Which video card is right for my CPU? The answer to this question is usually anything but clear. Still, pairing a GeForce3 with a Pentium III 500 makes little sense, as current T&L units are still heavily reliant on raw CPU power. Additionally, every game has a different minimum system requirement.
While a GF2 Ti only gains 10fps when moved from a P3 800 MHz to a P4 1800 MHz system, a Ti 500 turns the additional CPU power into an extra 60fps. Or, let's put it this way: on the P3 system, the Ti500 is merely 16fps faster than the GF2 Ti. With a P4, it can extend its lead to almost 70fps!
The Max Payne results tell a different story altogether. Here, the CPU almost seems to be of secondary importance. Interestingly, a GF2 Ti or a GF3 Ti200 shows almost no gain from a faster CPU. Only the P3 system seems to hold the Ti200 and Ti500 back, but beyond a certain level, increasing CPU performance yields only diminishing returns, and the gap between the cards becomes much less pronounced.