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CPU Bottleknocking GPU Assistance if you Please

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December 12, 2011 1:50:02 AM

Good morning all (or goodday/goodnight depending on when you read this/where you're located/what your beliefs are), I recently purchased a couple of used xfx 8800gtx cards for super cheap for my system. It's an aging system, but I try to make the most of it. Anywho, I believe my Athlon 64 X2 4800+ is bottlenecking my 2 shiny new (used) cards. One card by itself will load to 100%, but enable sli and they sit anywhere from 25% to 90% load depending on the game. In some games I get better FPS than with one card, others are worse. At first I thought it was my humble little 600W Noisetaker PSU not providing enough power, so I plugged one of the cards into a spare 235W PSU I had laying around and jumped the on/off pins. When that failed I overclocked my CPU from 2.4GHz to 2.8GHz. I don't dare go higher on stock cooling as it starts getting above 56C, and I don't plan on keeping it at 2.8 on stock cooling either. I'm wating for money to get a new CPU cooler to further my overclocking exploits, which leads me to my first question.

How can I best aleviate this botteneck? Overclocking would be the obvious answer, but around how high would I have to go to get most modern games to run smoothly? Is it even possible to get it that high? A processer upgrade is pretty much out of the question without a mobo upgrade as the socket type is 939. I've heard that game booster software may be able to help, but I haven't seen much difference with those things in the past. Is there anything else I can do to help abate the bottleneck?

Also, one weird thing I noticed is in Bad Company 2 the CPU load was between %40-%60 and the GPU was %50-%60. Does that mean I have another bottleneck elsewhere? I feel like I'm always so longwinded, so I apologize to anyone that actually read all this. I have included my PC specs and some info I collected below. Thanks in advance, I hope to hear back soon from the Tom's Community :) 

Specs
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> Mobo : ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe 939
> PSU : ENERMAX Noisetaker ATX 600W + My jury-rigged 235W PSU powering 2nd graphics card
> Processor : Athlon 64 X2 4800+
> RAM : CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Memory (@2-3-3-6[stock])
> Video Card : 2x XFX 8800GTX (Stock Clocks)
> Main Hard Drive : Western Digital Caviar Black 750GB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5"
> Secondary Drive: HITACHI Travelstar 60GB 5400 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 1.5Gb/s 2.5" (Salvaged)
> Operating System : Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (Looking to do a fresh install soon due to other problems)
> Graphics Drivers : ForceWare 285.62 Beta Drivers
> Case: Unknown
> Cooling: 5x 80mm Fans
(Any constructive critisizm for my build is quite welcomed :)  I can include pictures as well if anyone cares)


Some Noted Observations for Your Analysis
-----------------------------------------------------
HAWX Benchmark (1856x1392, All settings at highest, AA x8, v-sync off)
Stock CPU Clocks (2.4GHz)
CPU : 90%-100%
GPU : 25%-40%
FPS : 33 Average (132 Highest)

OC CPU Clocks (2.8GHz)
CPU : 90%-100%
GPU : 30%-45%
FPS : 35 Average (188 Highest)


Crysis SP Demo GPU Test (1600x1200, AA off, All settings very high)
Stock CPU Clocks (2.4GHz)
CPU : 75%-90% (60%-87% w/8xAA)
GPU : 42%-75% (60%-90% w/8xAA)
FPS : 17.41 (1st run), 15.84 (2nd run) (10.31 first run w/8xAA)

OC CPU Clocks (2.8MHz)
CPU : 60-90
GPU : 60-90
FPS : 18.3 (1st run), 23.43 (2nd run)

As previously mentioned, on Bad Company 2 (I believe it was all highest settings, 1856x1392) the CPU load is 40%-60%, GPU 50%-60%. Also in NFS: Shift 2 my FPS is severely diminished from a single card (from 25+ FPS to 5+ with SLI) on highest settings.

Yes my tests aren't exactly following the scientific method, but they should suffice I hope. If you need me to run any more tests I'll be happy to when I have some free time during the day. Btw, this is my first time running SLI if ya can't tell :) 

Looking forward to your responses :) 

P.S. If anyone thinks this belongs in the CPU forum or something (and provides a good reason why) let me know and I'll get it switched
a b Î Nvidia
December 12, 2011 2:09:16 AM

Best option would be upgrading everything if possible, but overclock your cpu.
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December 12, 2011 2:18:11 AM

I'm not sure I understand what you want me to do with the Can You Run It. I want to reduce the bottleneck, not know what games I can play. Just for the heck of it though I did Crysis, it said I passed the recommended specs.
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a b Î Nvidia
December 12, 2011 2:21:19 AM

that means the games could be played on the mobo but the processor and the graphic card wont let you play at max settings
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December 12, 2011 2:27:17 AM

Yes, that CPU is most certainly gonna bottleneck those graphics cards. I remember the 8800 GTX cards were beastly at the time and had hefty power supply requirements. So you seem to have solved that problem..somewhat. If you really want to continue using that sli setup consider getting a quality PSU.

