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Help me find my bottleneck and remedy it please

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February 26, 2012 10:31:13 PM

Alright, i built my most recent rig in September of 2010 (dang, it's already been that long?) and haven't had any problems gaming or doing rendering work until now. Therefore, i'm trying to find what my major bottleneck is in hopes that i can remedy it.

My specs are thus:

i7-970 CPU @ stock w/NH-D14 cooler
Asus P6X53D motherboard
Win 7 Pro
Kingston SSDNow V+ 128gb SATA 2 drive (For OS and several major programs) Various WD Caviar Black drives for all else.
3x2gb Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600 RAm (TR3X6G1600C9)
EVGA GTX 470 GPU @ stock
Cooler Master Silent Pro 1000w PSU
all housed in a HAF 932 with an extra fan and Blu-Ray drive.

I believe that the GPU may be the problem, but i'm not entirely sure, and it would be the most expensive replaement. The RAM can be easily added to, since the price dropped so much and for some reason WEI lists the SSD as the slowest component (maybe i need a SATA 3 one?)

I'm not sure what it is, hopefully someone can help me out and get me on the right track since i haven't kept current on the new tech since i built this.

Thanks!

More about : find bottleneck remedy

a c 78 B Homebuilt system
February 27, 2012 12:25:42 AM

Exactly what problem are you experiencing?

How does the bottleneck manifest itself?
a b B Homebuilt system
February 27, 2012 12:37:15 AM

theyawny said:
Alright, i built my most recent rig in September of 2010 (dang, it's already been that long?) and haven't had any problems gaming or doing rendering work until now. Therefore, i'm trying to find what my major bottleneck is in hopes that i can remedy it.

My specs are thus:

i7-970 CPU @ stock w/NH-D14 cooler
Asus P6X53D motherboard
Win 7 Pro
Kingston SSDNow V+ 128gb SATA 2 drive (For OS and several major programs) Various WD Caviar Black drives for all else.
3x2gb Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600 RAm (TR3X6G1600C9)
EVGA GTX 470 GPU @ stock
Cooler Master Silent Pro 1000w PSU
all housed in a HAF 932 with an extra fan and Blu-Ray drive.

I believe that the GPU may be the problem, but i'm not entirely sure, and it would be the most expensive replaement. The RAM can be easily added to, since the price dropped so much and for some reason WEI lists the SSD as the slowest component (maybe i need a SATA 3 one?)

I'm not sure what it is, hopefully someone can help me out and get me on the right track since i haven't kept current on the new tech since i built this.

Thanks!


I agree that without knowing what you define as a bottle neck it's impossible to guess. Your 470 is about 4 cycles behind so if you are having fps issues it could be but we would also need to know what software (games?) is being used.
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February 27, 2012 1:33:08 AM

Sorry, i knew i'd leave out a few things, and should have specified more.

Rendering jobs have no problems since they're obviously processor-oriented. HD video (Vegas Pro) renders at greater than real time, and conversions are quick, all is well with the world.

However, I get low framerate with higher AA and Post-Processing on many new games. My system has, overall, started to fall into the gap between ultra and high, and i don't see why it has any reason not to be performing well.

For example Anno 2070 chugs and dips when it's maxed out and Arkham City does the same. It requires a fairly hefty dip into AA , PP and AS settings as i refuse to drop texture quality unless it's absolutely necessary. Skyrim runs fine for the most part, but even it dips occasionally, which is annoying.

It may seem petty, but i like the convenience of being able to crank the settings and forget about it.

It has to be the GPU, right?
a b B Homebuilt system
February 27, 2012 3:41:09 AM

Likely the gpu. have you read the forums for those games to see what other people say about gpu's they are using? for the oney a 6870 or 6950 would be a nice step up.
February 27, 2012 12:47:03 PM

I haven't really given a look through to see what others are using, but they're probably packing something more powerful nowadays.

I know it isn't the ideal card, but I was willing to at least venture a chance that it was something else.

As for the upgrade, do you think those cards will last the rest of the system's life? I'll upgrade in a few years once the upcoming/current gen stuff is settled in.

I also don't know much about Radeons current offerings, I've always just been an Intel+Nvidia person for whatever reason. I don't want to skimp, but as you mentioned, price/performance is always an issue.

Upgrading is always a frustrating process for me. Haha
a b B Homebuilt system
February 27, 2012 5:43:10 PM

theyawny said:
I haven't really given a look through to see what others are using, but they're probably packing something more powerful nowadays.

