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Sapphire HD 4870 512MB DDR5

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  • Performance
  • HD
  • Sapphire
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Last response: in Graphics Cards
August 9, 2008 8:06:56 AM

Hi guys I am not a techie at all just need some advice.

My system is.

AMD Phenom 9500 (2.2 GHz)
4 GIG DDR2 800 Dual Channel
Sapphire HD 4870 512MB
Gigabyte GA-M55S-S3 (rev.2.0) (latest bios)

I am not seeing the performance hike I expected when I replaced my old HD 3870. In CoD4 I get very erratic fps with anything from 30 to 200 this produces a very erratic performance though and plays quite laggy. I synced the frames and I get very reliable performance at 60 fps, but I paid a fair bit for a card which isn't performing. Any suggestions, at this point I guess it is either the CPU or Mobo which is the problem - BUT without spending a great deal (£80) are there any suggestions you could offer me? Any help would be very appreciated.

Ta.

More about : sapphire 4870 512mb ddr5

August 9, 2008 9:26:52 AM

if u turn on vsync.......ur max fps will not exceed 60......

other than that look in2 overheating signs and wat is ur PSU
August 9, 2008 9:33:50 AM

Yeah, I know. Unfortunately when I turn off vsync I get VERY erratic fps which then seems to give me a very erratic game performance.
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August 9, 2008 4:08:26 PM

whats ur PSU? Also, if your using Catalyst 8.7, try using 8.6. i've heard some people getting a performance drop when switching to 8.7. I haven't tried 8.7 personally, but i'm getting awesome performance on with my 4870 with 8.6, so i havent really been compelled to upgrade the drivers yet.
August 9, 2008 4:27:46 PM

Can your eyes REALLY tell framerates over 60fps? Mine can't (but then I remember playing the first round of 3d games at 12fps and being stunned!)
August 9, 2008 5:30:56 PM

Did you install the 4800 series hotfix from ATI?
August 9, 2008 5:34:45 PM

rtfm said:
Can your eyes REALLY tell framerates over 60fps? Mine can't (but then I remember playing the first round of 3d games at 12fps and being stunned!)


Human eyes can't even distuinguish the difference between 60fps and 60000fps, its a scientific fact. Human eyes just aren't that sensitive which is why 60fps is what they always aim for- its perfect. If you can run Vsync and get 60fps then that is the best its possible to run that game at those settings so trust me when I say you should stick with Vsync even if it wasn't erratic without it- you have no problem my friend.
August 9, 2008 6:54:10 PM

Vsync isn't that simple if your computer can't to do more than 60 fps with the game you're playing. The way vsync works you only have a few possible refresh rates; 60, 30, 20, 15, 12 etc. So lets say without vsync your game runs at 55 fps, with vsync enabled it will run at only 30 fps. The same is true if the game normally runs at 70 fps, but drops down between 60 and 30 at times. During those times when the framerate drops below 60 fps you'll only get 30 fps displayed even if the card is capable of pushing out 55 fps.

More complicated explanation. Without vsync your graphics card will draw frames to the frame buffer as quickly as it can, but your monitor can only display 60 frames each second (assuming it's a 60Hz monitor). There will be times when the monitor wants to refresh, but the graphics card isn't quite done the next frame. The monitor pulls the partially finished frame from the frame buffer and copies the last frame into the unfinished part, and you end up with tearing. Vsync tries to avoid this by creating a second frame buffer for completed frames, and only that frame buffer gets supplied to the monitor. This way the monitor always gets a completed frame. This works great so long as the video card can supply more than 60 frames per second. If it can't you get this situation:

1) Completed frame gets pulled by the monitor from frame buffer 2
2) Video card starts drawing the next frame into frame buffer 1
3) Monitor wants to refresh again, but video card isn't done drawing the next frame
4) Monitor pulls the last completed frame from buffer 2 (which is the same frame as in step 1!)
5) Video card finishes the next frame and moves it to frame buffer 2, starts drawing next
6) Monitor pulls frame from frame buffer 2

Notice at step 4 you actually missed a frame altogether. Instead of updating with a new frame, it just displayed the last frame over again. So now instead of displaying a partial frame with tearing, Vsync has limited your fps to 30 to make sure you only get complete frames.

