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Need help with my new homebuild! Bottleneck/problems.

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December 11, 2010 10:35:11 PM

I've just finished my homebuilt system which consists of the following parts:

CPU: AMD Athlon II x4 620
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-MA790X
RAM: 2x2Gb A-data DDR2 @ 800MHz
PSU: Coolermaster @ 750W
HDD: Western Digital Blue Caviar 500GB
GFX: 2 pieces of ATI HD4870 512 Mb running in CrossfireX
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Problem:

I suspect a severe bottleneck. When I run 3dmark 06 with standard settings on my system, I get around 14000 points, which is well below what you could espect. When I turn CrossfireX off, I get around 11700 points. So there's only a 2000 points gain. Also, I bought the GFX from a friend who had a similar system with a Intel Qxxxx quadcore CPU and got around 20 000 points. Also he could run the newest games, for example battlefield bad company 2 on highest settings in high resolution. I can barely run BFBC2 on medium.

The most likely bottleneck I find is the CPU. Though there's a problem with that theory. When I check benchmarks where they have tried the same system with different CPU:s it only differs on maybe a 1000 - 2000 points in 3dmark 06 between the Athlon II x4 620 and the Phenom II x4:s and some of the intel i7:s. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's what I could interpret from some of the benchmarks. But still, the CPU is the most probable bottlenek. Or?

I would be deeply thankful for all the help I could get. I just upgraded my system and kept the CD/DVD, HDD and processor but bought the rest. Which costed some money of course. And it was in purpose to be able to play new games. Which I should be able to. So please: is there a possible solution to the problem? May I gain a lot of performance by changing the CPU?

Sincerely
Robin

a c 91 B Homebuilt system
December 11, 2010 10:55:27 PM

The only thing I can suggest is to overclock your 620. The Q9xxx beat the 620 by quite a bit, so I would imagine it is indeed your CPU bottle-necking your system. I suggest a minor OC first and then go in and check stability. After that, then run 3DMark 06 again.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 11, 2010 11:03:57 PM

Heheh, leave it to azn to suggest CLOCK IT TO 4! :) 

He's right though, with two decent GPU's, a quicker CPU will definitely help I'd say.
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
December 11, 2010 11:11:04 PM

Haha oh jack. Well I'd want him to clock it to 4.

But if you have a stock heatsink on, try to get it to 2.8ghz-2.9ghz. That should be easy to get to since the 620 is already clocked at 2.6. After that I'd recommend an aftermarket heatsink if you want to go any higher. (I suggest the Hyper 212+)

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...
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December 12, 2010 1:10:34 PM

aznshinobi said:
Haha oh jack. Well I'd want him to clock it to 4.

But if you have a stock heatsink on, try to get it to 2.8ghz-2.9ghz. That should be easy to get to since the 620 is already clocked at 2.6. After that I'd recommend an aftermarket heatsink if you want to go any higher. (I suggest the Hyper 212+)

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...



Hey!

Thanks for the suggestions. I clocked it to 2,9 Ghz without any problems. And by that I gained from 14000 points in 3dmark 06 to around 15300 points. So I suppose it is much the processor bottlenecking my system. Do you think it would be wise to go for a phenom processor instead? Because after all my current processor doesnt even have an L3 cache...

Thanks!

Robin
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 12, 2010 1:37:13 PM

I wouldn't just yet. I think I'd take azn's suggestion and buy a Hyper, or a True, or any other quality HSF, and keep playing with those clocks.
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December 12, 2010 2:27:16 PM

jack_attack said:
I wouldn't just yet. I think I'd take azn's suggestion and buy a Hyper, or a True, or any other quality HSF, and keep playing with those clocks.


Is that so? Do you think I could gain as much as switching to a phenom processor? And also: Is the only limit for overclocking the temperatures or are there other things I have to take into calculation? Or could it be better to try to by a processor second hand?

Kind regards
Robin
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December 12, 2010 2:32:54 PM

aznshinobi said:
Haha oh jack. Well I'd want him to clock it to 4.

But if you have a stock heatsink on, try to get it to 2.8ghz-2.9ghz. That should be easy to get to since the 620 is already clocked at 2.6. After that I'd recommend an aftermarket heatsink if you want to go any higher. (I suggest the Hyper 212+)

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...



Because according to this review, the processor requires quite a bit of overclocking in order to match it's Phenom big brother. Isn't it wiser to go for a totally new processor then?

http://www.pureoverclock.com/review.php?id=820&page=4
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Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
December 12, 2010 3:10:46 PM

Yes, it will take a lot of juice to match a PII x4, but the Athlon and Phenom are geared at different markets. Your Athlon is the vanilla, office computing workhorse, where the Phenom is geared more to performance customers.

