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What is the bottleneck in my system? (AMD Ph II X4 955, HD 5770)

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January 10, 2011 1:21:58 PM

OK, so about 8 months ago I build my first system. I had a reasonable budget but nowhere close to what I needed for an i7 build or anything. But I am ready for a quick upgrade and was wondering what the bottleneck in my system is.

When I am multitasking, browsing the web, watching a movie, music, email, online banking, downloading, (haha not ALL at the same time) my PC doesn't have a problem. But when I launch a game, even if it is an older game, or a newer game at very low settings, the graphics card in my machine instantly starts screaming and I don't have very good frame rates.

This leads me to believe that I should probably just upgrade my graphics card. But I would also appreciate it if you guys took a look at my motherboard as well. I went a little cheap on that side of things and I'm wondering if maybe my mobo is bottle necking the system at all as well.

Here is my build:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681... >Phenom II X4 955
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681... >Gigabyte 770TA-UD3 Mobo
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682... >3 sticks of these (one of them were bad and G.SKILL ignores my emails)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681... >XFX ATI HD Radeon 5770

Thanks in advance for your help it is greatly appreciated! Let me know if you need more info on the system.

Moderator Edit to fix your links.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 10, 2011 1:56:06 PM

Your MB is fine. 700 series chipset, but overall it is fine for a single GPU setup.

Your 5770 is solid and should give you decent frame rates paired with your quad core phenom.

You have 6GB of memory (3x2GB)? If so, take one out or add a fourth. You have dual channel memory and running outside of a paired configuration will degrade your performance. This is where I would start... 4GB of memory is fine for gaming.

IF you are ready for an upgrade, check out the HD 6850 / 6870.
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January 10, 2011 2:27:06 PM

sadams04 said:
Your MB is fine. 700 series chipset, but overall it is fine for a single GPU setup.

Your 5770 is solid and should give you decent frame rates paired with your quad core phenom.

You have 6GB of memory (3x2GB)? If so, take one out or add a fourth. You have dual channel memory and running outside of a paired configuration will degrade your performance. This is where I would start... 4GB of memory is fine for gaming.

IF you are ready for an upgrade, check out the HD 6850 / 6870.


Alright thanks for the quick reply, although I have a few questions.

Is it not possible to have the 2 sticks of RAM run in dual channel and have the 3rd one run as a single channel? Do you think this is the reason for my my low frame rate?

Also, if I was to upgrade to something like the 6850 or 70, do you think that a card that powerful would be held back by anything else in my build?

Thanks
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 10, 2011 2:36:13 PM

Memory - No. Not possible to do that type of real time switching between single and dual channel at the hardware level. It will all be running at single channel... This COULD be your problem for low(er) frame rates.

The 6850 or 6870 would be good matches for your build.
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January 10, 2011 2:46:48 PM

Alright thanks for the tips guys. I will run a few benchmarks, then try the RAM fix, and re-run the benchmarks, posting the results here. I will also seriously consider upgrading to a 6850 or 70. Their prices are quite reasonable anyways.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 10, 2011 2:46:58 PM

The 5770 is no slouch. It should be able to play most games on at least medium settings.
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January 10, 2011 2:51:40 PM

as mentioned, dual channel that memory ! add a stick or take one away until you can.

at that point to determine bottleneck pelase include screen resolution you game at, titles, and that kind of HDD you have as this could also be a bottleneck
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 10, 2011 5:59:40 PM

If you check out the G-skill forums there was some compatibility issues with the gskill ram and the amd chipsets. A lot of times there are stability issues if ytou run outside the speed paramaters. http://gskill.us/forum/showthread.php?t=2977
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January 10, 2011 6:00:36 PM

After updating the driver and taking out a stick of ram, my score on 3DMark06 has increased by an average of 300 points which is decent. I am still not getting the performance that I would like and might consider getting the 6850 or something similar.

