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8800gt SLI Low 3dmark06 score, poor performance

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January 26, 2010 2:04:26 PM

I've been searching around for a clear answer to this, and I've found a ton of discussions dedicated to this topic but none that seemed to exactly fit with what I'm experiencing. Sorry in advance if this is a topic that's been discussed to death.

I recently bought a new monitor to game at 1920x1200, and as such also bought a second 8800gt off ebay to run in SLI. Both of my cards run fine independently of one another, and the cards are recognized by the nVidia control panel, CPUz and Windows. However, I haven't experienced much (if any?) of a performance boost. I've tested both cards independently and in SLI with 3dmark06, and in each scenario my score hovers around 11.5k, give or take a few hundred points. I've also been trying to play Crysis, and it doesn't seem like I'm gaining any FPS between SLI being turned on or off, or when compared to when I play with only one 8800gt.

I'm wondering if I'm missing something, if this is normal? While I've read that some people have been able to achieve 16k+ with an 8800gt sli setup, the rest of my rig is probably keeping me from achieving similar results. However, I was expecting to hit around 13k at the very least, but as it stands I'm not even breaking 12k.

Not sure what I'm looking for here...but does this seem strange to anyone? Is there any reason (software of hardware wise) that my SLI performance is so mediocre?

IN9 32X-MAX 680i
e4300 Core 2 Duo 1.8GHz OC'd to 3.01
A-DATA 2x2GB DDR2 800
Zotac 8800GT 512MB 700MHz
BFG 8800GT OCX 512MB 700MHz
Cooler Master Real Power Pro 750W
a c 271 U Graphics card
January 26, 2010 5:05:46 PM

It's your CPU, it's not that far off but a CPU with more cache and a faster FSB would give better results.
a b U Graphics card
January 26, 2010 5:23:37 PM

Yea but he should still be gettin over 15k with dual 8800's in SLI @ 3Ghz.

Dual 8800 Gt's are the equivalent of a single GTX 280. I think he has v-sync enabled and needs to change the settings to performance.

I get 12.5k @ 3.1Ghz with a single GTX 260, so it is either a scalling issue or he just needs to set the values correctly in the Nvidia control panel....


Related resources
a b U Graphics card
January 26, 2010 5:32:40 PM

I get over 18K with 3 9800 GTs, E8400 @ 4 Ghz.

I don't understand how you have so little gain between on/off SLI. You're SM marks should at least be almost doubling. Don't want to insult you but I almost want to ask if you have the SLI bridge installed.
January 26, 2010 5:52:30 PM

Haha, wow. Yeah, the SLI bridge is installed. Honestly I don't understand this either. I've been messing with my CPU today and increased it to 3.2, but I'm still not breaking 12k. What settings/values should I be messing with in the Nvidia control panel?

Also, I'm wondering if it could be my motherboard? I'm having another issue where I get stuck on a c1 error loop and I can't get the bios to post. I've discovered that the problem is related to having a card installed on the second PCIE slot. However, once I boot into windows I no longer encounter any problems and both cards are detected as per usual.
a c 271 U Graphics card
January 26, 2010 6:01:09 PM

I have the same mobo with an E8400 and can hit 17k with my 8800GT's, and I've not had that c1 error either.
a b U Graphics card
January 26, 2010 6:31:32 PM

Mousemonkey said:
I have the same mobo with an E8400 and can hit 17k with my 8800GT's, and I've not had that c1 error either.


Correction, your system can hit 18k.... A few months back you posted a screenie of 06 and your score was actually over 18k ;) 


a c 271 U Graphics card
January 26, 2010 6:34:30 PM

OvrClkr said:
Correction, your system can hit 18k.... A few months back you posted a screenie of 06 and your score was actually over 18k ;) 

I thought so too but I couldn't find the screenshot or the post so I thought I better be conservative. :whistle: 
January 26, 2010 6:41:41 PM

So both cards work independently, and it's pretty much been confirmed that I should be seeing way better results than this. My question then is, is there some sort of software issue that could skew my system's performance, or is this more likely a hardware issue with my mobo? I'm personally thinking it's the motherboard, what with the other C1 error I've been having at startup.

