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i7 920 2.6ghz & HD 7950 Bottleneck?

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July 12, 2013 12:54:31 PM

How can I tell if my CPU bottlenecks my GPU please?
July 12, 2013 1:09:17 PM

Hi,

Your CPU is from late 2008, but it still packs a punch.

You could compare your benchmarks with others. But it's not always easy to tell if it's bottlenecking.

If you wanted to, you could up the clocks of your CPU and see how much difference it makes.
July 12, 2013 1:20:11 PM

Hey thanks for the reply. I still get really good fps in most games I can max (almost all settings) and be at 60fps. The one setting that makes my dps plummet is shadows. Every game I play I have to dial down the shadows. Crysis 3, Bioshock, Tomb Raider. I can play all those games maxed and be at 60fps but I have to turn down the shadows. I heard it's because of my CPU but I dunno. I do want to OC the CPU though.
I can't really upgrade the CPU to a more recent one because my motherboard is older only supports the first gen i7. Also I would rather spend the money on a second radeon 7950 rather than buy a new CPU :) 
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July 12, 2013 1:28:53 PM
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Pavel Pokidaylo said:
Hey thanks for the reply. I still get really good fps in most games I can max (almost all settings) and be at 60fps. The one setting that makes my dps plummet is shadows. Every game I play I have to dial down the shadows. Crysis 3, Bioshock, Tomb Raider. I can play all those games maxed and be at 60fps but I have to turn down the shadows. I heard it's because of my CPU but I dunno. I do want to OC the CPU though.
I can't really upgrade the CPU to a more recent one because my motherboard is older only supports the first gen i7. Also I would rather spend the money on a second radeon 7950 rather than buy a new CPU :) 


It's up to you how you spend your money.

Adding a 2nd GPU will improve performance on games that can benefit from a 2nd GPU. Not all games can benefit from this, but most modern games can.

Buying a new CPU should improve general performance (but of course this means you would need a new a motherboard, but you already knew that I guess).

I would say that shaders and shadows tend to take their toll, especially alongside tessellation.

I'm not sure about CPU causing bottlenecks due to shadows. I would say that an older CPU would be slower than current generation CPUs at physics rather than shadows.
July 12, 2013 1:34:53 PM

Thanks man I'll do some tweaking later and see what happens
July 12, 2013 1:36:43 PM

Yeah I don't think there's anything yet that can really be bottlenecked by an i7 920. Crysis 3 is the only game I've seen to show any benefit with current gen i7s and even then it was something like 65fps vs 55fps on the Nehalem. Not worth upgrading for. I'd stick with it at least until Skylake launches.
July 12, 2013 1:45:29 PM

Pleasure :-) Let us know how you do with the overclock. I have the same CPU and might overclock mine in a year or two when it starts to need a boost!
July 14, 2013 6:19:15 AM

Don't buy a new cpu because 920 for me can last for another 4-5 years. I have mine 920 D0 OC'ed to 3.8ghz and an MSI Radeon 7950 TF3 3gb OC edition - 880mhz core, 1250mhz memory with only 4gb 1866 ram and doesn't even bottleneck. I get 60 -70 fps average ultra on crysis 3 with shadows no problem. Maybe its not your cpu but your gpu's causing the problem. have you update to the latest drivers?
July 14, 2013 10:40:04 AM

Yep I've got the latest beta drivers. My 920 is not overclocked yet :(  It's still at the stock 2.6ghz. I don't know how to OC a CPU so hopefully my friend can do that for me. Your ram is faster but only 4gig. I've got the 8gig 1600mhz.
July 14, 2013 11:34:38 AM

You know it's a triple-channel memory architecture? Most would use 6GB, 9GB or 12GB.
July 14, 2013 12:18:05 PM

My i7 920 is still kicking. And while it is triple channel memory, my motherboard allows for dual channel memory as well. If you OC it to 3.8 or better, it is very comparable to current stock i5's and the fastest AMD CPU's.

This is a guide I used to learn to OC mine: http://www.overclock.net/t/538439/guide-to-overclocking...

It is not perfect, but should get you there. I found with my 920 that 3.9Ghz is the sweet spot. Any higher requires a ton of extra voltage.
July 14, 2013 12:40:49 PM

bystander said:
And while it is triple channel memory, my motherboard allows for dual channel memory as well.


Presumably you don't though? If you do, you're dropping your maximum bandwidth from 25.6GB/s to 17GB/s. Triple-channel memory was one of the big selling points of X58 Express vs the mainstream chipsets.
July 14, 2013 2:13:46 PM

sam_p_lay said:
bystander said:
And while it is triple channel memory, my motherboard allows for dual channel memory as well.


Presumably you don't though? If you do, you're dropping your maximum bandwidth from 25.6GB/s to 17GB/s. Triple-channel memory was one of the big selling points of X58 Express vs the mainstream chipsets.


I'm not saying I use dual channel, but it is supported and from tests shown, memory speed doesn't affect gaming speeds much at all, so if you are using dual channel memory, it wouldn't hurt you much at all for gaming purposes.
July 14, 2013 2:30:10 PM

Thanks for all the replies guys. This computer is an Alienware Aurora. It came with 3 gigs of DDR3 533mhz ram. My friend saw my computer and ended up getting the same one but his was a little more powerful. He got a 2.8 ghz i7 instead of the 2.6, his video card was a 5870 mine was 5770 and his ram was also 3 gig DDR3 but with 637 or w.e mhz instead of the 533. He ended up ordering 12 gigs of newer ram and gave me his old 3 gigs and I put those in with my 3 gigs for a total of 6 but they were 1 gig sticks and I was told thats not so good.

