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7970 Crossfire X low GPU Usage

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 12, 2012 3:33:54 AM

I have 7970's in crossfire @1200/1600 playing @ 1920x1080 but gpu usage is never a constant 99% as it is with a single card. It will be 90-98% in non intense scenes with high fps, but once the guns start blazing, the usgae lowers to 80-85 along with the fps. It especially dips in gulf of oman where it goes as low as 75-80%. and the fps goes down to a near 55-57. I have an x79 board with a 3820 @4.5. I've looked everywhere I can for a solution and reading through other forum threads it appears xfire users have well over 120fps. I was told to switch to 12.5 beta drivers which I did, but no improvement. I get 99% gou usage in benchmarks like 3dmark11 and heaven. I have a Corsair 850AX, which I believe is enough for this! Has anyone experienced this and is this normal?
May 12, 2012 3:59:02 AM

Clearly, by the your account, you are being CPU bottlenecked. It doesn't seem to matter often, unless you have a 120hz monitor, as 60 FPS is all your monitor can display at a refresh rate of 60hz.

What game, in particular, are you having these dips?

Often times different settings, maps, multi-player instead of single player, will put more load on your CPU, slowing it down. The higher your FPS, the more often you run into CPU bottlenecks. Two 7970's will not be used to their full potential very often at 1080p, unless you are using HD3D or a 120hz monitor.
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May 12, 2012 4:06:28 AM

BF3 is a really frustrating game when it comes to hardware and dips in FPS.
It is also quite common to see the dips when the online server has lag that you play on which may appear to you as a fps lag/dip.
The only thing that you can do is play around with different settings and try to get the best out of your system.
Many people playing BF3 complains in dips of fps, think its just the nature of the game/software.
alt ctrl del during game play and see if your cpu or ram is topping out in task manager , how much ram are you running?
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May 12, 2012 4:22:43 AM

bystander said:
Clearly, by the your account, you are being CPU bottlenecked. It doesn't seem to matter often, unless you have a 120hz monitor, as 60 FPS is all your monitor can display at a refresh rate of 60hz.

What game, in particular, are you having these dips?

Often times different settings, maps, multi-player instead of single player, will put more load on your CPU, slowing it down. The higher your FPS, the more often you run into CPU bottlenecks. Two 7970's will not be used to their full potential very often at 1080p, unless you are using HD3D or a 120hz monitor.


But I get over 120 fps most of the time it with 90-99% gpu usage. It is intense firefights that the usage will go down along with the framerate. I'd hate to go get a new monitor only to be plagues with the same issue.
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May 12, 2012 4:30:48 AM

monsta said:
BF3 is a really frustrating game when it comes to hardware and dips in FPS.
It is also quite common to see the dips when the online server has lag that you play on which may appear to you as a fps lag/dip.
The only thing that you can do is play around with different settings and try to get the best out of your system.
Many people playing BF3 complains in dips of fps, think its just the nature of the game/software.
alt ctrl del during game play and see if your cpu or ram is topping out in task manager , how much ram are you running?


The servers I play on are usually lag free. I am running 8gb or RAM. CPU usage is between 50-70% just a guestimate depending on high the graph has gone but it doesn't max out. I am looking through task manager. That was on Caspian border. The GPU usage was between 80-95%
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May 12, 2012 4:46:57 AM

Fkabbz said:
But I get over 120 fps most of the time it with 90-99% gpu usage. It is intense firefights that the usage will go down along with the framerate. I'd hate to go get a new monitor only to be plagues with the same issue.


I'm not saying you need a new monitor. I'm just saying that you over powered on the GPU side for a 1080p 60hz monitor. If you were to go up in resolution, the likelihood is that you will have the same minimum FPS, with lower average FPS.

Those dips you experience are not because your graphics cards don't have enough power, it's because your CPU doesn't, and that doesn't change with higher resolutions. It also may not be possible to raise your minimum FPS with your CPU and OC already very high. It is just the nature of the game, and perhaps a few settings that stress the CPU.
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May 12, 2012 5:36:39 AM

Yes if the cpu usage is going towards 95 percent usage its almost topping out and therefore becoming a bottleneck.
Can you overclock your cpu higher?
Are you air or liquid cooled?
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May 12, 2012 1:25:11 PM

monsta said:
Yes if the cpu usage is going towards 95 percent usage its almost topping out and therefore becoming a bottleneck.
Can you overclock your cpu higher?
Are you air or liquid cooled?


No I can't boot up any higher than 4.5ghz. But again the cpu never maxes out. I am air cooled on both. Stock fans for 7970's and Noctua d14 se2011 for the cpu
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May 12, 2012 1:27:40 PM

bystander said:
I'm not saying you need a new monitor. I'm just saying that you over powered on the GPU side for a 1080p 60hz monitor. If you were to go up in resolution, the likelihood is that you will have the same minimum FPS, with lower average FPS.

Those dips you experience are not because your graphics cards don't have enough power, it's because your CPU doesn't, and that doesn't change with higher resolutions. It also may not be possible to raise your minimum FPS with your CPU and OC already very high. It is just the nature of the game, and perhaps a few settings that stress the CPU.


