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Need to widen my bottleneck

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March 28, 2012 9:24:11 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Late April/Early May

Budget Range: ~1000 USD

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming>Fraps/Live Streaming>media streaming (to other devices in home, not from internet)>Software compiling>everything else

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, monitors, case, power supply (possibly), SSDs, HDDs

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, TigerDirect, Microcenter

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: Probably nVidia/Intel, but could be convinced otherwise.

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe, if micro stuttering is not an issue.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 x2, sometimes x3

Additional Comments: Sick of getting FPS lag in games; slow down in high intensity situations in games seems common and doesn't seem like it should happen with my current setup. Mostly play MMOs heavily (WoW, SWTOR, Rift) will also be playing Diablo 3 heavily, and pretty much play every anticipated game that comes out at least for a while.

My current setup:

*Case: Antec 1200 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA790X-UD4P - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU: AMD Phenom II x6 1090T BE (Thuban core) - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GPU: EVGA AMD Radeon 5870 - http://www.amd.com/us/products/desktop/graphics/ati-rad...
RAM: G-Skill DDR2 800 8GB (4x2GB) - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
*HDD: 4x WD Caviar Black 1TB - RAID5 (3+1) for Media - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
*SSD: 4x Mushkin 60Gig SSD RAID0 for OS/Games - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
*PSU: OCZ ModXStream 700Watt - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I also have a corsair H50 that I haven't set up yet, as I was waiting until I decided if I was going to build a new system before dealing with that.

*Migrating to new system unless circumstance requires otherwise.

At this point I've just resorted to a new build since even after upgrading to a 4x SSD RAID0 setup from my 4x HDD RAID0 and fresh installs I still seem to get FPS lag in games at critical points. This is most notable (and frustrating) in WoW as I raid at a highly competitive level. I am also lagging heavily in the Diablo III Beta and BF2/3.

I know WoW is mostly CPU intensive, and not really I/O intensive or GPU intensive but at this point with a hexacore 1090T I would think that should be enough juice to handle whatever it throws at me, but apparently not.

Is my once-king-of-the-hill 5870 just that trashy now? Would simply a new video card be the solution? Or is it my RAM holding me back, still being DDR2? Is it that I use 2 monitors all the time? Do I need to SLI/CrossfireX to really get the juice I need to run 2 monitors (even though only one at a time for games, I'm not extending across both monitors or anything, just using the 2nd for Chrome, etc) ?

I normally don't even post here and consider myself quite savvy, I have built many systems, but for whatever reason I cannot seem to figure out my bottleneck and it is driving me nuts. Maybe I'm just getting old! I'm all for building something (mostly) new and using my interchangeable components if I have to, but if I can upgrade something and solve my issue that would be even better.


Thanks fellas.

More about : widen bottleneck

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March 28, 2012 9:39:34 PM

To go on the cheap, I'd recommend overclocking your Phenom (super easy, just get an aftermarket cooler like the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus) and upgrade your RAM.

Your 5870 should not be holding you back in WoW, maybe not in Rift either (never played it). In WoW, I was running a single 6870 and a 955 BE (OC'd to 3.8) at all Ultra settings and was still getting over 100FPS in most situations. Your 5870 is actually a more powerful card than a 6870. For SWTOR, the engine just sucks and no amount of hardware is going to solve the problems in high-pop areas like Warzones and the Fleet.

You do not need Crossfire/SLI to run two monitors.

Have you monitored temperatures using CPUID? Check to make sure your cooling is sufficient and your components are not getting overheated. Also, be sure to shut off AV scans during gameplay.
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March 28, 2012 9:51:57 PM

ringzero said:
To go on the cheap, I'd recommend overclocking your Phenom (super easy, just get an aftermarket cooler like the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus) and upgrade your RAM.

Your 5870 should not be holding you back in WoW, maybe not in Rift either (never played it). In WoW, I was running a single 6870 at all Ultra settings and was still getting over 100FPS in most situations. Your 5870 is actually a more powerful card than a 6870. For SWTOR, the engine just sucks and no amount of hardware is going to solve the problems in high-pop areas like Warzones and the Fleet.

You do not need Crossfire/SLI to run two monitors.

Have you monitored temperatures using CPUID? Check to make sure your cooling is sufficient and your components are not getting overheated. Also, be sure to shut off AV scans during gameplay.


I assume the Corsair H50 I have that I have not installed would work as well to OC my CPU?

I always use Vertical Sync so I never see it over 60, and only very rarely in WoW see it at 60, like, maybe in the middle of the Tanaris Desert with no players in the entire zone. If I disable VSync the screen tearing makes me want to take a spoon to my eye sockets.

The thing that strikes me as odd too is I see little performance increase switching from Ultra 8xAA to say, Fair 1xAA. I still stay at around 40 FPS in heavily populated areas or in our 25-man raids, with that number dropping as low as single digit numbers for intense fights with a lot of action occurring.

