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GTX 660Ti weird performance issues and low framerate.

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April 27, 2013 5:34:10 PM

Hello :) 

I've recently bought a new computer, suitable for my needs, but not too expensive. With a new, and, when compared to my old system, quite powerful graphics card.

Thing is, this new card is acting really weird when playing graphically intensive games (tested with Crysis 3, Planetside 2, Mechwarrior Online, Dead Island Riptide and Bioshock Infinite). Let me explain the problem that I'm getting and write as much information and as many of my observations as possible:

Few moments after lauching a game, and starting to play it, performance jumps up and down, constantly and in fairly constant amounts of time. Every 15 seconds of good performance, it goes to low performance for about 5 seconds, then another 15 seconds of good performance and again 5 seconds of bad performance, and so on. Like the graphic card is "switching" between some sorts of usage modes. Loss in framerate is quite big (For example, in Dead Island Riptide from 150FPS to 40FPS, in Crysis 3 from 50FPS to 17FPS).

Grapthics card constantly "switches" between 70%-80% of usage (depending on the situation and the game) to 20%-30% of usage.

I was taking a look into graphs where I can view my graphics card status (software was provided with the graphics card) and noticed that Power usage, Core usage and Memory usage are the ones that are "switching". I will try to provide a screenshot of those graphs.

I thought it might be a high temperature problem, because card was running quite hot, above 70 degrees celsius (158 degrees fahrenheit). Manually rising the fan speed quickly lowered the overall temperature to about 58-60 (140 degrees fahrenheit), though, the problem still existed.

Another solution that I've stumbled across, was an idea of switching Power management mode from "Adaptive" to "Prefer maximum performance" in Nvidia control panel or Nvidia Inspektor, and doing so also didn't help. I've tried switch this in general settings, as well as settings for specific game. The problem still exists.

My system spec is:
OS:Windows 7 64bit (it's being updated as soon as any updates pops-in)
GPU:Gainward GTX660Ti 2GB
CPU:FX-8150 Black Edition 125W version
MOBO:MSI 760GM-P21 (FX) AM3+ Ready
RAM:1x GOODRAM 8GB 1333MHz
HDD:1x HITACHI 1TB Hard Drive
PSU:800W Tracer Highlander power supply
(Right after the purchase, there was an Akyga 600W power supply installed, which had a nasty failure after nearly 36 hours of work. I've noticed this problem before said failure, though, I didn't have time to look closley into it and I was thinking it was caused by said power supply).

Driver version installed:
314.22

I've tried dealing with this issue for three days now, on previous forum i've tried, I didn't recieve much help, so I would greatly appreciate any assistance or suggestions.


My observations:
-I was suggested to "download gpuz and check if the card is running in x16 mode". I've assumed it has to do with Bus Interface. It's showing that the graphics card supports and runs in PCI-E 2.0 x16.

-I've noticed that when the GPU "switches" to low preformance, the temperature of the card goes down quite significantly. So, I'm still wondering if this is a heat issue, or maybe a built-in protection, even though the temperatures aren't that high.

-Problems still exsist after lowering game's graphical fidelity quite significantly (Crysis 3 and Mechwarrior Online).

-Under very heavy load, core clock on the GPU tends to go above the value shown in boost mode:
Base clock: 915MHz
Boost clock: 980Mhz
It tends to go up to 1071MHz or even 1084MHz.
Even when I didn't touch any overclocking and such. I though that boost clock was the highest that the card will go? so I'm wondering, Is that normal behaviour?

-CPU doesn't seem to be overheating, the fan that came with the CPU seems to be efficient, but quite loud. Nonetheless, I don't think that I can measure this accurately (I use SpeedFan). I've read that shown temperatures aren't accurate on AMD CPU's, though, I'm not an expert and I may be wrong.

-During the time when the graphics card "switches" to low performance, the CPU usage rises by 20% or even 30%. I don't know what to think of this.

Things I've already did:
-Updated BIOS (helped in some games, like Bioshock Infinite or Planetside 2).

-Today, I've disabled GPU BOOST and assumed that the problem may have something to do with it. After very carefully reading a guide about this, I've briefly disabled this feature for a short test. Problem still exsisted. I've turned GPU BOOST back on after the test.

-The computer is new and very stable, I don't have any weird crashes, critical errors or Blue Screens. Though, I've ensured that system starts with only essential programs (Antivirus software, Audio menagement software, Nvidia tray) just in case. In both, my own "Selected" and "Normal" system launch modes, the problem exists.

-Briefly removed Catalyst software for the CPU (I think it helped with micro-stuttering that I've also noticed, though, I may be wrong). After noticing that the issue is still exsistg, I've installed it back.

At this point, I'm starting to think it has to be a hardware issue. Maybe a bad connection between the mainboard, GPU and CPU. Maybe it's a faulty GPU. But, as I wrote, I'm not an expert at this.

That's why, once again, I would greatly appreciate any assistance or suggestions for this issue.

Cheers,
Greg.
a c 171 U Graphics card
April 27, 2013 8:36:27 PM

put a decent PSU in there instead of the cheap dodgy brand you have. Stick with Antec, Seasonic, Corsair, XFX and you cant go wrong. Cheap and nasty PSU's are often the cause of these kind of issues.
April 27, 2013 11:25:34 PM

Sadly, I'm out of money for some PSU's like that. Though, a Corsair CX600W and VS650W seems to be in my buget.
Though, talking about qualities and such, at least this one is better quality, and at least has some cable protection, than the first one that was installed. If you think this one is "cheap" you should've seen the first one :)  Nonetheless, there was this problem existing on both supplies.

Can someone confirm that the power supply may be responsible for doing those weird things to my performance?

