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X2 6970 crossfire minimal fps boost and both cards working

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October 28, 2012 10:16:33 PM

Hello everyone, I thank everyone for taking the time and effort to read and try to help solve my problem.
My problem is that games receive little or no fps gain and my cards work at 30% or so workload with spikes down and up.

My specs are :
Motherboard gigabyte GA-890GPA-UD3H
processor Phenom 2 955 BE overclocked a little to 3400
4 gig DDR3 ram Kingston
Radeon Spahire 6970 and noname radeon 6970
Hard drive samsung HD204UI ATA (this HD is rather slow speed)
windows 7 32
Power supply corsair 800 W (just bought a day ago) its model is on the recomended power supplies for my setup on the AMD website.
1 monitor samsung 22' 1920-1080

I used to have just the saphire 6970 ever since the day it came out, i like it and I planned to crossfire it later on. Just now I got the second 6970 with no brand name
Battlefield Bad company 2 is in high 20s FPS to 60s with maxed out settings at 1920x1080. The benchmarks I've seen people have are many times better than what Im getting with my setup.

In a game like Serious sam 3 I get FPS from 35 to 120 with crossfire maxed everything, usually 45-50 fps. I used MSI afterburner to monitor my videocard and this is what I found, at times when my GPU usage was at 15% on both cards, I would get 25 fps or so, when the usega spikes up to 80% on both i get 100 fps or so. Problem is, why are they spiking? Why can't the cards be constantly at 50% at least usage or in 80s so I can get constand 60 fps? Note that both card's usage is at the same level, so they work hand in hand. Some games like assasin's creed they work at 1 GPU is at 80s, theo ther is at its 50s, also FPS is in 55-60 range but often drops to low 40s.

Proble: cards not working at their full potential and usage, thus giving me low and jumpy fps.
I don't understand how people with my setup are getting insane FPS in games and the charts show great numbers. Yet when I have my setup I'm not even halfway there.

I noticed some people have 1000W power, do I need that much? I'm not even overclocked.
Could it be that my CPU is bottleneck? stock cooler, overclocked al ittle, never goes over 55 C
Both cards never go over 85 C

Ive been building my own Pcs for 8 years now and know a good thing or two, however crossfire is a new world to me so I could use some help.
When benchmarking at Furmark and msi combuster, I get very good readings, if had 30 FPS with 1 card, at crossfire I get at least 59, so both cards are working together very well there. Both have their usages at 99%. They are both conected with 1 bridge, latest drivers and profiles.
NOTE: I did not reinstall drivers when I added a new card, I just placed it in, bridge, turn on comp, amd guides the crossfire setup, check the latest drivers and download profiles.
I heard things about powersave, my comp is in high performance mode atm.
Many thanks in advance, crossfire realm is very foggy.
October 28, 2012 10:22:16 PM

I'm pretty sure your CPU is bottlenecking.
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October 29, 2012 12:19:04 AM

What kind of a CPU do I need to work this crossfire set? My motherboard is AMD no Intel so AMD types please. Perhaps I can overclock this quad core piece? Not planning to buy a new CPU just yet.
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October 29, 2012 12:33:00 AM

valik said:
What kind of a CPU do I need to work this crossfire set? My motherboard is AMD no Intel so AMD types please. Perhaps I can overclock this quad core piece? Not planning to buy a new CPU just yet.

Sadly the latest AMD cpu's aren't that great. If I would suggest one it would be this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.... It's affordable and from what I hear from my fiend's it's fast. Other than that I would suggest changing to an intel based build. With an i7 3770.
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October 29, 2012 12:49:10 AM

Limerick said:
Sadly the latest AMD cpu's aren't that great. If I would suggest one it would be this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.... It's affordable and from what I hear from my fiend's it's fast. Other than that I would suggest changing to an intel based build. With an i7 3770.


your link doesn't send me to a specific product, rather a list of refurbished items, can you state the name of the processor?
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October 29, 2012 1:33:52 AM

valik said:
your link doesn't send me to a specific product, rather a list of refurbished items, can you state the name of the processor?

It's the AMD FX-8150 Zambezi 3.6GHz.
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October 29, 2012 1:40:52 AM

Limerick said:
It's the AMD FX-8150 Zambezi 3.6GHz.


