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HD 7870 not performing as it should

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January 28, 2013 9:35:59 PM

Hello guys, this is my first post on tomshardware... been a frequent user over the years via googling to help fix my problems, but this one is different. I have the xfx hd 7870 dual dissipation gpu for about three months now and i've used it to play dota 2 and starcraft 2 for a while now at 1920 x 1080 res. I've realised that this card should absolutely kill dota 2 maxed out but in game i get like 60-80 fps without any large fights happening and as soon as they do.. the fps drops as low as 31-40.... which is undesirable... the same happens to starcraft 2 in fights, fps drops as low as 15-20 in huge fights. My friend has an hd 6870 and he maxes out dota 2 @ 120 fps without breaking a sweat in teamfights... lowest he goes is 90.

My pc specs are:
i3 2100 dual core, 3.1 ghz
cooler master extreme 600W psu
8gb kingston ddr3xfx hd 7870
msi h61m p20 (g3) mobo

any help is appreciated... im also using the ccc 13.1 drivers and that hasn't helped.

More about : 7870 performing

January 28, 2013 9:54:13 PM

What CPU does your friend have? Those are both CPU bound games and your i3 might be a bottleneck. Also what drivers are you using with your 7870?

To see if you have a bottleneck, monitor both your CPU usage and GPU usage while in those large fights with programs like HWinfo64 and MSI Afterburner. If your CPU is at a higher usage % than your GPU during these fights then your CPU is holding you back.
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January 28, 2013 10:00:01 PM

I agree with stick I would want to know your friends setup. RTS games are typically CPU bound and blizzard games are heavily reliant on CPU/HDD performance. To illustrate what stick is saying with msi afterburner/ hwinfo 64 ill show you how to do it.






For you please select each core and set them to a line on the OSD (on screen display)
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January 28, 2013 10:13:19 PM

okay i did what both of you said to do using afterburner and the tool while dota 2 was running and the cpu usage is in the high 60's while the gpu usage is in the high 30's .... i guess its a bottleneck then :/  .... as for my friend he has in i5 2500k overclocked to 4.2ghz... my thoughts were that dota2 weren't that demanding in resources since my specs far outweigh the recommended... so any suggestions from here? wondering what should i upgrade to... i wouldnt want to spend more than 150-160 bucks on it.
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January 28, 2013 10:16:29 PM

Yeah your GPU usage should be higher than CPU. Look for a used i5, you can find then on Ebay for around $150
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January 28, 2013 10:20:39 PM

Oh yea his CPU is superior to yours by a lot there. He has a quad core and its set to a higher clock frequency. Well if you could get a i5 I would say you would get the performance increase you are after. Since you do not have a board that can overclock cpu's I would suggest either of the following


i5 2400 (best at your budget)
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/intel-cpu-bx80623i52400
i5 2500 (a little beyond it)
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/intel-cpu-bx80623i52500
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January 29, 2013 1:51:30 AM

it says that this board has OC genie on it ... does that make it capable for overclocking?
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January 29, 2013 2:24:26 AM

It may be I'm not sure I know that you are locked at a multiplier level
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January 29, 2013 2:31:01 AM

bigshootr8 said:
It may be I'm not sure I know that you are locked at a multiplier level


meaning? so i cant buy a 2500k and overclock it with this board at all??
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January 29, 2013 2:42:08 AM

You can get a 2500k. However your motherboards chipset is not primed for overclocking. You would need a z68, or z77 board.
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January 29, 2013 3:17:26 AM

can you recommend one?
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January 29, 2013 3:40:02 AM

A z68 board? or a z77 board? I would say since you would be using a 2500k. If it were me I would get the Z77 exterme 4. I'll provide other options as well the extreme 4 gives you sli and cf the pro does not.

The board I have is a bit more expensive then the z77 boards which is odd because the extreme 4 board for z77 is cheaper.


Here are a few options you can go with.
ASRock Z68 PRO3 GEN3: Comes with Gen 3 so you can use pci express 3.0. Which leaves you the ability to upgrade to ivy bridge down the line if you so choose.
http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=productview&products...

