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Is there a bottleneck?

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Last response: in Graphics Cards
December 26, 2008 8:37:49 AM

Hey guys. Before any questions, here's my build:

Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 @ 2.4GHz
Ati Radeon HD4850 512MB GDDR3
2 x 1GB Kingston's Cheapest DDR2 667 MHz
5400 RPM WD Sata HDD
Windows Vista Home Premium
Cooler Master Real Power 450Watts
BenQ 19" LCD @ 1440 x 900 native resolution

Everything runs at stock.

Here is the question. This is a new build and I just bought a copy of Far Cry 2. I have everything set Very High, 1 level lower than Ultra High of course. At 1440 x 900, I receive only 20 ~ 30 FPS. Is this normal? Is there a bottleneck? Is overclock necessary? Or is there anything that needs to be changed.

More about : bottleneck

December 26, 2008 9:03:30 AM

Hmm if CPU is the problem, can you please recommend the best clock rate? Thank you.
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a c 131 U Graphics card
December 26, 2008 9:10:36 AM

I dont think you have an actual Bottleneck per say. I would consider that kind of performance normal for that set up.
Having said that if you overclock the CPU you will see some improvement. take a look at this link, it should tell you all you need to know. Any more questions or anything you are not quite sure of, just ask.
http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=700&p=1

Mactronix
December 27, 2008 12:50:57 AM

Bumps. I am still looking for professional opinions from you guys :)  Thank you
December 27, 2008 1:13:08 AM

its your CPU, i would expect higher FPS with the 4850 at that resolution, what you need to do is overclock your CPU, what motherboard do you have
December 27, 2008 2:13:36 AM

Sorry I missed out the motherboard. I have a Gigabyte P35 :) 
December 27, 2008 2:00:04 PM

yes gigabyte motherboards are overclock friendly, ramp up the speed of ur CPU
a c 330 U Graphics card
December 27, 2008 2:06:23 PM

^^But wath the temperatures!
a c 131 U Graphics card
December 27, 2008 6:38:38 PM

alikum said:
Hey guys. Before any questions, here's my build:

Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 @ 2.4GHz
Ati Radeon HD4850 512MB GDDR3
2 x 1GB Kingston's Cheapest DDR2 667 MHz
5400 RPM WD Sata HDD
Windows Vista Home Premium
Cooler Master Real Power 450Watts
BenQ 19" LCD @ 1440 x 900 native resolution

Everything runs at stock.

Here is the question. This is a new build and I just bought a copy of Far Cry 2. I have everything set Very High, 1 level lower than Ultra High of course. At 1440 x 900, I receive only 20 ~ 30 FPS. Is this normal? Is there a bottleneck? Is overclock necessary? Or is there anything that needs to be changed.


The power supply is underpowered for that GPU as it may be a 450watt supply but it only puts out 22 Amps.
Idealy you would be looking to overclock the CPU to about 3.0, the link i gave you before tells you how to do this, the weak PSU may cause issues with this though.
You have 2 GB of cheap and slow ram. Vista ideally wants 4GB of decent RAM.
Your HDD is also on the slow side which wont help things along.

Mactronix
December 27, 2008 10:39:59 PM

Hey Mactronix, just one question. Ideally, how many Amps should the power supply put out for the GPU?

Thanks for replies guys.
December 27, 2008 10:43:41 PM

Hey Mactronix, just one question. Ideally, how many Amps should the power supply put out for the GPU?

I am looking to purchase a Corsair HX520. Will that be enough? I certainly hope so because I am running tight on budget.
December 28, 2008 1:05:48 AM

Oh yea, sorry for posting so much. I do realize that the power supply cannot put out enough juice for the HD4850. My question is, I have been running the system for about a week. Does it hurt my system? I have not experienced blue screens whatsoever. Hopefully all components are safe.
December 28, 2008 7:57:21 AM

Check the manufacturer's websites for the recommended amps. Should also be listed in your manual. Note, however, that they usually list higher than you really need. They often bench with a high-end 1K$ cpus.