Thanks for fast reply. Damn though, from 4 to 8 cores is a big jump, I'll have to save a little for a new processor then. Still open to other possible solutions if anyone can think of, thanks.
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October 29, 2012 2:07:40 AM

The FX-8150 is last gen. The best option would be to overclock the Phenom until you can make an Intel build.
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October 29, 2012 2:34:20 AM

You could get an fx 6300 if your mobo supports it.
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October 29, 2012 2:42:27 AM

with a bios update you should be able to run the fx series.
you r cpu is the factor here. bottlenecking is the problem.
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October 29, 2012 2:52:44 PM

just installed the latest BIOS and some other minor updates, gona try those games again and I'll post if anything changed in terms of performance. As for the upgrade, kinda sucks that my motherboard can't support the latest AMD CPUs, I might just buy a new one with Intel I guess. Although my little brother needs a comp so I though maby I'll give him my setup minus the power supply (back to 600W) and the videocards, the motherboard uis crossfire so might aswell take advantage, I though maybe seting up 2 5970 or 2 5950s, any thoughts? Maybe instead of buying 2 new systems or messing around with parts, just get a whole new computer minus PSU and videocards. Which videocards would match his CPU? He is not a heavy gamer but is insane about STALKER series. Would a pair of 5970s be enough for his CPU to handle? or perhaps downgrade he videocards a bit more?

Seems like my questings are now out of hand, but what I learnd so far is that my CPU gets stressed to its max way before the videocards and because of that I get low FPS. Thanks for the fast replies, i'll keep checking this thread and update it here and there if I find anything out.
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October 29, 2012 6:55:26 PM

^ a pair of 5970s = 800+ watts on video cards alone LOL. Most power hungry cardz evr
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October 29, 2012 7:28:21 PM

Alright so im buying a new CPU now along with a motherboard, what is the most recomended CPU I get? I need a CPU that can hold my crossfire beast in the line anytime but not an overkill. in short, a CPU that will never bottleneck my cards.Any preferences to motherboards? I used to have Asus but this time around i have gigabyte. both seem ok.To make this thread complete, lets fogure out the best CPU to go with along radeon 6970 croasfire. I see i7 and bulldozers, alot of folks say i5 2500 is great, what do you guys think?
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October 29, 2012 9:05:39 PM

i7 is more expensive, but in games it will hurt u. Most pre built machines come with i7 because noobs dont realize that i5 is better for gaming. So either above comment, or any ivy bridge i5 quad core (there are some duals).
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October 29, 2012 11:34:36 PM

cgner said:
i7 is more expensive, but in games it will hurt u. Most pre built machines come with i7 because noobs dont realize that i5 is better for gaming. So either above comment, or any ivy bridge i5 quad core (there are some duals).


Doesn't hurt in games. Just doesn't help.
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October 29, 2012 11:38:25 PM

It hurts in CPU heavy games that only use 1-2 threads. Hyperthreading does not provide as much performance per thread.
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October 29, 2012 11:41:03 PM

cgner said:
It hurts in CPU heavy games that only use 1-2 threads. Hyperthreading does not provide as much performance per thread.


No it doesn't. That's like saying a quad core will perform lower than a dual core in that game that uses 1-2 threads.
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October 29, 2012 11:42:45 PM

2 cores vs 4 cores is a whole different comparison than 4 cores vs 4 cores + hyperthreading.
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October 30, 2012 12:18:21 AM

In gaming there isnt really any difference between the i7 and i5
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October 31, 2012 3:41:33 AM

So I overclocked my phenom to 3.8 and already I see a difference, BFBC2 now runs at 48FPS at least and normally at 55+, BF3 everything possible on ultra plays at 50+, never goes down 45. Through CPU monitoring I noticed that I often get 100% CPU usage. With one video card I get the same result as with 2 and + overclocked CPU in BFBC2. BF3 is never choppy, normally in high 50s and all the way up to 80s, but in heavy combat never drops below 45.

To overclock I bough the famous collermaster 212 and damn it performs amazing, my phenom is at 26 C idle and BF3 load at 47 C and no more. I haven't run the prime95 test but no extra voltage and simply multiplier does the trick so far.

