Originally Posted by esa193
i get smooth frame rates in most games
between 10 and 20 fps in fear
Sure that's "smooth" but the CPU is incredibly important in graphics performance. Then again, always depending on what GPU you have. Since the CPU is what is actually giving the direction to the GPU, the graphics card can only function as fast as the directions are being given. It's like a car accelerating. It will only go as fast as you put your foot down, but will eventually reach it's maximum speed (your foot being the Processor and the car being the GPU).
Graphics cards will also only function as fast as their rated speed (without OC'ing of course). Meaning if you have an 8800GT working with an old school 1ghz CPU, the 8800 is a complete waste, as it will only go as fast as the directions are being fed to it. On the other hand, if you have an Intel Quad-Core running with an nVidia 4600, information being sent to the 4600 will start bottlenecking because it cannot be converted into graphics as fast as the CPU is sending it, which makes for a slow game and low frame rates.
The problem is that both technologies are advancing so rapidly that choosing a new GPU may result in a CPU purchase too, just to get the maximum performance and vice-versa. All in all, GPU's and CPU's both play ridiculously important roles in gaming, GPU playing the role of human interface device, and the processor playing the role of the brain.
Always choose both wisely, there's no point in buying an 8800, or any other fast card, if you have a processor which can't give it directions fast enough, but it is more efficient to upgrade your CPU before your GPU, as you will have a smoother experience in performance because of the rise in processor speed.
I hope this didn't come out too confusing, and I'm also hoping there is no error in information. I attempted to make it as simple as possible. And plus, I'm still learning :P