So you have to make a choice. Do I want tearing at 50 fps or full frames at 30 fps? Either way your eyes will see the difference, you just have to choose your poison.
August 10, 2008 10:09:57 AM

Thanks for your replies.

My PSU is a 550W Dual Rail one - I checked it out with the retailer before I bought the card. SO that is ok.

I know that the human eye can only see between 28-35 fps. I suppose the real issue I have is that I was getting better performance with the old 3870 with vsync off. Having just paid paid almost a couple of hundered pounds for a card I want to feel like things have got better.

My motherboard is a am2 board will my phenom operate any better on an am2+ board?
August 10, 2008 10:10:53 AM

Oh and I did install the hot fix.
August 11, 2008 4:13:38 AM

sarwar_r87 said:
if u turn on vsync.......ur max fps will not exceed 60......

other than that look in2 overheating signs and wat is ur PSU


can your monitor even read over 60fps? i kno there are 120hz monitors out there but really who needs those kidna frames..
August 11, 2008 7:27:47 AM

Use triple buffering w/ or w/o vsync. This would increase your minimum fps.
Use ATI tools or D3Dtweaker. That would work with modern d3d games.
And what is the resolution you are playing at ? For 19x12 and above, 30fps is not an unexpected low.
August 11, 2008 11:31:04 AM

Er does anyone else think that it could be his cpu slowing him down in certain areas??

COD4 only utilises 2 cores right?...therefore he basicly has a a 4200x2. Im not sure, but in certain areas could this be limiting his fps? Oh and btw what resolution and gfx settings...ie aa, af?
a b U Graphics card
August 11, 2008 3:51:57 PM

It could be a CPU limitation, definitely.
August 11, 2008 4:20:37 PM

2.2Ghz is for sure on the slow side and is no doubt bottlenecking your GPU.

Seeing that you had a 3870, you probably have a lot of old driver junk around. Do you clean out the old drivers before you install the new ones?

Have you tested out the UT3 demo? That is a quad core loving game. See if you have better results with that one. Have you compared 3Dmark06 scores between your 3870 and 4870? Curious if you get close to the same scores. That would indicate your CPU is holding you back.

I would also pay close attention to what is running in the background while you are gaming. At 2.2GHz, you don't want other programs accessing your CPU while you are trying to game. Are you using Vista by chance?
August 13, 2008 3:59:08 PM

I'm running at 1280 x 1024
I did clean out my old drivers
There is a marked improvement on 3dmark06, but still not as high as I had hoped.
My motherboard was quite cheap and I think that perhaps that along with my CPU may be the problem. I have an Athlon 4800+ Dual Core, I may put that in for now.
I am running Vista 64 bit.
August 13, 2008 7:40:58 PM

I think your CPU speed is to low. COD4 recommends a dual core of 2.4 GHz. That means you will that speed (probably a bit less is still OK) when you want to play at MEDIUM quality settings. At what settings are you playing?
August 13, 2008 8:12:18 PM

Do you have XP? I installed the demo on Vista and XP and was playing around with it last night and found I get the same thing you do in Vista 32 bit. I will get anything from 170 to 40 FPS. When it drops it gets really choppy and not even playable.

On XP the FPS holds pretty solid. If I sync the frames I get 60-61FPS the entire time.

I am curious if you can test it out on XP. My system is sort of overkill for COD4 so if I see massive drops, there is something up with COD4 on Vista with the ATI drivers/game patches.
August 13, 2008 8:15:22 PM

Even though the Phenom is clocked low, I'm not sure it's the problem. I could clock my E6300 @1.86 and it doesn't behave that way. I'm guessing it's some sort of driver issue. I'd clean out the drivers and install the latest ones and see if you still get the problem. You could try clocking the Phenom up a bit to make sure it's not the CPU though.
August 14, 2008 1:03:53 PM

Here a nice trick to improve COD4 gameplay.
First disable v-sync (called 'sync every frame' in COD4 graphics menu). V-sync only creates game lagging.
Next, cap your framerate at 60fps by opening the console (enable it first) and entering fps. A kind of search engine will then display all commands with 'fps' in it. The command you need will be something like 'draw fps' or someting like that. Enter that one and type the number of fps you want after it (60 is best)
The last thing in optional, but to remove any small stuttering in the game you can enable 'smooth mouse'. I know this also reduces response, but COD4 has a very subtile smooth mouse: the game will play very comfortable, with still lots of response.

