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Need help, overclock/crossfire or not? + possible bottleneck?

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July 12, 2010 5:44:33 PM

Hi

Not sure if this is the right place to post this, still new to Toms Hardware.

I recently had my 9800gt die on me, and after some research I decided not to spend on a new build or get a replacemetn 9800gt, just upgrade what i already had and keep my Q9300. So i ended up getting a new motherboard (asus pq5 pro turbo) so i could overclock my q9300, and a HIS Radeon Iceq5 turbo 5770 because it seemed like a pretty decent card for the price, and with the new mobo i could probably crossfire another one later on. I also got a new 550 watt psu and a new case with better airflow.

What i didnt realize though was that the mobo's 2nd pcie slot is at 8x link, and after some research online it seems that the q9300 isn't very overclockable.

So i was wondering if anybody could give me some advice on how to squeeze as much power out of this setup since i dont want to spend on a new build for at least another 1-2years.

Is it worth it to crossfire even though the second card will run at 8x link? Is my q9300 a bottleneck for the 5770 and vice versa?

I will mainly use this for gaming, watching movies and some web browsing.

Full specs are:
Q9300 Quad core @2.5ghz (w stock cooler)
6 gigs ddr2 2x 2gig 2x 1gig (not sure what brand, grabbed them out of a gateway fx4710)
Asus PQ5 Pro Turbo Motherboard
OCZ Fatal1ty 550watt PSU
640gig WD HDD@ 7200rpm
HIS Iceq5 Turbo HD Radeon 5770 (oc'd using ati overdrive to 900/1350)

I am using a 22" display at 1680x1050, if that helps any.

Oh and I'm a total noob when it comes to oc'ing and pc building, this is my first build and i was surprised it actually worked when i was done with it.

Any advice would be appreciated, thanks in advance!

a c 100 K Overclocking
July 12, 2010 5:51:37 PM

You should be totally fine. I'm sure you could get at least 3ghz out of that CPU but make sure you get an aftermarket cooler if you do go for an OC. Still, it's alright.

As for the PCIe 8x lane, that's no problem. I'm running crossfire 5850s on 8x/8x and they're able to max out usage. At worst it's 1 or 2% less bandwidth. On the other hand, a 4x PCIe lane is hurting. My GT240 can only top out around 83% usage even running a stress test (for PhysX).

The PSU should be fine, it has 25A/450W on the main rails which is a good amount.
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July 12, 2010 6:14:37 PM

wolfram23 said:
You should be totally fine. I'm sure you could get at least 3ghz out of that CPU but make sure you get an aftermarket cooler if you do go for an OC. Still, it's alright.

As for the PCIe 8x lane, that's no problem. I'm running crossfire 5850s on 8x/8x and they're able to max out usage. At worst it's 1 or 2% less bandwidth. On the other hand, a 4x PCIe lane is hurting. My GT240 can only top out around 83% usage even running a stress test (for PhysX).

The PSU should be fine, it has 25A/450W on the main rails which is a good amount.


Cool, thanks for the quick response! Now you say its alright without an oc right? well the reason i posted this was becasue i thought i would see a performance boost with the 5770 over the 9800gt, but i have tried it out on Need for speed shift and gta 4, ad it seems as though i cant raise the graphics settings any higher than my 9800gt was.

Also there is a slight stutter every minute or so and lagging every once in a while that wasn't there with the 9800gt. Thats why i wondered if my cpu was bottlenecking the gpu.

Do you think that something is wrong or is the 5770 just not powerful enough? Would i see an fps boost or lose the lagging with an oc? Sorry if i asked any dumb questions, im a noob and don't know much about this :( 
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a c 100 K Overclocking
July 12, 2010 6:23:22 PM

Actually, a 5770 is fairly comparable to a 9800gt, only a bit better. Although it has DX11 so in those games you'll benefit more along with having the quad core (DX11 allows for much better multithreading). The performance or settings you can use really depends on the game. NFS Shift you should probably have pretty high settings. GTA 4 though I haven't played but I hear the PC version just doesn't run all that well.

If you really want to figure it out, the best thing to do is run FurMark benchmarks. I found that my 5850s get CPU limited at 1280x1020 resolution but at 1920x1080 there's no CPU bottleneck.

I would try to OC the 5770 and test. It's just hard to say without trying it. Also, there could potentially be driver conflicts between old Nvidia drivers and the new ATI drivers although it sounds like it's working so I don't think that's an issue. Another thing is that some games are optimized for certain cards. A glaring example is Cryostasis, which runs nice and smooth on NV cards but is super demanding for ATI cards.
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July 12, 2010 6:26:10 PM

when youve only got one HD 5770 your CPU even at stock speed should be more than enough not to limit it, and even with 2x5770 XFire you should be fine, with a slight OC there should be no bottlenecking at all. And even though GTA IV is a pretty CPU heavy game, with a that CPU and a single HD 5770 in 1680x1050 you should get atleast 40+ FPS avarage...
check out this guide about CPU Bottlenecking and GPU limits, right here on Toms Hardware http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/balanced-gaming-pc-...
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July 12, 2010 10:54:56 PM

bastyn99 said:
when youve only got one HD 5770 your CPU even at stock speed should be more than enough not to limit it, and even with 2x5770 XFire you should be fine, with a slight OC there should be no bottlenecking at all. And even though GTA IV is a pretty CPU heavy game, with a that CPU and a single HD 5770 in 1680x1050 you should get atleast 40+ FPS avarage...
check out this guide about CPU Bottlenecking and GPU limits, right here on Toms Hardware http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/balanced-gaming-pc-...


