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New GTX 570 Underperforming

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 29, 2011 1:50:56 AM

Hey all, just bought a new GTX 570 and am getting surprisingly low FPS. Here are my specs, followed by my knowledge, tests, and attempts to remedy the strangeness:

Dell XPS 630i (3 year old $2000 machine)
Mobo: Dell 0PP150
CPU: Intel Q9300 quad @ 2.5 GHz
GPU: GTX 570
RAM: DDR2 4 gigs @ 400Mhz (3.5 gigs effectively)
PCI-e (1.0 I'm assuming since "2.0" isn't showing anywhere), 2 x16, 1 x8
Monitor Res: 1920x1080
PSU: 750w

By mistake, I installed 32-bit Windows despite being able to run 64-bit : P Apart from capping my RAM, I wasn't thinking this would matter much. Let me know otherwise, as I'm very hesitant to upgrade.

Mobo, BIOS, and GPU drivers all up to date.

Nvidia's recommended settings for Skyrim had everything maxed out except anti-aliasing, which was one less than max. According to nvidia's benchmarks in a Skyrim-tweaking article, it should have been around 50-55 FPS. Outdoors, I had 17-30 FPS, while indoors I had 50-60. Cities were beyond unplayable : ( The weird part is that decreasing my settings made a negligible impact... setting shadows to low gave me maybe an extra 5 FPS on average. Lowering from the Ultra preset to High preset gave about the same...

I decided to test Starcraft 2 to make sure it wasn't just Skyrim, and got 20-30 FPS on max... ARGH!!

I thought my RAM may be bottlenecking, but then again I thought 4 gigs was decent. Thanks to 32-bit, though, it would seem windows caps Skyrim at 2 gigs of RAM, though I often see it using less.

I decided my CPU must be bottle necking, so after some ridiculous hardware resistance to overclocking, I am currently stress testing at as high a speed as it will let me at 2.75 Ghz. Basically, increases to the FSB in the BIOS would never make it to POST, no matter how slight, and changes to the CPU multiplier took effect until surpassing x7.5, at which point it would just cap despite the change the BIOS. My processor is unlocked, though... it's weird. x7.5 was what it shipped with, unfortunately (x7.5 * 333.3 MHz = 2.5 GHz.) After researching, I discovered that similar processors to mine only OCed successfully by use of nvidia software, so that's what I did. I crept up to 2.75 GHz through their software via the FSB, any higher causing my computer to freeze. I'm very unsure of my vcore, since I'm getting different numbers for it from different programs... apparently my "auto"/default vcore is sits at 1.45v, according to my BIOS, despite the highest recommended for my processor being 1.35v... here's a thread about the same dilemma http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=257602 CPUZ says I'm at 1.400v, however. I'm not even sure the CPU is a bottleneck to begin with, considering that lowering shadows in Skyrim doesn't help much... this is really nerve racking. I had SpeedStep, C1E, and whatever other power-saving settings disabled. I was hoping to go up to 3.0 GHz, since people with my processor are reporting easily reaching that or higher.

What's my problem? Am I bottlenecking, or is my card faulty? Was OCing a solution to being with, should I get more RAM and/or upgrade to 64 bit, or do I just need to get a new machine? It's a very nice computer, I thought I'd get 4 years out of it minimum, so long as I got a few upgrades (hence buying the GTX 570). I don't exactly have money to throw around at the moment. Lemme know if I need to clarify anything, hopefully my expectations are realistic.

Thanks!
December 29, 2011 2:10:24 AM

Dell. Enough said.

Jokes, but there's no point trying to overclock on an OEM board, it just won't work. I'd really recommend installing x64, since it will utilise the rest of the RAM and processor. I don't think the CPU is a bottleneck, since a Q9300 is fine, but the clocks look like they could be beefed a bit (Sadly limited by the OEM board though). The reason the vCore is low is because the clocks are low. If the PC was using an integrated GPU before (I don't expect it was since it's an XPS), you'll want to check that in the BIOS and set it to use the discreet GPU primarily.

Otherwise, I can't help you.
a b U Graphics card
December 29, 2011 2:10:33 AM

Yes, you're bottlenecking. Skyrim is heavily CPU-limited. In other games you should get perfectly good FPS. OCing will get you better performance. That's your only option short of getting a better CPU, and that would be a major (read: expensive) upgrade: you'd need a new mobo as well.
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a c 106 U Graphics card
December 29, 2011 2:27:05 AM

Before you OC that CPU you really should use something other than the stock cooler. Guys like Dell tend to use only what you need to run the thing at default speeds. Now then, it could be that your PSU is not good enough to run that setup properly. It could be that you did not properly remove the old drivers before you installed the new drivers for your GPU. It could also be that you just didn't push the PCI-E connectors in all the way. Hey it happens :D 
December 29, 2011 2:43:27 AM

megamanx00 said:
Before you OC that CPU you really should use something other than the stock cooler. Guys like Dell tend to use only what you need to run the thing at default speeds. Now then, it could be that your PSU is not good enough to run that setup properly. It could be that you did not properly remove the old drivers before you installed the new drivers for your GPU. It could also be that you just didn't push the PCI-E connectors in all the way. Hey it happens :D 


Hmm... I have a 750w psu. I'll double check on shoved-innedness, lol. I most certainly didn't do anything to explicitly remove old drivers, so I'll look that up.
December 29, 2011 3:18:49 AM

I removed all graphic drivers with DCCleaner Pro in safe mode then reinstalled them (with the latest beta downloaded from nVidia), pressed on the card for a bit and didn't feel it move any, and still no luck. I was really hoping that'd do it, haha. Beats reinstalling the OS and overclocking the CPU... I'll do some more testing to try and isolate if it's truly a CPU problem before resuming OCing, but I'm probably fixing to reinstall the OS in a bit. Argh.
a b U Graphics card
December 29, 2011 8:38:10 AM

There's a site dedicated to your machine, would be worth looking into ( people there know the machine )

http://my630i.com/

Best solution

a b U Graphics card
December 29, 2011 12:04:43 PM
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philipguin said:
I removed all graphic drivers with DCCleaner Pro in safe mode then reinstalled them (with the latest beta downloaded from nVidia), pressed on the card for a bit and didn't feel it move any, and still no luck. I was really hoping that'd do it, haha. Beats reinstalling the OS and overclocking the CPU... I'll do some more testing to try and isolate if it's truly a CPU problem before resuming OCing, but I'm probably fixing to reinstall the OS in a bit. Argh.

I guess my last post wasn't explicit enough.
You don't have a "CPU problem". A bottleneck isn't some kind of error that can be fixed with software wrangling; it just means that one of your parts is slower than the others. In Skyrim, which needs a very powerful processor, your Q9300 just isn't enough. Please don't go reinstall your OS, because it won't do anything.

Go try another game. Try Crysis 2 or MW3 or something (just not Starcraft, because that's also famously CPU-limited). You should get perfectly decent performance in any of those.
I should have put this review in before. Take a look at the second graph. These benches are all on a 570, but anything less than a 2500K has significantly limited framerates. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/skyrim-performance-...
a b U Graphics card
December 29, 2011 12:14:29 PM

+1 ^

Using SCII to double check just proves the CPU Bottleneck. A 2.5ghz Quad (Unless its based on Sandy Bridge) wont give you the frames you want in Skyrim, or SCII as far as I know.

Kajabla is right, Crysis 2 will realise you have a Graphics card and go at it like a stampeding bull - its very GPU Limited. Check you CPU Usages and GPU usages with Task Mgr and GPU-Z Respectivley.
December 7, 2012 8:57:03 PM

Best answer selected by philipguin.
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