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I have quite a lot of questions about my computer setup.

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July 19, 2011 4:14:27 AM

So ive got quite a lot to learn and quite a lot of questions to ask. Mainly im trying to figure out what upgrades i need to get for my computer to be able to run multiple video games with max settings, while running firefox with tons of tabs and windows open, and listening to music whether it be pandora or from software like itunes or spotify. Im trying to go for a 3 monitor nvidia 3d surround setup, but currently am just running 4 different monitors, one being 3d ready.

I currently have $2000 USD to spend on parts. I was hoping to spend some of that on a new 3d monitor, but that can always wait.

Heres my setup...
Case: Haf 912 mid tower ATX case, with a billion different fans installed :p 
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003ZM7YTA

Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth X58
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00407ZUUY

CPU: Intel Core I7 950 i believe its called
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002A6G3V2
Im using a corsair H60 cooling system for my cpu, was hoping i would learn how to overclock after everything is working properly
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004MYFOE2

Ram: 12 gigs of DDR3
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002LZ1FPG

Graphics: 2 Nvidia 460 GTX video cards in SLI mode.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003VWZEBY

Soundcard: Creative XiFi fatality championship edition
http://www.amazon.com/Express-Blaster-Titanium-Fatal1ty...

Hard Drives: A mix of 5600 RPM hard drives using sata, and 2 raided Crucial Technology 128 GB Crucial RealSSD C300 SSD drives that i need help with.
OS: Win7 64 bit
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0039SM0AS

PSU: Tuniq Ripper 1000W Power Supply, model PSU-RIP1000-BK

My level of experience:
Ive been swapping parts and building computers over left over parts for years now. I havent until recently ever messed with a CPU since i had a bad experience and lost over 1 or 2 grand on a computer once. I can now build a modern gaming computer from scratch. I dont know everything i should, but i know enough to ask for suggestions on parts, and once ive confirmed my setup with someone who knows more about computers, then ill go ahead and buy the parts.

I always have a computer guy that i go to for all my questions, but it just seems like no one knows enough, and i just have the worst luck when it comes to technology. Everything always seems to bug or break on me, and when i usually ask people whats wrong, they tend to say, "Ive never seen anything like this before." Ive even been told several times that i have the worst luck with technology :p 


Anyways, lets get to the point.

Ive been wanting to make sure i have this computer built properly and running at its full potential. My computer guy told me that i should avoid using my ssd drives on my 6 gig sata plugs. He said for some reason the marvel raid software i guess u could call it, sucks. He suggested i just use the regular sata ports, and the intel raid config.
I dont really know anything about SSD drives, i was told they are faster, and ive heard that if they arent on, u can drop them without any damage to the files or software.

I asked a question on Yahoo Answers about running games off slave drives i believe you would call it. I mentioned my SSD setup, and someone told me i should get a different hard drive that uses PCI Express X16 or is it 16X? He mentioned that i shouldnt ever use SSD drives with sata, because that bottle necks the performance. I currently dont want to spend the money on a new hard drive because i just finally saved up enough for a new monitor that i want to get. On top of that, i feel like i just payed for this stuff, even though it was back in january.

So can someone please help me understand what i can do about my situation, what i did wrong, and what i should do or what i shouldve done?

EDIT:
So i wanted to update the OP with some more info. I figure the best way to ask this question is in a hypothetical scenario.
So lets say i wanted to buy a new computer setup, and i still had this computer. What would i want to do differently to get better performance for running all my games and what not.
My goal is to have a computer that can run any game on max settings for at least another year or two. I will want to be able to that with nvidias 3d vision surround setup. I will be buying a new monitor eventually and need help figuring out which one would be my best bet. I will then start saving up for a 2nd and then 3rd monitor of the same type or a very similar monitor with the same resolution, refresh rate, and fps.
Could i or should i save any of the parts i have in this current computer for the new computer i would be buying? If so which parts should i keep and which parts should i replace to get the most bang for my buck?

I also wanna know if theres anything i should change or adjust for my current computer. Is the setup i have right now the best way to have everything connected, with the parts i have, or should i adjust settings or the setup in which my parts are... setup :p 
I have money i can spend right now but i was hoping to use that for a new 3d monitor.

EDIT: heres some more info in case you miss the last big post i made.

i got around to running the 2 tests to check whether my cpu or video card is holding me back. Heres what i came up with...

Using battlefield bad co 2 for the testing, in single player. Using fraps to monitor my fps, and the windows gadget on the first page of the selection, which is supposed to monitor my cpu and ram.

The game on average was running around 25 fps. Would drop to 19, and would hit 30 depending on what was going on in game.
I dropped all the settings to the bare minimum, and saw my fps shoot up to a consistent 60fps. Only time it didnt show 60, was when for some reason it showed 61 fps.

The entire time, with all my usual background stuff running, i was using between 20-30% of my cpu, and between 40-50% of my ram.

When i tried turning nvidias 3d vision on, my fps dropped down to 1-2 fps but didnt see any changes in the percentages for my cpu and ram on the gadget.

