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I built what I thought was a modest gaming rig - Maybe not? Help!

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December 29, 2011 4:00:48 AM

I'm having lackluster performance on high end games, although it's situational and some are decent.

System Specs:
Windows 7 64bit
Intel E6700 3.2GHz Dual Core Processor
4GB DDR3 RAM Memory ( Mobo Max ) ( Running at DRAM Frequency 1066MHz that may hurt )
MSi R6450 1GB GPU ( OC'd Core Clock 725MHz; Memory Clock 815MHz )
1TB SATA Hard Drive
400W PSU
Diablotek ATX Mid Tower Diamond Case

-

I've had to keep most these settings incredibly low:

Catalyst Control Center settings:
Anti-Aliasing - Use application settings
Anisotropic Filter - Use application settings
Tessellation - AMD Optimized Unchecked and Use application settings Unchecked; Level Off
Catalyst A.I. - Performance
Enable Surface Format Optimization - Unchecked
VSync - On
AA Mode - Multi-sample AA
Triple buffering - Checked ( Same results )

-

Myself and apparently the techs at COMP USA thought this was a modest modern gaming rig. I was under the impression when I did my research and decision making that a Dual Core running at 3.2GHz was better than a Quad Core running at 2.5GHz as multiple cores are like having 4 horses pulling a cart instead of 2. The 4 slower horses may be able to pull more weight, but the 2 faster horses are going to go a lot faster with less of a load. In computing terms, relating that to things such as programs running in the background in addition to the game, the specific game would run faster at 3.2GHz if multiple programs weren't needlessly running. I know my GPU isn't state of the art as it's based on entry level technology within the 6 series, but boy sometimes it's decent and sometimes it's not. I listed the hard drive because it's SATA and from what I understand everything is suppose to feed and draw quickly from that.

Any ideas? What's the killer in the specs - What gives?
Thanks in advance!
December 29, 2011 5:20:43 AM

What sortof games are you playing and at what settings?
December 29, 2011 5:27:02 AM

uh... you should be using at least a 6700 series gpu for modern games. and it depends about the cores
Related resources
December 29, 2011 5:31:22 AM

You can overclock the Quad Core @ 2.5 to 3.2GHZ and beyond with the proper cooling. Also 4 cores running @ 2.5 GHz > 2 cores @ 3.2 GHz. And even the Q series Quad cores will give you more performance than an E series dual core.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/60?vs=75
December 29, 2011 5:35:09 AM

Lowlyworm said:
What sortof games are you playing and at what settings?


Listed below are the most hardware demanding games I play and how I have to run them for the best mixture of quality / performance:

Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops ( probably the most modern and hardware demanding ) - Medium graphic settings at 1024x768
Section 8 Prejudice - Medium graphic settings at Native 1600x900
S.T.A.L.K.E.R Call of Pripyat - Maxed at Native 1600x900
Fallout 3 - Medium graphic settings at 1280x720
Bioshock 2 - Medium graphic settings at 1024x768
Borderlands - High graphic settings but at 1024x728
Killing Floor - Maxed at Native 1600x900
Grand Theft Auto IV - Medium graphic settings at 1024x768
Doom 3 ( altho a bit dated but heavy on hardware ) - Maxed but at 1024x768
Everquest II ( same as Doom 3 ) - Medium to high graphic settings at Native 1600x900
Final Fantasy XIV ( comparable to Shadow Harvest hardware demands ) - Medium graphic settings at Native 1600x900
December 29, 2011 5:39:42 AM

So the GPU and CPU are the weak links? I'm trying to OC the CPU but the G41 Chipset CMOS Setup Utility BIOS doesn't have an overclocking option. I downloaded ClockGen but can't figure out how to use it or what PLL to pick. I've efficiently OC'd the GPU to Core Clock 725MHz and Memory Clock 815MHz so I'm familiar with the process. I take it those numbers I got the MSi R6450 are still irrelevant?
a b B Homebuilt system
December 29, 2011 5:45:08 AM

the GPU sucks. The processor............. you can't add cores. Over clock all you want it'll still hold you back. Dump the GPU. ........ save your pennies for an over haul.
December 29, 2011 5:51:23 AM

The 6450 graphics card you have is the slowest Radeon 6000 series card there is. It was designed for use in HTPCs and for OEM use so PC manufacturers can brag about having discrete graphics for as little extra cost as possible. It is, in fact, only slightly faster than Intel's latest integrated GPU. So you got conned.

There is still the possibility of upgrades, if so, what is your budget and how far are you willing to go?
December 29, 2011 5:53:51 AM

swifty_morgan said:
the GPU sucks. The processor............. you can't add cores. Over clock all you want it'll still hold you back. Dump the GPU. ........ save your pennies for an over haul.


