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Will my computer bottleneck the 470 gtx?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
May 26, 2011 5:14:51 AM

Hello there. I am planning on acquiring a pny 470 gtx. However i am afraid that my computer might bottleneck it. If it does, how bad will it be?

System Specs.

intel pentium dual core 3.2ghz.
2 gb ram ddr2 533
1tb harddrive
abit ip-95 mobo


ps: i'm new ;)  used this site for several crisis in my computer and u guys were a big help back then.
May 26, 2011 5:16:01 AM

Oh btw i have 750 watts psu so power wont be a problem
a c 125 U Graphics card
May 26, 2011 5:35:08 AM

Yeah... I mean you'll see nice graphics and can probably max most games out, but if any games do have issues it's more than likely CPU and RAM related.

I would definitely upgrade to another 2gbs of RAM, for 4gbs total. You might also consider getting Windows 7 64 bit to take advantage of DirectX11 as well as the full 4gb of RAM. The CPU at 3.2 ghz is ok... There's really not a whole lot of gains to be made by swapping out for other 775 socket CPUs. I don't know if your motherboard supports overclocking. If it does you can unleash more power for sure, if it doesn't then you're kind of stuck.

Honestly though you can upgrade this PC for a decent price. One option would be go AMD, get a quad core Phenom 2 for less than $150 and a new mobo for around $80. You might need new DDR3 RAM for around $50. You can reuse the rest. Just a thought.
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a b U Graphics card
May 26, 2011 6:18:57 AM

Your CPU could bottleneck the GTX 470. I suggest what Wolfram suggested , get a better CPU, mobo, and DDR3 RAM. Or in other words, build another one. Also, what's the brand of this 750 W PSU ?
a c 127 U Graphics card
May 26, 2011 6:38:45 PM

I recommend the HD5770 1GB graphics card.

It probably will be CPU-limited for most or even all games. Every game is different in the balance between CPU and graphics usage so it's possible there are some games that would actually maximize both the CPU and this graphics card about the same.

(I've got an HD5870 which is a high-end card and my i7-860 in some games uses 100% of my graphics card and only 20% of my CPU in non-Hyperthread mode).

Unless you are willing to build a new system, my advice is to get an HD5770 1GB for about $100. The only other possible update I'd recommend is a non-stock CPU cooler for about $30 if your current one is noisy. I wouldn't worry about having only 2GB of RAM, you have to draw the line somewhere or else you might as well build a new computer.
a c 125 U Graphics card
May 26, 2011 6:46:39 PM

A 5770 is a looong step down from a 470... lol. Actually I think two 5770s in crossfire would perform pretty similar to a 470.

You're greatly exaggerating the CPU bottleneck. I mean if he's going to play Starcraft 2, or Flight Simulator X then sure he'll be CPU bottlenecked. But most games are dual core optimized and barely utilize all of it. My i5 750 is hardly over maybe 20-30% usage most of the time.
a c 127 U Graphics card
May 26, 2011 7:03:50 PM

*There are plenty of games that can run great on a system like yours with an HD5770.

If in doubt, get game DEMOS rather than buying them first. Also run FRAPS to see if your framerates are okay. Ideally you want VSYNC enabled to get a solid 60FPS but you'd likely wish to comprimise.

30FPS for top-down games is adequate. Shooters should have at least 40FPS.

CPU usage:
When you get your new graphics card, it's easy to see if your CPU-limited. Simply open the Task Manager (CTRL-ALT-DEL), play a game for at least five minutes, close it then observe TM again (Performance section for CPU usage).

Your game may not be able to fully use both cores fully, but I'd expect you to see at least one core at 100% and the second anywhere from 5% to 100%. You need to have TM set to show individual cores. I'm guessing many games will use 100% of core0 and at least 50% of core1.
a c 127 U Graphics card
May 26, 2011 7:09:38 PM

I don't believe I'm exaggerating the bottleneck situation. I suspect the HD5770 1GB is pretty close to optimal for that CPU.

***If you can borrow a graphics card that would give you a really good indication of where you stand. It's better to get an HD5770 or LOWER rather than higher (if your CPU maxes out completely all you know is your CPU-limited. If it's running at 60% on one core and 40% on another core you can get a graphics card that is up to 2x as fast as what you have installed.)

If anyone has a reference to what card would (on average) bottleneck this guy's CPU I'd be interested, however I have built a lot of systems over the years and have a good feel for the CPU/GPU bottleneck situation with older CPU's.
a c 125 U Graphics card
May 26, 2011 7:16:47 PM

A 5770 is going to make him GPU limited, plain and simple. My gf's Core 2 E5400 (2.7ghz) with a 5770 can't even max out Sims 2 at 1080p, and trust me, it's not CPU limited. A 470 is a world faster than a 5770 and will push good framerates and high settings... with the exception of a few games.

Like I already said the 2gb of RAM is going to be worse for him than the CPU. He's looking at spending around $200 for a GPU, why recommend a $100 one? He can get a lot more performance even with a dual core CPU.

I think a 6870 would be a great match to that system, but it's the same price as the 470 and isn't any faster. A 5850 Xtreme should be cheaper ($150 ish) and is nearly as fast as a 6870/470, plus it overclocks really well. I think it's one of the best bang-for-your-buck GPUs out right now if you can find it.

There's also the 560 (non Ti) which is quite good. Or at a lower pricepoint the 6790 or 550 Ti...

But anyway, there's always lots of options. If under $200 then the GTX 470 is probably the best price/performance besides maybe a $150 5850, and will often be able to perform to it's full potential on the OP's system - although, again, get 2gbs more RAM.
a b U Graphics card
May 27, 2011 1:44:45 AM

Question for the OP: What resolution are you presently using??
May 27, 2011 2:05:26 AM

wolfram23 said:
You might also consider getting Windows 7 64 bit to take advantage of DirectX11 as well as the full 4gb of RAM.

