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Frame Rate Problem - CPU or GPU?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
January 13, 2012 12:59:46 PM

Unfortunately, I am not a nuts and bolts computer person. I have scoured the internet for a solution, but have not been able to get (or interpret) a good answer for me.

Problem: Running WoW and SWTOR with terrible frame rates
Have installed Advanced System Care (ASC) and it has made a fairly significant difference, but still not good.

Prior to ASC - 14-19 FPS, latency good at approx 50 ms, often get 1-6 during raids, etc.
After ASC - 25-30 FPS, latency good at approx 50 ms, however, still often get FPS of 1-6 during raids, etc.

Prior to ASC - 1-5 FPS, latency good at approx 52 ms
After ASC - 10-15 FPS, latency good at approx 52 ms

My System:
AMD Athlon(tm) II X4 650 Processor, 3200 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s)
3.20 GHz
ATI Radeon HS 4200
One digital flat panel 1920x1080 (game display) max refresh rate 75
One VGA monitor 1024x768 (vent, etc. display) max refresh rate 75 (this is an OLD monitor)
Windows 7-64
Hard Disk space 920 GB, 745 GB free

This is a new computer (purchased Oct 2011, orig build Apr 2011). I am willing to upgrade parts, but I don't know what parts need to be upgraded (CPU, GPU, other??).
I would really appreciate any help you can provide.


a c 164 U Graphics card
January 13, 2012 1:16:11 PM

You need a video card. (and possibly a new CPU but one step at a time.) The onboard 4200 isn't strong enough to handle games at 1080. (much less with good details and a second monitor attached as well.) You shouldn't need a monster card for MMOs, something like a 5770 or GTX550 should be fine. You can buy a monster card like a GTX570 or 6950 if you want, it won't hurt. A problem will be your lower end x4 holding cards like that back some, and MMOs tend to want a lot of CPU power to handle all the units and what they are doing in game.

Best solution

a b U Graphics card
January 13, 2012 1:17:06 PM

The Athlon IIx4 is a pretty good cpu, that is not the problem.The ati 4200 is a low power gpu. It is intended for basic productivty such as office and internet. It does not have the power to run games.

A video card upgrade can be cheap and easy. Whats the budget and exact make and model of the PC.
Related resources
January 13, 2012 1:20:44 PM

Thank you both for the help! The system is HP p7-1003w desktop. Budget - under $200 would be good, less would be better!
January 13, 2012 1:31:16 PM

Thank you! So what type of frame rates should I expect with this?
a b U Graphics card
January 13, 2012 1:33:19 PM

just looking at the specs of that PC, and it only has a 250watt PSU. That is not really a problem because the ahtlons are pretty miserly on power usage, however that limits the GPU upgrade choices a bit. (Unless you are willing to upgrade the PSU as well).

The 6770 i posted above is a 100watt part. I would not recomend higher than that with out a new PSU to go with it.
a c 164 U Graphics card
January 13, 2012 1:34:43 PM

That would be a good GPU to get, but he has a weak 250W PSU. Something more like a 5570 would be a better idea. Unless he is upgrading the PSU as well.
a b U Graphics card
January 13, 2012 1:35:36 PM

As far as frame rates I would expect a 500% in provement. So if your getting 20 on low I would think around 100 without changing the detail levels. Or you crank up the detail and play at around 40 FPS.
January 13, 2012 1:52:58 PM

What would be a good power supply? From what I can see, they can be fairly inexpensive.
a b U Graphics card
January 13, 2012 2:12:22 PM

The antecs are good for the money. Keep in mind we dont need to go huge we just want effecency and quality.

That would open the door to any sub $300 video card. Based on your system budget and games noted I would go with the 6770 listed or maybe a 6850 or 6870.
6870 is 160 that puts you at 220 with the PSU, so it blows the budget.

