Intel E6850 Bottleneck Investigation
After all of this, it should be obvious why I’m still using my E6850: because there’s no need for anything faster. At reasonably high detail levels the GPU is by far the most important equation to gaming, and hence my GTX285 is the primary bottleneck in every gaming situation I use it in.
Even when underclocked to 2 GHz, my E6850 still pushes my GTX285 hard enough so that it’s a 100% bottleneck in most situations I game at. The fact that stock speed is actually 3 GHz demonstrates why I don’t bother overclocking. The last time I was CPU limited to any meaningful degree was in the Pentium 4 days.
Don’t believe the “you’re CPU limited under 4 GHz” and the “you need quad-core to game” myths. If you always configure your games to use the highest playable settings, any decent mainstream dual-core CPU is enough to push the graphics system into being the primary bottleneck, thereby erasing most practical differences the fastest quad-core setups potentially offer.
If you have any kind of limited budget, sink as much money as you can into the graphics card, and also buy the biggest monitor with the biggest resolution you can afford. Then configure all of your games to run at the highest playable settings to fully take advantage of your purchase. You’ll utilize your hardware far better this way, instead of using settings that are too low and squander GPU performance.
Of course, if you already have the best monitor and GPU setup available and you still have money left over then by all means, sink it into the fastest CPU/platform available. The same might also apply if you employ heavy multi-tasking.
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