Originally Posted by Ten98
Yes. You are losing out by not having a current gen CPU. Not sure where all the idiots in this thread are putting their brains, maybe in their ass.
The Q9550 is still a very good chip, and most well-coded game engines will not get anywhere close to using up 100% of that CPU.
However, many games these days are not well coded. Bad company 2, Starcraft 2, GTA4, I could name many others.
These games have shoddy programming and the devs have used a lot of shortcuts to make the game work. The code in these games is not well optimised, meaning that it takes a lot of CPU power to make the game run.
If your game engine is waiting for the CPU to be done calculating what is happening on screen before sending that frame to the GPU to be rendered, then that is when you see a drop in FPS due to being "CPU Bound". A game which runs badly and requires a huge CPU to run smoothly is often referred to as a CPU bound game.
A Sandy Bridge Core i5-2500k, or even better one of the new Ivy Bridge i5's, should not in theory be "needed" to get a good framerate on a game. There's no reason a decent programmer could not optimise a game engine to work on a single core of an old core 2 duo. However, decent programmers are few and far between these days, and certainly don't seem to work at any of the game studios owned by EA.
The programmers can't be blamed entirely, the publishers often want the game out the door as soon as it runs smoothly on a Dev Rig, and leave the programmers zero time for optimisation. However these Dev Rigs normally have the top of the line CPU and GPU, so many games come out which only really run smoothly on those.
Not to mention that many gamers nowadays want to be included in public beta tests, and many games have a public beta session before they come out. These beta builds of games are even less likely to be optimised, and you will normally require a Dev Rig spec PC if you want to play them smoothly.
Personally, I find the easiest thing is just to buy the very top of the range CPU and a GPU suitable for my monitor's res, then games simply work as intended, even if badly coded.