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What is the bottleneck on current high end PCs?

post #1 of 11
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I'm posting in this forum because it's the only one with the word "General" in it since I'm talking about how all of the components in a PC tie together. Mods, if it needs moved somewhere better, please move it.

My question is, on a high end PC, (my specs below, for an example) what is the bottleneck on a purely hardware basis? It seems some applications can have bottleneck on a GPU or CPU - but my knowledge of how all the components tie together is not great and I was hoping for some of the guys who understand computer hardware better than I do to chime in. smile.gif

Mobo: Maximus VII Formula (probably doesn't matter I think.)

CPU: 4790k - 4.4 Ghz 8mb cache -> 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes

GPU: GTX 980 ASUS strix (1279mhz boost clock, 4gb ram @ 7010 mhz.

Ram: 32GB 2400 Mhz CL10

SSD: 256 GB Samsung 850 Pro Sata3 550mb/s read, 520 mb/s write

My context for this was growing up as a teen in the 90s, I was always told "get more ram". And now, it's "Ram is cheap and plentiful, RedIron you're crazy for 32gb, get a SSD because HDDs are a bottleneck now." So I'm thinking ok, I have a SSD, so is my CPU now the bottleneck? Is it the software itself a bottleneck? I am not sure.
    
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post #2 of 11
Purely depends on the application, there will always be a 'bottleneck' somewhere. SSD wont alleviate any software 'bottlenecks', at least while gaming. It just makes your system load save games, apps, boot much much quicker and feel snappier overall.

I'm not the most technical person to explain the whys, but it's fairly easy to understand that some applications are more on CPU and RAM and some more on GPU. Mainly games these days are on the GPU, if they were CPU limited you could look at somewhere like Techspots benchmarks in a game and you would see the same FPS results for all the graphics cards. Similarly when you look at their CPU benchmarks you can see that often the results are all nearly the same on newer Intel CPU's.

Software can also cause a bottleneck on your hardware, Dying Light recently had a problem where you had to limit the FOV because it would kill frame rates otherwise.

It's also worth pointing out I think that the bottleneck will shift depending on what happens in a game, some sections may be harder on the CPU then GPU due to whats happening in the game. When CPU limited usually faster RAM will help a bit too.

Hope that helps and I havent rambled to much tongue.gif
post #3 of 11
My current rig is similar to yours. When I play WoW nothing registers as anywhere close to 100% usage (not even my bandwidth) but frames drop anyway. My system monitor never shows topped-out performance. ever. In any application. There's a bottleneck somewhere but I don't think it can be fixed with "better" components.
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post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrip541 View Post

My current rig is similar to yours. When I play WoW nothing registers as anywhere close to 100% usage (not even my bandwidth) but frames drop anyway. My system monitor never shows topped-out performance. ever. In any application. There's a bottleneck somewhere but I don't think it can be fixed with "better" components.
Could well be WOW only using 1 or 2 cores. CPU wouldnt show as maxed because it's not all being used, and that in turn would hold back the GPU.
post #5 of 11
Like noted above it's all relative to the application or what you want out of it. For example, when I was at 1080p I had a fairly balanced system for gaming and could really max anything out. Now that I've moved to 4k the gpu is and will continue to be my system's bottleneck probably for the next gpu upgrade or two.

However, lets say you were editing videos, etc. Then that bottleneck would shift onto my i7. Even if you buy literally the best hardware available to humanity, some components will always be the bottleneck. However, what I think people take too far is the term itself. It's like saying a i7 4790k is a bottleneck compared to a 5960x in multi gpu setups. Well, technically it is but in real world would you really call it poor performance and a major bottleneck?

Your system is very similar to mine except for you having double my ram amount (though mine is the same speed) and a slightly faster GPU. There's really nothing out there I can say I'm dissapointed with as far as my hardware goes and what I've used it for.

Edit: Also as noted above, in reference to games you can some levels that are extremely GPU taxing and others (let's say with tons of AI on screen) that have your cpu falling to it's knees and your gpu asleep because of it.

So basically, the better question here you need to ask is, what applications do you use that you feel you want better performance?
Edited by SoloCamo - 5/15/15 at 7:48am
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post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slink3Slyde View Post

Could well be WOW only using 1 or 2 cores. CPU wouldnt show as maxed because it's not all being used, and that in turn would hold back the GPU.

WoW is also very HDD intensive. I remember going from a two 80GB drives in RAID 0 to two 150GB Raptors in RAID 0. The difference was immense back then. Take a look at your HDD usage while playing, I wouldn't be surprised if its very high. SSDs are fast but they can be a bottleneck depending on the application.

At least if your playing WoW anyway.
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pheatton View Post

WoW is also very HDD intensive. I remember going from a two 80GB drives in RAID 0 to two 150GB Raptors in RAID 0. The difference was immense back then. Take a look at your HDD usage while playing, I wouldn't be surprised if its very high. SSDs are fast but they can be a bottleneck depending on the application.

At least if your playing WoW anyway.

Interesting, guess I'm wrong then smile.gif I knew there are some applications that will be quicker with faster storage, obviously transferring files and such, maybe something like Photoshop if youre lacking RAM..

Didnt know that any game was affected by HDD outside of loading times, there you go.
post #8 of 11
If we were to consider everything else that a desktop runs and not just games.
Storage is the bottleneck.

Look at the past 10 years. The speed increase of hdd and ssd are dwarfed by the jump in cpu and gpu.

Only way to fix that is if we could boot with a ramdisk, and have everything else stored on a ramdisk without the need for hdd/ssd
Edited by edalbkrad - 5/18/15 at 11:03am
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post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by edalbkrad View Post

If we were to consider everything else that a desktop runs and not just games.
Storage is the bottleneck.

Look at the past 10 years. The speed increase of hdd and ssd are dwarfed by the jump in cpu and gpu.

Only way to fix that is if we could boot with a ramdisk, and have everything else stored on a ramdisk.

Well my rig is used for Folding, gaming and browsing. All my games are on my HDD, I did initially move the games I was playing from SSD to HDD, I stopped because I really couldnt tell the difference with the games I play either way and it wasnt worth the hassle to move them all the time. I am fairly lazy at home smile.gif Folding is not affected by storage speed nor browsing. I think SSD's have only really become mainstream in the last 5 years. Certainly ten years I hadnt heard of them in relation to desktop gaming rigs, people were using 10000 RPM Raptors in RAID at the high end if anything back IIRC, then so there have been advances there definitely.

My system boots to desktop in around 15-20 seconds with an SSD, my old laptop took a couple of minutes and my old rigs before that running the same if not more, probably more as likely some of then had 5400 rpm HDD's or maybe even less, I cant really remember how fast drives were in the late 90's and before.

I'm not denying that having everything on something like a RAM disk would be fast, I do wonder whether if everything was on an SSD that the difference between RAM disk and that would be that noticeable outside of benchmarks?

I'm just not sure about the statement that 'storage is the bottleneck' in everything outside of games in everything.
post #10 of 11
The biggest bottleneck is software.
    
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