Asked a few questions on tomshardware before and have had wonderful help and answers, and coming to the pros again for some info.
I have recently upgraded my computer to be able to multibox diablo 3, however, im still having some sort of bottleneck issue.
I have a prebuilt dell originally a Inspiron i560.
I have upgraded the CPU from a dual core E5700 to a quad core Q9400.
I also have upgraded my video card from a Radeon 4600 series to a Radeon HD 6670.
I have 4 GB of 1066 mhz DDR3 RAM, 4 1 gig sticks.
The upgrades I have made blow my old components out of the water, literally going from 80% CPU usage and 100% GPU usage with one game open, to 60-70% CPU usage and 40-50% GPU usage with 3 games open.
However, when loading new areas in aforementioned game, the first 15-30 seconds, my fps drops TREMENDOUSLY, to the point of 1 to 1.5 second lockups, and running 2 to 10 frames per second the rest of the time.
During this period, monitoring my GPU and CPU usage never pass the above listed %s, so they are obviously not bottlenecking my computer.
Are there any other highly likely causes for this frame lag, or should I go ahead and upgrade my RAM to 8GB? ( Highest supported amount by the ancient mobo )
I am on a very limited budget after my recent upgrades, so if this doesnt sound like a RAM issue, Id like to investigate other possibilities to pinpoint the cause. Also, I am definately at beginner level of computer tech, although intermediate to advanced casual user, so please keep that in mind.
Edit - monitoring my RAM usage in task manager, there is always 0 free, although 500 mb to a gig AVAILABLE, from the way it lists it.
You might want to check to see whether or not there are any programs running in the background that could be using up your RAM. Do a virus scan with Malware Bytes to see if there are any viruses that could possibly be consuming your RAM. It's rare for anybody to use more than 4GB unless they're using really large programs.
An easy way to check whether or not the RAM is being used is to watch the HDD LED on your computer while switching between programs. If the HDD LED is active then it means you're using your Swap File and RAM is definitely the issue.
You may also want to check to make sure your fans are all running properly and the insides are clean. If it's overheating it will do what is called "Throttling": It will slow your computer down (CPU or GPU) to prevent the processor from frying.
Not really anything running in the background using more than 50 mb.
When I open the performance center thingy it shows each instance of the game using a little over a gig of RAM.
That doesnt leave much room for anything else, and if it needs more than that loading areas, IE that number needs to go up during intense usage ( im not entirely sure how RAM actually works ) then 1 gig available best case scenario hardly seems to be enough.
I have no idea if that would cause the lag i described however, so hopefully someone can tell me if thats likely.
Another quicknote as I was playing - the FPS dips a little bit during these " loading freezes ", but not enough to reflect what it truly goes down to.
I have a in game FPS counter, and it dips down by like 4 or 5 FPS, but it almost acts like it doesnt recognize that the FPS is going down. Not sure if that helps.
Weren't the i560's mini towers? You might be having some airflow problems with the heat your new upgrades are putting off. I'd bet on throttling. Also, did you upgrade your power supply to match your video card upgrade? Most often those store bought systems have just enough juice to run whats inside. I remember cracking open my first computer and putting in a new video card I bought and played with it forever and couldn't get it to work, until I had a friend point out my 250w power supply probably wasn't doing the trick.
I had a 180w in an old HP slimline I had, and I imagine those i560's having something similar. It's either that or throttling (my money is still on throttling as lack of wattage tends to lead to solid freeze up's more than anything)
Check your temperatures during these games. Open Hardware Monitor is a nice freeware program that I like to use.
Actually have been monitoring temps already, the GPU doesnt get over 45-50 at any time. Has dual fans on it, and isnt even really taxed doing what im doing.
The CPU gets toasty, but ive managed to get it out of the danger range by leaving the case open and just cleaning it out more often. Runs about 65-68c, peaks around 70c at peak load. Intel specs guarantee it up to 71.4c, tjmax is 100c, so its fine.
Just ordered 8 gigs of RAM, so going to know one way or another real soon here