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Low FPS with EVGA 660 GTX in Guild Wars 2 and Planetside 2

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May 15, 2013 10:53:09 AM

I am having an issue with low FPS when I run Guild Wars 2 or Planetside 2. I see around 15 to 20 FPS on Guild Wars and around 30 FPS per second on Planetside 2. I am running a single monitor at 1920 x 1080. From what I understand on a single monitor at that resolution I should get pretty decent FPS at fairly high settings.

On Planetside 2 it seems like it keeps throttling back the frames as I see it jump above 30 FPS but immediately it drops back below. It's like a circle going from 20 or so frames up to above 30 and back down to 20. Then it starts the cycle over. On the opposite side is Guild Wars 2 just seems to stay at a nice low even FPS all the time.

I installed GPU-Z and I see the GPU load around 20 to 30 percent or lower. Really under utilized. I opened up task manager and was watching the CPU's (AMD Phenom X4 9850). They all are working and seem to hover around the 40 to 50% load with max around 60% to 65%.

I tried blowing up the slot and reseeding the card (figured it was worth a shot). I shut off Cool 'n' Quiet, Downcore and any other setting relating to power savings in the BIOS but still no luck (ASUS M3A).

It's a fresh XP install on a new drive with the latest drivers from EVGA's website.

I also have a Sound Blaster X-Fi I removed but that didn't make a difference either. I was going to uninstall the drivers but wasn't sure if that was the right path to troubleshoot the issue.

I wondered if it could possibly be a power problem (RaidMax RX-500S ATX12V 500W) but I don't have any lockups or freezing going on. The games run fine until I close the program.

I basically have 1 video card, 1 hard drive, 1 DVD drive, 1 sound card. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

My old frugal system specs:

Monitor: HP 2311X (23" 1920x1080)
Motherboard: ASUS M3A
CPU: AMD Phenom X4 9850
Memory: Super Talent DDR2-800 PC 6400 4GB (2x2GB) Kit CL5
Video Card: EVGA 660 GTX SC
Sound Card: Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Titanium SB0880
Power Supply: RaidMax RX-500S ATX12V 500W (KY-600ATX)
May 15, 2013 10:57:30 AM

Your problem lies with the appropriately named system. The only component in your machine that is not 2+ generations old is the GPU. Upgrading the MB/CPU/RAM/OS would resolve the issues
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a b Î Nvidia
May 15, 2013 11:00:17 AM

Your CPU is the bottleneck, particularly in GW2. Take a look at this: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/guild-wars-2-perfor... and realize that your CPU is way below even the weakest ones shown.
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May 15, 2013 2:21:46 PM

@Onus - It's definitely a "patch work quilt" of low-end parts and pieces. It worked for the original Guild Wars and Planetside but now it's time to rest it's tired bones. ;) 

@Rex - I really appreciate the information and the link. That is a great article that clearly shows the issues I am experiencing. I struggled with it a few nights after work and I am glad I posted. I think that article is a clear answer it's time to upgrade...more like buy...a new PC if I want to continue playing this generation of games.
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a b Î Nvidia
May 15, 2013 2:42:00 PM

I think you reversed us...
Anyway, hopefully you will choose to build rather than buy. You'll definitely get more for your money, be able to identify and fix problems more readily yourself, and you'll get more future-resistance (something storebought PCs typically sorely lack; they want you to buy another one). If you have reasonable manual dexterity (I can do it even with one uncoordinated hand/arm), it is not particularly difficult, it just takes some patience. Most things only connect one way, particularly anything relating to power. I do understand why you may wish to buy though, particularly if you don't have a lot of time. In either case, the members of Tom's Forum should be able to help you.
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May 20, 2013 1:33:40 PM

Thanks Onus, yeah I am ok with building and have both use of my hands (thank God ;)  I appreciate the suggestion and was wondering if you could recommend a motherboard for the Fractal Design Arc Mini it fits mini and micro motherboards I think? Something that would work with the i5-3570K and the 660 GTX.
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a b Î Nvidia
May 20, 2013 1:55:48 PM

That depends a lot on your budget. I have an Asus Maximus V Gene in my Define Mini, but that was close to $200. There are many cheaper options.
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May 20, 2013 3:29:14 PM

Would that help future proof a bit or am I to late to the game? I know you can always wait for the next generation right around the corner but it seems that is always the case no matter when you make a change. I also have a tendency to use a PC until it can't be upgraded, as you can tell from my old specs :)  but I had no need really until Guild Wars 2 and Planetside 2 came out.

What would be some decent alternatives?
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May 22, 2013 11:15:32 AM

Ok here's what I have ordered. I was hoping you could provide some further guidance on a few questions.

