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Sapphire HD 7950, GPU load doesn't run at 100%, only fluctuating below 60% in game

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March 19, 2013 5:56:48 PM

I have oced my card to 1152/1150. Temperature is about 70. When I play bf3, its used to be so smooth on all maps (>60fps most of the time and 55 fps in heavy situation) Now it drops down to 30-50 fps. Ran GPU-Z and GPU teak, it shows that 7950 is not running at 100% but fluctuating up and down and mostly below 60%. Things I have tried
1/ completely clear driver and reinstall driver
2/ disable Hardware acceleration for Flash player
3/ Its not bottleneck cuz my CPU is i5-2500k, not PSU cuz its OCZ 700Watt.
How do I force it to run at 100% cuz its what its supposed to do
Below is a picture of my trial with GPU-z and GPU graph
Yes I did drag the power option to 20%... what else should I do?
P/s: It's used to be able to run at 100% GPU load at i5-2500k stock speed so I don't think its bottlenecking issue :) !
Oh one more thing, when I run furmark, GPU actually goes to 100%. But not in the game ...



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I found another issue when running furmark.. and GPU-Z show that the core speed fluctuating between the stock speed (850 Hz ) and my oc speed (1150 Hz). GPU is now at 100%, but only with Furmark



Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Below is another footage of running bf3 at max setting with low fps... There's no heavey situation going on here and I got only 35-40 fps ... why ..???



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March 19, 2013 6:16:50 PM

is your 2500k at stock? if so, i probably is the bottleneck
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March 19, 2013 6:17:21 PM

you just told us what started the problem have you tried reseting the clocks back to factory?
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March 19, 2013 6:28:01 PM

It's supposed to run on 100% when application requires it. Sometimes GPU runs at 50% and rest is done by CPU. So it's not something you can adjust. If it runs at 30% it means that it is doing what is required at current usage. To me it seems that you have problems with loading profiles made by GPU tweak. Ati tray tools runs better, and it will load your profile for sure on every startup.

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March 19, 2013 6:35:37 PM

Cons29 said:
is your 2500k at stock? if so, i probably is the bottleneck

Yes , at stock speed, and no it will no bottleneck even 2x7950. I know that for fact cuz i5-2500k is quite a powerful cpu :)  Thank you for your opinion tho'
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March 19, 2013 6:36:22 PM

BF3 is very CPU bound. it's likely the CPU bottlenecking the system. overclock that i5 a bit and see what happens.
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March 19, 2013 6:40:23 PM

ingtar33 said:
BF3 is very CPU bound. it's likely the CPU bottlenecking the system. overclock that i5 a bit and see what happens.


it's used to be able to run at 100% GPU load at i5-2500k stock speed so I don't think its bottlenecking issue :)  the problem just occur after I transfered my rig into a new case. Im pretty sure I plug everything in correctly tho'
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March 19, 2013 6:41:42 PM

ingtar33 said:
BF3 is very CPU bound. it's likely the CPU bottlenecking the system. overclock that i5 a bit and see what happens.


That CPU is not bottlenecking that system. I run two GTX 670's in SLI at 2560x1440 with a stock it 2500K. BF3 has them both near 100% if i have the settings maxed out.

To the OP, does it always run at 30-50 FPS, or is it stuttering? I had a stuttering issue and i had to enable vsync to make it stop. BF3 is the only game that I have ever had that problem with before.
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March 19, 2013 6:46:14 PM

NCG-Sam said:
ingtar33 said:
BF3 is very CPU bound. it's likely the CPU bottlenecking the system. overclock that i5 a bit and see what happens.


That CPU is not bottlenecking that system. I run two GTX 670's in SLI at 2560x1440 with a stock it 2500K. BF3 has them both near 100% if i have the settings maxed out.