So what steps need to be taken given the current build? The 775 Socket will support a Quad Core, although a Q6600 has a slow clock speed and a QX9770 is $2,000. The Socket's limitations are horrible.
December 29, 2011 5:57:03 AM

fb39ca4 said:
The 6450 graphics card you have is the slowest Radeon 6000 series card there is. It was designed for use in HTPCs and for OEM use so PC manufacturers can brag about having discrete graphics for as little extra cost as possible. It is, in fact, only slightly faster than Intel's latest integrated GPU. So you got conned.

There is still the possibility of upgrades, if so, what is your budget and how far are you willing to go?


Given the current build and what's possible I'd like to know. How much can I do with it and would it be a waste of money to do so. If I was able to keep some of the parts, I wouldn't say money would be an issue.

EDIT: You know I got the case, DVD / Hard Drives already in place and whatnot.
December 29, 2011 6:11:34 AM

The 6450 has only 160 shader cores.

Some games like gtaIV and stalker favor the i5 series cpus and amd quads/Llano and wont run nice on the core2 even the quad. Even my old x2 6000+ doesn't run nice with these two games even with a hd-4870.

Don't waste your cash on a core2 quad, it is two dual cores "glued" together, many games do not support the extra two cores in the "dual, dual core core2".

Buying a cheap used hd-4850,4870,4890, geforce 260, 275, 280,285,450,460 would be a good option. There are alot of $30 to $70 used cards for sale when people upgrade.
A new hd-6770,6850 or geforce 550,560 should work for most games. But some games will still be cpu-limited with the older dual core cpu like with my x2-6000+.

You need at least 800 amd shaders, hd-48XX to hd-68XX series.
For nvidia you need at least 192 shaders, cuda shaders that started with the geforce 260.

200 cuda cores are close in speed to 800 amd gpu cores.

Some older cards that are good used if they are cheap. $20 to $40.... hd-3870, 8800gt, 8800gtx, 9800gt, 9800gtx, 250, 4830, 4860.
December 29, 2011 6:18:45 AM

I would get a radeon 5770, they can be had for $100 if you get lucky.
In a year or so, the oldness of your CPU will really start to show, by then I would just build a completely new system.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 29, 2011 6:20:04 AM

i looked at a couple of sites for a quad 775. seems they cleared out but are probably still available elsewhere..... at what prices I don't know but they used to be expensive.

your system............. someone up near the top mentioned the 6700 series gpu's. right he was. given your PS and your other limitations i'd look into a 5770-6770 on the high end. not too demanding power wise and should give decent performance increases at native resolution. try it I think you'll be surprised. make sure you have extra cables on your PS to provide power to cards...... you may need a 4pin molex to 6pin pci-e adapter. not sure they come with cards anymore.

then i'd save my pennies until you can make major adjustments. you need a new PS/new processor/new ram/mobo, ( same size as current ) etc... you could use your old case/dvd drive/HD if it's still good. $$$
December 29, 2011 6:22:14 AM

need4speeds said:
The 6450 has only 160 shader cores.

Some games like gtaIV and stalker favor the i5 series cpus and amd quads/Llano and wont run nice on the core2 even the quad. Even my old x2 6000+ doesn't run nice with these two games even with a hd-4870.

Don't waste your cash on a core2 quad, it is two dual cores "glued" together, many games do not support the extra two cores in the "dual, dual core core2".

A new hd-6770,6850 or geforce 550,560 should work for most games. But some games will still be cpu-limited with the older dual core cpu like with my x2-6000+.


Yeah I was thinking earlier that a 6850 and a new 500W with atleast 30@12V Rail. I'm clueless as to what to do with the mobo 775 Socket type, and the fact that it only has one PCIe 16x slot so Crossfiring in the future is impossible.
December 29, 2011 6:23:54 AM

Running games in directx 9.0c mode does give you more fps without dropping the details. For a dual core gaming system, running in dx9.0c mode is better than in dx11.
If the game has the option to run dx9.0c shaders, that is a good option.

December 29, 2011 6:26:08 AM

swifty_morgan said:
given your PS and your other limitations i'd look into a 5770-6770 on the high end. not too demanding power wise and should give decent performance increases at native resolution. try it I think you'll be surprised. make sure you have extra cables on your PS to provide power to cards...... you may need a 4pin molex to 6pin pci-e adapter. not sure they come with cards anymore.


That sounds reasonable, and my PSU does have a 4-Pin ATX 12V connector. It doesn't have a 6-Pin though.
December 29, 2011 6:28:55 AM

need4speeds said:
Running games in directx 9.0c mode does give you more fps without dropping the details. For a dual core gaming system, running in dx9.0c mode is better than in dx11.
If the game has the option to run dx9.0c shaders, that is a good option.


