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Do I REALLY need to upgrade?

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June 15, 2010 6:06:00 PM

Hello everyone!

This is my first post, and though I like my firsts to usually be helpful to someone else, I come to you for help.

I just bought and built, what I thought was, a badass computer and of course, just before the i7 came out. I noticed a thread similar to this just down the topic ladder there, though I feel like I have different details which require a different touch. Plus, I didn't want to hijack his thread.

Here are the details:

Mobo: Asus p5k-e
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=n82e168...

Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 2.33GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video: ATI Radeon HD 4870 x2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory: G.SKILL 8GB (4 x 2GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power: PC Power and Cooling S75QB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

all of this is wrapped in a nice AeroCool AeroRacer Pro case (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) and shown on a brand new 46" HD Samsung LCD TV.

So, here's my deal. This thing is only 6 months old. I am an avid gamer and right now, my game of choice is BF: Bad Company 2. The game looks GREAT on all high settings and is very smooth in the sense that it is not jittery. the problem is, I can definitely feel the lag from my hand to the game and my gaming experience is from 1991. I have a pretty skilled touch. To play the game AND be as good as I think I am, I need to play on low-medium settings.

So, where is my computer wrong? is there a bottle neck for information? Does my hardware "play well with others" (compatible with each other)? is my stuff really THAT outdated? Everything is bone dry stock, I have not overclocked anything yet, and I don't mind doing it, though, I wanted all of your thoughts on this situation first.


Thank you in advance and I apologize in advance for anything I have done wrong (wrong place to post, double threat, things like that)

-Nathan

More about : upgrade

a b K Overclocking
June 16, 2010 12:40:20 AM

Do you have vsync on by chance? When I enable vsync, my mouse movements lag considerably.

Even if you have a POS system, which you don't, you shouldn't notice that much lag from your mouse... just frame rates, etc.
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a c 121 K Overclocking
June 16, 2010 1:01:06 AM

You might want to research mouse lag as a separate issue. There can be many causes.

As to the adequacy of your cpu or graphics card, try a couple of tests:

1) Run your games, but reduce the resolution and eye candy to a minimum. This will simulate what will happen if you upgrade to a stronger graphics card. If your FPS improves, it indicates that your cpu is capable of driving a stronger graphics card to higher levels of FPS.

2) Keeping your graphics resolution and settings the same, reduce your cpu power. Do this by removing the overclock, or by using windows power management to set a maximum cpu% of perhaps 70%. If your FPS drops significantly, it indicates that your current cpu is a limiting factor, and that a faster cpu would help.
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a b K Overclocking
June 16, 2010 2:04:07 PM

How much money do you have? And is it burning a hole in your pocket?
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June 16, 2010 6:24:32 PM

Thank you for all of the great comments!

First thing's first.
I couldn't believe I had VSync on... I turned it off and it definitely was a bit better, but still not up to par. Great suggestion, that's about half of my problem.

Great idea on the tests. I could only do the first part last night because I got home so late. I dumbed down the graphics to low settings and it played wonderfully. Though, of course, it didn't look great. I will check the CPU tonight, though I feel this test showed that the CPU was running fine. The graphics card has 2 gigs of memory and 2 GPU's on one board... I don't see how this $475 video card (when I bought it) could be so slow??

Overclocking sounds good and fun. What can I overclock besides the CPU? I read the overclocking tutorial on this site and it shows that you can only really get to 2.5ghz (from 2.33) is this really that significant? Is it possible to OC a video card?

I have little money, though, I can buy piece by piece. What are your suggestions as to what I should look at buying?

Thank you again!
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a c 121 K Overclocking
June 16, 2010 6:37:23 PM

A 4870X2 is about as good as it gets. I doubt that is your problem.
But, some games do not scale well with two gpu's.
Have you updated your graphics driver to the latest?

If your cpu is not holding you back as indicated by test 1, overclocking is not likely to help.

It is possible to overclock some video cards. Vendors will already have selected the best chips to include in their overclocked offerings. I doubt that you will get much benefit.

Is your mouse a wired mouse? I think they may perform better than wireless.
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June 16, 2010 8:23:38 PM

I was thinking the CPU wouldn't be up to par with the rest. I need to do some research on CPU's compatible with that mobo (any suggestions?)

I just updated my graphics driver last night, but I had to leave the computer before it was finished, I will check if that made any difference tonight. Yes, my mouse is the wired WoW mouse.

I will 3Dmark when I get home. SS's to come!
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June 16, 2010 8:50:32 PM

You really need to get that processor up to 3.6ghz at least! I don't think 2.33ghz is enough to keep a 4870x2 fed with data.

Does you mouse have adjustable pointer acceleration? If so try setting it to a higher number to increase the response of it to your input.
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June 16, 2010 8:57:52 PM

One thing to take note on is I have noticed that BF2BC2 seriously heats up my GFX card's and I have to set the fan's on 100% to keep everything running smooth... You might want to try cranking up your fan speeds, could help out!

