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GPU and CPU limit in Games

IscaranIscaran Tech-Hero.Posts: 4,229Registered Users
edited January 2011 in Technology
Hi, I wanted to share this articles I found on the always troublesome discussion of hardware GPU or CPU limits in games.

Or in other words - how good a CPU do I need so that my decent graphics card is not bored doing nothing ?

Well - Tom's hardware did a very nice testing of 20 ! games with a solid mid-class i5 and a solid mid-class GTX 460 768MB and to sum up the results:

1) In most games a fast dual-core CPU is still sufficient (Fast meaning 3GHz or more)

2) In most games and 1920x1080 with full settings the games run in the GPU limit (with only a GTX460 768MB). A faster GPU might still profit from OCed dualcores or fast quadcores anyway.

3) Only in some games more than 2 cores seem to be necessary. Interestingly the DX11 games seem to be less multicore optimized and do not profit as much or as often from more than 2 cores. Which is strange as I would have expected that DX11 should be much better in this way than DX9 per design - but this multicore programming probably just needs time for the developers to adopt fully for DX11 as well.

4) Personal curiosity about Dragon Age actually running in CPU limit on dual - cores !

5) General consideration: the TW series are IMHO pretty CPU intense, especially in large battles so I would assume for a decent ETW/NTW/STW2 a good quadcore for 150€ might be a better choice to go before rushing out 500€ for the ultimate GPU just to get a CPU limit.

Anyway here are the articles unfortunately I could only find a german version - not sure if Tom's hardwareguide will translate them:

http://www.tomshardware.de/cpu-gpu-leistung,testberichte-240623.html
http://www.tomshardware.de/cpu-gpu-leistung,testberichte-240624.html
Iscaran

Hero.

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Post edited by Iscaran on

Comments

  • lordmaximus77lordmaximus77 Technical Moderator Leeuwarden, NLPosts: 3,337Registered Users, Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited December 2010
    Good article. But I gave me a dejavue feeling and I started searching. It turns out that actualy the original was in english and got translated in to german :)

    English 1 http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/game-performance-bottleneck,2737.html
    English 2 http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/game-performance-bottleneck,2738.html
    Any fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction. — Albert Einstein

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  • IscaranIscaran Tech-Hero. Posts: 4,229Registered Users
    edited December 2010
    Hehe - thx for the english translations maximus....the author is assuredly german (see it is the same is in the german article).

    The german article was posted on
    08:10 - Monday, 6. September 2010 von Tino Kreiss

    The english article a month later on
    2:00 AM - October 7, 2010 by Tino Kreiss

    But Tom's hardware often has articles translated into different languages ;). Anyway for most of the forumites the english article is probably better to read :D.
    Iscaran

    Hero.

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  • AlJabberwockAlJabberwock Moderator USAPosts: 7,729Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited December 2010
    Thanks for the suggestion and the read. Thanks also to Lordmaximus for the english translation, I speak no german I would like to repeat in public!

    The general context of the article supports what has generally been the feeling here, regarding faster cores before more cores, and this is no surprise given the practical reporting we receive or see for ourselves. I have often lamented how poorly 4 core optimization (if any was actually done) was for ETW/NTW, but suspect we will see a significant effort made to write for four cores in real time (actual simultaneous use) for S2 - for a number of reasons.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Every so often things happen that can’t be rationalized in a conventional way. People wanna know their government has a response. I am that response.”
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    For most general problems, for which you have no idea of the culprit, your first port of call should be:
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  • IscaranIscaran Tech-Hero. Posts: 4,229Registered Users
    edited December 2010
    Yep multicore optimization is not as straighforward and simple as one might think - therefore I suspect as well that it will still take quite awhile until it is really put to "good" use.
    On the other hand one can see that most games indeed already support 2 or 2+ cores somewhat. So in the near future I think the amount of dual CPUs will decline since you really need fast dual-core to cope with a similarly fast quad core. Also considering that cheap quad cores are already available @100€.
    Iscaran

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  • AlJabberwockAlJabberwock Moderator USAPosts: 7,729Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited December 2010
    Hey, did you guys catch the discussion about the Intel thread block-builder and optimizer that Broadhurst was messing about with on screen in this last week's flurry of interview releases? I think it was the Gamespot interview, but I will go back and check and post it here if you haven't seen it.

