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Possible PC Upgrade?

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October 3, 2011 12:53:46 PM

Hey guys...

I've always been a big Battlefield series fan and I thought I'd try ordering the new Battlefield 3 for my XBOX in hopes that it would be still enjoyable. I just downloaded and played the Battlefield 3 beta for the XBOX, but after only a few minutes I realize that I've made a mistake and will be cancelling my order for the XBOX and reordering it for the PC. The controls just feel terrible.

I built a rig a couple years ago or so, but I want to make sure that it's beefy enough to play the game. I'm not looking for out of this world graphics and to have everything turned to the max, but I would still like to be able to enjoy the game with it looking decent on my 22" monitor. I have not, and have no plans on overclocking my system either.

Some basic parts of my current rig are:

- GIGABYTE GV-R487D5-1GD Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 Kuma 2.7GHz Socket AM2+ 95W Dual-Core black edition
- GIGABYTE GA-MA74GM-S2 AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 740G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
- CORSAIR DOMINATOR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel

This is all running on Vista 64bit. My power supply is strong enough to handle some beefier parts if needed.

What do you guys think? Will this work or do I need to upgrade some things? If so, what would you suggest I change and what to?

Thanks so much.
Evan

More about : upgrade

October 3, 2011 1:19:11 PM

I just upgraded from a 1GB 4870 to a 1GB 6870 with plans of crossfire in a month or so.

I am hitting 60+ fps on max settings in BF3 Beta. But the rest of my system is a little higher end than yours, and I don't really have any experience of AMD X2's.

I think you may run it, but it will need low settings to play. Best thing would be to download the beta test, and see how it performs, then come back if you want to upgrade with a budget in mind.
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October 3, 2011 1:22:48 PM

Your rig is decent. I wouldn't really recommend upgrading anything besides getting Windows 7, and everything else seems to be quite solid. The 4870 is about a hair faster than a 5770; a modern mid-range card that can easily hold it's own. I'm sure you can have play BF3 at decent settings with your current hardware on a 22" monitor. However, you should run the beta to know where you currently stand in terms of performance.

Recommended system requirements for Battlefield 3 [Source via link below]
http://bf3blog.com/battlefield-3-system-requirements/

OS: Windows 7 64-bit
Processor: Quad-core Intel or AMD CPU
RAM: 4GB
Graphics card: DirectX 11 Nvidia or AMD ATI card, GeForce GTX 460, Radeon Radeon HD 6850
Graphics card memory: 1 GB
Hard drive: 15 GB for disc version or 10 GB for digital version


While this IS a system requirement estimate, I doubt it would change drastically by the time EA releases BF3.
You'll definitely want to get a copy of windows 7 [preferably 64 bit] to replace Windows Vista simply because it's a horrible OS for gaming.... Vista gave me nightmares!!! [not really but... moving on!]

Depending on how far you want to go to have a more enjoyable BF3 experience, I would recommend a AMD Phenom II x4 955 BE 3.2GHZ [only $100 USD]. As for your graphics card, I would recommend a ATI 6870 [about $180-$200] - this upgrade is somewhat linear but you will gain a solid chunk of performance [about 30-40%]. Assuming you get the CPU AND GPU, you'll only run 25-35 more Watts which kills the need to get a new PSU. Hope this helps!

~Coffee
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October 3, 2011 1:26:28 PM

what, you are going to run bf3 on dual-core cpu this is impossible you must have an quad core cpu like 965 BE or 2500k and you also stated that i want to run it on max setup then go for 2500k and a decent gpu like gtx 560 ti or hd 6870.
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October 3, 2011 1:27:34 PM

what, you are going to run bf3 on dual-core cpu this is impossible you must have an quad core cpu like 965 BE or 2500k and you also stated that i want to run it on max setup then go for 2500k and a decent gpu like gtx 560 ti or hd 6870.

In last yes your current specs will handle it on low setting.....
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October 3, 2011 1:32:33 PM

pro-gamer said:
what, you are going to run bf3 on dual-core cpu this is impossible you must have an quad core cpu like 965 BE or 2500k and you also stated that i want to run it on max setup then go for 2500k and a decent gpu like gtx 560 ti or hd 6870.


