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Where am I bottle-necking?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 2, 2013 10:17:00 AM

Hey guys, can you look at my specs and tell me where I'm bottle-necking? I was considering upgrading my GTX 460 to a GTX 660 but I didn't want to without checking with you guys to see if I wasn't bottle necked somewhere else. Thanks for the help!
CPU: Intel Core i7 950 @ 3.07GHz (8CPUs) 3.1GHz
MB: MS-7522 X58 Pro-E
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 460
RAM: (12GB total) 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1333 (PC3 10600) + 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1333 (dual channeling)
When playing games like GW2, the frame rate drops to 0 when there's too much on screen, so I want to fix that and prepare for Rome II which I'm sure will have a lot on screen at once. Thanks again for the help guys!!

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August 2, 2013 10:29:09 AM

Not sure for this game, maybe someone else could confirm, but I think GW2 is more CPU dependent than GPU dependent. That being said, your CPU isn't bad at all. I would probably wait at least until next year to see what next generation will bring because I am not too impressed by 4th generation Intel Haswell so far, not a lot of improvement since 2nd generation when you think about it. I think a lot of people playing GW2 are overclocking their CPU over 4Ghz so maybe you could go down that road if you have an aftermarket cooler (or if you don't you could buy one).

But the weakest link is probably your video card, which version of the GTX-460 did you have? The 768MB versions only had a 192-bit memory interface compared to 1GB versions which were using a 256-bit bus. Roughly there was a 25% performance difference between the two.

To summarize, I would try to overclock your CPU and also replace the GPU. Somehting like a GTX-760 would be a nice upgrade, you would double your GPU performance compared to a 460.
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August 2, 2013 10:30:28 AM

Problem is RAM and GFX. First thing to check is if you see an improvement from pulling the 2x2gig sticks out. It's never good to mix different capacity ram.
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August 2, 2013 10:31:43 AM

Trenchcoat said:
Problem is RAM and GFX. First thing to check is if you see an improvement from pulling the 2x2gig sticks out.


Uhh.. What? Why would removing RAM cause improvement.
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August 2, 2013 10:41:56 AM

smeezekitty said:
Trenchcoat said:
Problem is RAM and GFX. First thing to check is if you see an improvement from pulling the 2x2gig sticks out.


Uhh.. What? Why would removing RAM cause improvement.


He explained it to you. You are mixing different type of RAM with different speed. It's not recommended.

Anyways for gaming you don't need more than 8 GB so I would remove the 2x2GB as he suggested and see if it improves things for you.

Adding more RAM doesn't always give you more performance, it improves things only when you don't have enough. For instance, after upgrading from 8 to 12GB, you probably wouldn't see any difference, unless you're using very heavy simulation software or video editing software, but not a lot of application require that much RAM, so you don't really benefit from it anyways. If you use this PC for gaming only, most games do fine with only 4 GB. And since the other RAM is slower than your 2X4GB kit it's likely to throttle down the speed of all sticks, and there are also compatibility issues that can arise, you're probably better off without it.
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August 2, 2013 10:42:57 AM

Remember the old I7's ran triple channel
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August 2, 2013 10:43:54 AM

smeezekitty said:
Trenchcoat said:
Problem is RAM and GFX. First thing to check is if you see an improvement from pulling the 2x2gig sticks out.


Uhh.. What? Why would removing RAM cause improvement.



Try it. You're running 2xdual channel and with different capacity RAM. Motherboards just want to keep things simple so chances are your motherboard is only using 2gb of your 4gb sticks and using 4 sticks of memory is typically slower than 2.
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August 2, 2013 10:47:57 AM

smeezekitty said:
Remember the old I7's ran triple channel


Indeed. My brother's i7 has 6 memory slots. How many do you have OP?

*edit* nevermind looked up the MB, OP also has 6. Ram is definately one of the issues.
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August 2, 2013 10:49:48 AM

smeezekitty said:
Remember the old I7's ran triple channel


So it means he would probably be better off with 3 x 4GB (identical modules ideally). But there's not much difference between triple-channel and double-channel anyways. They released quad-channel recently but it's not too impressive either. With DDR3 being so fast now, there's not much benefit "channeling" the RAM. It's not like back in the days, when the speed of the RAM was only 400mhz it could make a big difference to use dual channel. But with standard speed being over 1600mhz now, dual or triple channel gives you only a 5% performance increase or something like that, so little that you'll probably won't even notice it. I tested it at home, I have 2x4GB, and I disabled dual-channel (just using stand-alone memory) and I didn't feel my system was slower after.
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August 2, 2013 11:24:23 AM

