My Bottleneck

Hello everyone,
I got this PC from a hand-me-down and cleaned it up quite a bit. Upgraded it the best I could because I'm not rich atm.
But basically I think I know where my bottleneck is, I just can't believe that its as bad as it is I guess..?

Started With
1 GB Generic Ram
Integrated Nvidia Graphics
AMD Athalon 64 x2 3800+

Now I Have
AMD Athalon 64 x2 3800+

It's pretty obvious that the CPU is the issue here, I had an 8600gt in there for about a day, and I'm not noticing any performance increase at all from the 8600 to the 210. Is it just because the card isn't really an upgrade? The 8600 only had 512 mb of RAM.

The game in particular in question is about 5-6 years old and I just can't believe that this PC isn't capable of that. However every time I pop out of the game to check my CPU is running at 100% and i'm still floating around with about a gig and a half of ram left over.

I guess my question here is, would I get enough of a performance increase from buying another AM2 processor (i've priced one around 60$) or should I just wait and buck up 100$ or so for a new mobo and get something AM3 range?

Thanks guys
14 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Sounds like your cpu is the limitation.

    To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

    a) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
    If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.

    b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
    If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

    It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.

    If you are considering a new motherboard, look at a sandy bridge cpu, they are faster than amd at the same clock rate.
    The Cheapest sandy bridge G620 ($78) has a passmark number of 2504, compared to 1047 for your 3800+
  2. I can tell you right now that if I run games at lower resolutions it improves framerate, because I have had to do it on several games to make them playable.

    I will do the b) test and get back to you with the results.
  3. If the cpu was the limitation, raising the resolution would improve framerates, unless your already running at 1680x1050 or higher.

    I don't think 210 is much faster than 8600GT, but either way, it's a good match for your cpu in my opinion. I don't think upgrading to a faster gpu is going to help much because of your cpu's low clock speed. I also don't think a faster cpu is going to boost your current video cards performance.
  4. So your suggesting that my computer simply can't play 5 year old games on medium specs?
  5. I don't know what these mystery games are but if they are anything like Crysis or STALKER or FSX, then yes, that's exactly what I'm telling you.
  6. geekapproved said:
    I don't know what these mystery games are but if they are anything like Crysis or STALKER or FSX, then yes, that's exactly what I'm telling you.

    What game it is may well be all important.

    FSX, for example is multi core enabled, and can take all the cpu you can give it. I think it is an exception.
    Crysis is one of those games that can't seem to get enough graphics power.
  7. Unfortunately, games do not share CPU well. There are many games that will peg the CPU at 100% even though they are only using a fraction of a CPU. It's possible the mystery game is CPU limited. It's possible its graphic limited.

    PLEASE go to the website of the game and find the MIN specs and the RECOMMENDED specs and post them.

    Of the two, I that the 3800+ is strong. The NVIDIA 210 is not a gaming cards and is not workable for 3D games. Here is a benchmark showing a 210 averaging 3 frames per second in cysis at 1280X1024. The 210 is *not* a gaming card.

    I used a 3700+ with an x800. It gamed fine until shader model 3 came along. That could have been 5 years ago. Setup was workable for games of that era, not cpu limited.

    re: "I had an 8600gt in there for about a day, and I'm not noticing any performance increase at all from the 8600 to the 210." try a graphic benchmark. 210 in crysis warhead = 3 frames /sec. Here's an 8600gt video Warhead 8600GT Enthusiast Settings/Very High 2

    Net: I'm pretty sure you are graphics limited for most games. For the games that are CPU limited, you will still be graphics limited with the 210. A new graphics card is your best upgrade. Ditch the 210, slap in an HD 5670 ($70-80) and you should be set. But if the game you are most interested in needs a lot of CPU that will show up in the games minimum and recommended settings.
  8. oh, forgot. Make sure you are on the most recent drivers possible.

    You want to be windows update current. If XP get to service pack 3 then update from there. If win7 get to SP1, if Windows ME just shoot it.

    If windows xp you want to defrag your hard drive. (Win7 will do that for you automatically). a 5 year old hard drive is slow. very slow. slow boot will be from an almost solid disk light, so will slow application startup and slow game level loads. Defragging helps.

    You want to watch you hard drive activity light when playing. With the 4GB ram installed you should not be having paging problems. If the drive activity light comes on in the middle of gaming (especially if the gaming pauses/stutters you see are correlated with the disk light coming on) then look into turning off background services, etc. There are plenty of tuning guides.

    Make sure you have a good antivirus and use it. Microsoft security essentials is free and good. Nothing slows a PC down like being part of a bot-net.
  9. Sorry about the late response everyone, thank you all for your replies.

    So just to sum up all of your responses..
    I should be using the 8600GT NOT the 200 I just purchased correct?
    Even though the 200 literally has twice as much memory as the 8600gt?
    I apologize if it seems like I'm being testy, I feel like I understand computers pretty well (I am comptia A+ cert for about 6 more months) and this just boggles me.

    The game in question is saints row two, I looked it up and it does seem to be a pretty CPU intensive game.

    My plan of action is to buy a decent new mobo, that is backwards compat with my current processor and some extra cooling gear. And try and OC this CPU for a little while until I can afford and upgrade. Good idea? Poor idea? Would my money be better spent elsewhere?

    Thanks again guys.
  10. The issue here being that I just dropped 50$ on a video card and cannot really turn around and spend another 80$ on that, especially if my bottleneck isn't really there it lied within my CPU.

    Thanks for the response.
  11. Best answer
    1) The 8600GT is several tiers faster than the 210. If you saw no improvement, it is likely that the cpu is your limitation.
    Your observation that your cpu was at 100% lends support to that.

    2) The 210 should have been a good improvement over the integrated graphics. Since you did not see anything, the cpu is probably at it's max, and upgrading the cpu is what is needed.

    3) The athlon X2 3800+ is not a great gamer, at least by today's modern standards.
    It has a passmark # of 1047.
    Compare that to the 2472 of the cheapest sandy bridge cpu available, the G620($78):
    In September, the G630 2.7 will be $64.
    I don't know that a G630 is what I would look for, but it does not make sense to me to replace a motherboard to get another amd cpu
    When you want more compute power. The current sandy bridge architecture is more efficient that that on older cpu's, particularly the amd ones. You can't compare clock rates . SB will be 20-40% more effective on a clock for clock basis.

    4) If you want to hang on with your current pc for a while, I suggest you find out what stronger cpu's your current motherboard will handle. Then look on e-bay for a used one from a reputable consumer(not retailer).

    5) As to the amount of ram on a graphics card; don't pay much attention. The amount of ram will be adequate to support the performance level of the card. The card manufacturers have tuned the equation pretty well. If a card offers more than the reference amount of ram, then the added ram is there mostly for marketing purposes.
  12. I'm still getting mixed answers here.
    Should I put the 8600 back in my pc? or stick with the 210?
  13. I found out (From my own benchmark test) that the 8600gt is easily better. At least 20 frames higher on higher settings on the witcher.
  14. Best answer selected by d00mb0x.
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