Does CPU Performance Matter And Cause System Bottlenecks In Todays Gaming

Written by Zach Hess on Sat, Feb 28, 2015 4:00 PM
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In the world of PC requirements, it can be hard to decide just how well your PC will run a game. With CPU requirements on the rise (as well as GPU requirements), one can become a bit unsure if their CPU can cope with the stress of modern big name games. Well my friends, today I will put your minds (hopefully) at ease. I ran a few benchmarks with my FX-8350 while playing Far Cry 4, and the results were quite surprising!

What I did was take my FX-8350 and lower the core count and core frequency with a little ingenuity. I turned it into a FX-6300, Athlon X4 730 and even an Opteron 1352. The FX-8350 at stock speed meets the Recommended requirements for Far Cry 4. The FX-6300 is just above the Minimum requirements. The Athlon X4 730 is a bit below the Minimum requirements. Last (and certainly least), the Opteron 1352 is well below the Minimum requirements.

I ran the same loop each time, roughly 3 minutes of going through the same route, engaging a few enemies and shooting a couple of tigers. Nothing dramatic changed throughout these runs. I ran the graphics at the Ultra preset, which also had SMAA anti-aliasing enabled. This was done across all four benchmarks, using an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 graphics card.

The Far Cry 4 CPU FPS Results

FX-8350 - Min FPS:58  Max FPS: 92  Avg: 81

FX-6300 - Min FPS:57  Max FPS: 94  Avg: 79

Athlon X4 730 - Min FPS: 39  Max FPS: 82  Avg FPS: 58

Opteron 1352 - Min FPS: 19  Max FPS: 52 Avg FPS: 37

Bottlenecking Results

The FX-6300 had zero bottlenecking, thus producing roughly the same output of frames per second as the stock FX-8350.

The Athlon X4 730 displayed a slight bottleneck. CPU usage across all cores was around 75-85% and the GPU usage went down to 85-95%. Despite this, gameplay was still rock solid. With V-Sync enabled, you wouldn't even know there was an issue, minus the occasional lag.

Where it gets interesting is when the Opteron 1352 performance is benchmarked. This is a processor from way back in 2008. It's a quad-core CPU clocked at only 2.1Ghz. The bottlenecking was definitely at full force at this point. My CPU usage across all cores was pegged at 95-99% and my GPU usage dropped to a lowly 45-55%, but Far Cry 4 was still somewhat playable.

What have we learned from Far Cry 4 CPU bottleneck benchmarks

So what have we learned in terms of CPU bottlencking modern hardware on a modern game? Well firstly, it takes a CPU from back in 2008 to cripple a GTX 970. And so the data from today's exercise shows us that CPU requirements don't really matter a great deal in a games performance! What truly matters is how strong your GPU is, and that you try to avoid bottlenecking in your current rig.

Todays Conclusion - If there isn't a bottleneck present, then your PC will be able to play as well as the GPU requirements say you can, no matter if your processor doesn't even meet the minimum requirements. We will look to explore this hypothesis further in the coming weeks, hunting down games that are reported to lean specifically on the processor and then testing them in the same fashion.

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22:36 Mar-15-2015

see this doesn't make sense to me....when i had my 8320 in my system i got about that when it first came out...then after one update it pumbled down to 30 FPS sometimes reaching in the 40s....then i got my i5 and i get a solid 60 everything maxed out....just the Nvidia features turned off

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22:38 Mar-15-2015

I would like to know where you were when doing the benchmarking.....to be honest it seems the hardest on both CPU and GPU is when defending the temple...and its not far in the game..... i don't mean to sound like an A-hole....it just confuses me.

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01:04 Mar-16-2015

It's been quite a while since I did the benchmark. I know that there was a field in front of a house, and I was going up a hill. There wasn't as much action going on as there would be defending a temple. But I do know that I don't drop below 55 fps when playing this game.

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18:02 Mar-20-2015

hmmm....weird...well thanks for responding....keep doing the benchmarks...g'day mate

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17:13 Mar-03-2015

So theoretically my Q6600 shouldn't bottleneck my GTX660 but it does

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17:15 Mar-03-2015

What game/games are you speaking of?

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10:57 Apr-26-2015

Not meaning to sound patronising but this article is about far cry 4 so take a guess

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19:53 Apr-26-2015

Well you do sound that way.


Just because this article is about Far Cry 4 doesn't mean any other game can't or won't be discussed.

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15:24 Mar-02-2015

Awesome article ZeroHour! Keep up the awesome work bro.

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16:45 Mar-02-2015

Glad you enjoyed it! :D


There is more on the way.

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11:45 Mar-02-2015

Adding some evidence to your hypothesis -


I can get a solid 50-60fps framerate on Far Cry 4 on Ultra with my current setup (AMD Athlon X4 760K, 4.2ghz with a GTX 970).


People keep asking me if I'm experiencing a large bottleneck - and the answer is... no, it's really not noticeable. Benchmarking programs pick it up, but games don't seem to be affected - or if they do, it's in a very minor way.

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16:47 Mar-02-2015

It's a minor bottleneck for sure, but not enough to cause an issue. Thanks for the addition!