Running close to spec should not hurt your system as a total; however, it can put stress on the psu, which will severely pull back its life expectancy.

For a new power supply, I'd suggest something with a single twelve rail. They are much more stable, especially if you want to overclock.
a c 131 U Graphics card
December 28, 2008 9:01:12 AM

What Metalbolt has posted covers what the risks and effects of running a weak PSU are. Although i dont necessarily agree that a single rail is the better way to go. A good PSU that is 80% efficient will be perfectly ok with one rail or two. Two spreads the load better and as Metalbolt says a single rail is said to be more stable.

As far as a replacement goes i really rate Corsair myself and the Corsair HX520 would handle what you have and more. This would be a good move if you can afford it as im fairly sure your Motherboard will support a better CPU at a later date, check with your manual or the company website first though but i think it will suport Quads and the higher specked dual core chips. This and a Graphics card update will both be easilly handled by the Corsair HX520. so it would make sense, unless you plan a new rig after this one.

Mactronix
December 28, 2008 11:27:37 AM

Thanks for the replies guys, especially Mactronix.
December 30, 2008 5:49:56 AM

Hey guys, I've purchased a Silverstone PSU. It's ST56F, total 40AMP on the 12V rails. So I guess this should be enough. I however, still do not see much difference. I am guessing that it is because of the RAM. Since I am running Windows Vista Home Premium, I guess 2 x 1 GB low end 667MHz RAMs aren't enough. I do not want to spend too much on it, so please recommend me some RAMs that are worthwhile and not too expensive.

On a side note, I have yet to overclock the CPU. I am waiting to get another case fan (along with the RAMs) to cool the interior. Current temp for both cores is 35 on average.
a c 131 U Graphics card
December 30, 2008 8:06:44 AM

Not meaning to nit pick but I googled the ST56F and it has 36 Amps on its +12 V Rails, not 40. Just mentioning it as it will matter if you start working out future upgrades based on having 40 Amps its still plenty powerful enough anyway. :) 

People are reporting that Vista really needs 4 GB, i dont run it myself so cant say from experience.

With the Overclocking of the CPU I would recomend against getting cheap ram, I have the same CPU as you and run this ram with my CPU clocked up to 3.0 http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Memory/DDR2/D...

I did link you to an Overclocking guide earlier in the thread so as i said before give it a read and if your still not sure when you come to do the OC just ask :) 

Mactronix
December 30, 2008 9:03:27 AM

Patriot is not available in where I live. I have, however, found one of Kingston's that run at 4-4-4-12. I am really a noob at RAM timings. I don't really know how they matter. How is 4-4-4-12 compared to 5-5-5-18? Or 5-5-5-15? I will drop by the shop tomorrow to grab 2 sticks and start overclocking.
a c 131 U Graphics card
December 30, 2008 11:50:12 AM

Kingstons isnt bad, Check that your Ram and motherboard are compatable in terms of Voltage. The Patriot I use will run at 1.8 volts but needs 2.1 Volts to run stabily at 4-4-4-12. So you need to check if the Kingstons need 2.1 and if your Motherboard will supply 2.1 to the Ram or not as some do and some dont. The numbers to do with latency the lower the numbers the faster the Ram, Its really only going to make single percentage points of differance and is more something that high end overclockers worry about.
A Gigabyte P35 is quite a popular board so you should be able to find people with experiance Overclocking one over on the Overclocking Forum. With any luck you will find someone with the same set up and will know what settings work best.
Good luck, (you shouldnt need it as the CPU and MoBo are established Overclockers)
Mactronix :) 
December 30, 2008 12:04:16 PM

Thank you Mac :) 

December 30, 2008 1:44:15 PM

Newegg recommends something like, for a single GPU, the +12V at 24 A and greater than 34 A for SLI/Crossfire. Of course these are single 12 V rail recommendations. ATI says the 4850 only needs 450 W, but you should at least have 550 W to ensure that there is adequate power to the card and the REST of your system.