I see the situation and all I can really recommend is start saving now for a platform upgrade. Its clear that the CPU will bottleneck at any speed. Not only is it a dual core, but also it has a low clock rate and it is an old architecture to boot.

You could either go with Intel with a core i3 at around $120 a mobo for around 80 and ram for $25. Or the AMD route, which for you I'd recommend the FM1 platform with a quad core CPU and ram. Either way, its an upgrade that shouldn't tax your system or your wallet too much for about $200.
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a b Î Nvidia
December 12, 2011 3:01:05 AM

You can upgrade your Motherboard and CPU to a FM1 Socket with A8 3850 on it. So there will be no bottlenecking issues. As you probably know that Athlon 64 X2 4800+ is an old processor and will bottleneck GPU really frequently. That is why I recommend you to buy a new Motherboard and processor.

Oh yea, if you want to try intel processor, buy an LGA 1155 Socket motherboard and get yourself a i3 2120. But the motherboard is I think more expensive.
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December 12, 2011 3:13:50 AM

Thank you buzznut, I appreciate your clear and to-the-point response. I was afraid I'd have to upgrade sooner or later, but kept putting it off due to money. Plus I kind of like the challenges posed by it, if ya see what I'm sayin. I recently started a new job however, so an upgrade could be in my near future! Plus it seems 939 processors and decent DDR sell for a premium due to their rarity I suppose, should help me get some of the money back. One thing though, is just the fact that a processor is quad core going to help reduce bottleneck? Like would a 2.4GHz quad core reduce/get rid of bottleneck as opposed to my 2.4GHz dual core? I imagine the newer architecture is gonna help at least a little right? So would a 3.0GHz quad do me just fine? I'm mostly talking AMD here, they're my personal preference, though I am open to Intel with proper persuasion. Sorry if I'm missing somethin here, I'm still learning the finer points of picking a CPU

Edit: Thank you as well refillable, I appreciate the extra info and recommendations, they will certainly be taken into consideration as well
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December 12, 2011 3:20:08 AM

I'd either take a leap and get any quad-core sandy bridge chip, mobo, and ram. If you want to wait longer for the new tech coming out eventually, but still want to accomplish something in the short term, research the used market.

The nvidia chipset on the board has respectable, but abysmal storage performance compared to Intel/AMD. I know, because I own one, the 750i chipset on an Asus P5N-D. The RAM is also killing you. Most games just look for raw speed now Vs. low timings. There's also not enough of it for the latest and greatest titles you'll want to play. Gotta have a quad core cpu these days, because games like at least two cores, so once you have system/network overhead spread out over the 4 cores, everything runs so much smoother.

You can save your storage drives, and your graphics cards, but remember, they are aging, and bought used, there's no telling what kind of wear you can't see inside them as far as the solder joints, etc. SLI ribbon cables, the cheaper ones, don't have a very long lifespan, from what I've experienced... as well.

Cut your preferred resolution in half, and increase anti-aliasing effects if possible, but, the lower resolutions can be more cpu dependent too, but there's got to be a happy medium you can live with for now, whether lower resolution, lowered quality settings, tweaking the nvidia profile for the games, advanced tweaking of the files with nVidia Inspector, etc.

This one's a bit tougher as there's no single purchase / solution to solve all of the potential issues, and then that can vary from one application to another, and from game to game. End Story... I think I have a good idea of what you would expect out of a computer for gaming / graphics, and that'll require a whole new build w/ more current goodies. I did mention the used market. It's a gamble, but if its substantially less cost now, it might be worth it to skirt along a little while longer til you are prepared to go on a shopping spree.

Cheers and g'luck~
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a b Î Nvidia
December 12, 2011 3:23:39 AM

A new AMD Quad core A8 3850 is a processor for you. Here is a review of it: http://www.guru3d.com/article/amd-a8-3850-apu-review/

It runs on Quad core 2900Mhz So there won't be a bottleneck. Here is it:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This Motherboard will be fine: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $200

And you have to put a DDR3 1333 Ram there, otherwise you should buy it. Don't worry but. It's cheap these days:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 4GB $25

So total will be: $225, an anti bottlenecking system :) 
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December 12, 2011 3:27:21 AM

PIZZA Man said:
Like would a 2.4GHz quad core reduce/get rid of bottleneck as opposed to my 2.4GHz dual core? I imagine the newer architecture is gonna help at least a little right? So would a 3.0GHz quad do me just fine?