I then limited my cpu to run at a max of 70% and kept the minimum where it was.
I didnt notice anything except for a slight drop in fps but im fairly certain that was due to the game not the change in settings.

I just want to be able to run any future games for the next 2-4 years with max setting and no problems. Ill gladly pay for any upgrade necessary down the road, even if it meant i would have to deal with 1 gig of ddr2 ram until i could afford 12+ gigs of ddr2/3. Not that that would ever happen, but just making a point.

I will be purchasing 3d monitors, because i want to be able to run a full nvidia 3d vision setup.
I was hoping to set aside some of the money i have saved up to get 1 monitor, and then spend the rest on either 1 or 2 of the biggest upgrades i would need to get me where im trying to go.

The thing that i found odd about my current setup was that based of the tests i ran, it seemed i need to upgrade to a better vid card(s). But when i click on the windows experience rating everything seems to be balanced.

overall rating is 7.5
cpu is 7.5
ram is 7.5
graphics for windows aero is 7.6
graphics for 3d gaming is 7.6
primary hard disk transfer rate is 7.9

I dont know enough about computer parts, so if there are any links to guides that u guys know of pls let me know.

I still know very little, even after reading about the SSD drives, i didnt see any info on how exactly an SSD drive works compared to a regular one. I dont even know how to check which type or brand of SSD drives im using other than taking them out of the case which is a pain.

I just wanna make sure im not bottle necking any of that performance.


So i understand a bit better what i want to upgrade. But still dont have enough info to go off of. I could use a new motherboard, but am not sure if i need one, i hate knowing that the marvel controller is slower than the intel one and i kinda wish i had 3 PCI E slots for another video card.
I know i need to buy a new internal sound card, i cant take this terrible creative x-fi card anymore, i might even need to buy an external sound card on top of the new one, since ive been dieing to get my DJ setup going.
I wish i was running one big SSD drive, but im fine with the two i have raided together, if all they really affect gaming wise and multitasking wise, is the load times, i have no problem with that. I just want more performance that will last.

I kinda want a bit more ram but i believe im fine because most of the problems im having that would relate to ram, seem to be software issues. For example, firefox lags a lot, but thats because i have probably over 1000 bookmarks, and im not throwing that number around loosely, on top of all the add ons i have, the fact that i keep my bookmarks all in my toolbar, and i like to have around 30-120 tabs at any given moment lol.
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
July 19, 2011 7:30:53 AM

It's not SSID, that is a networking term. It's SSD - Solid State Disk. It has no moving parts.

Some SSDs are so fast that they need newer "SATA 6GB/s" ports. These can be found on newer motherboards, like yours.

Not all SSDs need those ports. Just some of the newer, fastest kind. I have heard of no issues with the controllers on the Asus Sabertooth.

So be clearer about your SSD drives please.

Also, list your PSU.
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July 19, 2011 9:20:11 AM

Thanks, ill correct that. Im using 2 Crucial Technology 128 GB Crucial RealSSD C300 hard drives raided together with the intel controller. I couldnt find a lot of info on the new 6 gig sata ports other than an explenation on what it is, so i couldnt figure out if i should be using the SSD drives on there. I was having problems running one of my 1 TB drives on the 6 gig sata, but was able to fix it by moving my disk drive to the 6 gig port, and the 1 TB drive to a regular sata port.

Donno why the PSU would matter much, but its an older one i had that came with a huge Sword M case that i purchased ages ago. It says its a Tuniq Ripper 1000W Power Supply, the model is PSU-RIP1000-BK.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
July 19, 2011 10:16:04 AM

Those are 6GB/S drives, but I see your dilemma. The controller is reportedly slower in RAID than the Intel. It has to do with the way the Marvel control connects to the rest of the system. It connects to the system via PCI-E, just like the two video cards, and there is only so much room. There are a limited number of PCI-E "lanes" and these devices are all competing for them, and that makes the 6GB/s ports slower.

So, as long as you have the two drives and you want to RAID 0 them, the best choice is the Intel ports. That's the way to get the best performance out of your SSDs. You don't need a Revo drive, which was what the guy was talking about... in fact, that would not help your situation at all, as I have already explained you are low on PCI-E lanes.
Revo Drive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Your system seems OK. It's not well balanced. You spent too much for SSDs and some of that should have gone towards better GPUs.

I'm aware of the data that used to say multiple monitors hamper performance, but I have not seen any data on newer GPUs. I suspect it's not a big issue. You could adjust to only one monitor for gaming without unplugging them. Two GTX 460s should handle any game very well.