What a "pro-gamer"!!! :o  ... double posts AND fails to read the original post "I'm NOT looking for out of this world graphics and to have everything turned to the max,"
I rest my case =)

~Coffee
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October 3, 2011 1:35:54 PM

Good information, thanks everyone.

I don't need to hit 60 FPS to make me happy. Just enough to have the game be enjoyable without it being choppy. I'm not a hardcore gamer, but I like to play a few hours a week to help me unwind after a day at work. I wasn't aware the beta was out on the PC, I'll give that a try tonight. Thanks.

The video card and CPU were things I was figuring I'd need to upgrade.... and those prices were what I was figuring (although cheaper is always better). You say that the changes would be linear - what do you mean by that? I am assuming that the 30%-40% would be significantly noticeable though...

Although Vista 64bit gives me some issues from time to time, I've managed to get along with it pretty good so far. Is upgrading that to Windows 7 really that much of an improvement?


Finally, pardon my stupidity here, but when I originally built this quad cores were still fairly new. I was told (again, I'm no expert here) that for gaming, quad core doesn't really provide a huge improvement. Has that changed, or was I told wrong?

Thanks again...
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October 3, 2011 1:43:32 PM

When upgrading, you should always try to get about 70% or more performance [with GPUs] as a basic rule of thumb - or else it's called a "linear" upgrade because while you have gain some performance, it's still some-what insignificant. This makes sense if you think about it - your 4870 was about $200 when you bought it - a 6870 is about $200 but your only getting 30-40% more performance. Not very cost effective.....
Just realized how bad I am at explaining PC hardware jargons !!! >_> *quickly gets some coffee and gulps it down to relax*

~Coffee

PS: I said "some-what linear"
PSS: Not sharing my coffee..... ever!
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October 3, 2011 1:47:07 PM

That makes perfect sense actually. Thank you. Is there a huge price increase to go up to the next level to get closer to that 70%?

In my current setup - what is the bottleneck? Is it the CPU or GPU? Would it be better to sink more cash into one or the other to make the system run more smoothly?
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 3, 2011 1:53:32 PM

Your CPU and the motherboard chipset (740) are the most limiting aspects of your current rig. The HD4870 is actually a fairly capable GPU.

You could bump to a faster x3 or x4 Phenom II and that would help somewhat. However, even that sort of an upgrade isn't going to result in massive gains in performance.
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October 3, 2011 1:55:21 PM

evanc2 said:
That makes perfect sense actually. Thank you. Is there a huge price increase to go up to the next level to get closer to that 70%?

In my current setup - what is the bottleneck? Is it the CPU or GPU? Would it be better to sink more cash into one or the other to make the system run more smoothly?


Ah, you were NOT told wrong that quad-cores were not very... helpful in gaming because.... *drum roll* as you've said, Quad-Cores were still fairly new when you build your PC. Quad-Cores were still in their infant-stages back then and few companies/developers had the time nor resources to code their games to take advantage of all cores. Even if they did, these drastic changes don't happen over night... but it's been a few years since all that... this gave plenty of time for a lot of newer titles to adopt multi-core support =)

Personally, I wouldn't sink any more investment beyond a Phenom II x4 955 CPU for gaming due to diminishing returns. A modern classic example is with the Intel i5-2500k vs i7-2600k. The exception is if you ALSO run a lot of multi-threaded applications but.. even then.... it would depend on the apps you run. CPUs aside... to get closer to the 70% mark, you'll be looking at a ATI 6950 2GB which is currently about $270-285 USD which imo a better investment than the 6870... but again... it's a pretty pricey upgrade. The Phenom II x4 955 is $100 + 6950 2GB @ about $280, that's roughly a $400 investment. If I were you, I would DEFINITELY grab a copy of windows 7 and the Phenom II x4 955 BE and see how well BF3 runs. The CPU upgrade alone will influence more than just gaming performance - a lot of daily apps would benefit quite significantly which translates to faster over-all loading times, response times, etc.

