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What to upgrade to improve game performance now?

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November 9, 2011 1:47:01 PM

I'm having a real problem getting decent framerates on BF3 multiplayer and was going to upgrade my videocard until I read the article on BF3 performance. Here's my current build:

ASUS M3N78 PRO AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 8300 HDMI ATX
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000 3.1GHz Socket AM2 89W Dual-Core
XFX ATI Radeon HD 5770 1 GB DDR5
6 G DDR2 RAM
128G SSD (Corsair)

I have Comcast cable and a gigabit router. Other online games perform fine, but none are as demanding as BF3.

According to these benchmarks this card is capable of running BF3 on High quality settings at 1680x1050 getting 38fps. The problem is that I can't even get that frame-rate consistently at LOW quality, so I need to figure out where the bottleneck is. Sometimes it seems fine, but sometimes it drops into the sub-20 range, which gets me killed pretty regularly.

I've tried turning off Aero, running full screen, running in a window, killing all other apps including the battlelog browser, all to no avail.

When I look at my task manager BF3 frequently hits 80% of my CPU, but never seems to go above that.

I have $400 to spend this year on upgrades, so I have to decide between a new vidcard, like a GTX 570 or an HD 6970, or upgrading the other bits like a new MoBo/CPU/RAM. Which is going to get me the better performance boost in BF3, Arkham City, and Skyrim?
a b U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 1:59:29 PM

Hi Philomorph,

The BF3 benchmark graphs show average FPS. So it could be that you are just seeing frame rates drop.

Do you have any AA enabled? That will kill your Frame rate fast.

Also, do you have the frame rate issues when you play single player too, or is it just online.

If you can survive for now, (maybe on low settings) the next generation of GPUs will be out soon (end of this year, or early next year)
November 9, 2011 2:22:52 PM

Thanks for the response. I'll have to check on the AA settings cause I'm just using the default "Low" setting atm, so I don't know what it has set them to. I played the SP campaign for a few hours and it seemed smoother to me, so I don't know what that tells us. I also played a co-op mission with someone and it seemed smoother to me too than the MP games I sometimes get into. Could my system be choking on the size of the maps and dealing with incoming netcode from 30+ others?

In general the system is pretty fast but the MoBo is a little older and I believe only supports PCIe 2.0. I don't know whether that's going to significantly limit the speed of the newer cards running on 2.1.
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a c 236 U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 4:24:05 PM

Your specs exceed the minimum requirements, but fall short of the recommended:
http://bf3blog.com/battlefield-3-system-requirements/

The cpu is close to the minimum and the 5770 is about midway.

If your cpu is at 80%, it suggests to me that your cpu is the more important limiting factor today.

Your $400 budget will buy you a 2500K, p67/z68 motherboard and 8gb of ram. Less, of course what you can market your old parts for.

On the graphics side, the 28nm cards are not due out until next year. I think I would defer on that side unless you can score a good card on e-bay before then.
November 9, 2011 5:00:35 PM

My company was test does scenario.
benefit of which part of hardware are worth it.
i5, i7 or 1055t, 1100 black
2gb, 4gb memory
5770, 6850

result of test is in korean right now but
only cpu upgrade benefit of gaming was only 10% differece.
only memory upgrade benefit of gaming was only 10%
only agp upgrade benefit of gaming was 30~40%
therefore you already have 6GB memory which don't need upgrade.
even you already have SSD very good HDD ~ lol
upgrade AMD Phenom II x4 or x6 is really good option also ATI 5770 to 6750 or 6850 is great upgrade i believe.
after does two hardware are cost about 250 to purchase.
Rest of 150~200, purchase bigger PSU or upgrade your main board or save it~ lol
good luck with your upgrade~ i hope this help you little bit.

Best solution

a c 376 U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 5:09:53 PM
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The CPU is your problem. I suggest you replace it with one of these;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Make sure to update your motherboards BIOS to the latest version before installing.
With the new CPU you'll be able to properly utilize any card you want to buy. I suggest getting a GTX 560 Ti with nice cooling and giving it a high OC for the best value for the money at the moment. The HD6950 is also a good choice.
November 9, 2011 5:10:45 PM

From ATI 5770 to 6750 isn't much of an upgrade. Keep the 5770 for now. Radeon 7000 series will be here soon :) 
a b U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 5:15:52 PM

Quote:
From ATI 5770 to 6750 isn't much of an upgrade. Keep the 5770 for now. Radeon 7000 series will be here soon


True, don't buy a 6750.

