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Role of CPU in Gaming

post #1 of 26
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I currently have X4 980 BE and I went with that CPU because everything I found said Quad Core is best for gaming.

My question is my upgrade path?

Also, If someone can send me a link or explain the Role of CPU in gaming.

I was under the impression that your GPU does all the working in gaming, so spend all your money on a great GPU. That is why when I built this setup 6 months ago I went with a ASUS 6950 2GB card.

What should be my upgrade path for my GPU?

I appreciate all the wealth of knowledge on this website and peoples opinions.

The research I have done shows that my 6950 2gb is doing a great job at playing all the current games at highest settings. This is why I havent been too eager to jump to 7XXX series of cards.. YET..

Thanks
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White Night
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post #2 of 26
The cpu handles physics (you know unless you have nvidia and it is a supported game). It also does a lot of different calculations, that depends on the game (some are gpu centered and some depend heavily on the cpu). Rpgs and rts have lots of equations and rule sets to calculate. In rpgs it has to keep track of the rule set, calculated hit and drops. In rts game it has to keep track of all of your units and things being built. Where as a fps is mostly gpu centered and the cpu is used to feed the gpu with things to process along with doing back ground calculations.


Upgrade when you have trouble running what you want at the level you want as new hardware will ether be out or the hardware will be cheaper.
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post #3 of 26
The workload on a CPU and GPU is going to be determined by the game itself. FPS games (such as BF3) are typically more dependent on a graphics cards and can be run with a wide variety of CPUs with not much frame rate difference. There's a benchmark I've seen where a sandy bridge G850 performs very close to a 2500k in BF3. This isn't surprising because these games are primarily graphics driven and the GPU draws the scene, while the CPU does the calculations, which isn't too hard in comparison. So for these games, you'll want to drop cash on a beefier GPU and you can afford to skimp a little on the CPU because it doesn't make much difference in just playing the game.

However, in other games such as RTS like SC2, the game is heavily dependent on the CPU. The CPU needs to calculate the paths for a ton of different units at once, and with a slower CPU the game will slow down when more units are on the screen. Though heavily dependent on the CPU, SC2 is not very dependent on the GPU. In comparison, the GPU effects is not as difficult and a lower end card will certainly suffice for these sorts of games. So depending on the game, you don't want to drop all your dough on a GPU. For SC2, a $200 CPU might be required as not to hold back frames when you're using a $100 GPU. Or, put differently, if you had $300 to spend, a $200 CPU and a $100 GPU would perform better at SC2 than a $200 GPU with a $100 CPU (right now at least).

GPU upgrade path for you will depend on what games it is you want to play and what settings you want. Depending on your resolution, your best upgrade might be crossfire as you already have a high end card (if you wanted to do 1440p or higher). Or, if you're playing at around 1080p, you might not need to upgrade for a couple years (maybe the nvidia 700 series or the AMD 8000 series) depending on the games. It's hard to call an upgrade path when you're running with a fairly high end card. You'll want to upgrade when you can no longer play on your desired settings and get desired frame rates. Whether this means 60+ FPS on ultra or 40 FPS on medium, it's up to you.

As a side note, quad cores are fine for gaming, but typically a dual core is as well. Many games don't use more than 2 threads, so the only advantage a quad core would have is that you can do other things while you game (stream the game, for instance). If you have a dual core, upgrading to a quad core wouldn't necessarily help the game play better, but it depends on the game of course.
post #4 of 26
yes most game only need 2 cores but with streaming games you will need at less 4 cores
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by truckerguy View Post

yes most game only need 2 cores but with streaming games you will need at less 4 cores

However games like battlefield 3 tend to skip when you don't have at least a ht dual core. Getting a quad really smoothed my games out compared to my e8400 @ 4.1 ghz
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post #6 of 26
I have an 1100T and I disable 1 core and run it as a 5-core (for reasons of reducing heat).

Disabling just one core lowers my temps by 10-15c under heavy load, and this is at 400mhz higher clockspeed.

I usually "set affinity" of any game I'm playing to the first 3 CPUs. This basically leaves me with a "dual core CPU" to work on any other tasks I might wanna do while gaming.
    
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post #7 of 26
real world? depends. except at lower res most of the game is on the gpu. there are some cpus limited games, such as sc2, but not many. unless your running some sli or cf thing most cpus over 2.5 ghz and above two cores should be fine.
post #8 of 26
CPU or GPU requirements depend on the game. Take SC2 for instance - best with very high performance per-core, but can only use 2 cores, which means Intel CPUs are better... though of course Phenom IIs will do fine.

