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New Gaming Rig - Disappointing FPS


I recently built my own gaming rig and I had a few questions about the frame rates on newer systems and what to expect out of the 6900 series graphics cards from ATI.

My specs are as follows:
AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition Thuban 3.3GHz, 3.7GHz
CORSAIR XMS 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000
Thortech Thunderbolt 850W
Western Digital Caviar Black 7200 RPM 1TB Drive
MSI R6950 Twin Frozr II OC Radeon HD 6950 2GB

After installing all the drivers (Directx11 and CCC included) and doing a few tweaks, I loaded up Rift and expected to see frame rates of at least 50 or 60 per second considering the power of my system. I was surprised and disappointed to find that the best fps I could achieve at maximum settings at 1920x1080 resolution was a mere 25.

This rate is with every setting in the game turned all the way up, max settings and program over rides checked (on) in the CCC and vertical sync disabled.

To test the waters a bit, I started to turn down each setting individually trying to figure out which one might be giving my system a bit of a hard time. I will spare you the boring details, but I found that the FPS was improved very little, if at all, by changing these settings.

The only way I see considerable improvement in FPS is by turning the graphical settings to around "medium". This gets me up to an acceptable rate, but I'm a bit gutted after I spend $1200 to achieve mediocrity!

After that experience, I decided to further investigate the source of such low fps. I turned down every setting in the CCC and then adjusted the settings in the game between Maxed, Ultra and High and again, I saw very little difference (5-10 fps increase).

At that point I had done all that I knew to do, so I began reading threads in forums and trying to find someone else with a similar problem. According to the game's own forums, a lot of users are at a bit of a loss as to why their systems seem to be performing so insubstantially.

I was unable to locate a thread in which the user had a similar setup, but some of the information was indeed useful. I took the recommendation of several people and I installed several programs to monitor my CPU and GPU usage and now I'm even more confused.

Initially, I was concerned that my system might be bottle necked, so I looked into it. (I haven't bought a better cooler yet, so I'm still operating at the stock speed of 3.3 Ghz.) During game play, my CPU frequency is at ~90%, but the overall usage is just ~40%. The GPU seems to be working properly as it's clock speeds and usage percentages seem normal. My RAM is running at 1600 and my system temperature is around 45-50*c under full load. I know that's a bit high, and I am working on that, but even when the system is cooler the frame rates aren't any better.

I thought it might just be the game, but I've tried several others and have had similar results. In League of Legends, the frame rates are around 30 at max settings, but they shoot through the roof when I turn down all my settings in the CCC. Its puzzling to me how the game's settings can be completely maxed and operating at 100 fps until I turn on the 3D rendering options in the CCC.

As far as I can tell, there are no hardware conflicts or problems, I'm not exceeding the limitations of my CPU, there are no excess programs running in the background and the system is brand-spankin-new. What did I do wrong??

I realize that this is a lot of information, but I've found its best to give as much insight as possible to obtain an accurate estimation. Thank you for reading and I hope that someone can lend some insight and encouragement into a semi-depressing situation.
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  1. First of all, don't be depressed, disappointed, etc. because to be honest, from what I am seeing, these results are SO atypical that you are guaranteed a great result once this problem is fixed. Your specs are WAY better than mine. There should be NO reason whatsoever that this issue is occurring, as I am getting better FPS than what you are getting and I am running a 955 quad-core with a 6870, which is a significantly weaker system. Your specifications are not the issue. It is something on the software side that is causing issues. First, what operating system are you using? Second, have you been visiting any sketchy websites that might infect your computer? Third, what are ALL of your temperatures of ALL of your components? (This is necessary because I have seen these results when my friend placed his heatsink incorrectly and the CPU was sitting in hot lava and the frame rate was horrendous. Could be the result of overheating in your system.) Fourth, does your motherboard come with an integrated GPU? (I have seen similar results when the motherboard tries to be smart and snazzy by switching back and forth to save power and it doesn't recognize when it should be using the dedicated video card to do the work.) This sort of information, if you provide it, might help me or anyone else identify the issue that you are having with your computer, because like I said, this IS an issue. It might be an issue that is also time sensitive because it could possibly indicate damage occurring in your system. Anyway, I don't feel like typing anymore :P so as soon as you can, post back with that info.
  2. Check GPUz and see what the speed of your PCI-e bus is running -- I've seen a few threads mentioning that there cards are for some reason running at x1 instead of x16 and that might be the case here !
  3. Try what is said above. Also, if you have the chance, uninstall CCC 11.6 and try rolling back to 11.5. I'm seeing various results of how 11.6 might be causing issues with lag.
  4. First, thank all of you for your help, encouragement and your time.

    Now, down to brass tacks.

    I'm operating on 7 Home 64 Bit.

    I haven't surfed, browsed or downloaded anything that wasn't driver or usability related. My registry is clean.

    My temps range from 35*c on start up to 55*c after a couple hours use.
    I'm not entirely sure I set the CPU sink properly. It was my first time doing it. I did make sure there was good contact and plenty of thermal paste that came pre-applied.
    It took me a while and some repositioning to get the arms to latch on properly, so there's a slight chance that some of it wore off in the process. My plan is to add two more fans and a cooler master CPU sink and fan. Ordering them today.

    The motherboard is completely without on board gfx capabilities, so thats not the issue.