I guess then there is nothing I can do about it? What bothers me is that in benchmarks like heaven, usage is @99% through the whole run.
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May 12, 2012 2:23:05 PM

Fkabbz said:
I guess then there is nothing I can do about it? What bothers me is that in benchmarks like heaven, usage is @99% through the whole run.


That's because benchmarks like Heaven use very little CPU. It's nearly impossible to get a CPU bottleneck in that benchmark. It is designed to specifically stress the GPU.
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May 12, 2012 2:40:33 PM

Fkabbz said:
. But again the cpu never maxes out.

well it doesn't really have to... as long as the main thread uses all of the cpu time on a single core it will become cpu limited, even if there are idle cores left on the cpu... Though windows will likely bounce the threads back and forth between different cores, so it's not necessarely immediately obvious if this is indeed the case.
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May 12, 2012 4:28:20 PM

Thanks both of you. At least for answering my questions. I guess there is no solution to this. I will see about getting a 120hz monitor. Both of you are selected as best answers. Thanks again!
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May 12, 2012 5:07:30 PM

Fkabbz said:
Thanks both of you. At least for answering my questions. I guess there is no solution to this. I will see about getting a 120hz monitor. Both of you are selected as best answers. Thanks again!


You may also prefer going with a 3 monitor setup, 3D, or a higher resolution monitor. All of those solutions will put those cards to the test. I'm not saying you need to upgrade. I was just commenting on the fact that you have more GPU power than you need for your current monitor setup.
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May 12, 2012 6:06:05 PM

The only other option I see for you to push your cpu more is to go liquid cooling, not sure how much more you will get and if its really worth the trouble, but its just an idea.
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May 12, 2012 7:37:06 PM

Fkabbz said:
No I can't boot up any higher than 4.5ghz. But again the cpu never maxes out. I am air cooled on both. Stock fans for 7970's and Noctua d14 se2011 for the cpu


it never maxes out because games cant use 8 threads. your maxing out your 4 real cores.
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May 13, 2012 4:08:57 AM

cbrunnem said:
it never maxes out because games cant use 8 threads. your maxing out your 4 real cores.


Read this article:http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i7-3930k-3820-...

this page especially: Core i7-3930K And -3820: Stock Versus Overclocked

The 3820 had issues while overclocked. Go back to stock clock speed and see if that improves your performance.

hope this helps!
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May 13, 2012 7:41:47 PM

mjblakn said:
Read this article:http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i7-3930k-3820-...

this page especially: Core i7-3930K And -3820: Stock Versus Overclocked

The 3820 had issues while overclocked. Go back to stock clock speed and see if that improves your performance.

hope this helps!


i did not know of this issue but the fact remains that if he returns to stock clocks thats just going to put more stress on his cpu.
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May 14, 2012 3:29:40 AM

monsta said:
The only other option I see for you to push your cpu more is to go liquid cooling, not sure how much more you will get and if its really worth the trouble, but its just an idea.


Dude, I don't know what is going on with my system. I tried playing Skyrim today in CFX and I got 40fps in the beginning scene as they are going down to the village. I actually get the same framerate I do without CFX. What on earth is going on!
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May 14, 2012 10:24:47 PM

Fkabbz said:
Dude, I don't know what is going on with my system. I tried playing Skyrim today in CFX and I got 40fps in the beginning scene as they are going down to the village. I actually get the same framerate I do without CFX. What on earth is going on!


what cpu do you have? have you installed the latest updates?
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May 15, 2012 12:03:10 AM

cbrunnem said:
what cpu do you have? have you installed the latest updates?


i7 3820. Yes, updated and everything.
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May 15, 2012 1:37:27 AM

Fkabbz said:
i7 3820. Yes, updated and everything.

oh thats right. i got confused with all the people posting.

nevermind. sorry
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May 17, 2012 3:17:06 PM

With latest 12.4 drivers, xfire 7970's have a bit of an issue with Skyrim right now. I was hitting an average 45 FPS with a 6990 at 6048x1080 in ultra and I am only getting 20 FPS with crossfire 7970's. I am actually getting higher FPS with a single 7970 at 6048x1080. BTW, two 7970's is really overpowered for a single 1920x1080 monitor. Spend a few hundred bucks on a couple more 1080 monitors and setup eyefinity and you will not want to play another game on a single monitor again. BF3 is cool as hell on 3 screens. When I play BF3 my gpu usuage is typically 99% on one card and 85-90% on the other card. I would only be concerned if your FPS was low and you have low gpu usuage. Also, I am running an i7 990X @4.5GHz. One last thing, I would probably dial back the overclock a bit since you really don't need it. At least to the point where you don't have to play with the gpu voltage. 1125MHz and 1575MHz is pretty safe since it does not require any voltage tweeks to run stable.
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February 16, 2013 10:47:59 AM

Has anyone found a fix for this? Ive been looking for a few months on a fix for this. I have low FPS and Low usage on pretty much most games, Only game that has been fine Is Metro 2033 and BF3 Single player. im running Basically same setup but on a 120hz Monitor which is why important to have 120Fps, but cant seem to get it.. Dont have enough room for another monitor let alone moneys to afford 1.
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