Next Gen video card question

How much CPU horsepower do you need to really take advantage of the new 6800 and X800 GPUs? Not sure if this question makes sense or not. I’ve just heard that putting in a completely overpowered GPU means that the GPU is always waiting for info.

Firing Squad did a nice writeup of cpu scaling with the x800 pro:

http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/x800_pro_athlon_xp/

It really depends on how CPU limited the game is and what resolutions and settings you use.

– Xaroc

Yeah, it all depends on the game.

Painkiller is pretty well CPU limited with those new cards, even on a high-end CPU. The graphics cards are just WAY more powerful than the game requires.

Even with a, say, 2.0GHz Pentium 4, you would see a really nice performance boost in Far Cry, Doom 3, or Half-Life 2 with the settings cranked up, though. Those games tax the graphics card a lot more.

A side note: how much RAM do you have? At high detail settings, those textures start to take up a lot of space, and there are games where 512MB isn’t enough to prevent a little hard drive access in the middle of gameplay, which will make your game choppy and slow no matter how fast your CPU/GPU is. This is especially true of MMO games, which have long view distances and lots of unique characters on screen at once. They can push past 512MB in a hurry in high detail mode.

As a newb struggling to follow this issue, are you talking about system RAM, or RAM on the videocard? I assume system RAM (I’m not aware of any videocards with over 512 MB), but for some reason I thought textures are only stored in the videocard RAM. Is there a benefit to having more system RAM than you have videocard RAM (in terms of texture management)?

I think what these hardware smarty-heds are discussing is the textures for all the objects in the whole level. This presumably includes the textures for many objects that aren’t currently in view. If one of those objects suddenly comes into view, the texture needs to be given to the video card for display. This operation is much faster if the texture is already handy in main system RAM vs having to go the hard drive for it.

I have a gig of ram and a P4 2.4 gig processor. Thanks for the replies.

When you run in 1600x1200, the GPU is almost never waiting on the CPU. :-)