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Is my CPU really a bottleneck on my new graphics card?

Last response: in Systems
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January 14, 2012 4:42:30 PM

I bought a cheap but decent HP desktop on craigslist for about $100 which I hoped I would be able to game with as long as I get a really good graphics card. So I got an XFX Radeon HD 4890 card (1GB GDDR5) (for a really good deal I might say) and let's just say gameplay performance isn't as good as I expected it to be.

The specs of my HP desktop are
AMD Athlon X2 4800+ dual core AM2
4GB PC2-5300 667MHz DDR2 Dual Channel RAM
HP Asus M2N68-LA Narra2 Motherboard
400GB Serial ATA II Hard Drive + 200GB Serial ATA II Hard Drive
500W Antec PSU
and of course my XFX Radeon HD 4890 1GB GDDR5 GPU

The thing is I'm confused, I heard bottleneck does/doesn't exist, processor doesn't affect gaming as much as the graphics card does, and such. And if such does, how much does it affect the performance of my card

Another thing is I can't upgrade to AM2+ processors (AMD Athlon II and AMD Phenom II generation processors) since my motherboard only supports AM2 socket (949) processors.

Lastly, if my CPU really is THAT BIG of a bottleneck to my graphics card
I was thinking about upgrading to a Asus P5Q PRO Turbo motherboard with an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 processor (I'm getting a really good deal on it!!!) and 4GB of PC2-1066 DDR2 RAM, don't know if it's worth getting though since I have no idea how big of a performance increase it would bring, especially since both processors are dual core.

a b U Graphics card
a b α HP
January 14, 2012 4:46:46 PM

Hi :) 

That cpu is running at 2400 (its real speed).... and that card is not the greatest....

So yes the cpu is bottlenecking the card but not by much.....

Its not worth upgrading that machine...the games will run ok but thats about it....

All the best Brett :) 

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January 14, 2012 4:56:42 PM

e8400 is much better than 4800+

4800+ is a big bottleneck to hd4890

hd4890 is about the same as hd6770, you should be fine playing any games at 1600x900 or under.
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a b U Graphics card
January 14, 2012 4:56:56 PM

If you can get the Asus P5Q PRO Turbo motherboard with an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 processor and 4GB of PC2-1066 DDR2 RAM for a good deal then I think it would be worth it and it should run circles around your current rig.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/34?vs=56

There is alot of overclock potential in the E8400 too. What is a really good deal?
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a b U Graphics card
a b α HP
January 16, 2012 2:21:10 AM

drunkducki said:
e8400 is much better than 4800+

4800+ is a big bottleneck to hd4890

hd4890 is about the same as hd6770, you should be fine playing any games at 1600x900 or under.



+1 drunkduck


HD4890 is a nice card. Maybe stronger than HD6770/Hd5770 (hd6770 is an hd5770 renamed, same chip) http://www.hwcompare.com/1159/radeon-hd-4890-1gb-vs-rad...

HD4890 uses a lot of power though. That card will pull 200 watts (tdp of chip is 190), much more if you overclock it. Good thing you swapped in a new PSU.

This table should give you an idea of how much better an E8400 is vs. 4800+
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-overcloc...
3 tiers is a visible difference. 4800+ to e8400 is 4 tiers away.

While you are looking see how much more benefit you'd get from a $250 i3-2100/MB/Mem combo vs. the e8400. or an AMD Phenom II X4. http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite... plus memory (someone can probably suggest a better cpu/mb combo plus you'll need memory)
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January 16, 2012 5:52:09 AM

Well what do you know guys, I ended up getting the E8400 with the P5Q Turbo motherboard, and what can I say, I couldn't be any happier!

I didn't expect the processor upgrade to make such a huge impact. I'm getting anywhere between 20 to even 40 frames per second increase with the Intel Core 2 Duo processor.

Thanks guys.

Also yes, I would've gotten a newer generation, Sandy-Bridge system, but I the guy offered me a really good deal on this one, $100 for both the motherboard and processor, plus 4GBs of DDR2-1066 RAM, and since he had an extra processor laying around he gave it to me with it too, it's also better than the one I have apparently, although a little older generation, it's an Intel core 2 Duo E4500, not bad for $100.

Anyone running the same older generation AMD Athlon X2 setup as me should definitely upgrade, the Core 2 Duo is leagues ahead of the Athlon X2. However if you have a AM2+ capable motherboard (which I did not have unfortunately) you'll be better off spending less money and getting the newer second generation AMD Athlon II or Phenom IIs, they're definitely just as good if not better than the Core 2 Duo, at very cheap prices.

Thank you guys!
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January 16, 2012 5:54:30 AM

What I'm going to end up doing now is getting another motherboard, hopefully I can find one cheap, that's compatible with the E4500 processor I have laying around here, and couple it with a Radeon HD 4850 I have on the way, it was suppose to be going towards the AMD system I have, but it's crap lol, better off getting a new main board than wasting the card's potential.
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a b U Graphics card
January 16, 2012 2:49:24 PM

$100 is a hell of a deal man especially since you got an extra CPU to go with it. Glad it all worked out enjoy the Rig.
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January 17, 2012 8:05:14 AM

I have one last question,

I plan on buying another motherboard on eBay (for cheap of course) to use with the E4500. Since the E4500 is an older generation processor (two generations older than the E8400 I currently have) will it even be worth buying another motherboard? Or should I just use the HD 4850 on my other setup (with the Athlon X2 4800+, 4GB DDR2, etc.)?

Cause otherwise, the money will go toward my friend wanting to get a GeForce 9600GT for his setup (Phenom X4 9150e, 4GB RAM, etc.)
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a b U Graphics card
January 17, 2012 9:59:46 PM

The performance difference between the E4500 and your 4800+ is minimal so I would just stick the 4850 in your 4800+ setup and save the money.
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January 22, 2012 4:50:30 AM

It's cool, I heard the E4500 over clocks very well, plus I already gave the Athlon X2 4800+ to my friend along with the 9600GSO 512MB.

Just waiting on the motherboard! but thanks guys
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January 22, 2012 4:53:43 AM

Best answer selected by justinxtreme.
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a c 272 U Graphics card
January 22, 2012 8:32:57 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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