I've only seen BioShock 2 having the option to disable DX11 textures. I think all the other ones force DX11, and I don't think you can run them on DX9.. if so idk how to downgrade and override that.
December 29, 2011 6:30:18 AM

Crossfire? Don't worry about that, with a dual core the cpu will often be pegged at 100% load trying to keep up with a SINGLE gaming card like a 6770 or 550.

I was thinking about the $20 to $120 fix, since ditching the board/cpu basically means you are building a whole new system.

If your power supply is poor, the power sipping hd-6770 is a good choice they usually work ok on a smaller power supply.

Some of the older cards like the hd-4870 and geforce 285 are made on 55nm and use lots more power and make more heat than the newer hd-6770 and geforce 550 replacements that are made on 40nm.
December 29, 2011 6:31:37 AM

-Some games have a option, and some do not. When the game does have the option to run dx9.0c shaders its worth a try.

December 29, 2011 6:36:26 AM

need4speeds said:
Crossfire? Don't worry about that, with a dual core the cpu will often be pegged at 100% load trying to keep up with a SINGLE gaming card like a 6770 or 550.

I was thinking about the $20 to $120 fix, since ditching the board/cpu basically means you are building a whole new system.

If your power supply is poor, the power sipping hd-6770 is a good choice they usually work ok on a smaller power supply.

Some of the older cards like the hd-4870 and geforce 285 are made on 55nm and use lots more power and make more heat than the newer hd-6770 and geforce 550 replacements that are made on 40nm.


Alright I'll have to do this then and scrap by with the rest of the build. I take it a 6850 is out of the question with the current PSU? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I wouldn't mind upgrading the PSU as I said above, something like a 500W with atleast 30@12V Rail.
December 29, 2011 6:53:26 AM

"apparently the techs at COMP USA thought this was a modest modern gaming rig"

You mean this is a new system?

I would say you want to exchange the board/cpu/video card for a amd A8-3850, socket FM1 board. It should be close in price to exchange.

The A8-3850 has a integrated gpu that is close to a hd-6550. It has 400 shaders instead of your current card's 160.

Later on you can add a video card to upgrade it, something like a hd-6950 or 560ti.

Its a quad core and has more power to keep up to a larger card.
December 29, 2011 7:08:50 AM

need4speeds said:
"apparently the techs at COMP USA thought this was a modest modern gaming rig"

You mean this is a new system?

I would say you want to exchange the board/cpu/video card for a amd A8-3850, socket FM1 board. It should be close in price to exchange.

The A8-3850 has a integrated gpu that is close to a hd-6550. It has 400 shaders instead of your current card's 160.

Later on you can add a video card to upgrade it, something like a hd-6950 or 560ti.

Its a quad core and has more power to keep up to a larger card.


I was gonna grab a mobo like that, and crossfire a APU like the one you're describing with my 6450 when I made the rig. I pulled the mobo, cpu, hard drive, and dvd drive out of an extra e-machine in the house and threw it into a new Mid Tower Case that came with a 400W PSU. I thought those parts were decent. Then I just upgraded the 3GB RAM by pulling a 1GB stick out and putting a 2GB in (it's all DDR3). The GPU was the last piece, which was the result of awful advice from 3 different COMP USA techs.

I'm really gonna look into what you're saying here, and try to crossfire an APU with a better 6 series card or something.
December 29, 2011 7:36:32 AM

It has a single 25 amp 12volt rail, but the drives, fans, cpu also use this rail power.

Unlike antec, corsair, ocz, seasonic, this power supply is not rated to run full load for more than a few mins.

P=EI. Or watts=volts times amps.

Since this is a oem 70% normal load power supply. You take the 25 amps times 70% "duty cycle" and it leaves 17.5 amps. Also 400 watts becomes 280 watts when compared with antec, corsair, ocz ect's 100% load ratings.

The cpu uses about 70 watts, or 5.83 amps. The fans, drives ect, about 3 amps or less. So about 10 amps for the system.
That leaves 7.5 amps to run the video card. Or 90 watts which is ok with a hd-6770 but yes the hd-6850 would push that over the edge.

Your cpu is too slow to gain any speed with the 6770 vs. 6850.

It would be best to buy a decent power supply like a corsair 600 watt, ocz 550watt or 600 watt, antec 550 to 650 watt. There is a chance that cheap
Diablotek might even fry, it might not do 17.5 amps after all.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 (CMPSU-430CXV2) 430W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply $39.99,
+12V@28A That's a real 28 amps, which is 10.5 amps more than the Diablotek's 17.5 amps.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Antec NEO ECO 620C 620W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
$59.99
+12V@48A Ok 48 amps is enough for a quad core i5-2500k, crossfire hd-6950's or sli 560ti's. For the extra $20 it's worth it to get this vs. the 430 watt.
December 29, 2011 7:37:43 AM

Oh ok so the core2 is older then. It's still ok.