I know it isn't the ideal card, but I was willing to at least venture a chance that it was something else.

As for the upgrade, do you think those cards will last the rest of the system's life? I'll upgrade in a few years once the upcoming/current gen stuff is settled in.

I also don't know much about Radeons current offerings, I've always just been an Intel+Nvidia person for whatever reason. I don't want to skimp, but as you mentioned, price/performance is always an issue.

Upgrading is always a frustrating process for me. Haha


I flip back and forth between nVidia and AMD depending on who has the best p[rice/performance for what I'm willing to spend at the time. so, the first question to answer is what you are willing to spend if you upgrade the gpu. If you want to stay under $200 then I think (read the Toms reviews as well) that the 6870 is hard to beat right now. Use one of the driver cleaners to strip out the nVidia drivers, put the new card in, load the latest drivers and you are off to the races.
February 27, 2012 6:17:49 PM

Well the price isn't a massive issue, my only stipulation being that the card meets or outlives the longevity of my current system, which is hopefully approximately 2-3 more years. I'd be willing, but reluctant, to drop up to $350-400 if it realy called for it, but that would be in the hopes that the card would serve me well for several years and may even get a transplant/twin at some point.

My only problem with the 6870 is that it doesn't seem to benchmark much higher than the 470 from the sources i've seen. Almost like less of an upgrade and more of a sidestep.
a b B Homebuilt system
February 27, 2012 6:47:08 PM

theyawny said:
Well the price isn't a massive issue, my only stipulation being that the card meets or outlives the longevity of my current system, which is hopefully approximately 2-3 more years. I'd be willing, but reluctant, to drop up to $350-400 if it realy called for it, but that would be in the hopes that the card would serve me well for several years and may even get a transplant/twin at some point.

My only problem with the 6870 is that it doesn't seem to benchmark much higher than the 470 from the sources i've seen. Almost like less of an upgrade and more of a sidestep.


Anandtech has a benching tool. Here is the 470vs6870: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/311?vs=290

Here is the 470vs6950: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/311?vs=331

Here is the 470vs7970 (which is there you get into the $400-$500 range: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/519?vs=508

Note: kepllers are due you in April so you may want to wait and watch for a while?
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
February 27, 2012 7:53:30 PM

You can get a 7970 or 7950 and easily be set for a few years at least.

Either that or just crank down your settings.

You gotta pay to play. If you want to play at the maximum you gotta be willing to pay at the maximum too. That is just something that extreme gamers just need to accept.

Nvidia will come out with some new cards soon, but they won't be cheaper than the 7950/7970s I can pretty much guarantee you that. Nvidia just gets too much business that isn't price sensitive so they don't even bother to try and beat AMD on price.
February 27, 2012 11:40:17 PM

Thank you for your help QuietPC, you've showed me a lot of valuable resources.

Raiddinn, i am considering the 79xx cards right now, if not purely for the fact that i've never owned a real "top of the line" card before. If only the Gigabyte and other 7970s with aftermarket cooling weren't pushcing $600, i'd be all over that right now.

I am curious as to what the Kepler series will bring though. I admit that i've always been a bit of a nVidia fanboy, but i really want to be swayed by AMD/ATI.

Like you said, my only concern is that the Kepler cards will be priced way over the 7000 series cards. I've seen estimates over $700 for the top few cards which, for me, is rather ridiculous for any single card. CPU? No, those last longer. GPU? not worth it in my book.

Hopefully though, this may cause the price of the 7000 series to drop slightly. I can dream.
February 28, 2012 12:01:02 AM

If I can lend my opinion .... In my rig I ordered 2x HIS 7970s for 549.99 each on newegg. However only one shipped and I had to wait to Xfire them. The single 7970 will run BF3 at ultra settings with AA and AF fully enabled at 1080p and get 50-90 fps. If you can spend the 549 on the HIS 7970 you will NOT be dissapointed in its performance. Also OC that CPU!!! You have a nice aftermarket cooler dont bottleneck whatever video card you do end up buying! :)  hope this helps a little
February 28, 2012 12:35:19 AM

Dang, trying to get me to spend the big bucks i see :lol: 

I may cave to cave and grab the 7970.

envymert, is there anything that made you choose the HIS offering over any of the more common brands? Was it just price? Also, how's the cooling on it? I know my 470 runs hot, but it's a Fermi compared to the 7000 series, i don't know what the difference is.
February 28, 2012 12:48:02 AM

theyawny said:
Dang, trying to get me to spend the big bucks i see :lol: 

I may cave to cave and grab the 7970.

envymert, is there anything that made you choose the HIS offering over any of the more common brands? Was it just price? Also, how's the cooling on it? I know my 470 runs hot, but it's a Fermi compared to the 7000 series, i don't know what the difference is.