I have a Radeon 4850 with a Phenom X4 9950 CPU and 4 GB of 800 MHz DDR2 RAM, and I run Far Cry 2 at 1680.1050 on the Very High with 4X AA with an average FPS of about 40 in DX 10. I have a 610 W continuous PSU from PC Power and Cooling, I suggest you purchase that PSU or any from PC Power and Cooling, as they are extremely stable.

Also, try to run Far Cry 2 in DX 10 mode; it tends to run better in that than 9. I don't think you have a bottleneck per se, except your PSU, but your CPU should be sufficient, despite the fact that the developers claimed that FC2 was a CPU quad user.
December 30, 2008 2:08:21 PM

Hey btc2008, I did change my PSU and I notice only a slight increase in FPS. Right now, I am using Silverstone ST56F, 560W. I am starting to wonder if it is my the RAM that's causing the problem. Since Vista, as you may already know, is a resource hogger with Aero turned on, 2GB may not be sufficient at all. I will grab another two sticks and see how things go. Thanks though :) 
December 30, 2008 2:30:54 PM

alikum said:
Hey btc2008, I did change my PSU and I notice only a slight increase in FPS. Right now, I am using Silverstone ST56F, 560W. I am starting to wonder if it is my the RAM that's causing the problem. Since Vista, as you may already know, is a resource hogger with Aero turned on, 2GB may not be sufficient at all. I will grab another two sticks and see how things go. Thanks though :) 


It could be RAM, but you could try to overclock your CPU to gain a few more FPS provided you utilize proper cooling. If you do decide to add more RAM, make sure you have a 64-bit Vista or else your system will not be able to utilize the full 4096 GB of RAM (32-bit systems will only register something like 3.3 GB).

You may have a 32-bit, which, updating to a 64-bit will be a major hassle and mucho dinero (relatively), so I think the more efficient route would be to overclock your CPU.
December 30, 2008 2:33:51 PM

Just slighltly overclock/underclock your cpu, to see if it direclty results in slightly higher/lower FPS. If yes, CPU is your bottleneck. 2GB ram should be enough.
January 1, 2009 2:34:45 AM

Hey guys, I have purchased extra 2GB RAM, making it 4GB now. However, though it may make things faster, I do not notice any increase in frames. So I guess, the only bottleneck left is the CPU itself. Before overclocking, I will post the temps here.

Based on HWMonitor's results,

At Idle:
Core0 - 30'ish average 37C
Core1 - 30'ish average 36C
GPU - average 45C

At Load:
Core0 - 40'ish maximum 51C
Core1 - 40'ish maximum 50C
GPU - maximum 56C

Are the temps considered normal? What else should I purchase to cool the system? I have two fans. The input fan is a 120mm Zalman ZM-F3 LED running at max (connected directly to a molex using a converter) which has about 72 CFM. The exhaust is an unknown fan that came with the case. The case is made by Asus but its series, I do not know. There is another spot which I can mount a 80mm fan. That spot is directly facing the CPU and its cooler. Mounting an extra fan there may (I'm just guessing) result in poor airflow since CPU cooler itself has a fan. Are the temps good for overclocking? How should the fans be set up? The place where I live is hot. I have air conditioner running, so I guess the room temperature should be about 26C. Thanks guys.
January 1, 2009 2:46:20 AM

Oh by the way, Happy New Year guys :) 
January 1, 2009 3:50:21 AM

I don't know about your temps specifically; however, here are some things to consider:

Do you have the stock Intel cooler on your cpu? While folks have overclocked with them, it's advisable to use an aftermarket one that does a better job with heat management. Really, for a lot of them, the big difference is their size and that they blow hot air towards the back of the case instead of creating an air pocket by blowing down on the motherboard. (Noctua and Arctic 5 are really good thermal pastes for mounting an aftermarket HSF.)

