Originally Posted by Grim
To what extent is this true?
I mean, Certainly the faster CPU compensates for a lot.
I'd be suprised to hear that a x2 3800+ performs on par with a E6300 in games, with say a 7950 and indentical ram...
Then again, I dont know much of the sort, or experience rather
Hence my question ^_^
It's based so much on the GPu, that a faster CPU doesn't help. I'll use an example of another user on this site. We both have similar rigs, I have a A64 dual core at 2.4ghz, X1900XT (256mb), 2gb of RAM, 250GB 16mb HDD. He has a Conroe at 2.4ghz, X1900XT (512mb), 2gb of RAM and RAID 1 on two 7200.10 HDDs. In games I play at 1680x1050, all details maxed, AF at 0 or 2x , AA at 0-4x. He plays with 1600x1200 all details maxed, AF at 4x, AA at 4x, and vsync on (CRT). I get better frames rates then he does. His stay at 65-70fps, and mine are around 90. Of course, vsync keeps him locked at 70fps, but without it he does between 90-100 fps. Games relay mostly on GPU power. The only time you are going to see a difference between two CPUs with the same graphics card is when one of the CPUs can't keep up with the GPU. As long as the CPU is not the bottleneck, systems with the same GPU and different CPUs will perform the same.
They may not bench the same though, since some benchmarks like 3dmark06, give lots of points based on the CPU.
In short, you don't need the top of the line CPU to max out your games. However, you do need a very powerful GPU.