If it is the mobo, how much would it cost to replace with an equivalent and would it be worth it? With the i7s out I'm image the price of 775 mobos have gone down considerably...I'd consider contacting abit, but didn't they go under?
a c 271 U Graphics card
January 26, 2010 6:44:22 PM

Abit are no more so forget that idea, what slots are you using?, all three or just the two?
January 26, 2010 6:52:45 PM

You should be getting about 17k in 06 and 12k-ish in Vantage.
a c 271 U Graphics card
January 26, 2010 6:56:11 PM

SV_Bubbles said:
You should be getting about 17k in 06 and 12k-ish in Vantage.

With an E8400 @ 3.93 yes, with an E4300 no, not a chance, no matter how far OC the snot out of it.
January 26, 2010 6:57:06 PM

Just the two. I just tried running 3dmark again with AA, AF and Vsync all forcibly off in the nvidia settings...same result. My score was 11883 =/
a b U Graphics card
January 26, 2010 7:10:56 PM

Mousemonkey said:
I thought so too but I couldn't find the screenshot or the post so I thought I better be conservative. :whistle: 


still looking for it... I know it is in the "3dmark 06 scores amazing!!!" thread... once I find it I will post the link ;) 
a b U Graphics card
January 26, 2010 7:12:20 PM

grandpamasaki said:
Just the two. I just tried running 3dmark again with AA, AF and Vsync all forcibly off in the nvidia settings...same result. My score was 11883 =/


What drivers are you using? And did you wipe out any leftoever old driver files the last time you re-installed?
January 26, 2010 7:21:25 PM

Yeah, I actually just did a fresh install of Windows 7 Pro this week. I'm using the latest nvidia drivers...196.21, I believe. I've tried uninstalling/reinstalling the drivers several times now.
a b U Graphics card
January 26, 2010 7:26:01 PM

Are you running the 3DMark06 benchmark under default settings or 2500 X 1600?

Could be the 2 different models of your videocard abd they can't sync to each other.

Use GPU-Z to link them.

a c 271 U Graphics card
January 26, 2010 7:27:22 PM

grandpamasaki said:
Just the two. I just tried running 3dmark again with AA, AF and Vsync all forcibly off in the nvidia settings...same result. My score was 11883 =/


The same mobo with an E8400 @3ghz and a pair 8800GT's @600/1500 scores 13607 with 3D '06's default settings, it's your CPU mate. An E4300 @ 3.2 is not the same as an E8400 @ 3.0ghz hence the price difference, sorry.
January 26, 2010 7:33:11 PM

Something worth checking, at least with some older mobo's, you actually had to go into BIOS and turn on an option to support SLI. It sounds very much like your system is simply recognizing that you have 2 video cards but is unable to utilize the SLI feature. If you haven't looked yet, look in the BIOS first.

Also, definitely make sure you have newer drivers, i can't remember when/if Nvidia started supporting it but it used to be that with SLI running only one of the 2 monitors would work if you have a dual monitor setup (I think newer drivers now support it using both monitors normally).
a c 271 U Graphics card
January 26, 2010 7:34:45 PM

hardwaretechy said:
Something worth checking, at least with some older mobo's, you actually had to go into BIOS and turn on an option to support SLI. It sounds very much like your system is simply recognizing that you have 2 video cards but is unable to utilize the SLI feature. If you haven't looked yet, look in the BIOS first.

That is not the case with the IN9-32MAX.
January 26, 2010 7:36:12 PM

I'm running it under default settings (it's the basic version so I don't think I can change it). I tried downloading GPU-Z...it reads both cards and tells me that SLI is enabled..when you said to link them, is there something I need to do within the program?

