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XFX AMD HD 6870 Frame Rate Drops in Battlefield 3

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June 3, 2012 9:37:33 PM

I'm currently having issues with my graphics card causing frame rate drops while playing multiplayer in Battlefield 3. The same problem also happened when Battlefield Bad Company 2 came out. The funny part about this problem is that it only ever happens during the summer (that I can recall) which leads me to believe it's a heat-related problem.

My current machine runs a reference model XFX HD 6870 with all settings stock. I have two monitors connected to the graphics card but I only game on one monitor. I run the game at 1920x1080 on auto settings which is essentially equivalent to high settings in the game. Altering the settings don't seem to yield a solution.

I've watched the GPU temperature and with my dual monitors the idle temperature tends to be around 65-67C (with a room temperature between 25-28C, I know it's a hot room). Under load temperatures approach 90C without altering the fan speed. If I bump the fan to about 60% the temperature stays around 85C. To me, this seems hot. With dual monitors it is a given that the temperature will increase by roughly 10C but the idle and load temperatures seem too high.

Also, while playing I've monitored GPU usage using MSI Afterburner and the frame rate drops correlate to moments when the GPU usage drops. I tend to go from 50 FPS down to 25-30 FPS.

If anyone knows what the cause and a solution might be, that'd be great. I am really frustrated with this problem and I'd like to resolve it. If more information is needed to diagnose the problem, please let me know.

My current rig:
Motherboard: ASUS M4A77T/USB3
CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1090T (stock speeds)
GPU: AMD HD 6870 (stock)
RAM: DDR3-1600 8GB
HDD: Hitachi 1TB 7200RPM
a c 143 U Graphics card
June 4, 2012 12:42:32 AM

Wlecome.
First of all you gotta know that in multiplayer and online games with huge maps it depends more on your CPU, specially in first person shooters and RPG games. A member here switched from the AMD 965 BE to i5 2500K to eliminate this gap. So the cause of your Frame Drops is the CPU, you could also try to just play offline and see if you're experiencing the same.

Regarding temps, you should IDLE around 55C with 2 monitors hooked, do you have a reference designed HD 6870? If so this could be reasonable to have such temps.
June 4, 2012 1:15:03 AM

ilysaml said:
Wlecome.
First of all you gotta know that in multiplayer and online games with huge maps it depends more on your CPU, specially in first person shooters and RPG games. A member here switched from the AMD 965 BE to i5 2500K to eliminate this gap. So the cause of your Frame Drops is the CPU, you could also try to just play offline and see if you're experiencing the same.

Regarding temps, you should IDLE around 55C with 2 monitors hooked, do you have a reference designed HD 6870? If so this could be reasonable to have such temps.


Yes, I do have reference model of the card. As for the multiplayer, it shouldn't be a CPU bottleneck. What would be the best way to try to test if it's a bottleneck?
Related resources
a b U Graphics card
June 4, 2012 1:19:28 AM

Spartan-S63 said:
Yes, I do have reference model of the card. As for the multiplayer, it shouldn't be a CPU bottleneck. What would be the best way to try to test if it's a bottleneck?


If you have an aftermarket cooler, and if your current temperatures aren't exceeding 50C at max load, you can try overclocking your CPU.

If you get more FPS as a result, voila you've found your bottleneck. However, if your FPS don't budge, then it's certainly not the issue.
a b U Graphics card
June 4, 2012 1:25:22 AM

Quote:
85% sure it is the 6870 running out of puff.

What settings you trying to run on?


I think he said it auto set to the 'High' preset.
a b U Graphics card
June 4, 2012 1:30:31 AM

Quote:
Yes thanks!
Missed that small part :/ 


Haha no problem, happens sometimes :) 
June 4, 2012 1:37:55 AM

The other thing to mention too is that when I had the same issue with Bad Company 2 last summer, lowering the settings would still yield the same frame rate drop, so I suppose it could be a CPU bottleneck. I guess I'll just have to overclock the CPU and find out. It does have an aftermarket cooler so OC'ing is feasible.
a b U Graphics card
June 4, 2012 1:40:49 AM

Spartan-S63 said:
The other thing to mention too is that when I had the same issue with Bad Company 2 last summer, lowering the settings would still yield the same frame rate drop, so I suppose it could be a CPU bottleneck. I guess I'll just have to overclock the CPU and find out. It does have an aftermarket cooler so OC'ing is feasible.