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06:36 Mar-02-2015

with dx12 coming ill use my 2500k for the next 5 years :)

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02:18 Mar-02-2015

When I used my FX 4300 Oc'd to 4.6, I had 0 bottleneck on far Cry 4. I still get about the same FPS using the 8350. However, in BF4 it was a different story.

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15:05 Mar-01-2015

Good for me I guess xD

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10:50 Mar-01-2015

Of course it does.. I recently upgraded from my fx-4100 and from unplayable games like Far Cry 4 - Unity and even 2k15 i got 60fps on ultra (unity high)

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10:48 Mar-01-2015

Same here, month ago i had overclocked quad core amd athlon ii x4 631 , and now i have i7 2600k, didn't notice any increase at all , minimum fps increased but averange still same, same thing in crysis 3 didn't notice any huge increase

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08:22 Mar-01-2015

So if I were to upgrade to a 980 OC something edition I shouldn't experience any bottleneck?

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15:14 Mar-01-2015

Of course you won't experience any bottleneck. You got a beast overclockable i7 ;) Don't believe me then take a look at Tero's rig, he is running R9-290X Crossfire with that same i7 you have and it runs fantastically.

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07:51 Mar-01-2015

Intel cpu -> quad core
AMD cpu -> six core


This is the minimum you must aim for modern games.

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05:23 Mar-01-2015

Test ur CPU for an Open world title....Farcry 4 is a FPS game...U should benchmark it on Watchdogs or upcoming Witcher 3 for CPU bench marks...for FPS games CPU really does not matters much but for Open world title it really matters I guess :)

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06:06 Mar-01-2015

Would you really want me to benchmark what is undoubtedly hailed as one of the worst ports in PC gaming? I don't plan on doing that one. I actually just finished benching Shadow of Mordor.

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06:48 Mar-01-2015

Well there is other CPU intensive titles ARMA3, Star Citizen Total War Ryse Son of Rone

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06:56 Mar-01-2015

Ryse: Son of Rome is just as CPU intensive as Far Cry 4 was, at least for me. Like I previously said, I just benched Shadow of Mordor, which is an open world title. Check out the results in the coming days!

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06:58 Mar-01-2015

Ok @zero :)

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07:27 Mar-01-2015

You guys give great conversations to read. Thanks buddies! :D

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02:49 Mar-01-2015

you should do one with the 8350 at different speeds. underclocked to be an 8320 then a 3.75, 4.0 and then 4.25.
also i can disable cores in my bios so you might be able to do that and run 4, 6 and 8 cores at different speeds.
if you want i can help out with that.


great article though

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02:57 Mar-01-2015

Thanks buddy. We can take a look into it.

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02:40 Mar-01-2015

I recently switched from an 8320 to a 4690K, and in Far Cry 4 I noticed a 10 to 20 fps increase depending on the area. I'd say the difference is worth the price increase.

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02:45 Mar-01-2015

No doubt about it, Intel does have better stability in framerate.

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00:14 Mar-01-2015

Solid article. I myself also did a few tests myself and you should've told me. We could've thrown in aswell. A pentium over clocked to 4.4 will perform around the same as a 4770k in most games that use 2-4 threads. Just goes to show on how much the cpu effects games right?

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00:00 Mar-01-2015

Look at AMD FX-6300 and AMD FX-8350, almost no difference ... :o :|

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23:42 Feb-28-2015

It depends on the game. I just upgraded my CPU from a 3570k to a 4790k and I see no improvement on most games, but there is games where there is quite a difference. Crysis 3 is one where the fps increase by 30 to 40 fps. It has helped on most open world games as well.

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23:43 Feb-28-2015

You may have just given me my next benchmark test. :D


EDIT: Actually, nevermind. I forgot that Crysis 3 doesn't run very well on my system. Not joking. Rather disappointed. Lots of other 970 users report the same thing. :(

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01:13 Mar-01-2015

The biggest change in fps was one the second level with all the grass. With the 3570k maxing the game out with AA off I would get around 30 to 40 fps, with the 4790k it went up to 60 to 80 fps. Huge difference. The grass is what was killing the performances since the grass relies so much on the CPU.

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23:23 Feb-28-2015

nice article. yes as some people have pointed out it depends on the game too but i believe that in most cases the CPU requirements are a lot higher than needed and a good GPU is a lot more important in gaming. in all the games i played where the CPU requirements were higher than my own (like i7 3770) there was absolutely no bottleneck... this is why i think all those 6 core intel CPUs or even very high end 4 core i7s are a waste of money if we are talking about gaming... a good i5 or the fx 8--- will pretty much cover everything and even more than you need to game.

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21:52 Feb-28-2015

thank you very much for the intel, (no pun intended) as i currently have my fx 8320 working at stock 8350 speeds, an 8350 with slightly higher voltage. Glad somebody wrote an article supporting what i thought all along abt bottlenecking.

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21:45 Feb-28-2015

I think CPU is more important than GPU... in my case

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Core i5-8400 6-Core 2.8GHz GeForce GTX 1050 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
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