Get the most bang for your buck by balancing the CPU and GPU performance.
You can strike a relative balance between the performance of your graphics processing and your main computer processing by examining the speeds of both your GPU and CPU and determining which needs to be upgraded. For most non-graphic applications, the CPU carries the brunt of the workload, so adding a beefed-up GPU to a system on which you’ll be running spreadsheets is unnecessary. If you’re playing 3D games or encoding video, however, bumping up the specs on your graphics card may net you more of a performance boost than maxing out the CPU.
1. Check your current Windows Experience score to see what’s slowing you down. Click “Start,” type “Windows Experience” and press “Enter.”
2. Look in the lower left corner to see when the test was last run. If you’ve made any changes to the hardware or drivers for your hardware, re-run the tests. Click “Re-run the Assessment” in the lower right. Wait for the assessment to complete.
3. Examine your total Windows Experience score to see where the bottleneck is on your system. The large number on the right is your Base Score, this gives you the lowest score for any system on your computer. Compare that score to the sub-scores to the left. If the Base Score is the same as the Processor Score and the Graphics and Gaming Graphics scores are higher, then your CPU is slowing down your computer. Upgrade your CPU to improve the balance. If the reverse is true and the Graphics scores are the same as the Base Score, then upgrading your GPU will restore balance.
Purchasing a New System
4. Determine the requirements for the applications that you want to run. You can find these as the recommended system requirements and the minimum system requirements. These are often found on the bottom of a software’s retail box or on the website for the program.
5. Check the specifications of a computer against the minimum and recommended requirements of the software that you would like to run. If you don’t know how the computer compares, you can use a comparison chart – see links in Resources – to help you see where the processor and graphics card line up with others available on the market.
6. Purchase a system with a GPU and CPU that are roughly on the same level. So, if you’re wanting to engage in high-performance 3D gaming, you would want a top-of-the-line processor and graphics card. However, if you want to play a few games on a budget, you can use a system that has less speed for both the graphics and processor.