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Thread: How much is my CPU bottlenecking me?

  1. #1
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    How much is my CPU bottlenecking me?

    First post, hi everyone.

    I'd just like some advice on my CPU, which is an underwhelming 2.9Ghz Celeron. How much is it screwing me over in terms of gaming performance? I know it's far from the best gaming CPU, but before I get out of shape about it I'd like to know approximately how much impact it's having before I consider upgrading or anything.

    Here's my spec:

    Intel Celeron 2.9Ghz CPU
    2 x 512mb 3200 DDR RAM (forgot which make, are worth about £60 each if that helps)
    GeCube Radeon X800GTO 128mb (AGP)
    Creative Audigy SE Sound
    Windows XP SP2

    That's about all you need to know isn't it? I'd also give you some examples of what I play, but my taste is pretty diverse. I have Oblivion, if that helps? It's running happily on all the average settings ATM.

    I know everything's all very mid-range and that's fine, I just need advice on how much the CPU is holding me back, if at all. Nothing's overclocked BTW, and if you need anymore info please ask.

    Thanks a lot.

  2. #2
    Senior Member ExceededGoku's Avatar
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    I reckon it is having quite a big affect on your gaming performance, for a start oblivion is a very CPU intensive game and that CPU isn't really designed for gaming. But tbh there would be no point in you upgrading because it would be expensive and the performance gain minimal in most games.
    Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 3.2Ghz (400Mhzx8) 1.52V (set in bios, 1.47v real) | 4GB GeIL PC6400 4-4-4-12 | Gigabyte DQ6 @ 1600Mhz | HD2900XT 1GB | Enermax Infiniti 720W | Silverstone TJ07-B with custom watercooling | BenQ FP241WZ
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  3. #3
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    yer those chips suck for games they are actually THE worst as i recall what else could you possibly upgrade too? socket 478??

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    Yeah these are about the responses I was expecting.

    Quote Originally Posted by rainbow
    yer those chips suck for games they are actually THE worst as i recall what else could you possibly upgrade too? socket 478??
    I don't know, I'd need some more advice there. I'd be happy to upgrade the CPU just enough so the GPU becomes the bottleneck, because that's about the performance I'm after. Any suggestions or advice?

  5. #5
    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    • DanceswithUnix's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus X470-PRO
      • CPU:
      • 3700X
      • Memory:
      • 16GB 3200MHz
      • Storage:
      • 1TB Linux, 1TB Games (Win 10)
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus Strix RX Vega 56
      • PSU:
      • 650W Corsair TX
      • Case:
      • Antec 300
      • Operating System:
      • Fedora 30 + Win 10 Pro 64 (yuk)
      • Monitor(s):
      • Benq XL2730Z 1440p + Samsung 2343BW 2048x1152
      • Internet:
      • Zen 80Mb/20Mb VDSL
    This is just the link for you:

    http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets...spx?i=2395&p=6

    Compares a slightly faster Celeron than yours with high end Sempron and low end Athlon 64 chips. All chips benchmarked with an X800 XT, so should be of interest to you. You would need to cross reference that with another review to see how bigger S939 chips compare to the 3200 shown there.

    Looks to me like you would need to buy a S939 3500+ to double your framerate.

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    Geez you guys weren't kidding.

    Thanks for that link, DanceswithUnix, exactly what I needed.

    Looks like I'm officially looking into a new CPU then *wanders off to ebuyer*

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    Senior Member sawyen's Avatar
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    As above, Celeron's arent the coolest thing around.. Pentium 4s are slow enough with loads of onboard cache.. cut that in half and you'll get a very very crippled old man.

    Its a consolation that newer celerons clock pretty good, but even at 3.8-4.0Ghz, they are still pretty shyt.. no offence to any celery users.

    You're better off upgrading mate..
    Me want Ultrabook


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    OK, You've convinced me. I'm upgrading.

    Following the advice of DancesWithUnix I'm looking into this:
    http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/produ...duct_uid=88107

    I'm fairly happy with the choice. I could go with the 3200 for £20~ less but decided against it.

    Anyway, I have another, probably extremely stupid question. Do processors fit in any mobo, or am I gonna have to dig around looking at compatibility and stuff? Also, would you recommend me taking it to a shop for fitting since I've never installed a processor before and am frankly terrified at the concept?

    Anyway, thanks a lot guys, you've been great so far.

  9. #9
    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    • DanceswithUnix's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus X470-PRO
      • CPU:
      • 3700X
      • Memory:
      • 16GB 3200MHz
      • Storage:
      • 1TB Linux, 1TB Games (Win 10)
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus Strix RX Vega 56
      • PSU:
      • 650W Corsair TX
      • Case:
      • Antec 300
      • Operating System:
      • Fedora 30 + Win 10 Pro 64 (yuk)
      • Monitor(s):
      • Benq XL2730Z 1440p + Samsung 2343BW 2048x1152
      • Internet:
      • Zen 80Mb/20Mb VDSL
    At this point I suppose I should mention that old Hexus favourite: the Asrock Dual SATA-2 motherboard.

