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Regarding a GTX 460 SLI setup and an AMD Quad

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 19, 2010 5:13:05 AM

I have read multiple threads about this and have seen that some people voicing similar concerns, so I am sorry in advance for posting this. I know it is becoming redundant but.... Please be gentle...

I feel as though my GTX 460 SLI setup is not utilizing all of its potential. One thread suggested that the CPU maybe causing a bottleneck to occur:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/295093-33-will-bottle...

This was a great thread, as it provided a connection which I sorely underestimated. I run an AMD Phenom 9950 at stock 2.67Ghz and, being the impulsive idiot that I am, assumed that the CPU could make use of the extra memory and thought nothing of it after the purchase. Yet after running Crysis, Age of Conan, and Dawn of War 2: CR , I am having mixed results. Running the Heaven Benchmark did not alleviate my concern, as the average FPS of that test hovered around 40 at full settings. Reading the thread over, I found that overclocking might help, but I was wondering if that would truly make any noticeable difference. Here is the information from CPU-Z:

Processors Information
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Processor 1 ID = 0
Number of cores 4 (max 4)
Number of threads 4 (max 4)
Name AMD Phenom X4 9950 Black Edition
Codename Agena
Specification AMD Phenom(tm) 9950 Quad-Core Processor
Package Socket AM2+ (940)
CPUID F.2.3
Extended CPUID 10.2
Brand ID 11
Core Stepping DR-B3
Technology 65 nm
Core Speed 2611.9 MHz
Multiplier x FSB 13.0 x 200.9 MHz
HT Link speed 2009.1 MHz
Instructions sets MMX (+), 3DNow! (+), SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSE4A, x86-64
L1 Data cache 4 x 64 KBytes, 2-way set associative, 64-byte line size
L1 Instruction cache 4 x 64 KBytes, 2-way set associative, 64-byte line size
L2 cache 4 x 512 KBytes, 16-way set associative, 64-byte line size
L3 cache 2 MBytes, 32-way set associative, 64-byte line size
FID/VID Control yes
Min FID 5.0x

Package Type 0x1
Model 99
String 1 0x2
String 2 0x3
Page 0x0
Attached device PCI device at bus 0, device 24, function 0
Attached device PCI device at bus 0, device 24, function 1
Attached device PCI device at bus 0, device 24, function 2
Attached device PCI device at bus 0, device 24, function 3
Attached device PCI device at bus 0, device 24, function 4

Could it be that the processor is bottlenecking the card? Will overclocking help some? Also, is there a guide on how to properly set up SLI on a rig? That would also be helpful.
a b Î Nvidia
August 19, 2010 6:51:02 AM

Your CPU may bottleneck your VGA's in CPU-limited games such as GTA IV,Prototype etc, however in GPU-limited games,your shouldn't notice any problems.
Also it depends on your resolution and your settings too, resolutions like 1680x1050 or lower benefit from a faster CPU,so you won't see the true potential of your cards in some games, however playing at 1920x1080 or higher reduces the effect of the CPU in most games.
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August 19, 2010 1:45:03 PM

So it depends on which games I am playing at the moment, yes? Your SLI/CF FAQ was very helpful in explaining this, and I thank you for making that thread.

Regarding CPU limited games, how would one go about and determine this? The two I know that would fit that descrption are DOW 2 and AoC (at least in my mind), but there is a vast difference in their performance. I can run DOW at full settings just fine, which is great, yet confusing, as AoC is just slowing and choppily chugging along.

Regarding screen resolution, you said that by increasing the resolution I would be putting more strain on the GPU rather than the CPU. My monitor's highest supported resolution is 1200 X 1048, and I play all my games at this resolution. If I take Age of Conan as an example: Running the game at medium settings and using only DX9 effects only yields a 3-4 FPS gain. I get 20-23 fps to 13-16 fps in the hub ciites at these settings, which I find incredibly frustrating. A friend of mine also plays the game on GTX 200 cards, and even with DX10 enabled, can manage to squeeze 10-15 fps more than me. I apologize for not having his CPU info at hand, but seeing as these areas are larger gamespaces, I can assume that the CPU is under more strain than the GPUs. By moving to a higher rez, it should offset that strain, yes? Is it possible to estimate how much FPS can be gleaned if I were to get a higher resolution monitor, or would it depend on the type of game and its settings?

