CPU/GPU limited??

Soldato
Joined
10 Oct 2005
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4,018
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London
Im curious as I see quite a few of these type threads..

How do you tell if your machine is CPU or GPU limited, I think Im ok, but Im curious on how to tell???
Is it benchmarking software or is there another method/equation??
 
Associate
Joined
3 Sep 2009
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419
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Nottingham
In my opinion the only way to tell if anything is even remotely cpu limited is if a gpu renders the same amount of frame regardless of what resolution you are displaying, if you are getting 60 fps on 1650x1050 and 1920x1200, then you know your gpu is capable of more and your cpu is limiting that. Even then that is dictated more so by the game than anything, benchmarking software grades each respective piece of hardware so if you get abismal scores on one of the two, that could be a indication of a cpu and/or gpu limitation.
 
Soldato
Joined
19 May 2009
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Near Birmingham
Even then that is dictated more so by the game than anything, benchmarking software grades each respective piece of hardware so if you get abismal scores on one of the two, that could be a indication of a cpu and/or gpu limitation.

Exactly certain games are more gpu dependant rather than cpu dependant than others and vice versa. The best thing to do is to work out what the majority of games you play are dependant on.
 
Man of Honour
Joined
25 Oct 2002
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Hampshire
A rudimentary test is to simply play a game and then monitor cpu usage. If any of your cores get close to 100% utlilisation, then (at that point), you are cpu limited.
As mentioned changing resolution can be a reasonably guide too - if performance improves when you lower screen res, chances are you are gpu limited.

One important factor to consider is that in my experience, CPU limitations usually cause the biggest problems because they hit min fps pretty hard. You can be gpu limited and still get reasonble performance if you are sensible with the settings. It's much harder to reduce CPU load as things like AI, physics etc are usually fairly static regardless of settings.
 
Last edited:
Underboss
Joined
16 Jun 2009
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Cambridge
As far as gameing is concerned, some games can actually show CPU and GPU bottlenecks from one moment to the next. A good example would be crysis, where you can get a large scene bottlenecked on your GPU, and then a big explosion causes the frame rate to drop as the system becomes CPU bottlenecked trying to perform the physics required for the explosion.

Basically...

If a game is running at the same frame rate constantly, and increasing resolution does not significantly slow it down, the game is probably CPU bottlenecked.
If a game is running at the same rate constantly, and increasing resolution significantly reduces frame rate, it's probably GPU bottlenecked.
If the game swings wildy in frame rates, it's probably both.
 
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