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FS2004, more memory bandwidth or more CPU horsepower ?

Discussion in 'Intel' started by Lorenzo Sandini, Jul 30, 2003.

  1. A short question about FSB, memory bandwidth and 3D game performance, in my
    case FS2004.

    For what it's worth, Sisoft sandra 2003 reports very high memory bandwidth
    with a 200 MHz FSB (800 MHz, Pentium 4 "C" processors with a i875P chipset),
    around 5000 MB/s, while with a 133 MHz FSB (533 MHz, pentium 4 "B", i845
    chipset), the value is about 3300 MB/s.

    The increase of about 50% is mostly due to the FSB increase, but for the
    processor it's another story.

    I refer to a benchmark published on tom's hardware page:

    Apparently between the 3.06 (533) and 3.00 (800) versions of the intel
    processor, there is not much of a difference in dhrystone/whetstone scores,
    while for the 2.8 GHz processor, the difference is huge. Indeed, the 2.8
    (533) performs about as good as the 2.4C(800).

    So for a game like, say, FS2004, would you prefer a 2.4C with a 2x200 MHz
    FSB, or a 2.8 (4x133) processor ? (All other considerations like upgrading,
    price, etc... left apart. It's a theoretical question, I already have my
    machine built).

    Lorenzo Sandini, Jul 30, 2003
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  2. I have a few PC's running FS9, each one less robust that the other, but all
    balanced in terms of bus speed, memory, video card and cpu. Each PC can run
    FS quite well, fluidly and without pauses or stuttering, but to varying
    degrees of rendering detail. Obvious enough, right?

    Not so obvious is the way FS is configured to handle the differences in each
    PC, in each case the FPS limiter is set to 20 and stays there. Each PC adds
    a distinct visual element over and above what it's lesser brother can
    accomplish, all in the name of maintaining 20fps.

    One might think that "Why are you running the most robust PC at 20fps? Can't
    you maintain the visual quality of the 2nd best machine and then bump up the
    FPS to 30?"

    The reason I don't do that, and why it's not recommended, is that any and
    all extra CPU horsepower is wasted in fits and bursts for extra frames that
    do nothing for either the visual experience or flying experience. In other
    words, you can get a whole lot of FPS improvement in areas that don't need
    it, and when you encounter a rough patch, say near a heavily layered airport
    with weather, you still drop below 20, so increasing beyond 20 is

    FS isn't Quake, you aren't sending out packets as fast as you can to shoot
    someone, you aren't spinning like a top, nor are you rushing to and fro. I,
    and others, have found 20fps, maintained is an optimum setting for realism
    and system performance. All the "wasted" cpu juice is then available to the
    system for other things that need the cycles. So much better than busting to
    40-50fps and dropping back down for the rest of the system to catch up,
    every second or so.

    Back to your specific question then: If you have a sufficiently robust bus
    speeed (166x2 is considered robust by my definition) then any and all CPU
    power balanced to that bus will be used, but only to smooth out system
    performance, not to actually increase performance, in other words, the
    faster CPU might increase your worst case scenario min_fps, but it will do
    nothing for increasing the max_fps.

    If I had to choose, I'd take the 2.8 133x4 for simming, assuming a balanced
    system, based on what I just wrote. :)
    Derek Wildstar, Jul 30, 2003
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