Also, I realize that my CPU is limiting the performance of my cards. What I'm not understanding is how my scores with and without SLI are almost identical. With one card I can hit around 11.5k, and I can't say I've really noticed a difference with both 8800gt's in SLI.
a c 271 U Graphics card
January 26, 2010 7:38:20 PM

grandpamasaki said:
I'm running it under default settings (it's the basic version so I don't think I can change it). I tried downloading GPU-Z...it reads both cards and tells me that SLI is enabled..when you said to link them, is there something I need to do within the program?

Also, I realize that my CPU is limiting the performance of my cards. What I'm not understanding is how my scores with and without SLI are almost identical. With one card I can hit around 11.5k, and I can't say I've really noticed a difference with both 8800gt's in SLI.

Have you enabled the SLi indicators so that you can 'see' that SLi is working?
January 26, 2010 7:44:14 PM

Mousemonkey said:
Have you enabled the SLi indicators so that you can 'see' that SLi is working?


Are you talking about within the nvidia control panel or within GPU-Z? Regardless, both are telling me that SLI is enabled, and GPU-Z tells me that 2 GPUs are being used.
a b U Graphics card
January 26, 2010 7:45:06 PM

grandpamasaki said:
I'm running it under default settings (it's the basic version so I don't think I can change it). I tried downloading GPU-Z...it reads both cards and tells me that SLI is enabled..when you said to link them, is there something I need to do within the program?

Also, I realize that my CPU is limiting the performance of my cards. What I'm not understanding is how my scores with and without SLI are almost identical. With one card I can hit around 11.5k, and I can't say I've really noticed a difference with both 8800gt's in SLI.



Sorry. I meant EVGA Precision not GPU-Z. There is link button so you are sure to know they are running at the same speed.
January 26, 2010 7:52:27 PM

hundredislandsboy said:
Sorry. I meant EVGA Precision not GPU-Z. There is link button so you are sure to know they are running at the same speed.


Just d/led it. When I booted it up the Sync button was already enabled. Unfortunately it's getting late so I won't get a chance to run any more tests tonight to see if that did anything. Still, the fact that it was already enabled doesn't make me very hopeful.
a c 271 U Graphics card
January 26, 2010 7:53:29 PM

grandpamasaki said:
Are you talking about within the nvidia control panel or within GPU-Z? Regardless, both are telling me that SLI is enabled, and GPU-Z tells me that 2 GPUs are being used.

In the Nv control panel.
January 26, 2010 7:56:36 PM

Yeah, SLI is enabled in the nvidia control panel. Thanks for the replies everyone, but I'm starting to feel like this is hopeless =/
a c 271 U Graphics card
January 26, 2010 8:00:27 PM

grandpamasaki said:
Yeah, SLI is enabled in the nvidia control panel. Thanks for the replies everyone, but I'm starting to feel like this is hopeless =/

If you check the indicator box and then run 3D'06 you should get some green bars on the left side of the screen indicating SLi is working, if that's the case then I would suggest replacing your CPU with a stronger 45nm Dual as these mobo's don't play nice with 45nm Quads.
January 27, 2010 12:50:04 AM

Mousemonkey said:
With an E8400 @ 3.93 yes, with an E4300 no, not a chance, no matter how far OC the snot out of it.


Ah, too quick to draw.

With an E6600 at stock and an overclocked (1) 88GT I can pull 12,500 off (default 3dm06 and driver settings ofcourse).
a b U Graphics card
January 27, 2010 1:32:35 AM

SV_Bubbles said:
Ah, too quick to draw.

With an E6600 at stock and an overclocked (1) 88GT I can pull 12,500 off (default 3dm06 and driver settings ofcourse).


12.5k at 2.4Ghz using a single 8800GT??? :non: 

Impossible......

15k using "XP" , 3.65Ghz dual core / GTX 260 overclocked 655/1220

http://i683.photobucket.com/albums/vv199/OvrClkr/killer...





