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Just upgraded to a Radeon 7950, looking to complete the package

Vertrucio

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#1
<<< System specs in my profile.

I just got a 7950 but I'm a little underwhelmed at the performance on high detail. I've recently developed an appreciation for playing games at high framerates, and I'm looking to maximize FPS while still keeping the details on high.

I'm wondering if I'm being CPU limited, or if the old memory I'm using also is an issue.

One game I've been playing is Planetside 2, which is heavily CPU limited.

Over the coming year, I'll be playing Company of Heroes 2, Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, Metro, etc.. Basically all the usual hit games this year.

I also play games at 1920x1200.

Would upgrading my CPU help? This would mean I'd also be picking up a new motherboard and memory to go with it. Which is also nice since this means I can finally make use of the higher rated SATA on my drives, and USB 3.0 for transferring all these large animation files between work and home.
 

crazyeyesreaper

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#2
if your running on a Phenom II 965 then yes you are bottlenecked in some titles in fact in games like

Shogun 2
Skyrim with mods and ini edits
Bad Company 2
Star Craft 2
etc etc that CPU will bottleneck the 7950

a good example the The Witcher 2 Assassins of Kings with a GTX 590 (a bit faster than an overclocked 7950)

a Phenom II averages frame rates in the 50s
a 2500k averages frame rates in the high 70s to low 80s
 
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cadaveca

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#3
<<< System specs in my profile.

I just got a 7950 but I'm a little underwhelmed at the performance on high detail. I've recently developed an appreciation for playing games at high framerates, and I'm looking to maximize FPS while still keeping the details on high.

I'm wondering if I'm being CPU limited, or if the old memory I'm using also is an issue.

One game I've been playing is Planetside 2, which is heavily CPU limited.

Over the coming year, I'll be playing Company of Heroes 2, Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, Metro, etc.. Basically all the usual hit games this year.

I also play games at 1920x1200.

Would upgrading my CPU help? This would mean I'd also be picking up a new motherboard and memory to go with it. Which is also nice since this means I can finally make use of the higher rated SATA on my drives, and USB 3.0 for transferring all these large animation files between work and home.
Moving to Intel i7 2600k will net around approx. 20% performance increase, average. With overclocking, an even bigger boost is possible from a 965 BE CPU.
 

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#4

Vertrucio

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#5
Thanks for all the quick responses!

Looks like I'm going Intel this generation.

i7 or i5?

I also make artwork, and do 3D modeling and rendering on this desktop system. So any hardware that can run that well is a definite plus.
 

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#6
if your doing SERIOUS 3D modeling get the i7

if your just making game mods or doing small time stuff get the i5.

Also dont get the G41 msi board far better boards exist in roughly the same price range.
 

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#7
if your doing SERIOUS 3D modeling get the i7

if your just making game mods or doing small time stuff get the i5.

Also dont get the G41 msi board far better boards exist in roughly the same price range.
It was the cheapest board on Newegg, and I wasn't sure what his budget was. Yeah, get a better board.
 

Vertrucio

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#8
Hm...

There are a lot of motherboards. Hate to ask for you guys to do everything for me, but I've been way out of the loop on tech.

Can someone recommend a good ATX motherboard for an i7 ivy bridge? I took a look through the motherboard reviews and it seemed like a lot of the highly rated boards had features I don't need. I have a high budget, but would prefer not to spend money on things I won't use.

I don't overclock anything in my system, so I don't need any features related to that. I don't think I ever will overclock stuff since I don't have the time to learn to do it properly (and I need stability while working on this rig).

However, I do need USB 3.0, SATA 3, RAID if possible, and preferably built in WIFI. Good on board sound would be nice since I'm tired of creative's crappy drivers.
 
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#9
If you're looking for a good onboard audio codec for your next motherboard, try looking for boards that have the Realtek ALC 898 codec, as it seems noticeably better than the old ALC 892 on my last board. Should be common on boards around the $130 range or so.
 

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#10

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#11
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#12
$400 will you get i7 3770k + Z77+ DDR3 RAM at micro center.

I use a Z77 extreme4. There's the Asrock Z77 Extreme6 now and it's a quality piece also for slightly more. My experience with the ASrock board has been pretty stable and OC well. Set up was easy and EUFI was great. The difference in performance between this board and a high end board that cost 2-3x the price is very small.

I hear good things about ASUS Z77 too but Asrock is made by ASUS so I don't think there's going to be much difference(besides price) if any.
 

