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Partial upgrade. Mobo or GPU? Neither?

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  • Partial upgrade. Mobo or GPU? Neither?

    I'm looking at doing a partial upgrade and not sure which approach I should take. The primary reason I'm doing the upgrade is because of the lackluster performance of Rise of Flight. My current config is:

    Core 2 6700 (2.66GHz)
    4GB RAM
    nVidia 8800GTX

    I'm considering either getting a new GPU or swapping out the mobo/cpu/ram for an i5 or i7. Since RoF has a lot of physics calculations in it I'm guessing it is probably CPU limited, which would suggest doing the CPU upgrade instead of GPU.

    Alternately I could do nothing and wait until the beginning of the year when the new CPUs and GPUs come out and everything else drops in price.

    Twisted Firestarter
    a.k.a |TG| Harkonian

  • #2
    Re: Partial upgrade. Mobo or GPU? Neither?

    With the new i5 and i3 chips coming out in January I would look to wait. If you feel you CPU is lagging behind a little bit you could always look into overclocking it some. I bet you could get 3.0 GHz easy. The 65nm chips do clock nicely I have my E6750 at 3.4 GHz from the stock 2.66 GHz.
    Reapator, overlord of ponies


    • #3
      Re: Partial upgrade. Mobo or GPU? Neither?

      The motherboard upgrade will be tied to your current CPU and vice versa if you are replacing only one, limiting your options. Since you are thinking about doing this because you think it might be CPU limited you would be better off finding out if that really could be the case.

      Easiest test: Hit cntrl+alt+delete to bring up your task manager. Go to the performance tab and set the update speed to slow. Stretch it to the width of your screen/fill your screen, load your game and play a bit. If you get to a part with some apparent issues you can minimize and look at the graph and see if you have maxed out both your cores when you had problems. If your CPUs don't max out, the issue might be elsewhere such as RAM (if you page file grows a lot during the game) video (there's other applications to test your video memory/video CPU usage/RAM usage over time). This is just a free CPU check.

      I have attached an example of the task manager explaining the sections (someone tell me if I am wrong). I don't know how to make it show your RAM usage over time, or if that is even possible with the task manager. If the page file gets high it means you are either running out of RAM or Windows is allocating it poorly, but if the game info is being written to disk as a page file it goes a lot slower than RAM and will cause stutters and laggy behavior in game.
      Attached Files

      Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.


      • #4
        Re: Partial upgrade. Mobo or GPU? Neither?

        It's probably best to run some benchmarks to determine your bottleneck.

        Test 1:
        - lower graphics to minimum and lowest resolution
        - benchmark with GPU at regular speed, unclocked, and overclocked

        Test 2:
        - max out graphics and resolution
        - benchmark with CPU at regular speed, underclocked, and overclocked

        Then you can see if different CPU/GPU clock speeds change performance. It'll help you figure out which would be a better upgrade. At this point, I think it's a bit difficult to tell which upgrade would help performance.

        You could do the CPU test first because the Core 2 should be easy to test with different clock speeds. It's really good at overclocking so it'll be more of an indicator whether you're CPU bound.

        I also wouldn't trust the task manager stats. Game loops usually use up 100% CPU anyway even if it isn't doing anything. Benchmarking would be a better indication of which upgrade would provide a better performance boost.

        - It's who you game with.


        • #5
          Re: Partial upgrade. Mobo or GPU? Neither?

          I like to use RivaTuner for recording stuff when benchmarking. It is hard to figure out to get started, but is really good at recording everything about the GPU, CPU, and Memory, including usage, temp, and other stuff. Here is a screen shot from me just starting it up. If I scrolled down you could see all the other stuff recording.


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