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Low FPS with a seemingly adequate setup. Any idea?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 7, 2012 1:02:13 AM

Hey everyone,

This is my first post here on Tom's Hardware. I've used the site as a resource for years to help out with tons of issues. As the topic states, I'm having a real frustrating time right now with my system. I feel like I'm a more advanced user and I have already put hours into trying to find/try every possible solution offered on the internet.

I purchased Battlefield 3 (Premium at that for another 50! eek). I'm in love with the game, but I'm getting ~30fps all the way down to 15-20 in crowded areas. I came from CS1.6 my whole life and in a shooter, fps that low is crippling to me. I'll provide my setup, my configuration, and other things I've tried.

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System Information
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Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (6.1, Build 7601) Service Pack 1 (7601.win7sp1_gdr.120330-1504)
BIOS: Phoenix - AwardBIOS v6.00PG
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz (4 CPUs), ~2.4GHz
Memory: 8190MB RAM
Available OS Memory: 8190MB RAM
Page File: 3432MB used, 12944MB available
DirectX Version: DirectX 11

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Display Devices
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Card name: AMD Radeon HD 6900 Series (6950 unlocked to 6970)
Manufacturer: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
Chip type: AMD Radeon Graphics Processor (0x6719)
Display Memory: 1773 MB
Dedicated Memory: 2030 MB
Shared Memory: 3838 MB

Captures from GPUZ:
http://s13.postimage.org/5r2mqowdj/radeon.gif
http://s14.postimage.org/w4njd371d/radeon2.gif
UPDATE:: http://s16.postimage.org/d6gcpm7z9/radeon3.gif (when in-game)
I forgot to post the gpuz info when in a game. Don't want to confuse anyone; looks like it kicks up like it's supposed to. Sorry about that!



Configuration:
I have the most recent updates/drivers for DirectX, my video card and windows.

Catalyst Control Center:
http://s16.postimage.org/i267c33z9/ccc.png

In Battlefield 3: Everything set to low, Vsync off, native resolution. (I've tried setting resolution way lower, there seems to still be an fps issue.)

I made sure my processor wasn't throttled in power management, my temps seem to be ok.. I have a good amount of ram.. what I thought was an above adequate video card for at least low settings..

I've tried driversweep, reinstalling everything, reinstalling the game, beta drivers.. etc.

Anyone have the slightest idea what the issue can be? Is there a core component in my PC setup that needs to be upgraded badly?

Thanks in advance for your time. I will be responsive to any questions and make sure to get you the info necessary if you're willing to lend a hand. :lol: 

More about : low fps seemingly adequate setup idea

June 7, 2012 1:10:54 AM

I'd say the cpu is a bottle neck for you..Bf3 needs more cpu than that for 64 player MP maps.. Just to test try playing on 32 player only maps if its better you know its the cpu..Can also open console and run render.perfoverlay 1
this will give a graph of how long the cpu and gpu are taking to render each frame..Cpu is yellow gpu is green..Also i find the best driver from amd for bf3 to be 11-4 and install cap 3 even know your not running x-fire it seems to help with cpu spikes..Next thing is to disable windows aero if it's running..I just right click the short cut for bf3 goto compatibility and disable desktop composition..Thats another cause of weirdness in bf3..Hope any or all of this helps..
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June 7, 2012 1:14:59 AM

T-Frost said:
I'd say the cpu is a bottle neck for you..Bf3 needs more cpu than that for 64 player MP maps.. Just to test try playing on 32 player only maps if its better you know its the cpu..Can also open console and run render.perfoverlay 1
this will give a graph of how long the cpu and gpu are taking to render each frame..Cpu is yellow gpu is green..Also i find the best driver from amd for bf3 to be 11-4 and install cap 3 even know your not running x-fire it seems to help with cpu spikes..Next thing is to disable windows aero if it's running..I just right click the short cut for bf3 goto compatibility and disable desktop composition..Thats another cause of weirdness in bf3..Hope any or all of this helps..



Thank you for the quick response. I'll give the non-hardware based stuff a try right now. Is getting a new processor as easy as removing the old one, applying thermal paste, and popping it in?
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June 7, 2012 1:24:31 AM

Yeah usuaslly as long as your Mother board bios is up to date that's all you really need to do..
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June 7, 2012 1:26:32 AM

If you can overclock the Q6600 moderately instead of replacing it, that would probably be the cheaper solution. With a decent overclock, it is a very good gaming processor for 1080p.
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June 7, 2012 1:39:01 AM

Okay; almost have the recommended drivers installed; aero disabled. Going to try OC on my mobo as well. I'll come back with results. Thanks guys. Looking into a new GPU as well.
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June 7, 2012 1:40:08 AM

T-Frost said:
Yeah usuaslly as long as your Mother board bios is up to date that's all you really need to do..

Did you notice his mobo is S775? There's really not much higher to go there, certainly not while being worth the money.
An upgrade will involve CPU, mobo, RAM (unless it's already DDR3), and a new Windows license. This is probably at least a $400 proposition, more likely closer to $500.
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June 7, 2012 1:40:38 AM

there one issue that did pop up with cpu-z that you posted. the pci bus speed is not reading right. it showing 1.1 with a question mark. I would power down and clean the card contacts and check that the pins in the video card slot are fine. i would check that you mb chipset is pci 2.0. if not it may bottleneck the gpu. i would also download the newest drivers from intel or the mb chipset. look to see if the mb had any bios updates.
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June 7, 2012 1:45:48 AM

Blazorthon's idea is your best bet - a Phenom quad core runs BF3 with so much difference from 2.4 to when it's at 2.7 - try to get that Q6600 to 2.8 and you should actually notice a measurable difference. Make sure you've got a custom cooler though.
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June 7, 2012 1:52:15 AM

A new gpu really won't help much when the cpu is the limiting factor ..First try try overclocking ..Then a cpu and MB upgrade would be next i belive b4 a better gpu..
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June 7, 2012 2:55:00 AM

The OC is seemingly stable after an hour. I'm at 3.0ghz and ran the two tests they offered for stability. Running with CAP3 with the recommended drivers, going to head in and check how the game runs. Thanks for all the help guys. Going from 2.4 to 3.0 is huge. My cooling is pretty sweet so hopefully I remain without issue lol
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June 7, 2012 3:00:55 AM

Pretty unbelievable. about 70fps in close quarter areas.. 40-50 in the huge areas. Thank you everyone.
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!