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Discovering Bottlenecks in PCs Built for Gaming? 142 142

QMan asks: "I, like many others here at Slashdot, am an avid gamer. Recently, I've been thinking about upgrading my gaming PC, but with all the mish mash of components in the box, I don't really know which components are slowing down the rest, and would be an ideal candidate for replacement. I'm looking for advice on how to discover the inherent bottlenecks in my system, whether they be from my video card, RAM, CPU, or other components. I've tried various benchmarking utilities, but they generally give an overall performance rating, but not much info on which device(s) had the most impact in limiting that rating. I'd imagine many of you out there have encountered the same problem, and might have ideas on where to start."
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Discovering Bottlenecks in PCs Built for Gaming?

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  • Re:OS? Hardware? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by TheArtfulTodger (879073) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:55PM (#14888163)
    Agreed. You really aren't being specific enough for us to be able to help.

    Please tell us your
    - current gear
    - OS
    - budget
    - and the types of games you play
    and then we might be able to make some recommendations.

    If you're after a magic utility that says "it's you CPU that's slowing an otherwise good system", I'm doubtful that one exists (but there is probably a real market for one).

  • by humberthumbert (104950) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @11:28PM (#14888313)
    Well, it really depends on which apps you are running, I
    run these all the time:

        1. Firefox with 30-40 tabs open and numerous extensions.

        2. Thunderbird hooked up to 3-6 IMAP accounts

        3. Gaim

        4. Poweroff

        5. AVG anti-virus

        6. Sharpreader

        7. Daemontools

        8. VNC server

        9. Openssh server

      10. Kerio firewall

      11. Auctionintelligence

      12. Excel, word, etc.

      13. Notepad++

      14. Spybot's Teatimer

      15. Truecrypt

      16. Passwordsafe

      And so far, no issues with the system keeling over. YMMV, of course, but
    I think the key is to have 1GB+ of ram before turning off swap.

      FYI, I'm running an AMD64 3000+ with 2GB of ram, nothing fancy.
  • Re:OS? Hardware? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Malor (3658) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @11:51PM (#14888443) Journal
    Sandra overestimates Intel CPUs relative to AMD CPUs by a large margin, when the vast majority of real life tests are exactly opposite. I don't trust its benchmarking much at all.

  • Re:OS? Hardware? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Friday March 10, 2006 @01:41AM (#14888794)
    Unless directx is emulating a missing feature from the video card in software. It will do that on occasion, and it won't be obvious just from reading performance monitor outputs what is going on.

    I don't think this quest for global bottleneck optimization is likely to be successful unless you have a lot of time and a lot of money to buy hardware. The only good way to do it is brute force, mixing and matching every likely combination. If you think about it too much and try to read the tea leaves of performance numbers, you'll go crazy.

    It's a whole lot of frustration for something that is always in flux. One driver release could change your results. I guess that would infuriate me enough to give up computing forever.

Much of the excitement we get out of our work is that we don't really know what we are doing. -- E. Dijkstra

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