I've used CPUID on many occasions and though I do not recall the exact temperatures at this point, everything was well within safe specs at load.
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March 28, 2012 10:12:57 PM

I would loose the hardrive raid and go for a ssd. A simple HD setup would probably get rid of the hard lag because of cpu usage.. Try running just one of your HD's for shits and giglgles.
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March 28, 2012 10:23:49 PM

axxidental said:
I assume the Corsair H50 I have that I have not installed would work as well to OC my CPU?

I always use Vertical Sync so I never see it over 60, and only very rarely in WoW see it at 60, like, maybe in the middle of the Tanaris Desert with no players in the entire zone. If I disable VSync the screen tearing makes me want to take a spoon to my eye sockets.

The thing that strikes me as odd too is I see little performance increase switching from Ultra 8xAA to say, Fair 1xAA. I still stay at around 40 FPS in heavily populated areas or in our 25-man raids, with that number dropping as low as single digit numbers for intense fights with a lot of action occurring.

I've used CPUID on many occasions and though I do not recall the exact temperatures at this point, everything was well within safe specs at load.


Oh. Woops, I missed the comment on the H50. Of course that would work.

Have you checked the settings in the AMD Catalyst tool? Do you have AA set in there, because you might be forcing it to use those settings over the WoW settings if you do.

Also, I get weird artifacts if I put Multisampling above 1x in the WoW video settings, so try going down on that.

Yeah, I'm sure you've tried messing with each of the settings in Wow one at a time to see how that helps?

Are you running the latest 12.2 AMD drivers?

I don't know, but I'm still pretty solid on saying that a 5870 is more than capable of running WoW at Ultra. Maybe I'm wrong about your Phenom, but I really don't see that being a huge bottleneck either, even without OC.
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March 28, 2012 10:25:48 PM

azone said:
I would loose the hardrive raid and go for a ssd. A simple HD setup would probably get rid of the hard lag because of cpu usage.. Try running just one of your HD's for shits and giglgles.


I use HDD RAID for Media, and I use an SSD RAID for games/OS.

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March 28, 2012 10:30:27 PM

ringzero said:
Oh. Woops, I missed the comment on the H50. Of course that would work.

Have you checked the settings in the AMD Catalyst tool? Do you have AA set in there, because you might be forcing it to use those settings over the WoW settings if you do.

Also, I get weird artifacts if I put Multisampling above 1x in the WoW video settings, so try going down on that.

Yeah, I'm sure you've tried messing with each of the settings in Wow one at a time to see how that helps?

Are you running the latest 12.2 AMD drivers?

I don't know, but I'm still pretty solid on saying that a 5870 is more than capable of running WoW at Ultra. Maybe I'm wrong about your Phenom, but I really don't see that being a huge bottleneck either, even without OC.


For some reason, if I change AA settings in the Catalyst tool to anything but Application configured it causes all my D3D graphics to become blurry. I get no artifacts on high multisampling in WoW settings whatsoever, and it really seems to have no impact on the performance which is what makes it weird. It looks better, and stays at about the same frame rate as it does on Fair with no AA.

Yes, I update my drivers as soon as they are available. This is not a new issue, it has been ongoing, well, since I put the thing together. I'm actually running 12.3 at the moment.

I'll try hooking up the H50 and OC'ing my processor, but I've never actually done so and didn't think it would really be necessary considering the hexacore processor.

It's not limited to WoW which is why I don't believe it to be an application specific issue but rather hardware related, likely a bottleneck. I simply play WoW the most often and thus it is the most prevalent and obnoxious there.
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March 28, 2012 10:31:31 PM

I guess my main recommendation would be to continue to mess with settings/overclocking before spending any money, then start with RAM, since it's something you probably want to upgrade anyway. I just have heard too many horror stories about people throwing money at upgrades and not seeing any improvement. Especially with SWTOR.
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March 28, 2012 10:37:05 PM

axxidental said:
For some reason, if I change AA settings in the Catalyst tool to anything but Application configured it causes all my D3D graphics to become blurry. I get no artifacts on high multisampling in WoW settings whatsoever, and it really seems to have no impact on the performance which is what makes it weird. It looks better, and stays at about the same frame rate as it does on Fair with no AA.

Yes, I update my drivers as soon as they are available. This is not a new issue, it has been ongoing, well, since I put the thing together. I'm actually running 12.3 at the moment.

I'll try hooking up the H50 and OC'ing my processor, but I've never actually done so and didn't think it would really be necessary considering the hexacore processor.

It's not limited to WoW which is why I don't believe it to be an application specific issue but rather hardware related, likely a bottleneck. I simply play WoW the most often and thus it is the most prevalent and obnoxious there.


