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System build: Lackluster performance - What's going on!?

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September 28, 2011 10:58:06 PM

Hello all!

I recently upgraded some components on my system and have seen literally minimal improvement in the games I play online. When I ran 3DVantage, it said that my computer is performing below expectations.

Here's the set up! With links!

MOBO :: Asrock AOD790GX/128M :: http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=AOD790GX/12...
CPU :: AMD 9950 Agena Black Edition (Phenom X4) :: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Memory :: G.Skill 2gb x4, 800mhz
GPU :: HIS ATI RADEON HD 6850 :: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SSD :: OCZ Vertec 3 - 120gb
HDD :: Seagate 320gb (not really that important)
PSU :: Xclio GreatPower 550W PSU

Any thoughts as to why I wouldn't be getting super crazy fps in a game like WoW, Starcraft 2, Deus Ex, DiRT 3, Etc?

Thanks!
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
September 28, 2011 11:25:06 PM

Online games funnel everything through your internet connection, so the internet connection becomes the bottleneck.
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September 28, 2011 11:36:22 PM

What resolution do you play on? a 6850 should handle those games well at 1680x1050, but even there I wouldn't expect "super crazy FPS". If you play at 1920x1080, your GPU will be just about right. Also, are you using AA or something like that?
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 28, 2011 11:38:18 PM

Since we dont know what parts you changed we can only speculate as to the problem.
Your processor appears to be the bottleneck of your system.
most games only use one or two processor cores> yours is running at @2.6ghz
most games like a 3.0 or better processor.
You need to overclock your processor or replace it with a faster version.
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September 28, 2011 11:57:57 PM

Jsc: I have an excellent internet connection, and i just disabled Nagle Algorithm. My latency/packets isn't the problem.

Murissokah: I'm playing at 1920x1080. AA is set to game defaults in the Catalyst Control Center.

Rick_Criswell: Is there something else that could be the problem? The processor is clocked at 2.8ghz right now on the stock cooler, I'm not going to push it any higher until I get a better heatsink or even a brand new mobo/processor/memory set-up.

Currently, for example with World of Warcraft I'm running 16x Anisotropic Filtering, 8x Multisampling. Changing these values to 1x Multisampling and Bilinear filtering yields no increase in performance.
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September 29, 2011 12:30:12 AM

what was your old video card / system specs?
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 29, 2011 2:25:44 AM

A 6850 is not going to give you crazy FPS in modern games at 1920x1080. ESPECIALLY with AF turned up to 16x, lol.

You would need a more powerful video card for that. I mean seriously, that card is slower than my 5850.

Hell I can think of some older games that would bring a 6850 to it's knees even at 1680x1050.

Phenom 9950's are not known to be very good gaming processors either. They have very low performance at 2.8ghz compared to a Phenom II at 2.8ghz.
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September 29, 2011 3:06:28 AM

The reference card was an HD 4870. So i went from a HD 4870 to an HD 6850.
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September 29, 2011 4:01:03 PM

@geekapproved: Unfortunately, changing the AF settings from 16x all the way to bilinear leads to ZERO improvement in performance. Meaning: That's not the problem. A friend suggested I reduce the shadows in my games, because apparently the 6850 doesn't have enough shaders. I did this, got a bit better improvement, but I still wish it were better.

According to tomshardware cpu rankings, the Phenom 9950 sits in the 4th block of processors for AMD cpus, which to mean means it's a midrange cpu, and with cinebench, I get respectable scores for my cpu.

I'm just trying to figure out where the main bottleneck is, and whether or not there's some software optimization i can run somewhere to speed things up.

I'm using Win7 64bit as my operating system, with Nagle's disabled.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 29, 2011 5:13:04 PM

The 9950 sits in the 4th block of processor for AMD cpus'?? HUH?

The cpu is your bottleneck. Period.

As you can see, a modern AMD quad core absolutely decimates it.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/21?vs=88

My dual core absolutely destroys it in just about every benchmark, even multi-threading benchmarks.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/21?vs=289

Even an Phenom II dual core spanks it into oblivion.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/21?vs=97

A new faster video card is not going to be any better than your old video card when it's being held back by a slow cpu.

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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
September 29, 2011 9:43:23 PM

Before I read any of that, the CPU certainly jumped out at me. Back when that CPU was being sold, it was very unpopular. It's just not a good performer.

An upgrade from a 4870 to a 6850 is not big either. A 4870 is going to be roughly the same speed as a 6770... one step down from a 6850. I would have said that you need at least a GTX 560ti or 6950 1GB to see very good improvement.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 30, 2011 12:48:35 AM

Underclock the 6850. Measure frame rate. Mild overclock the 6850. Measure frame rates. If they are not moving then video is not your bottleneck.

If video not the bottleneck the verify your memory is set manually to correct voltage and speed. It's never happened to me but I've read several posts where the defaults were set wrong.

If not video and memory is set correctly then do some CPU benchmarking and compare to your CPU's numbers posted on the internet. You should be very close, if you are low post. Check temps. Check power management and set profile for max performance.

Agree with earlier posts 6850 is a great card, but not that much stonger than 4870. See last page of this ref, and read that 3 tiers difference is needed to see a big video difference. You are only 1 tier different. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-performance-...
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September 30, 2011 2:53:09 AM

Yeah that's the one i meant
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September 30, 2011 2:01:02 PM

if the processor is the bottleneck, what do you guys recommend purchasing in order to eliminate the problem at the lowest overall cost with the best overall performance increase?

My motherboard says it's AM3 ready, but i'm unsure that i'll get the full clocking capacity out of an AM3 cpu with my current board.
Should I start looking for combo deals where both the mobo and cpu are included?

Thanks
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 30, 2011 4:39:53 PM

tsnor said:
re: "According to tomshardware cpu rankings, the Phenom 9950 sits in the 4th block of processors for AMD cpus". You mean this grid, right... http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-sandy-bridge...


Yes the same "block" as a Celeron G540 and a E6750, both of which are obsolete, slow clocked dual cores. Thanks for making my point.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 30, 2011 4:41:11 PM

Your motherboard supports the latest Phenom II's.

I'd suggest the Phenom II X4 955 at $105 on Newegg. This would last you several years and you would be able to upgrade to much better video card than a low-midrange 6850.

It's also very overclockable, something a 9950 is not. You will need to update your bios with the old cpu first.

Also, like proximon said, a 6850 isn't that much of an upgrade from a 4870, kind of a waste of money actually. Just because the number is higher doesn't mean anything. Like I said, my old 5850 is slightly faster than a 6850. But the 6850 is more efficient.
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September 30, 2011 5:11:44 PM

The primary reason i'm using a 6850 is because I read some information on them saying that in crossfire they're more powerful than most 500$ cards right now (and for significantly less cost), and since I have two of them (one sitting in a box still) I plan on using the crossfire set up 8x/8x on my current mobo. So eventually I'll be running crossfire 6850s 8x/8x with hopefully a new cpu and PSU.

If the 6850 crossfire thing isn't true, should I just send them back to newegg and get a refund and just use my 4870 until I can find a more valuable replacement?

Good to know I can just get a new processor and not any other parts :bounce: 
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September 30, 2011 5:23:53 PM

Also, one thing to note: the PII 965 is only 15$ more until monday, so i may just get that! (assuming the higher number = better in this case :p )
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
September 30, 2011 8:37:42 PM

That's a good point on the 6850 CF. You should see good performance in crossfire. Just not so much improvement until you do. You'll need to watch temps though. Looks like a tight fit on that board.

The 965 will be a bit better than the 955. I have heard that the max OC is usually better on the 965.
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