How can I find the bottleneck in my PC’s performance in games and video editing software?

Osama Javaid October 12, 2012
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If some video game suffers slow down on high settings or high resolution and if a video editing or video effects program can’t show smooth real-time preview of HD video editing or compositing work or totally crashes when loaded with lots of effects and layers, how can I find out which component among processor, RAM or graphics card in my PC is the real bottleneck?

All minimum requirements for listed software are fulfilled by the hardware.

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  1. Jim Chambers
    October 21, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Do you have lots of space on your HDD ( 25% capacity) and do you defrag/optimize it regularly? Install more RAM (8GB minimum). Keep OS and software updated. Most software has update feature in Help dropdown menu.

  2. Dimal Chandrasiri
    October 12, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    that depends on the specific hardware! please tell what Hardware you are using!

    • Anonymous
      October 12, 2012 at 3:14 pm

      Core i3 3.1GHz
      4GB RAM
      nVidia GT 430 2GB

      • Gen Drex
        October 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm

        Well there you go. For video editing on a desktop, a i5 or Phenom x6, is probably the minimum you can get by with for HD editing. Really you'd want an i7.

        Also, you need more ram, that is most likely the root of your issues.

        Upgrade that graphics card. Something like the GTX550Ti/GTX560 or a Radeon 6870, is about all you need to game max settings in most games at 1920*1080. For higher resolutions(2560*1440+), you need a 2GB GTX560Ti/GTX660, 7850 or go the multi-gpu route.

        Also, hard drives. You'd benefit greatly from an ssd for the OS and programs while using a hard drive for storage.

      • Kannon Y
        October 15, 2012 at 4:16 am

        The question you ask is quite complicated, as different games and video editors are designed to utilize the various hardware components of your computer in different ways.

        For example, Adobe Premiere supports GPU acceleration in a very narrow selection of graphics processors. However, you can unlock all Nvidia GPUs, which will help dramatically with video editing. If you have Premiere, this will help you a lot.

        But otherwise, you have chosen your components very well. I've been told that the Core i3/GT 430 combo is a pretty well matchedin HTPC/budget gaming builds. In fact, I actually purchased several GT 430s over the summer for $15 USD apiece, back when prices on the PNY version dropped like a rock at our local office supply store, Staples.

        The only problem with it is that it uses DDR3 memory, which resulted in low frame rate at high resolutions. However, everyone who got one of my GT 430s likes it a lot - but you can't play modern games on the highest settings without a frame rate penalty, but that's to be expected on a GT 430 with DDR3 RAM.

        • Anonymous
          October 15, 2012 at 5:00 am

          well, everyone suggests me to go for an i5, 8GB RAM and a GTX series card for serious gaming and editing. do you agree?

  3. Usama
    October 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm
  4. Harish Jonnalagadda
    October 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    3D Mark by FutureMark. I have been using this quite effectively over the years to get an idea as to how my video card is functioning. Comes bundled with most new video cards, and totally useful. Novabench is anotehr benchmarking utility, and it is free. http://www.novabench.com/ Check it out too!

  5. susendeep dutta
    October 12, 2012 at 11:20 am

    If a video game suffers slowdown in high resolution and settings then the bottleneck creating hardware is GPU as it doesn't have enough bus width to carry more signals at a time,hence one needs to low down these settings to have a smooth motion.

  6. ha14
    October 12, 2012 at 9:50 am

    well video is under graphic card support, so if slowing then this can be because of the graphic card not very powerful especially when you stretch its capacity to extreme, graphic card may not like it;

    Perhaps drivers are corrupted missing codec for video.

    concerning application if they need more ram, process try to follow them with a process manager. like Kiwi application monitor
    http://kiwimonitor.com/kiwi_application_monitor.php

    Average CPU Cycles
    http://user.tninet.se/~jad615g/averagecpu/

  7. Bruce Epper
    October 12, 2012 at 3:25 am

    You can use benchmarking tools such as PCMark, Sandra, and others to determine what components are more likely to be your bottleneck. Even using the Windows Experience Index can help with the isolation in very general terms (the component with the worst score is likely to be the problem). You can also use performance monitor to track performance statistics of the components you are interested in.

    • Jacob Mathew
      October 12, 2012 at 4:05 am

      Yes, I agree with Bruce Epper. Windows experience index can help isolate the problem.

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