To overclock or upgrade

Hello all,
I'm having issues running a game that I believe I should be able to, and I am trying to determine the extent to what I need to do to fix it, either to overclock components or upgrade some. The game is called Battlefield BC2 and the minimum requirements are Here

I'll attach more specific details below, but my rig falls in between the minimum and recommended and in summary looks like this:
• Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 8500
• Main memory: 4GB
• Graphics card: Radeon 4870
• Graphics memory: 512MB
• OS: Windows Vista 32x
• Free HDD space: 60GB

When I play the game standalone, I can play with the high settings without issue. When I play online I've reduced my settings to Low and while this often allows me to play at an acceptable level, other times there is perceptible lag in action. Both my latency and bandwidth appear to be acceptable (bandwidth is 25MB down on Verizon FIOS).So I'm trying to narrow down whether I can OC the GPU, CPU, RAM to make this work better, or if I need to upgrade some of my gear (CPU / GPU). Here is what I have in detail, or what I have done to try to troubleshoot this. Any help is appreciated.

Additional Details:
LCD: Samsung 2232BW. Native resolution 1680x1050
BC2: Played at 1680x1050, LOW quality
GPUZ and CPUZ displays: Here

- Downloaded latest drivers for the video card
- Modest overclock on the GPU using ATI Overdrive, seen here
- Tried to determine if GPU Memory was the bottleneck, however contrary to what I've read the latest version of GPU-Z doesn't have that in the sensor list, and I can' find another VRAM Usage tool for Vista (freeware)
- Tried to determine is CPU was the bottleneck, but can't find a way to actually create a log file from CPUZ while in game
- Have researched into overclocking CPU and RAM, but am a little nervous about trying it. Currently my rig has SpeedStep running that doesn't work well with a CPU overclock from what I understand, and playing in the BIOS is something I rarely do.
- At idle, on CPUZ I see my Core Voltage at 1.096, Core Speed at 2003.9, Multiplier at 6, Bus Speed at 334MHz, Rated FSB at 1335.9. When running BC2 I see my Core Voltage up to 1.208, Core Speed up to 3005.4, Multiplier up to 9, Bus Speed remains 334MHz, Rated FSB remains 1335.9.
- When ingame, my GPUZ shows GPU Core Clock at 825, GPU Memory Clock at 950, GPU Temperature averaging in the low 50's, GPU Load % in the 30-40 range with a few spikes into the 60-80 range, GPU Temp (Dispio) in the low 50's, GPU Temp (Memio) in the upper 60's, and GPU Temp (Shadercore) in the upper 50s
- My BIOS is currently is v2002, only one version more current at v2012 so I'm leery of updating that for potentially limited gain / potential risk
10 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about overclock upgrade
  1. Thanks for the great details, appreciated. I do need to clarify, however, that I am an OC noob - the ATI Overdrive is my first simplistic venture into it :) Some (fairly basic I'm sure) questions for your thoughts.

    1) I've read that prior to any CPU OC to clear the CMOS / BIOS. Given the only mod would have been the GPU OC via ATI Overdrive, do I need to do this?
    2) I've also read that SpeedStep is recommened to be diasbled when doing a CPU OC as they don't play well together. Is that true and if so any links on how to do it?
    3) With the voltages you recommended I believe (again from reading only) that the standard cooler should be fine for cooling. Was that your experience as well?

    That being said, I'm going to try to match up your configs above to what my BIOS allows - I'm sure I'll have addtl questions when done. Thanks!
  2. Best answer
    While the OC will help , if you truly want to enjoy BC2 you need a quad. I ran an E8400 at 4.0 with a GTX 285 and had the lag when playing online. I moved to an I5 with the same card and the difference was amazing. There are a lot of posts here at Toms regarding BC2/C2D vs C2Q.

    Sell that 8500 and drop in a 6600 or 9650
  3. Had considered that, but with a Q9550 vs a Q9650 (Microcenter has the 9550 for $180). But outside of that, will the 512MB on the Vid card become the bottleneck? I think your card has 1GB yes?
  4. Here is a benchmark review fo your HD 4870, that compares performance of the 512MB vs 1GB vs 2GB models.,2428.html
  5. That's an excellent article, thanks for the forward. It appears, at least for the level of gmaing I intend, that a 5123MB should be sufficient. Given this, I picked up a Q9550 Quad that I'll throw in tonight and see if that is the issue. Will advise shortly.
  6. After owning a GTX 285 2GB I can testify to the accuracy of that article. I saw no difference from my 1GB model unless I went above 1900x1200. Your 512 will play just fine at your current resolution.

    You should be happy with your quad. Bad Company 2 loves overclocked quads so go ahead and give your FSB a little bump. Make sure you keep your level of expectations within reason though. You wont be able to run on high max aa ect but you will be able to run at medium with decent fps at all times. Make sure you take server latency into consideration as well as some servers lag horribly.

    I'm curious to see your results. Definitely hit us up after some testing.
  7. I play Bad Company 2 at 1440x900 everything set on HIGH and AA= 16Q csaa / AF= 16.

    I play on Windows 7 64bit

    When I have Fraps running to display my FPS, I'm mostly around 55- 65FPS. I very RARLY dip to the low 40's. Only when 5 things are blowing up directly in my vision, but that dip only lasts for a second. Everything still remains fluid.

    I'm running E8400 @ 4.0Ghz with 4Gb memory 5-5-5-15 at 1066Mhz. With a GTX285 1Gb card OC at 666Mhz. Drivers are 197.45.

    I play on a few servers where my ping is generally 90 - 110. * in-game* which is different then what you see on the browser listing.
  8. Best answer selected by drandersoninc.
  9. I swapped in a Q9550 Quad core this past weekend with good results. For comparison, here's what I saw before and after.

    - FPS (Low graphics setting) online games ran from 40-60
    - Most servers would show perceptible lag in crowded close quarters areas. This seemed to increase as the night went on

    - FPS (Low graphics setting) online games ran from 70-110
    - Ran very clean on majority of servers, only ones I saw a perceptible lag on were those that others in my playing crew also commented on

    I did kick it up to medium graphics settings, FPS dipped to 50-80 and it was perceptibly more jittery. I haven't had a chance to play around with it a lot as yet, but hopefully I can at least get it running on those settings (but then, per the related article above) my 512MB on the vid card may start becoming the problem.

    A friend of mine forwarded on some interesting info, which in retrospect makes sense. BC2 was designed for the consoles, and much of the physics computations were thrown at the CPU and not the vid card as a result - which is unlike most PC games. So for BC2 it appears it is CPU heavy compared to most other games out there.

    Thanks for the help
  10. Very nice to hear your game play improved. Try medium with shadows and effects on low and AAx2. Well enjoy and shout out of you see any x(VGS)x guys on the battlefield.
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