You might want to consider the overall.
In a 3D application, here is what each part does:
CPU: Processes physics send render code to video card
(The faster your CPU, the faster your video card’s going to be able to display your animations on the screen)
Video Card: Processes the render code sent by the CPU, polygons etc.
(The faster your Video Card, the faster it’s going to be able to render the real time 3D previews)
RAM: Keeps in memory the render code sent by the CPU and interchanges data between the video card’s ram that holds the real time 3D data and the CPU that will then send new render code once the old one has been executed on your video card.
(the faster your ram, the quicker it’s going to be able to make 3D images refresh on the video card, the bigger your ram, the bigger quantity of data sent by the CPU it’s going to be able to hold)
Hard Drive: Delivers stored information to the RAM to send to the CPU and then be processed by the Video Card to display on the monitor.
(Particularly in video editing, the faster your hard drive, the faster stored files are sent to the RAM)
Motherboard: Makes the transfer link between everything.
(The faster the Motherboard, the faster everything works together)
Basically, remember that everything influences each other. Below is a set of cases in which one or more of the things above need to be replaced by better.
My software slows down when I get physics in the animation
(your CPU isn’t powerful enough)
(your RAM may not be fast enough to handle all the physics)
My software slows down when I have too much polygons
(your video card may not be fast enough or [more frequently] doesn’t have enough memory to handle all the data, putting it in queue on your RAM and then on your Hard Drive, slowing everything on the system)
(Your video card may not be fast enough to process the application’s 3D accelerator, in most cases OpenGL, NVidia is currently better at it)
My software slows down when I put textures
(Same then polygons)
Each time I start a tool, the process starts and then it blocks completely and starts to move normally again
(Your RAM isn’t fast enough to synchronize the first code of the process with the CPU and the Video Card)
Tip: If your computer has top notch devices and doesn’t perform, the motherboard may be the source of the problem since it wouldn’t be fast enough to handle all the transfers
Tip: A video card is extremely powerful in comparison to a processor (CPU). If you think you have to upgrade your video card, you may want to have a faster RAM, a faster CPU and a bigger video card memory to handle its tremendous power.
Take example on a Mac, some Macs have high RAM, high CPU, high everything except for video cards. Many people are fooled by this but the reality is the card is being exploited way better then a more powerful one. Keep in mind though that a more powerful video card with the same hardware is still better in anyway.
Tip: If you want a better rendering speed, don’t go for processors that handle tasks like a PowerPC (old Macs) or a AMD processor.
A AMD or PowerPC processor are short pipeline processors.
This makes it harder to attain stronger processing speeds (ex: P4 3.2 Ghz equivalent of PPC 1.6 Ghz) but the processor stays faster to start processing code.
For example, some P4 are 26 pipeline and PPC are 4 pipelines, so the PPC is basically 6 times faster to start processing. But, the equivalent P4 processes at twice the speed, so eventually it will catch up and go further then the PPC in less time if they are both processing a long term process (renders).
So a short pipeline processor is better for short and immediate tasks (aka real time),
ex: Video Games, Decoding Videos
And a long pipeline processor is better for long and lenghty tasks,
ex: Rendering, Encoding Videos
Also, because long pipeline processors have a long pipeline, they can handle a much bigger data buffer, making them more suited for multitasking operations.
Short and Long pipeline processors are easy to recognize. Just ask your tech guy at a computer store what would be equivalent to let’s say a 3Ghz P4 for an AMD processor, and the lowest in processing power is the one with the shortest pipeline, in this case the AMD.
Short Pipeline Processors:
Intel Intanium, Intel Centrino, IBM PowerPC, AMD Athlon
Long Pipeline Processors: Intel Pentium, Intel Celeron, Intel Core Duo
And what’s more, this is the main reason Apple switched to Intel. IBM wasn’t able to deliver stronger processors for one, and PowerPC wasn’t a good processor to take the future trendy tasks of multi tasking. Also, Apple was loosing the 3D community to Microsoft.
Might I remember you C.E.O. or Apple Steve Jobs is also C.E.O. or Pixar, which started rendering and working with Windows because they had better suited processors.