BC2 & Civ 5 getting sloooow.... upgrade?

My system specs:

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz OC'd @ 2.97
ASUS P5B-E LGA 775 Intel P965 Express Mobo
2 x OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) (8Gb total)
2x VisionTek HD4870 Crossfire
PSU... don't remember at the moment, but it's high quality.
Vista 64 Premium

Single 24" monitor @ 1900x whatever. (I'm at work, sorry for the missing details).

Lately I've been playing Civ 5 and Battlefield company 2. I also played Fallout NV for a while. I prefer to run my games with full detail settings, but am willing to use a lower anisotropic filtering and AA to get better fps.

I recently updated my video drivers to fix a problem I was having with Civ 5 and noticed my in-game performance for BC2 drop badly. It gets worse if I alt-tab out and come back in. Even with AA and vsync turned off and filtering at 1x (everything else High), it's bad... sometimes getting down to 5 to 10 fps.

Civ 5 is doing the same... on a standard sized map, once I get into the 1850's or 1900's, it gets really bad fps when scrolling and the delay from when I end my turn to when it actually starts the other players turns is bad... maybe 3 seconds... almost like the game stops responding. Last night it actually crashed because I tried to clear a notification while it was chewing on another players' move.

Fallout 4 was pretty bad too, especially when there were 5 or 6 characters visible, sometimes dropping to 3-5fps in certain spots(I'm estimating).

I feel like my machine should be performing better than this but, maybe not? I need to do something, but where is my bottleneck? The CPU or the graphics? If I were to upgrade, what would more beneficial?

I was looking at the HD5870... that's in my price range for a video solution. How much better would this be than my current 4870 crossfire? I know an i7, mobo, and ram would be quite a bit more expensive, but I don't think I want to upgrade both the "system" and the video at the same time... trying to spread out my costs somewhat, but wanted to take advantage of cyber monday coming up.

Thanks for advice and I will answer any additional questions quickly... I'll be watching the thread all day.
4 answers Last reply
More about sloooow upgrade
  1. I'd run CPU-Z or look at the task manager CPU usage when you're running. I suspect your CPU is the bottleneck there rather than the crossfired 4870s.

    If so, its time to consider an upgrade.
  2. Good call, I didn't think to do that. So if I alt-tab out of game and it's running full blast, that's not normal? I just want to be sure.
  3. It would mean the CPU is more likely the bottleneck than the GPU. given you have two of the top-line GPUs (admittedly 2 generations old), i'm less inclined to think the GPU is the bottleneck. (CPU-z will also look at the GPU usage). My own system is a step under yours (though I run 1680x1050 instead of 1920x1080 or 1920x1200), and I'm looking at replacing it in the new year.
  4. Ok, I'll reinstall CPU-z and see what it says when I get home. If that's the case, I'll do a rebuild and hold onto the 4870's for a few more months. I'm already putting together my list. :) Thanks for your help.
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