I am guessing you didn't intend to imply that DX11 is specific to the 64 bit version of Windows 7, but I just thought I would clarify that there's no requirement for a 64bit OS for DX11, as per Microsoft's DX11 / Win7 page:

Right hand side - applies to all versions.

It's also available on 32bit Vista - as per via this link:

a c 125 U Graphics card
May 27, 2011 2:13:11 AM

muz_j said:
I am guessing you didn't intend to imply that DX11 is specific to the 64 bit version of Windows 7, but I just thought I would clarify that there's no requirement for a 64bit OS for DX11, as per Microsoft's DX11 / Win7 page:

Right hand side - applies to all versions.

It's also available on 32bit Vista - as per via this link:

You're right about that, I only meant the 64 bit part to take advantage of the full 4 gigs of RAM I was suggesting, as 32 bit only can allocate something like 3.5 gigs. I did not, however, know about Vista running DX11 so that's good. Still, I don't see a reason not to get a 64 bit version if a new OS is on the table. At least for me I've had zero issues.
May 27, 2011 5:19:25 AM

I c, my psu is from antec. 1680x1050 resolution currently (i have the 8800 GTX). I suppose all of u are right. I need better cpu and more ram. Now here's the deal.


I've been saving up money to build a new computer ;)  currently i have the

Mobo- EVGA p55v. the one with 1333 ram speed. not the 1600 one. ddr3

I'm planning to get

2; thats right 2 470 gtx
4gb of ram ddr3 prob from g skill
and i5 760 quad core.

now will this new system be enough? Im gonna buy 1 470 first then get the rest. I wanna try out the 470 with crysis 2 at max XD.
I'm building this system to prepare for Battlefield 3. Oh yeah who's waitin for this baby?
May 27, 2011 5:21:00 AM

oh and i have win 7 32 bit but i might just get 64 bit for the new one
a c 125 U Graphics card
May 27, 2011 2:56:59 PM

Yeah that should be fine although you might want to look at 6gb or 8gb RAM kits. 4gb is fine and all but with just a tad more you can see some performance gains as Windows won't have to use file paging. Granted, this won't help gaming performance.

Also two 470s is kind of overkill for 1680x1050. You'll definitely be able to max any game. I have two 5850s at 1920x1080 and can basically max any game (small exceptions, like Metro 2033 all maxed including 4xMSAA except DoF is off) and 470s are faster than 5850s... although mine are overclocked so they're actually faster than stock 470s...
a c 127 U Graphics card
May 27, 2011 6:14:46 PM


Could you write down the average CPU usage per core for three of your modern games (CPU usage varies significantly between games). This is the most useful information the poster can get. One of my above posts has more details.

For example:

Game #1: The Witcher
Core 0: 60%
Core 1: 40%
Framerate (avg): 45FPS

Game #2: ...

Let's say you have the same CPU. If you are hitting on average 60% and 40% overall on both cores then he can get a graphics card that gets DOUBLE the framerate of that graphics card.

If the average is close to 100% then that card is optimal for that CPU.

0) open the Task Manager (CTRL-ALT-DEL)
1) set "View-Update speed" to LOW in Task Manager
2) set "View-CPU history" to "one graph per CPU"
3) run game play for at least five minutes
4) close the game
5) observe the CPU history (performance) of each core and estimate the average use
6) write down the average framerate for that part of the game

It's possible to estimate the optimal graphics card for an older CPU using the above information.

Never simply view the average of all the cores especially if Hyperthreading is enabled. It's best to simply write down each cores use.

**If you have Hyperthreading enabled and are viewing all cores/threads, the first graph is a CORE, the second is a THREAD, then it repeats. If you see four "cores" and have a dual-core CPU then you know hyperthreading is enabled.
a c 125 U Graphics card
May 27, 2011 6:52:41 PM

That's... somewhat true... not entirely though.

If your CPU isn't 100% usage, and you're at or above 60fps at lowest graphical settings then no matter what you could throw the best GPU available in there and get 60fps at whatever setting.

Let's say he's getting 80% CPU usage and at medium settings he's getting around 50fps (100% GPU usage). Then a much better graphics card might not do much better than 50-70fps, but on the other hand it will be at maximum settings.

Anyway it's all a moot point because he's upgrading to an i5 760 which will NOT be a bottleneck.
a c 127 U Graphics card
May 30, 2011 9:10:37 AM

Some points:
First, I missed the fact that you are doing a lot of upgrading:

1) do NOT get the GTX 4xx series. They run extremely hot and noisy. Go ahead and Google that. If you're getting a new NVidia card you want a GTX 5xx series. (two GTX 470's would be a nightmare for noise)

2) you need to be careful getting two graphics cards with your 750W PSU. The amount of Amperage (current) available is important. Power Supplies vary a LOT in quality and how they distribute the power.

3) Most games will run very will with a single GTX 560Ti. Your PSU may handle 2xGTX 560Ti but I wouldn't go above that. (in fact, power aside you may run into some memory bottlenecks but I'm not certain)

4) SLI is usually better than Crossfire so beware if they say a single HD6870 is "better" than a similar NVidia card if going SLI.

5) benchmarks:

- check PSU specs carefully
- recommend a single GTX 560Ti (2xGTX 560Ti at most if PSU can handle it)
- noise is an issue for SLI (forget the GTX 4xx series completely)
- many games are maxed out by the new CPU and a single GTX 560Ti anyway
- I went with a single Graphics card due to the heat and noise added by a second, NOT for lack of money.
- *If that single GTX 560Ti is not enough buy a second one but wait to see if it's good enough. I'd recommend keeping it for two years then getting a better single card to replace it.