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GPU or something else causing problems?

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December 30, 2011 11:24:33 AM

Firstly Hi all just stopped by to ask for some help as I'm finding it all mindboggling.

Basically I have the following spec pc:

OS: Windows xp pro (32?)
Direct X version: 4.09.00.0904
Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 dual core 6000+ 3.01Ghz
Current Clock Speed: 3014 Mhz
External Clock: 200mhz
Graphics card Inno3d 8600GTS 256mb DDR3
Motherboard: MS-7260
RAM: 2GB 64bit 333mhz

Which up until recently has run all the games I've ever played without any problems. Fallout Las Vegas being the last one I played. Always used whatever graphics settings the game suggested and everything worked well.

Then i got skyrim for xmas and that also ran but lagged very very badly when in fights outside, and also lagged badly when in visually complex areas.

Looking on the Skyrim box I found it recommended a 1gb graphics card so I went to buy a 1GB 9800GT, thinking it would be a logical budget upgrade. However the guys in the shop explained that the 9800gt was now ancient and that a VTX 6670 HD with 2gb ddr3 would be much better and the price was the same.

So i've fitted the 6670 and to my dissapontment some of these things are only very slightly better if at all. Undemanding gameplay (like walikg down an empty tunnel) gives around 31 FPS whereas a room full of NPC's or walking through a misty forrest gives around 18fps regardless of being on medium or high settings.

Any suggestions where to go from here? Spent the last 3 days researching but i'm really struggling to get my head round it all.


More about : gpu causing problems

December 30, 2011 11:56:40 AM

I would, as a matter of course, throw some extra RAM in there right now anyway. That will never hurt, and an extra 2Gb is going to be peanuts - say $25? Depends on your type, DDR or DDR2 - check your motherboard.

Also, the game will be seriously CPU bound, which can't be helped by any graphics card, but you can assist by offloading as much effort out of the CPU and onto the GPU where you can - moving up to Win 7 (Try to get an educational discount if the cost is high) will allow you to run DX11 which games like Skyrim support and push work to teh GPUs instead.
a c 130 U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 12:06:52 PM

You have not really upgraded there I'm afraid. The 9800GT while old is/was a very decent top end of mainstream card.
Th e6670 is entry level mainstream as far as the newer cards go and both cards perform about the same when averaged out. (usually some games will prefer one over the other and perform better).

What resolution is your monitor ? do you play at the native resolution. You can check for a restriction very roughly by increasing the graphics settings a bit. If your FPS take a dive when you enable say X2 extra AA then its your GPU. If you get no difference or a slight increase then its the CPU that is the restriction.
This is a very rough way of testing but can be effective.


Mactronix :) 
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a b U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 12:29:21 PM

stuffe said:
I would, as a matter of course, throw some extra RAM in there right now anyway. That will never hurt, and an extra 2Gb is going to be peanuts - say $25? Depends on your type, DDR or DDR2 - check your motherboard.

Also, the game will be seriously CPU bound, which can't be helped by any graphics card, but you can assist by offloading as much effort out of the CPU and onto the GPU where you can - moving up to Win 7 (Try to get an educational discount if the cost is high) will allow you to run DX11 which games like Skyrim support and push work to teh GPUs instead.


DX11 will not "shift" workload. It will add more work to GPU, but that work would not be done in DX9 mode. The CPU still has lots to do.
Did you try the "low" settings? Draw distance (grass, objects, etc) is very CPU dependant. You could also try no shadows. But the inside part is what bothers me.
As for the GPU, 1GB for 6670 would have been enough, as it does not have enough performance when the extra GB would be needed.
mactronix said:
You have not really upgraded there I'm afraid. The 9800GT while old is/was a very decent top end of mainstream card.
Th e6670 is entry level mainstream as far as the newer cards go and both cards perform about the same when averaged out. (usually some games will prefer one over the other and perform better).

Except that he went from 8600GTS. He wanted to buy 9800GT and the seller changed his mind to 6670.
a c 130 U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 12:32:57 PM

mathew7 said:
DX11 will not "shift" workload. It will add more work to GPU, but that work would not be done in DX9 mode. The CPU still has lots to do.
Did you try the "low" settings? Draw distance (grass, objects, etc) is very CPU dependant. You could also try no shadows. But the inside part is what bothers me.
As for the GPU, 1GB for 6670 would have been enough, as it does not have enough performance when the extra GB would be needed.



Lowering graphical settings wont help but rather hinder if you are experiencing a CPU restriction.
Changing to W7 will help but not nearly enough to make it a sensible idea to fix this problem.

Mactronix :) 
a c 130 U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 12:35:17 PM

Ah yes but this is what I was referring to.

