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Next graphic card upgrade question...

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 4, 2013 7:41:33 AM

Greetings.

I built this computer several months ago, hoping to use AMD's on-chip graphics to play my favorite game, Planetside 2. Once I had it up and running, I was disappointed by the FPS provided by just the APU, so I dropped my old HD4870x2 dual GPU card in a PCI-e slot and tried that...the results were quite better, averaging between 30 to 45 FPS using the "in game" FPS display...yet the game still indicated that it was "GPU bottlenecked"...never CPU, always GPU.

When I browse Tom's Hardware, I see that my current card, the HD4870x2 dual GPU card, is always up there near the top of the hierarchy chart...and with the recommendation that any suitable upgrade be no less then 3 tiers higher...which gets quite expensive...being the R9-290 and the 290X.

With the R9-290 being priced ~$400 and the 290X even higher, should I just stay with my current HD4870x2 dual GPU card that I got as a deal for ~$150? Would adding a second HD4870x2 dual GPU card help improve my FPS and not break my wallet?

I'm not really concerned with heat, as everything stays pretty cool now and I can always add additional fans if needed. The noise doesn't bother me either, as I usually have a headset on while gaming and I currently have the HD4870x2's fan manually set to 100%, as well as all my system/CPU/case fans.

My system specs:

MSI FM2-A85XA-G65 motherboard

32Gig Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1866MHZ

AMD A10-5800K Trinity Quad core Black Edition OC'd 4.2Ghz

Rosewill Xtreme Series 750w 80 PLUS Certified PSU

ATI HD4870x2 2GB DDR5 Dual core Crossfired

NZXT Guardian SECC ATX Case

Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7200RPM SATA 3 HDD

Lite On Super 24x SATA 3 DVD+/-RW Dual layer CD Disk drive

Cooler Master TX3 w/dual fans + Gelid GC Xtreme Thermal compound

Win7 x64 Pro SP1


Any thoughts?

a b U Graphics card
December 4, 2013 8:55:03 AM

Crossfired card always need more CPU power than only run it in single configuration

well, actually your processor is not strong enough to feed data to crossfired card..so, add one more 4870x2 (that's means 4 GPU) will not give you any performance boost..even it'll be slower..
So, with your configuration right now, actually your gpu cannot extract all of performance..

I suggest you to take single strong card, rather than add more chaos to your system..
With a 7950, you'll gain significant performance increase..for sure..:) 
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December 4, 2013 10:29:09 AM

I don't quite understand what you are saying...what does "Crossfired card always need more CPU power than only run it in single configuration" mean?

As I have noted, Planetside 2's in game FPS monitoring constantly indicates a GPU bottleneck, not a CPU (or in this case, APU) bottleneck...plus the game averages only ~30% processor usage (according to AMD System Monitor in REC mode) but both GPU's are maxed at 100%...so the processor doesn't seem to be even slightly "pushed" to feed my current HD4870x2 dual GPU card in Crossfire.

I checked the pricing on the HD7950 and it seems to be right in line with the R9-290...unfortunately, a bit out of my gaming budget's reach.

I am further intrigued by your statement that the A10-5800K "is not strong enough to feed data to crossfired card"...why do you say this? My current HD4870x2 runs in Crossfire when I'm playing Planetside 2...at a pretty constant rate of ~30% processor usage...and never gets hotter then 40C, even with the very mild OC I have on it.

Maybe I'm not understanding something...I thought the whole idea of "Crossfire" was to lessen the rendering load on each individual GPU so that the overall result was better performance...if I turn off Crossfire, I see a quite noticeable drop in FPS.

It seems to make reasonable sense that additional GPU's would further enhance performance...and my motherboard has the capability built in to do so.

So, in conclusion, can you explain your thoughts a little clearer?
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a b U Graphics card
December 4, 2013 11:38:29 AM

well..:D 
i'm sorry for my english, well, this is not my mother languange..

"Crossfired card always need more CPU power than only run it in single configuration"

crossfire means run multi graphic cards, 2 graphic cards or more, this term is from amd..from nvidia we call it SLI..right..?

the fact is, 4870X2 is a single card equipped with dual gpu..this is the same with you've run multicards..run 2 card 4870 in your system..that's why you've already crossfiring your card..

if the system only have single card, there is no synchronizing task. gpu just send the picture to monitor..that's all..
But if you run in crossfire mode, this process need more cpu power, because system have to synchronize frames between 2 cards (or more)..rather than if the system only have single card..

well, i said before, your processor cannot extract all performance of your 4870x2.
even it is say that your gpu is run 100%, actually that's not real performance of your cards..you'll need very strong processor to extract all of it.
if you add more cards (2x4870 gpu), then, your system will severely bottlenecked..because it will struggle to handle synchronizing process for 4 gpu/cards..

that's why i said, that what you really need is one strong graphic card, not 4 weak card..(yeah, 4870 is weak right now..)

the cheapest 7950 is $245, that i can find is here http://pcpartpicker.com/part/sapphire-video-card-100352.....

or, if you're tight in budget, 7870 for $140 still a better option for you than 4x4870..
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/xfx-video-card-fx787acnfc
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a b U Graphics card
December 4, 2013 11:39:35 AM

Double post..:D 
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December 6, 2013 7:17:28 AM

Sorry I haven't got back to you...

Well money's tight right now because of the holidays, so maybe after Christmas I'll look at a HD6970 (or better)...but meanwhile, I installed MSI Afterburner, ran CCC's Overdrive to see what it recommended, then manually set the clocks just a fuzz lower...so for a small OC, I realized a 10 to 15 FPS improvement.

That sort of "whet my appetite" to see what the better card would do if I got that much gain in FPS from adding 30 to the core clock of 750, making it 780, and 50 to the memory clock of 900, pushing it to 950.

With the HD 6970 having a base core clock of 880 and a base memory clock of 1375...plus 2GB of GDDR5....yeah, I'm REAL interested in seeing what that would do.

BTW, while poking around, I found this at: http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=684...

That's a direct comparison of the HD6970 vs. the HD4870x2...it was quite enlightening!
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