Cool, thanks for the guide. Im gonna try to set the 5770 in ati overdrive to its max, (960/1445 i think) and see what that does. Another thing i was wondering, the power requirements for the 5770 are 450, but after looking it up i see that it only takes 108watts at full load. If i xfire 2 of them and oc my cpu to 2.8, would my 550 watt psu be able to handle it? 108x2 plus 95 for cpu is only about 320. I only have 1 hard drive and 1 dvd drive, not sure how much power ram takes. Also i have 4 fans 2 80mm and 2 120mm. Neweggs watt calculator put me at around 600 something, but that just doesn't seem right to me.
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July 12, 2010 11:28:44 PM

600 watts PSU doesnt sound too much off. I think you would need a pretty damn good 550W PSU to power 2 HD 5770. Min 600W PSU Corsair TX series or Thermaltake Toughpower TX or TR2 RX series, or another quality brand gaming PSU, but id go with 650W or more to be sure and set for the future. besides, the price difference between 600W and 700W are like 10 bucks or something like that.

edit: if youre gonna OC them to the max then deffinetely 650W or more.
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July 13, 2010 1:50:21 PM

Darn I really didn't want to buy a new psu after just getting one. Im past the Newegg return policy already. is it possible that if i crossfire i use the 400watt psu from my previous computer to power the second 5770? And just have the pcie power cord running in thru one of the lower expansion slots?
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July 13, 2010 2:32:47 PM

wolfram23 said:
Actually, a 5770 is fairly comparable to a 9800gt, only a bit better. Although it has DX11 so in those games you'll benefit more along with having the quad core (DX11 allows for much better multithreading). The performance or settings you can use really depends on the game. NFS Shift you should probably have pretty high settings. GTA 4 though I haven't played but I hear the PC version just doesn't run all that well.

If you really want to figure it out, the best thing to do is run FurMark benchmarks. I found that my 5850s get CPU limited at 1280x1020 resolution but at 1920x1080 there's no CPU bottleneck.

I would try to OC the 5770 and test. It's just hard to say without trying it. Also, there could potentially be driver conflicts between old Nvidia drivers and the new ATI drivers although it sounds like it's working so I don't think that's an issue. Another thing is that some games are optimized for certain cards. A glaring example is Cryostasis, which runs nice and smooth on NV cards but is super demanding for ATI cards.


Alright so i ran the FurMark benchmark this morning, only had about 20 min to do it. The first test i ran the 5770 at stock 875/1250 and my score came out to 4107. Dont remember exactly but max fps was 270ish and min was low 40's. Temp wnt up to 56c.

2nd test, oc'd to 920/1350 and score was 3403! :o  max fps was 77 min was 40something. Temps went up to 59c.

3rd test i used my mobo's turbov software oc to set my cpu to 2.8 and kept the 5770 at 920/1350. Score was 3249.fps was about the same as the previous one. temps were in the low 60's.

At that point I thought maybe the performance was being severley crippled by the temp so i ran another test with everything on stock settings and the score was 3244.

I ran the benchmark test at 1680x1050 for 6000ms with no other settings i think.

I dont know what these scores mean, i havent had time lately to look into it, (writing this from my blackberry) but it seems like when oc'ed the performance decreases? And as the test was going i still noticed the lag and the consistent stutter every 2-5 seconds. Is the card defective or is this normal for the 5770?I read a lot of reviews before purchasing it and looked at plenty of benchmarks and i thoughti would be getting much better performance out of it.

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a c 100 K Overclocking
July 13, 2010 3:33:23 PM

It could be that you're pushing the memory too high. GDDR5 is somewhat unique in that it will resend data instead of instantly crashing if it's not going through, which results in lower FPS but it still appears stable. Try the OC with 1300mem speed.

Secondly, what resolution and AA? You should try running 2mins at your screen's native resolution, full screen mode. Without AA it will primarily stress your core, with AA it greatly depends on memory speed. However, the memory is used either way it's just not much of a factor in speed at 0xAA.

I did some benchmarking in that regards, you can check out the post here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/259144-29-antialiasin...
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July 13, 2010 5:24:11 PM

I ran the tests at 1680x1050 which is my native resolution. I also ran it with 0xAA, which is why i expected better results.

I will try what you suggested though and run it full screen and test different memory/core clocks. try to find the settings with the most performance. I might also try different versions of ccc, i read some other posts where the ccc drivers were causing fps drops.
Ill post the results of further testing when i finish. Hopefully i can figure out whats wrong before i order another 5770 for xfire next week. i dont wanna invest almost $400 for 2 cards when i could have bought a better single card.
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July 15, 2010 1:26:45 PM

wolfram23 said:
It could be that you're pushing the memory too high. GDDR5 is somewhat unique in that it will resend data instead of instantly crashing if it's not going through, which results in lower FPS but it still appears stable. Try the OC with 1300mem speed.

Secondly, what resolution and AA? You should try running 2mins at your screen's native resolution, full screen mode. Without AA it will primarily stress your core, with AA it greatly depends on memory speed. However, the memory is used either way it's just not much of a factor in speed at 0xAA.

I did some benchmarking in that regards, you can check out the post here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/259144-29-antialiasin...


Thanks for the suggestion, you were right! I ran the same tests with the memory at 1300 fullscreen @ 1680x1050 MSAAx0. Max fps 77 min 45 score at 6900ish. There was still a slight stutter every few seconds but it was MUCH smoother. As i upped the core clock and left the memory at 1300 mu fps kept going up by 2-3 frames. At MSAAx2 i had a score of 4800ish and min fps 36 max 59 and still smoother than when i had memery at 1350.

Im going to keep trying different settings and maybe keep upping the memory by small amounts till i get the best stable performance.
Thanks for the advice, at least i know it was my fault not a bad card. Cant wait till i get another and crossfire! :D 
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July 15, 2010 1:27:08 PM

Best answer selected by Tacoma08.
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