Fractal Design Arc Mini
ASUS Maximus Gene V
Intel i5 3570K
Corsair CMPSU-850AX 850W RT
Corsair CML16GX3M2A1600C9 (LP)
SAMSUNG 840 120GB MZ-7TD120BW R
CM Hyper 212 EVO
ASUS DVD BURNER DRW-24B3ST/BLK/G/AS

I have multiple hard drives already for storage. I have 2 WD 1TB Black's and 2 3TB Seagate Barracuda's. I have for storing music, MAME, SCUMMVM library, etc.

I will be using the EVGA 660 GTX for video.

Do you install the PSU unit with the fan up or down in the case. It seems like many of the new cases are low mounted. I have low profile carpet in my basement that it would sit on next to a desk. Is that sufficient clearance or should I put something flat under it?

I started downloading new drivers from ASUS while waiting but ended up with some questions.

Should I install the OS on the SSD and if so would I benefit from Intel Rapid Start or Intel Rapid Storage in any way? My thought was SSD for the OS and HDD for data storage but reading about the Intel Rapid Storage and Intel Rapid Start I started thinking and it was confusing on different forums with different suggestions for those two features.

The Smart Connect I don't really have an interest in my PC waking up and updating email, social media and the likes.

Also I had questions on the Asmedia SATA ports and the Asmedia USB 3.0 ports. It seems like many say just use the Asmedia SATA for optical drives, etc. if you can and stay with the Z77 for the main drives.

How about the Asmedia USB 3.0? Are they fine to use and install that driver or disable in BIOS?

Before installing the LAN driver it says to update VM Update Utility for Intel® 82579V Gigabit Ethernet PHY Network Connection (link to Intel's website) before installing the driver. Is that a one-time update to some firmware?

Also on the website it shows MEI 8.1.9.1263 but also a separate category titled Firmware which has one item. It is an update to MEI 8.1 for better Windows 8 compatibility. Are those two separate things? One being software and the other a firmware update? It's a bit confusing since they both show as 8.1 but I figured one might be firmware and the other the actual application or drivers.

'ASUS Boot Setting' is that for Windows 8 only? It shows it under Windows 7 downloads so I was a bit confused as all the literature seems to pin it to Windows 8.

Do you like the AI Suite II package? For some reason it also has Ai Charger+ v2.00.01 as a separate download but in the package it has v2.00.00.

Basically I was trying to cut out what isn't needed but not skip out on any nice features. It seemed like Mem TweakIt and ROG CPU-Z are good? Also the Sound Blaster X-Fi emulation software?

Wow, lot's of 'good stuff' for that motherboard and wading through it all is a bit daunting..

One more question to squeeze in that seemed to have a lot of discrepancy is the LucidLogix Virtu MVP. It seems game specific 'almost' and requires frequent updates? They said if V-Sync is on it doesn't matter what you do it wouldn't improve performance (dropping frames or delayed rendering) if you're GPU is already exceeding the refresh rate of your monitor.

Did you install the Intel Graphics Accelerator or just disable it and go directly to installing and using an external card?

I didn't hear anything really positive about GameFirst II which basically is QoS for a home PC? I guess I don't do many background tasks while gaming. If it's a motherboard dependent feature that can only classify local traffic on that specific PC? If your internet connection is fast enough would that even help?

I am sorry I have so many questions but I figured someone with experience on the same board would be an invaluable source of great information to learn. ;) 
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a b Î Nvidia
May 22, 2013 12:17:18 PM

I am not using all the advanced features of mine either. I loaded my discrete card's (a HD7870) display drivers and did not load the Intel ones; I've been thinking maybe I ought to do that...
My primary games are GW1 and GW2, and they aren't on the Virtu MVP list of supported games. They'd probably work though.
I have my case on a piece of fiberboard to make sure the PSU opening doesn't sink into the carpet, although I since took out the Seasonic X-560 and put in my SG-650, which has an 80mm fan on one end, not a 120mm or 140mm in the center (even so, it stays quiet).
I installed all the ASMedia drivers. I don't currently have anything plugged into the USB 3.0 ports, but I did test them with a USB3.0 external drive, and they were quite fast. My boot drive is a 256GB Crucial M4 mSATA drive on the riser card. The two Z77 SATA 6GB/s ports go to my pair of 1TB WD Black drives in RAID1. I have an optical drive and another 500GB drive on other ports, but I forget which ones I used.
GameFirst is just a custom implementation of cFosSpeed, which does traffic shaping. I am not sure it makes a difference, but I like seeing network traffic from time to time, so I have it installed. I use the Fan Xpert 2 to control my chassis fan speeds.

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May 22, 2013 1:54:46 PM

Ok, I appreciate the information, that helps a lot! I was wondering do you use Rapid Storage? My plan is to install the OS on the SSD and skip using Rapid Storage all together since it really looks like caching for a HDD and SSD used in a RAID config but I really have no experience on what works best or an optimal configuration with SSD's. It's my first one.