Have at least one intake fan on the front and one outtake fan on the back. If you can mount one on the top of the case blowing up that's good too. Side fans really depend on where they end up being mounted. I forget where I read it, but I just saw someone do some testing with fan configurations and they got the best performance from two outtakes on the rear and two intakes on the side. However, but, that all depends, again, on exactly what the intake side fans end up blowing on.

It is also going to depend on your case. And, doing all you can to get all of the extra cables from your psu out of the way of your airflow. I have my cables stuffed into the bay under my DVD drive. The top mounted fan also helps to bring air up around the cables.

I wonder if your hard drive is in any way impeding upon your performance? I've never run anything under 7200rpm, so I don't know how much that actually comes into play.

Also, you are using anything, such as Fraps, to see your actual frames per second; or, are you just "eyeing it up?"
January 1, 2009 5:09:53 AM

Hello Metalbolt, yeap I am using Fraps to measure frames. I am using Intel's stock cooler. Thought right now heat is not an issue (I hope), with those temps, I believe it makes overclocking harder unless I fork out more for Artic Cooler which costs about 150 in my currency. All extra cables are tied up and put above the optical drive, far away from being an obstacle to the airflow. So I guess cables shouldn't matter. That leaves only the CPU and the hard disk to worry about. If the HDD is the root of the problem, then I really have to shake my head and turn back in disappointment as I am quickly running out of cash. My Windows Vista is an OEM version and I doubt it is possible to port it over to a new HDD, or at least, not without going through much hassle. I may be wrong. Let's keep hopes up :)  Anyway, really thank you for your help.
a c 131 U Graphics card
January 1, 2009 9:38:50 AM

Some good advice there from Metalbolt,
While an aftermarket cooler would undoubtably be better the newer Intel coolers are pretty good, mine runs ok at 3.0 Ghz with the standard cooler so i see no reason to upgrade it. Your local temps may mean you do need to get one but as a cheap option you can mount an exhaust fan above the CPU where you say there is a mount for an 80mm fan.
Your temps look fine to me, just keep an eye on the temps when you start overclocking. Intel say about its specified to run up to 73.3 Degrees. Personally I would think a bit more would be fine. They always play safe with specs. Be carefull though if it goes out of spec then any warranty would be void.
Mactronix
January 1, 2009 9:42:18 PM

Although an after market cooler may sound like a good idea, if I can pay only a fraction of its cost to invest on case fans which will bring about similar effects, I will do so.

Hmm based on the temps posted earlier, I think that the exhaust fan is not good enough. Cold air goes in okay but it cannot flow out fast enough. So, any suggestions as to what 120mm fans to get? It's okay to have more noise as long as it does its job (of course, if there is one that has high cfm and low noise that will be good). I doubt I can get the fans in shops here. I guess I will have to ebay them.
January 2, 2009 3:18:51 AM

From what I understand, normally a fan pushing into a fan is not a good thing. However, I just helped a friend upgrade his cooling: he has an 80mm slot that is directly over the CPU cooler. Instead of putting an 80mm with good cfm on top (that could mess up his air-flow), we put an 80mm-to-120mm adapter on it and an Ernemax 120mm UC-12EB with low noise and "ok" cfm. Here was the thought: a lower cfm than the CPU cooler would, hopefully, not disrupt anything, and since it is larger the air would hit the components around the CPU as well.

With that set up (and a 120mm in on front and out on the back), his temps dropped from the low forties to the high twenties. I mention that, because he is running the stock Intel cooler - I was very surprised to see such good temps with it!

And, although it may seem to go against logic, I've noticed in every build I've ever done that a lower cfm going in and higher one going out helps things a lot. It likely has something to do with the exhaust fans being able to push air out faster than the intake fans can bring them in. If the cfm is the same, or lower on the exhuast fans, that, from my estimation, would create an air pocket, because it cannot get out quick enough.

