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GPU vs. CPU Upgrade: Extensive Tests

3D Performance Sorted According to Resolution and Anti-Aliasing

Due to multiple requests from the forum, we have decided to show the results of the frame rate and percentage evaluations separately, according to resolution and antialiasing settings. This makes comparisons easier if you are looking for a graphics card for use with a specific screen size or resolution. Remember that the image quality of an LCD display looks best when it is set to use its native resolution (for example, a 22” monitor at 1680x1050 pixels).

1280x1024 0AAfpsPercent
Geforce 9800 GTX (512 MB)3461.2401.6
Geforce 8800 GTS OC (512 MB)3459.9401.5
Geforce 8800 GT OC (512 MB)3313.6384.5
Geforce 9600 GT OC (1024 MB)3004.6348.6
Geforce 7950 GT (512 MB)1792.1207.9
Geforce 6800 GT (256 MB)861.8100.0
1680x1050 0AAfpsPercent
Geforce 8800 GTS OC (512 MB)3029.1457.3
Geforce 9800 GTX (512 MB)3002.3453.2
Geforce 8800 GT OC (512 MB)2881.7435.0
Geforce 9600 GT OC (1024 MB)2557.3386.1
Geforce 7950 GT (512 MB)1425.2215.2
Geforce 6800 GT (256 MB)662.4100.0
1920x1200 0AAfpsPercent
Geforce 8800 GTS OC (512 MB)2732.7548.4
Geforce 9800 GTX (512 MB)2712.7544.4
Geforce 8800 GT OC (512 MB)2590.2519.8
Geforce 9600 GT OC (1024 MB)2252.9452.1
Geforce 7950 GT (512 MB)1160.5232.9
Geforce 6800 GT (256 MB)498.3100.0

When using higher resolutions with antialiasing, the Geforce 9800 GTX exceeds the performance of the Geforce 8800 GTS 512 OC. The Geforce 6800 GT is too weak for extreme graphics quality with antialiasing, and the Geforce 7950 GT has reached its limits with current games, although both graphics chips only use DirectX 9, whereas the Geforce 8 and 9 use the more elaborate DirectX 10.

1280x1024 with AAfpsPercent
Geforce 8800 GTS OC (512 MB)2286.2770.0
Geforce 9800 GTX (512 MB)2285.9769.9
Geforce 8800 GT OC (512 MB)2211.9745.0
Geforce 9600 GT OC (1024 MB)2047.1689.5
Geforce 7950 GT (512 MB)819.0275.9
Geforce 6800 GT (256 MB)296.9100.0
1680x1050 with AAfpsPercent
Geforce 9800 GTX (512 MB)2041.0825.6
Geforce 8800 GTS OC (512 MB)2014.6815.0
Geforce 8800 GT OC (512 MB)1939.6784.6
Geforce 9600 GT OC (1024 MB)1776.4718.6
Geforce 7950 GT (512 MB)721.6291.9
Geforce 6800 GT (256 MB)247.2100.0
1920x1200 with AAfpsPercent
Geforce 9800 GTX (512 MB)1760.51149.2
Geforce 8800 GTS OC (512 MB)1734.91132.4
Geforce 8800 GT OC (512 MB)1672.21091.5
Geforce 9600 GT OC (1024 MB)1510.3985.8
Geforce 7950 GT (512 MB)582.5380.2
Geforce 6800 GT (256 MB)153.2100.0
  • DjEaZy
    will there be a AMD/ATI roundup???
    Reply
  • randomizer
    That would simply consume more time without really proving much. I think sticking with a single manufacturer is fine, because you see the generation differences of cards and the performance gains compared to geting a new processor. You will see the same thing with ATI cards. Pop in an X800 and watch it crumble in the wake of a HD3870. There is no need to inlude ATI cards for the sake of this article.
    Reply
  • randomizer
    This has been a long needed article IMO. Now we can post links instead of coming up with simple explanations :D
    Reply
  • yadge
    I didn't realize the new gpus were actually that powerful. According to Toms charts, there is no gpu that can give me double the performance over my x1950 pro. But here, the 9600gt was getting 3 times the frames as the 7950gt(which is better than mine) on Call of Duty 4.

    Maybe there's something wrong with the charts. I don't know. But this makes me even more excited for when I upgrade in the near future.
    Reply
  • This article is biased from the beginning by using a reference graphics card from 2004 (6800GT) to a reference CPU from 2007 (E2140).

    Go back and use a Pentium 4 Prescott (2004) and then the basis of these percentage values on page 3 will actually mean something.
    Reply
  • randomizer
    yadgeI didn't realize the new gpus were actually that powerful. According to Toms charts, there is no gpu that can give me double the performance over my x1950 pro. But here, the 9600gt was getting 3 times the frames as the 7950gt(which is better than mine) on Call of Duty 4. Maybe there's something wrong with the charts. I don't know. But this makes me even more excited for when I upgrade in the near future.I upgraded my X1950 pro to a 9600GT. It was a fantastic upgrade.
    Reply
  • wh3resmycar
    scyThis article is biased from the beginning by using a reference graphics card from 2004 (6800GT) to a reference CPU from 2007 (E2140).
    maybe it is. but its relevant especially with those people who are stuck with those prescotts/6800gt. this article reveals an upgrade path nonetheless
    Reply
  • randomizer
    If they had used P4s there would be o many variables in this article that there would be no direction and that would make it pointless.
    Reply
  • JAYDEEJOHN
    Great article!!! It clears up many things. It finally shows proof that the best upgrade a gamer can make is a newer card. About the P4's, just take the clock rate and cut it in half, then compare (ok add 10%) heheh
    Reply
  • justjc
    I know randomizer thinks we would get the same results, but would it be possible to see just a small article showing if the same result is true for AMD processors and ATi graphics.
    Firstly we know that ATi and nVidia graphics doesn't calculate graphics in the same way, who knows perhaps an ATi card requiers more or less processorpower to work at full load, and if you look at Can you run it? for Crysis(only one I recall using) you will see the minimum needed AMD processor is slover than the minimum needed Core2, even in processor speed.
    So any chance of a small, or full scale, article throwing some ATi and AMD power into the mix?
    Reply