To the OP, does it always run at 30-50 FPS, or is it stuttering? I had a stuttering issue and i had to enable vsync to make it stop. BF3 is the only game that I have ever had that problem with before.


it's not always, when the map is clear it stays at 60-70. with lots of buildings and details, it goes down to 30-45 fps, which didn't happen the last time I was able to make it run fully at 100% (it always stay above 55fps under most heavy situation). I will try your V-sync to see how it turns out. but I really want to know what makes the 7950 not run at %100 .... ;(
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March 19, 2013 6:50:55 PM

Feldmarschall said:
It's supposed to run on 100% when application requires it. Sometimes GPU runs at 50% and rest is done by CPU. So it's not something you can adjust. If it runs at 30% it means that it is doing what is required at current usage. To me it seems that you have problems with loading profiles made by GPU tweak. Ati tray tools runs better, and it will load your profile for sure on every startup.



I have tried CCC, Trix, After Burner ... all the same . Thank you tho' :) 

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March 19, 2013 7:32:18 PM

kkid1412 said:
Cons29 said:
is your 2500k at stock? if so, i probably is the bottleneck

Yes , at stock speed, and no it will no bottleneck even 2x7950. I know that for fact cuz i5-2500k is quite a powerful cpu :)  Thank you for your opinion tho'


yes the i5 is a very strong cpu but it prolly would bottleneck those 2 7950s on a 64 players server like metro.
im not saying you are just saying your cpu could bottleneck especially since bf3 really wants at least 5 cores on multiplayer in my experience.
kkid1412 said:
NCG-Sam said:
ingtar33 said:
BF3 is very CPU bound. it's likely the CPU bottlenecking the system. overclock that i5 a bit and see what happens.


That CPU is not bottlenecking that system. I run two GTX 670's in SLI at 2560x1440 with a stock it 2500K. BF3 has them both near 100% if i have the settings maxed out.

To the OP, does it always run at 30-50 FPS, or is it stuttering? I had a stuttering issue and i had to enable vsync to make it stop. BF3 is the only game that I have ever had that problem with before.



it's not always, when the map is clear it stays at 60-70. with lots of buildings and details, it goes down to 30-45 fps, which didn't happen the last time I was able to make it run fully at 100% (it always stay above 55fps under most heavy situation). I will try your V-sync to see how it turns out. but I really want to know what makes the 7950 not run at %100 .... ;(


99% of the time when your gpu is not loading all the way to 100% its a cpu bottleneck. the cpu cant keep up with the cpu so the gpu slows down to keep things in sync. i think you need to monitor your clock speed and see if its going to where it should be. also make sure your temps are where they should be with the cpu.

so did this happen after you moved cases or after you overclocked? you changed your story.
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March 19, 2013 7:39:12 PM

cbrunnem said:
kkid1412 said:
Cons29 said:
is your 2500k at stock? if so, i probably is the bottleneck

Yes , at stock speed, and no it will no bottleneck even 2x7950. I know that for fact cuz i5-2500k is quite a powerful cpu :)  Thank you for your opinion tho'


yes the i5 is a very strong cpu but it prolly would bottleneck those 2 7950s on a 64 players server like metro.
im not saying you are just saying your cpu could bottleneck especially since bf3 really wants at least 5 cores on multiplayer in my experience.
kkid1412 said:
NCG-Sam said:
ingtar33 said:
BF3 is very CPU bound. it's likely the CPU bottlenecking the system. overclock that i5 a bit and see what happens.


That CPU is not bottlenecking that system. I run two GTX 670's in SLI at 2560x1440 with a stock it 2500K. BF3 has them both near 100% if i have the settings maxed out.

To the OP, does it always run at 30-50 FPS, or is it stuttering? I had a stuttering issue and i had to enable vsync to make it stop. BF3 is the only game that I have ever had that problem with before.



it's not always, when the map is clear it stays at 60-70. with lots of buildings and details, it goes down to 30-45 fps, which didn't happen the last time I was able to make it run fully at 100% (it always stay above 55fps under most heavy situation). I will try your V-sync to see how it turns out. but I really want to know what makes the 7950 not run at %100 .... ;(


99% of the time when your gpu is not loading all the way to 100% its a cpu bottleneck. the cpu cant keep up with the cpu so the gpu slows down to keep things in sync. i think you need to monitor your clock speed and see if its going to where it should be. also make sure your temps are where they should be with the cpu.

so did this happen after you moved cases or after you overclocked? you changed your story.