This 6850 would be good at $145 plus the 60 for the psu and you are at 205.

a c 164 U Graphics card
January 13, 2012 2:16:06 PM

I forgot to check the case, can it handle a regular size PSU? Often when dealing with OEMs and small PSUs they use a non standard size.
a b U Graphics card
January 13, 2012 2:40:41 PM

Although Antec power supplys are very good, I think something like an 600watt might be a little overkill atm for your pc even after an 6970 upgrade :p .
A better option might be "CORSAIR Builder Series CX500 V2 500W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC" which costs 39$ after rebates which is pure steal :p . With the money you can save from 39$ psu, you can add also HIS H687FN1GD Radeon HD 6870 for 139$ after rebates if you like AMD or Galaxy 56NGH6HS3KXZ GeForce GTX 560 for 154$ after rebates if you like more Nvidia.

So for a 180$-190$ you can have a good quality Corsair (took the award of psu and memory manufacturer of the year) psu and a HD6870/GTX560 class gpu at your system.

But about wow, an article here at toms hardware show that amd cpus have a problem
CPU Scaling: Intel :
CPU Scaling: AMD

But the problem doesnt seem enough to make you play so low fps, so its the card you are using.


December 6, 2010 by Chris Angelini: "Could it be a problem with Nvidia's GPU? We dropped a Radeon HD 5870 in with our Phenom II flagship to check and came up with 59.19 FPS in the same test (a mere 1.31 FPS difference). Clearly, AMD's CPUs are holding back performance in Cataclysm compared to Intel's processors."
a b U Graphics card
January 13, 2012 2:43:49 PM

Judging from the photos it seems to be standard size and bolt layout.

Hp loves to go with their own slightly more square PSUs that dont fit anything.

Its a wierd case because its an ATX layout board but mounted upside down, to sort of look like a btx.

Any way i dont see any reason why a standard PSU and GPU won't work.
a b U Graphics card
January 13, 2012 2:58:47 PM

The HP desktop mid-towers will handle a standard PSU just dandy. There is also a little hiding place above the card reader for a few wild cables.

I wouldn't go crazy expensive but the OP could snag the OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Modular for $50 after rebate.

As far as the video card, waiting is good. In the next month or so I betcha there will be some really nice video cards for $120 or so (HD6870s ??) -- I think the real question is if the 7xxx cards can drive something like a HD69501GB down to the $150-range. That'd be da sheet.
January 16, 2012 6:22:37 PM

Hey folks, I went with Buckynutty's suggestions. I am starting with replacing the power supply first. The size is just fine, but I am having some installation issues. Unfortunately, there are no installation instructions. I am used to installing new components and I am pretty sure that I have all the cords installed properly, but when I turn on the computer, the fans are not running. The green light on the motherboard lights up, though.

I have the 4-prong MB connector exactly where the only one was. The old cords had a 20 prong connector, but there are enough slots for the 24-prong, so I connected the 24. I have one connector attached to the hard drive and one to the DVD drive. Those were the only things connected previously. Anyone have any suggestions about what I am missing?

Thanks for your help!
January 16, 2012 6:25:35 PM

Oh, I should note that the old cords did not have an orange wire, but the new ones do. One of the connectors does have a plug where the orange wire is, in case I should not be using it for one of the connections.

Thanks again!
January 16, 2012 6:42:08 PM

One other thought, is the power cord weighted to the supply? The new psu did not include a new cord, do I need one that can handle more?
a b U Graphics card
January 16, 2012 7:01:38 PM

The power wire that goes to the wall does not matter.

There should be 5 wires to plug into the comp.

1 Main power 24 pin connector 20+4. This can only go 1 way.
2 Aux power (some times called p4 connector) This can be 1 4pin or 2 4 pins side by side depending on the board. Normally up by the CPU. *My guess is you forgot this connector.
3 HD connector, you need to power the hard drive.
4 DVD connectoer, powers the DVD
5 PCI-e connector (optional Video card connector) only needed if the video card has a power connector.
January 17, 2012 5:04:06 AM

Thank you all so much! I got everything up and running now. The difference in the graphics is amazing! Really appreciate all the great help here!
January 20, 2012 3:54:39 AM

Best answer selected by ZaralinOfElune.