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Graphics Cards have More Potential

GPU vs. CPU Upgrade: Extensive Tests

The first comparison shows all the test results obtained during cross-testing. Each graphics card completes the full suite of benchmark tests with six CPUs, and each of the CPUs completes the full suite of benchmarks tests with six different graphics cards. The percentage value calculated is made up of all of the achieved frame rates (graphics card x 6 CPU tests); there is no weighting between the individual games. The results were then added together and converted to percentages.

gpu vs cpu

With each generation of graphics chips, Nvidia has been able to double overall performance. The Geforce 9800 GTX is an exception: its performance is closer to that of the Geforce 8 series with the G92 graphics chip. The test contains the current models, which have a little more 3D performance. Another exception is the Geforce 9600, which really deserves the title 9700. It cannot be compared to its slower predecessors, the 6600, 7600 or 8600—its 3D speed is more like that of the Geforce 8800 GTS 320 or 640.

Overall Results for Graphics Cards fps Percent
Geforce 9800 GTX (512 MB) 15263.6 561.2
Geforce 8800 GTS OC (512 MB) 15257.4 561.0
Geforce 8800 GT OC (512 MB) 14609.2 537.1
Geforce 9600 GT OC (1024 MB) 13148.6 483.4
Geforce 7950 GT (512 MB) 6500.9 239.0
Geforce 6800 GT (256 MB) 2719.8 100.0

The speed benefits achieved by changing the CPU are clearly lower, but a basic minimum level is necessary. Otherwise the new graphics card loses 3D performance; 2.6 to 3.0 GHz is sufficient as the basic level. Our test included the current Intel models costing $77, $200 and $262 (50, 130 and 170 Euros), while the X6800 Extreme Edition priced at $1236 (800 Euros) is an exception. The test results for this item show that the CPU displays very little in the way of benefits compared to the standard rate E6750 costing $204 (132 Euros). The influence of the clocking rate can be seen by increasing the frequencies from 1800 to 2410 MHz. When this is done, even the E2160 with its small cache can catch up considerably.

Overall results for CPUs fps Percent
Q6600@3.2 12284.2 135.9
X6800EE@2.94 12097.5 133.9
E6750@2.67 11985.9 132.6
Q6600@2.4 11583.3 128.2
E2160@2.41 10512.4 116.3
E2160@1.8 9036.2 100.0

We chose not to include single cores, as the Asus mainboard with X38 chip set refuses to work with them. At current CPU pricing levels, it makes no sense to use anything smaller than an E2160—doing so in combination with the currently available graphics cards would be wasting too much in the way of 3D speed.

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