~Coffee

Edit: Assuming your 4870 performs well in BF3 with the new Phenom II x4 955 BE CPU AND Windows 7. I would recommend waiting until at least Black Firday/Boxing Day before buying a new graphics card. This is because AMD has their APU Bulldozer and 7xxx series lined up for Q4 of this year - their very release and availability will cause other cards to drop in price.
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October 3, 2011 2:01:01 PM

That would help on cost standpoint if I simply swap out the CPU instead of replacing that AND the GPU. But, if I am not getting massive gains in performance, will it be noticeable in the game?

Again, please pardon my lack of intelligence in this area. I can physically put the PC together and troubleshoot minor details, but the hardware upgrades and details of the hardware are by no means something I am knowledgeable in. I can't thank all of you enough for your help here.
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October 3, 2011 2:05:09 PM

go for 2500k with a gtx 560 ti and later you can sli then check bf3 i swear your fps is 40 to 60
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October 3, 2011 2:09:18 PM

coffeecoffee said:
Ah, you were NOT told wrong that quad-cores were not very... helpful in gaming because.... *drum roll* as you've said, Quad-Cores were still fairly new when you build your PC. Quad-Cores were still in their infant-stages back then and few companies/developers had the time nor resources to code their games to take advantage of all cores. Even if they did, these drastic changes don't happen over night... but it's been a few years since all that... this gave plenty of time for a lot of newer titles to adopt multi-core support =)

Personally, I wouldn't sink any more investment beyond a Phenom II x4 955 CPU for gaming due to diminishing returns. A modern classic example is with the Intel i5-2500k vs i7-2600k. The exception is if you ALSO run a lot of multi-threaded applications but.. even then.... it would depend on the apps you run. CPUs aside... to get closer to the 70% mark, you'll be looking at a ATI 6950 2GB which is currently about $270-285 USD which imo a better investment than the 6870... but again... it's a pretty pricey upgrade. The Phenom II x4 955 is $100 + 6950 2GB @ about $280, that's roughly a $400 investment. If I were you, I would DEFINITELY grab a copy of windows 7 and the Phenom II x4 955 BE and see how well BF3 runs. The CPU upgrade alone will influence more than just gaming performance - a lot of daily apps would benefit quite significantly which translates to faster over-all loading times, response times, etc.

~Coffee

Edit: Assuming your 4870 performs well in BF3 with the new Phenom II x4 955 BE CPU AND Windows 7. I would recommend waiting until at least Black Firday/Boxing Day before buying a new graphics card. This is because AMD has their APU Bulldozer and 7xxx series lined up for Q4 of this year - their very release and availability will cause other cards to drop in price.


Is Windows 7 really going to provide me with that much of a "performance" upgrade in BF3 to justify the $100. Could that $100 be spent elsewhere and provide more of a performance upgrade?

If I did upgrade to the 6950 2GB, and the X4 955, I'm assuming I'd be set for some time for upcoming games - which would be nice. Another member mentioned my motherboard being dated. Would that cause issues or be a bottleneck in my setup? The reason I ask is that if I am going to need to upgrade that the near future, would it be best to upgrade that before I spend all this money on a new CPU to make sure that they are compatible? Would a newer motherboard also provide me with more options for CPUs and allow me to get "more for my money"?

Thanks again - you've been a huge help.
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October 3, 2011 2:10:51 PM

evanc2 said:
That would help on cost standpoint if I simply swap out the CPU instead of replacing that AND the GPU. But, if I am not getting massive gains in performance, will it be noticeable in the game?


My currently dilemma is not knowing how well your 4870 will perform in BF3 with the Phenom II x4 CPU on Windows 7. If you can get playable and acceptable frame-rates on your 4870, it would be better to hold out a few months and buy the 6950 2GB on sale at about $200. It's much more economical that way, no sense in buying something you may not need.... which is why.. you should... go to the store and buy the CPU and OS right away :D 

evanc2 said:
Again, please pardon my lack of intelligence in this area. I can physically put the PC together and troubleshoot minor details, but the hardware upgrades and details of the hardware are by no means something I am knowledgeable in. I can't thank all of you enough for your help here.


