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CPU or Videocard bottlenecking?

Last response: in CPUs
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November 12, 2010 3:06:11 PM

Here's my rig:

Intel i7-950 @3.06ghz
Noctua CPU Cooler
Asus Sabertooth Mobo
Corsair XMS3 6gigs of ram @7-8-7-20 timings
Corsair HX1000 PSU
WD Velociraptor
WD 1TB Black for media
On-board soundcard.
Samsung 24x DL dvd burner
Samsung 26" touch-of-color 1920x1080p monitor (I only ever plan on running 1 monitor.)

As you can see, I didn't list any videocards. That's because I have a 220 1GB right now that I plan on changing to maybe 2x 580's (evga superclocked versions) in the next 2 weeks. (I'm not really sure what videocards i'm going to buy, but I need to make use of a 1K PSU.)

I actually have 3 questions, so here it goes.

1. I fear that If i purchased 2x 580's that my cpu at stock speed will bottleneck my cards. If this is true, how much CPU/GHZ do I need to fix it?

2. Does using the onboard soundcard really give me less FPS than an aftermarket one?

3. What would it take to make my system balanced? Example, running 1:1 for ram ratio, or just enough CPU speed to allow my videocards to spread their wings. etc etc.)

Thanks everyone for any help or advice!
a b à CPUs
November 12, 2010 3:25:50 PM

1) Overclock to around 3.6 to avoid bottle necking the cards.

2) Back when cpu's were slow compared to how they are now, maybe. Today's on board sound cards are better and today's chips are so much faster, you wont notice a difference. I would expect 1 fps or less of a difference.

3) I would leave your ram alone, tweaking it will have little or no impact on most applications.

I'm adding a fourth, lol

4) Two 580's will be overkill for a single monitor setup. Save your money or buy a nice SSD for a boot/gaming drive. And or a nice after market sound card and some high end computer speakers.
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November 12, 2010 3:28:55 PM

Same as dipankar. There will be no bottlenecking, and having a dedicated soundcard won't affect your framerates.

Elaborating on the second part, if you don't have a dedicated sound card, the audio processing is done by the CPU. Games do not consume more than 20-30% of your processor, so you have more than enough processing power left for audio.

Also, IMO, 2x580s is extreme overkill. The 580 is the single most powerful card in the market. One of them is more than enough to play any game available as of now or in the near future at 1920x1200 at everything maxed out at about 100FPS or so. Adding another one might increase your framerates to 150+, but not only can the eye not notice that difference, if you have VSync on, your framerates are going to be capped at 60fps.
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November 12, 2010 4:16:06 PM

Ok, I'm with you guys on the soundcard part. I also believe that modern Cpus have way more than enough processing power to not have it effect my games.

In regards to the overclocking for the cpu and bottlenecking. I cant think of a single toms review on cpus or videocards where they kept it at stock. I can't quote anything exactly, but i have seen many statements of (we want to ensure no cpu bottleneck) Or where games did actually get better fps with cpu overclocking. There's gotta be something to it.

I have a hard time thinking that 2x580's are overkill. My recently replaced computer was a q9550 @4.0ghz with 8 gigs of ram and 2x 260core216 SC and i got 25 fps in fallout3 newvegas with all things maxxed. I can't even tell you how many games I could not play well as a result of that system. Considering both cards in sli is about the same as 1 470 in performance, 1 580 can't be that much better. Additionally, I built my entire system around sli. I spent the extra money on an sli mobo and a 1K psu just for SLI. it would be wasteful if I didn't use it. Would 2x570s or 470s be a better choice?

I'm not saying that 2x580s wouldn't be insane, it just might be. I really want 60+ FPS on any game with EVERY setting maxxed 8x/32x etc etc. Even at 1080p and all settings maxxed, crysis and metro struggle with 1 card. Those are good examples on why I want sli. I also don't plan on changing my cards for 3 years, so I really want the raw horsepower. And again, it would be a huge waste of my parts and money not to use a system designed for sli.

I was told long ago that running ram at 1:1 ratio is the best being balanced. I'm not looking to OC my ram, just OC the cpu enough to bring the bclk up to ensure a 1:1 with the ram. If you guys think it's a waste then I won't do it. Also, my ram runs at 2T not 1T, am I missing something on this setting?

Gang, I really care about the advise and opinions you guys are giving me and I love the help. I'm not trying to push back or be difficult. I told myself that when I built this rig, it would be balanced and perfect. By saying to me, hey man, sli is a waste for you. Thus that 1K PSU and SLI mobo are a waste of money too, AND that awesome cpu cooler that your NOT going to OC your cpu on is also a waste. I would feel like a huge idiot and I really don't want to feel that way. Please tell me that I didn't just waste a bunch of money for nothing.
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a b à CPUs
November 12, 2010 4:29:33 PM

The best ram ratio would be the one that provides the best performance with the least stress on the ram and system. Running 1:1 doesn't always provide that.

The gtx 580 will be something like 4 or 5 times faster than a gtx260. The games you were having problems with were most likely not able to fully use your sli setup, that wont change with the gtx 580's. Honestly sli-ed gtx 260's should run most if not all games at 1900x1080 no problem on a single monitor.

I said overclock to alleviate the bottle neck if you run two cards, with one card you might not have to.

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November 12, 2010 4:42:57 PM

How about ram running at 1T? Does that make any difference on games?

Well ok, How about I buy 1 580 and put it through the ringer. If it's truly not enough for some games, then I can buy another one later? Or many a 460 as a physics card to offload the work from the 580? Would that be a bad idea?

Sports, you said there might be a bottleneck in running 2 cards. How much overclock would I need to free them up? would 3.6GHZ be around enough?
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a b à CPUs
November 12, 2010 4:58:55 PM

Just so you know not trying to tell you what to do just trying to save you money.

An example about 1:1... with my system I'm running a fsb of 393, if I ran my ddr3 at 1:1 my ram would be running at 786mhz that's under clocked by 547mhz. Now you do run slightly more efficient with a 1:1 ratio, however it isn't close enough to make up for the loss in bandwidth. Running 1T just further reduces latency, so your ram will run slightly faster as long as it's stable. In games your not going to notice a difference no matter what you set your ram to, to be honest, but tweaking is fun and might provide you with an overall "snappier" feeling computer.

I like your idea of buying one 580 now and test driving it to see if you need another one. Can't hurt you can always sli them later down the road.

Honestly I can't tell you how much of an overclock you'll need to run 2 580's without a bottle neck, you'll have to test that out when/if you get there. Your chip around 3.6 was my best guess at the moment, lol
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