January 25, 2011 6:43:59 PM

I just double checked the power thing, it says around 560W and I added a PCIe card just in case you get a sound card or something plus 6 fans (and all the components you listed).

With 40% aging (would mean 3+ years usage) it recommends 764W (at 100% power consumption mind you).

Also PSUs are usually quiet.

Anyway I'm using a Corsair 750TX with an overclocked i5 750, two overclocked 5850s, a GT 240 for PhysX, a sound card, 6 case fans, 2 HDDs, an SSD... that's going to draw far more power than your system (6850s are more efficient than my 5850s) and I'm fine, the calculator only says around 815W for the harshest settings (100% load, 40% aging).

Well, I'm not trying to make you get a lower wattage PSU, but if those 100krone can be more useful elsewhere then that's a good place to save it. Maybe put it towards an SSD?
January 25, 2011 6:48:06 PM

"The question of whether the CPU or GPU is most important is easily answered. If you don't have a multi-core CPU, then upgrade it. If you have a dual-core CPU at around 3 GHz, then invest your money into a graphics card, as most games are GPU-limited. This is not something that will change with new DirectX 11 games."

So conclusion is that AMD Athlon II X4 640 3.0 GHZ is enough to fully use even and 5870 on crossfire(1900x1200) fast as 6870... (i dont play grand auto 4 theft something ;D)

but... a more powerfull CPU make the load times significantly lower. hmm



AMD Athlon II X4 640 3.0 GHZ cost like half a AMD Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition 3.5 GHZ

the old x2 athlon that my current motherboard can handle cost as much as and x4 640....

but my current motherboard could handle the 6850 should be able too.

here my current motherboard: http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=P48rppKk4jrc9pNd&... you can see CPU support list...


so...i could get a AMD *DEMO* Phenom Quad 9850 2.5GHz BOX for same prize as x4 640...
the 6850 xfx black edition

Do you guys think my really old PSU 430 truepower can handle the little cpu upgrade and the alot more powerfull GPU? i doubt?
maybe a new eathwatt 500 watt to 100 bucks?


Still i save alot then i do not need, new ram, motherboard, exspensice psu...
January 25, 2011 6:49:43 PM

wolfram23 said:
I just double checked the power thing, it says around 560W and I added a PCIe card just in case you get a sound card or something plus 6 fans (and all the components you listed).

With 40% aging (would mean 3+ years usage) it recommends 764W (at 100% power consumption mind you).

Also PSUs are usually quiet.

Anyway I'm using a Corsair 750TX with an overclocked i5 750, two overclocked 5850s, a GT 240 for PhysX, a sound card, 6 case fans, 2 HDDs, an SSD... that's going to draw far more power than your system (6850s are more efficient than my 5850s) and I'm fine, the calculator only says around 815W for the harshest settings (100% load, 40% aging).

Well, I'm not trying to make you get a lower wattage PSU, but if those 100krone can be more useful elsewhere then that's a good place to save it. Maybe put it towards an SSD?


imo ssd overrated, and only for those who got plenty money... i do not think its really that big of an increase for me since i got the raptor?

ye you right i could save alot. now that i decide only to upgrade my CPU even it cost me the same as a new cpu. i dont need to buy new motherboard, ram. etc. only 6850. and strong enough psu.
January 25, 2011 6:54:58 PM

The Phenom Quad 9850 2.5GHz dont have the TLB error or whatever the error was in the early phenoms righT?
a c 125 U Graphics card
January 25, 2011 7:00:06 PM

An SSD isn't even in the same league as a HDD. The one and only thing a Raptor is better at is sequential read/writes - which are the two things your HDD does very little of. What matters most in having a fast system is fast random read/writes and SSDs completely crush HDDs for that.

It's been said before in many posts - not by myself but after getting an SSD I'm definitely on the bandwagon - that an SSD is probably the single most effective upgrade you can make in any system to get it running more smoothly.

I have two 7200RPM HDDs in RAID0, meaning it doubles my read/write speeds. And the upgrade to an SSD is hugely noticeable. Trust me.

For reference: http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/IDE/SSD_vs_VelociRaptor_vs_R...

