Hello. I have been on the quest for higher framerates in games for a long time now, and recently I took a step forward by upgrading to a new quad core processor, as well as buying a new motherboard and power supply. My pc runs a little faster, the framerates are a little higher, but they are still below what I consider "playable" in the newer games I own. (Splinter cell: Conviction gets below 30fps on average, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 also gets an average fps of 30, as well as some other games).
What am I doing wrong? Do I need to spend more and more money on a better video card?
AMD Phenom II X4 955 3.2GHz
Sapphire HD4870 1Gb
Asus M4A785-M motherboard
Chieftec 500w PSU
4Gb DDR2 800Mhz (I think) memory
I have installed the latest ATI drivers for the GPU.
I have not played Splinter Cell: Conviction. However I play Bad Company 2 a lot. To hit the 60FPS mark @ 1920x1080 I had an SLI GTX 260 setup (basically like 2 x 4870's). The ATI 4870 should do fairly well for you at 1680x1050 resolution, but you probably want to reduce the graphical settings in order to get higher FPS. Especially when you're doing online/multiplayer gaming. Typically reducing/removing Anti-Aliasing (AA) and Shadows improve performance by the biggest chunks.
I'd say it sounds like you're getting the performance your card is capable of.
The fact that upgrading the CPU resulted in a little bit of improvement means that your video card is the actual bottleneck in your system. Therefore, it means that you need to spend some more money to actually improve gaming performance at this point.
I would consider nothing less than a HD 5850 if you wish to stick with AMD. The HD 5770 is basically equal to the HD 4870. The HD 5830 is probably around the same performance (or a little better) as the HD 4890; increase in performance is not worth the price coming from a HD 4870.
The HD 5850 is where you will definitely see an improvement in performance. The HD 5870 will be even better. However, the HD 5850 is around $260 when on sale and the HD 5870 can probably be purchased for around $340 when on sale as well.
If you are playing those maxed out,then your FPS is fine.
If you want more performance,then 5850 will give you a good boost
Okay. Thank you for your answers everyone. My PC budget is at an end for the time being. I'll probably invest in a new graphics card in a couple of months. It's good to know that my video card is running at it's maximum capacity atleast Thank you again.
It will be a good idea for you to hold off anyway, firm information indicate ATI is releasing a new series of cards later this year (November). If so, you might very well be able to bag yourself a bargain-particularly after the Christmas sales storm has ended.
Also, Jerrence gives some good pointers on tuning a game for maximum performance with minimum eye-candy impact, from my experiences, the HD4870 does not particularly like AA and shadows/lighting effects are always hard on the framerates.