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Produ...oductID=291356

    The link is on Scan as I happened to have their page open in my browser, I expect Ebuyer have it as well. Note that I don't actually own one of these, but they seem to get a lot of mentions around here for people with AGP cards worth keeping.

  10. #10
    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    • DanceswithUnix's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus X470-PRO
      • CPU:
      • 3700X
      • Memory:
      • 16GB 3200MHz
      • Storage:
      • 1TB Linux, 1TB Games (Win 10)
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus Strix RX Vega 56
      • PSU:
      • 650W Corsair TX
      • Case:
      • Antec 300
      • Operating System:
      • Fedora 30 + Win 10 Pro 64 (yuk)
      • Monitor(s):
      • Benq XL2730Z 1440p + Samsung 2343BW 2048x1152
      • Internet:
      • Zen 80Mb/20Mb VDSL
    Quote Originally Posted by Nobuo
    I'm fairly happy with the choice. I could go with the 3200 for £20~ less but decided against it.
    I should point out that the next step up, 3700, has twice the cache memory as the 3500 you are currently looking at. In some apps (like halflife-2) it matters, though I am quite happy with my overclocked 3000+ and that only has the 512KB.

    Anyway, thanks a lot guys, you've been great so far.
    I think we all love spending other people's money; much easier than spending your own!

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    To be honest I don't see your CPU being an obvious bottle-neck really. It's a mid-range celeron matched with a mid-range X800 GTO. The way to see if your CPU is really the bottle-neck is to increase the resolution in your game, and see what impact it has on the framerate. The rule of thumb is: if the framerate stays roughly the same, then it's a CPU bottle-neck, if it goes down then it's a graphics bottle-neck.


    HardOCP did a good editorial on CPU-scaling in games a few days ago, which might give some insight: http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/articl...50aHVzaWFzdA==
    To sum up their results with some pretty high-end cards such as the 7800GTX, they found that a P4 3.2GHz is about the point where you see the CPU holding you back. Of course your situation is slightly different with a celeron, but I'd guess that you would only start seeing a bottle-neck with something like a 7800GT

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix
    I think we all love spending other people's money; much easier than spending your own!
    Lol, I can imagine!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rohan
    To be honest I don't see your CPU being an obvious bottle-neck really. It's a mid-range celeron matched with a mid-range X800 GTO. The way to see if your CPU is really the bottle-neck is to increase the resolution in your game, and see what impact it has on the framerate. The rule of thumb is: if the framerate stays roughly the same, then it's a CPU bottle-neck, if it goes down then it's a graphics bottle-neck.
    Oh I see...didn't know that. I'll do some experimenting when I get home then, if it turns out the graphics card is the bottleneck I think I'll leave things be for now. From the comparison DanceswithUnix supplied it doesn't look like that's the case though.

    Assuming I do choose to upgrade the processor, I'd like to avoid upgrading the mobo if possible. How do I know which type of processor is for my mobo? Is it to do with this 939pin business?

  13. #13
    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    • DanceswithUnix's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus X470-PRO
      • CPU:
      • 3700X
      • Memory:
      • 16GB 3200MHz
      • Storage:
      • 1TB Linux, 1TB Games (Win 10)
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus Strix RX Vega 56
      • PSU:
      • 650W Corsair TX
      • Case:
      • Antec 300
      • Operating System:
      • Fedora 30 + Win 10 Pro 64 (yuk)
      • Monitor(s):
      • Benq XL2730Z 1440p + Samsung 2343BW 2048x1152
      • Internet:
      • Zen 80Mb/20Mb VDSL
    That hardocp article is pretty hard going! It also seems to be rather high-end in the kit they use.

    This is rather more what I want to see from a scaling article:

    http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets...spx?i=2330&p=6

    A bit old now, but still shows rather nicely whether that extra 200MHz would make a difference if you were playing half-life2. Note that it isn't just dependant on the game, but the level within the game makes a big difference, some levels just seem to keep giving!

  14. #14
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    [QUOTE=Nobuo]Geez you guys weren't kidding.
    lol i know the really do suck

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    So apparently I have a crappy monitor that supports 1024x768 max. That really sucks. New first on upgrade list!

    In any case I compared Doom 3's low graphics 0AA with ultra graphics 2xAA on 1024x768 and noticed only a small decrease in FPS. Doesn't that invertly proove the same point Rohan was making? It makes sense to me, no FPS compromise with Low Graphics vs Ultra Graphics = GPU not bottleneck. Although any more than 2xAA on Ultra caused hiccups, but I think that's to be expected on an X800, right?

  16. #16
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    dont worry bout your monitor for now you se my spec im usingf a 15 inch crt who hcares,just get the fastest chip you can on the socket do you know what that is?

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