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GTX 670 SLI + i5 3570k OC questions!

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January 8, 2013 2:40:38 PM

So, I recently added another GTX 670 SC 4gb to my rig, and I'm enjoying it for the most part so far. This is my first time running SLI, so I'm still not sure of everything. I'm running at 1080p currently until I receive my other monitors.

Heres my setup:
Asrock Extreme4 Motherboard
16GB Corsair Vengeance RAM
Corsair HX750W PSU
(x2) GTX 670 SC 4gb (Stock Clocks)
i5 3570k @4.4ghz

My question is, I notice a few hiccups in most of my games, specifically Battlefield 3. I'll be running well over 60 frames, but will notice spikes every 10 or 15 seconds on the PerfOverlay (Ultra,multiplayer,2xAA), on the yellow cpu line. Is that a result of my OC, or something else? My OC is on auto voltage, and has never crashed after hours of Prime95, and the vcore stays at 1.2159. When going back to stock clocks, in a certain area of the single player I used for comparison, I went from 149fps (@4.4), to 119fps (@3.4/8), so my OC helped me there.

Another instance of strange performance I noticed, in the game Sleeping Dogs. With maxed out settings, normal AA, my GPU usage on both cards sit below 50% almost always. When looking at less demanding areas, the usage shoots up (80-90%), like in menus, side of buildings, etc. Is that the game, or my rig causing this?

Also, other than the fps tests, I play with Vsync on, due to tearing.

Is there anything I'm missing? I know the term "bottleneck" is thrown around a lot, but I'm pretty sure my processor should handle these cards.

Thanks for any help, just trying to understand my new setup and how everything works together!
a b K Overclocking
January 10, 2013 4:47:06 AM

I have some ideas for you. I don't run SLI cards - I'm a single card kinda fellow. That said:

* Check your windows event logger => administrative => custom. Your Vcore is quite low for 4.4GHZ and I suspect you may be having WHEA errors. I would never use auto voltage for overclocking that high. Chances are your motherboard is intermittedly sending too much voltage to your CPU, which could cause problems.

* As for Sleeping Dogs, are you using Windows 8? Rumour has it that Nvidia drivers are not completely optimized for that game yet. At least that's what a little birdy told me.

* Other than that, have you researched Micro-stuttering?

* At 4.4GHZ, a 3570K should be PLENTY of Cpu for your setup, provided you have a stable overclock (which I am personally not convinced you do, especially since you are using Auto settings ;)  )

* The last suggestion you might consider is to update your BIOS. Sometimes, that will fix a complex issue, especially something like running cards in SLI. Use extreme caution when attempting this - it's a great way to ruin your motherboard permanently if done improperly. Whatever you do, DO NOT update BIOS from a software program inside windows - use a boot disk or flash drive.. And read the instructions carefully.
January 10, 2013 1:20:03 PM

Well looking at my actual vcore in CPUZ, (I was unaware that Core Temp did not give you the actual vcore, just VID.) at 4.4, on auto voltage, it was at 1.152v. That seems pretty low, even at full CPU usage. So anyway, went to offset mode, moved my offset to +0.030v and LLC level 4, now at 1.182-1.200v during load. Ran Prime95 for 6 hours so far, no WHEA errors, no crash. I've read that Battlefield 3's multiplayer causes CPU spikes regardless, especially on large maps with 64 players.

I have researched micro-stuttering, and I'm not convinced I've suffered from it yet. For instance, Far Cry 3 is smooth as butter despite some hiccups regarding the engine/optimization.

Someone suggested my CPU would be the bottleneck at 1080p until I move up on resolution, so maybe I'm just hitting a wall in CPU intensive games? There's still moments in Battlefield 3 that I hit below 60fps, something I never thought an SLI system like mine would touch.

I have updated my BIOS, although there is a new version for my motherboard, the notes on it state only two changes which don't pertain to anything I need.

Thanks for the help by the way, Android! Let me know what you think!
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a b K Overclocking
January 11, 2013 4:56:36 AM

Well for conversation's sake, I would be shocked if you spend 1000$ on the newest best CPU and it made much a difference for your FPS. You may notice some minimal improvement, but you would probably want your 1000$ back.

Anyone the only other suggestion I would have, is to try using a single GPU for a run. See if you notice these strange dips in performance. If you don't see it - you may in fact have a micro stuttering scenario.

On the other hand, maybe its just the games with the drivers in their current state.

I still think your voltage is incredibly low for a 4.4GHZ overclock. Have you tried backing your CPU to 4.2 GHZ just for curiosity sake?

I don't know how to explain this, but sometimes when overclocking you push your CPU as hard as it can go, then you slow your CPU down and it actually FEELS faster at a slower settings. I especially notice this in windows, or in non demanding applications. Sometimes if you slow the CPU down a notch or two, things go smoother.... You may think I'm nuts - its just personal experience.
January 11, 2013 5:08:17 AM

Adroid said:
Well for conversation's sake, I would be shocked if you spend 1000$ on the newest best CPU and it made much a difference for your FPS. You may notice some minimal improvement, but you would probably want your 1000$ back.

Anyone the only other suggestion I would have, is to try using a single GPU for a run. See if you notice these strange dips in performance. If you don't see it - you may in fact have a micro stuttering scenario.

On the other hand, maybe its just the games with the drivers in their current state.

I still think your voltage is incredibly low for a 4.4GHZ overclock. Have you tried backing your CPU to 4.2 GHZ just for curiosity sake?

I don't know how to explain this, but sometimes when overclocking you push your CPU as hard as it can go, then you slow your CPU down and it actually FEELS faster at a slower settings. I especially notice this in windows, or in non demanding applications. Sometimes if you slow the CPU down a notch or two, things go smoother.... You may think I'm nuts - its just personal experience.


