By now you all likely know that NVIDIA’s GeForce 8800 line is the world’s first next-generation DirectX 10 GPU. You also likely know that the GeForce 8800 GTX is fastest graphics processor on the market right now. What you may not however is that in order to harness all this power, you’ll need a powerful CPU to keep the GeForce 8800 GTX humming along at such blazing speeds.
As we showed you in our GeForce 8800 GTX/GTS Performance with Athlon 64 article, in some cases the flagship GeForce 8800 GTX was outperformed by NVIDIA’s cheaper GeForce 8800 GTS when the GTX card was paired with a slower CPU like the Athlon 64 X2 3800+. This trait was particularly evident in older titles that we test with such as Half-Life 2 Lost Coast, and Quake 4.
These games were designed with the DirectX 8 and the first generation of DX9 cards in mind, and don’t use shaders nearly as extensively as newer games such as F.E.A.R. and Oblivion. In contrast the GeForce 8800 GTX and 8800 GTS were never CPU-bound under these shader-heavy titles.
It’s these older games like Counter-Strike: Source, World of Warcraft, and Battlefield 2142 that are played the most by gamers online. Unfortunately since these games are based on older game engines that really don’t pushing the shader model 4.0 shading engine found in the GeForce 8800s, they’re also the most likely to be CPU-bound with a GeForce 8800 GTX card when paired with a slower CPU.
After publishing the GeForce 8800 GTX Performance with Athlon 64 article
you asked us to take a look at the card’s performance with slower Core 2 CPUs, the fear was there may be cases where a slower GPU like the GeForce 8800 GTS or even a previous-gen GPU like the Radeon X1950 XTX may be able to overtake the 8800 GTX when the GTX is paired with a slower processor: well it took a few months, but that’s what we’re here to accomplish in this article.
We’ve included performance results for Core 2 CPUs ranging from the Core 2 Duo E4300 all the way up to the Core 2 Extreme X6800, with the GeForce 8800 GTX, 8800 GTS 640MB and the GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB all included. We’ve also thrown in performance results for the Radeon X1950 XTX and GeForce 7950 GT when paired with the X6800 processor for reference points.