Is my GPU bottlenecking my CPU?

I just recently got a ZOTAC GTX 660 (2gb) and am getting a low FPS in games I should be EASILY able to max out. And it seems like even if I lower the video settings to the minimum my FPS doesn't even rise more than 5 FPS.. so I'm thinking my CPU is possibly bottle-necking my GPU?

CPU: AMD Athlon II 640 X4 3.0GHz Quad-Core
GPU: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 660 2GB 192-bit GDDR5
Motherboard: ASUS M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3
Memory: 4G G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR3 1600
PSU: Cooler Master GX Series 750w
HDD: 500GB Samsung 7200 RPM
8 answers Last reply
More about bottlenecking
  1. Quote:
    The CPU is responsible for producing the information for the frames. The GPU is responsible for rendering the frames. If you lower the video settings and see an increase in frame rate, then the video card is suffering. If you increase the video settings and the frame rate stays the same, then the CPU is suffering. Every game is different regarding how the CPU and GPU are utilized.

    I'm not sure if this is true but I read this on Steam's forums somewhere. If that is true then I'd definitely say it is a bottleneck because I seem to have the issue mentioned above! ^^

    I'm suggesting switching to Intel, but the I would have to also buy a new motherboard and buying a new high-end CPU AND motherboard could be quite pricey. I don't have much money so do you guys suggest I get a Intel Mobo + CPU or is there any good AMD (am3) CPUs that could get the job done w/ my 660?
  2. Yea the idea is correct.

    It's not that expensive. The new Vishera CPUs are significantly better than the Bulldozers but no AMD CPU, even when overclocked, touches the 3470 and above.

    You could buy a 3470 and a mobo for about $300.
  3. one way to check if your cpu hovers around 95% but gpu is around less than 80% then your cpu is the culprit
  4. Get these.

    i5 3470 ($200)
    MSI B75MA-P45 ($55)

    The Mobo is just fine to run a GPU & CPU.
    No SLI or X-Fire

    Decent enough for Non OCing CPUs.
  5. Yea I think Sumuk has a good build idea there with just really changing out your processor and your motherboard. You could always upgrade your ram at a later point 8 gigs to get more of a optimal experience out of that. You can't overclock but games aren't really swayed much in terms of cpu performance with i5/i7's gen 2 sandy, or gen 3 ivy.
  6. The Stock speeds of 2nd & 3rd Gen i5\i7 is enough for Games.

    Overclocking is a Option when you play very CPU intensive games.
  7. Which are very few and very far between I mean outside of world of warcraft I can't think of one.
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