January 27, 2010 5:33:06 AM

So I just ran 3dmark again and got the same score of 11.8k. SLI is detected by the nvidia control panel, GPU-Z and EVGA Precision. I didn't notice the green bars in the SLI control panel that mousemonkey was talking about, but I wasn't quite sure what I was looking for.

If anybody else has any ideas I'd appreciate it. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do...either sell the second 8800gt (because it's not making any difference) or buy a new motherboard. The C1 error loop has me concerned that it's a problem with my board, as the error seems to be related to how well the card is seated in the second PCIE slot. If I lightly press down on the card when it gets stuck in the error loop my system immediately gets past it. If the card is preventing my bios from posting, who's to say it's functioning properly in SLI, even if it's detected?

If anyone has any recommendations for a replacement board I'd be glad to hear them. Unfortunately I don't have the money to upgrade my entire system and change the CPU socket, so it would have to be LGA775 and DDR2 compatible.
January 27, 2010 12:05:31 PM

So I took the second card out today because I'm planning to sell it on ebay. I ran a final test of 3dmark just for the fun of it and scored over 12k. So, with SLI enabled and 2 cards my score is actually LOWER than with a single card. With a single 8800gt and my cpu OC'd to 3.24 I managed 12.3k on 3dmark, and the highest I ever hit with SLI was 11.8k.

Not sure what this confirms...that my e4300 at 3.2 is such a bottleneck that I see a performance decrease in SLI, or that simply there's a problem with my motherboard. Any ideas?
a b U Graphics card
January 27, 2010 1:55:44 PM

grandpamasaki said:
So I took the second card out today because I'm planning to sell it on ebay. I ran a final test of 3dmark just for the fun of it and scored over 12k. So, with SLI enabled and 2 cards my score is actually LOWER than with a single card. With a single 8800gt and my cpu OC'd to 3.24 I managed 12.3k on 3dmark, and the highest I ever hit with SLI was 11.8k.

Not sure what this confirms...that my e4300 at 3.2 is such a bottleneck that I see a performance decrease in SLI, or that simply there's a problem with my motherboard. Any ideas?


I visited a few Abit forums and reviews, the only thing that I found as far as SLI issues with your board is the fact that you need to make sure you have the latest bios installed because the stock bios will not run SLI properly. Here are a few reviews, some are having the same issue that you have :

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N...


a b U Graphics card
January 27, 2010 3:01:01 PM

You have three videocard slots?

The cards should be in the first two or upper two.
a c 271 U Graphics card
January 27, 2010 3:05:07 PM

hundredislandsboy said:
You have three videocard slots?

The cards should be in the first two or upper two.

Actually it's slots one and three as you look at the board, not the upper two.
a b U Graphics card
January 27, 2010 3:51:10 PM

2065677,35,107918 said:
Actually it's slots one and three as you look at the board, not the upper two.[/quotemsg

So the videocards should be in the first and last slot and the middle should be empty?
a c 271 U Graphics card
January 27, 2010 3:53:23 PM

hundredislandsboy said:
2065677,35,107918 said:
Actually it's slots one and three as you look at the board, not the upper two.[/quotemsg

So the videocards should be in the first and last slot and the middle should be empty?
said:

Correct, for this particular motherboard at least.
January 27, 2010 5:15:05 PM

I really do appreciate all the help guys. I thought this might be a BIOS issue and recently updated to (what I believe to be) the latest revision (1.5).

