CPU Scaling of Graphics Cards

In order to find out the dependency of various GPUs on fast CPUs, we took our Athlon 64 test bed and while keeping all variables the same, adjusted the clock speed from 1GHz all the way up to 2.6GHz. We ran two groups of cards across the entire spectrum of clock speeds in order to get CPU scaling curves on a per card basis.

The first group of cards were classified as "High End" cards and were all run at 1600 x 1200. All of the cards are graphed on the same graph as to help users determine at what CPU speed it makes sense to purchase a faster card.

The second group of cards were classified as "Mid Range" cards and were all run at 1280 x 1024. All of the cards are graphed on the same graph as to help users determine at what CPU speed it makes sense to purchase a faster card.

By no means were these charts meant to be all inclusive, but they should serve as a good guide for weighing CPU vs. GPU purchases. We also included a benchmark of Half Life 2 deathmatch in the results here using our own custom demo - at_mp_3.

All cards were run at the same high detail settings we performed our Half Life 2 GPU comparison under.

High End Graphics Card CPU Scaling

For our High End cards we’re looking at the Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition, the Radeon X800 XT and Radeon X800 Pro from ATI.  From NVIDIA we have the GeForce 6800 Ultra and GeForce 6800GT.  We realize that this isn’t an all encompassing list of GPUs, but you should be able to extrapolate scaling of similar high end cards based on their performance relative to these five. 

The most important graph is the first one as it is an average of all six of our Half Life 2 timedemos and gives you the best overall indication of CPU scaling of these GPUs on a holistic level. We have, however, included the individual charts for each timedemo for reference.

Interestingly enough, at 1600 x 1200, all of these high end GPUs scale quite similarly with CPU speed. We see that at lower speeds, the X850 XT PE performs identically to the X800 XT, it is only after you get above 2.2GHz on the Athlon 64 that the two even begin to separate. The same is not true for the GeForce 6800GT and Ultra, those two really begin separating much earlier on in the game.

Cache Size Impact on Performance Mid Range Graphics Card CPU scaling
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  • drinkmorejava - Thursday, January 27, 2005 - link

    When they test the Athlon 64 3400+, is it the 1meg clawhammer or the 512k newcastle. In comparisons with my friend who has a lousy newcastle with dual channel, he is always thoroughly beaten by my clawhammer. Reply
  • drinkmorejava - Thursday, January 27, 2005 - link

    Reply
  • Zebo - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    I wish y'all would do an expo of A64's incredible "feels faster" syndrome to to it's 1/3rd mem latency of all other platforms.
    Reply
  • bob661 - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    #44
    Where can you buy it? Especially when MSI's website makes no mention of this.
    Reply
  • Dranzerk - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    #43

    Yes that is feature feature. MSI offers it, never saw it reviewed though.
    Reply
  • miketheidiot - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    #40, 42, their was talk a while back about a PCIe to agp adaptor. Not sure what happened with it though. Reply
  • bob661 - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    #39
    The MSI board has no such feature. It would require a different MCP to get AGP to work or using one of the PCI slots to do it (which wouldn't be AGP).
    Reply
  • bob661 - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    #20
    I have some OCZ CAS3 DDR400 ram in my system. 7 months ago it was considered premium ram (it's EB3500).
    Reply
  • Aquila76 - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    #39 - WTF are you talking about? nForce 4 is only PCIe. What page are you looking at? I went through MSI's site and nothing on the Neo4 page says anything about AGP. There is no AGP slot on the mobo either. If you clcik on 'Special Features' that is for the special features of all of MSI's products. Reply
  • Dranzerk - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    18 - Posted on Jan 26, 2005 at 12:35 PM by Phantronius said:
    "NF4 will not be supporting AGP bud, sorry, its PCI-E from here on out."

    It does with a addon card..
    http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Pr...

    MSI K8N neo4 Platnium NF4
    GO to manufactor website listed on speical features:
    Special Features:
    ATX Form Factor
    Supports Accelerated Graphic Port (AGP) Add-On Card

    AGP on a NF4 tata!

    :D
    Reply

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