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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 19, 2011 2:47:28 PM

You have a strong system, and I am not entirely certain I know what your problem is. But here are my thoughts:

1) Multi monitors and gaming is not a big issue. Most games will be directed to the primary monitor.
I use two 2560 x 1600 monitors and a single GTX580 with no issues. I game on one, and the other holds static stuff like e-mail, and monitors. No need to do anything special for performance.
2) I don't much like raid-0 at all. I once used it to combine two Intel 80gb ssd's into a single 160gb image for convenience. Performance in sequential benchmarks was impressive, but I could not tell the difference in everyday usage. A single 160gb drive seemed faster. Raid-0 of a SSD will negate the trim command which keeps the drive at a higher performance level. If a single ssd will hold your os and apps, I would use one that way. You need to specify sata mode as AHCI to get the windows drivers that will pass on the trim command. If you have raid, you will get the intel drivers which will pass on the trim command to non raided ssd's.
3) 5600rpm drives are not great performers. If that matters, look at 1tb wd or samsung 7200rpm drives.
4) None of the drives will saturate the intel sata ports, so put them where you will, so long as they work. When I had a X58 motherboard, I disabled the Marvell controller, to reduce the boot initialization time.
5) SSD performance seems to vary a lot, but in reality, they all perform about the same. What you see is synthetic benchmarks that drive the ssd to it's max at high queue levels using synthetic programs. Neither is what we really do. If you look at response times at low queue levels, they are almost the same. The ssd is very good at small random i/o and that is what the os does. The ssd is very good for the os.
6) You have lots of ram, that is the main thing you need with lots of apps open.
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July 21, 2011 1:49:46 AM

Awesome thanks guys for the info, i still need input and now have a few more questions to ask.

Regarding the SSDs i should be fine? Im already wanting different parts, and am very disappointed in the recommended parts my computer guy gave me.

I have a dilemma that i would really like to argue down to what i need/want. The reason i say argue is because i tend to try and think of any point i can to argue, so that i know im getting what i want, and to help me not make mistakes.

So heres my dilemma. I have 400 dollars saved up, my mother promised to pitch in 100 for a new monitor. I love 3d gaming, but wish my rig was much better.
The reason why is because i love video games, so i really love having max settings for any game i play. Thats not usually a problem, but my fps never seems good enough. Especially when i use 3d in games like battlefield or i believe duke nukem was giving me some trouble.
I wanted this setup to last me a good 4 years without any problems running games, but it seems like in less than a year im gonna want a hole new setup lol.
I was running my monitor at 120hz but for some reason, i the monitor is only hitting 60 in the advance properties and i can no longer turn it up to 120. Is this due to my monitor setup?
Im using 2 other led monitors capped at 60hz, as well as a 3d 1680X1050 monitor which i have at 120hz.

Because i want better 3d performance i want a better setup, cuz i already feel like my computer is lacking. I want to opt for 1 video card that is better than 2 460 gtxs, but dont know if that would be worth it.
I would really like to have my hard drives running at their optimal speed, so if i were able to free up one of the PCI express would that solve my hard drive problem, or would i only be able to use 1 of the SSDs on that slot? I also would like to know how i would go about plugging the hard drive in to PCI-E.
I do reallly like the sound of using 1 SSD over 2 raided ones, but i really need to get some more money for that.

So im wondering if there are any good places where i could sell my video cards and SSD drives that will give me a good amount of money for them, especially since i havent had them for that long imo. If i could sell them and get money for these parts, then i could invest the money ive saved up for the better parts, im hoping.

Also how can i disable the marvel controller? I would love my start up time for windows to be as fast as possible, but i barely know anything about using the bios. Only how to access it, adjust hard drive settings/priorities, and a hand full of other easy tweaks. Also quite a bit of the bios is easy to figure out by what it says, but a lot of it confuses the hell out of me.

If you guys wanna save some time by sending me links to anything that will answer any of my questions, i would appreciate it. I do like having ppl explain things to me, but i dont mind reading a thread or guide so long as it answers my question(s).

Another question i have is about making another thread here in this forum.
Do you guys think i should go ahead and make more threads specific to each topic/question, or would i be better off keeping all of it in one thread.
Ive noticed when i keep things to one thread to save time and space, people tend to not post as much because of the walls of text.

My other questions are regarding moving my router/modem over to another cable socket/wall thing in my room. I wanna know if i have to have somebody come over and move the stuff, or if i can simply move it over to another wall socket thing and just call time warner to activate the internet from the new location.

I also wanted suggestions on 3d monitors for gaming, and what the most common 3 monitor resolution is. I really want to eventually have a 3 monitor setup that i can use for gaming and will allow me to use nvidias 3d surround setup.


Thanks again for all your input and time spent.

EDIT: Just updated the OP with a more streamlined version of what im asking in this post.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 21, 2011 2:12:44 AM

1) A ssd is a sata device, usually. It connects just like any other sata hard drive. The advantage is fast random reads and writes. About 10x what a hard drive can do. That is what the os does mostly. Sequential operations are about 2x what a hard drive will do. Possibly this is an advantage on level loads, but not much els.
2) There are some pci-e ssd drives which are quite fast and very expensive. They are not worth it if you have a budget.

3) Try e-bay for selling parts. Filter for completed auctions of what you are selling to see what the market truly is.