Quote:
Your $400 budget will buy you a 2500K, p67/z68 motherboard and 8gb of ram. Less, of course what you can market your old parts for.


Not a bad Idea. SandyBridge is a solid platform. You could update that and you'd be all set to wait til the new GPUs are released. You can get a gen3 board which will support PCIe 3.0 (and Ivy bridge for an upgrade path)
November 9, 2011 6:31:17 PM

Philomorph said:
I'm having a real problem getting decent framerates on BF3 multiplayer and was going to upgrade my videocard until I read the article on BF3 performance. Here's my current build:

ASUS M3N78 PRO AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 8300 HDMI ATX
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000 3.1GHz Socket AM2 89W Dual-Core
XFX ATI Radeon HD 5770 1 GB DDR5
6 G DDR2 RAM
128G SSD (Corsair)

...


I have $400 to spend this year on upgrades, so I have to decide between a new vidcard, like a GTX 570 or an HD 6970, or upgrading the other bits like a new MoBo/CPU/RAM. Which is going to get me the better performance boost in BF3, Arkham City, and Skyrim?


Hi,
I just accidentally saw this question and with respect to all of the friends here that replied to your question,I don't think that your your CPU isn't the problem;I know that 2500k is a very powerful CPU and all,but upgrading your CPU now will only give you around 10 or atmost 15 percent improvoment,which makes your 20 fps around 22-23 fps,and I don't think it's worth it. because of mobo change,you will have to upgrade your ddr2s for ddr3s,and...So it's not worth it,specially with your budget.

I have two PCs with both dual core cpu(athlon X2 6400+ BE@3.2Ghz) and a quad core one(i7 2600k) and I can assure you CPU is not a big factor in performance.Even I can say I feel somewhat silly for buying that i7 rig(except that I love powerful rigs!!!).Instead I could have bought a really powerful GPU and a phenom 2 x4 upgrade for my athlon system.

The thing I wanna say is you can do these:

1-you can either wait for next gen GPUs to arrive(they're due in 4-5 months) and play the game as it is(with low AA and lower resolutions)

2-You can upgrade your CPU to a phenom 2 X4 and buy a 5850/6850/6870 GPU.Note that difference in power of these GPUs aren't that great,so the you find which of them is important.meaning the cheap one is logical,but I'd prefer a few extra bucks to get 6870.

3-you can spend all of that to buy a new mobo,change your ddr2s to ddr3s(you have to!!!) and buy i5 2500k,and wait for new GPUs...

4-You can buy a 5850/6850/6870 GPU and save the rest of the money,because you won't lose much,and maybe you won't lose anything.Because most of modern games are not CPU dependent.

see this page,Tom's review of BF3 performance with different CPUs and different core counts,and you'll get your answer:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/battlefield-3-graph...

If I were you,my choice would be 2nd one,I'd upgrade my CPU to phenom 2 x4 and get a 6870,because I can't wait 4-5 months(!).

And also there is something you mentioned about your CPU usage being at 80%,and it means the game doesn't use the full power of your CPU,in other words your CPU is more than enough for BF3 and most games.

If all of these are not enough evidence for you,I'll tell you my personal experience.My both systems have Sapphire 5850 1GBs and one system has Athlon X2 6400+ BE@3.2 Ghz (stock frequency) and the other has i7 2600k (also @stock frequency with HT enabled).Athlon system has 4 GBs of DDR2 800 dual channel memory on an am2+ mobo,and i7 has 8 GB of DDR3 1866(4x2 GBs).And beleive me there is NOT any difference in their frame rate,or maybe 2-3 fps atmost.So don't waste your money for CPU whatsoever,i5,i7 or phenom2.Because 95% of today's games,despite whatever they claim,don't use more than 2 cores,and I'm sure they will remain so for atleast a year,and after a year,when the time comes, you'll have a lot more options for CPU upgrade and of course for a much better price.So let go of CPU upgrade and stick to better GPU.

One other thing,and it's about RAM.More than 4GBs of RAM in gaming systems (even in 64 bit systems) is waste of money.There isn't any game that really can use that much memory,even in highest settings and highest resolutions...

Sorry if my answer was so long.I hope my answer will be of help to you and anyone with same question.thnx... and good luck with your choice...
November 9, 2011 7:01:42 PM

jyjjy said:
The CPU is your problem. I suggest you replace it with one of these;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Make sure to update your motherboards BIOS to the latest version before installing.
With the new CPU you'll be able to properly utilize any card you want to buy. I suggest getting a GTX 560 Ti with nice cooling and giving it a high OC for the best value for the money at the moment. The HD6950 is also a good choice.