Hope this helps
August 14, 2008 5:52:01 PM

Nils said:
I think your CPU speed is to low. COD4 recommends a dual core of 2.4 GHz. That means you will that speed (probably a bit less is still OK) when you want to play at MEDIUM quality settings. At what settings are you playing?


I played the demo with an 4800+ @ 2.5ghz (woo hoo for 100mhz oc!) with ati 4850 on xp with everything maxed (also at 1280x1024) and the game was smooooooooooooooth as butter. I'm guessing the Phenom 9500 is faster than my setup so I wouldn't think thats the problem (btw I wasn't at all impresssed with the gfx).

When I play stalker I do get lags if I don't defrag my hdd for a while, worth a try (wont cost you anything at least)?
August 14, 2008 6:31:17 PM

But his Phenom 9500 is running @ 2.2GHz, so it's slower than you CPU.
August 14, 2008 9:57:43 PM

Well it's got less mhz but it's got more computing power so is still faster
August 14, 2008 10:09:40 PM

AMD Phenom 9500 is a real bottleneck for your system. get a 775 board and get yourself a dirt cheap Q6600 and overlock it to 3.0GHZ and you'll be fine for the next 3 years.
August 15, 2008 9:31:37 AM

rtfm said:
Well it's got less mhz but it's got more computing power so is still faster

I know nothing about AMD CPU's, but what do you mean by that statement? Is your cpu a dual core and his a quad?
a b U Graphics card
August 15, 2008 9:45:44 AM

The 4800+ is a skt939 running at 2.4 (oceed to 2.5) dual core. The phenom is at 2.2, but it has a better IPC or instructions per clock, meaning at the same frequency, the phenom can do more, tho at 2.2, its still a lil slower than a 4800+ at 2.5 or close. This does sound like a driver issue, going from 1 card to another, without changing cpus, and having slowdowns.
August 15, 2008 9:46:30 AM

CaptainSensible said:

My motherboard is a am2 board will my phenom operate any better on an am2+ board?


yap....it will increase.......
August 15, 2008 9:55:22 AM

Nils said:
I think your CPU speed is to low. COD4 recommends a dual core of 2.4 GHz. That means you will that speed (probably a bit less is still OK) when you want to play at MEDIUM quality settings. At what settings are you playing?



dude i can even run COD4 on my old PC; P4 3.2 HT, 2GB RAM, 8400GS @ 1024 x 768

nothing is too slow, since when are gamers forbidden to play at low res. ? since when we could have no fun playing at low res.?

gamers today forget that graphics aint everything.
August 15, 2008 7:12:48 PM

JAYDEEJOHN said:
This does sound like a driver issue, going from 1 card to another, without changing cpus, and having slowdowns.


I think I am seeing the same problem as OP but since he is running on a 2.2GHz AMD his slowdowns are amplified compared to what I get. For me, in Vista-32 COD4 looks and runs like crap in comparison to what I see on XP-64. The colors are bleached out and the details aren't as good even though everything is set to max in each OS. I actually played COD4 first on Vista and was thinking...this is what people are calling good graphics? They look that bad for some reason.

The FPS stoop down way too low and I get some horizontal tearing issues as a result. I definitely think something is up with the Vista/COD4/ATI combo. I will have to check my drivers/patches tonight and see if I can find a problem. I didn't think anything of it at first but now I am interested in why this is happening. I will try to get some screen shots so I don't sound completely crazy. :pt1cable: 



concrum said:
dude i can even run COD4 on my old PC; P4 3.2 HT, 2GB RAM, 8400GS @ 1024 x 768
nothing is too slow, since when are gamers forbidden to play at low res. ? since when we could have no fun playing at low res.?
gamers today forget that graphics aint everything.


Don't tell that to the face of a Crysis fan.


August 16, 2008 2:50:27 AM

Hmm...I read this in a review and it works. Select dual graphic cards in the settings and you get higher FPS