4) You disable the marvell controller in the bios. There may be more than one, so pick the sata asapter.

5) You can move the cable modem without a problem. It is activated to the mac id in the modem, not the cable outlet.

6) I can't speak to 3d gaming. But if you will want three monitors with 3d and eye candy, then you should upgrade those GTX470's to something better. Perhaps a single card like the GTX590 would do the job. It is the only single Nvidia card that will output to 3 monitors. Otherwise, you are looking at sli with GTX580. Anything less will not be that big of a jump so you might be disappointed.

7) Monitors are now being made with TV panels which is 1080P I would expect that to be the most common.

8) If you think your cpu is holding you back, then an overclocked 2500K will be an improvement.
To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

a) 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.

b) 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.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
July 21, 2011 2:29:06 AM

Duke Nukem Forever is poorly coded and will not run well no matter what you do. I did eventually make it through the game all the way, but there were a few places that would crash repeatedly.

The Anandtech SSD FAQ is really quite good. It may deal with some of your disappointment:
http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2069761
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July 21, 2011 3:22:52 AM

Thanks guys, ill get right on that as soon as i get a chance, had a really long day and wanna get my RC car up and running again so thats what im gonna focus on before i get too tired. Ill most likely run the tests and do some more research when i wake up tomorrow.

I got some really good news though. I went over my dilemma with my mother and father, and they agreed to pinch in an extra thousand on top of the 200 i was already promised. So i should have around 1.6 grand USD to spend on upgrading.

Based of what i understand from the last 2 posts u guys made, it seems like my best options were to either get a better mother board, and then upgrade stuff after that, or go for upgrading my video cards/hard drives, and then get a new mother board or something else later.

Im a little confused though when it comes to my hard drives. At first i though u guys were agreeing that im bottle necking the performance. Now based off what geofelt said, it sounds like im not bottle necking the hard drives. Can someone please clarify for me.

One of my favorite setups back in the day was a small raptor hard drive i had that was very fast, i used that for my C drive, and then had my slower hard drives for single player games and things that i didnt care if the performance was hampered. Which is similar to what im wanting with these SSD drives.

I currently am storing all my media and files on a 1TB 5600 rpm drives, as well as games i dont care much about. And then im running firefox and all my multiplayer/favorite games on my SSD raided C: drives.

As for my CPU, i dont really know if its holding me back, so ill run the tests. I figured my CPU was doing fine but im gonna make sure i figure that out.

Im really liking the sound of that PCI E drive, i dont necessarily have budget, i want the best stuff i can get, so i have a budget per upgrade i make, then ill be saving up again for the next part with a new or similar budget.

Thanks again :D 
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
July 21, 2011 7:49:55 AM

Read the link, it will give you a bit more perspective on SSDs. I don't fully agree with Geo on that, but he is on solid ground and it's a good argument. There's a reason I didn't bother getting the fastest SSD available when I bought mine.

Where an SSD will help you is level loading times and file transfers, also installations to some degree although those are sometimes limited to optical drive speeds. An SSD is not going to give you better frame rates or make your games look better.


You should absolutely hold off for a few more months before considering a processor or board upgrade. Intel will release their newer platform towards the end of the year.
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July 21, 2011 8:11:54 PM

i agree with Proximon intels new processors are due to release in Q4 but waiting may not be the best idea depends on your situation. intel will also be releasing a new chipset in Q1 of next year called the "ivory bridge" which shrinks the transistor size from the 32nm of the sandy bridge to 22nm. Which means less power, less heat, and less materials which all in all means more overclocking and more bang for your buck. The greatest thing about these new processors is that they will be lga 1155 socket which is the same socket as the sandy bridge processors!! so if ur in a situation like me i will be getting a intel i5 2500k cpu and a Asus p67 mobo for $350 and later upgrade to an ivory bridge processor without having to change the mobo. The sandy bridge 'K' sereies processors have unlocked multiplier(which begs to be overclocked) so even when the time comes that ur CPU at stock is lagging u can always OC to extend the life of ur system. ive seen an i5-2500k 3.1ghz stock overclocked to nearly 5ghz stable with out a liquid cooling system!! P.S. the price difference between the i5-2500k and i7-2600k isnt really worth it especially if u plan to upgrade to ivory bridge.

Another possible reason for upgrading... I believe the ASUS sabretooth x58 has 2 Pci connections one at x16 but with two cards the connections runs x8/x8 review the specs of your board and see if this is true. Most boards that are sli compatible are set up this way and for single monitor systems this has minimal effect. But with a dual or tri monitor setup ur system will benefit from a sli connection with two isolated x16/x16 connections. Or if ur not looking to upgrade the mobo id recommend a 2g GDDR card like the 2gb Radeon 6950 but were talking some serious dough. the extra dedicated graphics in the 2gb GDDR maybe able to help ur system as well, its really dependant on whether or not you wish too upgrade.

