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Am I limited by the CPU?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
October 3, 2012 5:01:28 PM


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?


More about : limited cpu

a b U Graphics card
October 3, 2012 5:22:13 PM

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
October 3, 2012 5:29:21 PM

Overclocking would require both a new cooler (using stock now) and a new PSU. I think replacing the mobo and CPU is cheaper. :D 
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October 3, 2012 6:04:38 PM

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.
October 3, 2012 6:25:56 PM

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?

October 10, 2012 5:19:59 AM

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.