Weirdly enouch, I've run a Heaven Benchmark a short while ago. It was running just fine. I didn't get a great score, but considering it's a FX platform, not a Intel, it was good to me. I really have no idea what is going on.

About the screenshot of the graphs, I don't know hopw to post one, there doesn't seem to be an attach file option or something. But, I found an image on this site that represent my problem and how my graphs look like, here's a link:
http://www.tomshardware.com/gallery/overclocking,0101-3...

My graphs look like almost exactly like those in the top row, though, in my situation, those "jumps" are from 80% GPU load to 30% GPU load on Power usage, Core usage and Memory usage when playing a game, while the core speed stays very high under load, all the time, above Boost value and at 1084MHz. It also doesn't seem to dynamically change itself when playing a game (914MHz in menus and rockets to 1084MHz or 1071MHz when the game is loaded, and stays that way).
It does change when idle though, usually lowering the core speed to 300MHz-400MHz.
I really don't know what to think of this.
Related resources
April 28, 2013 11:00:51 PM

I see that I don't much have much luck on getting help on this forum either. Oh well, glad that, for the most part, I've managed to resolve the issue on my own ;) 

As after updating BIOS and chipset drivers, the issue stopped existing in any other modern games I own, besides Crysis 3, today I've focused on dealing with this problem. As it seems to be the only title I own having issues. And I'm not talking about the ropes being funky, the game in general was having this issues. I was actually thinking it has to do something with the game optimization being dodgy, or CryEngine 3 not liking my system all that much. Oh well.

Basically, I've created a separate power plan for Crysis 3 (fun fact, Mechwarrior Online, being also a CryEngine 3 game, works just well without enabling this specific power plan)
I've set PCI Expess power saving from "None" to "Medium" (I hope it is called that way in English) and it fixed the constant drops in performance. In "None", the performance was constantly jumping from highest to very low in this paticular title, overall acting very weird, and when I've enabled "Medium", performance and GPU usage stabilized itself, without those interruptive and quite large drops in performance and GPU usage. Overall, the framerate isn't as high as in "None" mode, but it's more consistent and the game is acting smoother throuough more varied frames fer second.
For rest of the games, I'm running PCI Express power saving mode in "None", because they seem to work just fine.

Also, for testing, my friend lend me his copy of Witcher 2 to see if the problem exist there. It didn't. Game was running beautifully.

Overall, I think that problem is solved. Though, I will wait a day or two before marking this as "solved", befause of:
a) just in case something new comes up
b) I need to figure out how to mark it as "solved"

EDIT: Sadly, I was thinking wrong. The problem still exists. Setting a custom power plan helped, but didn't completley resolve this issue. I've called the company where I've bought the computer from. Computer will be sent for diagnostics in next few days.
March 28, 2014 11:40:17 AM

So almost a year has passed since I had those problems posted here, so I've decided to do a summary of al the tings I did to fix this issue and what was the actuall issue. Just in case anybody was those problems.

05/2013
I did sent my computer for diagnostics, resusts where as follows:
-graphics card is fine,
-processor downclocks itself at certain motherboard temperature,
-processor downclocks itself at certain processor temperature,
-setting the processor from 8 to 4 cores fixed those issues.

It wasn't considered as faulty parts, computer was sent back, bundled with yet unreleased BIOS update from representative at MSI that is supposed to imporve things for this processors.
This update changed how the processor behaves, minimizing the issue, but it still existed.

05/2013
After that, I did some advanced digging into my system, and after all the issue was the motherboard.
The power draw from my processor at normal mode (3.6GHz at 8 cores) was just too much for this motherboard to run properly, so it would get unusually hot and downclock my processor (to 1.4Ghz) to avoid any motherboard damage.
A way to avoid this downclocking was simply to decrease the power draw on my processor (setting 3.3Ghz at 8 cores or 3.6Ghz at 4 cores).

Why the fluctuating usage from the graphics card?
Simple anwser really, when the game is running at 1/3 speed by a processor downclock, the graphics card only needs to render that 1/3 of frames, thus the usage was sitting at 1/3 during the downclock.

And even though this motherboard was advertised as AM3+ ready motherbaord at the time I've bought it, in real scenario it only handled efficently up to 100W of power draw from my 125W processor. I was calling it false advertisement at that point actually.
After 1 or 2 weeks, I've noticed that the BIOS update wasn't released yet on any of the official pages, but on the BIOS update page, there was a small note added, saying that they don't suggest putting in a 125W AM3+ procesor, because it can cause motherboard damage, limiting the motherboard only to 95W AM3+ processors. There you go.

07/2013
Within the next two monts I've gathered some cash and bought myself a new GIGABYTE alternative for my motherboard.
This time I made sure it fully supports 125W TDP AM3+ chip. The old motherboard was cheaply sold at a base for a 95W TDP AM3+ chip. Installing this new GIGABYTE motherbaord solve my issue instantly, and this MSI motherboard is running well up to this day as far as I'm aware.

12/2013
Up to end of the last year, I've also got a new case with additional fans running and a new cooler for my porcessor, which I've actually slightly overclocked. Still running great.

This year, even though the FX8150BE is performing well, I will probably switch to a Intel i7 4770/4770k with a new board if I have the cash.
Also, probably buy a second GTX660Ti, since this card has got some great performance for it's price, and I'm being constantly suprized how well it performs. Two GTX660Ti in SLI sounds more more that enough for me at this point.

On the plus side, from this experience I've learned quite a bit about power management, how GPU, CPU, MBU works, how to tweak and measure a lot of stuff on your system, how 4 or 8 core porcessors are utilized, how to keep your system quiet, clean and cool, or how to personalize your CPU usage to your own needs and so on.
!