Then take most GPU, based games, like BF3 single player - you can run that on pretty much any crap dual-core out there... CPU doesn't even really matter.

Some games have specific situations that need more oomph - like the largest BF3 multiplayer maps - a good quad-core recommended.

Shogun 2: Total War - can use many cores effectively, the more the better, but can't use hyperthreading....

In general a quad-core is recommended mostly because it'll be modern enough to run pretty much everything & will generally have a decent level of processing power. Also, Shogun 2: Total War is close to the only game in the world that actually benefits from more than 4 cores (software limitations). But in many situations a dual-core is preferred for being cheaper while still giving good per-core performance. Edit: Molybdenum is much clearer than I am in his post above about processors for gaming.

Now the BIG question. What is your upgrade path? There are three options for more CPU power for your pure-gaming rig:

1)Overclock your current processor harder

2)Buy an ivy-bridge quad-core and overclock the hell out of it

3)Hope Piledriver kicks ass, get a quad-core and overclock the hell out of it.

But you probably don't need more CPU power - as you noted, most games (not all) require more GPU power than CPU power. So what about getting more GPU power? Well there's plenty of options, but as you noted your current GPU provides great performance. Which makes sense - it's a powerful card and you have only one monitor. There, in fact, is your answer. You are not CPU-limited, or GPU-limited, but MONITOR-limited. Your monitor can only display so much shiny - and your CPU and GPU can provide that much shiny in most games. So... what are the big monitor upgrade options?

1)Buy a 23" or 24" 120hz monitor - this has the advantage of being able to display up to 120 frames per second, rather than a normal monitor's 60 frames per second. Many of these can do 3D gaming (at 60 frames per second) - make sure it's compatible with your video card.

2)Get a big-ass monitor. A 27" 2560x1440 resolution monitor or a 30" 2560x1600 monitor, generally IPS rather than ordinary LCD. The 30" ones are really expensive. (This is the one I'd go for, probably roll the dice on a cheapass 27" 2560x1440 import.)

3)Get three monitors! 2 more monitors the same size as the one you have, and it's multi-monitor gaming time, baby!

Is it worth the $$? Up to you really, but a decent quad-core (which you have) and a strong video card (which you have) are pretty much going to fulfill everything you want to do in terms of pure gaming on a single screen. So stop thinking about CPU and GPU upgrade and think monitor upgrade.
Edited by MisterFred - 3/29/12 at 9:21pm
    
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post #9 of 26
Im waiting on piledriver too biggrin.gif thou i do alot of threaded stuff so i may go for the 8120 level one.
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrl1357 View Post

Im waiting on piledriver too biggrin.gif thou i do alot of threaded stuff so i may go for the 8120 level one.

Another rookie question. What do you mean when you say threaded stuff??

I appreciate all the Answers! REP is coming!
White Night
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
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750GB 7200rpm SATA3 Hybrid Hard Drive with 8GB...  6X Blu-ray Reader/8X DVD±R/2.4X +DL Super-Mult... Windows 7 Ultimate 15.6" Full HD LED-Backlit Display featuring 95%... 
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White Night
(22 items)
 
My Office/Setup
(36 photos)
Sager NP8250-S
(10 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD FX-8350 BE 4.3GHz ASUS M5A97 EVO XFX R9 390X DD BE Corsair Vengeance 16GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Samsung 850 EVO OCZ Agility 3 Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB ASUS 12X BD-ROM 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
ZALMAN CNPS9900MAX-B Windows 7 UE  Dual ASUS VE278Q 27" Ducky Shine II Clear DK9008 White LED  
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
EVGA SuperNOVA 750 G2  Corsair 600T SE  Logitech G500, G7, G9x Xtrac Ripper XXL 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO, 250 ohms Polk RTIA1 Black Turtle Beach PX5 Sony MDR-7506 Professional Series 
OtherOther
Asus Xonar Dx 7.1 Sound Card Emotiva mini-X a-100 gen 2 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
i7-4700MQ 780m 16gb RAM Crucial 128GB M4  
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
750GB 7200rpm SATA3 Hybrid Hard Drive with 8GB...  6X Blu-ray Reader/8X DVD±R/2.4X +DL Super-Mult... Windows 7 Ultimate 15.6" Full HD LED-Backlit Display featuring 95%... 
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