Not to hammer this into the ground, but can anyone confirm that a decrease in performance (or at least 3dmark06 score) is normal/abnormal when going from a single 8800gt to sli with an e4300 at 3.2? I've been scouring the internet for someone with a similar situation, or at least someone with an sli setup and an e4300, and so far I haven't turned up anything. I've found examples of individuals with single core setups, but nothing to do with an e4300 =/

If it really is the CPU then I'll sell the 8800gt and save up to do a full upgrade at a later date. However, if my mobo is the culprit, I'll consider throwing down for a new 775 board. I don't see myself making the jump to i5 or i7 anytime within the next 2 years (I can't imagine I'll need it for gaming anyway).
a c 216 U Graphics card
January 27, 2010 5:18:21 PM

It is quite possible, in the presense of a CPU bottleneck, to lose performance when you go into SLI. This is because there are drivers and extra overhead to run SLI that isn't present when with one card. This gives you even more of a bottleneck, and lowers the score.

However, I do not have the experience or knowledge to know if your CPU is that big of a bottleneck, but it seems unlikely to be that big of a bottleneck.
a c 271 U Graphics card
January 27, 2010 5:19:54 PM

grandpamasaki said:
I really do appreciate all the help guys. I thought this might be a BIOS issue and recently updated to (what I believe to be) the latest revision (1.5).

Not to hammer this into the ground, but can anyone confirm that a decrease in performance (or at least 3dmark06 score) is normal/abnormal when going from a single 8800gt to sli with an e4300 at 3.2? I've been scouring the internet for someone with a similar situation, or at least someone with an sli setup and an e4300, and so far I haven't turned up anything. I've found examples of individuals with single core setups, but nothing to do with an e4300 =/

If it really is the CPU then I'll sell the 8800gt and save up to do a full upgrade at a later date. However, if my mobo is the culprit, I'll consider throwing down for a new 775 board. I don't see myself making the jump to i5 or i7 anytime within the next 2 years (I can't imagine I'll need it for gaming anyway).

If you enable the Sli indicators then you would know whether it was actually working or not, and no your score should not decrease by using two cards it should increase.
a b U Graphics card
January 27, 2010 5:52:06 PM

if both cards are working fine you it is either the CPU or the board. Have you thought about upgrading both the board and CPU? You can get both for less than 200.00$
January 27, 2010 6:58:11 PM

OvrClkr said:
if both cards are working fine you it is either the CPU or the board. Have you thought about upgrading both the board and CPU? You can get both for less than 200.00$


I've thought about it, but there are a lot of factors limiting such an investment. For one, I'm living in France now, so prices are high. On top of that, I'm unemployed for the moment (fail). Also, I just recently bought a new monitor (Asus vw266h...this thing is sweet). Adding on an extra card for SLI (got it used on ebay) was my strategy to get a little more life out of my system and be able to perform comfortably at 1920x1200 without throwing down too much money.

If I knew for sure that my results were abnormal, I'd be able to invest in a replacement board with confidence. From what I've read the 680i chipset is buggy as hell, and plenty of people have had problems with my particular board. Hell, just getting the ethernet controller to work in windows 7 was an adventure, so it's not impossible that this issue is being caused by the mobo. Like I said before, just putting a card into the second slot causes a C1 loop error that prevents the BIOS from posting, and it seems to be caused by the GPU being improperly seated in the PCIE slot. Down the line I'll always be able to upgrade to a better 775 cpu when I have a little bit more cash. I know I won't be making the jump to i5 or i7 anytime soon just because the prices are way too high and there's nothing I'm not going to be able to run off of either a nicer C2D or quad in the foreseeable future.

The problem seems to be that there is a disagreement over how much my CPU is a bottleneck to an SLI setup. Looking around online it seems plausible that my cpu is the cause of the problem, and if that's the case I'd rather sell my 2nd card and wait to do a full upgrade later.
January 27, 2010 7:00:39 PM

hundredislandsboy said:
Last thing, the SLI bridge - what brand is it?