The book that came with the computer says that the 1600 frequency RAM is the highest this motherboard supports and it can be either 4/8/12gigs. 12 gig being the maximum it can support.
July 14, 2013 2:31:12 PM

I will take a look at that guide now thanks again :) 
July 14, 2013 2:37:17 PM

I've seen this guide before. It may be a good guide and one of the more simple ones but it's still confusing as all hell to me lol. I have no clue about where to start even. I've been in the CMOS but I don't really see anything there that has to do with overclocking the CPU. I'm just clueless =/
July 14, 2013 2:49:40 PM

Is this an OEM board?
July 14, 2013 6:36:45 PM

Pavel Pokidaylo said:
I've seen this guide before. It may be a good guide and one of the more simple ones but it's still confusing as all hell to me lol. I have no clue about where to start even. I've been in the CMOS but I don't really see anything there that has to do with overclocking the CPU. I'm just clueless =/

Not all motherboards support OCing. You may have one that doesn't.
July 14, 2013 7:44:40 PM

Yep OEM as I thought
July 14, 2013 7:56:43 PM

It means no overclocking
July 14, 2013 8:10:25 PM

At 2.66 it will bottleneck the card. At 4Ghz it wont
July 14, 2013 8:50:31 PM

With a single 7950, it won't bottleneck often. It will depend on the game, but for the most part, it is still a viable CPU, just not as viable if you could have OC'ed it past 3.5Ghz.
July 14, 2013 9:43:16 PM

yea I want to add another 7950. I guess I'll need to get a new motherboard as well. Then I'll either OC the CPU or get a new one... so stupid
July 15, 2013 7:37:28 AM

Hey guys. Is there a way to tell if the CPU is bottlenecking? Few days ago I downloaded a little program called AMD System Monitor.
It basically tells you your CPU/GPU/RAM Usage in %. When I play games the CPU usage doesn't really go beyond 40%. The GPU usage gets to 100% though. Any ideas?

I mean if Vitofarrera is getting 60-70 FPS in Crysis 3 with shadows turned up on his 7950 I should be too right. Although The Tomshardware Crysis 3 FPS tests shows the 7950 only getting 34fps with max settings. Don't know what that's all about.
July 15, 2013 7:43:02 AM

The CPU usage is hard to get information from, as it adds up all your cores together, and figures what percentage of those cores you use as a whole. Programs can't just shift resources from one core to multiple cores, so that number is meaningless. You want to monitor the most used core and see if that is hitting near 100%.

The best way to see if there is a bottleneck is to watch the GPU usage. If it is hitting near 100%, there is no bottleneck. If it is not, there probably is one. That said, there are some games that will behave oddly, which may be related to how compute fits in.
July 15, 2013 7:53:18 AM

Hey thanks for the quick reply man. The CPU usage does hit 100% or near 100% when I'm playing games. It does not stay at 100% full time, it will go down to 75% for a second then back up like that. I've seen one of the cores sometimes go way beyond the others I will test it now thanks a lot :) 
July 15, 2013 7:53:19 AM

Hey thanks for the quick reply man. The CPU usage does hit 100% or near 100% when I'm playing games. It does not stay at 100% full time, it will go down to 75% for a second then back up like that. I've seen one of the cores sometimes go way beyond the others I will test it now thanks a lot :) 
July 15, 2013 8:27:24 AM

I can't tell for sure because the System monitor goes behind the game window every time I press into the game but for the most part while I'm playing FarCry3 the GPU gets to near 100% and also the 3rd core on the CPU is near capacity.
July 15, 2013 8:30:17 AM

Sorry the CPU usage in the other comment was a typo I meant the GPU usage goes to 100%.
July 15, 2013 8:39:35 AM

That means you are pretty well balanced with that game. If your maxed CPU core is near max as well as the GPU, then you are well balanced with that game. Unfortunately, that will vary from game to game.
July 15, 2013 8:48:51 AM

That's actually the game that gives me the most trouble out of all the ones I've played. For some reason FarCry 3 gets low performance on the 7970/7950 compared to the nvidia competition. According to GPUboss the 7950 boost gets 32fps in FarCry 3 while the Nvidia 570 much older card gets 30.

I've stayed at 60fps pretty much fulltime in these games...

Crysis 3- All settings maxed besides shadows/shading.
Bioshock Infinite - All maxed except shadows.
Tomb Raider- All maxed except shadows/ TressFx (When I was outside and looking at a big picture with lots of detail I would drop some fps unless I turned down level of detail from Ultra to Normal)
Metro 2033- All maxed
Metro Last light - All maxed but would sometimes dip into high 40s still very playable. (had tessellation off though)
July 15, 2013 8:51:11 AM

It seems that the shadows are bothering my rig in most games. I've heard shadows are CPU intensive but I don't know (would make sense though considering my CPU is not a new one or overclocked).

I want to add a second 7950. Any thoughts on this?
July 15, 2013 8:52:40 AM

Also the physics score in 3dmark11 was pretty low wasn't it.
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