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Bottleneck question

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I am a building/overclocking noob, for the record.

About 6 months ago I got a new system and set it up as follows:

Core2duo 6600 2.4GHz (not overclocked)
2GB Kingston PC2-4200 533MHz
Ga-965P-DS3 MB (cpu-z claims my FSB is 1066MHz)
Sapphire x1950xt 256MB w/ Zalman VF-900 (OC: 668/999, Max: ~75C)
Onboard audio
CoolerMaster 650W power
XP Pro w/ SP2

I'm looking for a performance boost. I doubt I can do much with the graphics card without upgrading. I believe that my RAM is bottlenecking my performance. Does anyone out there concur? Would I gain more by overclocking the processor than shoveling out for the RAM? Or is it my graphics card causing a bottleneck and I don't know it?

Finally, I'm looking for a method, preferably using an equation, for how one can tell whether your graphics card or your processor is causing a bottleneck. I'm not looking for answers such as: "dude, your graphics card is the bottleneck". I'd like to know HOW I would figure out for myself that the graphics card is the bottleneck. ie, perhaps there is an equation such as:

video RAM x GPU speed = processor speed x FSB speed

(I know this isn't the equation, I want to know whether such an equation exists)

I have scrolled through countless forums where people say this is the bottleneck or that is the bottleneck, but never explain how they know this to be the case. I think I understand the relationship between RAM, FSB, and processor speeds, they should all match (or at least the RAM and FSB, as these are the limits of the technology). But what about the graphics card?

Thanks a bunch!
The Sub-Beast
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core2duo 6600 2.4GHz Ga-965P-DS3 Sapphire x1950xt 256MB 2GB Kinston PC2-4200 DDR2 533MHz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
2 x 320GB Seagate SATA II 18 Speed LG DVD/RW Win XP SP2 19" Benq 91G+ LCD 8ms 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
MS PS II CoolerMaster 650W Custom Logitech 
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The Sub-Beast
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core2duo 6600 2.4GHz Ga-965P-DS3 Sapphire x1950xt 256MB 2GB Kinston PC2-4200 DDR2 533MHz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
2 x 320GB Seagate SATA II 18 Speed LG DVD/RW Win XP SP2 19" Benq 91G+ LCD 8ms 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
MS PS II CoolerMaster 650W Custom Logitech 
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post #2 of 5
I have wondered the same thing and I bet the equation is crazy but from what I hear there isn't hardly any CPU out thats a bottleneck. Unless its like a an extreme exaple your combo is balanced. If you had 256 mb ram or a 5200 pci card i might worry about bottle necks and if you are really worried buy best hardware then no worrys of bottlenecks. Sorry ranting but anyway the only thing I know is overclock it all and find the sweet spots for the CPU/RAM/GPU and make sure its all stable and run 3D MARK tests to confirm. I know it was off topic from what you wanted just some personel info for you.
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD FX-8320 3.6GHz 1.152v Gigabyte 990FXA-UD5 EVGA GTX 960 SSC 4GB 8GB G. Skill DDR3-1333 CL9 1.5v 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
WD 1TB SATA3 + 4TB Storage External USB Thermalright Archon Win 7 Pro x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung 27 inch LED 1920x1080 HD Logitech K120 Seasonic X-760 Modular Fractal Define R4 
MouseAudio
Logitech Altec Lansing 2.1 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD FX-8320 3.6GHz 1.152v Gigabyte 990FXA-UD5 EVGA GTX 960 SSC 4GB 8GB G. Skill DDR3-1333 CL9 1.5v 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
WD 1TB SATA3 + 4TB Storage External USB Thermalright Archon Win 7 Pro x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung 27 inch LED 1920x1080 HD Logitech K120 Seasonic X-760 Modular Fractal Define R4 
MouseAudio
Logitech Altec Lansing 2.1 
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post #3 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrgrey View Post
I am a building/overclocking noob, for the record.

About 6 months ago I got a new system and set it up as follows:

Core2duo 6600 2.4GHz (not overclocked)
2GB Kingston PC2-4200 533MHz
Ga-965P-DS3 MB (cpu-z claims my FSB is 1066MHz)
Sapphire x1950xt 256MB w/ Zalman VF-900 (OC: 668/999, Max: ~75C)
Onboard audio
CoolerMaster 650W power
XP Pro w/ SP2

I'm looking for a performance boost. I doubt I can do much with the graphics card without upgrading. I believe that my RAM is bottlenecking my performance. Does anyone out there concur? Would I gain more by overclocking the processor than shoveling out for the RAM? Or is it my graphics card causing a bottleneck and I don't know it?

