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Poor 6870 Crossfire performance

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a c 214 U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 6:07:59 AM

Phenom ii x4 965 @ 3.8ghz
Gigabyte 990FXA-UD3
8GB DDR3 1333mhz
XFX 750watt
2x XFX 6870

So I had a single 6870 and when I was playing BF3 I was able to play it on high settings with no A/A or A/F and maintain roughly 50fps average and the GPU usage was always 100%.I went and got another 6870 for crossfire thinking I would able to max it out no problems but that doesn't seem to be the case.I installed the new drivers and the CAP but what seems to be happening is that the 6870 crossfire is halfing and not scaling.I was getting 100% usage with a single 6870 and with a crossfire they are both at 50%.I was thinking that they may be getting bottlenecked because of a VRAM issue but lowering the settings only decrese's the utlization.But the strange thing is that when i'm in a game with 10 or fewer people in it im' getting 100% usage on both cards.
I've read around in other forums and people with a 6870 crossfire are able to play on Ultra or at least on high settings and maintain a much higher fps.Is it possible that my CPU is bottlenecking a 6870 crossfire?

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a b U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 8:24:34 AM

Check your CPU usage on 64 Player maps. Your PII could be the bottleneck in those extreme conditions.
However on 12 or 24 player maps I can't see a PII causing much of an issue.
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January 4, 2012 8:27:38 AM

I am about to get a 6870 for my new rig too. So, I also wanted to know if 6870 crossfireX in the future is viable or not??
Or should I get the money together for the 6950 ??
My aim is to keep power consumption at low too.
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January 4, 2012 8:29:02 AM

I agree, CPU might be the bottleneck. Atleast it sounds like it judging by your description. You could try dropping the CPU clock back to normal and see what that does to utilisation.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 9:50:34 AM

CPU usage is 95% on 64 player maps and the same for less than 10 players.

I've seen in the benchmarks that their isn't any difference in average fps from a quad core at 2.5ghz and at 4.5ghz.It only raises the minimum around 5-10fps.Could give it a try though.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 9:55:02 AM

gam0reily said:
I am about to get a 6870 for my new rig too. So, I also wanted to know if 6870 crossfireX in the future is viable or not??
Or should I get the money together for the 6950 ??
My aim is to keep power consumption at low too.


Do you already have a 6870 or would you buy 2?Because if your buying 2 then I suggest holding off and buying one of the new cards coming out later this month.They are supposed to have the same power consumption as current models but deliver much more performance.

Honestly I really am not pleased with how this crossfire is going.The only game I've played that has 100% usage for both cards is Dirt 3 and I believe that game is optimized for AMD cards.But i've also seen many different people that are playing BF3 with a 6870 crossfire and are maxing it out.The only thing positive I can say is that I have not yet encountered micro-stutter which seemed to be a really big deal with the 6870 crossfire.
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January 4, 2012 10:02:20 AM

purple stank said:
.But i've also seen many different people that are playing BF3 with a 6870 crossfire and are maxing it out.


With same CPUs?
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a c 214 U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 10:13:15 AM

No I haven't found anyone with the same CPU yet.Still searching.

I guess what really has me stumped is because the CPU usage is never at 100%, it's only 95%-97%.If the CPU was being fully maxed out it should be at 100%.
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a b U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 10:57:25 AM

It does that on games, they can never FULLY utilize all a CPUs resources.

As far as the benches you mentioned go, they were on Single Player maps. Not Multiplayer.

The 10 Player senario baffles me though...It shouldnt be putting any 3.8ghz Quad past 60%
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a c 214 U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 11:35:29 AM

It does use less but it's still over 90%.

Yah this whole thing has me baffled.
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a b U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 11:42:39 AM

Yeah.. I think it`s time to move the CPU to a powerful one.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 1:07:09 PM

Alright so I just went and played a level on the BF3 Campign and it looked great.I was able to run it with everything maxed out with full A/A and A/F as well as HABO and mainted a 55+fps average.GPU scaling was flawless as both GPU's were maxed out 100%.CPU usage was also a bit lower but still not that great with a 80+ average usage.

So their's definitly something going on with multiplayer but I don't know if that's CPU related or not.

One question I do have though is GPU-Z is reporting a much different average GPU usage than MSI Afterburner.Does anyone know why that is?

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January 4, 2012 5:24:59 PM

Hey I have a pair of 6870's (work fairly well, pretty happy overall) and have had problems with BF3. The cards seem to go out of sync like you are describing, and off and on I will get one card running at 99% an the other drop to ~50%, and get ~30fps, but it will look like 20 because of how uneven they are. Especially bad with the Karkand expansion for some reason.

To fix this, I turned AA down to 2x, for whatever reason that was ok. So turn off your AA setting and try to see if that works for you.

I have come across others with this problem, I believe it is due to Windows Ultra Low Power State ULPS, (Windows is trying to undervolt/downclock the second card?) you can turn this off in regedit. So try that and hopefully your problems will be solved.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 5:28:52 PM

Thanks for the suggestion but I don't think that's the problem.Both cards are operating at their rated speed their's just a limit somewhere.
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a c 107 U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 7:07:45 PM

Problems with the LAN driver perhaps. Either that or something network related. It's true that there is some CPU overhead associated with crossfire, but it should not halve your performance. I'd say uninstall the catalyst drivers, run driver sweeper, and then install the newest version. Check your device manager to see if there are any issues there.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 7:50:03 PM

Yah I've tryed all of that.When I got the other 6870 I did a fresh install.

If you think it's a LAN driver what are your thoughts on how that can cause this?
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a c 107 U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 10:55:29 PM

Getting slow down in multiplayer sounds like a network problem or an internal bandwidth issue. Are both your cards running at 16x? I think on that board you need to put the cards in the first and third slot as the second and 4th are only 4x.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 11:26:46 PM

Yah they are both running at x16.Yes you are correct on that,the 1st and 3rd slot.Thought it was kinda strange the first time I saw it but the tabs on the PCI-E x16 slots are different than the PCI-E x4 slots.

After just staring at GPU-Z for a little bit I came across something.I noticed that one of the cards says Crossfire is disabled.Also I see that the BIOS are different on each card.Do both cards have to have the same BIOS for Crossfire?

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a c 214 U Graphics card
January 4, 2012 11:34:31 PM

I just uninstalled the old LAN drivers and made sure they were gone with driver sweeper.Installed the newst ones from Gigabytes website.Doesn't seem to have changed anything.Usage for both cards is still in the 50%.
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a c 214 U Graphics card
January 15, 2012 7:43:38 PM

Alright so I think I finally narrowed it down to what is actually causing the bad crossfire performance and it's the CPU.

http://www.sweclockers.com/artikel/14650-prestandaanaly...

That benchmark shows multiplayer performance which is what people need to do more tests with.It really shows how much more resources the game use's/needs in a mutliplayer match and definitely shows how old the Phenom ii's really are.

Onto a AM3+ CPU I guess.Now I just have to wait for a revision of Bulldozer or wait for Piledriver.

Thanks again everyone for your help.
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July 14, 2012 7:06:11 AM

purple stank said:
No I haven't found anyone with the same CPU yet.Still searching.

I guess what really has me stumped is because the CPU usage is never at 100%, it's only 95%-97%.If the CPU was being fully maxed out it should be at 100%.





Hey man, Ive got

1055t 6 core processor @ 3ghz
8 gigs 1600mhz ram
2 6870s
m5a99x evo motherboard
800watt power supply
windows 7 64 bit

I'm trying to play battle field 3 as well and 1 runs almost perfect, I fired in the second one and I get fps drops. Same problem here man =(
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