No need for pardons here, I'm here to help those who ask for it =)


evanc2 said:
Is Windows 7 really going to provide me with that much of a "performance" upgrade in BF3 to justify the $100. Could that $100 be spent elsewhere and provide more of a performance upgrade?


The CPU's performance in BF3 alone will be minimal but it's the overall performance gain we're looking at here..... which is very significant; especially in daily activities.

evanc2 said:
If I did upgrade to the 6950 2GB, and the X4 955, I'm assuming I'd be set for some time for upcoming games - which would be nice. Another member mentioned my motherboard being dated. Would that cause issues or be a bottleneck in my setup? The reason I ask is that if I am going to need to upgrade that the near future, would it be best to upgrade that before I spend all this money on a new CPU to make sure that they are compatible? Would a newer motherboard also provide me with more options for CPUs and allow me to get "more for my money"?


Yes, you would be set for quite some time, however no point in buying the 6950 until you know if you need it or not.

Regarding your motherboard and RAM; they are somewhat outdated but I would not worry about it b/c RAM and Mobo overall has very little impact on game performance.

~Coffee
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October 3, 2011 2:11:24 PM

assassin123 said:
go for 2500k with a gtx 560 ti and later you can sli then check bf3 i swear your fps is 40 to 60


That would require a motherboard swap as that CPU isn't compatible with mine, right?
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October 3, 2011 2:14:56 PM

coffeecoffee said:
My currently dilemma is not knowing how well your 4870 will perform in BF3 with the Phenom II x4 CPU on Windows 7. If you can get playable and acceptable frame-rates on your 4870, it would be better to hold out a few months and buy the 6950 2GB on sale at about $200. It's much more economical that way, no sense in buying something you may not need.... which is why.. you should... go to the store and buy the CPU and OS right away :D 


I'll pick up the CPU tonight. That sounds like a resounding good idea from everyone. I like the idea of waiting on the video card too. Going piece by piece is good, especially for my wallet.

I'm still stuck on Windows 7 though... am I going to see a performance upgrade in the game due to the OS that justifies the $100, or would that money be spent better elsewhere? Vista 64 has done well for me over the past couple years... although many don't feel the same way I do about - I have no issues with it.
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October 3, 2011 2:16:49 PM

yes then find out z68 vpro
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 3, 2011 2:17:33 PM

evanc2 said:
That would require a motherboard swap as that CPU isn't compatible with mine, right?

Right. This is a completely different system path.

Back to your situation, going with the 955BE or 965BE will provide a good jump in performance. Going to Win 7 is not necessary, but is recommended later (in other words, not essential now).

Try BF3 with the 4870. If you want a beefier GPU later, then look at the 6950 (or higher) as previously recommended by others.

Good luck!
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October 3, 2011 2:19:06 PM

evanc2 said:
I'll pick up the CPU tonight. That sounds like a resounding good idea from everyone. I like the idea of waiting on the video card too. Going piece by piece is good, especially for my wallet.

I'm still stuck on Windows 7 though... am I going to see a performance upgrade in the game due to the OS that justifies the $100, or would that money be spent better elsewhere? Vista 64 has done well for me over the past couple years... although many don't feel the same way I do about - I have no issues with it.


First, check my previous post... noticed you already posted when I finished editing.. =.=;;

anyways, as far as windows Vista is concerned... it's 50/50.... 50% preference and 50% inefficiency. In other words Windows Vista is a resource sucking black-hole.... *nods* while Windows 7 is a much more elegant solution. Windows 7 was built from scratch FOR efficiency, simplicity and most IMPORTANTLY! GAMES!! :D DD

~Coffee
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October 3, 2011 2:23:01 PM

I just ordered the 965BE (same price as the 955). I'll hook it up this weekend and pray for the best. Thanks again to everyone - you guys are great.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 3, 2011 2:24:23 PM

evanc2 said:
I just ordered the 965BE (same price as the 955). I'll hook it up this weekend and pray for the best. Thanks again to everyone - you guys are great.

