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Some doubts about "Bottleneck", advice on a new VGA

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 30, 2011 11:06:19 PM

First of all, hello everyone.
This is my first post on the forum, and I hope I'm not doing it wrong.
Before I say all the rest, I'll put my rig over here: MoBo: 750i SLI - CPU: Q9550 @2.83 *stock* with Evercool Buffalo cooler (might upgrade this one if overclocking is needed) - RAM: 2x 2gb Kingston DDR2 (800mhz I think, not sure though) - Graphics Card: Radeon HD4850 1gb stock - PSU: Thermaltake TR2 600W (I might change this one if needed)

Well, my problem with bottlenecking is: I wanted to get a new video card, mine is starting to feel a bit slow in some games (ex: Crysis, all of them... Metro 2033... Just Cause 2... and the upcoming Battlefield 3, I HAVE to play that one maxed out!).

So, I thought that if I had a new graphics card it would all be better, correct?

Okay, I was thinking about getting a GTX570 (because of my MoBo, since its Nvidia). But I heard my CPU would bottleneck it without overclocking. So I thought I could give OC'ing the CPU a try, and maybe it wouldn't Bottleneck the GTX570. Is that true?

Can my PSU hold that card?

Okay, so maybe the GTX570 could be a bit too much for my system. What about the GTX560? Is it too much slower than the 570 one? Is the GTX570 bottlenecked (at my case) slower than the GTX560 not bottlenecked?

Should I wait and get a better CPU, MoBo and RAM before going for a new video card?

Or maybe I should get something more future proof, like a monitor or a PSU (maybe both for the price of the GTX570) and leave the video card for last? If so, would a Corsair HX650W or a XFX XXX edition 600w be future proof enough?

Back on the VGA matter, is there any other cheaper graphics card that can run the games I listed before maxed out, on a fairly high resolution (1080p or so, I dont know how high a 23" fullHD monitor can handle since I don't have one yet) It can be either ATI or Nvidia, as I might change to AMD on a next build.

I'm sorry for the long post, it is big because I have a lot of questions, so I broke it as much as I could to try and make it easier to read...

Anyway, I'll put the correct form of asking for a new videocard just in case.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Not sure about when, but likely in 3 months max.

BUDGET RANGE: U$400 max

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (about everything, but surely those heavy games like Crysis, Metro 2033, and the upcoming BF3), 3d rendering and modeling, watching movies.

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: Thermaltake TR2 600w, might upgrade before VGA if needed.

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: (e.g., make/model of CPU, MoBo, memory - this can help us determine whether or not a given card is compatible with and makes sense for your system. For high-end cards, knowing your case/cooling setup may also be helpful)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: None, since I'm from a different country and cant purchease online. Might use newegg as refference.

PARTS PREFERENCES: I wanted to have Physx, but it is not needed. I can go for either ATi or Nvidia, depending on price and bonuses (included games, extended warranty for example), any brand also.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe, but not likely

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Not sure, I'll get a new monitor soon. Probably high though, going for a 23" up to 26" FullHD monitor.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I don't know if I go for future proof or immediate blast, I only change PC parts once a year or so (and I don't mean the whole PC)
a b U Graphics card
June 30, 2011 11:37:48 PM

the q9550 is still one of the best chips for gaming. and yes overclocking it would make it less likely to bottleneck. my brother has his q9650 overclocked to 3.6ghz the only slow thing about it is the 9800gt he has. i would recommend getting the GTX560 Ti. it should way way faster than your current card. and i doubt that the 560Ti will bottleneck.
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June 30, 2011 11:49:16 PM

Okay, so that is surely one to consider then. Is there much difference from a GTX560TI and a GTX560? What if I can't find the TI one, would the GTX560 still be better than the GTX570 in my case?

And my PSU, it can handle those cards, right? Or should I change it before changing the VGA? (I heard my PSU is kinda bad :/ )

And about the future proof questions? My curent monitor is a VGA 19" from LG, a Flatron W1943SB, kinda bad i suppose, res is 1360x768 lol...

Gosh, having so limited money is hard some times! Hehe
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a b U Graphics card
June 30, 2011 11:55:54 PM

I have a q9550 and SLI GTX 465s and I don't consider my CPU a bottleneck in anything that I play and I'm only at 1680x1050. Starcraft 2 bogs it occasionally but everything else I play is more limited by the GPUs than the CPU. Your PSU should be fine for a single 570, if you go SLI I would upgrade to a 750 or above so you have some headroom.

You can get 460s pretty cheap these days, you already have an SLI motherboard, and SLI 460s blow a single 570 out of the water. That would be my recommendation for the most bang for your sub 400 dollar budget. You will have to get a new PSU, but there are some good 460s on sale at newegg for like 130 bucks after rebates, you could get 2 and a damn good PSU for not a whole lot more than a single 570.

