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8600GT underperforming on Memtest??

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 5, 2009 6:38:46 PM

Hi,
Am trying to optimise FSX on my new PC (Intel 8400 3.0GHz, 2GB RAM, 8600GT 512MB). Another forum suggested using Memtest.

When I run FSX and start to dial up the settings, the card usage starts to climb, but only as far as about 260-290MB before the frame rate starts dropping and I get stutters. I expected it to climb to around 500MB before this happened...?

Is there a reason I don't seem to be making full use of the 512MB? Out of curiosity, I cranked the settings right up and it still only peaked at 390MB on Memtest, but the playability had long gone.

Any ideas? Thanks!
May 5, 2009 9:56:24 PM

Yea, the 8600GT is crap, and as such, should never be paired with more than 256MB of RAM. As your testing shows, the GPU can only keep up with roughly 275MB of RAM.
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May 6, 2009 10:05:10 PM

Thanks, that kinda explains it. Wish I'd been told that when I ordered it!

What's the limiting factor when looking for an upgrade card? I'm running an E8400 on a Gigabyte motherboard... presumably there comes a point at which the processor can't keep up with the graphics card??

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May 6, 2009 10:21:28 PM

I just want to know who said an 8600gt would be a good companion for the 8400 in the first place
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May 6, 2009 10:45:32 PM

rooby007 said:
Thanks, that kinda explains it. Wish I'd been told that when I ordered it!

What's the limiting factor when looking for an upgrade card? I'm running an E8400 on a Gigabyte motherboard... presumably there comes a point at which the processor can't keep up with the graphics card??


An E8400 won't bottleneck your card until you get up way into GTX285, and even then running it at 3.6-4/0 Ghz would take care of that. CPU bottlenecks aren't very common until you get into SLI/CFX and have a low end CPU (below say an E8400/Q6600) and even then it'
s not a big deal.

What you need is a card with a 256bit/384bit/448/512 bit interface that can handle the 512 memory or more. I won't suggest cards because I'm not all up to date, but for the 100$ range I've heard the 4770 is they way to go, so look at that for a not over expensive option that performs.
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May 7, 2009 2:04:05 AM

Yea, with an E8400, the sky is pretty much the limit as long as you dont go multi-GPU. If you do decide to upgrade, let us know how much your looking to spend and we can recommend the best cards in the price range.
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May 7, 2009 5:00:57 PM

Thanks for the feedback guys... all good stuff.

To be fair to the place I bought the PC, I had said I was going to use it mainly for Photoshop and *possibly* a bit of flight simming. My main concern was to get a really good CPU and I think it's fair to say I didn't do my research when it came to the card and got blinded by the 512MB headline.

I've now made the 'mistake' :o ) of going out and buying FSX and gotten really into it!!! I realise there are few machines around (if any) that can run it smoothly with everything turned up, but I'd like to get more from it than I am currently managing.

I guess I would pay around £80-100 ($120-150) maybe a bit more... the shop said if I was going to head up to 9800GT+ levels then I may need a new power supply but I have no idea about that sort of thing. I've no idea what it's currently running, but I can open it up and take a look.

My RAM is DDR2/800MHz - is that something that also needs to be matched to any graphics card upgrade? I notice a lot of the high-end cards have DDR3 memory - will that be an issue for me or is it ok because it's separate GPU memory?

And finally, is it worth going beyond 2GB total RAM, I hear XP only supports a max of 3.25GB?
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May 7, 2009 5:25:06 PM

Hmmm i can't recommend ram for fsx but just in case you don't know your system ram and gpu ram add up together....i run 5gbs of ram in my main system if you count my gpu so i have to run a 64 bit os....my other system has 2gbs of ram and a 512 card so it works fine in 32bit at this point...until i upgrade to 4gbs....

just take a picture of the sticker on the side of your power supply and we will let you know what would be your best buck/performance

Im thinking 250 gts if possible..less power draw than a 9800gtx+ but the same if not better performance and heat control
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a c 190 U Graphics card
May 7, 2009 5:54:53 PM

