Thursday, June 25th 2009

Consider a GPU Upgrade Before CPU: NVIDIA

Ahead of the bulk of the crucial summer shopping season, NVIDIA sent a circular urging consumers to focus their PC upgrades on GPUs, rather than CPU and its platform. It thinks that if you have a reasonably good platform from last year or the year before, a GPU upgrade serves as a better price for performance increment when it comes to games. A slide explaining NVIDIA's advice was leaked (perhaps ahead of its formal publication, as it seems to be targeted at end-users and not intermediate customers or distributors).

Quite simply, the slide shows how upgrading the GPU is a more cost-effective way of increasing performance of a gaming PC, compared to upgrading the platform (CPU, compatible motherboard and memory). The side specifically targets the Intel Core i7 platform, and pits the upgrade path against upgrading the graphics components, keeping the rest of the PC constant, based on the common Core 2 Duo E8400. The price of this base system along with a GeForce GTS 250 GPU is measured at $506. A $159 upgrade to GeForce GTS 250 SLI sends the average FPS (application not mentioned) up to 54 from 42, likewise as you look further up the options NVIDIA provides. Upgrading the rest of the platform is making no performance impact on this application. The general idea conveyed is that for a gaming PC with recent generation hardware, better graphics is a better incremental upgrade. Choose with your wallet.
Source: DonanimHaber
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84 Comments on Consider a GPU Upgrade Before CPU: NVIDIA

#2
Sasqui
"Don't buy an i7, buy one of our graphics chips" :roll:

And they "flatlined" the upgrade performance from a Core2 to an i7 (sigh)
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#3
LifeOnMars
Ok so somebody with an X2 thinks OK Nvidia I want the best graphics so obviously I should buy a shiny GTX 295 only to find its hideously crippled by a lack of CPU power. There needs to be more information for people that are new to PC gaming, how important it is to know the level of CPU scaling that can occur.
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#4
toyo
42 fps constant when going from dual 8400 to 8 threads i7 965? A thousandish reviews and benchmarks showed otherwise. Yeah SLI 260 upgrade will push your graphics better than the i7 upgrade but again, some of us need CPU power too.
NVIDIA, maybe it's time to get (much) more apps running on your CUDA then try this again...
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#5
h3llb3nd4
it's prolly right....
cos most games arent multithreaded yet...
but i think this kinda thing is only aimed at gamers:P
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#6
Cheeseball
Not a Potato
It's all marketing bull**** again. Obviously NVIDIA wants more sales for their video cards instead of customers opting for an i7 system.

However, I'd still go with a video card. :) Most (if not all) games nowadays are GPU-limited, especially at high settings.
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#7
Mistral
There are so many things wrong with this graph that it's not even funny...
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#8
[I.R.A]_FBi
but all know we dont know with what "app" they got this ... maybe its custom built nvidia app?
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#9
InnocentCriminal
Resident Grammar Amender
Maybe if you already had a SLi motherboard and relatively decent GFX card, but it is just marketing BS really. Hmmm... new CPU or a new GFX card, I think I know what I'd buy.
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#10
HossHuge
MistralThere are so many things wrong with this graph that it's not even funny...
Like what res?
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#11
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
The graph may be right or wrong, but NVIDIA's theory makes sense. If you have a reasonably good gaming PC from last year, a GPU upgrade makes more sense. NVIDIA is not refering to a case where your CPU is holding your GPUs back, hence it used a Core 2 Duo E8400 for reference.
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#12
Static~Charge
Ahead of the bulk of the crucial summer shopping season, NVIDIA sent a circular urging consumers to focus their PC upgrades on GPUs, rather than CPU and its platform.
Why? Because NVIDIA sells GPUs, not CPUs. What a self-serving load of crap.... :shadedshu
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#13
LifeOnMars
btarunrThe graph may be right or wrong, but NVIDIA's theory makes sense. If you have a reasonably good gaming PC from last year, a GPU upgrade makes more sense. NVIDIA is not refering to a case where your CPU is holding your GPUs back, hence it used a Core 2 Duo E8400 for reference.
'
Thats fair enough, but even an e8400 @ 4.5ghz doesn't scale as well with a GTX 295 as an i7 rig. There should be more information available to people (noobs especially) on the correlation between CPU power and GPU output.
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#14
[I.R.A]_FBi
LifeOnMars'
Thats fair enough, but even an e8400 @ 4.5ghz doesn't scale as well with a GTX 295 as an i7 rig. There should be more information available to people (noobs especially) on the correlation between CPU power and GPU output.
Theres more info but nvidia is being self serving (as any corporation would be)
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#15
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
LifeOnMars'
Thats fair enough, but even an e8400 @ 4.5ghz doesn't scale as well with a GTX 295 as an i7 rig. There should be more information available to people (noobs especially) on the correlation between CPU power and GPU output.
Which is why I said 'reasonably good', what E8400 is. If you're planning on a GTX 295, you're probably looking at high-resolutions (≥1080p, because a GTX 295 won't make sense for lower resolutions). At those high resolutions, games are decreasingly CPU-bound. If $600 or less is your incremental upgrade budget in this case, you'd rather just buy the graphics card than the new CPU+board+memory (or both).
Static~ChargeWhy? Because NVIDIA sells GPUs, not CPUs. What a self-serving load of crap.... :shadedshu
Obviously. Coca Cola won't ask you to sip hot-chocolate in summer.
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#16
LifeOnMars
[I.R.A]_FBiTheres more info but nvidia is being self serving (as any corporation would be)
Yeh I guess so. But it gives them a bad name if people buy one of their powerful graphics cards and wonder why its not pushing the frames people have seen in all the benchmarks only to realise their current CPU is restricting it.
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#17
Kelarik
Makes you wonder what the 'constant graphics card' used to bench the CPUs was...