This is what I have.
Asrock Z68 Extreme4 Gen 3: Basically the same thing as the newer Extreme 4 except a few additional features.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005FE52X6/?tag=pcpapi-20

Asrock Z77 Extreme4
http://www.microcenter.com/product/387554/Z77_Extreme4_...


Other possible options.
ASUS P8Z77-V LK
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-D3H
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MSI Z77A-G45
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 29, 2013 7:47:44 AM

Just a suggestion, not sure how much it'll help(probably not a lot), but you can try turning on hyper-threading on your i3 to see if it can alleviate the bottleneck.
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January 29, 2013 9:51:07 AM

Your PC isn't bad for gaming, in general. It is bad for the two games you mentioned however. Those games are CPU dependent. If those are the only two games you play and you absolutely need better peformance, then upgrade. If you play other games that work fine and dont play these two games that often then hold off until the next platform is released.
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January 29, 2013 11:56:22 AM

bigshootr8 said:
A z68 board? or a z77 board? I would say since you would be using a 2500k. If it were me I would get the Z77 exterme 4. I'll provide other options as well the extreme 4 gives you sli and cf the pro does not.

The board I have is a bit more expensive then the z77 boards which is odd because the extreme 4 board for z77 is cheaper.


Here are a few options you can go with.
ASRock Z68 PRO3 GEN3: Comes with Gen 3 so you can use pci express 3.0. Which leaves you the ability to upgrade to ivy bridge down the line if you so choose.
http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=productview&products...

This is what I have.
Asrock Z68 Extreme4 Gen 3: Basically the same thing as the newer Extreme 4 except a few additional features.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005FE52X6/?tag=pcpapi-20

Asrock Z77 Extreme4
http://www.microcenter.com/product/387554/Z77_Extreme4_...


Other possible options.
ASUS P8Z77-V LK
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-D3H
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MSI Z77A-G45
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



Alright... i checked em out but i won't be able to afford both a new cpu and a board... if i have to choose though it would be the new cpu... so if i use it in my current board, what would be the exact cons as opposed to if i had the ideal board?
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January 29, 2013 12:14:36 PM

OH nonono you can afford a 2500k. But I would only get a 2500k if you can overclock because of your board. If I remember right the h61 is a home theater version chipset comes with onboard video and the p67 is one you can overclock with as well as z68, z77. A non k 2500 will perform just as fast as a 2500k at stock is what I'm trying illustrate.
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January 29, 2013 12:17:02 PM

A Core i3 2100 with HT enabled will run both SC2 and DOTA2 with absolutely no issues on decent settings.

SC2 may be a problem for Extreme or Ultra (as it is for most processors), not for High settings.

DOTA 2 should pose no problem, most people with Athlon IIs are reporting between 45 and 60 fps, they are much weaker processors.

There is NO need to upgrade to play these 2 games, there is an issue here with the 7870 that is being overlooked.

To confirm this, I would suggest you run a GPU intensive test such as Haven Benchmark

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January 29, 2013 12:19:05 PM

checking out the core usage on the 2 cores is a more beneficial way of looking at it then running synthetics. Synthetics don't ensure a game is going to run well.
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January 29, 2013 1:09:25 PM

hyperthreading is enabled and with dota 2 .... don't get me wrong, its playable ... its just those huge teamfights with everyone dropping aoe spells gets the fps down to 35 and so on... same with sc2.. its kinda bugging me as to why it does ... and the core usage was already checked... its higher than the gpu usage... i did a burn in test with furmark and the scores were normal, also on unigine heaven... scores were normal as well... the gpu usage was at 100%, with normal temps.
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January 29, 2013 2:02:52 PM

Right but what I'm saying is okay is core one and two getting the main stress and how are the hyper-threaded cores working.
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January 29, 2013 2:13:53 PM

their usage are about just as high as core 2... in the 50-60% range... core 1 is always the highest... high 60/s to 70's in usage
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January 29, 2013 3:22:12 PM

Its probably more or less what you were going into when things get more intense your CPU bogs down. And with a quad core you get stress alleviation.
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January 29, 2013 8:17:34 PM

Well the difference is one is micro atx and one is full size atx. With the full size you get two pci-e 3.0 slots. And with the full size you get 4 sata 3 ports with one controller with the micro you get 2 with the asrock controller.
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January 29, 2013 8:25:05 PM

Just save your money and use high settings instead of ultra.
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January 29, 2013 8:38:50 PM

stickg1 said:
Just save your money and use high settings instead of ultra.


i like to run my games maxed out lol... i think i'll get the full sized one.
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January 29, 2013 8:48:35 PM

Awahid said:
i like to run my games maxed out lol... i think i'll get the full sized one.


