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Athlon 64 4200+ Radeon 4850 bottleneck?

Last response: in Systems
November 22, 2011 8:45:28 PM

Hello, I'm intending to upgrade an old PC in a few days. The IGP isn't that great for gaming. I've done some research and it's not so clear. Some say it'll bottleneck a 4670, others mention that a 4850 would run fine. Does anyone have any experience with this CPU? It's currently @ 2.3GHz and it probably won't OC any higher on my crappy motherboard. My monitor resolution is 1680x1050. The question is: Will a Radeon 4850 show any noticeable difference over a 4670 in this configuration?
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
November 22, 2011 8:50:28 PM

I think the 4850 is going to work fine . As you turn up image details like AA and AF it will keep frame rates higher when the 4670 would be slowing right down
a b B Homebuilt system
November 22, 2011 9:51:23 PM

The Athlon 64 x2 5000+ will bottleneck a 4850 in MANY games because it bottlenecked my GTS 250. My CPU @ 2.8GHz (OC'd) bottlenecked on many games in 2009. Whether or not you bottleneck will depend on the title. For example, I think you'll do fine in Source Engine games (HL2, Portal, maybe Portal 2). But you won't get a decent experience in Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

That CPU will bottleneck a 4670 some of the time, but because that 4670 is so anemic, either may be the bottleneck, depending on the situation. So you'll see improvements some of the time--but not when you're CPU limited as you will be on all new games...
Duke Nukem Forever:,...
Deus EX HR:

The Athon 64 @ 2.3GHz will perform worse than the Phenom II x2 @ 2.5GHz in the first link. So you can see that a stronger CPU won't hit 30fps (minimum playable framerate) in some of these situations. But it will in others.

What motherboard are you using? You should find out if it supports AM3 CPUs. If you dropped an Athlon II x3 in there, you might be able to do a lot with that rig still. If the CPU is supported, you could probably have this Athlon II x3 for $45:
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
November 22, 2011 10:02:34 PM

Is that the old S939 or AM2 socket? My old S939 Athlon X2-4800+ handled a Geforce 8800GTS-640 @1680x1050 and probably could have handled the 8800GTS-512. The HD4670 is one step lower than the 8800GTS-640 on Tom's Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart, so it shouldn't have any problems running an HD4670. An HD4850, on the otherhand is probably a bit too much.

My opinion, anyway.

-Wolf sends
November 22, 2011 10:12:27 PM

4850 will be fine.
People used to run the 8800 Ultra on P4 systems 250>9800GTX>8800GTS>8800 Ultra
All very close as they are in fact just revised versions of the same card.
If the PSU can handle it there is no reason not to get the 4850
a b B Homebuilt system
November 22, 2011 10:28:57 PM

spentshells said:
4850 will be fine.
People used to run the 8800 Ultra on P4 systems 250>9800GTX>8800GTS>8800 Ultra
All very close as they are in fact just revised versions of the same card.
If the PSU can handle it there is no reason not to get the 4850
You're absolutely right that this system could be a beast with the games of 2007. But I posted benchmarks to back my claims for a reason--modern games often put much heavier loads on CPUs than they could during the Pentium 4's time (because the P4 was so weak). That CPU will bottleneck many new games. And unless you can provide some evidence based in modern gaming to back your claims that it'll be fine, then people should stop giving this guy reassurances to waste his money.

EDIT: I ran a GTS 250 on my more powerful Athlon 64 x2 5000+ OC'd to 2.8GHz and had trouble with several games in 2009. In Dragon Age, for example, I got the same fps with a 48 CUDA Core 9600 GSO as the GTS 250, which is nearly 3x as powerful. And games are more demanding on the CPU nowadays.
November 23, 2011 12:24:46 AM

Alright Dalauder... so your saying he wouldn't get much better performance from the 4850 over the 4670 ? I'd like to see anything anywhere that would indicate that.

As for your lack of improvement when upgrading to a much better card
it sounds to me like you had some other factor causing you issues. Perhaps you should have asked the forum....
a b B Homebuilt system
November 23, 2011 2:24:03 AM

Okay Spentshells, you're right--60% of the time the graphical upgrade will make a difference. The other 40% of the time, you'll be too CPU limited to yield a decent framerate anyways. I should've asked the forum when I had those issues back in '09. If the OP has a 4850 sitting around, he should use that instead of the 4670 if the PSU can handle it.

If he has to pay for the upgrade card, that system isn't worth it as it is because the CPU won't yield playable framerates in many new games such as BF3.

So I think it comes down to: Does a 4850 cost him any money? If so, then it's not worth it. If not, then go for it because it'll help a lot with games his CPU can handle.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 23, 2011 2:37:45 AM

I'm with dalauder on this. If you play games of yesteryear then the 4850 will be fine. But newer games of today will require to much CPU power, and the card won't be work it. The question is then what games does the OP play?
November 23, 2011 11:43:34 AM

Well upgrading the PC is out of question, since I'm not willing to invest money for an overpriced outdated CPU. Not to mention I'll be building a new PC in a couple of months. I"m intrested in Skyrim, Fallout 3, Battfield BC2/3, Dragon Age and maybe some new MMOs. From what I've understood my investment in a 4850 over a 4670 will go to waste in new CPU demanding games.
So, since I'm not willing to spend much anyway I'll buy a 4670.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 23, 2011 1:00:04 PM

Will you be upgrading soon? You could buy the 4850 now, and put it in your new machine when you build it. Only caveat is if you take to long to build it you'll be back in the same boat you are now, having to decided between outdated GPUs.

Basically if you will be building in the next 6mo or so, grab the 4850 and move it into the new machine. If you won't be building soon, then just grab the 4670 and save the $$$.
November 24, 2011 5:27:24 PM

I must disagree, thinking you will not get better performance with a better card is pretty off. I can agree that a 4850 will be held back in games with heavy CPU load to say there will be no advantage is very silly. But if you are buying a new computer buying anything for this old timer might be a waste. I have an 8800gt with this same CPU and it works great on a 19" 1280x1024 crysis warhead ran fine using med settings.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 27, 2011 9:50:21 PM

OP--there are games you can play with that machine and games you can't. For those you can play, the graphics will make a big difference. For those you can't, it doesn't matter what graphics are in the machine.

How much are you intending to spend? I bought an XFX GT 240 (DDR3) for $5 after rebate a couple months back. Maybe you should be looking into a particularly awesome deal rather than any specific card.

I think most of us were under the impression that the 4670 and 4850 were already available to you--or at least obtainable very cheaply.