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GPU not running near full load

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
July 8, 2009 7:09:49 AM

I'll start from the very beginning. I built a PC about a year ago, a Phenom quadcore 2.6ghz w/3gb of ram, ATI 4850x2 (Xfire), and all of the games i have played up to this point have run pretty good. Well, when I tried playing Arma II i noticed i was getting terrible FPS (17-24 even w/low settings). At first I thought it wasn't running in crossfire, which was a common problem for lots of ATI users. Well I am pretty sure I enabled crossfire, using GPU-Z it shows both cards carrying some of the load, the problem is neither card is anywhere near 80%+. I've tested it with other games and the GPU load is never above 60% for either card, so does this mean I'm not even getting 60% out of my xfire setup? What possible fixes are there? I read about the CPU possibly being the bottleneck, but mine shouldn't really be bottlenecking me in games like GTA 4 should it? I believe in GTA my FPS is around 35~ that's with high settings but not completely maxed out. I never really noticed it until now because i've never really had issues running games at very high settings, but Arma II completely kills my CPU. I overclocked by 400mhz and my framerate is a steady 30fps in Arma II whereas it was around 23-24~ (not very stable). I guess all indications point to a CPU bottleneck but it just seems like mine should be fast enough to handle just about any game out now. Any thoughts? Why is my GPU load showing so low? I've seen other peoples' screenshots and theirs shows 99% when it's being used heavily by a game.

More about : gpu running full load

July 8, 2009 7:48:52 AM

What happens in GTA 4 when you are (a) overclocked, (b) stock?

Have you looked at cpu utilization as you look at gpu utilization?

Seems you have the data, formed a conclusion, but you don't like it lol.
July 8, 2009 8:02:23 AM

Twoboxer said:
What happens in GTA 4 when you are (a) overclocked, (b) stock?

Seems you have the data, formed a conclusion, but you don't like it lol.

Well the data doesn't seem to make much sense, not with the processor I have. Especially w/a game like Arma II where I see people w/rigs nowhere near the level of mine, yet they are pulling much higher framerates. I wouldn't think 400mhz would be the difference between a very unstable 24fps and a constant, completely stable 29-30fps. Before OC it would fluctuate between 17-24fps, even lower in cities of Arma II, whereas OC it's a constant 29-30fps, very rarely dropping below 28. I just ran Arma II again and watched the GPU load w/GPU-Z and it never got above 50%, that seems extremely low. I'm no OC'd to nearly 3.1ghz too.

And how do i view my CPU utilization as I play? Do you know of a good program for that? I'm using SpeedFan to view my CPU temp but it only shows CPU usage real time, so i have to alt tab to view it as the game runs.
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July 8, 2009 8:15:37 AM

royalcrown said:
Yes, unfortunately, original phenoms were not much fasterthan Athlon x2 64's, they are just too weak, see if your board will take a newer amd tri or quad core.,1...

I have a AMD Phenom 9950, I don't think that was one of the original Phenoms they released. It does appear to be some sort of CPU bottleneck issue, thus the increase in performance w/OCing. I also think it has something to do w/Arma II in general, I've read in various places that the game runs like garbage on Vista compared to XP (30% increase over Vista). Unfortunately that's the flavor of the month for gaming for me. It still seems like my GPU load is extremely low though. Under 50% virtually all the time? You'd think my processor would have to be much slower to limit it that much...
July 8, 2009 8:24:02 AM

Play in a full screen window and watch Task Manager. Even full-screen with an Alt-Tab will give you a peek at the recent past, on the graphs.

There may be something wrong with your setup. But the only *data* you have to support that you are not cpu bound is your assumption that you shouldn't be.
July 8, 2009 8:26:59 AM

Maybe it's horribly programed or prefers clockspeed over cores... try emailing their cust support and see if they can tell you.

Plus 2 4850's aren't slow by any means, I dunno...good luck on this one.
July 8, 2009 12:22:49 PM

The 9950 is an original phenom, try to OC it as much as possible or get a phenom II
July 8, 2009 4:30:04 PM

After reading that article, it doesn't appear there's really a good option for me at this point, aside from OCing the hell out of my processor, which I really don't want to do. The Phenom II yielded 15% increased performance over the Phenom I in some cases, that really doesnt' justify me spending $180 on a new processor (which my mobo can handle). Thanks for the help anyways guys, I really wish I had gone with an Intel processor in hindsight. AMD is really starting to fall behind in the CPU race it seems...
July 8, 2009 6:49:38 PM

Don't worry man, I bought a new 5400 + which did not even push my 8800 gts. Got myself this e8500...don't really enjoy my games more now as they still played ok before :) . Don't kick yourself just enjoy your games and your rig now, it's a never ending cycle of being jealous if you keep wishing for the best.