It could be a CPU bottleneck, but I think it's your GPU throttling due to it's temperatures...Dusting out the fan/heatsink on the GPU may help as well.
June 4, 2012 1:44:29 AM

mocchan said:
It could be a CPU bottleneck, but I think it's your GPU throttling due to it's temperatures...Dusting out the fan/heatsink on the GPU may help as well.


I usually dust it all out about once every month.
a b U Graphics card
June 4, 2012 1:53:26 AM

if you want to eliminate overheating as a cause popping off the side panel and sticking a floor fan up against it usual works for a test. although you said the gpu fan wasn't spooling up.

I'd just set it to 100% and run furmark and watch for throttling with gpuz. Of course you could enable the log for gpuz and do the same thing in game. also could check your CPU load in game.
a c 143 U Graphics card
June 4, 2012 2:10:24 AM

@Spartan
BF3 is GPU intensive game, even if you OC the CPU a little bit higher it won't get you any boost. The main problem is the per core performance of the AMDs in multiplayer and online games.

Try to play the BF3 singleplayer @ high settings, see if your FPS have this significant drop or not.
June 4, 2012 10:24:35 PM

ilysaml said:
@Spartan
BF3 is GPU intensive game, even if you OC the CPU a little bit higher it won't get you any boost. The main problem is the per core performance of the AMDs in multiplayer and online games.

Try to play the BF3 singleplayer @ high settings, see if your FPS have this significant drop or not.


I ran GPU-Z, Core Temp, and MSI Afterburner today while playing and I experience some frame rate drops. Here's a screenshot of the metrics I saw. None of it looks like a CPU bottleneck to me but I could be mistaken.



Edit: I didn't check the numbers until now but something caused my CPU to reduce the multiplier by half in that moment. That shouldn't have caused a huge issue but again, I could be wrong.
a c 143 U Graphics card
June 4, 2012 10:56:11 PM

It's AMD Cool n Quiet feature that reduces CPU clock and voltages when idle, tell me is those shots while you were playing?
I guess it's not cause of the CPU clocks and the GPU is just 62%.

Again, run BF3 singleplayer @ high settings and report your FPS.
June 4, 2012 11:27:52 PM

ilysaml said:
It's AMD Cool n Quiet feature that reduces CPU clock and voltages when idle, tell me is those shots while you were playing?
I guess it's not cause of the CPU clocks and the GPU is just 62%.

Again, run BF3 singleplayer @ high settings and report your FPS.


Yeah, it's me playing multiplayer. When the CPU doesn't drop the GPU usage is at 99% so the clock drop causes the frame rate drop but the only time a bottleneck appears to be introduced is when the CPU frequency drops. I played some more and noticed that my FPS drops correlated with the CPU frequency drops as well. The reason I'm suspecting it isn't a bottleneck is because the frame rate is essentially cut in half. I can understand it being a bottleneck when the CPU underclocks but when it's at the 3.2Ghz it shouldn't be an issue. So I'll probably see about disabling that feature or searching for an application that's falsely making it think it's idle so that issue doesn't happen.
a c 143 U Graphics card
June 4, 2012 11:30:26 PM

You disable Cool n Quiet throw your BIOS setup its not a big deal and it's not even a problem, once you start a game your CPU clock pop up to 3.3 GHz. No Worries!!

Still my main questions stand, what's your FPS during singleplayer?
June 4, 2012 11:52:59 PM

ilysaml said:
You disable Cool n Quiet throw your BIOS setup its not a big deal and it's not even a problem, once you start a game your CPU clock pop up to 3.3 GHz. No Worries!!

Still my main questions stand, what's your FPS during singleplayer?


So on same settings my FPS in singleplayer usually ranges from the upper 40's to the mid 50's which is about what I get in multiplayer. The difference is that the downclocking of the CPU seems to cut the frame rate in half in multiplayer only because of the variables in play with how BF3 uses the CPU.