    EDIT: Here is the footage... watch for RIchard Broadhurst around 1:10 in and then again towards the end!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_9nCvxAeLko#

    It was really exciting to watch and listen to for a frustrated quad-core guy, and the program looked really cool in operation. Topics specifically discussed included how the program helped scaling up for larger numbers of cores, and how each THREAD would perhaps get different block-sizes, depending on how many cores there were, but the program would help equalize the load per core. It was also mentioned that the basic coa.rse-work was done by the block-builder, but apparently some specific scripts for how this was done may have been also written in-house. If this is anywhere near as effective as it sounds, it is good news for my age old complaint about "programming a game for the hardware we can actually FIND!". YAY!!!

    For another thing, it may be a game changer for the efficacy increase one might get from a quad core as opposed to a dual! Hoo boy!

    Al
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Every so often things happen that can’t be rationalized in a conventional way. People wanna know their government has a response. I am that response.”
    ― Kent Mansley (in "Iron Giant")

    For most general problems, for which you have no idea of the culprit, your first port of call should be:
    https://support.sega.co.uk/hc/en-us/categories/200307381-Total-War-Support

    If you are aware of a bug or a specific issue for which you know the cause, post in the support section for the specific title on our forums. ~Al

    https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/172193/forum-terms-and-conditions#latest
  • DarkSideHomeDarkSideHome Senior Member Posts: 1,549Registered Users
    edited December 2010
    Can someone add some good links to overclocking guides?


    Edit 1: Does NTW support multiple cores? And any idea if TW:S2 will support more than 2 cores? I remember ETW came under attack because CA announced that it is multicore but in reality it was using only a single core. They did some load balancing in one of the patches later on but it wasn't optimal.
  • AlJabberwockAlJabberwock Moderator USAPosts: 7,729Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited December 2010
    Hi Dark!

    OCing
    Unfortunately I lost all my library links when our clan leader crashed the clan site for the tenth time, but I will start you off with these two that I have referred to before. You can get these with a google search too, I'd imagine, and you might also want to look on You Tube for some visuals -do some searches for your specific CPU and board there since there very well may be guides or how to's with tips for your particular set up. Two places I will look when I have a question are Extremeoverclocking.com forums and Overclockers.com.

    These are here:http://forums.extremeoverclocking.com/
    And here:http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=263753
    Both have very basic intros and guides, more theoretical discussion, as well as many many specific quides and examples.

    Another site to check out for testing, new ideas, and their forum is HardOCP-they are very tuned into new hardware offereings and ideas, and someone looking at the forums (cough cough Maeda cough cough) might find a great deal of leaked and detailed information on Sandy Bridge from benchmarking to thermals:http://www.hardocp.com/

    Related to this is the Forum at Danger Den, not so much from the activity at the actual site, but because of who tends to wander through there including all the leading lights of all the places I have outlined so far. Further there is an excellent compendium of overclocking and other sites of interest to anyone trying to understand or get the maximum out of their hardware dollar under the Forum Links section: http://www.dangerden.com/forums/
    Obviously I buy most of my equipment for liquid cooling from this site, but the folks there will not try to sell you on their stuff if someone else makes an equal or better product, and the forum types will definitely tell you what's what if you ask.

    On NTW and particularly S2
    Read my post, the one immediately above yours. Or look at the video interview I linked there.
    "Topics specifically discussed included how the program helped scaling up for larger numbers of cores, and how each THREAD would perhaps get different block-sizes, depending on how many cores there were, but the program would help equalize the load per core."

    Ergo, for S2 it was SPECIFICALLY discussed, and on screen in the interview a quad with hyperthreading was being tracked (8 logical cores) and average loads were being measured it looked like at time intervals I didn't catch (I will be looking for that as I reexamine it for the 20th time). NTW has been represented as supporting multiple cores and a number of people claim to have seen this work. Tracking activity with temperature and frequency with resource monitor graphing, speedfan and CPUz - I could never find convincing evidence of true multiple core use BY THE APPLICATION at the same time (simultaneously) to any significant degree I could measure except at loading which appeared to show all cores in use and very infrequently occasional DUAL core useage that COULD have been the application. Yes, there was use of more than one core many times, but it was switching, not multiple simultaneous use in real time. When more than one core got used at the same time other useage was usually identifiable by PID to be from other processes and not related to the game application. Instances where I could NOT prove another process was responsible were very few, and very infrequent.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Every so often things happen that can’t be rationalized in a conventional way. People wanna know their government has a response. I am that response.”
    ― Kent Mansley (in "Iron Giant")