I was just looking at that listing on Amazon since I found an old forum thread about which AM3 chips would work on my moBo. The only problem I see is the ASUS compatibility chart specifies that my board is compatible with rev.C2 of that chip. But I saw on a list on AMD's site that there is also a rev.C3 of that chip, and none of the listings on Amazon or Newegg specify which rev they are selling. Do I need to worry about that?

If I can upgrade the CPU for $125 I could save the rest and get a better vidcard for my BDay in March :) 
a c 376 U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 7:10:14 PM

I just looked at the page for your board on the Asus site and it does indeed list the C3 965 as of BIOS 1.01G.
November 9, 2011 7:27:05 PM

jyjjy said:
I just looked at the page for your board on the Asus site and it does indeed list the C3 965 as of BIOS 1.01G.


Oh you know what, I was looking at the 955, not the 965. Luckily after some serious neck craning I saw my board is rev 1.01G, so I should be good.

Thanks ASUS for printing your MoBo info in between the two slots where my double-width vidcard almost completely obscures it!

Thanks for all the input!
November 9, 2011 8:32:04 PM

jyjjy said:
. I suggest getting a GTX 560 Ti with nice cooling and giving it a high OC for the best value for the money at the moment. The HD6950 is also a good choice.


One more question:

My MoBo supports Hybrid SLI. If I buy a GTX 560 Ti can I enable that feature to get a little extra boost from the on-board GeForce 8300? I was having trouble finding on AMDs site any details about which GPUs would work in what situations.
a c 376 U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 8:51:50 PM

Nah, don't bother with that. It is useless unless you are using a really low end card.
November 10, 2011 1:31:51 AM

Best answer selected by Philomorph.
November 11, 2011 6:36:14 PM

Just curious, Philomorph: Did you completely ignore Omid_m_19's lengthy and evidenced reply? I have virtually the same setup as you and, after reading Omid's experience, am leaning more towards upgrading my GPU than my CPU.

However, I must point out to Omid that some modern games are seriously affected by CPU power.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this? It seems there is a lack of consensus here.
November 11, 2011 7:32:08 PM

davidkennedy85 said:
Just curious, Philomorph: Did you completely ignore Omid_m_19's lengthy and evidenced reply? I have virtually the same setup as you and, after reading Omid's experience, am leaning more towards upgrading my GPU than my CPU.

However, I must point out to Omid that some modern games are seriously affected by CPU power.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this? It seems there is a lack of consensus here.


I definitely did not ignore his reply, and I wished there was a "thanks" button I could have used. But I didn't find his argument as compelling as my own experience with my system and the other advice here.

Today I received my X4 965 and installed it. Other than a weird reduction in my benchmark on the SSD, everything else on the system benchmarks better now. But the real test is BF3 multiplayer, and here's the result:

Before I was lucky to get a solid framerate over 20, with lots of fluctuations, regardless of graphics being on high or low.

With the new CPU I am getting a rock solid 40+ FPS on High graphics settings on smaller levels, and 30+ on huge levels. The game is 100x more playable now, so it looks like thye CPU was my main issue.

Thanks again everyone for the advice!
November 11, 2011 7:44:02 PM

Thanks for reporting back on that. Not the results I expected at all. Methinks I will do the same now :) 
November 11, 2011 8:44:12 PM

davidkennedy85 said:
Thanks for reporting back on that. Not the results I expected at all. Methinks I will do the same now :) 


I still plan on updating my GPU, but now i have to decide if I should wait for the next batch to come out and see if prices on the GTX 580 comes down significantly, or just go ahead and get a 560Ti now and be happy with it for another two years, which is about how often I tend to upgrade vidcards.

I don't have any hard data to prove it, but I suspect, based on my in-game play, that part of my CPU bottleneck may have been related to using on-board audio. My old Audigy 1 card simply didn't have the drivers needed to get it working on 64-bit Win 7, so I had to give it up finally, and that was before I got BF3.
November 11, 2011 9:29:35 PM

I don't have the same mobo you do (mine's an Asus M4A78 PRO AM2+ 780G ATX), but I had significant stuttering problems in games like Oblivion until I installed a SoundBlaster Audigy. It's cheap and basic, but it does the trick.
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