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#13
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#14
ASUS and ASRock are two separate companies, with separate production lines. ASRock is manufactured by Pegatron, ASUS by ECS and others. They had ties and shared Pegatron for production, but that is no longer true.

http://www.techpowerup.com/164412/A...f-its-Motherboards-Notebooks-by-Pegatron.html
Good catch, I did not know that split.

IMO and experience, having boards from both brands in the past, the quality difference is negligible. I have not had any problems with either brands. Looking through reviews, they are pretty much equal in performance. Picking either brand is good but I saved $25 with the Asrock.
I would stay away from BIOSTAR though(also experience).
 

cadaveca

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#15
Good catch, I did not know that split.

IMO and experience, having boards from both brands in the past, the quality difference is negligible. I have not had any problems with either brands. Looking through reviews, they are pretty much equal in performance. Picking either brand is good but I saved $25 with the Asrock.
I would stay away from BIOSTAR though(also experience).
Yes, new change, hasn't really been a year yet. ASUS and ASRock have always been close, but never 100% together, either.

I've had no issues with Biostar high-end products at all. Likewise ASRock. ASUS has been my personal favorite for years. Biostar is my #1 budget recommendation, based on usage of the user.

Many users have issues with budget ASRock boards, but for a budget board, that is no surprise. Frankly, all companies are doing really really well, and the sole difference is included features, power consumption, and memory overclocking. Timely BIOS updates are another factor, as well.


I do tend to play with a new board every week, however, so I have a slightly different experience than most.
 
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#16
Indeed Asus and ASRock are totally different now. Get a 3570k + z77 mobo with some 1600mhz cas9 ram and you are good to go. Its pretty easy to find a relatively good z77 mobo for a low price (ASRock is usually that type of product) with minimal features that will cover your needs and will (if you want) overclock to 4+ghz without issue. Just make sure you buy the proper cooler if you're into overclocking too.

Dont get i7 for gaming cause its 0% improvement and simply more expensive. Also if you wont overclock for sure, you might want to buy an i5 3450 or something like that.

So:
-The least expensive recommendation:
CPU Intel Core i5-3470 Ivy Bridge 3.2GHz (3.6GHz Turbo...
Cooler COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatp... or equivalent around $30
Mobo BIOSTAR TZ77B ATX Intel Motherboard - Newegg.com
RAM G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 ...

-The performance recommendation:
CPU i5 3570K overclocked to over 4.4ghz or i7 3770k if you want the HT for CAD
Cooler: $50+ air cooler or Corsair H60 closed WC loop or equivalent from thermaltake etc
Mobo: MSI Z77 MPower or Gigabyte Z77 UD5 or ASRock Extreme4
RAM: I think the above ram was actually a good deal, but you might want to get 2000mhz CAS9 for an overclocked cpu

Both the cheaper system the the expensive one will have small differences in performance. The real deal is to overclock the unlocked i5 or i7. If you won't overclock, my opinion is that its a waste of money to buy expensive components and keep them at stock values. You might also want to check 3-4 different websites to find any good discounts etc.
 
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#17
Yes, new change, hasn't really been a year yet. ASUS and ASRock have always been close, but never 100% together, either.

I've had no issues with Biostar high-end products at all. Likewise ASRock. ASUS has been my personal favorite for years. Biostar is my #1 budget recommendation, based on usage of the user.

Many users have issues with budget ASRock boards, but for a budget board, that is no surprise. Frankly, all companies are doing really really well, and the sole difference is included features, power consumption, and memory overclocking. Timely BIOS updates are another factor, as well.


I do tend to play with a new board every week, however, so I have a slightly different experience than most.
Yes, the worst thing about BIOSTAR board was their BIOS. It always seems to be incomplete, and by the time they release an adequate update I have already given up on it.
That was back during my AMD phenom days though(I think it was an issue with ACC and some promised features).

Their boards are good for the price but it's not worth my time waiting for a proper BIOS that should've been ready when it's on sale.

Like I said, The extreme4/6 are generally cheaper than the Asus equivalent and have about the same quality. The reviews are about the same overall from both sites and users. Also, IDK about dealing with warranties from these manufacturers as I paid $8 for a 2 year warranty with Microcenter. They don't ask questions and always replaced it immediately. It's always been a walk in and walk out experience for me.

Indeed Asus and ASRock are totally different now. Get a 3570k + z77 mobo with some 1600mhz cas9 ram and you are good to go. Its pretty easy to find a relatively good z77 mobo for a low price (ASRock is usually that type of product) with minimal features that will cover your needs and will (if you want) overclock to 4+ghz without issue. Just make sure you buy the proper cooler if you're into overclocking too.

Dont get i7 for gaming cause its 0% improvement and simply more expensive. Also if you wont overclock for sure, you might want to buy an i5 3450 or something like that.

