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Whoch setup will yield better game performance?

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February 14, 2012 6:21:29 PM

I have a build with an am3+ socket that has an Athlon II x4 640, with an XFX HD 5770. I only have enough money to either get a Geforce 560 Ti and keep the Athlon, or Crossfire my 5770 and upgrade to an FX-4100. It also has a 630 watt PSU with a single 12V@50A, sufficient for the crossfire.

Which will yield better performance?

I have 8gb RAM, and game at 1440x900.
a b U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 7:25:47 PM

The 560TI is more powerful than the 5770 (almost double). However at your resolution - I don't think a crossfire solution would be that great.

In your shoes I would go with the 560TI, less hassle than setting up a CFX. IMO single card solutions are better than dual card setups - less problems, less energy use.
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a c 124 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 7:39:02 PM

Well, I do think a single card upgrade would be better than crossfire, generally. However, the Athlon 640 is a pretty out dated CPU these days. To be honest, I'd like to suggest a Phenom II X4 955 but those appear to be out of stock. In gaming, the PII is better than an FX CPU. At least for now. The PII 970 is only $20 more than an FX4100 and features 4 real cores instead of 2 core pairs... basically, it's better.

A second 5770 would definitely let you max out games at your resolution, as would a 560 Ti. But with a CPU upgrade as well, you'll see all around more benefits.

Keep in mind that a pair of 5770s will perform roughly as well as a 6870 or GTX 560 (non Ti).
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a c 639 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 7:40:04 PM

Chainzsaw said:
The 560TI is more powerful than the 5770 (almost double). However at your resolution - I don't think a crossfire solution would be that great.

In your shoes I would go with the 560TI, less hassle than setting up a CFX. IMO single card solutions are better than dual card setups - less problems, less energy use.

I agree, particularly when you are talking about lower end Crossfire. Tom's Hardware conducted a study showing that microstuttering is definitely an issue with lower end Crossfire. Add in the recent failure of Crossfire driver support for new games and the fact that the AMD 5000 series is a failure at tesselation performance... well the GTX 560 Ti is definitely the way to go.
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/01/17/amd_crossfire...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...
http://www.behardware.com/articles/838-7/crysis-2-dx11-...
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a c 124 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 7:43:50 PM

Or maybe sell the 5770 for $50, buy a PII X4 (or the FX 4100 if you must) and buy a 6850, 560, or 6870 for a pretty closely comparable price. IMO a 560 Ti is a bit over kill for that resolution. Well, ok, nothing is overkill (moar FPS!!!) but lesser cards will play very, very nicely at that setting.
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February 14, 2012 7:49:14 PM

Ether way you go about it will be a good upgrade from what you currently are running so price and ease are what it would come down to.
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February 14, 2012 7:51:24 PM

Chainzsaw said:
The 560TI is more powerful than the 5770 (almost double). However at your resolution - I don't think a crossfire solution would be that great.

In your shoes I would go with the 560TI, less hassle than setting up a CFX. IMO single card solutions are better than dual card setups - less problems, less energy use.

some how I think thay CF 5770 and 560ti are pretty close in performance so CF 5770 would work great at any res cause it is like 560ti/570 performance which would be good at any res up to 1920x1200 IMHO!
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a b U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 7:54:18 PM

Any upgrade that involves upgrading with an AMD cpu is a bad upgrade. DONT do it.
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February 14, 2012 8:01:14 PM

cbrunnem said:
Any upgrade that involves upgrading with an AMD cpu is a bad upgrade. DONT do it.

I run a BD FX - 8120 and there is NO discernible difference between it and my i5 2500k OCed rig. I will try out fx-4100 in my sons rig just based on how much the performance blew me away with Bull Dozer FX - 8120 OCed
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a b U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 8:16:10 PM

fistoffoo said:
I run a BD FX - 8120 and there is discernible difference between it and my i5 200k OCed rig. I will try out fx-4100 in my sons rig just based on how much the performance blew me away with Bull Dozer FX - 8120 OCed


are you saying that there is a difference? discernible can mean a few things.
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February 14, 2012 8:22:12 PM

cbrunnem said:
are you saying that there is a difference? discernible can mean a few things.

Sorry about that what I mean is there is no ( Discernible - able to be discerned; perceptible ) difference to me between my i5 2500K and my Bull Dozer fx - 8150
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a b U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 8:42:25 PM

fistoffoo said:
Sorry about that what I mean is there is no ( Discernible - able to be discerned; perceptible ) difference to me between my i5 2500K and my Bull Dozer fx - 8150


in what games? are you playing skyrim and BF3, two games were the game needs and intel cpu or needs an overclock (BF3 Mp)?

how overclocked is your fx and is your i5 stock?

http://www.techspot.com/review/467-skyrim-performance/p...

according to that benchmark it looks like skyrim really benefits from more REAL cores not hyperthreaded cores...
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a c 124 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 9:08:49 PM

cbrunnem said:


according to that benchmark it looks like skyrim really benefits from more REAL cores not hyperthreaded cores...


