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GTX 260 Underperforming

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December 15, 2010 8:23:08 PM

My system has been underperforming for a good while now. Unfortunately in that time I haven't been able to do some serious investigating or RMA'ing. One constantly needs a computer for college after all.

Anyways, a good summary of my issues can be found in this thread on a gaming site: http://www.gamereplays.org/community/index.php?showtopi...

Little to nothing has changed since then. I did just pull out the heatsink and reapplied some thermal paste(to see if the CPU was overheating and causing a bottleneck). That dropped my CPU temp from 40-50 to 20-30 idle, but I can barely even run 3d mark. I get an average of 6 frames just on the first test. My CPU temp goes through the roof on the rest 80+ before the reapplication of TP), forcing me to shut the test down.

Anyways, any suggestions would be most welcome. I'm beginning to think I have a back card.
a b U Graphics card
December 15, 2010 9:46:29 PM

The CPU (being your processor) overheats? Or the GPU (graphics card) overheats? I just want to make sure I'm as clear as possible. Considering your CPU now idles at 20-30... I'd be amazed if it was overheating.

First of all, according to your other thread, your GTX 260 is overclocked. The FIRST thing you should do if you think it's not performing right is GET RID OF THE OVERCLOCK. No question on that one. You need to reset this card to default and then try it. Also keep in mind, unstable Overclocks on a GPU can cause all kinds of issues. Let alone you can potentially damage a GPU by overclocking it if you aren't very careful.

IF your CPU is the one that's overheating, you may really need to take a look at ventilation through your computer case. Can you tell us what case you're using?

Also, as I read through your other thread, it sounds like there's some inconsistency. You can play Battle Field 2142 without a problem, but Oblivion and BFME2 have issues. Now, Oblivion with numerous modifications installed taxes even my GTX 470. There are so many mods that changes textures and things available, you can make that game fairly impressive.

Also, on the second page of that thread, you posted pictures suggesting your i7-920 is at 44C CPU Core. However, it lists your individual Core Temps as much higher, one of which is 61C. Was this temperature and photo taken while the computer was "at idle"? If so, your temps are way too high. Are you using the cooling fan that came with your i7-920 in the box? The Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs should not be used above 70C. So if you're sitting at 61C while doing nothing, you're already very hot. So the instant you start playing a game that CPU is going to become way too hot, and is going to start throttling itself (slowing down) to keep from melting down.



Also, the thread you linked to is from July of 2009, and you indicate that you already RMA'd your video card to EVGA once and the new card they sent you didn't fix your issue. So the video card probably isn't your issue to begin with.
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December 15, 2010 10:25:52 PM

Hi, and thanks for the reply!

jerreece said:
The CPU (being your processor) overheats? Or the GPU (graphics card) overheats? I just want to make sure I'm as clear as possible. Considering your CPU now idles at 20-30... I'd be amazed if it was overheating.


It's the CPU that begins to overheat.


jerreece said:

First of all, according to your other thread, your GTX 260 is overclocked. The FIRST thing you should do if you think it's not performing right is GET RID OF THE OVERCLOCK. No question on that one. You need to reset this card to default and then try it. Also keep in mind, unstable Overclocks on a GPU can cause all kinds of issues. Let alone you can potentially damage a GPU by overclocking it if you aren't very careful.


I did attempt to OC my original GPU, but I never tried it on the (current) one I received in the RMA. It remains at factory default settings.

jerreece said:

IF your CPU is the one that's overheating, you may really need to take a look at ventilation through your computer case. Can you tell us what case you're using?


I have an Antec 900 II, 6 120mm fans (the two front ones, with the top slot having 2. A side fan, rear fan, and one on the heatsink (Noctua NH-U12P), and the 1 200mm fan). Cooling shouldn't be an issue.

jerreece said:

Also, as I read through your other thread, it sounds like there's some inconsistency. You can play Battle Field 2142 without a problem, but Oblivion and BFME2 have issues. Now, Oblivion with numerous modifications installed taxes even my GTX 470. There are so many mods that changes textures and things available, you can make that game fairly impressive.


I can play all three games (2142, BfME2, Oblivion) fine... with the very lowest setting of graphics. I don't mind that with 2142, but it hurts with games like Oblivion. I originally intended to use a lot of those fancy graphics mods, but I ended up not doing so as my system can't even handle it on Medium settings.

jerreece said:

Also, on the second page of that thread, you posted pictures suggesting your i7-920 is at 44C CPU Core. However, it lists your individual Core Temps as much higher, one of which is 61C. Was this temperature and photo taken while the computer was "at idle"? If so, your temps are way too high. Are you using the cooling fan that came with your i7-920 in the box? The Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs should not be used above 70C. So if you're sitting at 61C while doing nothing, you're already very hot. So the instant you start playing a game that CPU is going to become way too hot, and is going to start throttling itself (slowing down) to keep from melting down.


As far as I am aware that was taken at idle, though it's very possible that I may have been running something. At the moment I am copying an entire library of music from one hard drive to an external one, and the cores are not getting higher than 53C, avg about 47C. CPU is at about 40C.

jerreece said:

Also, the thread you linked to is from July of 2009, and you indicate that you already RMA'd your video card to EVGA once and the new card they sent you didn't fix your issue. So the video card probably isn't your issue to begin with.