If u find urself running too manyapps and slowing down ur system this may be a ram problem... Not the amount of Ram 12gbs should be enough to handle anything u do. However, quality of Ram is another story. Alot of people think that 8gbs of ram for $50 is a great deal when they see 8gbs of ram going for $80+, but the cheaper RAM may actually be "slower" than the latter.DDR3 RAM is volatile in laymens terms meaning when power is not applied the information held by the memory is lost, therefore RAM has a refresh signal which "pulses" through it... a slower pulse the slower the RAM. I wouldnt recommend any RAM less than 1600mhz(ur mobo should be compatible) 1600 is the fastest speed obtained without overclocking, better ram allows OC to 1866/2000mhz(mobo must support RAM overclocking) check the speed of your RAM. Just having more RAM does not make ur computer faster just able to do more essentially. Lets say u had 7gbs of RAM being used... ud actually have better performace from 8gbs of ram clocked at 1600mhz then 12gb clocked at 1333mhz. I'm not saying the difference would be amazingly substantial but just another possible upgrade to squeeze the extra juice from ur system.

FINALLY, if you are looking to upgrade ur system I would recommend any Sandy Bridge processor with a LGA 1155 socket motherboard (p67 or z68) with two x16/x16 pci connections and possible RAM overclocking to 1833/2066mhz ASUS makes some really nice boards that will have the features u want for a great price... Sorry for the long post... but all in all if ur not pleased with ur systems performace and you have $1600 to put into it I would recommend upgrading to a sandy bridge system and with that budget you could really pimp it out and still have enough money to save and put towards a new ivory bridge cpu barring its release.

Hope this helped.
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July 22, 2011 7:13:21 PM

Dont know if youve read my post or if you will but I realized i gave u some awful advice on ur graphics card set up. if ur interested in 3D gaming and plan on buying a 3D monitor then u would have to go with a nvidia card(personally im an ATI man alwyas have been for no particular reason. ATI's 3D processes are currently not supported by any monitor and only time will tell if ATI will get the third party backing for 3D monitors.
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July 29, 2011 7:27:25 AM

Hey guys, sorry i havent had the chance to respond to the last few posts. Please dont get the wrong impression i really appreciate the help, i just have a million things on my plate so its hard to get around to getting this work done when i have other things taking priority over this.

I was gonna spend time looking into everything mentioned since i was able to get a hold of some cash, and am trying to figure out what would be the best part to upgrade first. Ive also been trying to figure out if i wanna buy one 3d monitor or just the computer parts and save up for the monitor later.

Anyways the reason im posting right now, is cuz i need some suggestions on back up software. I didnt wanna make another thread cuz i dont like clutter :p 

So can anyone tell me what their favorite back up software is?

I want to use it with one of my external hard drives thats 1 TB, i dont mind formatting it for any reason. I need a program that will literally back up every last thing on my C partition. I would just use my sata to usb adapter or try in safe mode, but every time i back up windows on my own i always miss something important.
I also need it to be able to restore everything to a different install of windows using a different cd key.

I run into a lot of viruses since i do an ungodly amount of stuff on the computer :p 
I would love to have multiple back ups, but i dont wanna risk a virus eating up all my back ups, im very scared/insecure because i had a virus that made it look like i was dragging and dropping files to back up, and then instead it was deleting those files, or it would just go and delete all the files in specific folders. Ive lost probably at least a terabyte worth of info, and have had to rebuild collections of music, videos, bookmarks, among many other things.

I will make another post in here when ive checked out all my computer specs, or for any other reason i might have.

Thanks again :) 
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
July 29, 2011 10:00:20 AM

Win 7 backup is quite good now. Do a full backup then set a schedule for incremental backups and you're done.

You need to improve your security. Alternate web browsers, virtual machines, swappable HDDs with Linux, there's lots of ways to do it.
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August 5, 2011 4:03:56 AM

Thanks, ill give that a try. I have my security pretty high, i use tons of add ons to block scripts, flash, links, java, you name it. Im currently running microsoft security essentials, and use malwarebytes and superantispyware to scan my computer every week or every other week. I also scan with microsoft security essentials occasionally just to be safe. I use ccleaner to get rid of cookies, history, temporary files, pretty much any junk i dont need.

My main problem is not knowing the mileage on my hard drives, so ive lots tons of stuff because my HDs have gone bad, and i didnt have anything on em backed up.

If you guys have any ideas on ways to bump up my security, ways to check my hard drives for their age or what have you, or even any software you recommend, i would really appreciate it.

Anyways i got around to running the 2 tests to check whether my cpu or video card is holding me back. Heres what i came up with...

Using battlefield bad co 2 for the testing, in single player. Using fraps to monitor my fps, and the windows gadget on the first page of the selection, which is supposed to monitor my cpu and ram.

The game on average was running around 25 fps. Would drop to 19, and would hit 30 depending on what was going on in game.
I dropped all the settings to the bare minimum, and saw my fps shoot up to a consistent 60fps. Only time it didnt show 60, was when for some reason it showed 61 fps.