No... no it does not.

i5 750 and i7 920 are pretty much the same, but the 920 has HT. It performs 3fps faster. Meanwhile an i3 2120 is a HT dual core and performs 1fps better than the true quad i5 750. The Phenom X4 980 is below any of those, and higher than a FX 6120 ("6" core) and 8150 ("8" core). The PII X2 560 is even faster than the FX 4100 ("quad" core).

Anyway, the game benefits from a faster architecture and more speed. Physical cores vs HT cores doesn't make a whole lot of difference.
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February 14, 2012 9:13:38 PM

cbrunnem said:
in what games? are you playing skyrim and BF3, two games were the game needs and intel cpu or needs an overclock (BF3 Mp)?

how overclocked is your fx and is your i5 stock?

http://www.techspot.com/review/467-skyrim-performance/p...

according to that benchmark it looks like skyrim really benefits from more REAL cores not hyperthreaded cores...

Ya both games play smooth now that I upgraded to 7970. Both CPU are now run at stock they have to much power already so why try and push it.
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a c 92 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 9:13:56 PM

cbrunnem said:
in what games? are you playing skyrim and BF3, two games were the game needs and intel cpu or needs an overclock (BF3 Mp)?

how overclocked is your fx and is your i5 stock?

http://www.techspot.com/review/467-skyrim-performance/p...

according to that benchmark it looks like skyrim really benefits from more REAL cores not hyperthreaded cores...

bf3 runs great on bulldozer, one of the only games where it runs well on.

Skyrim with patch 1.4 or w/e runs much better. Skyrim doesn't benefit from cores at all 2,3,4 cores all run the same, stop pulling out bs.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 9:19:01 PM

I agree with the CPU upgrade. At that resolution, the 5770 isn't all that outdated, and if you upgrade to a 560ti, your current CPU will likely hold back performance.
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a c 92 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 9:23:30 PM

I'd suggest a phenom + crossfire for the best performance.
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February 14, 2012 9:26:55 PM

So it seems pretty even either way. I think I'll rock my older cpu just a little longer, because the 560 Ti will
- run cooler, no microstutter, always support for games.
- use CUDA (I am a 3d artist as well, and realtime rendering in Blender only supports CUDA as of now, no openCL.)
- leave room for SLI in the future.
Besides, who doesn't want overkill when it means more fps?(;
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a c 217 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 9:29:31 PM

nano134 said:
So it seems pretty even either way. I think I'll rock my older cpu just a little longer, because the 560 Ti will
- run cooler, no microstutter, always support for games.
- use CUDA (I am a 3d artist as well, and realtime rendering in Blender only supports CUDA as of now, no openCL.)
- leave room for SLI in the future.
Besides, who doesn't want overkill when it means more fps?(;


Post results. I'm curious about what you'll experience. There's a decent chance you won't see a lot of FPS increase if your CPU is what is bottlenecking performance.
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February 14, 2012 9:30:03 PM

But you guys are really giving me a hard choice here, because I really need a new CPU too. ):
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February 14, 2012 9:33:29 PM

bystander said:
Post results. I'm curious about what you'll experience. There's a decent chance you won't see a lot of FPS increase if your CPU is what is bottlenecking performance.

In the research I have compiled there seems to be little difference in most games concerning CPU perhaps GPU would be far more critical in far more games from the research as I have side I have compiled. http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-7970-cpu-scalin...
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February 14, 2012 9:35:39 PM

nano134 said:
But you guys are really giving me a hard choice here, because I really need a new CPU too. ):

Since you have indicated that gaming is you main forte may I suggest to you how critical the GPU is for gaming.
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a c 92 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 9:39:00 PM

gpu > cpu upgrade
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February 14, 2012 9:41:41 PM

So if i order the Phenom II x4 960T Black Edition from Amazon, as well as the 5770, it's still in my price range. That can usually be unlocked to 5 or 6 cores right? If I do that with CF, would it give me better performance than the 560Ti?
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a b U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 9:41:59 PM

wolfram23 said:
No... no it does not.

i5 750 and i7 920 are pretty much the same, but the 920 has HT. It performs 3fps faster. Meanwhile an i3 2120 is a HT dual core and performs 1fps better than the true quad i5 750. The Phenom X4 980 is below any of those, and higher than a FX 6120 ("6" core) and 8150 ("8" core). The PII X2 560 is even faster than the FX 4100 ("quad" core).

