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870 (vs) 920 - Is the 920 really that much better?

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July 26, 2012 7:40:26 PM


Hi guys,

I've been trying to figure out why my system will run World of Warcraft at all MAX settings, while my wife's system cannot - even though I assumed she had a comparable or better set up than me. Here is what we are working with:

Mine:
i7 920 Bloomfield @ 2.67ghz
12g DDR3 @ 1066
Windows7 64b
Velociraptor Drive 10k rpm
EVGA GTX480 card

Hers:
i7 870 Lynnfield @ 2.93ghz
12g DDR3 @ 1333
Windows7 64b
Basic Gateway Drive 7200rpm
EVGA GTX580 card

After talking with a buddy of mine who knows a lot more about computers than I do, he suggested that it was her 870, and the limitations of the processor. He referred to her 870 not making use of triple channel memory, as well as using a less powerful chipset.

Soooooo, I was thinking about picking up a better processor for her ( and I'm guessing I'll need a new board to support it? ), but before running out and spending money on it - I wanted a second opinion or two on whether the 870 is the likely culprit of my wife not being able to play WoW on max settings.

As a side note - not only does her system have a hard time with higher settings in WoW ... but the game actually recommends lower settings to her that are only around mid-range graphic quality. The game recommends all maximum ultra settings to my computer.

Any thoughts appreciated before I embark on a processor upgrade.

Thx in advance.

More about : 870 920 920

a b à CPUs
July 26, 2012 7:48:35 PM

I would make sure all of your drivers are up to date. The GTX580 is basically a GTX480 without the major heat issues. The CPU is definitely not the issue, I can say that for certain.
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July 26, 2012 7:52:32 PM

Being that WoW is more GPU dependent, and her 580 is newer and should be a little more powerful than your 480, I would think that something is wrong with her graphics card and/or drivers.

For reference, my i5 Lynnfield is weaker than hers, and my HD6950 is a weaker GPU and I play WoW on max settings no problem.
July 26, 2012 7:55:16 PM

jay_nar2012 said:
Have you checked if she has the latest drivers?


Unless there are drivers I'm forgetting about, that was one of the first things I checked. She has the most recent nVidia driver and the one recommended by EVGA just for good measure. I also checked the driver for her board and that was up to speed.

Are there other drivers of consequence that I'm not thinking to check?
July 26, 2012 7:57:51 PM

Her computer should be better so I would look into more of a software problem because as you can see in these benchmarks, the 870 out performs the 920.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/2832/8

That GPU is one of the better ones on the market so she shouldnt need to lower her setting that much if at all.

What troubleshooting steps have you already taken?
July 26, 2012 8:01:11 PM

ilikegirls said:
Her computer should be better so I would look into more of a software problem because as you can see in these benchmarks, the 870 out performs the 920.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/2832/8

That GPU is one of the better ones on the market so she shouldnt need to lower her setting that much if at all.

What troubleshooting steps have you already taken?


Although I can find my way around a computer, I'm a bit stumped on this and not really sure what to begin with.
Trouble shooting so far has been limited:

- Checked the mobo and gpu drivers
- Downloaded CPU-Z to check than ram etc was all showing correctly
- Asked a buddy
- Current step, seeking some advice here :) 
July 26, 2012 8:03:18 PM

lyphe said:
She has the most recent nVidia driver and the one recommended by EVGA just for good measure.


Please clarify, does she have nVidia drivers AND the drivers EVGA recommends (2 sets of drivers), or nVidia drivers which are the same as those that EVGA recommends (only one set of drivers).

That could make a huge difference. If she has two sets of drivers they could be conflicting with each other and killing the performance of the GPU.
a c 104 à CPUs
July 26, 2012 8:03:25 PM

Do you have AA enabled on WoW?
July 26, 2012 8:06:17 PM

if you have a few free minutes and access to both computers, I would even try to move your card in her computer and see if that helps. That would be the fastest way to check the graphics card.

If it works fine with the 480 then you know her graphics card is the problem. If it still gives you issues then we can work from there but at least then we ruled out the 580.