I can't believe that I did not ask this before: have you run any other "high end" games? Have you tried out the Crysis demo and checked your fps on that?
January 2, 2009 4:06:53 AM

Thanks Metalbolt. Yeah, about the fans, that's what I thought too. Nope, I don't have Crysis with me, although I'm tempted to get one :p  Well, judging by the fps I receive from Far Cry, I think Crysis will be far worse.
a b U Graphics card
January 2, 2009 6:31:28 AM

I'm reasonably sure a 2.4 Duo can driver a 4850. Sure, OC'ing will help a bit, but you have 2GB of really slow RAM on Vista; not a good combination. Heck, I have 2GB 1333 DDR3, and when I play FC2 at very high settings and compare the FPS, XP gets around 45-55, Vista drops down to around 25-45, and thats with a 3.0 Quad CPU and a 9800GX2. Lack of memory for Vista, coupled with the fact its slow, will kill your FPS in a hurry.

Get another 2GB of RAM, that should net 5 or so extra to your FPS count. If you have some extra cash, you may also want to upgrade to DDR2 800.
January 2, 2009 6:59:13 AM

Hmm, you may be right. The RAMs I've got are Kingston's Value line.
January 2, 2009 7:56:25 AM

Well, I just did some research, and I'm rather convinced that your hard drive should not be affecting your fps. While it will affect your load times, it should not have much to do with fps in most games (there are some exceptions).

If you can, get the highest speed ram that your motherboard can handle (if not, 800mhz is a decent speed-to-price bargain). I can run Crysis at an avarage of 30fps at 12x10 resolution with only 2gigs of 533 ram. However, I am running a 9800GTX+ (but, I only have Core 2 Duo e6300). I have four gigs of 800mhz coming to me in the mail, and a Core Quad q6600, I'm curious to see if that ups my fps any.

Just remember, a 32-bit OS will only see 4gigs max; but, you'll rarely ever see more than 3.5gigs because your other hardware takes up memory addresses. I just plugged 4gigs into my machine (XP Pro 32-bit) and it only saw 2gigs. I put the same ram in my buddies computer and it saw just over 3gigs. Either I am using more ram addresses up than he is (not likely), or I need a bios update.

And, since you're running low on funds, remember, there is no shame in turning a few settings down so that the game is playable, until you can afford better hardware:)  Turning down antialiasing, anisatrophic filtering, soft shadows, and shadows (in that order), can really help boost performance. Play with it for a bit turning each down one step at a time and see how it treats you. I've not played Far Cry 2, so I have no clue if it has those exact settings, but, most games do.

Have you tried running on just High, and seen what it does for your fps? I was just looking at this: http://www.gamespot.com/features/6200616/index.html , and there is not a huge difference between Very High and High for most of the settings.
a c 131 U Graphics card
January 2, 2009 9:09:02 AM

alikum said:
Although an after market cooler may sound like a good idea, if I can pay only a fraction of its cost to invest on case fans which will bring about similar effects, I will do so.

Hmm based on the temps posted earlier, I think that the exhaust fan is not good enough. Cold air goes in okay but it cannot flow out fast enough. So, any suggestions as to what 120mm fans to get? It's okay to have more noise as long as it does its job (of course, if there is one that has high cfm and low noise that will be good). I doubt I can get the fans in shops here. I guess I will have to ebay them.


You say you have an issue with air getting out of the case but dont think an Exhaush fan (pulling air out ) directly over the CPU will help ?

Mactronix
January 2, 2009 9:09:53 AM

Hehe, thanks Metalbolt. Actually, I am not really sure about the difference between Kingston's ValueRam and HyperX (or its equivalent for other brands) except for the fact that ValueRam has a CAS 5. Do you think that the ValueRam that I am using is affecting my performance by any chance? I am still waiting for my pay before the next upgrade. So, I guess turning the settings down is the way to go. :)  Cheers bro.
January 2, 2009 9:37:31 AM

mactronix said:
You say you have an issue with air getting out of the case but dont think an Exhaush fan (pulling air out ) directly over the CPU will help ?