I talked with the guys at Canada Computers (my local store) about the CPU bottleneck, alot of them overclock and play similar games with very similar setup. Most do recomend Intel over AMD in terms of heavy gaming and crossfire SLI a specially. The i5 2500 is the choice I see everyware, they said its good for gaming. However some said that it will still bottleneck my crossfire setup and only i7 3820 and higher CPu will no longer bottleneck the crossfire setup at any situation. Thats what I was told so take it as it is.

Still gonna keep crossfire mode active in the mean time before I get an upgrade, with the latest drivers I see near 200% efficiency in many games and having the videocards divide the work keeps them super quiet and at low temp.

Thanks for help everyone, CPU is the bottleneck, I can see it for myself now first hand. I guess the days of "medicore CPU and badass videocard" are over.
Final note, they also mentioned my motherboard being a bottleneck for my crossfire since its 8 and not 16 (some unit I can't recall).

Still undecidedt hough, the i5 2500 is $200 and i7 3820 is $300, if I pay 50% more I might just stick with the setup and never have to upgrade again and worry about bottlenecks (assuming that i7 being what they say it is). Its powerfull but too many cores I believe.

So i5 2500 or i7 3820 ? <----------- for a gaming rig that is
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October 31, 2012 5:03:16 AM

i5
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Best solution

October 31, 2012 6:32:13 AM

The i5 2500k is enough. It overclocks with ease and runs well with the hyper212. It will handle that xfire setup without breaking a sweat.
if all you're doing is gaming its a great chip
I run a 2500k with my 570sli setup, which is around the same as the 6950xfire.
One other issue I see... I would run more ram.8g will do. Also you need 64 bit windows. That could also be posing an issue as it only utilizes 4g of ram.
Spending a little more will ensure you have a blazing system for the next few years
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October 31, 2012 9:26:13 AM

i5. No reason to spend that much.
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October 31, 2012 6:27:37 PM

FlintIronStagg said:
The i5 2500k is enough. It overclocks with ease and runs well with the hyper212. It will handle that xfire setup without breaking a sweat.
if all you're doing is gaming its a great chip
I run a 2500k with my 570sli setup, which is around the same as the 6950xfire.
One other issue I see... I would run more ram.8g will do. Also you need 64 bit windows. That could also be posing an issue as it only utilizes 4g of ram.
Spending a little more will ensure you have a blazing system for the next few years


I was gonna ask about RAM actually, 4 gigs used to be enough but nowdays more is needed. Could those 4 gigs (3.25 actually) be creating a significant bottleneck? How much Ram is enough? Also how is the 64bit Win7 compatible with other programs? I heard a lot of compability issues with 64bit OS, runs just the latest stuff only. Is it possible to install 2 versions of Wi7 34 and 64 on the same computer?
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October 31, 2012 7:24:46 PM

64 bit compatibility issues? Not with games
3.25 ram will be your bottleneck along with 32 bit if you upgrade your CPU and is most likely a limiting factor as of now.
No reason for a gamer to not have 64 bit.
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November 2, 2012 6:30:07 PM

Alright so the i5 intel is the choice it seems, however im seing other versions of the i5 such as 2600 or 3450. Is i5 2500k the most cost efficient quad core from intel? Whats the best intel quad core out there for gaiming other than i5 2500k?

Any recomended motherboards for it? Can that processor last a long time or should I invest in a very good motherboard so I can upgrade the CPU later on? Im going to keep my crossfire for a long time, I don't see the horizon in upgrading that anytime soon.

Those were the last quest I have, thx everyone, i'll choose the best answer once I upgrade and inform on how well things end up with the modified rig.
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November 2, 2012 7:16:21 PM

The 2500k is the most widely used CPU for real gamers.
it doesn't need an upgrade path, it is the upgrade.
You could go with ivy bridge 3570k but with overclocking it doesn't clock as high and has higher temps than the 2500k, although its about 5-10% faster per clock which I would call a wash seeing as how it doesn't overclock as high.
Asrock has a really good z68 Gen 3 board with sli for a good price if youre trying to keep cost down.
the CPU should last as long as the cards you have
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November 12, 2012 1:51:17 AM

Best answer selected by valik.
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