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Year old build: BFBC2 - New GPU, CPU, or both?

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April 7, 2010 5:04:14 PM

Hi guys. A friend of mine who built his own system about a little over a year or so ago, is having issues when playing Battlefield: Bad Company 2. His issues are with laggy, or choppy play. We know that the BC2 game is extremely demanding on systems, so we are trying to figure out if a component upgrade would be a fix. Here are his specs:

ASUS P5Q Pro Atx Motherboard
Intel Core Duo 3.0 E8400 LG775 65w Dual Core processor
ASUS Radeon ATI 4870 EAH4870/HTDI/512M Video Card
Corsair Dominator 4GB 240-pin DDR2 1066 (PC2-8500)
Western Digital Caviar 640GB SE16 3.5"SATA 3.0g/s
Lite-On DVD burner
Cooler Master Centurion 5 Case
Microsoft Windows Vista SP1 32-bit OEM for system builders


From all that I've read, BC2 is best played on a system using a Quad core CPU. I know the minimum card EA recommends is the 4870. I'm not sure if they refer to the 512, or 1GB model though. Do you think that the choppy play is more a matter of the GPU being insufficient, or his processor being pushed to it's limits? His system temps are fine for what it's worth, but I personally think that the GPU is having trouble with the load. Would an upgrade to a radeon 5850 be worthwhile, or maybe crossfiring a second 4870? In all of the benchmark test I've seen, it seems that the performance level on middling cards varies greatly on the quality of the processor. For example:

http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=b77b38...

and

http://gamegpu.ru/Action-/-FPS-/-TPS-eng/bad-company-2-...

Therefore would it be safe to assume that he'd be best suited to invest in a higher end card to compensate for the lack of horses in the dual core processor?

Thanks in advance.
April 8, 2010 11:45:06 PM

I play bc2 with full settings using a ati 4850 1gb and q6600 at 2.4ghz with 4gig ddr2 800mhz and don't have any problems at all, so graphic wise unless there is a massive difference between a 4870 512mb and 4850 1gig i doubt that is the issue. According to the performance monitor on my g15 while playing bc2 the majority of the use is on two cores but the 3rd and fourth are used but i would say at only 15%.
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April 9, 2010 7:56:54 PM

Hey, thanks for the replies fellas. I think your quad core + 1GB 4870 versus his duo core + 512MB 4870, might account for a significant performance difference with this demanding a game. It could be the diff between choppy, and smooth play anyway. Anyone think so?
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 9, 2010 11:41:41 PM

Depends on what settings your friend is playing at too. There is a performance balance between CPU and GPU, higher resolutions and settings shifts the balance (the balance being the likelihood of which component becoming liable for being a bottleneck) to the GPU as more graphical power is needed to process the higher res textures etc. Lower resolutions and settings shifts the balance over to the CPU, because the graphics card wont be working as hard at these settings/resolutions but the physics and other calculations that require the CPU will stay mostly the same. Basically if you see a considerable increase in performance at lower resolutions and settings, its the graphics card. If there is no difference then its your CPU (most likely). IMHO the dual core will only just be getting by but the 4870 shouldn't be that bad unless BC2 is requiring a lot of graphics memory.

Might be an idea for your friend to run BC2 for about 5 mins with GPU-Z running in the back ground, logging GPU data during play. Quit the game and refer to the text file. Within there should give the amount of memory used in game per second. If it persistantly exceeds or at least gets close to 512mb usage, then the fact its 512mb rather than a full fat 1gb will be the problem.

Upgrading to a 5850 in that system might be a tad overkill as other components will start becoming the bottleneck. If your friend really wants try SLI'ing another 4870 or even selling his current one and upgrading to a 1GB 4870.
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 10, 2010 7:53:39 AM

What size is the monitor? If it's a big display (above 1600 pixels wide), then yes, the 512MB on the video card may be slowing things down. Below that, you should be fine. I've got the exact same video card and a 1440x900 screen, and it plays Crysis on high settings with no problem at all.

More likely it's the CPU. The system specs for that game say a dual-core at 2.0Ghz is the minimum requirement, but recommend a quad core. So it's likely you're at the low end of what will work.

http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,700569/Battlefield-B...

If you're comfortable overclocking, try a modest OC, maybe .2Ghz or .4Ghz, and see if it helps any. If you notice a difference, you've found your problem.
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