Mactronix


Sorry if I didn't make the scenario clear. Currently, my case has 3 "mountable-slots". 2 120mm (1 exhaust or rear as it is known and 1 front for fan inflow) and 1 80mm directly on top of the CPU. The front fan has 72 cfm whereas the rear one is unknown. The 80mm fan is currently disabled because I suspect that the rear fan cannot exhaust enough hot air, thereby creating an air-pocket as what metalbolt said. Moreover, since the 80mm fan may well have a higher cfm than Intel's stock cooler, blowing air directly at the CPU may do more harm than good. Thanks for your help though :) 
January 2, 2009 9:42:34 AM

I doubt that it being Valueram, instead of HyperX, is killing you. Other than the cas latency differences, the only other difference between the two brands is that the HyperX comes stocked with heatspreaders (which, btw, are always a good idea).

Although I would not recommend a latency above 5 for DDR2, mhz tends to play more into performance. I know that when you read reviews on websites a lot of people will complain when a ram's latency is high; however, I'm rather convinced that they have been trained to think that, and have never really seen a difference in performance. Hardcore overclockers care; but, hardcore overclockers tend to care about certain aspects that most people will never notice.
January 2, 2009 9:54:15 AM

Thanks Metalbolt. You've taught me a lot :)  Cheers. I can't wait to get my paycheck and get an Artic 7 Pro :) 
a c 131 U Graphics card
January 2, 2009 9:59:00 AM

Im not saying you should blow air at the CPU im saying put the 80mm blowing out. From your last post it seems like you decided to do it properly and get an aftermarkey cooler anyway. My case has a chimney and an exhaust fan mounting (no fan though i dont need one)directly over the CPU to remove heat straight from the CPU area. Thats what i was suggesting you do.

Mactronix
January 2, 2009 10:27:12 AM

Hehe, guess I misunderstood your statement.
January 2, 2009 1:36:43 PM

My pleasure, Alikum; I'm glad to be of service.

Have you thought about switching the front and rear fans to see if that helps things any?
January 2, 2009 1:50:28 PM

I did but too bad that front fan came with silicon "screws". Once mounted, it's hard to unscrew them. Also, one of it is already half broken due during the mounting process. So, I guess it would be better that I get another fan instead. :) 
January 2, 2009 1:53:25 PM

Get 4 Gb of 800 mhz RAM and you'll be good.
January 7, 2009 9:36:41 AM

Hey guys, I have a question. This is not directly related to bottlenecks but I thought it'd be better to reuse this thread. Anyway, here's the question. My case fan has an exposed wire (meaning the rubber surrounding the copper has worn off). The fan has a 3pin connector connected directly to the motherboard. Today, I accidentally made the copper touch the pc case causing a spark. The motherboard was turned off as a result of this short circuit. However, I did not smell the smell of burning. I turned the PC back on after wrapping the exposed part with a tape. The PC is now running fine. Is the motherboard damaged? Is there a way to check if the board is damaged?
a c 330 U Graphics card
January 7, 2009 10:12:39 AM

For us mere mortals, the only real way to test microelectronics is simply to use it, which you have, and the test says "it`s good to go".
Just remember this lesson padawan; do not play around with your computer while it is switched on and connected to the mains, or next time great harm you may do.
January 8, 2009 8:11:54 AM

Hello guys. I have finally replaced the CPU cooler with a Zalman 9300 AT. I am ready to crank up the CPU. I just pushed it up to 3 GHz with a cpu vcore of 1.15V based on CPU-z display (i gues this is stock). I ran Prime95 and it rebooted. My DRam multiplier is 3.2 and the FSB is 250 MHz. That makes my RAM 800 MHz. Oh yea, I replaced my RAMs with KVR (Kingston Value Ram)-DDR2 800 at 1.8V
Any ideas how to stabilize the system? Should I push the vcore up?
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