Let me know how that goes and if you can even do it
July 26, 2012 8:08:54 PM

dalmvern said:
Please clarify, does she have nVidia drivers AND the drivers EVGA recommends (2 sets of drivers), or nVidia drivers which are the same as those that EVGA recommends (only one set of drivers).

That could make a huge difference. If she has two sets of drivers they could be conflicting with each other and killing the performance of the GPU.


She just has one set of drivers from nVidia. I originally downloaded the most recent 'release' driver from nVidia directly, but then confirmed that EVGA was using the same one in case they had tweaked it. But EVGA was just forwarding to the link for nVidia. So just one driver there.

BUT ... you DID remind me of something that 'could' be an issue.

She used to have an AMD card before I replaced it with the nVidia. I was sure that I'd uninstalled all the old AMD drivers, but perhaps something is hidden in there??? Is there a way to ensure that the old AMD drivers are not sitting around hidden and messing things up? I have checked the 'uninstall' tab on Windows - but there is no sign of any AMD driver.
July 26, 2012 8:13:12 PM

Ok thanks guys.

First thing I'll do is follow that driver removal guide when I get home and then reinstall, to see if it makes a difference. If it doesn't, then I'll try the swap with my 480 to see what that does.

Heading home from work soon and will check it out.

Ty.

Best solution

July 26, 2012 8:13:15 PM
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If you notice in the guide I linked it does into the registry to make sure it out...do that for AMD's drivers as well. Check for the drivers and check for Catalyst.

Here, exact same steps as with the nVidia, you just remove all AMD or ATi folders.

http://www.overclock.net/t/988215/how-to-properly-unins...
July 26, 2012 10:02:44 PM

dalmvern said:
If you notice in the guide I linked it does into the registry to make sure it out...do that for AMD's drivers as well. Check for the drivers and check for Catalyst.

Here, exact same steps as with the nVidia, you just remove all AMD or ATi folders.

http://www.overclock.net/t/988215/how-to-properly-unins...


Hi again Dalmvern,

Ok - I've been cleaning out ATI/AMD files all over. They are like flies!

As I was poking around further, I came across yet another AMD External Events Utility hidden and running in the background. I have disabled it, but decided to go look at the system32 folder where it was being executed from. And in there, I found a whole bunch of AMD/ATI files. They are all .dll files.

Am I safe to remove those as well do you know off hand?
July 26, 2012 11:08:02 PM

You know, deleting anything from system32 always makes me uncomfortable. On the other hand, if for some weird reason those .dlls are being initialized in the process of using your nVidia drivers (not likely, but possible) then it will just recreate those registry keys that you just deleted. Being that she has an intel build and nothing to do with AMD/ATi anymore, I would say that it should be ok to delete them.

To be on the safe side, create a system restore point first, if you havent already.
a b à CPUs
July 26, 2012 11:30:16 PM

Windows has native drivers for most NV and AMD cards as part of it's system. That's why you can run full resolution right after a clean install no matter what brand card you have. The sys32 items are those and I would not delete them.
July 26, 2012 11:37:14 PM

Dogsnake said:
Windows has native drivers for most NV and AMD cards as part of it's system. That's why you can run full resolution right after a clean install no matter what brand card you have. The sys32 items are those and I would not delete them.


Good to know, thanks DogSnake.
a c 92 à CPUs
a b Ý World of Warcraft
July 26, 2012 11:50:19 PM

yep its best to do a clean install although a repair install will do the job also.
doing so will enable windows to setup the hardware level drivers it needs at boot time. currently its loading ati drivers when it needs nvidia. this is because the hardware abstraction layer still thinks theres an ati card pluged in.
there is a way to reset the HAL but its very long winded its often easier to repaire or full install.
either will do and its likely to fix your issues. as for the system comparison. there both pretty even and should swap blows on different games. wow is 1 where the 920 will gain a little due to hyperthreading and extra memory bandwidth but its not a huge amount. 1 way to tell is to turn HT off in bios and see if your system acts like they 870 if so then you have found the culprit and theres nothing you can do about it. my guess is it will have little or no real effect.
July 26, 2012 11:55:05 PM


Ok, ty.
July 27, 2012 5:02:05 PM

HEXiT said:
... wow is 1 where the 920 will gain a little due to hyperthreading and extra memory bandwidth but its not a huge amount. 1 way to tell is to turn HT off in bios and see if your system acts like they 870 if so then you have found the culprit and theres nothing you can do about it.

