Is my CPU bottlenecking my GPU?

Hello, here are my specs:

>i3-2100
>Sapphire HD 2GB 7870
>Antec TruePower 650w
>Windows 7
>23.5 inch monitor - 1080p

The reason I ask is because I recently used the 7870 to replace my old 6850 and I'm seeing completely negligible performance increases. Should I consider upgrading my CPU or did I just grossly overestimate the percentage performance and fps increase from my previous card? Thanks, and feel free to make any suggestions.

Also, after I replaced my GPU and started my computer up, I received an error message indicating that my CPU temperature was too high. I turned it off went away, came back later and restarted without the error - haven't seen it since. Is this something to be concerned about? If so what could I do to fix the problem?
23 answers Last reply
More about bottlenecking
  1. Hi. Not necessarily as seen from this recent benchmark from Tom's Hardware. Of course it also depends on the individual title, resolution and settings.
  2. Hmm, well I'm at a loss. My drivers are up to date as far as I can tell ( Catalyst Version 12.10) and yet I'm still playing Skyrim and Arma II at 20FPS with occasional drops to 10-15 on a £260 card.
  3. That... is very very very low.

    What resolution are you playing at?
    Did you install the most recent drivers?
    What are your temperatures like?
  4. Tell me about it. I'm playing at 1920x1080 and as far as the Catalyst Control Centre tells me my drivers are up to date. Temperatures are fine too.
  5. Hmm, Did you install it into the correct PCI-E slot? Maybe you out it into a 4x slot of something?
  6. Just checked - nope.
  7. Any other suggestions? Perhaps the individual card is just faulty?
  8. run hardware monitor on the background while playing the game.. if the CPU stay at 100%. the CPU may be the culprit..
  9. uninstall the drivers with amds uninstall manager thing. reboot, and download and install the latest drivers. get HWmonitor to monitor your temps also, if cpu temp is high, it will throttle back.
  10. CPU temps hover around 60 degrees centigrade. I'll try reinstalling the drivers.
  11. Download MSI afterburner and check GPU usage during the lag.

    http://event.msi.com/vga/afterburner/overview.htm

    It's definitely not CPU fault. Though I suspect that you may be running something in the background that cripples the performance.
  12. Install catalyst 12.11 drivers and then try again. I don't think an i3 2100 will bottleneck a 7870 that bad. You should be able to max out all games.
    Also turn off Vsync
  13. When I rebooted after uninstalling the drivers I recieved an error stating that my CPU temp is too high, checked and it was around 85-90, what the hell?

    Sunius said:


    It's definitely not CPU fault. Though I suspect that you may be running something in the background that cripples the performance.


    What could that be?

    Max GPU usage during a period of low fps was 64%
  14. redo thermal paste if possible & do you have aftermarket cooler for your cpu??
  15. Well, that extra stuff that cripples performance is your temperature!

    You should make sure the CPU is spinning. If it is, you should reapply thermal paste and clean dust out of your PC case.
  16. I've just got the stock cooler. I'll re-apply the thermal paste and see if that solves anything.

    edit: actually screw it, might as well go with an after market heatsink.
  17. Even the stock cooler should be able to cool the CPU enough for it not to overheat.
  18. Yeah, it's over a year old now though and I didn't apply paste myself in the first place. I don't know why it would be so hot otherwise. It's around 60 degrees idle and 90 on load.
  19. Let us know what you reapply the thermal paste and whether it fixed the issue.
  20. Will do. Is it true that the temperature of my CPU alone be enough to cause this?
  21. Yes. Easily. If a CPU thinks it is in danger, it just slows down.
  22. Seems to have worked. I think my stock heat sink must have been faulty rather than just sub-par as my load temps decreased by 50 degrees, idle by 20. Getting decent fps (40+) on Arma II now. Thanks for the help guys.
  23. I'm glad you were able to solve it.
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