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Don't know where my limitation is - HELP

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
June 21, 2011 4:58:19 PM

I've never posted on a forum before so here goes - i need help!!! I've rebuilt my system and really expected the performance gains to be much more significant than they currently are. My average fps on WoW is around 30-40 and even more disturbing is that on Witcher (which is a 2007-2008 game) during scenes of heavy battle my fps seem to drop to around 7-8 as it becaome EXTREMELY choppy - and that was after I scaled down the graphics settings to medium. Here are the highlights of my system:

AMD Phenom II X4 944 (Black Edition) Processor 3.2 GHz
(2) RadeonHD 5770 1GB video cards in crossfire
4 GB System memory
Windows 7 64bit

Motherboard currently has built in sound but i do have an HD Omega claro + that I haven't installed yet - would this make a difference? Do I need more RAM? Is my processor and video cards that outdated that I can't even run a 2008 graphics intensive game on full settings? Do I need a better cases to ensure its cool enough in there? Says my processor stays at around 69-70 Celsius.

Any feedback would be GREATLY appreciated!


More about : limitation

a b U Graphics card
June 21, 2011 5:09:01 PM

It could be your CPU, as both games you mentioned do tax it heavily, but even at 1440P, a 955 should be able to get ~50fps on WOW.

Which Mobo are you using though?

What I would do though is run the game in windowed mode and see (in task manager) if the CPU is being 100% utilized. If is, try doing a clean install of the up-to-date Catalyst drivers and see if it helps. (Uninstaller and driversweeper fist)
June 21, 2011 5:38:20 PM

Thanks a ton for the reply. My motherboard is MSI 790XT-G45 gaming series that has built in overclocking abilities (that im not using at the moment). Re did my catalyst install 2 weeks ago to 11.5 - which i think is still the current version out there. I'll perform the windowed test and post back in a bit.
Related resources
June 21, 2011 5:40:41 PM

I also didn't mention that I have 3 screens running at the same time. Does this take away a lot of my video power from the game (which is only running on the center screen)?
a b U Graphics card
June 21, 2011 5:45:02 PM

It shouldn't do much if you're just running one game on one monitor with no background tasks. Though it will if you're crunching numbers on one and rendering something on the other (obviously).

On another, I didn't see, but have you monitored temps? Get HWmonitor and see if your GPU/CPU is getting so hot its throttling.
June 21, 2011 5:53:30 PM

Ok - ran Witcher windowed on max graphics settings in 1920x1080 res. CPU usage stayed around 23-25% (task manager, performance tab). Specifically played through a heavy battle sequenced during this and observed fps issues. Lowered the graphics settings to low and saw a big improvement in FPS but the CPU usage stayed about the same - 23-25%. Any ideas?
a b U Graphics card
June 21, 2011 5:56:45 PM

Wicher is definitely a GPU issue then. It could be a crossfire issue, so after making sure temps are okay try disabling CF and see if you see any performance gains. Its weird, but with older games this happens.
June 21, 2011 5:58:25 PM

Thanks for the reply Tim. Just downloaded HWmonitor. CPU cores are all running around 45C. The 5770 (and only showing #s for one of them) is at 56C.
a c 79 U Graphics card
June 21, 2011 6:07:57 PM

Does Witcher use multiple cores? It looks like it's only using one and maxing it out completely. (Windows will move the process between the cores so all get some action but it really is only running on a single one at any given moment)
June 21, 2011 6:51:31 PM

Wow - ALL these #s are depressing. Surprisingly though, the system did do a little better with crossfire off. This was does with Witcher (the 1st one from 2008)

Graphics High: All Settings Maxed, Anisotrophic Filtering 8x, Anti-Alaising 2x, Res 1920x1024

Graphics Low: All Setting Low, Anisotrophic Filtering 8x, Anti-Alaising 2x, Res 1920x1024

With Crossfire Enabled:
High: Average 14 FPS, with drops to as low as 8 FPS
Low: Average 26 FPS, with drops to as low as 17 FPS

With Crossfire Disabled:
High: Average 18 FPS, with drops to as low as 9 FPS
Low: Average 30 FPS, with drops to as low as 20 FPS

my temps during this test were 51C for both the CPU and GPU as reported using HWMonitor. Also, the FPS were found using FRAP.

Any ideas anyone?
June 21, 2011 7:11:05 PM

Just ran Crysis 2 on my system with all graphic settings maxed in crossfire and averaged 21 FPS. I'm assuming the problem with Witcher is that its older and doesnt take advantage of all the new technology - however, where is the cap in my system right now? Does it need more ram like 8GB, are my GPU's totally outdated and need to be replaced? how about my Processor? is cooling an issue?
a c 79 U Graphics card
June 21, 2011 10:09:45 PM

download 3dmark and run it with crossfire disabled and then enabled to see if you get any gains. Just to make sure the crossfire part is actually working right...
a c 106 U Graphics card
June 22, 2011 4:43:15 AM

It's not your CPU, it's the fact that you're running 3 monitors at 1080p and trying to max everything out. Either lower the graphics detail or upgrade your GPUs to two 6950s.
a c 169 U Graphics card
June 22, 2011 5:06:50 AM

^+1, more GPU power required. Also the games you are using might not work well with crossfire, if they support it at all. If lower gfx details is fixing the issue, then its a GPU issue. Also what PSU are you running. a good, reliable brand 500w+ unit should be used for that setup. If its a cheap brand PSU, get rid of it.
a c 106 U Graphics card
June 22, 2011 3:23:24 PM

I had issues with the witcher and crossfire when I was using two 3850s. Got some crazy artifacts on the opening screen and some of the cut scenes but in game was fine -_-. Anyway, there are some issues with crossfire and eyefinity. Uninstalling your drivers, using drive cleaner, and installing newer drivers may help. Of course, that also means calibrating your screens again ^_^.

If disabling crossfire actually helps then that means either it's not working right or you have too much CPU overhead. Disabling things like virus scanners while gaming will help. You should also overclock your CPU (not with the stock cooler of course) and see if that doesn't improve your FPS. If it does, then you should overclock your CPU, if not, you got some driver problems. Either way, to run 3 screens like that I'd say get more GPU powa :D 
June 22, 2011 5:53:53 PM

Thanks for all the answers! I've checked into them all and agree its definitely a GPU issue. Witcher was too old to take advantage of crossfire technology but even the newer games like Crysis 2, which i ran, showed me the most i can hope to get out of these two 5770s is about 20 FPS with everything maxed and under tons of stress - which i suppose is decent for the age of these cards. Well, installing Witcher 2 now so I'm excited to see how this will run - as it does support crossfire - but i'm planning my next upgrade now! Thanks again.