To be totally honest I have always bought EVGA for Nvidia and Powercolor for ATI/AMD cards. I read/watched reviews on youtube/toms/guru3d/hardocp and basically all the 7970's are the same cards. The HIS got good reviews and was the only card in stock, since I bought it 2 days after release. The heatsink on the card is pretty beefy...its all metal and I couldnt hear the cards fan over my system. Using MSI afterburning all cards can only be Oced to a certain point at which mine was maxed out and the fan wouldnt go above 40%. The 7970 runs cool and the process on which the GPU was created is designed to run using less power and with less heat. The only thing is it is pretty large, but since you have a 470 in your case it should have enough room.

Few other side notes .... I love modding and bleeding edge tech. To be fair I was stupid to upgrade my sli'd 580's to 7970's, the performance upgrade wasnt huge I just had expendable money and went for it. You can have cards capable of this for less .....I just like my games maxed on ultra with AA and AF cranked. You could get away with a 6950/570 for $300ish and play all games on max ....BF3 on high settings instead of ultra. Jaggies bug me but truth be told I had no problems when I beta tested BF3 on my 560 Ti on high settings. When you in a game you dont notice small stuff and with high enough resolutions you don't notice jaggies that much, im just anal :( 
February 28, 2012 1:46:19 AM

envymert said:
To be totally honest I have always bought EVGA for Nvidia and Powercolor for ATI/AMD cards. I read/watched reviews on youtube/toms/guru3d/hardocp and basically all the 7970's are the same cards. The HIS got good reviews and was the only card in stock, since I bought it 2 days after release. The heatsink on the card is pretty beefy...its all metal and I couldnt hear the cards fan over my system. Using MSI afterburning all cards can only be Oced to a certain point at which mine was maxed out and the fan wouldnt go above 40%. The 7970 runs cool and the process on which the GPU was created is designed to run using less power and with less heat. The only thing is it is pretty large, but since you have a 470 in your case it should have enough room.

Few other side notes .... I love modding and bleeding edge tech. To be fair I was stupid to upgrade my sli'd 580's to 7970's, the performance upgrade wasnt huge I just had expendable money and went for it. You can have cards capable of this for less .....I just like my games maxed on ultra with AA and AF cranked. You could get away with a 6950/570 for $300ish and play all games on max ....BF3 on high settings instead of ultra. Jaggies bug me but truth be told I had no problems when I beta tested BF3 on my 560 Ti on high settings. When you in a game you dont notice small stuff and with high enough resolutions you don't notice jaggies that much, im just anal :( 



I'm glad to hear some input from someone with so much hands on experience with this and other high-end cards.

I'm thoroughly in the same camp as you, minus the excess money unfortunately, in that i like to be able to crank and forget. I'm just one of those people who likes video, and audio for that matter (my headphone tastes can make GPU upgrades like this seem cheap :D  ), to be as good as is possible for any given program. Unfortunately, i don't have the money to keep constantly upgrading, as i'm still a student. Hopefully some day in a few years, i'll be in the position to swap out PC tech on a whim and indulge in the bleeding edge again.

I'll still have to decide on the 7970 vs. the lower 7/6000 series. I know it's overkill, but hey, it could last into my next system. I also may have to wait to see what the 600 series nVidia cards have to offer over the 7000 series, but most likely i'll end up with the 7970 at best.

Feels good to talk PC tech again to people who understand what i'm saying :lol: 
February 28, 2012 2:32:00 PM

haha ... I told my wife basically the same example you did on your headphones. Im very visual so need the high end graphics cards/monitors and Televisions. She just laughs as she doesnt see a big difference between a show in standard definition and high definition .....yeah lol. Yeah hold out for Nvidia to come out with their option in the next month or two. It could be better or it could knock the price of the 7970 down 20-50. ATI will typically lower prices because they sell by price point vs Nvidia who sells based on name.
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