That's tricky. It varies from one game to the next, and whether it was ported from a console. Crysis 2 for example on PC, its initial DX9 release, ran it on a quad core Q6600 with a GTX 260. I did benchmark runs at 2.4ghz, 3.2ghz, and 3.6ghz, and 2.4ghz was perfectly playable at the three quality settings they had at the time, meaning minimums of 30ish, so I usually used the middle option and even at stock it was a solid 45 fps. Throw that all out the window once they added dx11, and high res textures though, of course. Grab another title, another console port, like Splinter Cell: Conviction. You could get massive frame drops in specific areas, and completely fine in others. That's a console title for ya. Anyway, to wrap it up, a quad core at 3.0ghz or higher is just really sweet, especially the sandy bridge types, the boards are priced decently, and you don't need a K-series to kick some serious butt.
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December 12, 2011 3:43:49 AM

Alright, thank you for the replies and explanations you guys. I always come away from here having learned something new, I truly appreciate it :)  I may look for used stuff to save money, but I'm always very hesitant buying second hand anything. I most likely will turn to trusty old NewEgg. Thank you for the recommendations refillable, I appreciate the effort, however the CPU is out of stock and the mobo doesn't support SLI. No worries though, I'll do some reading up and try to figure out what's best going to suit my needs. Again thank you all :) 
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December 12, 2011 9:18:26 PM

Alright well I'm looking at this mobo and this processor. I also saw this processor and this processor but couldn't see a difference other than a slight difference in the name. I'm looking to at least have some moderate overclocking abilities, though when I take advantage of it only time will tell. Do these pass your judgement o ye wise ones? I'm eager to learn, so if you could produce constructive criticism on my choices I'd greatly appreciate it :)  Also for good overclockability should I get ram rated for 2000MHz? Or will less suffice? Sorry to keep the thread going for so long, I'll pick the best answer soon
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December 12, 2011 10:58:35 PM

I'd never knock a phenom II, but I would have issue with an AM3 board versus an AM3+.

This looks pretty sweet at $80, and according to comments, will support Bulldozer with bios version 1.5 and up. I didn't do a lot of research, but it has the future in mind.

lol oops, no official sli support...
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December 12, 2011 11:25:42 PM

Thank you for the recommendation to get AM3+ clonazepam, from what I've read that's for the newer bulldozer processors and has enhanced SLI support so it would be a very smart decision. I'm thinkin this motherboard, and if I have the money this processor (else I'll revert to a AM3 processor to use in the mobo for now).

Edit: Also, how picky are the motherboards with RAM? I'm not too familiar with mobo RAM compatibility. Will any "DDR3 2100(OC) / 1866(OC) / 1800(OC) / 1600(OC) / 1333 / 1066 / 800" RAM work with it? Or are there special recommendations on a per-board basis?

Edit #2: And I apologize for all the continued questions. I just want to learn! :) 

Edit #3!: Apparently that mobo doesn't support that processor w/out a BIOS update, and I don't have an AM3 processor layin around to do it with... So I'll most likely either buy that AM3+ processor with this mobo, or just buy the ASRock mobo with an AM3 processor (which would be the cheaper thing to do and still allow for upgradability). Plus from what I've been reading it seems supported RAM speed is more dependent on the processor than the mobo, is that right? Or is it equally dependent?
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a b Î Nvidia
December 13, 2011 1:57:25 AM

Oh yea, I don't know why I am not telling you to do an AM3 Upgrade because of out of stock stuff. Basically X4 955 BE and 890FX Motherboard Is going to do the job. Or either you will wait until these motherboards will support AM3+ right out-of-the-box and buy yourself an AM3+ processor.

And I have read a review about Both x4 995 BE and FX4100, seems they are pretty decent and have a large overclocking ability. So there will be less bottleneck.

Lastly, answering your question regarding RAM with Motherboard. Any RAM brand will work on that motherboard as long as it is DDR3 On those speeds. A DDR3 1333 Will work straight. A DDR3 1600 Will work as long as It's OC. And you don't have to go on one brand, any of the brands will work. Take a look at good brands like Corsair, G.Skill, Crucial, etc.
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December 13, 2011 3:35:27 AM

Alrighty, thank you very much. I think that's all I have for right now. If something else comes up I'll make a new thread, I think this one's off topic enough as it is ;)  Thanks again to you all, I love the Tom's community and always walk away having learned something new! PIZZA Man out! :hello: 
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December 13, 2011 3:37:31 AM

Best answer selected by PIZZA Man.
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