Good luck! May the Force be with you.

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October 3, 2011 2:25:48 PM

evanc2 said:
I just ordered the 965BE (same price as the 955). I'll hook it up this weekend and pray for the best. Thanks again to everyone - you guys are great.


Your welcome. Send me a PM if you need help again, I log on about once a day. Btw, if you need a good CPU cooler, check out the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus. It's economical and has a near legendary track record.

~Coffee
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October 3, 2011 2:34:02 PM

evanc2 said:
That would require a motherboard swap as that CPU isn't compatible with mine, right?



Yes it would, however, if you grab a newer motherboard, and that 955 phenom ii BE, you'll want a better HSF, imo. They run kind of warm, even out of the box. However, if you get a capable HSF, then you'll be able to oc. I've been tweaking mine, and I've come near 4.0 ghz.


If you grab a new mobo, you'll have room to run Crossfire, which will extend the life of your rig. Providing you have a power supply that's capable to run Crossfie.


For ~300 USD you can get a 955 BE and a solid motherboard.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You could grab a cooler master hyper 212, which is an effective cooling solution, for very cheap. (some say works as well as corsair liquid cooling)

My temps at 3.9 ghz don't go above 43 C Ambient temps are around 68 F (don't know conversions, but it's usually a little colder than I'm comfortable with, in here)

I've got both of these, and for performance vs price, its well worth it to me.

Plays StarCraft II on ultra settings, with great frame rates, with exceptions for large battles.
Borderlands maxed out at 60+ fps
Fallout NV plays well maxed out. (haven't tried to fraps it, yet)


Not sure how different our cards perform, but your card is still fairly capable, I'm sure.


OR, if you just want a graphics card update, grab a GTX 560 TI.



I'm not good with bottlenecks, but I can see your cpu and motherboard holding you back, for the fact that Dual Cores don't keep up very well anymore, unless it's and intel core I3 or I5 (idk if they make Dual Core I5, I don't pay attention to Intel, because they're out of my price range, until I get rich.)
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October 3, 2011 2:34:07 PM

coffeecoffee said:
Your welcome. Send me a PM if you need help again, I log on about once a day. Btw, if you need a good CPU cooler, check out the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus. It's economical and has a near legendary track record.

~Coffee


I've always gotten away with using the stock cooler that comes with the CPU. If I'm not overclocking, is there a reason to buy an aftermarket cooler?
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October 3, 2011 3:31:59 PM

nothing special, but if you are doing overclocking then you must buy aftermarket cooler.
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October 6, 2011 8:49:36 PM

I put the new processor in, but even at the lowest settings I can't get more than 16 FPS. Could I have done something wrong?
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 7, 2011 2:16:54 AM

Are all four cores being recognized?
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October 7, 2011 7:26:22 PM

There is definitely something fishy going on.... you should be getting a lot more than 16 FPS with a Phenom II x4 BE + 4870... I'd expect at least 85+ FPS on lowest settings... this is STRANGE @_@;;

Try the following:
A) Update Direct x
B) Update Video Card Driver
C) Update Motherboard driver(s)
D) De-frag your drive(s)
E) ???
F) improved performance!
G) Download CPU-Z and see if all of your CPU cores are recognized.... download link ==> http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html
H) If all else fails.... report back here... we'll figure this out :) 

~Coffee

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October 7, 2011 8:15:04 PM

I'll give this a shot this weekend. Thanks so much guys.
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October 8, 2011 8:58:24 AM

Okay this is the deal from my perspective and experience.

The minimal requirements for BF3 as advertised by DICE (game developers) is imaginary and provides bad visuals with unplayable FPS.

The recommended requirements for BF3 allow you to play on Medium settings without special effects (such as AA and AF) - this was said by a DICE representative.

