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Low FPS in decent (4870 1GB) system! High stress levels!!!

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 28, 2010 5:00:16 PM

Hello. I've been tearing my hair out over a problem with my computer for over a month now. I've been having the problem with my 'XFX Radeon HD 4870 1GB'. I have been getting ridiculously low frame rates in all source games, World of Warcraft, Mass Effect, Borderlands and many others. Team Fortress 2 goes below 20fps when things get moderately busy. I have tried running games with lower settings but for some reason keep getting the same frame rate. I went from highest settings in TF2 to the very lowest settings and the frame rate was staying exactly the same. After getting too stressed, I sent the card back to the reseller (CCL Online) and they sent it back after testing, reporting that no problems were found. This created even more stress. I then figured, after reading some forums that my PSU was the problem. It was a 650w power supply unit that cost me £35. It wasn't a dedicated gaming PSU so I went out and bought a High Power 500w PSU for £65. Turns out the problem stays. So I have wasted £65 on a new PSU when there was nothing wrong with the one I had before.
The graphics card, along with the LATEST drivers were installed on a freshly formatted drive, with a freshly installed copy of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. I even tried dual-booting Windows XP leading to the same disappointment. I am at my wits end with this problem! Please, if anybody can give me any advice or help towards fixing my problem, I would be eternally grateful. I am almost sure that I've tried everything I can to fix my problems. I used to have an nVidia 8800 GTS 512mb in my system that ran better than this, on 2GB of RAM and Windows Vista!!!
Here is my system spec:
500w High Power Plus PSU (was a 650w Sweex PSU)
ASRock Motherboard, Model Number: K10N78FullHD-hSLI R3.0.
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 @ stock clock of 2.7ghz.
4GB DDR2 800mhz RAM.
GPU: XFX Radeon HD 4870 1GB.
Thanks for reading!
January 28, 2010 5:33:40 PM

Have you tried updating your motherboard BIOS? just a thought. A 4870 would be considered newer hardware compared to your mobo.
January 28, 2010 5:36:05 PM

could it be a cpu bottleneck?
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January 28, 2010 5:40:26 PM

i would have thought that my CPU would easily handle team fortress 2 and world of warcraft without hiccuping. also, i'm a bit wary of upgrading my bios. what benefit would this have? thanks for the help so far guys. is there any other information you need? also my bios version is P1.70
January 28, 2010 5:46:36 PM

i contemplated the bios upgrade, but i'm just worried about the risks. because my 8800gts outperformed, i'm sure it's not a CPU problem... but i may be mistaken
January 28, 2010 5:47:31 PM

I'd suspect the CPU also. For FPS to stay the same going from high to low settings pretty much tells you it isn't the GPU.
Have you added any background tasks that weren't there when you had your 8800GTS? Did you clean out all the old drivers before installing the new card (sounds like you did, if you installed only the new card's drivers on a freshly formated drive) ?
January 28, 2010 5:52:49 PM

the driver disc told me to get the latest drivers from the website, and as it was a fresh install, there were no drivers to clean out :)  i don't understand why i got higher fps though with an older graphics card :/  i don't understand, my pc greatly excels the recommended requirements for Team Fortress 2 or World of Warcraft... ever since buying a new PSU today which has had no effect on the system performance whatsoever, i'm a little disheartened about buying new parts in case the problem will remain. i'll try upgrading bios
January 28, 2010 5:53:58 PM

madstanners said:
The graphics card, along with the LATEST drivers
were installed on a freshly formatted drive, with a freshly installed copy of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit.

He is on a fresh install. And ATI cards tend to run better on older hardward than nvidia cards do. His CPU would have bottlenecked the 8800GTS as well.

You can also make sure your video card is not sticking in 2D mode. You will need a tool that can monitor the GPU speed while you are in a game. MSI Afterburner has some nice graphs that will show this. It basically uses Rivatuner for that. Try it out, or anything else that will show or record the 3D clocks. http://event.msi.com/vga/afterburner/download.htm

You can also download GPU-Z to make sure the clocks on the card are correct: http://www.techpowerup.com/gpuz/

I am wondering also if you don't have a bum card that maybe the 3D clocks are not set or something like that.
January 28, 2010 5:59:01 PM