Here's a Tom's article on 2 SSDs in RAID vs 4x and 8x HDD RAIDs at 15k RPM
(the SSDs spank the HDDs)
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-raid-array-hard...
January 25, 2011 7:03:53 PM

Hmm seems nice. but SSD really is exspensive!! ;D.
a c 125 U Graphics card
January 25, 2011 7:33:06 PM

Well... they're not that bad. Depends what you get. A 60 or 80GB is usually a couple hundred bucks (CAD/USD). But yeah maybe save it for a future upgrade.
a c 164 U Graphics card
January 25, 2011 8:46:12 PM

wolfram23 said:
An SSD isn't even in the same league as a HDD. The one and only thing a Raptor is better at is sequential read/writes - which are the two things your HDD does very little of. What matters most in having a fast system is fast random read/writes and SSDs completely crush HDDs for that.

It's been said before in many posts - not by myself but after getting an SSD I'm definitely on the bandwagon - that an SSD is probably the single most effective upgrade you can make in any system to get it running more smoothly.

I have two 7200RPM HDDs in RAID0, meaning it doubles my read/write speeds. And the upgrade to an SSD is hugely noticeable. Trust me.

For reference: http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/IDE/SSD_vs_VelociRaptor_vs_R...

Here's a Tom's article on 2 SSDs in RAID vs 4x and 8x HDD RAIDs at 15k RPM
(the SSDs spank the HDDs)
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-raid-array-hard...


It will run things smoothly, but.. in games.. you will need a benchmarking software to notice any differences. Video encoding will be faster, loading programs will be faster, games will run at the same frame rates. 2 situations you will want a SSD in, you are a pro that lives by your system in the speed it performs taks, or you have lots of money that's not needed for retirement or food.
a b U Graphics card
January 25, 2011 8:53:23 PM

I would recommend the Phenom II X4's over the Athlon II X4's. Especially if you want a higher level card like the ATI 6850. Skimping on your CPU may result in poor performance from the video card.

As far as the original Phenom series, they weren't that great as you've probably seen.
a c 125 U Graphics card
January 25, 2011 9:33:55 PM

hang-the-9 said:
It will run things smoothly, but.. in games.. you will need a benchmarking software to notice any differences. Video encoding will be faster, loading programs will be faster, games will run at the same frame rates. 2 situations you will want a SSD in, you are a pro that lives by your system in the speed it performs taks, or you have lots of money that's not needed for retirement or food.


Hmm... yes and no. In game performance will not be affected much, true. Not the FPS that is. Unless 1) you have very little RAM, in which case file paging will be WAY faster and reduce lag moments or 2) game lags during auto saves, which again will be nearly eliminated. Secondly, and SSD vastly reduces load times. Just for fun I put Crysis on my SSD and it made levels load up a lot quicker. But on top of that for day to day usage, almost everything outside of gaming is limited by HDD access times. From the time you hit Enter to login to Windows to the time you have your browser and iTunes and Word open (or whatever you need), the SSD will be way faster. Even the fastest CPU will have a few seconds delay when opening up any random app (like iTunes) because HDDs are always the choke point.

Seriously tho, it's laughable to think $200 is money needed for retirement (unless you're pulling it out of an RRSP, which would be... not smart). As for needing that for food, well... ok. But maybe if you're that broke you shouldn't be buying a new PC? Either way, an SSD is a nice upgrade once you can afford it. I didn't get mine with my PC new, I got it at least 4 or 5 months later.
January 26, 2011 5:17:42 AM

They just released the Nvidia 560 TI card, which looks really good right now, also you could think about going with intel instead of amd. Intel just released a very good new lineup that isnt very expensive
a c 164 U Graphics card
January 26, 2011 2:06:24 PM

wolfram23 said:


Seriously tho, it's laughable to think $200 is money needed for retirement (unless you're pulling it out of an RRSP, which would be... not smart). As for needing that for food, well... ok. But maybe if you're that broke you shouldn't be buying a new PC? Either way, an SSD is a nice upgrade once you can afford it. I didn't get mine with my PC new, I got it at least 4 or 5 months later.


I was just saying that a SSD is a bit of a fluff upgrade unless you really needed it, if my system was running something slowly, it would be the last thing I'd upgrade. I guess if I had a pick between spending $200 at a bar getting drunk or an SSD, I'd go with the SSD then :-)
a c 125 U Graphics card
January 26, 2011 2:38:52 PM

hang-the-9 said:
I was just saying that a SSD is a bit of a fluff upgrade unless you really needed it, if my system was running something slowly, it would be the last thing I'd upgrade. I guess if I had a pick between spending $200 at a bar getting drunk or an SSD, I'd go with the SSD then :-)


Well I can understand that. It was the last thing I upgraded, after all. However, I'm now a convert and I'll probably never build a PC without one. Hopefully by the time I'm in the market again the ~300GB models will be much cheaper :bounce: 
!