The ultimate truth is that the game is a hog. Its current demands outweigh those the developers themselves planned and it is even more exhaggerated now as the Beta is far from optimized. Furthermore the Beta has Ultra settings and effects such as Tesselation disabled - meaning the full release could be even more demanding if you wish to enable all of those post-processing effects.

This doens't mean it's a bad game, it just means it demands a more powerfun system that most people expected.

There is no way a 4850 1GB will go anywhere near 85 FPS. People running SLI GTX 570 and Crossfire 6950 are reporting 60-80 frames per second when maxing out everything, and around 80-100 with slightly lower settings. People running single GTX 560 Ti or 6950 are reporting 40-50 FPS (closer to the 40 most of the time).

I had the same card you did prior to upgrading and the game was unplayable. Both my CPU and my GPU were underpreforming. Heck even BFBC2 didnt run on that card as well as I had hoped.

Several friends of mine, including myself, have extended and advanced our upgrades in order to deal with the coming release. We all expected to upgrade our CPU and GPU, the majority of us ended up both upgrade and getting additional GPUs for crossfire/SLI.

This doesn't mean you have to run 2 GPUs for the game, but It does mean you'll have to aim a little higher than you originally expected in order to play BF3 without constantly feeling you're compromising (be it in frames per second or visual quality).

As people already mentioned, Vista is a resource hog aswell. Windows 7 to me was a great improvement.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I hope this helps you hit your mark better.
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October 8, 2011 9:03:33 AM

Jackharrer said:
Okay this is the deal from my perspective and experience.


Ok that still doesn't explain why he's getting 16 FPS with a Phenom II x4 955 BE AND a ATI 4870.... 16 FPS on lowest setting? if the game was THAT demanding then even a i7 2600k with 6990s running in xfire or GTX 580s in SLI would have trouble pushing 100FPS on min settings...
On a side note, his current system meets or exceeds the recommended system requirements with the exception of the GPU... so he should be getting more than playable FPS on MIN settings.... I have a feeling it has more to do with driver(s), OS or other issues causing low FPS. Evanc2, might be time to get Windows 7......

~Coffee
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October 8, 2011 9:57:13 AM

16 FPS is extremely low yes. I managed 27 with my previous 4870. But the deal was this: 50 FPS feels like 35 in the Beta. 60 feels like 50. 80 feels like 70. I've seen a system running at 50 FPS with a single 580 and it was experiencing strain and stuttering and felt like barely 30 FPS.

Meaning there's something else at work here. I'm not entire certain what, but my money's on VRAM. Simply because I saw a single 6950 2GB outperform a single 570 with 1.2GB after an hour and half of gameplay. In the beginning I saw slightly better FPS on the 570 but after an hour and half the 570 started suffering lower FPS while the 6950 remained steady - and this was extremely odd. We haven't canceled out the option that it was a temperature issue though.

The bottom line is. With the same card I saw poor performance. I bought 2 6950's Twin Frozr 2GB and tried playing with 1 and then with both.

With 1 the game ran good. With 2 the game ran great. One cannot make a purchase today based on hopes of better game optimization in the future, therefor I opted to buy what allowed me to enjoy the game in its current state of optimization.

And I have seen GTX 580 in SLI spend way more time under 100 FPS than it did over 100 FPS. It saw 100 during temporary spikes (when looking at the sky) but the rest of the time it ran at 80ish avg. And it wasn't maxing everything out.

I think DICE were surprised by the actual level of demands right before they released their statement, claiming "No current system will be able to completely max out the game settings" - which is referring to Ultra settings with all post processing maxed, however it still says much. Given i'm fairly certain a 6990 or some freakish quad-crossfire 6970 should be able to, however this remains to be seen when game is released.

So to conclude: I feel you are severely underestimating the hardware required to comfortably, enjoyably and most importantly smoothly run BF3. A GPU upgrade is not enough - it needs to be a New GPU to which you upgrade.