Finally, I'm looking for a method, preferably using an equation, for how one can tell whether your graphics card or your processor is causing a bottleneck. I'm not looking for answers such as: "dude, your graphics card is the bottleneck". I'd like to know HOW I would figure out for myself that the graphics card is the bottleneck. ie, perhaps there is an equation such as:

video RAM x GPU speed = processor speed x FSB speed

(I know this isn't the equation, I want to know whether such an equation exists)

I have scrolled through countless forums where people say this is the bottleneck or that is the bottleneck, but never explain how they know this to be the case. I think I understand the relationship between RAM, FSB, and processor speeds, they should all match (or at least the RAM and FSB, as these are the limits of the technology). But what about the graphics card?

Thanks a bunch!
Your memory is limiting your CPU bandwidth, but not terribly.

If you have some sort of 3D benchmark you can determine your bottlenecks from that.

Run it at a very low resoltion (as low as it will go) so the only thing that is holding you back is your processor. Here you will find what your processor is capable of handing (in terms of FPS).

Now increase the resolution and graphics settings. At some point your FPS will begin to decrease. This is the point where your videocard is bottlenecking your processor. If you never reach a point of reduced FPS (either because you have maxed out the graphics or monitor - highly unlikely) then you will know that your processor is the bottleneck.
System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7 2500k ASRock P67 Extreme4 Gen 3 AMD 7970 16GB DDR3 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Intel 520 256GB SATA DVD Burner Windows 7 64 bit Deal U2410 
KeyboardPowerMouse
Adesso Mechanical Silverstone OP650 Logitech G700 
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System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7 2500k ASRock P67 Extreme4 Gen 3 AMD 7970 16GB DDR3 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Intel 520 256GB SATA DVD Burner Windows 7 64 bit Deal U2410 
KeyboardPowerMouse
Adesso Mechanical Silverstone OP650 Logitech G700 
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post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Arter View Post
I have wondered the same thing and I bet the equation is crazy but from what I hear there isn't hardly any CPU out thats a bottleneck.
Not true! When I play an AoE3 game in fast mode, my frames drop from ~80fps to ~35fps. That is obviously a CPU bottleneck. My conroe is at 3.3ghz atm too!
Primary Box
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 3.3ghz Gigabyte EP45-UD3P r1.0 GeForce GX275 Corsair 4gb (4x1gb) TWIN2X2048-6400 Rev 5.1 ProMOS 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
150g Raptor, 2x 1TB Seagate 2x DVD Burners Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit 24" Samsung 245BW + 22" Samsung 225BW LCD 
KeyboardCaseMouseMouse Pad
Logitech G11 TT MozartTX Razer Death Adder Steel Series Large 
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Primary Box
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 3.3ghz Gigabyte EP45-UD3P r1.0 GeForce GX275 Corsair 4gb (4x1gb) TWIN2X2048-6400 Rev 5.1 ProMOS 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
150g Raptor, 2x 1TB Seagate 2x DVD Burners Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit 24" Samsung 245BW + 22" Samsung 225BW LCD 
KeyboardCaseMouseMouse Pad
Logitech G11 TT MozartTX Razer Death Adder Steel Series Large 
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post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses, very helpful. I'll give that resolution test a try using 3DMark06. Cheers!
The Sub-Beast
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core2duo 6600 2.4GHz Ga-965P-DS3 Sapphire x1950xt 256MB 2GB Kinston PC2-4200 DDR2 533MHz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
2 x 320GB Seagate SATA II 18 Speed LG DVD/RW Win XP SP2 19" Benq 91G+ LCD 8ms 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
MS PS II CoolerMaster 650W Custom Logitech 
  hide details  
Reply
The Sub-Beast
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core2duo 6600 2.4GHz Ga-965P-DS3 Sapphire x1950xt 256MB 2GB Kinston PC2-4200 DDR2 533MHz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
2 x 320GB Seagate SATA II 18 Speed LG DVD/RW Win XP SP2 19" Benq 91G+ LCD 8ms 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
MS PS II CoolerMaster 650W Custom Logitech 
  hide details  
Reply
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