I was thinking of installing the Rapid Start if that benefits a quick boot-up or from hybernate/sleep but once again no experience. Heck I don't have anything here yet. I am just trying to download and organize apps/drivers into folders for what's "essential" and what's "optional".

That's pretty awesome. I am a big Guild Wars fan too. I haven't been playing much lately but definitely passed my 7 year gifts on two accounts and I think I have like 200 Nicholas the Traveler Gifts. I would do the quest every week but never opened them after a while. I am still working on HoM achievements though.

Guild Wars 2 I haven't done hardly anything so I don't if the rewards are decent in II to keep pursuing HoM points in I. I hope once I get this system up and running I will be able to spend more time in game. I kind of go in spurts. I play hard for a while and then stop for a while. It just depends on how busy real life events are and of course getting out in some decent weather after a long winter is nice..





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a b Î Nvidia
May 22, 2013 2:23:53 PM

Oh, I still play GW1 quite a bit, mostly casually, farming.
GW2 has a phenomenally detailed world. There is so much to do, and the crafting system in particular is great. It suffers from two SERIOUS issues though, IMHO. First is the auto-scaling. In most games, if an area is too tough, you can level up some then go back to it. In GW2, you are autoset back down to the level of an area. You keep your skills and equipment, but your strength, HP, etc. are all cut back. The second one is the respawning of mobs. There's no such thing as "clearing an area." You can start in to do that, but new enemies will respawn, such that you may suddenly find yourself surrounded, and quickly killed. This pretty much destroys solo exploration and play, which I prefer.
Anyway...
I have not yet used SRT, although I mean to try it. I don't think it will work with hybrid hard drives, because they're already accelerated, but I've got a system I may be able to set up to try it on a standard HDD.
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May 23, 2013 9:59:10 AM

Ok I think I am starting to get a grasp on how it works or at least what it is. Here I found a forum that cleared up the names and acronyms:

":IRST is used as an acronym both Intel Rapid Storage Technology and Intel Rapid Start Technology.

Not to be confused with Intel Smart Response Technology (ISRT), which is the SSD caching utility."

Here's what a guy said about IRST (SSD caching) on another thread here on these forums:

"If you are going to purchase a SATA 3 6Gb/s 64GB solid state drive, then Intel Smart Response Technology (ssd caching) is not necessary. According to Intel you would be better off and experience better performance if you installed Windows 7 and your software applications on the ssd instead of the hard disk drive. It makes more sense to to get the full benefit of the ssd instead of using it as a cache for a hard disk drive.

When Intel devloped SRT, they envisioned using a small 10GB to 20GB ssd as a cache for one hard disk drive. It was meant for individuals who could not afford a larger capacity ssd.

Starting mid-October and continuing through November a number of brand new ssd's will become available. It might be worth waiting a little bit to see how things play out."

It seems like Smart Response was more of temporary transitional type thing until SSD's were/are large enough or you are using a HHD with a small SSD.

I think there's some benefit to the Rapid Start on a SSD at the cost of the space equivalent to your currently installed memory. At about a dollar a GB it's expensive but I think I am going to try it just to see how much quicker a boot-up is as well as wake from S4 sleep.

I have to say on GW2 I felt like I was missing something so it will be a welcome change to play with much higher settings. I have to ask how is the WvW (is that what they call it) in GW2? I used to play a game long ago called Dark Age of Camelot that had a WvW or faction vs. faction type battles that was fantastic. It boiled down to a stand-off outside a castle and peeps would kamikaze the door a little at a time until a full on assault would eventually break through. It was actually really fun.

I wasn't so much into PvP in GW1 because it was honed to a science and I wasn't very good at it even with the right build and gear. I preferred the more casual PvE.

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a b Î Nvidia
May 23, 2013 10:15:46 AM

I haven't tried PvP or WvW in GW2; I too am a more relaxed, PvE player, although I've done a little RA in GW1.
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May 23, 2013 10:49:41 AM

Ok, once I get up and running in the next week or so I will have to let you know how it's going. I really appreciate all your help and advice in getting me started in building a better system. Maybe some time we can go exploring in GW1 or GW2. I definitely prefer a more relaxed style of play also.

Having mobs respawn isn't idea as it leaves you on a "timer" to move along. Reminds me of the old EQ days of going deeper in Sebilis, Lower Guk or some other dungeon where you had to med and move or they would literally respawn right on top of your group. Slightly different style game play mechanics (actually much slower and more methodical--slow leveling too but really intense fights that could take 5 or more minutes and hope you don't run out of mana OR yelling OOM to the group ;)  I definitely have fond memories of playing that game..
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