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Games not running at full potential. What part is doing it?

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Anonymous
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a b V Motherboard
September 3, 2010 2:04:15 PM

Hello Tom's Hardware ;) 

I've recently thrown a new Motherboard and Processor in to my system in hope that it would increase my FPS in games such as TF2 and BC2, but sadly this doesn't seem to be the case. According to people I know, I should be getting a much better FPS than I am now especially with my new quad core. I used to get about 20fps on highest settings and with this quad I can just about reach 30 on highest.

My specs are as follows (in the form of a Speccy Screenshot):

I also have a 500w Power supply in there.

My Processor specs (From CPU-Z):


Someone claims it's my power supply, someone claims it's my motherboard which is why I am asking you guys. :sarcastic: 

Things to note:

I have yet to see a game go above 50% CPU usage with this quad, I have only seen Bad Company 2 peak 50% and TF2 is never using over 10%.

The motherboard supposedly only supports 95w processors, but this one is 125w? After speaking to the manufacturer, this is apparently fine if it's stable.

All the drivers and the bios are up to date, I have double checked this.

Regards

PS: Is it safe to overclock with this '125w in a 95w' problem?
a c 162 à CPUs
a b V Motherboard
September 3, 2010 2:13:04 PM

If your board only supports 125W processors, OCing will increase your CPUs power usage putting more load on the VRMs and potentially causing them to over heat, i would not recommend it.

Your performance limit is likely your 8800GS, when you say highest settings are you using AA/AF as well? That would definitely drop the limit onto the graphics card. If your graphics card is the slowest part then increasing the CPU isnt going to help out your gaming too much.
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Anonymous
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a b V Motherboard
September 3, 2010 2:19:40 PM

hunter315 said:
If your board only supports 125W processors, OCing will increase your CPUs power usage putting more load on the VRMs and potentially causing them to over heat, i would not recommend it.

Your performance limit is likely your 8800GS, when you say highest settings are you using AA/AF as well? That would definitely drop the limit onto the graphics card. If your graphics card is the slowest part then increasing the CPU isnt going to help out your gaming too much.


Yes, AA and AFiltering is set to 4x respectively.
Anonymous
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a b V Motherboard
September 3, 2010 2:22:58 PM

Thought it was the little bugger. :p 

So we can conclude it's the graphics card? As long as it isn't the ASRock motherboard doing something crazy then I'm happy.

Thank you both :) 
a b à CPUs
a b V Motherboard
September 3, 2010 2:29:10 PM

Quote:
Yes, AA and AFiltering is set to 4x respectively.


What resolution is your monitor ?? -- AA and AF @4x and a high resolution will definitely be straining the old 8800GS - the fact that your CPU is only using 50% shows that the GPU is the limiting factor (the 8800GS is not able to process the info fast enough to use all of the CPU power) in gaming it is all about balance since your performance will only be as good as the weakest part of your system can handle and right now the video card is what is holding you back. Try using a lower resolution and turning AA off and see if performance improves (if it does then it is a sure sign that the GPU is the cause of the slowness.)
a c 162 à CPUs
a b V Motherboard
September 3, 2010 2:31:42 PM

Turn off AA and AF, your FPS will probably go up quite significantly, that would confirm it being your GPU as the limiting factor which makes sense as it looks to be the weakest thing in the system.

The GTS 250 that rolli posted is a good deal with its rebate and will do quite well at your resolution.
Anonymous
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September 3, 2010 2:43:05 PM

hunter315 said:
Turn off AA and AF, your FPS will probably go up quite significantly, that would confirm it being your GPU as the limiting factor which makes sense as it looks to be the weakest thing in the system.

The GTS 250 that rolli posted is a good deal with its rebate and will do quite well at your resolution.


Turning off AA and AF made my fps increase by 5 :p 

But if the GPU is the culprit then I'll get it changed ASAP. Thanks for the help once again. ;) 
a b à CPUs
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September 3, 2010 2:52:54 PM

Also, what sort of "low fps" are you talking about? While I agree an 8800GS isn't that great these days and could certainly use upgrading, are you finding that the game runs ok and then get's "lag"? And I don't mean online lag, but basically it just stutters/pauses and then continues ok? Chances are that would be caused by HDD access, ie: file paging, which occures when you don't have enough RAM. IMO get at least another gig of RAM for gaming. I often use up a little over 3gb of RAM in games, and in STALKER CoP with some mods it's up to about 6gb lol. So keep an eye on HDD usage when gaming, it should be quite minimal other than during level loads.
Anonymous
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September 3, 2010 2:56:56 PM

Low FPS being, stable around 20-40fps and then dropping to about 10-15fps in the middle of fights :p 
Anonymous
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September 3, 2010 2:58:14 PM

What would you say is an ideal page file size as well?
a b à CPUs
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September 3, 2010 3:10:21 PM

Page file size isn't a big deal, you can just let windows run it. The problem is that a HDD is waaaaayyyyyyyy slower than RAM, so if the RAM isn't holding all the info and forces HDD access, things get really really slow. I had that issue playing STALKER so I doubled my RAM to 8 gigs and now it runs smooth as butter. But previously, just like you said, it would be running smooth and stable and then suddenly FPS would hit rock bottom or it would freeze up entirely and so I noticed during these spots my HDD light was on, and then it would get back to normal and the light turns off. And I'm even running 2 HDDs in RAID 0 so they transfer data twice as fast as a regular single HDD...