The entire time, with all my usual background stuff running, i was using between 20-30% of my cpu, and between 40-50% of my ram.

When i tried turning nvidias 3d vision on, my fps dropped down to 1-2 fps but didnt see any changes in the percentages for my cpu and ram on the gadget.

I then limited my cpu to run at a max of 70% and kept the minimum where it was.
I didnt notice anything except for a slight drop in fps but im fairly certain that was due to the game not the change in settings.

I just want to be able to run any future games for the next 2-4 years with max setting and no problems. Ill gladly pay for any upgrade necessary down the road, even if it meant i would have to deal with 1 gig of ddr2 ram until i could afford 12+ gigs of ddr2/3. Not that that would ever happen, but just making a point.

I will be purchasing 3d monitors, because i want to be able to run a full nvidia 3d vision setup.
I was hoping to set aside some of the money i have saved up to get 1 monitor, and then spend the rest on either 1 or 2 of the biggest upgrades i would need to get me where im trying to go.

The thing that i found odd about my current setup was that based of the tests i ran, it seemed i need to upgrade to a better vid card(s). But when i click on the windows experience rating everything seems to be balanced.

overall rating is 7.5
cpu is 7.5
ram is 7.5
graphics for windows aero is 7.6
graphics for 3d gaming is 7.6
primary hard disk transfer rate is 7.9

I dont know enough about computer parts, so if there are any links to guides that u guys know of pls let me know.

I still know very little, even after reading about the SSD drives, i didnt see any info on how exactly an SSD drive works compared to a regular one. I dont even know how to check which type or brand of SSD drives im using other than taking them out of the case which is a pain.

I just wanna make sure im not bottle necking any of that performance.


So i understand a bit better what i want to upgrade. But still dont have enough info to go off of. I could use a new motherboard, but am not sure if i need one, i hate knowing that the marvel controller is slower than the intel one and i kinda wish i had 3 PCI E slots for another video card.
I know i need to buy a new internal sound card, i cant take this terrible creative x-fi card anymore, i might even need to buy an external sound card on top of the new one, since ive been dieing to get my DJ setup going.
I wish i was running one big SSD drive, but im fine with the two i have raided together, if all they really affect gaming wise and multitasking wise, is the load times, i have no problem with that. I just want more performance that will last.

I kinda want a bit more ram but i believe im fine because most of the problems im having that would relate to ram, seem to be software issues. For example, firefox lags a lot, but thats because i have probably over 1000 bookmarks, and im not throwing that number around loosely, on top of all the add ons i have, the fact that i keep my bookmarks all in my toolbar, and i like to have around 30-120 tabs at any given moment lol.

Sorry for the very long post, i just always want to give as much info as i can, especially when it comes to computers and buying stuff.
Thanks for your time :) 
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August 5, 2011 6:37:37 AM

What do you mean i have some performance issue?
Im trying to figure out whether i should bump up to one or possibly 2 newer nvidia cards, a new motherboard, or a new cpu, or both a cpu and motherboard.
Depends on how much everything is and what would improve my gaming performance the most.
I still have no clue whether my cpu or my video cards are holding me back.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
August 5, 2011 7:14:24 AM

Look at the frame rates in the review. They are getting much higher numbers than you with SLI GTX 460s.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
August 5, 2011 1:41:21 PM

themadhatta said:
What do you mean i have some performance issue?
Im trying to figure out whether i should bump up to one or possibly 2 newer nvidia cards, a new motherboard, or a new cpu, or both a cpu and motherboard.
Depends on how much everything is and what would improve my gaming performance the most.
I still have no clue whether my cpu or my video cards are holding me back.


To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

a) 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.

b) 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.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
August 5, 2011 7:18:05 PM

Fine I'll be clearer :)  This is your rig and your results in Bad Company 2:

Quote:
Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth X58
CPU: Intel Core I7 950 i believe its called
Ram: 12 gigs of DDR3
Graphics: 2 Nvidia 460 GTX video cards in SLI mode.


Quote:
Using battlefield bad co 2 for the testing, in single player. Using fraps to monitor my fps, and the windows gadget on the first page of the selection, which is supposed to monitor my cpu and ram.

The game on average was running around 25 fps. Would drop to 19, and would hit 30 depending on what was going on in game.
I dropped all the settings to the bare minimum, and saw my fps shoot up to a consistent 60fps. Only time it didnt show 60, was when for some reason it showed 61 fps.



This is their rig and results in the same game:

i7 920 @3.6Ghz
6GB RAM
Asus P6T6
GTX 460 1GB SLI
ref http://www.hardocp.com/article/2010/07/12/nvidia_geforc...