Quote:
However the guys in the shop explained that the 9800gt was now ancient and that a VTX 6670 HD with 2gb ddr3 would be much better and the price was the same


Its not better its the same, near as makes no difference

Mactronix :)  .
a c 193 U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 12:46:33 PM

It looks to me like a CPU bottleneck. The HD6670 should be able to handle Skyrim pretty well: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/skyrim-performance-... shows High settings, with AA; the HD6670 would be notably better than the GT240 that is shown, but lower than the HD5770.
Unfortunately, there is no CPU upgrade available for your AM2 motherboard: http://www.cpu-upgrade.com/mb-MSI/K9N_Neo_%28MS-7260%29...
...so you will essentially need to rebuild your system to get better performance.
Post a budget and the rest of the parts you have (so we can see what can be re-used).

Edit: While I would not hesitate to buy a HD6670 with GDDR5 for a budget gaming PC, I would not get a DDR3 version; not that it "sucks," but the additional $10-$20 is well worth the price.
a c 193 U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 12:56:49 PM

At a minimum, you'll need to replace your mobo, CPU, and RAM; almost certainly you'll need a new copy of Windows, and I suspect that your now ancient PSU is not good enough or powerful enough to be worth re-using.
Assuming you keep the HD6670, off the top of my head, $225 would do it on the cheap; $325 would do a much nicer job.

Edit: ...plus the cost of Windows, if needed.
a b U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 1:05:05 PM

Skyrim is pretty CPU-intensive, but like jtt283 says, you don't have any options to upgrade the CPU... Your system is pretty old, you really may want to consider a new build if you want to keep up with newly-released games.

And the 6670 GDDR3 is no better than a 9800GT. The "guys in the shop" should've known that.

Also try 4GB DDR2 800 or 1066 - Crucial says your mobo will take that.
a b U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 1:37:05 PM

Onus said:
and I suspect that your now ancient PSU is not good enough or powerful enough to be worth re-using.

Why do you say that? My i5-2500+5850 under 1920x1080 Skyrim does not exceed 260-270W measured at wall, so 300W is ok. And his 6670 is a lower power consumption class (lower performing AND newer). As for the CPU, I'm sure what he would buy would not top my i5.
Unless you mean reliability.....which cannot be tested until the change, as it's working now..
December 30, 2011 1:50:58 PM


Well, huge thanks for all the replies.

Could you give me a rough idea as to what sockets/specs on the mobo and what kind of ghz/cores on the cpu?

Budget's low at around $200 (less if possible) but so are my standards! I'm not looking for anything spectacular just something to help remove or at least reduce the lag at medium settings.

For those that asked, the ram is 2GB DDR2 (mobo has 4 slots, 2 of which are empty) and the screen res is 1152 x 864.

December 30, 2011 1:53:16 PM

PS: PSU is 500w, fitted last year. Previous one caught fire :/ 
a c 193 U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 2:21:24 PM

mathew7 said:
Why do you say that? My i5-2500+5850 under 1920x1080 Skyrim does not exceed 260-270W measured at wall, so 300W is ok. And his 6670 is a lower power consumption class (lower performing AND newer). As for the CPU, I'm sure what he would buy would not top my i5.
Unless you mean reliability.....which cannot be tested until the change, as it's working now..


A new 300W PSU would indeed be enough for his system, but capacitor aging may have taken it down...

rbn said:
PS: PSU is 500w, fitted last year. Previous one caught fire :/ 


...something did indeed take it down, all the way into the fiery abyss. What brand and model (not just wattage) is the current one? If it's decent, you're good to go. If it's something like a cheap Diablotek or Logisys, it probably cannot reliably provide even 350W. If it has a little voltage switch on it, at best it is an older, inefficient design; at worst it is a dead PC waiting to happen.
a c 193 U Graphics card
December 30, 2011 2:39:50 PM

On a $200 budget, this is probably what I'd do:

ASRock 880GM-LE AM3 AMD 880G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Model #:880GM-LE
Item #:N82E16813157199
$59.99 -$5.00 Instant $54.99
I've used this board before. It would be nice to have USB 3.0 and/or SATA 6Gb/s, but you aren't going to find those at this budget; add $25 to get those.

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power ...
Model #:EA-380D Green
Item #:N82E16817371033
$59.99 -$15.00 Instant $44.99
If necessary, depending on what you have now. This has been my "goto" PSU for budget builds for years, and I've never had one fail. It will handle up to a HD6850 just fine.

AMD Athlon II X3 455 Rana 3.3GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX455WFGMBOX
Model #:ADX455WFGMBOX
Item #:N82E16819103911
$79.99 $79.99
On this budget, will be a reasonably solid choice. Another $20 will get a X4.

G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBNS
Model #:F3-10666CL9D-4GBNS
Item #:N82E16820231396
$20.99 $20.99
Eight GB would be nice, but adds another $12-$14. I've never had a DOA G.Skill stick, or had one fail. I can't even say that about Mushkin or Crucial.

Subtotal: $200.96

There's an $8 discount code on the CPU right now, so I didn't bust your budget. If you don't need the Earthwatts PSU, you can get a newer mobo and more RAM.
!