IMO, you could add two 512mb RAM chips to keep your dual channel going, and have 3 gigs which will help a good amount. Or, upgrade your OS to 64 bit and get 2 gigs for 4 gig total (4x1gb I'd assume). This will be cheaper than a new video card and should smooth out the framerate nicely.
Anonymous
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September 3, 2010 10:19:50 PM

wolfram23 said:
Page file size isn't a big deal, you can just let windows run it. The problem is that a HDD is waaaaayyyyyyyy slower than RAM, so if the RAM isn't holding all the info and forces HDD access, things get really really slow. I had that issue playing STALKER so I doubled my RAM to 8 gigs and now it runs smooth as butter. But previously, just like you said, it would be running smooth and stable and then suddenly FPS would hit rock bottom or it would freeze up entirely and so I noticed during these spots my HDD light was on, and then it would get back to normal and the light turns off. And I'm even running 2 HDDs in RAID 0 so they transfer data twice as fast as a regular single HDD...

IMO, you could add two 512mb RAM chips to keep your dual channel going, and have 3 gigs which will help a good amount. Or, upgrade your OS to 64 bit and get 2 gigs for 4 gig total (4x1gb I'd assume). This will be cheaper than a new video card and should smooth out the framerate nicely.



Will consider this, thanks. :) 

Also, I keep getting random freezes for about a split second (it's noticeable) when I do something like scrolling down a fairly long page fairly fast, anyone know what is causing this and how I can fix it?

yes, my graphics drivers are up to date. :sarcastic: 
Anonymous
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September 3, 2010 10:23:00 PM

Forgot to add, there is also some visible tearing. :p 
a b à CPUs
a c 89 V Motherboard
September 4, 2010 10:03:05 AM

Major TF2 junkie here. I've played it on both my single core 3500+ with 1GB of ram (1024x768 for the most part, though 1280x1024 was possible if I stayed away from the 32 man servers) and my E6600 with 4GBs of ram. (1680x1050.) I used the 9600GSO that was identical to the 8800GS. It was always playable, but I used no AA/AF. (I think I used Triliner filtering.) I never used fraps so I have no idea what the frame rates actually were, but it was always smooth/playable.

If your res is 1400x900 and you don't mind using no AA/AF, then your card should be enough. You should probably bump the ram up to 4GBs. Also check Steam, I think there is an option to defrag your steam files. I had an issue with what your talking about and steam released an update that added this feature. Made it go away, at least for me. You can try using the windows defrag as I don't see how it would work any different.

Good luck, TF2 is a great game.
Anonymous
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September 4, 2010 9:53:27 PM

4745454b said:
Major TF2 junkie here. I've played it on both my single core 3500+ with 1GB of ram (1024x768 for the most part, though 1280x1024 was possible if I stayed away from the 32 man servers) and my E6600 with 4GBs of ram. (1680x1050.) I used the 9600GSO that was identical to the 8800GS. It was always playable, but I used no AA/AF. (I think I used Triliner filtering.) I never used fraps so I have no idea what the frame rates actually were, but it was always smooth/playable.

If your res is 1400x900 and you don't mind using no AA/AF, then your card should be enough. You should probably bump the ram up to 4GBs. Also check Steam, I think there is an option to defrag your steam files. I had an issue with what your talking about and steam released an update that added this feature. Made it go away, at least for me. You can try using the windows defrag as I don't see how it would work any different.

Good luck, TF2 is a great game.


Thanks for the reply :) 


I tried this and sadly my FPS was still incredibly low :( , I also tried using a highFPS config which pretty much put's every aspect of the game on low quality and puts the game into directx 8 mode. I was only getting ~100fps in the cp_badlands spawn. I am pretty sure my FPS was higher than that with my old dual core, although it was a long time a go since I checked what FPS I get and the countless Source engine updates would have probably changed that.

Surely it isn't possible that my FPS can go down with a better processor and worse motherboard?
Anonymous
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a b V Motherboard
September 4, 2010 9:56:12 PM

Just checked my FPS in counter strike and it's gone up by about 30 more than it was on my Dual core, hmm.
a b à CPUs
a c 89 V Motherboard
September 4, 2010 11:27:23 PM

Not sure what else to suggest. I never tested my FPS seeing as it always felt smooth to me so perhaps 40FPS is all the 8800GS can do in that game. You'll get more FPS if you change the card. While I still haven't checked the number, I'm now on a 5750, and have enabled. AA/AF.
a c 79 à CPUs
a b V Motherboard
September 5, 2010 12:59:38 AM

bottom line is, your graphics card is too slow and doesnt have enough memory for modern games at higher detail settings. as soon as a game uses all that video memory, things will slow down a lot as it has to use system memory which is a lot slower.
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