I think the issue could be resolved by disabling Cool 'n Quiet so I will try that and report back if the same issue happens.
a c 143 U Graphics card
June 4, 2012 11:59:01 PM

Ok According to the benches of BF3 you should get 50 FPS average @ 1080P high settings, if you get this in singleplayer everything is working fine.

If you don't get that in MP, the CPU is the issue, not because of it's downclocked but because of the per core performance of the AMD CPU.

Anyway give it a try, i believe that Cool n Quiet works properly.
June 5, 2012 12:12:52 AM

ilysaml said:
Ok According to the benches of BF3 you should get 50 FPS average @ 1080P high settings, if you get this in singleplayer everything is working fine.

If you don't get that in MP, the CPU is the issue, not because of it's downclocked but because of the per core performance of the AMD CPU.

Anyway give it a try, i believe that Cool n Quiet works properly.


I get that in both single and multiplayer, the catch is that I get drops in multiplayer that cut the frame rate in half but those drops last about twenty to thirty seconds in length and then the FPS recovers back to the 50 FPS average. That's the reason why I think the drop in CPU frequency caused by Cool 'n Quiet also correlates to the FPS drops I see in-game.
a c 143 U Graphics card
June 5, 2012 12:23:58 AM

Ok just disable CnQ and see how it goes, but I'm pretty sure that it's not the issue.
It's related to CPU scaling in multiplayer games or it might be just bugs with AMD drivers or the game but I doubt that too.
June 5, 2012 2:33:06 AM

ilysaml said:
Ok just disable CnQ and see how it goes, but I'm pretty sure that it's not the issue.
It's related to CPU scaling in multiplayer games or it might be just bugs with AMD drivers or the game but I doubt that too.


Just tested it and it still didn't fix the issue but I did notice the CPU reduced the multiplier anyway, only by half but the frame rate drops still coincided with the points in time when the CPU multiplier reduced itself by half (16x to 8x) which reduced the clock speed by half. Something's causing it to reduce its frequency and that's what I think the cause of the drops are. The bottleneck wouldn't happen if the CPU wouldn't down-clock. So yes, there's a bottleneck but it's not a natural bottleneck based on the nature of the CPU it's a problem generated by the reduction in clock speed. Temperatures with the CPU check out fine so I'm not sure what the issue is.
a c 143 U Graphics card
June 24, 2012 11:35:25 AM

@Spartan-S63
Are you following up with thread?
June 24, 2012 4:03:48 PM

ilysaml said:
@Spartan-S63
Are you following up with thread?


No, I haven't really because I'm still unsure of the exact nature of the problem. It doesn't look like bottlenecking because load is never 100% when the drops happen (and the drops only happen for a small chunk of time, frame rate returns normal and a few minutes later, frames drop again).

What I am planning to do is overhaul the current build and put in an LGA1155 Mobo and get an i5-3570k CPU. I'm just not overly happy with AMD and I'm ready to get back to Intel.

I can do more diagnostic testing if you want to help further diagnose the problem, but I'm almost positive it's not a result of CPU bottlenecking (just based on the fact that I play at 50-55 FPS and then it drops for ten to thirty seconds to 20-30 FPS and goes back up to 50-55).
a c 143 U Graphics card
June 24, 2012 4:44:38 PM

I play right now Max Payne 3 @ Ultra 1080P with my HD 6950, I get around 37 FPS all the time, but also sometimes in some locations I drop to 20-25 but once the Action scene is finished, i jump up back to 37-40 FPS.

Does this happen with you? If it does, this means that the GPU is the bottleneck, in graphics complicated scenes you need a massive GPU power.

What other games do you play except BF3? Try to play another game and see if you have such an issue, also you didn't satate if you get this hit during singleplayer.
June 24, 2012 6:33:44 PM

ilysaml said:
I play right now Max Payne 3 @ Ultra 1080P with my HD 6950, I get around 37 FPS all the time, but also sometimes in some locations I drop to 20-25 but once the Action scene is finished, i jump up back to 37-40 FPS.

Does this happen with you? If it does, this means that the GPU is the bottleneck, in graphics complicated scenes you need a massive GPU power.

