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Need help figureing out where my system is bottlenecked

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Last response: in Systems
June 17, 2011 9:24:16 PM

Hey all i recently upgraded my video card and my psu hoping that it would improve my gaming performance and it really hasnt changed at all and the bench mark score barely increased i was wondering where i am bottlenecked here is my rig

Asus amd radeon hd 6850
amd phenom II x4 955 64bit
750w thermaltake psu
8gb ocz reaper ram
biostar ta790gxe 128m motherboard

running windows 7 x64pro
thanks for all the help if you need any other info let me know

ive never noticed the cpu or the ram meter over 50% but i dont ever play in windowed mode.

More about : figureing system bottlenecked

June 17, 2011 10:21:45 PM

What was your old video card, and what benchmark are you running?

Also, how many monitors do you have, and what resolution do they run?
June 17, 2011 10:33:11 PM

Depending on the benchmark these results may not be unusual. Some benchmarks do not test the GPU, so no change in your score would be normal in such cases.
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June 17, 2011 10:40:45 PM

Your processor is the bottleneck.
June 17, 2011 10:46:10 PM

i had a ati radeon hd 4890 and i am using uninengine heaven. one monitor running 1920 x 1080.
June 18, 2011 12:42:14 AM

I would think you should be getting good gaming.

To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

1) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.

2) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.
June 18, 2011 1:26:15 AM

Your bottleneck is almost definitely your graphics card. It's easy to figure this out.

*For the following example, pretend that it's a SINGLE CORE CPU then I'll explain how a multi-core CPU is different:

1. Open the Task Manager (CTRL-ALT-DEL); set CPU to "one graph, all CPUs" and the update history speed to "LOW"
2. Leave TM running and open a video game. Run the game for at least five minutes
3. Close the game and look at the TM.

Analysis #1 (pretend one core only):

Result: the CPU shows 50% usage on average
Conclusion: Your system can handle a graphics card which is "2x better" than your current card. Google a benchmark which has your current card in the list and look for a card that scores frame rates of 2x (such as 60FPS versus 30FPS). That new card would max out your CPU. Any better card would be a waste of money (unless you can overclock the CPU, but then just rerun the test).

Analysis #2 (real-world, multi-core)
-**You MUST set TM to... One Graph Per CPU to show all the graphs.
- *if Hyper-threading is enabled, the overall CPU average is completely incorrect. With a FOUR-CORE CPU with hyper-threading enabled you will see EIGHT THREADS. You MUST analyze Task Manager showing all cores AND look at the cores only (not the threads). The first graph is CORE0 (first CPU core), the second is the thread (ignore). So observe graph #1, #3, #5 and #7.
- Assume graph #1 is at 50% and the rest are below that.
- Analysis: you can likely handle at least 2x the quality of graphics card you currently have.

Why not exact..
Games are currently unable to use all of the cores to 100% even if the graphics cards were not a bottleneck, the software just is not written yet to allow this. So 100% for a particular game may be 50% of the available CPU processing power.

It is kind of confusing, but using the above methods results in a good estimate. The only way to be certain is to try increasingly better cards and see where the results stop improving (obviously not recommended).

Games vary in CPU and Graphics usage:
One game might use 50% of your CPU processing power and another might use only 15%. It is a good idea to average at least three games.

It is also interesting to note that the emphasis is switching to use the graphics cards more than the CPU. Future graphics cards will also be better post-bus meaning that if a current card or cards bottlenecked your PCIe bus, future cards would do a better job of processing.

Much of System Benchmarks include the CPU score as well. What is most important is how well a particular game improves with the new graphics card.

Your graphics card will play many games quite well. You may need to experiment with certain settings to optimize the Quality vs Framerate ratio. Anti-Aliasing, Anisotropic Filtering, Shadows and Bloom make a huge difference. Some people prefer to have 4xAA and lower other quality settings and some people prefer better graphics quality at the expense of jagged edges showing with no AA enabled.

The bottom line is that your system is likely working fine and is bottlenecked by your graphics card.

I do not recommend you buy a new graphics card since you just got a new one. Basically you have two options:
1) buy a second card for Crossfire (if supported by Motherboard)
2) adjust quality settings so frame rates are acceptable

1) In the future you should be able to buy a graphics card of between 2x and 4x the quality.
2) Overclocking the CPU allows for a better graphics card to be installed. However, do not overclock the CPU if there is no gaming benefit to it (your graphics card is the bottleneck). I use my Gigabyte motherboard software to overclock my CPU only when converting video (it uses 100% of my CPU). I set my i7-860 back to default settings after I am done converting videos.
3) It is likely AMD will eventually create a desktop APU card (graphics + CPU). It will be at least a year, but when these cards come out we will see some interesting benchmarks.

Basically a game (ignoring the hard drive for loading times) is bottlenecked by one of four parts:
a) the CPU, or
b) the GPU, or
c) the PCIe bus (main bus between CPU, RAM, and graphics card(s).), or
d) the System RAM

If AMD produces an APU PCIe card something will end up being bottlenecked. If an existing computer has a CPU that already comes close to bottlenecking the RAM or System Bus there is no point in getting an APU card, it would be best to get just a regular graphics card that is balanced with your CPU (in some games the CPU is the bottleneck, in other games the graphics card is the bottleneck).

What will be REALLY INTERESTING is if they also incorporate RAM for the game to be loaded onto (like System RAM part 2). What this means is that the game could be loaded onto the new APU card Memory, then processed by the on-card CPU and GPU. While it could also use the current CPU the truly amazing thing is that they could remove your existing system bottlenecks by basically moving everything onto that single card.

In other words, any computer with a PCIe bus could be massively improved.

There is lots of evidence to suggest this will happen:
a) The APU is just being released to laptops (and a big success so far).
b) AMD tried (and failed) to produce an external graphics card for laptops. Basically an external card plugs into the main bus of the laptop. The market was not yet ready. However, this was just with a graphics card alone and the headache involved of laptop bottlenecks in memory and CPU. Since an APU can remove these bottlenecks AMD could effectively design an external, or internal card that can simply be added to a supported computer. In the case of a PCIe card most computers today support that.

I think it will be the largest success for laptops. Simply plug in your AMD BOX (with large heatsink and fan) and turn an efficient laptop into a gaming machine.

Sorry to ramble...