"For testing GTX 460 SLI performance in Battlefield: Bad Company 2, we configured the game to run at 2560x1600 with 4X MSAA, 16X AF, and the highest in-game settings available. We played through the first 10 minutes of the "Heart of Darkness" level."
Min 31 FPS
Max 89 FPS
Average 49.2 FPS
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August 5, 2011 10:34:32 PM

A couple of questions :
1. Do you have the vid cards in the correct slots? If you do not they will run 1@x16 and the second @x4. By looking at the board it should be the top and bottom slots used with the middle one untouched.
2. Do you know the speed and or latency of ram? If you have 3 sticks that are identical (they should be triple channel kit) make sure that they are in the correct slots too otherwise they can slow down performance too.
3. For clarification if you have a monitor with 60hz refresh rate (meaning it refreshes 60 times per second) then anything above 60fps is useless you will never notice a difference because it is faster than the monitor can display it. So there is no real need to get above 60 fps unless you spend ridiculous amounts of money on your monitors to get the 120hz refresh rates.
4. Your SSD's should be hooked up to your 6 gb/s ports. They are the only ones that can really utilize this. Standard hard drives usually cannot utilize this feature to its full potential.
5.Other than that make sure that all of your drivers are up to date.
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August 6, 2011 11:01:18 PM

Oh ok, thnx for pointing that out, surprised i didnt catch it. What would you suggest i try to figure out what exactly is wrong with my setup.
I went into the nvidia control panel and made sure its running in sli mode, and i only used 1920X1080 res.

I dont know how else to plug in my Vid cards, theres 3 slots, if the top one was #1, then i have the video cards plugged in to slot 1 and 3. Each card takes up to slots worth of space, so there arent any other ways for me to plug them in.
Im kinda shocked that i had such low fps compared to the testing in that link. I dont understand why i was told that running the cards not in sli could help run 3d graphics any better.

The ram im using says, "Corsair 6 GB PC3-12800 1600MHz 240-Pin DDR3 Core i7 Triple Channel Memory Kit." I purchased two sets so i could have 12 gigs.

I will be including the links to the parts that i purchased in the OP. I need to tidy it up too, but im exhausted atm.

I would love to work towards getting 120hz monitors, especially considering i know im gonna be saving up for 120hz 120fps 3d monitors. Im not familiar with refresh rates, i just know im gonna eventually have 3 3d monitors that work with nvidias 3d vision.

As for the 6gb ports, i was told by my computer guy to not use them because then i wind up using the marvel controller which doesnt work as well as the intel controller. I mentioned it earlier in this thread, and someone verified this. I believe they mentioned that they found tests or something where they saw the performance of the intel controller vs the marvel controller in a raid setup and that the intel 3gb sata setup performed better in a raid.

If this isnt true, please correct me, i would love to see a link that says otherwise.

Thanks again guys, and heres the links, just in case u dont wanna scroll to the top to find em :p 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002LZ1FPG

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0039SM0AS

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002A6G3V2

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003VWZEBY

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00407ZUUY

as for my power supply, i couldnt find it anywhere, but i can tell you its the optional power supply that comes with this sword M case.
http://www.amazon.com/Thermaltake-SwordM-Aluminum-Extru...
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2011 11:19:25 PM

That large an FPS difference has to be something to do with the cards or configuration of the cards.

Is the SLI bridge installed?
Can you test some other game?
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August 6, 2011 11:37:10 PM

Yeah the bridge is installed, it may be installed incorrectly, i remember not knowing which way to plug the thing in, but im fairly certain i looked into that, corrected it, and replaced the bridge with one that was included with my video cards.

As for the tests i believe you just wanna see my fps? No need to reduce the settings, just run em at max correct?

Ill update this post in like 5, 10 mins ill run some games and post my findings here.

In the mean time heres a pic of the bridge as well as some other quick pics i took of my setup.

http://s8.photobucket.com/albums/a11/sparktite/Xmas%20C...

EDIT: I can try out arma 2 but id have to get the disks and install it, it my take some time but i dont mind, would you like me to test this game? In the mean time i will be testing Crysis 2 and red faction armageddon. I have a large number of other games i can run, but i know that the 2 im gonna try are popular, new, and have some good graphics. Throw some names my way and ill gladly try em out if i have em, i have quite a large selection of games.

EDIT:
Alright so i tested em out, i got a peak of 51 fps in crysis 2, lowest was 22 fps, on average about 30 fps in 2 locations and 35 fps from a specific checkpoint to the next.
As for red faction armageddon, i dont know if it was the best idea to try this one out. Very inconsistent fps, got a peak of 33, and a low point of 5, at the menu i was at 1 fps till i alt tabbed and it went up to 60. On average it jumped between 20, 25, n 30. Over all it was an average of 22.8 fps in game. My cpu monitor was saying it was running at 6-10% and ram was around 37-40%
I need to dl the dx 11 tessellation pack and high res texture pack for crysis 2, and i forgot to check the cpu and ram on the windows gadget, so i think im gonna try installing ARMA II. Was thinking F1 2010 might be worth trying, but then again i havent heard anything good or bad about the graphics in that game.

Forgot to mention this in my last post

geofelt said:
To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

a) 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.

b) 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.