It's up to you really if you'd like to get into a Phenom. If it was my money, I'd clock it as high as I could, and wait until Bulldozer comes. Even if you can't get something from the Bulldozer line, it should shove prices of the current flagships down.

Overclocking has lots of variables, with temp and voltage being those that can cause harm. I'm not an AMD clocker, so I really don't have voltages and temps off my head, but you can google those. Play it safe though. If the AMD white paper says the max temperature for your chip is 60C, I wouldn't call 59C safe, but that's just me, I like my things to last. It's primarily a game of trial and error, walking the chip up a bit higher each time, finding what works and what doesn't. It's fun and frustrating at the same time, again because of the variables. Just play with it, and watch those temps.
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December 12, 2010 3:19:18 PM

jack_attack said:
Yes, it will take a lot of juice to match a PII x4, but the Athlon and Phenom are geared at different markets. Your Athlon is the vanilla, office computing workhorse, where the Phenom is geared more to performance customers.

It's up to you really if you'd like to get into a Phenom. If it was my money, I'd clock it as high as I could, and wait until Bulldozer comes. Even if you can't get something from the Bulldozer line, it should shove prices of the current flagships down.

Overclocking has lots of variables, with temp and voltage being those that can cause harm. I'm not an AMD clocker, so I really don't have voltages and temps off my head, but you can google those. Play it safe though. If the AMD white paper says the max temperature for your chip is 60C, I wouldn't call 59C safe, but that's just me, I like my things to last. It's primarily a game of trial and error, walking the chip up a bit higher each time, finding what works and what doesn't. It's fun and frustrating at the same time, again because of the variables. Just play with it, and watch those temps.


You've got a point. And if I purchase one of those better heatsinks, it will still be useful if and when I choose to switch to a more powerful Phenom. I saw a benchmark and that heatsink is able to lower the temperature by almost 20 degrees celsius, which provides a huge space for overclocking when it comes to the temperature. The voltage on the other hand, how much am I supposed to adjust it per 100 Mhz overclocked?
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 12, 2010 3:26:06 PM

Best answer? It depends. Each and every chip is different, so you have to play with it yourself. For example, my chip needed no extra voltage to go from 2.4Ghz stock, to 3.1Ghz. To get to 3.5, it needed quite a bit.

I'd advise against letting the BIOS run your voltages, which I assume you're not doing, just clearing up. BIOS always love to overvolt chips for stability, when it's not always needed.
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December 12, 2010 3:51:41 PM

Best answer selected by sacru.
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December 12, 2010 4:24:33 PM

jack_attack said:
Best answer? It depends. Each and every chip is different, so you have to play with it yourself. For example, my chip needed no extra voltage to go from 2.4Ghz stock, to 3.1Ghz. To get to 3.5, it needed quite a bit.

I'd advise against letting the BIOS run your voltages, which I assume you're not doing, just clearing up. BIOS always love to overvolt chips for stability, when it's not always needed.


No, I won't let BIOS adjust the voltages.

One last question: If I'm going to swap the heatsink, I should apply some new cooling paste, right? But how do I remove the remains of the old cooling paste?

/Robin
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 12, 2010 4:29:21 PM

Yep, clean it off good. I use a touch of alcohol and a lint-free cloth, it seems to work well. I've been trying a new method I read about a few weeks back lately, and it seems to work well. On the HSF, i drop a bit of thermal paste and spread it very, very thin with a credit card, so it's barely visible, then I do the usual on the chip. I get a touch lower temps that way. Follow the TIM manufacturers recommendations for the rest, or AS5's.

http://www.arcticsilver.com/methods.html
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December 12, 2010 4:39:42 PM

jack_attack said:
Best answer? It depends. Each and every chip is different, so you have to play with it yourself. For example, my chip needed no extra voltage to go from 2.4Ghz stock, to 3.1Ghz. To get to 3.5, it needed quite a bit.

I'd advise against letting the BIOS run your voltages, which I assume you're not doing, just clearing up. BIOS always love to overvolt chips for stability, when it's not always needed.


And also I'd like to ask:

What tools might I need in order to install the Coolermaster Hyper 212+ ? Since it isn't as easy as installing a regular AM2+ stock cooler. Are there any good HSF:s that are as easy to install as the stock cooler or do they all require extra efforts and removing the MB from the case?

Kind regards
Robin
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 12, 2010 5:06:56 PM

You'll just need a phillips screwdriver judging by the photos. You'll need to remove the stock AM2 backplate, and replace it with the Hyper's backplate that's supplied. I don't know of any aftermarket heatsinks that use the stock retention system, since it's not the most effective for heat transfer. It's just easy to install, and works, and that's why they use it. Most motherboard trays have a space cut out for backplate removal and installation, you shouldnt have to remove the board.
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