It's both good and bad. Bad because it means we need to spend money to enjoy it, good because it means the industry is moving forward with better quality visuals and superior performance.
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October 12, 2011 12:16:44 PM

Gentlemen,

Thanks you to all of your help. I took your ideas of updating and defragging the system one step further and wiped the OS and started over fresh. I updated the BIOS, made sure all the drivers were as up to date as they can be, and updated everything in Windows Vista that I could.

I tried booting up BF3, but sadly, the demo was over. I booted up Battlefield Bad Company 2 and I could see a drastic improvement over what I had before. I could turn up the settings to a very high level and still have good frame-rates. I don't know if it was a single change that I made, or if it was the combination of everything, but if I am seeing this much of a positive change in this game, I am sure I'll be able to see a similar change in BF3.

Thanks to all of you guys so much, you really helped me out here. I've been looking through some of my games that I got bored of because of performance issues and thinking of giving them another shot due to this improvement.


On a side note, I ordered an upgraded cooler last night. The OEM fan sounds like it's about to take off into outer space with how fast it sounds. The OEM fan on the last CPU I had was rather quiet. I'm hopeful that this will fix that problem. One question about it though - My current CPU and fan already have the thermal paste between them. My new cooler (the one recommended above) comes with more paste. Should I scrape the old stuff off, or just apply more, when I put on the new cooler? And is there a "best" technique for applying it?

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October 12, 2011 2:20:14 PM

Yeah, as I''ve said before, the 4870 is still a very capable GPU even by today's standards. However, do to the unpredictable and ridiculous requirements in BF3, keep in mind there is still a possibility for the need to upgrade your GPU for BF3 - although it's unlikely from what you told us.

Regarding your CPU cooler, I hope you ordered the Cooler Master 212+ because it's a extremely economical cooler that has a "true and tested" design.
As for the thermal paste; I would invest in a small tube of Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound [Link Below] and wipe off ANY remaining thermal compound on your CPU using a micro-fiber cloth and rubbing alcohol [always dab the alcohol on the cloth FIRST and use only a few drops at a time.
I would also wipe off any thermal compound that comes with the cooler you ordered - I'll link you to a very self-explanatory video that demonstrates how thermal paste spreads and compares several different application methods. The video itself is 2 years old but the concept still holds true for all cases - The glass panel is simulating the contact plate on the CPU cooler - and it also lets you see how the compound spreads. And don't get upset your paying nearly $15 for 1cc of thermal compound because it's enough for up to 2 applications since "less is more" due to the nature of the spread. Keep in mind thermal compound can take up to days to completely "settle" since the heat from the CPU helps spread the compound even more after the initial application. Hope this helps!


Arctic Silver 5 ==> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooler Master 212+ ==> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

How Thermal Compound Spreads ==> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyXLu1Ms-q4

~Coffee

PS: Happy Gaming
PSS: I need some coffee
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October 12, 2011 3:13:01 PM

Thanks for all the useful information. And yes sir, that is the one I ordered.

So, the thermal paste that came with the cooler is no good?

I'll follow all the other steps, thanks again!
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October 12, 2011 3:33:33 PM

evanc2 said:
So, the thermal paste that came with the cooler is no good?


First - watch the video as it shows you how each "method" spreads the compound - and you can clearly see the "spread" application method fails beyond hope - it causes LOTS of air bubbles which hinders heat transfer. The thermal compound that comes with the cooler is acceptable as far as quality goes - however it's probably a pre-applicated layer on the CPU cooler itself. Now, as the video has demonstrated a "even layer" will cause LOTS of air bubbles and that hinders head transfer more than you would think. I would only use the thermal compound that comes with the cooler if it comes in a tube in the packaging because if you know what your doing self application > pre-application - everytime. And use the "dot" or "line" application method since they are the most effective.

~Coffee

PS: Remember to NEVER EVER use the "spread" method - it's horrible and it doesn't work.
PSS:This video explains everything much better than me http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRRWbQUqW1Y&feature=rela...
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October 14, 2011 5:33:35 PM

The cooler should arrive tonight. I'll install it over the weekend. Thanks again for all the great advice. You guys are great.
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!