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Will a better GPU help with CPU load?

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  • CPUs
  • GPUs
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October 11, 2011 9:56:52 PM

Question for you experts: does upgrading the GPU help take load off of the CPUs?

When running the Battlefield 3 beta on my aging PC last week, it looked pretty good (at low settings) but the CPU was pegged at 100%. I was actually happy with the graphics (appearance and framerate), but the CPU issue made the game pretty unplayable if any action or sound was happening.

I have dual Xeon 5150 @ 2.66 MHz CPUs (dual core) and a 9800 GT graphics card.

So would upgrading the video card to a GTX 560 help take load off the poor CPUs? I've heard of cases where a better GPU actually makes the CPU load even worse.

Thanks for your help!

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October 11, 2011 10:00:47 PM

Unfortunately the designers of BF3 coded the game to use more CPU than GPU. It may help a bit, but for that particular title it probably wouldn't be that big of a difference.
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October 19, 2011 12:00:03 AM

But you don't think it would make it any worse? I'm hoping for at least a small improvement.

I think I have read somewhere that faster GPUs can make higher demands on the CPU. My CPUs are just barely working in this case -- if I kill the audio process and everything else that seems nonessential, I can get them down to 98% or so...

Yes, I know I need a new computer! :) 
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October 19, 2011 12:05:52 AM

IMO a faster GPU is going to make the calculations/frames higher. Thus making your CPU need to work harder to keep up.

Like they're saying however, BF3 is decently CPU bound. So unless you're running at extremely low frames it's going to be using a lot of your CPU.
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a b à CPUs
October 19, 2011 4:16:42 PM

Your CPU sitting at 100% is not a bad thing. And getting a better GPU certainly might help your frames, but it is really tough to say. Both sides of the argument are solid and make sense, so I would say try one. If it doesn't work take it back.

I know Best Buy has a decent return policy. Even if their prices are a little high you can buy one, test it, return it and buy a cheaper one off the internet
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October 19, 2011 4:55:26 PM

Best answer selected by Theoxylo.
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October 19, 2011 4:56:53 PM

Thanks, good idea. When in doubt, go with emperical testing! And I am lucky enough to live within 30 minutes of a Fry's...
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a b à CPUs
October 19, 2011 5:33:55 PM

careful with Fry's. I buy a ton of stuff through them, but they can be prettttty crazy about opened hardware return. Generally not too bad though
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October 19, 2011 9:22:33 PM

That's true, they always want a "reason" :) 

I've seen them actually boot up hardware in a test system to prove its defective before they will take it back.
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