    For most general problems, for which you have no idea of the culprit, your first port of call should be:
    https://support.sega.co.uk/hc/en-us/categories/200307381-Total-War-Support

    If you are aware of a bug or a specific issue for which you know the cause, post in the support section for the specific title on our forums. ~Al

    https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/172193/forum-terms-and-conditions#latest
  • lordmaximus77lordmaximus77 Technical Moderator Leeuwarden, NLPosts: 3,337Registered Users, Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited December 2010
    Hey, did you guys catch the discussion about the Intel thread block-builder and optimizer that Broadhurst was messing about with on screen in this last week's flurry of interview releases? I think it was the Gamespot interview, but I will go back and check and post it here if you haven't seen it.

    EDIT: Here is the footage... watch for RIchard Broadhurst around 1:10 in and then again towards the end!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_9nCvxAeLko#

    It was really exciting to watch and listen to for a frustrated quad-core guy, and the program looked really cool in operation. Topics specifically discussed included how the program helped scaling up for larger numbers of cores, and how each THREAD would perhaps get different block-sizes, depending on how many cores there were, but the program would help equalize the load per core. It was also mentioned that the basic coa.rse-work was done by the block-builder, but apparently some specific scripts for how this was done may have been also written in-house. If this is anywhere near as effective as it sounds, it is good news for my age old complaint about "programming a game for the hardware we can actually FIND!". YAY!!!

    For another thing, it may be a game changer for the efficacy increase one might get from a quad core as opposed to a dual! Hoo boy!

    Al

    Nice video. Didn't see this one before. CA has been using Intel TBB (Thread Building Blocks) since Empire. Lets hope they've improved the implementation as the current implementation doesn't utilize multiple cores very efficiently.

    Here's a interview about Napoleon TW & Intel TBB: http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,700063/Napoleon-Total-War-Better-performance-coming-with-the-Empire-add-on/News/
    Any fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction. — Albert Einstein

    viri non urinat in ventum — Anonymous Roman

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  • AlJabberwockAlJabberwock Moderator USAPosts: 7,729Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited December 2010
    Thanks for the article lordmaximus! Evidently I had much less fortune with the effectiveness of the multi-core support! Perhaps the idea that they have written some scripts themselves to improve this will allow a better result. Here's hoping!

    Al
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Every so often things happen that can’t be rationalized in a conventional way. People wanna know their government has a response. I am that response.”
    ― Kent Mansley (in "Iron Giant")

    For most general problems, for which you have no idea of the culprit, your first port of call should be:
    https://support.sega.co.uk/hc/en-us/categories/200307381-Total-War-Support

    If you are aware of a bug or a specific issue for which you know the cause, post in the support section for the specific title on our forums. ~Al

    https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/172193/forum-terms-and-conditions#latest
  • SystemSystem Posts: 7,095
    edited December 2010
    I see the new graphic card charts are out and my ATI HD 4850 is now about 50% as powerful as the top rated card :)

    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/charts/2010-gaming-graphics-charts-high-quality/Supreme-Commander-2,2480.html

    I reckon mine will do for Shogun 2 and then I'll have to upgrade.
  • AlJabberwockAlJabberwock Moderator USAPosts: 7,729Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited December 2010
    Thanks for posting the link, I am sure a lot of people will want to see!

    LOL Shire, yours is just above the one on my personal machine (a 285gtx - even though mine is a jacked up BFG model, its probably still below yours). Cheer up, you could have linked the 1920 by 1200 results - those are WORSE! :p

    Well we both do better in some of the other tests, but I agree eventually going to need a newer card for the demanding games...although I might jump the gun and get an additional card for 'testing' after the tax filing in February. (6850s are already less than $200 on Newegg!)