Well you will have to buy a CPU and motherboard then. You're looking at about $300.
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January 29, 2013 9:05:41 PM

yeah i already got a sale in my country for both my mobo and cpu for 100$ ... so its really more like 200$ i'll need to spend... it isn't that much.
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January 29, 2013 9:25:38 PM

Awahid said:
yeah i already got a sale in my country for both my mobo and cpu for 100$ ... so its really more like 200$ i'll need to spend... it isn't that much.


Your CPU is worth $90-$100, your mobo is worth $45-$50. Raise your asking price a little bit.
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January 29, 2013 9:50:37 PM

stickg1 said:
Your CPU is worth $90-$100, your mobo is worth $45-$50. Raise your asking price a little bit.


alright thanks.
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January 29, 2013 9:57:44 PM

What country are you in? Because people I know in Europe or South America usually have to pay more for PC components than people here in the States.
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January 29, 2013 10:35:50 PM

im from trinidad ... the caribbean.
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January 31, 2013 7:22:39 PM

well i ordered an asrock z77 extreme 4 and now i'm looking at buying a used i5 2500k as someone suggested.... i talked to a guy who has one for sale and he said when he used it, he oc'ed it to 4.3 ghz and it was stable, he also never used the stock heatsink as he had a better one... so that's brand new. Should i go for this or not?
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January 31, 2013 7:24:35 PM

oh he said the voltage was never raised either.
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January 31, 2013 7:26:40 PM

How much?
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January 31, 2013 7:31:39 PM

180$
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January 31, 2013 7:44:45 PM

so is that price good?
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January 31, 2013 8:47:40 PM

I sold one two weeks ago on eBay for $160, they sell regularly in the classifieds and other forums for $150.
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January 31, 2013 8:58:12 PM

That sounds about right. They are still desired chips because they have a bit more headroom normally overclocking wise over there ivy bridge brothers.
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January 31, 2013 9:03:06 PM

bigshootr8 said:
That sounds about right. They are still desired chips because they have a bit more headroom normally overclocking wise over there ivy bridge brothers.


Kind of, I wont get into that too much. I've delidded three different Ivy chips and after the 25C drop in temps 5.0GHz is a breeze. But you have to be comfortable with your ability to do such a thing because you could possibly damage your chip if you don't have a steady hand.
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January 31, 2013 9:09:23 PM

Right I have a feeling you did some cutting with the chip. Someone in another thread I talked to did something funky with the chip to make it easier as well.
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February 1, 2013 1:32:42 PM

alright i think theres another one, never oc'ed slightly used + a coolermaster hyper 212 plus + original heatsink all for 195.
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February 1, 2013 5:35:32 PM

for how much are they asking?
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February 1, 2013 8:25:53 PM

The whole "Never been OC'd" claim is irrelevant and usually a lie. People say that on eBay all the time for the people buying that don't know anything about computers. "OMG It's been overclocked!! It's probably damaged now!"

The thing is, the K series chips are MADE to be overclocked, hence the unlocked multiplier. If the user bought it with no intentions of overclocking, then they could have saved some money and went with something else.

I would be happier to buy a chip where the owners says "overclocked to 4.5GHz at 1.2v" because then at least I know I'm getting a good chip with great electrical impedance in the silicon, that will likely reach even higher frequencies with better cooling.

The chip sells new for $210, for a used chip I would pay no more than $170, shipping included.
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February 1, 2013 8:41:54 PM

That's fair. I'd want the original CPU holder that CPU's come in retail and perhaps the box/stock fan if they have it.
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