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Bottleneck w/ Athlon II x4 630 and Crossfire HD 6850s

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 24, 2011 10:23:50 AM

Hi,

How much of a bottleneck will occur if I crossfire my Radeon Hd 6850 because I have an Athlon II x4 630?

Here are my system specs:
CPU: Athlon II x4 630
GPU: Radeon Hd 6850
RAM: Kingston 2gb + Kingston 4gb both @ 1066mhz
Mobo: ECS A790GXM-AD3
PSU: Thermaltake Toughpower XT 775w

Current games the I play heavily: BF:BadCompany2, StarCraft2
Current games that I play from time to time: 3rd person action adventures (Assasin's Creed etc.)
Future games that I really want to play: BattleField3, Diablo3

I know that most RTS games are CPU hogs but I rarely play them except for Star Craft. Most of the games I play are FPSs and RPGs.

So what do you guys think? Is it worth it to Crossfire my Hd 6850?
July 24, 2011 11:51:32 AM

that cpu is a bottleneck for crossfire 6850's. IMO your better off getting a faster CPU first. You really need a phenom 2 x4 running at around 3.8 ghz. Cheapest way to do that is get a phenom 955 and overclock to 3.8ghz. Also, you have a single 2gb and 4gb RAM module? you should be running matched size /type ram so you can enable dual channel ram, that should see you a bit more performance too.
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July 24, 2011 6:38:03 PM

I strongly agree with the above. What resolution are you playing at by the way as this could have a big differance on whats right to do and what is not.

Maxtronix :) 
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July 25, 2011 12:50:35 AM

Yup. I have 2 single RAM modules. Had to add one when I switched to Win7 64-bit.

Are you guys saying if I don't get the dual channel ram that will be my bottleneck? All RAM modules I currently have to be replaced since they will downclock to the slowest one right? Will RAM affect frames per second greatly? I can take it if it mainly affects loading times though. By the way I have 4 dimm slots, enough for 2 dual channel.


I forgot to add, I currently play at 1440x900 but I might get a new monitor which is 1920x1080 (had another thread regarding it). Monitor Upgrade and Xfire 6850s which to prioritize
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July 25, 2011 4:12:23 AM

One HD6850 should be overkill for 1440x900 and still perform fairly well at 1080p. If you already have one I would overclock the processor and card and get the new monitor. Then decide if you want to add a second/upgrade the CPU to take advantage of it.
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July 25, 2011 5:40:30 PM

your ram might be a problem too. try 4 2gb ram modules at 1333 mhz.
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July 25, 2011 11:00:45 PM

jonbla said:
Yup. I have 2 single RAM modules. Had to add one when I switched to Win7 64-bit.

Are you guys saying if I don't get the dual channel ram that will be my bottleneck? All RAM modules I currently have to be replaced since they will downclock to the slowest one right? Will RAM affect frames per second greatly? I can take it if it mainly affects loading times though. By the way I have 4 dimm slots, enough for 2 dual channel.

ram speed does affect fps, although not greatly. You should notice a few extra fps by getting 2 of the same ram modules to run in dual channel mode, it effectively doubles the ram bandwidth.
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July 25, 2011 11:45:52 PM

Running memory in dual channel is nice but it really shouldn't be a major factor.
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July 26, 2011 12:25:40 AM

So after reading your suggestions and replies should this be my upgrade path/priority?

1. 1080p monitor
2. Phenom II x4 955 or higher
3. Crossfire Radeon Hd 6850
4. Dual Channel Ram
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July 26, 2011 12:33:47 AM

jyjjy said:
Running memory in dual channel is nice but it really shouldn't be a major factor.


So ( and i do know the technical ins and outs of it) the theoretical doubling of the memory through put is just "nice" then not at all desirable ?
Please and im really not trying to be funny here but please explain why on earth you would not want to do this. I realise you actually didnt say you wouldnt want to but to say its " nice " is like saying its not important.
Data transfer is the life blood of a system so why wouldnt you do all you can to acheive the best possible ?

Im here to be educated as well as teach.

Mactronix :) 

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July 26, 2011 12:38:27 AM

jonbla said:
So after reading your suggestions and replies should this be my upgrade path/priority?

1. 1080p monitor
2. Phenom II x4 955 or higher
3. 2. Phenom II x4 955 or higher
4. Dual Channel Ram



I would say
1. 1080p monitor
2. Dual Channel Ram
3. Phenom II x4 955 or higher
4. Crossfire Radeon Hd 6850


Mactronix :) 
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July 26, 2011 1:41:15 AM

mactronix said:
So ( and i do know the technical ins and outs of it) the theoretical doubling of the memory through put is just "nice" then not at all desirable ?
Please and im really not trying to be funny here but please explain why on earth you would not want to do this. I realise you actually didnt say you wouldnt want to but to say its " nice " is like saying its not important.
Data transfer is the life blood of a system so why wouldnt you do all you can to acheive the best possible ?

Im here to be educated as well as teach.

Mactronix :) 

It's hard to find articles on DDR3 in dual vs single channel but here are some numbers for DDR2;
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/PARALLEL-PROCESSING...
There are a number of articles on DDR3 in dual vs triple channel and they show a similarly marginal performance boost.
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July 26, 2011 3:38:47 AM

i have two ddr2 sticks, when my one stick died, the performences wae decreaed so badly, dual channel does increase performance by a repectable margin
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July 26, 2011 4:03:40 AM

If I upgrade my CPU/Crossfire Hd 6850 before using dual-channel ram, will I see performance gains?

Given that I can't upgrade all of them at once. How would you order the upgrades that give the biggest performance boost to the least performance boost in games?

I've done some research too and I found an article regarding CPU and GPU bottlenecks. You guys were right, a pretty powerful CPU is needed for dual gpus. http://benchmarkextreme.com/Articles/I7%20920%20Bottlen... Though I think the test just used 1 stick of RAM.

Still a bit confused about RAM though. Will wait for mactronix's reply to jyjjy.
Found some articles in addition to jyjjy's above:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ram-speed-tests,180...
But found one thread supporting mactronix's case:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/318147-33-bottlnecks

I would upgrade all the components pointed out though. Just not at the same time. Just trying to prioritize which of them will come first.

The scope of this thread is changing. Sorry.
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July 26, 2011 4:08:07 AM

manu 11 said:
i have two ddr2 sticks, when my one stick died, the performences wae decreaed so badly, dual channel does increase performance by a repectable margin


May I asked what's the capacity left when the stick died as that might be the cause.
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July 26, 2011 8:04:59 AM

i was running 2x2gb ram modules, 1 died and i still wanted 4gb so i swapped 4gb single stick from my fathers pc and saw degraded gaming performance on the same capacity
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July 26, 2011 2:16:41 PM

Interesting article, if somewhat outdated as was mentioned i think. I will quote the part of the conclusion that i feel is important but would now say that the order of doing things should probably be as you said.
Quote:
For games and enthusiast PCs, we recommend sticking to high-performance dual channel RAM, because the memory is one of those components that you want to perform best for a smooth experience.


1. 1080p monitor
2. Phenom II x4 955 or higher
3. Crossfire Radeon Hd 6850
4. Dual Channel Ram

I would like to see more up to date testing of this and will put in a request in the forum section for doing so.

Mactronix :) 
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July 28, 2011 1:34:02 AM

Hi,

Thanks for all the replies. This is such a great community! I will probably upgrade the CPU and RAM at the same time so that I can build another system with my old parts.
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July 28, 2011 1:35:49 AM

Best answer selected by jonbla.
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July 28, 2011 2:36:38 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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