    I was sorry to see the 6xxx and the 5xx were not included. Would have helped me a bit in deciding what to do. Oh well, I can always call Dark Side up and ask him to go with me to the computer store! (LMAO @DS and me too)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Every so often things happen that can’t be rationalized in a conventional way. People wanna know their government has a response. I am that response.”
    ― Kent Mansley (in "Iron Giant")

    For most general problems, for which you have no idea of the culprit, your first port of call should be:
    https://support.sega.co.uk/hc/en-us/categories/200307381-Total-War-Support

    If you are aware of a bug or a specific issue for which you know the cause, post in the support section for the specific title on our forums. ~Al

    https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/172193/forum-terms-and-conditions#latest
  • lordmaximus77lordmaximus77 Technical Moderator Leeuwarden, NLPosts: 3,337Registered Users, Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited December 2010
    I see the new graphic card charts are out and my ATI HD 4850 is now about 50% as powerful as the top rated card :)

    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/charts/2010-gaming-graphics-charts-high-quality/Supreme-Commander-2,2480.html

    I reckon mine will do for Shogun 2 and then I'll have to upgrade.

    Well that list doesn't contain the latest models. There are no AMD 68xx, AMD 69xx and Nvidia GTX5xx cards on the list.

    When it comes to (relatively low) resolutions like 1280 x 1024 or 1680 x 1050 in running on older DirectX versions the performance difference with the latest top cards is not that big.

    But don't forget your card is a DirectX 10.1 card. You won't be able to use the shiny new DirectX 11 shaders and if you have a 512MB model you probably need to lower the graphics settings to keep the videomemory usage low.

    Currently even ETW & NTW use more then 512MB of videomemory on high graphics settings. Shogun 2 might even push past the 1GB of video memory usage on ver high settings on HD resolutions (1920 x 1080 or higher).

    But ofcourse your 4850 will run Shogun 2. Some of the devs (C.I.F. I'm sure of) use the same card in their dev systems.
    Any fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction. — Albert Einstein

    viri non urinat in ventum — Anonymous Roman

    TOTAL WAR FORUM: TERMS AND CONDITIONS
  • DarkSideHomeDarkSideHome Senior Member Posts: 1,549Registered Users
    edited December 2010
    I see the new graphic card charts are out and my ATI HD 4850 is now about 50% as powerful as the top rated card :)

    I'm at 37%. But as I've mentioned elsewhere my monitor supports relatively low resolution so I haven't run into trouble yet.

    Oh well, I can always call Dark Side up and ask him to go with me to the computer store!


    Dammit, I thought you were taking me to rehab not the store again!


    *flees from AlJabberwock*
  • SystemSystem Posts: 7,095
    edited December 2010
    When it comes to (relatively low) resolutions like 1280 x 1024 or 1680 x 1050 in running on older DirectX versions the performance difference with the latest top cards is not that big.

    Hmm I'm pretty sure my options only go up to 1680 x 1050 but I'll have another look tomorrow.
  • AlJabberwockAlJabberwock Moderator USAPosts: 7,729Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited December 2010
    That is likely a monitor restriction Shire, and not your card. Mine goes right up to the current max available on any modern card and so does any 4850 I have looked at (that current vid card max is 2560 x 1600). Your monitor size and native resolution maximums will limit what your card can use even if it can support larger resolutions.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Every so often things happen that can’t be rationalized in a conventional way. People wanna know their government has a response. I am that response.”
    ― Kent Mansley (in "Iron Giant")

    For most general problems, for which you have no idea of the culprit, your first port of call should be:
    https://support.sega.co.uk/hc/en-us/categories/200307381-Total-War-Support

    If you are aware of a bug or a specific issue for which you know the cause, post in the support section for the specific title on our forums. ~Al

    https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/172193/forum-terms-and-conditions#latest
  • HardwaremasterHardwaremaster Senior Member In 3dsmax Los Angeles CaliforniaPosts: 6,391Registered Users, Tech Moderators
    edited January 2011
    Its important to note what DX11 does in terms of performance on multiple cores, it loads more onto the GPU to free up CPU space. DX11 games make better use of CPU's. What your seeing in the numbers is a increase in Detail for minimal cost. Generally speaking, DX11 has many different things that add to it as well.

    Like Sunlight Accumulation, SSAO and HBAO are light scattering and dampening techs to simulate Global illumination. However with DX11 and a differed shader pipeline, free's up a ton of CPU room to calculate the opposite. HDR has its limitations in accuracy, but you need to take into account processing time on SA.

    Seemingly out of the blue, but theres a lot of improvements in speed. But they counter weight it with new techs that suck up more from everything.. kinda ironic actually.
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