I'm guessing a 256MB 8600 GT running games at a resolution of 1920x1200 or higher, with full AA turned on
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#18
h3llb3nd4
KelarikMakes you wonder what the 'constant graphics card' used to bench the CPUs was...

I'm guessing a 256MB 8600 GT running games at a resolution of 1920x1200 or higher, with full AA turned on
That'll get them 2fps.....
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#19
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
KelarikMakes you wonder what the 'constant graphics card' used to bench the CPUs was...

I'm guessing a 256MB 8600 GT running games at a resolution of 1920x1200 or higher, with full AA turned on
The constant was single GTS 250.
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#20
AsRock
TPU addict
Well it's on about the 250 and no other card really. One reason i did not pick a 250 it would not be good enough for my requirements.

So IF i had a SLI mobo and a 250 would think about getting another 250 or better card. So what they say is right.

My next upgrade really has to be CPU\Mobo\Ram upgrade not a new card. Then again this also depends on the games you enjoy playing too.


Thing is I don't have a 250 so this NEWS is pointless to me.
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#21
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
I can agree with this.

All nVidia is saying is that if you have a mid-range CPU, and mid-range GPU, upgrading the GPU gives better performance. I totally agree with this.

Obviously, everyones situation is different, but in general there is nothing wrong with that statement.

It wouldn't be marketting if nVidia loaded it with details. This isn't a hardware review, it is a piece of marketting to get people to buy graphics cards over upgrading CPUs.

And there is nothing wrong, or unrealsistic, with that graph. If the setting are jacked up so high that it bogs the GTS250 down to the point where it only manages 42FPS, then upgrading the CPU/Memory isn't going to help.
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#22
TheLaughingMan
While it is very true that there is a lot more going on that can effect your gaming performance, in a controlled setup (same everything but product being switched out) a new GPU will provide a larger improvement in your games than a new CPU. That is simply fact. I personally have only had issues with memory choking my games. $50 and 2 sticks of RAM later, problem gone.

This is not propaganda. It is a simple ad for Nvidia which provides truthful, accurate information.....just limited to specific task (gaming) to present their product in the best light.

Please put away your pitch forks and tar. Nvidia and Intel have been slinging mud like this since that lawsuit was first issued from Intel to Nvidia.
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#23
DrPepper
The Doctor is in the house
newtekie1I can agree with this.

All nVidia is saying is that if you have a mid-range CPU, and mid-range GPU, upgrading the GPU give better performance. I totally agree with this.

Obviously, everyones situation is different, but in general there is nothing wrong with that statement.

It wouldn't be marketting if nVidia loaded it with details. This isn't a hardware review, it is a piece of marketting to get people to buy graphics cards over upgrading CPUs.

And there is nothing wrong, or unrealsistic, with that graph. If the setting are jacked up so high that it bogs the GTS250 down to the point where it only manages 42FPS, then upgrading the CPU/Memory isn't going to help.
I agree. Going from a 920 to a 965 isn't going to give you much more fps compared to a gpu upgrade for the same cost. It's also saying if you have a gpu, say gtx260 upgrading to i7 won't give you as big an upgrade as getting another gpu and sli'ing them.
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#24
ShadowFold
The jump from Core 2 Quad to i7 gives such small performance increases in games, I agree with nvidia here. Altho, not necessarily on the whole SLI thing, but I still think that buying a new video card for gaming is a much better idea if you have a Core 2 or Phenom platform.
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#25
theubersmurf
LifeOnMarsOk so somebody with an X2 thinks OK Nvidia I want the best graphics so obviously I should buy a shiny GTX 295 only to find its hideously crippled by a lack of CPU power. There needs to be more information for people that are new to PC gaming, how important it is to know the level of CPU scaling that can occur.
<-This, in addition to the fact that nearly every nvidia gpu worth owning requires additional power, which many store bought systems don't have the appropriate connections, nor power even if they have converters.
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