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RIDICIULOUS 5970 Bottleneck

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January 5, 2012 12:53:20 AM

Hi All,

My rig is as follows:

Q6600 @ 3.5ghz / Tuniq Tower 120 / 1.42v in CPU-Z
Diamond 5970 900core/1100mem/1.168v 11.12 drivers
GA-P35-DS3L Mobo
750W OCZ ZT PSU (relatively new)
8GB DDR2 Corsair XMS2 ram.
BF3 running off an older IDE 7200rpm drive :C
Windows 7


I paired my new ATI 5970 with an older Q6600 @ 3.5ghz . I anticipated some kind of CPU induced bottleneck, but this is insane! In BF3, the card almost never gets above high 50% load. My processor sits at anywhere from 90%-100% load the entire time I'm playing! Temps are fine, mid 60c, and my CPU stays below 60c while gaming. Does this seem normal given my hardware, or is there something else at play?

I play at 1920x1080, MSAA OFF. GPU usage stays constant regardless of low/ultra settings.

I know the Core2Quad architecture is outdated, but I had always heard that these quads gave some breathing room when they got into the ~3.6 range. I've tried Processlasso, killing extraneous processes, turning off Aero, all to no avail. Speedstep and all that junk is off, and CPU-Z reports my trusy quad running at 3500 mhz consistently. Is this performance simply normal? I'm aware that crossfire cards require more CPU power, supposedly even dual gpu solutions. But 50% GPU use!? I can only presume that's cutting my FPS by nearly half! My GPU usage is worse on bigger maps of course, but not appreciably better on smaller ones. The only other recourse I can think of is trying a new Win7 install.

I'm saving for the 2500k, but I ain't there yet. Hoping I can squeeze a little more juice out of this awesome card until then! It breezes through the campaign, but multiplayer is awful.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
January 5, 2012 1:18:53 AM

I would say that Q6600 is the issue. Not a bad CPU for the basics or the GPU's of the day but a little dated now. The i series CPU's have a much lower latency clock for clock than the Q series. That is the main benefit of them. The Lynnfield CPU's had a 40 % increase in performance at the same clock speeds. The Sandy Bridge is of course faster again.
a b à CPUs
January 5, 2012 1:38:45 AM

Also BF3 really loves to chew the CPU power, I have a I7 3930K and 2x 5970's while i get awesome frames rates BF3 nearly fully loads up all 6 cpu cores , no other game I have played recently does that
a b B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
January 5, 2012 1:39:05 AM

Shoulda gotten a new cpu first. Q6600 will bottleneck probably even a 6870 or GTX 560.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
January 5, 2012 1:48:04 AM

^ I wouldn't go as far as the 6870 or GTX 560 (Those are fairly mid-lower end cards). I've seen plenty of people use the 6870 with a Qxxxx series chip and be fine. I think maybe you'd start getting bottlenecked @ around the 6950.

I'd try getting to that 2500K a little sooner.
January 5, 2012 2:01:24 AM

Thanks for the replies. I knew I'd facing a bottleneck until I got the 2500k, but I didn't anticipate a 50% reduction in performance! Is that much of a bottleneck really to be expected given my circumstance? I guess I'm just somewhat hesitant to jump to a 'this is normal' type conclusion, but maybe BF3 + CFX/SLI + a Core2Quad at any speed is really an untenable platform. It just seems like this would be a better documented issue if this was the case.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
January 5, 2012 2:11:20 AM

Well the bottleneck has a lot of causes. One is also that BF3 requires a rather heftier CPU than most games, another is also that you're running Crossfire. The only real thing I can think of to reduce is boosting the resolution and increasing graphical settings? That way it'll stress the GPU. Now I've never really tried that since I've never faced bottlenecking so... It's worth a shot though.
January 5, 2012 3:00:13 AM

I suppose I could try some ridiculous eyefinity setup, haha. I wish there was a way I could find out if this was a standard CPU bottleneck for my card. I'm slowly resigning myself to the fact that it probably is.
January 5, 2012 4:02:33 AM

'Scuse the double post, but...

It's sort of solved! I uninstalled the 11.12 driver, and installer the new 12.1 preview. GPU usage is now high 50s/mid 60s, as opposed to the low 50's/mid40s. It sounds small, but it makes a large playability difference. Silly me for thanking that the most recent driver would have incorporated all of the most recent driver changes (11.12 driver is missing stuff from the 11.11c performance driver that's later incorporated into 12.1). Great job, ATI!
a b B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
January 5, 2012 9:31:57 AM

Have fun and don't forget to buy a new cpu when you can.

Best solution

January 11, 2012 2:12:58 PM
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GET THE 2500k or better.

I got the exact same card, 5970 and Battlefield 3 played like CRAP and I spent 2 weeks thinking it was the card.

Then, I went out and bought a 2500k CPU and mobo combo and Battlefield 3 is SWEEEEET now!

The CPU is definitely your issue!
January 14, 2012 7:49:40 AM

Best answer selected by pyro786.
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