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a b U Graphics card
July 1, 2011 12:11:25 AM

shoot i forgot about your psu, lol well its 600 watts, do you know how many pci-e power connectors it has? cuz both the gtx 560 and the 560 ti require 2 6-pin power connectors.

if you cant find either cards then look for a gtx460 since those are really quick as well and can overclock like crazy if you know how.

as for your psu, if its old (around 5 years) then yeah its time to replace it. psu performance degarde over time. but it should be able to run these cards just fine since the 4850 can be a power hog.
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July 1, 2011 12:15:00 AM

+1 to benski.

You will see a major improvement going to a 570 or 460 sli no matter what processor or resolution. Overclock your processor and you might unlock another 5-10% performance.

Personally I would save up for a 570 and 750w PSU as then you would have a better upgrade path.
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July 1, 2011 12:22:49 AM

A friend of mine uses a CrossfireX setup, and he says that multi video cards sometimes are just a plain headache... Is that true? He says that there are lots of incompabilities or problems for CFX.
I was kinda aiming for a single card, also because of the energy consumption. If there ain't too many problems with SLI and the power consumption isn't too great, it would also be something to consider.
But again, should I go with a video card, or a PSU and monitor?
For a VGA i think my option is the GTX560 so far, right?

Yeah, my PSU got 2 6 pin connectors. And it's about 1 year old maximum.
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a b U Graphics card
July 1, 2011 12:32:52 AM

I don't have any problems with my SLI setup, Crysis 2 is the only game so far that hasn't just worked automatically, I had to download a fix, although I think the new drivers take care of that. I think that's the only real issue, some new games will only use one card until you update the drivers or profiles to make it work right. I have heard of some problems with microstuttering with crossfire setups but I don't think SLI has those problems.

I thought you were getting a GTX 570? The regular 560 (not TI) isn't much more than an overclocked 460. They improved efficiency but not enough for the price difference IMO.
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July 1, 2011 12:36:32 AM

Oh I see... So I should go for a GTX560TI or a GTX570, since I can't hold a SLI at the moment with my PSU?
What would you say, GTX560TI or GTX570, price/performance ratio?
I think I'll save a bit more and get one of those cards and a monitor to go with it, what would be the optimum size for a great image but not too heavy resolution, 23" up to 26" (FullHD)? What if I'd get a LCD TV as monitor, on one of those sizes, would I be loosing too much resolution? Considering I'd get well, a TV, would it be worth it?
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a b U Graphics card
July 1, 2011 12:45:10 AM

23 is a good size for 1920x1080 (full HD) monitor. You can go bigger but the price increase isn't really worth it IMO for a desktop monitor. And most LCD tv's are also 1920x1080 these days, the only difference is you get a tuner and a better speakers, and a bulkier monitor in return.

I don't think you have said yet what your current monitor is...
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July 1, 2011 12:53:57 AM

Well I think I'll try to get a TV around 23" up to 26" max, if I can't find any or the price is too high I'll get a fullHD 23" monitor. I don't want it too big or I wont be abble to read stuff so well.
Good thing about Video cards now days is that they come with HDMI conection, wich outputs sound too, so TV as monitor is a lot better now. I'll end up using my living room 42" TV as monitor some times too, just for fun :p 
Oh, my current monitor is a LG Flatron W1943SB, VGA connection, 1360x768 res 19" lol...
Okay, so if you had to choose from one of these: GTX560TI or GTX570, wich one would you go for? I think the 560TI one would be better for me atm because of my processor, so I wouldnt get too much bottlenecking as I was told said earlier.

BTW, I'm sorry for any bad english over here, it is not my native language.
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a b U Graphics card
July 1, 2011 1:05:54 AM

It depends on price, where can you buy from?

And neither card is going to be bottlenecked by your CPU, you could SLI GTX 570s and your CPU would still be fine in 95% of the games out.
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July 1, 2011 1:32:41 AM

I'm going to buy the stuff from Paraguay, a country right next to mine because I can pay literally half the price I'd pay on my country. There are no accurate websites I can search prices from, but I get the aproximate price from newegg.com and add like 20% more as they got their profit margin.
I was thinking about maybe a U$350 at MAX for the VGA, as I also need to get me a monitor (monitor price not included)
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a c 263 U Graphics card
July 1, 2011 1:47:21 AM

As a rule a better graphics card will be the best upgrade for gaming.
There is always some limiting factor, so I don't much like the use of bottleneck.
To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

1) 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.

2) 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.

The GTX570 is a fine card. It requires a 550w psu that has 38amps on the 12v rails. It needs two 6 pin pci-e connectors.
Your psu should even handle a GTX580.

TV monitors will all be 1080P or 1920 x 1080, regardless of the screen size.
A GTX570 will play most everything well.