Hit start.... type msconfig in the run box. Check what's running under start up and under services. Deselect things you don't need running under both. You can filter Microsoft stuff by putting a check in the box at the bottom.
Run a cookie scan or malware scan. Mcafee has free online scan that catches stuff.....
Don't touch your bios. Nothing wrong with it. Lots of these guys are "bios" happy or "reformat" happy.
ATI/AMD has a new driver out. 10.1.... It says somewhere that it fixes "some' problems but I don't know what they are.
Also look in your control panel/add rmove for any old nvidia graphics stuff you missed..... Don't uninstall nvidia mother board drivers.
January 28, 2010 6:01:21 PM

i use rivatuner to monitor my card. when i was running TF2, the gpu usage was capping at 25%. i quit playing just after a really sticky bit when things were getting rough, and frames were getting dropped and saw that my gpu usage was capping. basically hitting 25% and sticking there rather than using all my gpu. the company that i bought my card from tested it and said there was no problem with it. i'm going to ring them up tomorrow inquiring about the extent of testing that took place. some games cap at 40%, 60% and 65%. mass effect was almost unplayable the other day, peaking at about 30fps. i don't like the idea of upgrading cpu until i know that it is the only solution. while we're on the subject of CPUs, i've seen an AM2+ Phenom II X4 that is supported by my motherboard, would that be a good CPU to buy? i'm a student on currently no income after losing my job at christmas, so a big chunk of xmas money came out to buy that waste of money that is the new psu. i hope they'll take it back :(  if I have to buy a new CPU then that's cool but I'm not willing to go out and buy a new motherboard as well, i just can't afford. i've only had this pc a year. thanks for all of your replies so far :) 
January 28, 2010 6:14:23 PM

i just upgraded my bios using the tool on the asrock website, it was quick and easy, i made sure i shut down all programs and as many processes as i could. i'm now running P2.20. this also means that I can use AM3 CPUs now :D  i'll see if it's made any difference to my gaming.
January 28, 2010 6:17:41 PM

Did you disable the on board video or have it point to your pci-e slot from the bios ?
January 28, 2010 6:22:49 PM

the bios is pointed at my PCI-e at the moment. i've used msconfig prior to this, all unnecessary processes are disabled, but i will have a look at those new drivers. i used catalyst installer to install the drivers. i'm currently running version 9.11.24, i presume this is the latest catalyst 10.1? thanks
January 28, 2010 6:48:27 PM

i'm downloading the catalyst 10.1 drivers now. i tried overclocking my cpu but it didn't seem to make much difference. i overclocked it to 2.9ghz, is that not high enough?
January 28, 2010 7:02:30 PM

What is your memory configuration? You list 4gb DDR2 800, but also mention running 2gb on vista previously. Did you add a 2gb stick to 2x1gb already installed? Did you match your ram, or replace your old 2gb with a new 4gb kit? Something is up with your rig for sure, as I installed a 4670 into my brother in laws 4400+ x2 computer and got much better numbers with a weaker CPU, in WoW, anyhow.
January 28, 2010 7:44:33 PM

When I bought my pc, custom built from eBay, it came with 1 2GB stick installed. I later on added another 2GB stick. They are not a matching pair, my plan was always to upgrade as I went along. I just saw a 2GB stick and upgraded. Upon further bios examination my DDR2 may be 533mhz now, but my motherboard supports 800mhz, 1066mhz with an AM3 cpu (which I will buy eventually). Thanks JofaMang.
January 28, 2010 8:48:07 PM

Try removing one stick at a time and testing. If there is a bad stick, or a bad pairing, you will probably see results closer to what you were expecting.
January 28, 2010 8:57:37 PM

i'll try that method, i'll take out the stick that i put in myself, leaving the just the original one in. i'm away from my pc for an hour but i'll test it in a few moments, thanks again JofaMang!
January 28, 2010 9:00:34 PM

No problem, let us know how it goes. :D 
January 28, 2010 11:05:35 PM

Nope, I've still got really crap FPS. I also found on another forum that I should disable ATI Hi Def audio, so I did and that made no difference either.
Any more ideas?
January 28, 2010 11:31:55 PM

The thing with the ATI sound driver...... uninstall the video and sound drivers and reboot. Install video driver only..... via custom or advanced install. Also, did you install motherboard drivers after your refresh install ? Won't run right if you don't.... also, did you go to Windows Update /
January 29, 2010 7:37:22 AM

I uninstalled all ati drivers, but when I restart PC, windows automatically finds and installs drivers for my card and this ATI audio thing. I restarted after uninstall, went into task manager and under Display Adapters 'ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series' and under SVG Controllers, 'ATI High Definition Audio Device' and 'MobilePre'. I tried disconnecting my mobilepre but that had no effect.
January 29, 2010 5:21:38 PM

If this is a processor problem, then I'll take the PSU back that I bought and buy a new CPU. I'm looking at one of the Phenom II X4 or X3s. Can any of you recommend any other things I can try for a fix? Also, can anybody recommend the best value for money Phenom II processor? Thanks again!
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