To answer your question GOOfy, the resolution I play my games at is 1920x1080. I play games casually and switch around playing different games such as Black Ops, the new Medal of Honor, Fallout: New Vegas, Star Craft 2. The only title out of those that I can play at close to max settings is SC2, and even then it drops a little during harsher clips. New Vegas seems to be the worst of them all. Now that I am thinking, I remember making an attempt to play GTA 4 a month back and at the lowest possible settings my machine was dropping many frames. It was barely playable (I didn't have a frame counter on but I'm guessing it was around 18 frames.

Thanks again
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January 10, 2011 6:03:22 PM

evilavatar said:
If you check out the G-skill forums there was some compatibility issues with the gskill ram and the amd chipsets. A lot of times there are stability issues if ytou run outside the speed paramaters. http://gskill.us/forum/showthread.php?t=2977


Thanks for bringing this up to me. I have only skimmed through that post so far but intend to read it with more attention in a few minutes. But if my RAM was at unacceptable settings, would you happen to know if this would show up in Memtest? I ran Memtest for a few hours the other day without a single error. Everything was perfect.
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January 10, 2011 6:23:25 PM

skyturnred said:
After updating the driver and taking out a stick of ram, my score on 3DMark06 has increased by an average of 300 points which is decent. I am still not getting the performance that I would like and might consider getting the 6850 or something similar.

To answer your question GOOfy, the resolution I play my games at is 1920x1080. I play games casually and switch around playing different games such as Black Ops, the new Medal of Honor, Fallout: New Vegas, Star Craft 2. The only title out of those that I can play at close to max settings is SC2, and even then it drops a little during harsher clips. New Vegas seems to be the worst of them all. Now that I am thinking, I remember making an attempt to play GTA 4 a month back and at the lowest possible settings my machine was dropping many frames. It was barely playable (I didn't have a frame counter on but I'm guessing it was around 18 frames.

Thanks again


What 3dMark06 score are you getting currently? I've built close to 200 PCs over the past 5-6 years and I have a 3d06 score on all of them in a spreadsheet. I've used a 5770 for a couple of builds so I can give you an idea of what my builds get. For example, I built a Phenom II X4 965BE on a 780G board with 4Gb of DDR2 memory using a 5770 and got around 15,500 - this is very similar to your build. Another build on a 785G with DDR3, but the same processor (oc'd to 3.8GHz, though) and 5770, got about 16,800 (which is the highest of seen a 5770 go without overclocking graphics).

I'd definitely do as others say and go down to 4Gb (make sure you put the two in the same channel). Definitely do not use GTA4 as any kind of measuring stick. However, New Vegas is not that demanding. heck, I'm running it on a 5870 1Gb in 5760x1080 eyefinity and having zero issues with it (of course, the 980x may have something to do with that, too) but my son plays it with a 5770 (the DDR2 build above) at 1920x1080 and has no issues with it so I would be concerned that there's something wrong. Perhaps software related, though, because you're hardware is fine and should work perfectly for the games you're playing.
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January 10, 2011 6:29:46 PM

1920x1080 should be fine for any title listed, fallout is the most demanding robably but here's some benches

fallout newvegas
http://www.hardwareheaven.com/reviews/1067/pg6/xfx-rade...

as for GTA IV ignroe it, that is a bad console port that can bring high end machines to thier knees, its badly programed

what about your HDD , if its older and slower it might be handycapping your system, i rememebr i made a new build for a friend who insisted on keeping his 5400rpm ide hdd because it "wasn't full" so he got a phenom II, 8 gigs ram, a gtx460 ... and his computer was still slow, after a bit he let me order him a ssd for OS and a good 7200 rpm sata drive for games, helped his system alot, trying to see if your situation is the same or not... your system should be running evertyign you've mentioned except gtaIV really well


gj on getting the memory back into dual channel mode , as you saw with 3dmark this will help alot
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 10, 2011 6:57:55 PM

The hard drive would improve load times, but that's about it. Once games are launched, they are loaded into the RAM, and the hard drive sits by the wayside.

Download fraps, and check out what your frame rates are.
http://www.fraps.com/
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January 10, 2011 7:48:52 PM

After reading your posts and tips, the problems are my standards and lack of experience. I am getting a very similar score to what dkapke said a similar build had. And I didn't know GTA 4 was written bad.

Thanks everyone for your help I learned a lot and decided that I should probably upgrade to a 6850. My 5770 is fine but I'd like better.