I don't know, that's a tough one. Just FYI, WoW only really utilizes 2 cores, I believe, so having a 6 or 4 core processor won't really help over a 2-core. It works wonders in other apps that are more multi-threaded.

If you get to your wits' end, then definitely try a new card, but it's already pretty high-tier, for WoW and MMOs anyway. Look here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...
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March 28, 2012 10:56:18 PM

ringzero said:
I don't know, that's a tough one. Just FYI, WoW only really utilizes 2 cores, I believe, so having a 6 or 4 core processor won't really help over a 2-core. It works wonders in other apps that are more multi-threaded.

If you get to your wits' end, then definitely try a new card, but it's already pretty high-tier, for WoW and MMOs anyway. Look here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...


Actually WoW supports up to 3 separate threads since 3.3.2. You can set which ones using SET processAffinityMask "CVar" where CVar is a bit value determining the cores you want it to run on. There is a good write up about it here: http://www.wowwiki.com/CVar_processAffinityMask and here: http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/818615-Multi-Core-C...

I know the 5870 is still pretty high up the chart...I'm wondering if the gain by moving up a few tiers would be enough to resolve my issue or if its something else clogging the pipes so to speak.

Problem with upgrading RAM is I have to upgrade my board as it only supports DDR2 (bought it back in like, 2008 or 2009 as an AM2+/AM3 compatible board). Whenever I have to upgrade a board I almost always just start over with a new system, which is why I am wondering if that is my issue. If it is, I may as well just start fresh with a Sandy-E or wait for an Ivy Bridge to really harness a 680.
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March 28, 2012 10:58:50 PM

Oh, I just got home, my GPU is at 58C which is cold for this thing, while my CPU is at 66C. Can't seem to find individual core temps, but I've heard that the CPU temp is usually higher than the actual core temps, at least for this chip.

Regardless, 66 seems high. I think I'll try poppin that H50 on there and seeing if I can figure out how to OC it without frying it :) 
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March 28, 2012 11:07:19 PM

axxidental said:
Oh, I just got home, my GPU is at 58C which is cold for this thing, while my CPU is at 66C. Can't seem to find individual core temps, but I've heard that the CPU temp is usually higher than the actual core temps, at least for this chip.

Regardless, 66 seems high. I think I'll try poppin that H50 on there and seeing if I can figure out how to OC it without frying it :) 

MMO's and Raiding = LAG fest because of server/network lag... Both of those are things you CANT control and need to live with.

Verify you your network latency with the WoW (or other game) servers. For example I used to raid on a West coast server from the East Coast = very bad idea... Latency across country is usually above 75ms and most often above 100ms.
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March 28, 2012 11:15:29 PM

axxidental said:
Oh, I just got home, my GPU is at 58C which is cold for this thing, while my CPU is at 66C. Can't seem to find individual core temps, but I've heard that the CPU temp is usually higher than the actual core temps, at least for this chip.

Regardless, 66 seems high. I think I'll try poppin that H50 on there and seeing if I can figure out how to OC it without frying it :) 


Is the 66c on your CPU the idle temp or the temp when your running a game? If it's your idle temp then you may have a heat issue in your case. The CPU temp not the core temp should idle anywhere from 30c-40c with 40c being on the higher side.
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March 28, 2012 11:17:25 PM

Just changed my affinity to the "recommended" hexacore settings at 56 which uses Cores 4,5, and 6. No change.

Sitting in Org at Ultra x8AA, 14 FPS. Switch to 1xAA, 14 FPS. Switch to Lowest possible settings and it goes up to 24 FPS, which is a non-significant gain to a value still under half a native refresh rate.

CPU usage rate is only at 27%, I can see elevated levels on Cores 4,5,6 so I'm pretty sure the setting is working. The levels on those cores appear to be about 40-60% too, so it doesn't seem like that is bottlenecking.

Memory is at 65% in use, and I have about 10 Chrome tabs open and haven't rebooted in a few days. There is well nearly 3gigs of available memory, but maybe the problem isn't quantity but speed/quality?

Disk usage is at 2%, so obviously that isn't the problem.

Just throwing it out there but my 40Mb/s internet connection is at 0-1% utilization as well, so it's not like there's something in the background chewing up my resources.

It should also be noted that the problem persists across clean installations which really compounds the thought that it must be hardware based.

Could it be N/S bridge? I don't know enough about their function to suspect them, but the board is significantly older than the CPU/GPU. I bought the board with a Phenom2x3 and 2x 4670s in CrossfireX and later upgraded both CPU and GPU. At this point I'm really just searching for answers before I go shell out a thousand+ bucks on bleeding edge stuff.


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March 28, 2012 11:18:21 PM

lafontma said:
MMO's and Raiding = LAG fest because of server/network lag... Both of those are things you CANT control and need to live with.