    I check in GPUz and the bus speeds are PCI-e 2.0 x16 @ 16 x2.0.

    I will now try uninstalling CCC and rolling back to 11.5.

    I know I need to improve my temperatures, but I don't hold much hope that it will improve anything considering all of my components were made to withstand overclocking to some degree and the fact that frame rates aren't that good even at start up when the system's at its coolest.

    I know how hard it is to diagnose a problem when you're in person looking at it in front of you, much less trying to help a stranger in another place. Thank you for your recommendations and advice. Again, thank you for your help!
  5. I've rolled back to 11.5 and had no changes to my frame rate in Rift. :( However, I just loaded up League of Legends and my frame rate with all settings maxed in AMD Vision control center and in the game itself and noticed that they're anywhere from 65-90, even with VSync and Triple Buffering.

    Whats the standard GPU temperature at stock speeds?

    Can anyone recommend a good CPU Sink/Fan and what kind of case fans are good and quiet? My case is the NZXT H2 and right now, my little CPU fan (stock 80 mm) runs at an absurd 50 db. Even with my acoustic foam its still loud enough to hear in the other room. My PSU is a bottom mount and the CPU is set very near the top of the case, should the fan on the bottom of the case be intake or exhaust and if so, are the two front intakes enough? I can't wait to get this system nice, cool and quiet. Preferably with insanely high fps to boot. ^^

    I'm going to download Starcraft II on this comp and see how it plays just for giggles. I'm beginning to think its just a problem that might be isolated to Rift, which is sad because the game's beautiful, but we'll see.
  6. Best answer
    No problem. You are actually providing entertainment for a 14 hour car drive, in case you were wondering. I have a Cooler Master Hyper 212+ for my AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE. It keeps it at a nice cool 32c on idle. Idk about load, but I know its a reasonable 45-50c. And that's with Prime95. I would recommend that heatsink, but I wouldn't recommend buying it online. If you have the heatsink available in a store, they are almost ALWAYS cheaper. It was on for 50 dollars on Newegg, psh, so I bought it from Microcenter in my city for 25 dollars. It runs really quiet with the included fan, and I'm sure it could be even quieter if you bought addon fans for it.

    As of the GPU temperatures at stock speeds, I am not familiar with it. I'm sure you can Google some benchmarks on it, but I can't with the already slow 3G speeds I have.

    Meanwhile, what I did find with one Google search was that there is a common problem with Rift and the ATi 6950. A lot of people are complaining about slow FPS. Blame ATi or the developers, I choose to blame both. Ridiculous driver and software developing on the part of ATi, and while the game is good, Rift is not optimized.

    50 db? That's me screaming. For that sound it should be moving 120 CFM.. lol.. If I were you, and if I didn't have the crappy 3G connection, I would go on Newegg, go to Computer Cases, Case Fans, sort by best rating, and find one with low decibel rating and high CFM rating.

    If SCII lags, shoot your 6950 in the foot. It'd be ridiculous. And I didn't read your last statement, but yes I'm afraid that is what evidence is showing on the one Google search I did. YouTube videos and forum posts complaining about it. :/. Sorry about that buddy. It's really a letdown when you get such a kick ass computer and piece of *** developers ruin it. On the plus side, you know that Rift has nothing on your computer. Hope I helped. (hint, best answer, hint *cough* *sneeze*) huh.. what?
  7. Best answer selected by zwyar.
  8. I had heard similar reports, but was hoping there was something that I was overlooking in my settings and that it was something that I might be able to overcome with a little work. Since Rift is a game just to tide me over til something better comes out - diablo 3 - I'm not heart broken over it.

    Thank you for the recommendation on the CPU Sink/Fan. I'll look into that immediately.

    One last question though. Do you think running Eyefinity on my machine would be plausible? I want at triple vertical monitor configuration up and running in the next couple months. I wouldn't be opposed to buying another Twin Frozr II and XFiring them in order to keep my frames up at max. 4 GB seems like overkill, but what the heck.

    I suppose I could look into buying a different GPU that has XFire and is of a earlier or even later model. That way I would have a greater chance of running anything that comes out and hopefully as a result I wouldn't have to deal with this annoyance again.

    I wonder what would run well XF'd with a Twin Frozr II 2gb 6950?

    I hope you get where you are going safely! Thanks again for your help!
  9. did you optimize your driver settings for performance within CCC?, ie not using CCC anti-aliasing and AF settings, etc.... if you have vsync properly enabled (in game vsync + CCC triple buffering is a good combo) and you have a 60hz monitor then your fps should be locked to 60 fps. Your temps are absolutely fine, that is not the problem... I also rec getting a CM Hyper 212+ I also have one and it rocks, it keeps my 955 nice and cool while clocked at 3.9ghz! I could easily go higher if I wanted to start raising voltages but for now I'm good right were I am. Rift is also a cpu intensive game; in highly populated areas it even brings my rig to its knees (see sig below). The fact IS that our cpus are only so strong the am3 platform is only so strong, certainly your rig should be performing better I guess so lets get to the root of your problem its great for gaming but will not rock the socks off of every single game known to man, overall you have a very nice rig, I hope you get your problems hashed out and get back to gaming. Feel free to pm me is you need further help beyond this posting-- have a great weekend

    PS- what psu are you using?
  10. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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