Also, is it possible that my setup is somehow wrong? Are there any changes in the control panel that I need to make in order to optimize the setup? (For instance, I have the PhysX settings in the Nvidia control panel set to the first GTX 460 by allowing the program to auto-select.) Any help on this would also be appreciated.
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a b Î Nvidia
August 19, 2010 2:50:10 PM

I'm glad you found SLI/CF thread useful.
Well AoC benefits from a fast CPU,that's maybe why you get low FPS in it.
Try some other games too,especially First person titles which are mostly GPU limited, and check your FPS, it should be fine in them.
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August 19, 2010 3:42:03 PM

sealwarrior said:
So it depends on which games I am playing at the moment, yes? Your SLI/CF FAQ was very helpful in explaining this, and I thank you for making that thread.

Regarding CPU limited games, how would one go about and determine this? The two I know that would fit that descrption are DOW 2 and AoC (at least in my mind), but there is a vast difference in their performance. I can run DOW at full settings just fine, which is great, yet confusing, as AoC is just slowing and choppily chugging along.

Regarding screen resolution, you said that by increasing the resolution I would be putting more strain on the GPU rather than the CPU. My monitor's highest supported resolution is 1200 X 1048, and I play all my games at this resolution. If I take Age of Conan as an example: Running the game at medium settings and using only DX9 effects only yields a 3-4 FPS gain. I get 20-23 fps to 13-16 fps in the hub ciites at these settings, which I find incredibly frustrating. A friend of mine also plays the game on GTX 200 cards, and even with DX10 enabled, can manage to squeeze 10-15 fps more than me. I apologize for not having his CPU info at hand, but seeing as these areas are larger gamespaces, I can assume that the CPU is under more strain than the GPUs. By moving to a higher rez, it should offset that strain, yes? Is it possible to estimate how much FPS can be gleaned if I were to get a higher resolution monitor, or would it depend on the type of game and its settings?

Also, is it possible that my setup is somehow wrong? Are there any changes in the control panel that I need to make in order to optimize the setup? (For instance, I have the PhysX settings in the Nvidia control panel set to the first GTX 460 by allowing the program to auto-select.) Any help on this would also be appreciated.



Well just to contribute to this thread, your CPU is holding you back bigtime when it comes to playing at 1200 X 1048. The lower the res the more stress on the CPU so if you want to loosen that bottleneck you have 2 choices, either raise the CPU clock (3Ghz+) on that 9950 or upgrade the CPU. Your best option at the moment would be to overclock that CPU and OPT for a screen with a higher resolution. Dual 460's need at least a 1680x 1050 res, to really see them flex their muscles a 1920x 1080 is recommended.
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August 19, 2010 4:32:10 PM

@Maziar

Hmm... I see now. I will try and download some demos tonight, one of which being Crysis, and see if this is the case. Do you have any recommendations on CPU limited demos as well, so as to gauge performance?

@OvrClkr & Maziar

Yet another thing I underestimated... Screen resolution. And here I was trying to save money... Thanks for the input on that. I will have to see what 1920 x 1080 monitors are viable for me at this time. I hate to ask this, but are there any beginner guides to overclocking that you would recommend? The reason I originally maintained the stock speed was to save money by not buying a new coolant system for the CPU.... As well as apprehension.

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August 19, 2010 4:52:01 PM

sealwarrior said:
@Maziar

Hmm... I see now. I will try and download some demos tonight, one of which being Crysis, and see if this is the case. Do you have any recommendations on CPU limited demos as well, so as to gauge performance?

@OvrClkr & Maziar

Yet another thing I underestimated... Screen resolution. And here I was trying to save money... Thanks for the input on that. I will have to see what 1920 x 1080 monitors are viable for me at this time. I hate to ask this, but are there any beginner guides to overclocking that you would recommend? The reason I originally maintained the stock speed was to save money by not buying a new coolant system for the CPU.... As well as apprehension.


are you familiar with your Bios? You should be able to hit 3Ghz just by raising the multiplier and bumping up the voltage to at least to 1.36/1.37v.

