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Problems with ATI Radeon HD 5770 Crossfire Performance

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 11, 2013 4:07:02 PM

Hi,
I am having some issues with my PC and would really appreciate any insight!
First off, my setup:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 555, 3rd core unlocked; CPU-Z says it runs at 3.2Ghz under full load.
Memory: 16Gb DDR3
Video: Two Sapphire Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 cards in Crossfire; the 2nd card was added maybe a 18 months or so after getting the first one; this goes to my receiver and my TV running at 1920x1080
Mobo: ASUS M4A87TD EVO AM3 with 2 2.0 PCI-e slots (16x, 4x)
HD: My main one, where my Steam files are, is a WD Caviar Black 1TB 7200rpm
OS: Windows 7
Catalyst Control Center (CCC): v13.4; hardware info shows both the primary and linked adapter (primary running at PCI-e 2.0 at 16x, the linked card running at 4x)

I just updated from CCC 12.4 (or 12.8?) and I have had Crossfire enabled every since installing the second card. With CCC 12.4, and every previous version of CCC I've had, about 60% of the time when I booted up from shutdown, I'd have to go back into CCC and re-enable Crossfire; for some reason it would be disabled on restart more often than not. I've only had 13.4 for a day now and I have not yet shut down my PC.
My main issue is basically I have never really noticed any difference from running in Crossfire vs running one card when gaming (Crysis 2, BF3, Portal 2, others). I think I am fooling myself into seeing a difference, but sometimes I would start up my system, start gaming (and it seemed normal), then remember that I didn't check if Crossfire had been disabled so I would recheck and see it was disabled and so I would renable it, and then go back to gaming and not really notice a difference. Does that make sense? And sometimes it would even seem worse.
So I bought Hitman Absolution on Steam (not pirated) and noticed that it had benchmarking which I've never done. These are my in-game settings:

Resolution: 1920x1080
Fullscreen checked
Refresh Rate 60
VSync checked
MSAA 2x
Exclusive Fullscreen checked
Aspect Auto
Quality: Custom
Shadow Medium
Texture Quality Normal
Texture Filter Anisotropic 2x
Reflections Medium
FXAA checked
Global Illumination unchecked
Tessellation unchecked
Level f Detail Medium
Depth of Field Medium
SSAO Normal
Bloom Normal

With my previous version of CCC my FPS averaged around 24.8, but I didn't write the exact numbers down. I went to the AMD website and saw a new CCC version and the new CAP with Hitman Absolution. I uninstalled all previous CAPs, and ran the 13.4 installer to remove my previous version of CCC. Then I rebooted, made sure display drivers were all uninstalled, and installed 13.4. I ran benchmarks with Crossfire on and off, then installed the new CAP and ran benchmarks with Crossfire on and off (each three times, "A", "B", and "C"). Here's my avg FPS:

Crossfire Enabled, no CAP
A. 26.3fps
B. 28.13fps
C. 27.8fps
Crossfire Disabled, no CAP
1. 29.9fps
2. 30.5fps
3. 30.5fps
Crossfire Disabled, CAP installed
1. 30.3fps
2. 30.3fps
3. 30.3fps
Crossfire Enabled, CAP installed
1. 16.4fps
2. 16.3fps
3. 10.4fps!

So it almost looks like my best settings were with Crossfire disabled and no CAP. So....Why? I mean, if I enable Crossfire and I do what AMD suggests and use the latest CCC version with the lates CAP, I get 10-16fps! I am not too technically inclined, so I was thinking I either have a faulty 2nd card (although CCC says it's linked) or my 4x PCI-e slot is slowing everything down, or I really don't know.
If you have any ideas/suggestions please let me know!
May 11, 2013 4:58:34 PM

My guess is its the 4x slot, typically you need at least PCI-2 8x so you dont bottleneck anything.
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May 11, 2013 5:15:39 PM

manofchalk said:
My guess is its the 4x slot, typically you need at least PCI-2 8x so you dont bottleneck anything.


Thanks for your reply!
I see you have the word "master" next to your name so I know you know what you're talking about. So here's another question: is it worth for me to get another board that is PCI-e x16/x8 and Socket AM3 in order to fit my processor, or should I spend a little for a better processor/board?
Again thank you!
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May 11, 2013 5:40:58 PM

:lol: 

Looking at that rig I can see a couple of upgrade paths, each with its own benefits. Intel's Haswell is set to release in a few weeks, would make a very nice upgrade I think.

1. Buy a better single GPU, and do a platform upgrade (CPU/Mobo) later.
This will get you better performance now, though its likely you wont be getting the full performance of the card until you can get the platform upgrade done.

2. Platform upgrade with Crossfire capability, then better graphics later on.
This will get you better performance now, mainly on the CPU side. But you would still really need to get a better graphics setup before you can expect to max out games, those 5770's are quite old and weren't anything special even then.

3. AM3+ Mobo upgrade, then later CPU, then graphics.
This may not be possible as AM3 Processor, AM3+ board compatability is pretty blurry.
Get an AM3+ board with that can support Crossfire decently, put your chip in there and get some extra performance from the cards. That will then give you the ability to upgrade your CPU to a Piledriver chip or even Steamroller (next gen AMD) if you wait long enough. Then even later you could upgrade your graphics setup.
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!