Great advice above though!
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a b K Overclocking
June 16, 2010 9:01:54 PM

You say you "dumbed down the graphics to low settings and it played wonderfully." That suggests a GPU bottleneck, which really shouldn't be the case with a HD4870X2 unless the card is defective or has major Crossfire scaling issues.
OR... Do you have the GPU installed in the blue slot on your mobo, or the black one? The black one only provides 4x lanes (vs. 16x for the blue), and would be a hideous bottleneck. Check that, please.
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a b K Overclocking
June 16, 2010 9:10:18 PM

Yeah... is the issue still mouse lag or fps? Now that vsync is off, the mouse issue should be gone. Lowering game quality shouldn't increase mouse responsiveness, just fps.
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June 16, 2010 9:25:17 PM

Legion Hardware did a cpu scaling test with the 4870x2 and found that at least a 3ghz dual or quad core cpu was required to get the best from the card.
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June 16, 2010 9:35:38 PM

Wow! Some great feedback. Unfortunately, I am at work right now, I'll check which slot it's in when I get home. That could possibly be the answer since I did not know about that... (darn nub It's my first homebuilt, though I thought I had advanced knowledge on all of this)

So, I should start looking for a faster quad core? you say 3.6+? I believe that is a good start and I should be able to pick that up sometime in the next upcoming months. The mouse acceleration speed would accelerate my mouse, though it will still do it 300-700 ms later than I wanted it to.

I will check the heat issue when I get home, I believe I set the fans to run at 85% full load. 100% on this thing is ridiculously loud. Though, even before the card gets a chance to work in the game, (I mean right when I load into it) I notice this "lag". It's like it doesn't matter when it gets hot.

Now that I think of it, I need to go check the FPS again. the screen is not choppy at all, it is just lagged from the movement of my mouse. Which, now thinking of it, seems like my CPU is the culprit (after hearing all of these suggestions). When I lowered the game quality, I was able to play very well because my actual movements matched up with the in-game movements. Set at high, it is almost impossible to play. Hearing easymoney9's CPU roundup, I feel now like my CPU isn't able to support my card.

Thank you for the roundup on legion Hardware, I will look in to buying a new CPU soon. I kind of figured I was going for more of a budget one than a gaming one when I bought it.
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June 16, 2010 9:40:13 PM

P.S. Looking at the picture of the MoBo, I know that I installed the card in the blue slot. Thank you for the info!
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June 16, 2010 10:32:09 PM

is .50ghz THAT much faster? I believe this site said I can safely OC my CPU to 2.65.

What are your opinions on an AMD chip. I figure, I have an ATI (AMD) card, and I know AMD doesn't make processors AS good as Intel, but Fry's has a great deal on a new Mobo/processor combination.

http://www.frys-electronics-ads.com/ads/2010/06/11/4838...

and here is a review Vs. the Q9560
http://www.techspot.com/review/185-amd-phenom2-x4-965/

From what I am reading, it seems this is a great deal. A quad core 3.4 Ghz processor with 6mb L3 cache! Am I missing something? or is this a good deal that little, poor me shouldn't pass up?


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a b K Overclocking
June 16, 2010 10:42:42 PM

AMD makes great CPU's as does Intel, just depends on what you want/how much you want to spend. Phenom II's are great, and if you've got a good deal on the 965be, that's good but if you could find one on a 955be, it'd be better. The difference is the multiplier, and you can increase that yourself.

.5 GHz isn't that significant, but anything would help in your situation.
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a b K Overclocking
June 16, 2010 10:47:59 PM

You realize, of course, that going to an AMD CPU means a new mobo and RAM too? This could become a very expensive upgrade.
The Q8200 is partially crippled, with reduced or missing CPU caches; that's another thing that makes it slower than a Q9550, even though the MHz difference isn't that huge.
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June 16, 2010 11:22:30 PM

I'm looking at the 965
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here is a comparison of three chips. The center one looks great and a great price for that speed.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...|19-103-674^19-103-674-S01%2C19-103-692^19-103-692-TS%2C19-103-727^19-103-727-TS

I understand I will have to get new RAM as well, DDR3, no problem if I buy them at a different time. I have been reading many many reviews, but it seems I haven't found a great motherboard for the AMD chip. There are apparently a few that are supplied by only 4 pin. I don't plan on OCing, but The motherboard should still be powered with 8 imo.

MoBo and RAM are my next two finds. You guys are great at these suggestions and all of these pieces are under $200 each. That's perfect for my pocket book.
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a c 121 K Overclocking
June 16, 2010 11:55:12 PM

If you think you need more cpu, consider upgrading to something like a Q9550 or Q9650. You can find them on e-bay for $200-$250 or so. Market the Q8200 to defray the cost. No need to change out other parts.

With Sandy bridge on the horizon near the end of the year, I would not be in a hurry to buy a new cpu and motherboard.
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June 17, 2010 9:11:37 PM

very good point ;) 
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June 19, 2010 6:08:04 PM

Buy a Q6600 of ebay for like 80 bucks, OC that bad-ass to 3.4Ghz = job done.
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a b K Overclocking
June 19, 2010 6:51:30 PM

I'm not sure that would be a good move. Q8->Q9 perhaps, but Q8->Q6 doesn't seem like moving forward.
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!