If a game is not multicore optimised(few use > 2 cores) your Q9550 may become a limiting factor, but I doubt it.

Your 4850 is a capable card. If you upgrade, make it a significant jump, or you will be disappointed.
Go at least to a 6870 or GTX560Ti.
Better would be the GTX570 or 6970 if your budget will allow.
Get the best graphics card you feel comfortable paying for, particularly at higher resolutions and eye candy.
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July 1, 2011 2:27:34 AM

I have done the first test you suggested using Farcry 2 as a reference, as it was the only "heavy" game I had installed atm.
With the maximum settings (all on Ultra, with 8x AA, Dx10, my max res and all) I had like 35 FPS average. Then I lowered it all I could, no AA, lowest resolution and so on, and it jumped up to 70 FPS average.
I don't realy know how to reduce my CPU's capacity, so I was unnable to run the second test.
But as far as I have seen, by what you have told me, my CPU can handle a bigger card, correct? The FPS difference is quite big I think.

About the TVs, thank you for the info, I think I'll stick with 23" then, not so huge to that make it hard to focus on, and certainly not small (not to me, hehe).

Yeah, the 4850 is a quite great card, it surely was worth the money I paid on it one year ago. Too bad it was quite out dated when I first got it though :p 

Well, I think I'll save up and get me a GTX570 then, maybe overclock my CPU a little just to increase some performance, and all will be good.

One last question before I have it all covered on this topic, would I need to change my PSU if I wanted to overclock my CPU, or my future card? I'll get a better CPU cooler in some time, and the VGA cooler will probably remain stock. Would that be a problem for overclocking? (Wouldn't go too far anyway)
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a b U Graphics card
July 1, 2011 3:04:44 AM

for overclocking if you arent changing the voltages i dont think your psu should be a problem if im correct. a new cpu cooler would keep your temps down if you overclock. and as for a GPU cooler, its only recommended for older cards that get really hot really fast. most gpus today have really good coolers on them, so there is no need to change them.

where are you from? brazil?
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a c 263 U Graphics card
July 1, 2011 4:48:09 AM

Joggem said:
I have done the first test you suggested using Farcry 2 as a reference, as it was the only "heavy" game I had installed atm.
With the maximum settings (all on Ultra, with 8x AA, Dx10, my max res and all) I had like 35 FPS average. Then I lowered it all I could, no AA, lowest resolution and so on, and it jumped up to 70 FPS average.
I don't realy know how to reduce my CPU's capacity, so I was unnable to run the second test.
But as far as I have seen, by what you have told me, my CPU can handle a bigger card, correct? The FPS difference is quite big I think.

About the TVs, thank you for the info, I think I'll stick with 23" then, not so huge to that make it hard to focus on, and certainly not small (not to me, hehe).

Yeah, the 4850 is a quite great card, it surely was worth the money I paid on it one year ago. Too bad it was quite out dated when I first got it though :p 

Well, I think I'll save up and get me a GTX570 then, maybe overclock my CPU a little just to increase some performance, and all will be good.

One last question before I have it all covered on this topic, would I need to change my PSU if I wanted to overclock my CPU, or my future card? I'll get a better CPU cooler in some time, and the VGA cooler will probably remain stock. Would that be a problem for overclocking? (Wouldn't go too far anyway)


Looks like your cpu is ok for a while. Also realize that a higher resolution will put more pressure on the graphics card, and not on the cpu.
Overclocking a cpu adds negligible load to a psu, no worries there.
Personally, I don't try to overclock my graphics card. They are binned by the manufacturers, and the most capable chips are sold at a premium as factory overclocks.
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July 1, 2011 12:17:00 PM

computernugget said:
for overclocking if you arent changing the voltages i dont think your psu should be a problem if im correct. a new cpu cooler would keep your temps down if you overclock. and as for a GPU cooler, its only recommended for older cards that get really hot really fast. most gpus today have really good coolers on them, so there is no need to change them.

where are you from? brazil?


Yes, im from Brazil, and thanks for the reply.

geofelt said:
Looks like your cpu is ok for a while. Also realize that a higher resolution will put more pressure on the graphics card, and not on the cpu.
Overclocking a cpu adds negligible load to a psu, no worries there.
Personally, I don't try to overclock my graphics card. They are binned by the manufacturers, and the most capable chips are sold at a premium as factory overclocks.


Oh, yeah I think I'll keep the GPU at stock speeds then.
All doubts solved, how can I request the topic to be closed?

And many thanks for the support here, realy apreciate it.
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a b U Graphics card
July 1, 2011 6:11:04 PM

you choose the best answer then the topic will be flagged for the mods as solved then a mod will come by and close it. the only mods i know are Proximon and mousemonkey
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July 1, 2011 6:36:27 PM

Oh okay, thank you very much.
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July 1, 2011 6:36:55 PM

Best answer selected by Joggem.
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