The A8-3850 uses about 100 watts, overclocked maybe about 130 watts. That is about the same as your current system. The power supply you have should work with the A8-3850.

I Have a A6-3650 with a Gigabyte micro atx crossfire board. 8gb ddr3-1600 mem. Hd-4870's crossfire.
The upgrade worked out nicely.

I had a 939-x2-4400+ before, 2.7ghz, arctic cooling 13 pro cooler. hd-4870's.
I tried the A6-3650 gpu, before installing the cards. It tested about 24fps in dirt2 1080p. The 939 system ran at about 35fps. The A6 with 4870's about 50 fps. So the dual core still was faster than running the integrated gpu with a quad core.

It's still cheaper to just add a card and maybe a new power supply and would be faster than the A8-3850 integrated gpu.




December 29, 2011 7:38:29 AM

It is the wrong card for the A8 dual graphics anyway and wont work.
December 29, 2011 7:50:08 AM

I just got hit by train.

http://www.hwcompare.com/10371/geforce-8400-gs-512mb-vs...

The 4 year old used $30 8400 GS 512MB that we stuck in my wife's Walmart HP Slimline (she plays WoW kinda games, and does casual browsing so she's content) is only slightly weaker in the grand scheme of things than the card Comp USA compared to "PS3/360" graphics that they recommended I buy for my built 'Modern Gaming Rig' machine.

I've learned a lot today, but I never thought in a million years if I compared the two I would see those results.

EDIT: In comparison, these are the kind of results I expect when making the kind of upgrade I want. Comparing my current GPU to the one I'm going to get tomorrow:
http://www.hwcompare.com/10280/radeon-hd-6450-oem-1gb-v...
December 29, 2011 7:53:50 AM

need4speeds said:
Your cpu is too slow to gain any speed with the 6770 vs. 6850.

It would be best to buy a decent power supply like a corsair 600 watt, ocz 550watt or 600 watt, antec 550 to 650 watt. There is a chance that cheap
Diablotek might even fry, it might not do 17.5 amps after all.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 (CMPSU-430CXV2) 430W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply $39.99,
+12V@28A That's a real 28 amps, which is 10.5 amps more than the Diablotek's 17.5 amps.


Thank you, think I got everything in place now.
December 30, 2011 12:08:28 AM

The 6770 card requires a 6 Pin hook up to the PSU.. The 6770 should run fun on my 400W but it's a shame that it only have a 4 Pin hookup cord. No way around this without throwing 30 more bucks into a higher PSU just for a 6 Pin PSU cord? =/
December 30, 2011 12:21:09 AM

There are molex to 6 pin "cheater" cables you can buy. Normally they are $5 to $10.

Some cards also come with those cables, maybe there is one brand that is $10 more that has them included. Its worth a look.

The cost of the cables add up and its becomes worth it to just swap the power supply.

December 30, 2011 2:12:04 AM

I'm going to grab a 6770, because it's the best bang for the buck and it's as far as my system can go. 6670 and 6750 are basically the same price and have a noticeable performance decrease on hwcompare. I've been researching the most economic but efficient solution for my system, since I don't see a reason to upgrade anything else right this second.

I'm gonna grab a card like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Have it hooked up to my PSU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

With something exactly like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Should be all set. Good idea / safe setup, that will work?
December 31, 2011 12:06:31 AM

I hope it will work.

I did have a adaptor once that was made wrong, the plasic pins have 45 degree corners so you cant plug the cord on wrong. Some of the pins lacked the 45 degree cut corners that they should have. I had to resort to cutting some of the plastic with a utility knife then grinding some plastic out with a small drill bit.
This one happens to be the same brand even, so i think it is the one made wrong. I wasted a hour carefully modding a $5 cable because it was a hour drive back to the city.

If you read the first post it confirms my fears..
"Dosen't fit some graphics cards

Pros: Looks like it will work fine on some graphics cards.

Cons: Won't fit my HD4860. At least not without modification ..."

And yes i had this exact trouble using it on a hd-4870.

It is best to get a card that comes with a adapter cord if possible, that way there is a better chance the cord will fit right.

The asus card would be less hassle, and it comes with dirt3, the cable, and has free shipping. It's a common card and should be easy to find locally too.

On a final note, using your current cheap-o power supply is taking a chance. The power supply could fry and have smoke pouring out when you go to play a game.
Sometimes when a power supply fries it cooks other parts along with it, the most common is the motherboard.

-You are taking a gamble, it's your money to gamble so that is your choice.

Well good luck i hope it all works out.
!