I also appreciate the help with the RAM I would never have known that.

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January 10, 2011 9:54:39 PM

If it's possible, or if you haven't already, I would suggest getting an SSD. In the stuff that you posted, you didn't say whether or not you had one.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 10, 2011 10:12:23 PM

I say if you want a good jump in performance then get a 6870. If you get a 6850 then overclock it. Just make sure your PSU is decent enough to handle it. Your motherboard is fine and is actually pretty decent. You may want to consider overclocking your CPU as well, but only with an aftermarket cooler :D .
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Best solution

January 11, 2011 1:17:19 PM

skyturnred said:
After reading your posts and tips, the problems are my standards and lack of experience. I am getting a very similar score to what dkapke said a similar build had. And I didn't know GTA 4 was written bad.

Thanks everyone for your help I learned a lot and decided that I should probably upgrade to a 6850. My 5770 is fine but I'd like better.

I also appreciate the help with the RAM I would never have known that.

A 6850 is not much of an upgrade over a 5770. It's decent, but I think you'll be disappointed and my gut says you'll barely notice. They're GREAT when crossfired but as an "upgrade" to a 5770, well, you'd be wasting your money. A 6870 is a good upgrade...not the 6850...not for the money you have to spend versus the speed increase. And, also like Megamanx00 said, with the 5770 you barely need to worry about your PSU amperage and pretty much any ol' PSU can drive them (which is why I love them so much). With a 6850/6870, you need top pay attention to that, which could mean a new PSU, too.
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January 13, 2011 10:49:05 PM

dkapke said:
A 6850 is not much of an upgrade over a 5770. It's decent, but I think you'll be disappointed and my gut says you'll barely notice. They're GREAT when crossfired but as an "upgrade" to a 5770, well, you'd be wasting your money. A 6870 is a good upgrade...not the 6850...not for the money you have to spend versus the speed increase. And, also like Megamanx00 said, with the 5770 you barely need to worry about your PSU amperage and pretty much any ol' PSU can drive them (which is why I love them so much). With a 6850/6870, you need top pay attention to that, which could mean a new PSU, too.


alright thanks for your help everyone i will consider getting the following as upgrades:

6870
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=14-102-9...

650w psu
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=17-139-0...

and yes i've experimented with OCing the CPU but even at stock settings with my current HSF I am hitting 60C in a matter of minutes of running prime 95.

EDIT:

i also considered getting an SSD but its not currently worth it for me. I am having decent load and boot times with the drives i have now. i will also be setting up raid 0 to help a bit. when the time comes for me to upgrade to an SSD hopefully they will cost half as much if not less.
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January 19, 2011 5:04:03 PM

skyturnred said:
alright thanks for your help everyone i will consider getting the following as upgrades:

6870
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=14-102-9...

650w psu
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=17-139-0...

and yes i've experimented with OCing the CPU but even at stock settings with my current HSF I am hitting 60C in a matter of minutes of running prime 95.

EDIT:

i also considered getting an SSD but its not currently worth it for me. I am having decent load and boot times with the drives i have now. i will also be setting up raid 0 to help a bit. when the time comes for me to upgrade to an SSD hopefully they will cost half as much if not less.

60C is nothing on the AMD processors. In fact, I wouldn't even worry about 70C - they just simply run hotter. I've used a Hyper 212+ (best air cooler..and CHEAP) and I can only get a stock 955/965 down to around 55C at full load (prime95). You'll hit 60C pretty quick but don't worry about it if that's all it gets after 20-30 minutes. heck, I wouldn't worry about 70C, honestly, on the stock cooler. With AMD's processors, you really don't need to worry about anything 70 and under. OC away!

Just in case you were wondering, my 980X on a Corsair H50 still runs close to 70C when I'm doing video encoding and hitting all 12 threads at 100%, and that's with only a mild OC to 3.75Ghz. And I've yet to ever have a problem with it since I got it and I probably encode 20-30 movies a month (trying to catch up on my collection, but dang that takes time).
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January 29, 2011 1:33:22 PM

Best answer selected by skyturnred.
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