So here is what I've done so far:

- DL'd Precision and OCScanner from EVGA and ran some tests on the Card. Seems fine.
- DL'd Wizard from CPUID and ran some performance tests, and all components appear to be in order.
- Checked temps, power supply, drivers, etc, and they all seem to be in order.

So, given that I've put her computer through all the paces and it "seems" to be performing as it should - but still isn't wanting to max out WoW settings. In fact it outperforms mine in all the benchmark tests, even though it can't handle Wow's ultra settings like mine can. So, I'm thinking about replacing her 870 with something better for WoW so that she's set for the next couple of years.

This brings me to the next questions:

If I replace her i7-870, what do you recommend as a good processor that won't bust my bank ( although I'll dip into the wallet for quality and performance ) - but is also a significant enough upgrade for her not to worry about max settings on games like WoW, or GW2, etc?

Will I also need to replace the mobo if I upgrade her processor?

Thx for any help again.

Edit / Update:

After poking around, I'm thinking that flipping her to an i7 3820 ( with a new mobo too ) is a good way to go. Love to know if anyone disagrees with that. Cheers!
a b à CPUs
July 27, 2012 6:52:36 PM

lyphe said:
So here is what I've done so far:

- DL'd Precision and OCScanner from EVGA and ran some tests on the Card. Seems fine.
- DL'd Wizard from CPUID and ran some performance tests, and all components appear to be in order.
- Checked temps, power supply, drivers, etc, and they all seem to be in order.

So, given that I've put her computer through all the paces and it "seems" to be performing as it should - but still isn't wanting to max out WoW settings. In fact it outperforms mine in all the benchmark tests, even though it can't handle Wow's ultra settings like mine can. So, I'm thinking about replacing her 870 with something better for WoW so that she's set for the next couple of years.

This brings me to the next questions:

If I replace her i7-870, what do you recommend as a good processor that won't bust my bank ( although I'll dip into the wallet for quality and performance ) - but is also a significant enough upgrade for her not to worry about max settings on games like WoW, or GW2, etc?

Will I also need to replace the mobo if I upgrade her processor?

Thx for any help again.

Edit / Update:

After poking around, I'm thinking that flipping her to an i7 3820 ( with a new mobo too ) is a good way to go. Love to know if anyone disagrees with that. Cheers!


I would back up what you need to (including your WoW install directory) and reformat before throwing money at hardware that you don't need for a game with a 7+ year old graphics engine. By reformatting you are taking the "software" element out of the equation. You may also want to download speedfan, and use the S.M.A.R.T. Hard drive data analysis tool and make sure the hard drive is healthy. Even with all that memory, Windows still needs a page file. You should eliminate all the variables you can before resorting to hasty conclusions.
a c 184 à CPUs
July 27, 2012 7:33:48 PM

You don't need to upgrade anything, the i7-870 and i7-920 are perfectly capable processors for the next 3+ years.
a c 105 à CPUs
a b Ý World of Warcraft
July 27, 2012 7:57:45 PM

amuffin is correct, it's not a CPU problem. the Q8400 breaks 65FPS with the GTX 280

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/CPU/62

try swapping GPUs and see what the game recommends for each of you.
July 27, 2012 9:25:28 PM

its most likely something in windows being a bitch easiest solution and quickest back up everything you need then wipe it install drivers put all the *** back on done and itll work like a beast :)  might have a virus or some shitty program causing it too slow down stupidly :)  good luck :D 
July 28, 2012 8:24:00 PM

Best answer selected by lyphe.
a b à CPUs
August 20, 2012 3:47:30 AM

This topic has been closed by Nikorr
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