I overclocked it onced at it was running fine at full 100% for 1 month. After I switched to a new case, bought some wire extention to do cable management, pretty much re-built, It is now fluctuating. If it didn't bottleneck it, why would it happen now :( ?. Oh one more thing, when I run furmark, GPU actually goes to 100%. But not in the game ...

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March 19, 2013 7:41:52 PM



look at your cpu temps and clock speeds while playing. you could have misseated the cpu cooler and it could be overheating and downclocking.
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March 19, 2013 7:45:18 PM

What do you mean by "extension wire" those would not happen to be for CPU or GPU power would they? If they are they could be dropping voltage cause a malfunction.

Also check CPU temperature/clock as suggested
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March 19, 2013 7:48:17 PM

smeezekitty said:
What do you mean by "extension wire" those would not happen to be for CPU or GPU power would they? If they are they could be dropping voltage cause a malfunction.

Also check CPU temperature/clock as suggested


Oh yes, I bought 2 6 pins extentions for my GPU, and one 24 pins for the MOBO. Really? it really can cause voltage drop??
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March 19, 2013 7:50:36 PM

Its a CPU bottleneck but not the sort that you need to run to the store and buy a new one for. BF3 eats alot of CPU power, any system will take the same hit, where the CPU is being maxed out rather than the GPU.
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March 19, 2013 7:51:01 PM

Any added wire can cause voltage to drop. Does the wire seem thin (like thinner than your PSU wire)? Thin wire will drop more voltage.

How long are they?
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March 19, 2013 8:02:04 PM

smeezekitty said:
Any added wire can cause voltage to drop. Does the wire seem thin (like thinner than your PSU wire)? Thin wire will drop more voltage.

How long are they?

only 6 inches...

I found another issue when running furmark. the picture below show only one core of the i5 actually working, is this supposed to happen?. and GPU-Z show that the core speed alternating between 850 Hz and my oc speed (1150 Hz). GPU is now at 100%, but only with Furmark



Uploaded with ImageShack.us
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March 19, 2013 8:10:20 PM

Furmark is not CPU multicore benchmarking software and it don't need all cores to work.
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March 20, 2013 1:26:16 PM

any other possibilities? If my GPU is underpower, how do I know? won't it turn on at all?
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March 20, 2013 6:11:51 PM

put everything back the wall you had it before. try that. that eliminates EVERY variable that changed. plus did you ever check your max ingame cpu temps? are you on the stock heatsink? i cant stress enough that a lot of the time when the gpu isnt being fully used its a CPU problem.
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March 20, 2013 6:40:40 PM

Enable hardware acceleration for Flash player (disabling does not fix anything).

Did you get 60fps and now 30fps on same level? Same part of game? Maybe it's something like Assassins creed when you get in Boston you get major FPS dropdown due to GPU ussage of 40%.

P.S. Don't know is this multiplayer or single you are playing
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March 20, 2013 9:24:22 PM

Feldmarschall said:
Enable hardware acceleration for Flash player (disabling does not fix anything).

Did you get 60fps and now 30fps on same level? Same part of game? Maybe it's something like Assassins creed when you get in Boston you get major FPS dropdown due to GPU ussage of 40%.

P.S. Don't know is this multiplayer or single you are playing


Yes. Its some part of the game the fps drops very low. Especially when i loot at the direction that has a lot of building and trees. And the gpu usage is below %50 all the time. How do i get it to run at %100 to ensure maximum fps??
And this is multiplayer :)  battlefield 3
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May 28, 2013 7:37:35 PM

I am having the same observations with these cards while bitcoin mining. Its not your CPU, your power, or anything like that. It is some sort of artificial handbrake put in place when OCing put in place by sapphire/powercolor to perhaps throttle the card. I say this because I also have an XFX version of the same card but this card always runs at 100% (and always gets better performance) on the same machine, same hardware, etc.

Wonder if this throttle is software based (i.e. firmware).
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