I would agree. The only reason I'm still considering it is from another thread on that forum. Around the same time as my own thread, another individual on that forum had to RMA a card twice because the replacement came back faulty (but it's own replacement (2nd RMA) turned out fine: GTX 280, also EVGA). That made me suspect that I had gotten a faulty replacement as well, though I am long past warranty; so no more RMA'ing.

Again, thanks for the reply!
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a b U Graphics card
December 17, 2010 4:43:54 AM

I'm running an i5-750 @ 4Ghz full time. And at desktop, with an old Xigmatek HDT-S1283 I idle at 35-40C depending on the core. Running background tasks, like file transfers to another disk, will use the CPU some. But that shouldn't be very intensive. Considering your i7-920 was showing as 2.7Ghz (stock I think was 2.66Ghz) you shouldn't be having too high of temperatures on it. 53C seems warmer than it should be if you're just transferring files.

You may want to consider removing your heat sink and reapplying the thermal compound.

Download and install a program like Prime95. Run it in small FFTs mode so it maxes all four CPU cores to 100% use. Monitor temperatures. If you get to 68C or higher shut it down. If your temps go higher than that, especially if they go dramatically higher, you've got a cooling problem. At near stock speeds on your i7 a good heat sink should keep you well below those temps.

Here's a review of i7 coolers that was done using an i7-920 @ stock speeds. This review included the Noctua NH-U12P that you said you're using.
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2009/07/23/intel_core_i7...
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December 17, 2010 12:30:02 PM

jerreece said:
I'm running an i5-750 @ 4Ghz full time. And at desktop, with an old Xigmatek HDT-S1283 I idle at 35-40C depending on the core. Running background tasks, like file transfers to another disk, will use the CPU some. But that shouldn't be very intensive. Considering your i7-920 was showing as 2.7Ghz (stock I think was 2.66Ghz) you shouldn't be having too high of temperatures on it. 53C seems warmer than it should be if you're just transferring files.

You may want to consider removing your heat sink and reapplying the thermal compound.


Hmm, I literally just reapplied the thermal paste before posting this thread, and I did notice a drop in temperature. But, like you said, 53C is still too warm.

jerreece said:

Download and install a program like Prime95. Run it in small FFTs mode so it maxes all four CPU cores to 100% use. Monitor temperatures. If you get to 68C or higher shut it down. If your temps go higher than that, especially if they go dramatically higher, you've got a cooling problem. At near stock speeds on your i7 a good heat sink should keep you well below those temps.

Here's a review of i7 coolers that was done using an i7-920 @ stock speeds. This review included the Noctua NH-U12P that you said you're using.
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2009/07/23/intel_core_i7...


I ran Prime95, and it did get to 68C, at which point I stopped the test. It wasn't shooting up really fast, but I would safely assume it was going to get higher, maybe 72+, in a matter of a minute or so.

So perhaps I need to try a different heatsink? And on that note, what variety of thermal paste would you recommend?

Thank you for your help and your time!! :) 
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a b U Graphics card
December 17, 2010 8:00:38 PM

Yeah, running Prime95 and hitting 68C+ at stock speeds on the i7-920 doesn't seem right. Not when you've got the Noctua cooler, which reviews seemed to suggest does very well.

What kind of thermal paste are you using now? And how do you apply it?

Most commonly recommended (for good reason) is AS5 (Arctic Silver 5). You can get it in small or large quantities at NewEgg.com and other places for fairly inexpensive. Also keep in mind that SOME thermal pastes require some cure time before you hit optimal thermal transfer. So in some cases your temperatures actually drop over a couple weeks time period as things 'settle in'.

I just have a hard time with your temperatures when I consider my i5 OC'd to 4Ghz hitting similar temps with Prime95 as your i7 does basically at stock temps. What are your ambient room temperatures?
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December 18, 2010 12:39:15 AM

jerreece said:
Yeah, running Prime95 and hitting 68C+ at stock speeds on the i7-920 doesn't seem right. Not when you've got the Noctua cooler, which reviews seemed to suggest does very well.

What kind of thermal paste are you using now? And how do you apply it?

Most commonly recommended (for good reason) is AS5 (Arctic Silver 5). You can get it in small or large quantities at NewEgg.com and other places for fairly inexpensive. Also keep in mind that SOME thermal pastes require some cure time before you hit optimal thermal transfer. So in some cases your temperatures actually drop over a couple weeks time period as things 'settle in'.


I'm using Noctua NT-H1 as my thermal paste. I do have AS5 on hand though. My last application was 1 1/2 of a (uncooked) rice grain, vertically on the CPU. Placed the Heatsink on it and let it spread naturally.

jerreece said:

I just have a hard time with your temperatures when I consider my i5 OC'd to 4Ghz hitting similar temps with Prime95 as your i7 does basically at stock temps. What are your ambient room temperatures?


My side of our house is poorly insulated, so my room tends to be hotter than the rest. However, I always have a ceiling fan on, and leave the door open for circulation. Is ambient temperature going to effect that computer that much?
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February 26, 2011 12:12:25 AM

Well, tried a few things, but still no luck. I'd appreciate any help that I could get on this. :( 
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