What other games do you play except BF3? Try to play another game and see if you have such an issue, also you didn't satate if you get this hit during singleplayer.


No, the FPS drops happen randomly. Nothing can be going on in the given scene and it'll drop anyway. As for other games, it happens in Battlefield Bad Company 2 but no other games. Those are the most multi player intensive games I play. I don't play many other multi player shooters.

But I didn't get any FPS drops during single player.
a c 143 U Graphics card
June 24, 2012 10:49:40 PM

Ok, now we know it's the CPU.
June 25, 2012 11:21:45 PM

ilysaml said:
Ok According to the benches of BF3 you should get 50 FPS average @ 1080P high settings, if you get this in singleplayer everything is working fine.

If you don't get that in MP, the CPU is the issue, not because of it's downclocked but because of the per core performance of the AMD CPU.

Anyway give it a try, i believe that Cool n Quiet works properly.


According to what benches? and where are these...Because lets say outside on Karkhand on high settings with 1 6870 non overclocked your looking at 35-40 fps now inside say metro underground on high your looking at 50-70 fps there...Hell my 6870's in cf get around 120 down there.
June 25, 2012 11:28:37 PM

I know from expirience of owning a 1090t,Benchmarking a 2500k and now currently owning a Fx 6100 that there isnt any bottlenecks considering im on an fx 6100 with dual 6870's 2gb in crossfire and there is 0 bottleneck...Hell my friend has 2 6870's higher overclocked than mine and he has a 1090t...But inside all this...We have overclocked cpu's...Grab yourself a decent cooler and overclock it to 3.7 ghz or higher and your good to go.
June 25, 2012 11:39:13 PM

EchoOne said:
I know from expirience of owning a 1090t,Benchmarking a 2500k and now currently owning a Fx 6100 that there isnt any bottlenecks considering im on an fx 6100 with dual 6870's 2gb in crossfire and there is 0 bottleneck...Hell my friend has 2 6870's higher overclocked than mine and he has a 1090t...But inside all this...We have overclocked cpu's...Grab yourself a decent cooler and overclock it to 3.7 ghz or higher and your good to go.


Even with stock 3.2Ghz 1090t's I haven't heard of bottlenecking like what was proposed as the problem. And, I haven't heard of FPS drops based around total stock hardware.

I do remember somewhere that I read that the mobo/video card combination could be causing the problem too. But again, I don't know.
June 26, 2012 3:51:04 AM

Spartan-S63 said:
Even with stock 3.2Ghz 1090t's I haven't heard of bottlenecking like what was proposed as the problem. And, I haven't heard of FPS drops based around total stock hardware.

I do remember somewhere that I read that the mobo/video card combination could be causing the problem too. But again, I don't know.

That is true,Your motherboard could not like your setup...Cause yeah a 6 core should not bottle neck anything even at stock clocks.
June 26, 2012 3:58:34 AM

EchoOne said:
That is true,Your motherboard could not like your setup...Cause yeah a 6 core should not bottle neck anything even at stock clocks.


Yeah, unfortunately (to my knowledge) it's the older 770 chipset and it's a pretty bad starter model. The M4A77T/USB3 lacked a lot of features of the better 880 chipset (if I know my AMD chipsets well enough...) and other higher end boards. I didn't have SATA 6Gb/s connections on my board. The only "next-gen" features were USB3.
a c 143 U Graphics card
June 26, 2012 6:48:37 AM

EchoOne said:
According to what benches? and where are these...Because lets say outside on Karkhand on high settings with 1 6870 non overclocked your looking at 35-40 fps now inside say metro underground on high your looking at 50-70 fps there...Hell my 6870's in cf get around 120 down there.

According to these, and all your posts above are wrong

Review these threads carefully
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/340376-33-6870-crossf...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/338790-33-poor-6870-c...
a c 143 U Graphics card
June 26, 2012 6:52:32 AM

That's what I'm telling him that causes that sudden drop of FPS.
June 26, 2012 5:01:22 PM

Yeah, I think I'm gonna plan on jumping back over to Intel CPUs. Looking at Ivy Bridge and Z77 as a strong replacement for the 1090T.
!