Okay, I tried with one card, got lower minimums and similar drops. I have a feeling that those drops are just the CPU being forced to do all the work, as my GPU usage drops tremendously. Must just be the way Battlefield 3 works, very, very CPU dependent. I'm sure like you said, with even the best i7, I'd hardly see a difference in those scenarios. (Example: Looking at almost nothing on a map with a lot of players, GPU's at 80%-90% (130+FPS) usage, turn around to players and the main parts of the map, bam, 30% usage and 55-75 FPS).

And regarding my OC to 4.4, at +0.050, and LLC 4, after a few hours of Prime95, my temps maxed at 73-74 (with Hyper 212+). Normal right? I don't really want to push the voltage more, even when it doesn't seem to need it, would going up to say 1.21v make my temps much worse? I'll try going to 4.2, and leaving my voltage the same as I have it for 4.4, and see how that goes. As far as LLC, what's a good setting, and are there any pointers you can give me as to what to avoid/look out for when OCing? Still trying to get a better understanding of it all.
a b K Overclocking
January 11, 2013 5:21:56 AM

machjava said:
Okay, I tried with one card, got lower minimums and similar drops. I have a feeling that those drops are just the CPU being forced to do all the work, as my GPU usage drops tremendously. Must just be the way Battlefield 3 works, very, very CPU dependent. I'm sure like you said, with even the best i7, I'd hardly see a difference in those scenarios. (Example: Looking at almost nothing on a map with a lot of players, GPU's at 80%-90% (130+FPS) usage, turn around to players and the main parts of the map, bam, 30% usage and 55-75 FPS).

And regarding my OC to 4.4, at +0.050, and LLC 4, after a few hours of Prime95, my temps maxed at 73-74 (with Hyper 212+). Normal right? I don't really want to push the voltage more, even when it doesn't seem to need it, would going up to say 1.21v make my temps much worse? I'll try going to 4.2, and leaving my voltage the same as I have it for 4.4, and see how that goes.


Well it was worth a shot. I'm not suggesting you add more voltage to your overclock if you aren't getting Prime 95 errors or WHEA errors. It sounds like your chip is pretty happy where it's at. Out of curiosity do you run Prime95 Large FFTs? Note this will push your CPU the hardest and be the most likely to make your temperatures rise and create WHEA errors.

And yes your temps sound really good for 4.4 GHZ with that cooler.

The last step I would take if I was you, would be to disable the power saving options - maybe even go as far as abandoning the turbo / offset overclock, and go for a traditional straight voltage and constant speed overclock. It could be possible that when your GPU demand drops, your CPU speed drops also.

I personally don't completely understand the offset voltage methodology, and feel that a straight overclock is more reliable. I also don't like auto voltage overclocks, because your vcore will be adjusting based on VID, which in effect can send more voltage than you need to your CPU - and potentially damage something in the worst case scenario.

Anyway, I am just throwing ideas around. Truth be told I am running out of suggestions for you here :) 
January 11, 2013 5:41:11 AM

Adroid said:
Well it was worth a shot. I'm not suggesting you add more voltage to your overclock if you aren't getting Prime 95 errors or WHEA errors. It sounds like your chip is pretty happy where it's at. Out of curiosity do you run Prime95 Large FFTs? Note this will push your CPU the hardest and be the most likely to make your temperatures rise and create WHEA errors.

And yes your temps sound really good for 4.4 GHZ with that cooler.

The last step I would take if I was you, would be to disable the power saving options - maybe even go as far as abandoning the turbo / offset overclock, and go for a traditional straight voltage and constant speed overclock. It could be possible that when your GPU demand drops, your CPU speed drops also.

I personally don't completely understand the offset voltage methodology, and feel that a straight overclock is more reliable. I also don't like auto voltage overclocks, because your vcore will be adjusting based on VID, which in effect can send more voltage than you need to your CPU - and potentially damage something in the worst case scenario.

Anyway, I am just throwing ideas around. Truth be told I am running out of suggestions for you here :) 


Yes, I was using the Large FFts, also Blend for a while as well. Only Errors I had where some irrelevant connectivity things Windows spits out for no reason every week or so. Power saving is Disabled in my BIOS, unless you're referring to other settings.

Well I really do appreciate your suggestions, no one else seems to have any advice! I'm only using offset mode because of a few guides I had stumbled upon. Are there any negatives to using fixed voltage? (higher temps, shorter cpu life, etc). And if I do go with fixed voltage, should I start at my 1.2v mark?
January 11, 2013 9:03:36 PM

^^ Also, today I went ahead and replaced the thermal paste that came with my Hyper 212+ with some Arctic Silver 5. I applied the old stuff terribly, way too much, so I figured I'd benefit from it temp wise. Had a bit of a scare when my computer wouldn't post, but it turned out one stick of RAM was just barely loose. PHEW! Anyway, my temps really didn't improve, I applied think lines on the copper contacts, and a very small dot on the center of the CPU. Is there an amount of time that TP takes to "set in"?
a b K Overclocking
January 13, 2013 12:25:35 AM

machjava said:
^^ Also, today I went ahead and replaced the thermal paste that came with my Hyper 212+ with some Arctic Silver 5. I applied the old stuff terribly, way too much, so I figured I'd benefit from it temp wise. Had a bit of a scare when my computer wouldn't post, but it turned out one stick of RAM was just barely loose. PHEW! Anyway, my temps really didn't improve, I applied think lines on the copper contacts, and a very small dot on the center of the CPU. Is there an amount of time that TP takes to "set in"?


AS 5 takes like 200 hours to completely "set-in". Did you reference the AS5 website for how to apply thermal paste? It sounds like you may be putting WAY too much on. I put one small line down the middle like the AS5 website suggested, although I did prep the surface with a dab and a credit card...
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