That is what i did, i wrote my findings in that long post i made right after i ran those tests.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
August 7, 2011 6:33:04 AM

In this You Tube video we again see a comparable system with OLDER GTX 460s (768mb) turning in higher scores in Crysis 2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8A9IQvNHKEw

Something is amiss here but I don't know what it is. Perhaps Geo has a suggestion. Or maybe you should post a less-wordy request for help in the graphics card forum.

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August 7, 2011 11:15:52 PM

Sorry, i just dont know what info is important and what is almost irrelevant. Thats why my stuff is so wordy :p 

Ill try to write something up in the graphics card section, but i wanted to make sure that the problem is related to my graphics cards and only the graphics cards.

It seems like my cpu is fine from that original test i did. Im guessing my ram seems fine, since i havent seen it go over 50% on the windows gadget.

I also wanted to make sure i dont need to do something about my SSD drives, im not really having any problems, but they were really expensive so i hate to see them go to waste if im bottle necking the performance. I never really got a straight forward answer if i am actually bottle necking the performance or not.
Id like to just have one SSD plugged into the 6 gig sata but the drives i already have were a huge drain on funds when it came to putting this computer together.

Thanks again for all the time and help, donno what i would of done if i hadnt found this forum :D 

EDIT: Just tried out arma 2 project arrowhead? The expansion for arma 2. I didnt get very far in the game because idk any of the controls and i locked myself in some mode where i only had a limited field of view, i stopped using the gun to look around and was just moving my head. I could aim down the sights but i only had a cone view of what was in front of me, unless i stopped aiming down the sights.

I was playing the first part of the expansion in campaign with max settings. Through the cut scenes and to the point where i shot a few ppl after setting down the helicopter, heres what i got. Fps was a lot higher when i was in the last cut scene deal in the helicopter, i hit 39 fps. As for the lowest fps i got, it was early on, i hit 10 fps. On average i was jumping around from fairly consistent numbers, 20 fps for a bit, 17 for a bit, 26 for a bit, 22 for a bit, up to 24 for a bit, and then a steady 30 before i gave up trying to fix the problem i was having in game. So on average thats about 23.16 fps.
So again it looks like im having way worse results, but then again i had everything set to the max, res at 1920X1080. Which is higher than the test from that link, i was also running some other settings higher. I dont know how to adjust my field of view which it seems like an option. I shoulda just used the settings on that link, but i didnt bother to check it till after i tested out arma 2 project arrowhead.
Sorry id go back and do it again right now, but i have a bunch of stuff i need to get done so, maybe later?

lemme know what u think, thanks
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
August 8, 2011 6:44:28 AM

Well, you may be bottlenecking the SSDs, but that has no bearing on gaming FPS. The only thing that should impact is the load times in games and boot times.

Your actual issue, and why you ended up here in the first place, is that you are dissatisfied with your computer's performance in games. Based on the FPS scores you have given us this seems to be a valid concern.

Put the other stuff aside and focus on this ONE issue.

Make a post like this.

Title: "Much lower than expected FPS"

Body:
"I'm getting poorer than expected performance from my GTX 460 1TB SLI. Here is my parts list:

CPU
MB
RAM
GPUs
PSU
SSD
HDD
CASE
CPU COOLING

MONITOR (resolution)

Here is my score in BC2
Here is a link to a review using a similar build and their score in BC2

Here is my score in Crysis 2
Here is a review with a similar build in Crysis 2

What could be the problem here?"

See, just the facts. :)  Maybe Maziar and company on the GPU forums know what's up.
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August 8, 2011 8:47:23 AM

Awesome thanks, i tend to be very literal and very discriptive, i think it has something to do with wanting to make sure im understood. :p 

Anways thanks a bunch for the help, im gonna either make the post before i go to sleep, or when i wake up tomorrow.

Can you tell me what your favorite way to check the fps of a game is? Ive always used fraps, and noticed that it always seemed to slow down the games. But i havent used it in years, till i started posting here.

Thanks again :D 
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
August 8, 2011 9:23:56 AM

Fraps for sure, although I rarely need it. I used it last year to diagnose a problem that never got resolved really. My FPS was fine but some games would have timing issues where movement would be irregular. For instance you might be driving and all of a sudden hit a strong headwind, every 3 or 5 seconds. You would slow down and speed up.

FPS was fine and the problem went away when I upgraded the board and processor... although both were very strong and completely adequate. So to this day I don't know the exact cause.

I build PCs occasionally but rarely gaming systems. Mostly office or home use, except of course my own.
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August 12, 2011 3:30:46 AM

Sorry had to rewrite this post 3 times now.... im so sick of firefox.

Anyways the important things i said were.

I would like to hear your opinion on what i should do about my sound card. Ive been having problems and made a thread on the creative forum about it.
http://forums.creative.com/t5/Sound-Blaster/My-sound-ca...

In that thread they linked me to a discussion about my problem.
http://forums.creative.com/t5/Sound-Blaster/Sound-dissa...

And heres a link to the thread regarding my vid cards.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/323538-33-getting-low...

Thanks again :) 
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