@ rooby007: You are right about the RAM, GPU and system RAM are seperate.
A 32 bit OS can use 4Gb of memory address space in total and Windows gives that space to the add on cards and components first, allocating what is left to system RAM.
An extra 2Gb will help with the photoshop, particularly if you are editing several large images or multitasking with other programs and it is now stupidly cheap.
Barring one off specials the best within your budget would be the HD4770 which should run off your existing PSU (it only draws another 30Watts over the 8600).
Check: Scan, Overclockers, Ebuyer, Misco and CCL to start.
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May 19, 2009 3:16:08 PM

Hi there,

Sorry it took so long to get back to you... I took a look at the PSU - although not sure how to attach a pic so here are the specs:

AC Input: 230/115V 10/5A 50-60Hz
DC Output: 400W +3.3V/18A +5V/25A +12V/17A -5V/0.5A -12V/0.8A +5VSB/2A

(I'm a bit confused, because the model number - 'ATX-300C' - suggests it's only 300W!?!)

Would be great to get some recommendations for a good card that will crunch through FSX for me.

Just to recap, I'm running a stock E8400 (3.0GHz) on a Gigabyte board (which supports the full 1333MHz FSB). I have a PCIe16 card slot, 2GB RAM, Windows XP 32bit, and want to trade in my current GeForce 8600GT.

What do you guys recomend, that will hopefully still run with my existing PSU? If that is a limiting factor, what would you recommend and what PSU would I need to run it?

I don't really have any other loads on the PC as all my peripherals are externally powered, so I just have a keyboard and mouse I suppose!

Also, is my lack of PCIe2.0 a big issue? Would you recommend going for a 512MB or 1GB card.

Thanks for your help!!
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May 19, 2009 11:02:09 PM

Yea, that PSU is pretty shaky. You might get away with a HD4830 or 4770, but Im not positive there.

EDIT: Also, PCIe 2.0 isnt a big deal unless your going multi-GPU. Generaly speaking, in the price range your looking at, you should stick to 512MB cards. Its hard to paint them all with one brush tho, again it will depend on what GPU you decide on.
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a b U Graphics card
May 20, 2009 1:04:51 AM

That's definitely a bit on the flaky side. Looking at the 3.3 and 5v numbers, it appears to be an older design, with a somewhat anemic 12V rail for a 400W unit. I'd say that my recommendation for a good combo would be an HD4850 and a Corsair VX550W. If you don't want to go with a new PSU, and HD4670 would be a good choice, as it takes very little power but would still destroy that 8600GT performance wise.

It is somewhat unfortunate you don't have a quad core though. FSX is somewhat CPU limited in many cases, and it is one of the few games that truly takes advantage of as many cores as you can give it.
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May 20, 2009 6:12:35 PM

Thanks guys...

Are PSUs generally a 'straight swap'? i.e. any special tools / soldering / 're-wiring' or just unplug and replug? And I'm guessing 550W is more than I need - it's just better to have too much than not enough? If I go with my current PSU and it isn't up to it, do I risk damaging anything or does the machine just 'trip out'?

Any nVidia suggestions? Someone on here suggested a GTS 250 as being a low power draw / high performance compromise. Their website shows it as being lower power draw than the 8600GT...

I'd read the opposite regarding multi-core... that FSX was one of the last not to be optimised for multi-core. I heard there were some threading tweaks in the last service pack but nothing by current standards...

Anyway, thanks a lot for the advice, really helpful!!
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May 25, 2009 8:05:58 AM

Hi,

Are PSUs generally a 'straight swap'? i.e. any special tools / soldering / 're-wiring' or just unplug and replug? And I'm guessing 550W is more than I need - it's just better to have too much than not enough? If I go with my current PSU and it isn't up to it, do I risk damaging anything or does the machine just 'trip out'?

Any nVidia suggestions? Someone on here suggested a GTS 250 as being a low power draw / high performance compromise. Their website shows it as being lower power draw than the 8600GT...

I'd read the opposite regarding multi-core... that FSX was one of the last not to be optimised for multi-core. I heard there were some threading tweaks in the last service pack but nothing by current standards...

Anyway, thanks a lot for the advice, really helpful!!
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!