Although GW2 is indeed very CPU-dependent, the i7-950 is no slouch. Twelve GB of RAM should be sufficient, and work fairly well even if it isn't optimally configured. The GTX460 is a little weak by today's standards though.
Try turning your settings down a good bit (this is just a test). If the frame rate still drops, it isn't a GPU problem. If the frame rate goes up, your GTX460 is indeed the problem.
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August 2, 2013 11:38:38 AM

Another way is to watch your CPU and GPU usage.
If the GPU is near 99% during frame drops, its a GPU bottleneck.
If the CPU is near 100% its a CPU bottleneck.
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August 2, 2013 12:16:36 PM

My two cents:

1) Keep that 12GB of RAM?
Run MEMTEST to confirm everything is okay and that you are running at the proper frequency. As mentioned though, if you do not do video editing it's POINTLESS to have that extra 4GB so in that case I would REMOVE IT and stick with 8GB (2x4GB).

While 1600MHz would probably perform better at times, I'm not sure it would be enough to justify the cost of upgrading, especially with that CPU so I would NOT buy different memory.

*If you can sell your 12GB, I would recommend putting that money towards a COMPATIBLE 8GB (2x4GB) kit, perhaps THIS ONE: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It might not be worth the hassle though. It's also likely your motherboard BIOS would not have a profile for it since it's older so you would have to MANUALLY put in the settings. Your motherboard must support that Voltage as well. Something to consider at least.

2) CPU
You can likely overclock that CPU a little more if you feel comfortable. I never like to push things to the limit personally but I've seen 4GHz with good cooling so perhaps 3.4 or 3.5GHz? You can Google what others have done but I don't have time.

If so, you'd want to investigate a better CPU HEATSINK + FAN for that socket if yours isn't sufficient.

3) Video card:
A GTX760 is a good card for you.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Other:
Just FYI, but your CPU has eight "threads" not "CPUs". CPU's are made up of "cores" which are essentially what a complete CPU used to be. Your CPU is a 4C/8T CPU meaning it has FOUR physical cores but each one is hyperthreaded. Basically the software attempts to process TWO instructions at the same time on the SAME physical core with the hyperthreaded portion being much less efficient. Hyperthreading is mostly pointless in gaming, and a handful of games have issues (including Witcher #1 which stutters if HT is enabled. You can disable it in the BIOS).

Summary:
My quick advice is thus:
a) remove the extra 4GB if not required, and
b) Buy the above MSI GTX760 for $260
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August 4, 2013 5:07:33 PM

Thanks guys!
I did some tests with various games, including GW2 and Shogun 2, and it looks like I'm maxing out the RAM on my video card or the GPU. My standard RAM didn't get above 56%, and my total CPU didn't get above 78%, although I did have a few single cores spike to 100% during intense scenes, but they'd drop back down shortly after.
So looks like I'm good to upgrade to the next card. Thanks again guys!!
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August 4, 2013 5:42:27 PM

benjwyatt said:
Thanks guys!
I did some tests with various games, including GW2 and Shogun 2, and it looks like I'm maxing out the RAM on my video card or the GPU. My standard RAM didn't get above 56%, and my total CPU didn't get above 78%, although I did have a few single cores spike to 100% during intense scenes, but they'd drop back down shortly after.
So looks like I'm good to upgrade to the next card. Thanks again guys!!


You are maxing out the GPU.
I think you'll love the difference a GTX760 makes but even with that card don't forget to TWEAK the quality if needed. In general you'd likely be happiest with tweaking to maintain 60FPS for games that drop below that.

A few games have quirks:
1) BF3 - disable deferred anti-aliasing (muddies the picture)
2) Metro 2033 - DOF (DX11) is too demanding. Turn it OFF.
3) Batman Arkham City - disable DX11 and PHYSX. (Too much stutter and not worth visual tradeoff).
4) Witcher #1 (Hyperthreading on CPU causes stuttering. Disable that in the BIOS if you play that game.)
5) FAR CRY 3:
- both VSYNC/GPU buffers to ONE (I got stuttering if I increased this)
- AA off. (Anti-aliasing appears to be present as the game looks good with AA off so this may be EXTRA AA. The performance drop going to 4xAA is huge and not a good trade-off).

Most games don't have glaring issues and just require you to adjust anti-aliasing, Shadows etc to maintain 60FPS (monitor with FRAPS).

SHOGUN 2 is a great game but can be very demanding. Luckily there is a BENCHMARK you can run. I spent two hours tweaking this game.
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