And on BFG's website, it says it must be paied with an identical GPU. Does that mean same brand and model?

http://www.bfgtech.com/bfgr88512gtocxfe.aspx


The SLI bridge is the one that came with my mobo...so Abit, I'm assuming. When it says an identical GPU, surely it means another 8800gt and not one of the same brand. If anything I would think my Zotac is a good fit because they have the same stock clock speed.
a c 271 U Graphics card
January 27, 2010 7:14:09 PM

hundredislandsboy said:
And on BFG's website, it says it must be paied with an identical GPU. Does that mean same brand and model?

http://www.bfgtech.com/bfgr88512gtocxfe.aspx

I've used different brands together in Sli before so that is unlikely to be the problem.

grandpamasaki said:
Adding on an extra card for SLI (got it used on ebay) was my strategy to get a little more life out of my system and be able to perform comfortably at 1920x1200 without throwing down too much money.


Now that is more likely to be the problem, my IN9 - 32MAX has been running for about three years now without a glitch so I don't buy into all the bunkem & FUD surrounding the 680i chipset, sorry.
January 27, 2010 7:22:50 PM

Mousemonkey said:
I've used different brands together in Sli before so that is unlikely to be the problem.



Now that is more likely to be the problem, my IN9 - 32MAX has been running for about three years now without a glitch so I don't buy into all the bunkem & FUD surrounding the 680i chipset, sorry.


Well, the card runs fine (I'm using it as my main card right now) and I buy into the stories surrounding the 680i chipset, or at least surrounding this board, simply because I've had bad experiences with it. For one, when I first bought the mobo I ended up RMAing it 3 times before receiving one that worked, and in addition I've seen many complaining about compatibility issues due to the BIOS. The C1 error I'm experiencing confirms (at least for me) that the board has issues, and I should note that I receive the error regardless of which card is in the second PCIE slot.

Still, I suppose it could be some sort of problem with the card. Would there be any way for me to check for problems outside of running it in SLI? Like I said, it runs fine on its own, and in the weeks that I've been using it I've never experienced any kind of problem.
a b U Graphics card
January 27, 2010 7:51:58 PM

LGA 775 boards are dirt cheap now at days. You should be able to at least get a 780i/790i around 80.00$ US , not sure how much that is in your currency....
January 28, 2010 12:55:48 PM

So I was too stupid to figure this out before, but I just learned out how to enable the SLI visual indicator. Turns out that nothing is coming up...not in games or during the 3dmark test, which I'm assuming means that, while windows manages to detect the cards and SLI is being listed as enabled, SLI is not functioning during gaming.

At the very least this means that the CPU isn't the problem. However, as mousemonkey pointed out, I did buy the second card off of ebay, so it could potentially have something to do with the card. I personally think it's a problem with the motherboard, but that's only because I'm experiencing a second problem related to my second PCIE slot.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank everyone for helping me out. I'll probably hold on to both 8800gt's for now and see if I can't test them in SLI on another mobo.
a c 216 U Graphics card
January 28, 2010 2:16:55 PM

I thought I'd give you my experience which was sounds almost the same as your problem.

I decided to take out my physX card to conserve power as I'm not using physX at the moment. After putting my crossfire cards back in, I immediately noticed poorer performance in games than I was used to. I ran 3dmark Vantage, and noticed my score was about the same as I got with a single card.

I opened up CCC, and saw the CrossfireX tab was there, and decided to turn off Crossfire, and the tab disappeared as if I had no Crossfire setup.

Long story short, I eventually opened up GPU-Z, saw one of my cards was reading 5870 x16 2.0 @ x1 2.0.

Clearly one of my cards was not seated well. So I opened the machine up, took out the card not having troubles, reseated the card having trouble and booted to windows only to find it now read @ x4 2.0. I shutdown, reseated the card again, and viola, the card was performing at x16 2.0.

Now I shutdown, installed the other and attached my crossfire bridges and booted. Now my performance is back to normal.

Long story short. Download GPU-Z and make sure both cards are running at @ x16 2.0 and if not, reseat the cards until they do.
a b U Graphics card
January 28, 2010 3:25:42 PM

Troble shooting this issue is fairly easy, you first test the first card, then the second card, then you test both cards using the second slot, if they both perform the same w/o any issues then it's the board....
!