Verify you your network latency with the WoW (or other game) servers. For example I used to raid on a West coast server from the East Coast = very bad idea... Latency across country is usually above 75ms and most often above 100ms.


62ms latency. It is not network lag, it is graphical lag/stuttering/slowdown, and again it is not limited to WoW or even online games, it's just the most prevalent and easiest example for me to use.
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March 28, 2012 11:22:58 PM

chase3567 said:
Is the 66c on your CPU the idle temp or the temp when your running a game? If it's your idle temp then you may have a heat issue in your case. The CPU temp not the core temp should idle anywhere from 30c-40c with 40c being on the higher side.


I agree it seems hot, as that was idle temp. My office is quite warm today as there are 6 windows in it and it receives sun all day, so when the room temp goes down, that temp will likely go down as well. I use the Antec 1200 and I have a fan in every slot and they are all functioning and running on high. I'm going to try the H50 in the next few days or perhaps tonight and see if that helps, but considering my CPU is not high on utilization I feel like it should not be the source of such a drastic drop in FPS over what the system's potential is.
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March 28, 2012 11:34:16 PM

It *might* be a hardware problem, but it's not one that requires a CPU or gpu upgrade. If its hardware, there's something WRONG with your hardware. You should be getting much higher than 24 fps on lowest settings. BTW, the mobo you linked says it supports DDR3.
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March 29, 2012 12:44:10 AM

Also, I've been running WoW for ~an hour now and the CPU temp is still between 63 and 66, which was the same as it was idle.
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March 29, 2012 2:48:55 AM

Its now a good 20 degrees cooler in this room, and the CPU temps are still in the same area, 63-66.

I just read an interesting review of my RAM from someone who has essentially my identical setup and G-Skill said that they do not support my motherboard, for some reason, they do not work with Gigabyte correctly, so I'm wondering if this could be a part of the issue. Interesting.


Quote:
Pros: G.Skill techs really tried to put forth a good effort to help me with this issue. I worked with them for several days on the problem and they were willing to change out memory or do whatever they could. They told me that this is an ongoing problem with the 790X chipset and the Gigabyte boards. The memory controllers are weak and cannot stabilize 1066 memory. (according to G.Skill). Gigabye won't answer me on this.

Cons: Not compatible with my Gigabyte 790X chipset. BIOS reads then as DDR2 800 and you have to manually change everything to use them at 1066. But they are not stable at 1066. Prime95 runs 2 minutes before showing errors and it's not my Processor. With different memory, Prime95 runs perfect for hours & hours. It would run games and other programs, but if a system does not run Prime95, it's just not a stable system.

Other Thoughts: The techs at G.Skill suggested that I get another mother board. Asus is what they recommended. Gigabyte never answered one request during all this, so I shipped back the memory and the mother board. I went with Asus and Crucial. Sorry G.Skill, but even though you were trying to help, it tells me your memory has issues I don't want to deal with.

As always Newegg was Great. Took back the memory and didn't charge a restocking fee.

Manufacturer Response:
.
Dear Customer

We are sorry to hear you were unable to get your memory package working properly. This is one of the only issues that we have as far as motherboard compatibility. The memory controllers are not "weak" but we believe the issue may be with the HT Link Speed/Voltage. Unfortunately some people have no issues at all, and some have all sorts of issues, so we are doing our best to find a resolution. The guide we have available are the optimum settings for the memory.

http://www.gskill.us/forum/showthread.php?t=1129

If you have any further questions, please feel free to let us know.

Thank you
GSKILL SUPPORT
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March 29, 2012 3:42:25 AM

Idle temps should be around 40c.
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March 29, 2012 3:46:48 PM

So since that review I posted, Gigabyte and Gskill came up with a fix, part is a BIOS update (which I already actually have) and the other is manually setting timings in the BIOS for the RAM to get it to take the 1066 speed instead of 800.

FPS in same location increased by a fluctuating 5-10 frames at Ultra 8xAA. Seems like perhaps my RAM speed is whats holding me back...

Guess this means I'll need to upgrade my board anyway, so now the question is the decision between sticking with the AM3/+ socket and giving myself the room to upgrade to an FX if they drop the 10/12/16 core processors with that socket like they expect to (or so I heard a long while back), or switching to Sandy-E or waiting for Ivy.

Would the Sandy/Ivy upgrade be a big enough upgrade to be a significantly noticeable increase over the 1090T? What if I overclock the 1090?
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April 10, 2012 3:10:18 PM

Bought an ASUS Sabertooth 990FX, 16 gigs of Ripjaw DDR3@1600, and installed the H50. went from 60C idle to 13C idle. OC'd to 4013Mhz and at full load it is now running at 30C max.

Excellent!
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April 10, 2012 3:11:48 PM

Best answer selected by axxidental.
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