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Can High End CPUs Ever Be a Bottleneck?

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January 2, 2012 4:28:05 AM

Is it possible for an i7-2600 or other high-end core to be the bottleneck in a system?

It's my understanding that a core like an i7-2600 can handle any existing game's physics and AI very easily, and that even if you are running HD 6970s in Crossfire your graphics will be your bottleneck (assuming good RAM and drivers, PSU etc). Is this true?

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a b à CPUs
January 2, 2012 4:57:03 AM
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It depends on the game. If it's SC2 or the original Crysis, then you'll be bottlenecked with that setup in some situations if you're talking about the vanilla 2600 and not the 2600k. Must overclock 2500/2600k to 4.5 to push a min of 60 FPS in SC2 and ~4.8 in Crysis1. I don't know of any other games for which it would be a problem.
a c 184 à CPUs
January 2, 2012 5:25:40 AM

Not at this moment.
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a b à CPUs
January 2, 2012 5:25:51 AM

Skyrim's the elephant you're missing. Totally CPU-limited. The 2600 will sit right around 60 fps, so it won't be a problem, but it will be the bottleneck. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/skyrim-performance-...
Nobody should ever get a 2600. The 2500K, OCed, is enough for almost any system.
January 2, 2012 6:08:37 AM

I've never looked into OCing CPUs, only GPUs. Is OCing my CPU any more difficult or dangerous than GPU?

Thanks for the answers, I had no idea Skyrim and Crysis could bottleneck on a CPU, I thought only RTS could really stress a nice CPU.
a b à CPUs
January 2, 2012 6:09:53 AM

It's quite easy, and definitely easier and safer than doing the GPU. With a good chip you can just set a multiplier that you know'll work and leave it at that.
January 2, 2012 6:13:03 AM

cuecuemore said:
It depends on the game. If it's SC2 or the original Crysis, then you'll be bottlenecked with that setup in some situations if you're talking about the vanilla 2600 and not the 2600k. Must overclock 2500/2600k to 4.5 to push a min of 60 FPS in SC2 and ~4.8 in Crysis1. I don't know of any other games for which it would be a problem.


I thought the 2600 had a stock of 3.4, is it really possible to safely OC all the way up to 4.8 (even if you spend a bunch on ridiculous cooling systems)?

But, most games (save SC2, Crysis and apparently Skyrim) I play will have the same FPS whether my core is at 3.4Ghz or 4.0+?
a b à CPUs
January 2, 2012 6:14:26 AM

Yes. It won't matter. Your FPS will depend on your graphics hardware.
Something like 10 or 15% of 2600Ks will go over 5.0. Most will hit 4.8.
a c 184 à CPUs
January 2, 2012 6:16:26 AM

elsnerj said:
I thought the 2600 had a stock of 3.4, is it really possible to safely OC all the way up to 4.8 (even if you spend a bunch on ridiculous cooling systems)?

But, most games (save SC2, Crysis and apparently Skyrim) I play will have the same FPS whether my core is at 3.4Ghz or 4.0+?

2600 has a locked multiplier, i believe you can only oc to 4.1ghz on it.
a b à CPUs
January 2, 2012 6:16:59 AM

Right.
January 2, 2012 6:21:27 AM

kajabla said:
Skyrim's the elephant you're missing. Totally CPU-limited. The 2600 will sit right around 60 fps, so it won't be a problem, but it will be the bottleneck. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/skyrim-performance-...
Nobody should ever get a 2600. The 2500K, OCed, is enough for almost any system.


My current system is an i7-860 (2.8Ghz stock) and a single HD 6870 (OC about 10%). On Ultra with the works, I get 60+ FPS indoors, 40-50 in outside areas, but then in cities (especially Markarth) I get a drop down to 25 or so when looking out over the city.

Is this the CPU struggling, or the GPU?
a c 184 à CPUs
January 2, 2012 6:23:40 AM

elsnerj said:
My current system is an i7-860 (2.8Ghz stock) and a single HD 6870 (OC about 10%). On Ultra with the works, I get 60+ FPS indoors, 40-50 in outside areas, but then in cities (especially Markarth) I get a drop down to 25 or so when looking out over the city.

Is this the CPU struggling, or the GPU?

That is a problem with the game, not your hardware ;)  it even happens on people who have gtx 590's.
January 2, 2012 6:27:00 AM

What! Wow all this time I've been wondering "the hell? FPS drop halfway with no huge added visual strain?"

Good to know it's not my rig, bad to know it has such a huge issue with cities. Possible patch on the way?
January 2, 2012 6:29:00 AM

Best answer selected by elsnerj.
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