Am I limited by the CPU?


I have the following specs:

Corsair VX 450W
8GB DDR3 1333Mhz
i5 661 (Dual core 3.33Ghz, 4MB cache)
XFX HD6950 2GB

The GPU is 2 days old, I just received it.
I had a GTX260 MaxCore 55 before that, and the performance increase isn't as I expected.
BF3 still runs bad on Medium and above at 1680x1050 with no AA or AF or Post-whatever or HBAO.
AC Brotherhood runs *almost* smooth on Max settings, AA and AF off, and it uses DX9.

For BF3, I've tried both Win 7 and Win 8 RTM, both 64 bit versions.

Should I not expect more performance than I am getting with such a GPU, or is my CPU too slow? Do any games even use 4 cores these days, besides BF3?

5 answers Last reply
More about limited
  1. your cpu is too slow. i would say try overclocking it but your power supply is only 450w
    yes newer games are optimized for multiple cores
  2. Overclocking would require both a new cooler (using stock now) and a new PSU. I think replacing the mobo and CPU is cheaper. :D
  3. How much difference do you estimate I should see by switching to a faster CPU?
    I hear my GPU should run this game on High, and right now even Medium isn't playing well.
  4. I played a bit at Medium settings with no AA and FF and HBAO/SSAO, and here's GPU-Z's log of the last seconds of the game, which I can safely say represent the average:

    What I wonder: why is the GPU load at 75% and even 65% at times? Should it be doing the best it can to maximize FPS?


    I used a tool that shows me the following info ingaame:
    CPU Core load for each core an each thread (2 cores x 2 threads, 4 threads overall)
    GPU Load

    CPU Load is consistently above 80%, sometime reaching 92% or even 97%.
    GPU Load is anywhere between 48% to 95% at extreme cases.

    You'd think it's a CPU bottleneck (and aybe it is) but there are occasions where FPS drops from a nice 48-75 to as low as 20 FPS, even midflight which doesn't reneder that much anyway, while the CPU load is around 85% and the GPU load is around 50%.
    So the CPU Cores aren't completely being used, so why does the GPU decide to settle for just 50% load, resulting in a sluggish 20FPS?
  5. A little update guys, I sold the 6950 (planned to.get a 7950 instead), got a TT 800w PSU and a new CPU cooler which dropped idle temps from 57 to 28, with 58 at 100% load.

    I reinstalled my old gtx 260 and bf3 runs nice on medium with ssao and post as medium.

    Other games I tried, Alan Wake and AC Brotherhood max out without as or vsync, so I'm postponing the upgrade for now.
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