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How does processor affect the gaming experience?

Posted on 2010-08-25
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Last Modified: 2013-12-21
Hello,

My question "How does processor affect the gaming experience?" I have a Dual Core 1.6 GHZ PC. I had probs playing games, but I upgraded the graphic card and now I play advanced games. I mean new recent games. Modern Warfare etc. etc. I did the same with my old pc, which was a Intel P4 celeron. This pcs had only the graphic card prob.

So why games asking for a better processor. ?
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Question by:sahanz
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garycase earned 167 total points
ID: 33523190
Modern games are VERY computationally intensive.      A lot of this computation can be done by the GPU (the graphics card), but there's also a lot of topological computations done by the CPU.     They will run okay on systems that are below their "recommended" level ... but they will run better if you have both a CPU and a GPU that exceeds their recommended specifications.

Modern Warfare, for example, recommends at least a 2.4GHz dual-core, which is above what you have.    That's why you're seeing suggestions to get a better CPU.   You didn't say what graphics card you have, but if it's at or above the level they recommend then you won't see any messages about that.

It's all a matter of balancing the total computational power available for the game -- and the game makers continue to raise the bar as better-and-better CPU's and GPU's become available.

Bottom line:    If you're happy with the way the game plays, then don't worry about it.     If not, then save your $$ and get a new Core i5 (or i7) based system with a high end graphics card.     That combination will last you for several years.

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Assisted Solution

by:Callandor
Callandor earned 167 total points
ID: 33523639
Some games scale with the cpu; ie, a better processor makes the game perform better, because it uses it to improve the opponent's AI, or perform tasks in the background.  Most 3D games depend on the video card because the majority of the work is displaying what you see.  As game developers adapt to what is common pc hardware, they make more use of what most people have in order to make a captivating game, so the requirements will rise.
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Assisted Solution

by:skyhawk326
skyhawk326 earned 166 total points
ID: 33526395
The best answer for this question really depends on which specific game you may be talking about.  For example: Starcraft 2 isn't the most demanding title to be released recently, however, it handles differently based on your CPU and Video Card.  The CPU handles some physics calculations and AI calculations.  The video card handles the rendering of what you see on the screen so the crispness and clarity will be affected.  The video cards also have two main components to consider: the GPU (graphics processing unit) and the available memory.  Basically the faster the GPU, the faster it renders polygons and the memory helps to be sure the card has enough quick storage space for temporary calculations.

What I've found is that the CPU serves as a base, or gate, which answers the question "is my computer physically capable of running the game".  The next step, how detailed and pretty the game looks, is typically dependent on the graphics card.
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by:sahanz
ID: 33526977
I'm having a ATI HD5550.
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by:sahanz
ID: 33527052
And if game get stuck. I mean like struggling (specially in high details modes) how to determine that if its  the CPU or graphic card?
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Assisted Solution

by:skyhawk326
skyhawk326 earned 166 total points
ID: 33527165
I would suggest getting some free benchmark software such as 3dmark, that way you can at least compare your performance to other systems. In my opinion, when you are cranking up the detail level in game... It mostly being driven by the graphics chip. The HD5550 is a good, but lower-mid range card... further supporting the idea that your case is more GPU driven than CPU
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Author Comment

by:sahanz
ID: 33527240
When comparing nVidia with ATI and DDR (You know DDR2, 3, 5) What do u think is the best. At first glance I went with the ATI because I saw that ATI has much higher pixel shader than nvidia. I'm sure there might be other factors as well, but no idea about them.
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Assisted Solution

by:Callandor
Callandor earned 167 total points
ID: 33527251
Have task manager running (preferably in a separate window) and see if the cpu is maxing out at 100%.  If it isn't, the problem is your video card.  The HD5550 is in the sub $100 range, below the HD4850, so it isn't going to be a top performer at high detail mode.  You can get an idea of where cards are positioned by looking at http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-460-radeon-hd-5570-gaming,2697-7.html
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by:garycase
garycase earned 167 total points
ID: 33527656
The HD 5550 is a relatively low-end graphics card ... not the bottom-of-the-line, but not very far up the ladder.    You'd get much better performance (more than double) with an HD 5700 series card like the 5750 [http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131331 ];   or even better performance with a 5770 [http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102873 ]   or an nVidia GTX260 [http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130434 ]
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by:sahanz
ID: 33643359
Thanks for replies
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