Do CPU's matter for gaming?

Assuming we are spending enough for a decent modern processor ($150+) and we have an entire 8GB of RAM.

Does the processor matter at all or at this point is the only thing that matters the GPU?
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  1. The processor matters, just not as much as the GPU. When people say CPU bottleneck, I believe they are referring to when the GPU feeds information to the CPU too fast than it can handle, and therefore a faster CPU is needed. I think..
  2. CPUs matter but it's the GPU that's doing most of the heavy lifting. The CPU needs to feed data to the GPU as fast as the GPU can take, plus perform the geometry, AI and process user input.

    The question really is, is your CPU holding your GPU back? Most games aren't very taxing on the CPU, and all mid-high end modern CPUs are fast enough.
  3. Essentially, you have two separate issues when gaming: You have the CPU, which is responsable for all the internal processing within the application, and the GPU, which is responsible for processing/displaying the images to the screen.

    Regardless of the GPU, if the CPU is significantly slower, the entire application will slow down simply because the GPU is sitting around doing nothing while waiting for the CPU to feed it data. The reverse is true as well, the application could be going fast, but its waiting on a slow GPU to finish its processing.

    Nowadays, most games are more heavy on the GPU, especially teh newer revisions of the DX API. But a slow CPU will kill FPS just as much. I generally go faster on the CPU so I don't have to worry about upgrading it for some time, and upgrade GPU's every two years or so.
  4. I think I am beginning to understand all of this a little better. Once you get yourself a decent desktop you can upgrade by component which makes buying a big fat expensive GPU a little more realistic. I'm on a 965 and have never come close to even 75% while gaming (+other apps) in an eyefinity environment.

    The new xbox 720 cpu's will have 16 cores though? wtf is that all about?

    *edit - to clarify in WoW and Rift while in eyefinity (medium settings) the cpu ranges from 25%-50% on avg with no other apps running. It can get to maybe 60% in a dungeon with other apps running (say watching hulu in another window).
  5. CPU does the LOGICAL part of the games- AI, positioning, impact and physics and handles the features of the games(RPGs and RTS have many ,FPS and actions not so many)

    Problem is except for Physx and animations, which it's not much KBits of instructions, almost nothing changed from 10 years ago
    .....SO I'm wondering how can these games, which only LOOK good(no business with CPU) but didn't improve much in other aspects are so CPU-hungry..could it be the Hardware and Gaming industry are $$$ hungry?

    Just a thought
  6. i5's are currently the best for pure gaming, i7s best for multi-threaded apps like video editing while still having the gaming potential that an i5 has, so that's something to consider.
    If you already have a phenom 965 just overclock a little and you're okay for a little while. It's a decent CPU but getting outdated and like you say, it doesn't really get above 60% when gaming.
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