Anyway, the game benefits from a faster architecture and more speed. Physical cores vs HT cores doesn't make a whole lot of difference.


i7 3960 84 fps 6 cores
i7 2600k 70 fps 4 cores
i5 2500k 67 fps 4 cores
i3 2120 57 fps 2 cores


esrever said:
bf3 runs great on bulldozer, one of the only games where it runs well on.

Skyrim with patch 1.4 or w/e runs much better. Skyrim doesn't benefit from cores at all 2,3,4 cores all run the same, stop pulling out bs.


i7 3960 84 fps 6 cores
i7 2600k 70 fps 4 cores
i5 2500k 67 fps 4 cores
i3 2120 57 fps 2 cores


it looks like this is only the case with intel cpu's though verified by
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/skyrim-performance-...
http://www.techspot.com/review/467-skyrim-performance/p...

i was never and neither should you compare an old gen i5 to a new gen i3. of course they are close in performance the new sandy bridge architecture is a lot faster.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
February 14, 2012 10:51:31 PM

fistoffoo said:
In the research I have compiled there seems to be little difference in most games concerning CPU perhaps GPU would be far more critical in far more games from the research as I have side I have compiled. http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-7970-cpu-scalin...


It certainly depends on the games, but those benchmarks do show that the CPU he has is good enough, although I'd like to see things like Skyrim and CPU sensitive games.
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February 15, 2012 3:13:37 AM

bystander said:
It certainly depends on the games, but those benchmarks do show that the CPU he has is good enough, although I'd like to see things like Skyrim and CPU sensitive games.


Actually even on my current setup with the slightly overclocked 5770 (940/1400) and my Athlon II x4 OCed at 3.45GHz, I have my Skyrim.ini tweaked to the max, higher-res shadows, high-res textures (I think it's applied, I downloaded and installed it, but don't know for sure) and more ugrids, 4xAA, 16xAF, 1440x900; I only notice stutters in Solitude when looking towards one direction. Other than that it's pretty smooth, not perfect, but playable.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
February 15, 2012 3:47:59 AM

nano134 said:
Actually even on my current setup with the slightly overclocked 5770 (940/1400) and my Athlon II x4 OCed at 3.45GHz, I have my Skyrim.ini tweaked to the max, higher-res shadows, high-res textures (I think it's applied, I downloaded and installed it, but don't know for sure) and more ugrids, 4xAA, 16xAF, 1440x900; I only notice stutters in Solitude when looking towards one direction. Other than that it's pretty smooth, not perfect, but playable.


Depending on the type of stuttering, that may not improve with a GPU increase. Most stuttering problems, not to be confused with low FPS, are a result of CPU/memory issues. Then again, if you just mean things get low on FPS, then the GPU will make the big difference.
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February 15, 2012 4:32:33 AM

bystander said:
Depending on the type of stuttering, that may not improve with a GPU increase. Most stuttering problems, not to be confused with low FPS, are a result of CPU/memory issues. Then again, if you just mean things get low on FPS, then the GPU will make the big difference.


By studders I mean a consistently lowered FPS when looking in a certain direction. I'm guessing it's a little of both. GPU and CPU. Which still makes me wonder if I should crossfire 5770 and get a phenom II x4 960T or just a 560 Ti.
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a b U Graphics card
February 15, 2012 11:49:38 AM

Its all cpu causing your shudders. If you were to upgrade to a new i5 you would see a decent improvement. that's the point of what we are saying.
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a b U Graphics card
February 15, 2012 12:35:45 PM

Getting an AM3+ board would be a waste of money because any Phenom II X4 can game just as well or better. Drop one of those in your rig and get an HD 6870 or GTX 560Ti. Powerful single cards ALWAYS trump a midrange Xfire setup. Plus, no microstuttering or other multi-card hassles.
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a b U Graphics card
February 15, 2012 12:37:55 PM

cbrunnem said:
Its all cpu causing your shudders.

I've got the same problem - takes a more powerful CPU. A fast PII X4 should alleviate the problem as well as an i3 or low-end i5.
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a b U Graphics card
February 15, 2012 12:44:40 PM

I high clock x4 would be better but a new i5 would be better yet.
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February 15, 2012 12:55:03 PM

Got the 560 ti. Already had the am3+. Ill live with the athlon a little longer.
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a c 124 U Graphics card
February 15, 2012 1:54:44 PM

nano134 said:
By studders I mean a consistently lowered FPS when looking in a certain direction. I'm guessing it's a little of both. GPU and CPU. Which still makes me wonder if I should crossfire 5770 and get a phenom II x4 960T or just a 560 Ti.