Here is a guide that should help :

http://www.ocia.net/articles/k10overclock/page1.shtml
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a b Î Nvidia
August 19, 2010 5:12:45 PM

sealwarrior said:
@Maziar

Hmm... I see now. I will try and download some demos tonight, one of which being Crysis, and see if this is the case. Do you have any recommendations on CPU limited demos as well, so as to gauge performance?

@OvrClkr & Maziar

Yet another thing I underestimated... Screen resolution. And here I was trying to save money... Thanks for the input on that. I will have to see what 1920 x 1080 monitors are viable for me at this time. I hate to ask this, but are there any beginner guides to overclocking that you would recommend? The reason I originally maintained the stock speed was to save money by not buying a new coolant system for the CPU.... As well as apprehension.

World in conflict is a CPU-limited game(actually it requires both powerful CPU and GPUs but since its a RTS games,it benefits from a faster CPU more than First person type games)
Here is the demo link
http://downloads.guru3d.com/World-in-Conflict-Demo-%281...
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August 20, 2010 10:37:23 PM

sealwarrior said:
I will have to see what 1920 x 1080 monitors are viable for me at this time. I hate to ask this, but are there any beginner guides to overclocking that you would recommend? The reason I originally maintained the stock speed was to save money by not buying a new coolant system for the CPU.... As well as apprehension.


You didn't mention what gtx 460 flavor you have: 768MB or 1GB. If you have 768MB, I would not recommend getting a monitor with 1920x1080 resolution: you will run out of available framebuffer very quickly with most modern games that use large textures, and that will result in horrible stutter . I'd suggest looking at something that has native resolution no larger than 1680x1050. Of course you can always lower resolution on your shiny new 1920x1080 monitor, but that may produce pixel scaling issues and would be waste of money buying large monitor IMO.

If you have 1GB version, then you should be fine with 1920x1080.

As others have said, that CPU needs to be OCed a little. Most modern games seem to start enjoying fast quads.
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August 20, 2010 11:47:20 PM

Sorry for responding so late, had to work and do some tests.

@Maziar

Thanks for the link. I was able to test the demo and will post the results at the end of this reply.

@OvrClker

Thanks for the link as well. As you said, I can do it from the bios, but the link you provided also had some good information and tools to utilize. Now all I have to worry about is keeping the heat down.

@dimmyk

I apologize for not specifying that... I have 2 1GB gtx 460s. As you said, the larger res monitor would be best for this current rig. I'll overclock the CPU after I post this.

As for the demos, I was able to get them and measure the FPS with FRAPS in 60 second inervals. I downloaded a few more, just for the sake of comparison:

Crysis (Demo)
Min 24 Max 43 Avg 33.117

Age of Conan
Min 12 Max 41 Avg 28.45

Dawn of War 2
Min 12 Max 79 Avg 36.183

World in Conflict (Demo)
Min 10 Max 73 Avg 39.117

Mafia 2 (Demo) (Game benchmark)
Min 7 Max 31 Avg 22.217

Batman: Arkham Asylum (Demo)
Min 31 Max 62 Avg 58.25

Maziar was right about this. The GPU based games seemed to outperform the CPU based one for the most part. I will now try and overclock.

Also... Does anyone have a recommendation on a monitor? I was thinking below the $200.00 price range.... I found these on Newegg here:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (Has built in speakers though)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I assume that the resolution is the only thing that matters at this point, but the Acer has a higher contrast ratio.
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a b Î Nvidia
August 21, 2010 6:44:21 AM

Your FPS looks good even in WIC(you can definitely get more FPS with OC'ng/changing CPU though)
As for the monitors,both looks good have good specs.
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August 29, 2010 2:22:14 AM

Best answer selected by sealwarrior.
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a c 171 Î Nvidia
August 29, 2010 11:25:21 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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