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Help me understand CPU bottlenecks

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  • CPUs
  • Bottleneck
Last response: in CPUs
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February 26, 2013 10:24:53 AM

Hi to all from Toms hardware,

I have been thinking of adding a second HD 7970 to my system (specs below) to increase performance of recent titles like Crysis 3. Many I have spoken to have suggested that I would bottleneck my first generation i7 too much to justify the extra $ I am about to spend.

Firstly, I understand the basic concept of 'bottlenecking' a CPU, but does the same concept apply to GPU intensive games like Crysis 3? In theory, should the addition of a second 7970 not take load away from my CPU as opposed to 'bottlenecking' it when I am playing at 'max' graphical settings? Its probably worth adding that I am looking into purchasing a 2560x1440 monitor, which should justify the addition of the extra 7970. I wont be able to buy the new card, the monitor AND a top of the range processor which brings me to my dilemma.

Sorry if this is a bit of a dumb question, but I have received so many different answers that I no longer know what exactly to believe.

Also, I have heard that OC'ing my CPU could solve this potential problem. I am not opposed to doing this, but lack the sufficient experience to be confident enough to just 'jump in' and do it. What are my other options? Will my CPU really be that much of a bottleneck?

I used to run two gtx 570's in SLI before settling for one higher end card, and the only problem I was facing was the lack of Vram on those cards. i didnt personally notice any significant bottleneck on my CPU's behalf.

Any advice appreciated!

i7 960 @ 3.2GHZ
Asus rog Rampage 3 extreme mobo
Asus HD 7970 Direct cu2
12gb Corsair Vengeance ram (3x4gb)
1000W Corsair HX PSU
Windows 7 64 bit

More about : understand cpu bottlenecks

February 26, 2013 10:41:50 AM

A 960 shouldnt bottleneck it at all. If you were running an i3, then that is a different story. You could always OC a bit. Check out one of the numerous OCing threads on this forum first, and then post a thread if you need further help.
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February 26, 2013 10:49:59 AM

p4nz3rm4d said:
A 960 shouldnt bottleneck it at all. If you were running an i3, then that is a different story. You could always OC a bit. Check out one of the numerous OCing threads on this forum first, and then post a thread if you need further help.


Thanks for the quick reply! Advice appreciated, I Will have a deeper look into OC'ing CPU's before purchasing the second card.
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February 26, 2013 11:00:26 AM

I dont know wether you have considered this: but heat is another issue in every SLI/X-Fire rig. 2 cards produces a lot more heat. Just something for thought since you are still in the planning phase...
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February 26, 2013 12:09:28 PM

Yeah I had Gigabyte GTX 570's in SLI, and the temps could get a little high at times, but I figured the bigger steel fans on the 7970 direct cu2 would handle it much better than the plastic noisy fans on the 570's. I will be leaving an open lane between the cards, and hopefully my temps can stay reasonable.
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