Skyrim ini tweaks can cause havok. I was playing with ugrids at 11, then 7, and now I'm back down to 5 because it offers the smoothest performance. I don't know what the problem is, my CPU and GPUs barely use over 50% of their power yet the game has issues at ugrids 7. So instead I play it at 5, and then I put shadows back to default ultra resolution (2048) because all my texture mods use up so much VRAM I end up getting slow downs with higher res shadows. But I don't mind because even at 4096 the shadows look like crap lol.

FYI I'm using an i5 750 @ 4ghz and a pair of 5850s OCed 25%.

The game looks fantastic, though
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February 15, 2012 2:39:55 PM

Yeah if i out the grids back down to 5 i'd probably get 30-50fps consistantly. Will post on friday when I gt my 560 Ti the amount of impovement.
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a c 124 U Graphics card
February 15, 2012 3:09:53 PM

30-50 consistantly? Yeah... honestly, well of course this is subjective, but I really really think a smooth experience is much better than having buildings in the far distance add a few polygons. I was always running 60fps average, but with ugrids at 7 there was just weird slow downs and even near-pauses in framerate that got frustrating.

But then again we all have different tolerances for this kind of thing.
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February 15, 2012 4:38:33 PM

Yeah I've always been on a budget, so I'm used t lower framerates. You dont consider 30-50 playable?
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a c 217 U Graphics card
February 15, 2012 4:46:46 PM

nano134 said:
Yeah I've always been on a budget, so I'm used t lower framerates. You dont consider 30-50 playable?


I personally don't consider 30-40 FPS playable, but I still notice improvements up to 75 FPS or higher. Of course I didn't notice those improvements until I had a 120hz monitor. The main issue I have with FPS between 30-40 is that I get motion sickness issues within a few minutes of playing. I used to power through it and after a few days of queeziness and lots of breaks, I'd be able to play for maybe an hour at a time. After 40 FPS, things are better, but I still suffer from motion sickness until I reach 75+ FPS, which also requires a monitor that can deliver at least 75hz.

For myself, I always try to be over 50 FPS at least, and will often turn down settings if I can get up to 75 FPS.
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February 15, 2012 4:54:31 PM

Dang I actually consider anthing higher than 30 perfectly fine, as long as it's consistent. I couldn't tell if it was higher than 50ish.
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a c 92 U Graphics card
February 15, 2012 4:56:09 PM

I have no problem with 30 constant fps from playing consoles so much but 60 fps does look smoother.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
February 15, 2012 5:06:15 PM

Do either of you get headaches, sore eyes or motion sickness when playing games at 30 FPS? Mainly I'm referring to 1st person or over the shoulder games with a mouse. It's less of an issue with a game controller as it keeps everything more level and isometric games don't give issues either.

About half of the population experiences some form of simulator sickness from playing these types of games as learned in a study by the Air Force with their flight simulators.
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February 15, 2012 5:09:38 PM

Nope, never felt motion sickness from any type of game. I usually only play for like an hour at a time though.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
February 15, 2012 5:15:28 PM

Then you probably don't have this issue. Like I said, studies have shown half the population with this issue. You must be part of the other half.

That said, now that I've gotten used to having over 75 FPS, lower than that looks choppy to me these days. It's amazing how our mind registers change, as the same games that feel choppy now at 50 FPS, did not used to feel choppy.
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a c 92 U Graphics card
February 15, 2012 5:26:42 PM

I don't have a problem unless someone else is playing and controlling the camera. I guess if I know which way I will turn, my brain is fine but when I don't I get some pretty bad headaches.
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February 15, 2012 5:30:20 PM

So if i'm getting, say, 30-50 fps (20-40ish in a couple cities) in skyrim currently... What do you think it'll be at with the 560 Ti?
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a c 217 U Graphics card
February 15, 2012 5:31:18 PM

nano134 said:
So if i'm getting, say, 30-50 fps (20-40ish in a couple cities) in skyrim currently... What do you think it'll be at with the 560 Ti?


I'd expect 30-70+.

In most games you'll see more improvements, but Skyrim is known to be bottlenecked by your CPU for the most part. The reason wolfram23 has mentioned his CPU won't show more than 50% usage, is because it only uses 2 cores but likes fast cores.
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a c 124 U Graphics card
February 15, 2012 6:03:58 PM

The 560 Ti should be enough to handle the game at Ultra with some ini tweaks at a pretty steady 60fps, but honestly the CPU and using a higher ugridstoload is a bigger issue than the GPU. This is specific to Skyrim, though, many games will see very nice benefits with just a GPU upgrade.
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