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What Does CPU or GPU Bottlenecking Actually Mean?


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#1
Webslinger64

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I found this question on Yahoo Answers and the best answer given was the following:

"Imagine a beer bottle. The body is your gpu, and the neck is your cpu. you have a great gpu but an old cpu. If you pour liquid from the bottom of the bottle the neck will slow the liquid down.. same goes for computers. hope you liked my metaphor for bottlenecking."

OK, so the analogy was a good one, at least for me. So here's my question.

I want to buy a halfway decent to good AGP video card to throw into my P4 3.06GHz 512k/533MHz and believe there may be video cards out there that are too much for my CPU to handle efficiently. I'm not sure what it is I need to compare between the CPU and the GPU to determine the best match.

What are the stats/specs I should be comparing/looking at to make sure any video card I buy is ideally compatible?

Edited by konakula29er, 19 January 2009 - 05:06 PM.

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#2
james_8970

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Can you post your current setup? What resolutions do you want to game at? AGP is just about dead and it may not even be worth investing in at this point if you are trying to game. Due to AGP being pretty much phased out, you don't have to really worry about what card will be a bottleneck, rather you need to worry about whether or not you can find a decent card for a decent price point. Due to there being virtually no AGP GPUs available, yet there is still demand, these products have been inflated in value and are not worth what people are asking.

As far as bottlenecking goes, the simplest answer is that it's the weakest link that's holding your computer back from performing its best.
James
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#3
Webslinger64

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Can you post your current setup? What resolutions do you want to game at? AGP is just about dead and it may not even be worth investing in at this point if you are trying to game. Due to AGP being pretty much phased out, you don't have to really worry about what card will be a bottleneck, rather you need to worry about whether or not you can find a decent card for a decent price point. Due to there being virtually no AGP GPUs available, yet there is still demand, these products have been inflated in value and are not worth what people are asking.

As far as bottlenecking goes, the simplest answer is that it's the weakest link that's holding your computer back from performing its best.
James


I'm currently running an ASUS N6600 256MB, 128-bit on a Pentium 4 1.8GHz/256k/400Mhz. I'm upgrading the CPU (it's being shipped as we speak) to a Pentium 4 HT 3.06GHz/512k/533Mhz. Initially, I was looking at upgrading the video card to a GeForce 7600 GS, but I see that there are still AGP video cards that are higher performance such as the Radeon X1950 PRO, HD 3850, and HD 3650. I'm just wanting to make sure I'm not getting "too big" of a card for how old my system is. I have some concerns about the higher end AGP cards bottlenecking with the older CPU, even though I'm upgrading that CPU as stated.
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#4
james_8970

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No, you shouldn't experience a bottleneck with any AGP cards as they date back to the same time frame as your CPU (aside from the 3xx0 series, but all the AGP versions were the mid range versions of that era). What amount of RAM do you currently have, that's what I was more so interested in regarding your system specs.
James

Edited by james_8970, 19 January 2009 - 07:42 PM.

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#5
Webslinger64

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No, you shouldn't experience a bottleneck with any AGP cards as they date back to the same time frame as your CPU (aside from the 3xx0 series, but all the AGP versions were the mid range versions of that era). What amount of RAM do you currently have, that's what I was more so interested in regarding your system specs.
James


I have 2GB RAM.
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#6
james_8970

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Ok, the only real thing that you should be concerned about is the PSU and the new power requirements of your computer. Buy any AGP GPU that you can find (within reason), but be warned, you're paying inflated prices for out of date technology. If you need help selecting a GPU and/or PSU, you know where to ask :)
James
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#7
Webslinger64

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Ok, the only real thing that you should be concerned about is the PSU and the new power requirements of your computer. Buy any AGP GPU that you can find (within reason), but be warned, you're paying inflated prices for out of date technology. If you need help selecting a GPU and/or PSU, you know where to ask :)
James


Thanks for the help. I upgraded my PSU from a 300 Watt 12v/13amp to a 430 Watt 12v/18amp just recently. My only other question - and I did post this on another thread but haven't received an answer yet to this specific question - has to do with the type of AGP slot on this computer. According to Aida32 it says I have the following:

AGP Version 2.00
Supported AGP Speeds 1x, 2x, 4x
Current AGP Speed 4x

That way I understand that, it means I can/should only run a video card that is AGP 4X. Seems to me that if I run a video card that is AGP 8X, it will work, but I won't be able to get the full benefits from the card as I would if I could run it on AGP 8X, is that right? I've seen several video cards that are AGP 4X/8X and some that are AGP 8X only. Say I get a video card that is AGP 4X/8X, will that card run equally well in a AGP 4X slot as it would in a AGP 8X slot?

Lastly, according to this link for Tom's hardware:

http://www.tomshardw...ard,2118-6.html

I'm leaning towards buying the Radeon HD 2600 XT, or possibly the Radeon HD 3850 512 MB (the two best according to the article). I just want to make sure that either choice isn't a bad choice due to the possibility that one, or both, cards may not run well on my older system. If they would run just fine, I don't have a problem considering them seriously despite the cost. On the other hand, I was originally looking at getting a GeForce 7600 GS or 7600 GT. It sounds like you're pretty knowledgeable about video cards. When taking into account cost and performance, which would be the biggest bang for the buck?

Edited by konakula29er, 19 January 2009 - 11:01 PM.

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