So:
-The least expensive recommendation:
CPU Intel Core i5-3470 Ivy Bridge 3.2GHz (3.6GHz Turbo...
Cooler COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatp... or equivalent around $30
Mobo BIOSTAR TZ77B ATX Intel Motherboard - Newegg.com
RAM G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 ...

-The performance recommendation:
CPU i5 3570K overclocked to over 4.4ghz or i7 3770k if you want the HT for CAD
Cooler: $50+ air cooler or Corsair H60 closed WC loop or equivalent from thermaltake etc
Mobo: MSI Z77 MPower or Gigabyte Z77 UD5 or ASRock Extreme4
RAM: I think the above ram was actually a good deal, but you might want to get 2000mhz CAS9 for an overclocked cpu

Both the cheaper system the the expensive one will have small differences in performance. The real deal is to overclock the unlocked i5 or i7. If you won't overclock, my opinion is that its a waste of money to buy expensive components and keep them at stock values. You might also want to check 3-4 different websites to find any good discounts etc.
That 212 cooler is huge!! I would get the H60 unless you have the space. I have this fear of coolers ripping off the board because of its weight lol. I bought that initially but I had to return it because of its size. Besides that, it's a great cooler.

Becareful with the H60 as the pump is powered by the pins for the fan. Manually set it to max or you'll have wild temperatures.
 
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#18
I think before you spend any money, you should try overclocking the snot out of that 965 and see if you like the results. :)
 

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#19
The M4A79 is a great board so it should OC nicely.
 

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#20
Thanks again.

I'll give overclocking a try, but I'll probably wait until I have the parts ready to buy.

Now to do some searching on how to overclock safely.

EDIT: After trying some overclocking, I only managed to get it to 3.80ghz, anything higher and it just gets unstable. There was a small FPS increase in Planetside 2, so I think that game is just crappily optimized. Otherwise, everything else seems to run fine.
 
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#21
Thanks again.

I'll give overclocking a try, but I'll probably wait until I have the parts ready to buy.

Now to do some searching on how to overclock safely.

EDIT: After trying some overclocking, I only managed to get it to 3.80ghz, anything higher and it just gets unstable. There was a small FPS increase in Planetside 2, so I think that game is just crappily optimized. Otherwise, everything else seems to run fine.
did you try bumping voltage? mess with HT and memory settings? It's pretty common for people to get 4 ghz+ out of that chip
 

Vertrucio

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#22
I bumped up the voltage, but didn't try messing with HT or memory settings, partly because I have some generic memory that I don't remember all the stats for.

Looking at CPU-Z and other info online, I seem to have the C2 variant that really only overclocks to 3.8ghz, anything higher requires a lot of voltage. Keeping it at that speed eventually caused a BSOD during an extended crysis 3 session.

I'm not really upset at this since I bought this 965 as part of a really, really cheap bundle a long time ago.

However, your comment about buying expensive parts and not overclocking also made me realize that I am wasting my money. These companies are making these parts with overclocking in mind, likely building in some "standard" level of overclockability. Not using that potential is a waste, especially when I want the performance that comes from it, so I'll be making sure to look into overclocking for any parts I buy.
 
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#23
I bumped up the voltage, but didn't try messing with HT or memory settings, partly because I have some generic memory that I don't remember all the stats for.

Looking at CPU-Z and other info online, I seem to have the C2 variant that really only overclocks to 3.8ghz, anything higher requires a lot of voltage. Keeping it at that speed eventually caused a BSOD during an extended crysis 3 session.

I'm not really upset at this since I bought this 965 as part of a really, really cheap bundle a long time ago.

However, your comment about buying expensive parts and not overclocking also made me realize that I am wasting my money. These companies are making these parts with overclocking in mind, likely building in some "standard" level of overclockability. Not using that potential is a waste, especially when I want the performance that comes from it, so I'll be making sure to look into overclocking for any parts I buy.
Remember what you're giving up in reliability when you OC. If you plan on using these parts for more than 2 years then I would suggest that you don't OC or a very mild OC. There will be people that will tell they've ran *insert cpu you oc the snot out of here* to 5.8ghz for 8 years long 24/7 in an open chassis outside in the rain and snow. But the point is that your chances of having a failure is greatly increased. There are no standard level of OC really. It's mostly marketing and voids warranty. Of course an expensive board with better parts will OC better but a diference in 200mhz isn't going to do much for you when it's 4.8 ghz vs 5 ghz. Think about that when you choose between a $100 and a $150 board.
The most important thing about any PC build is stability and reliability. Aim for that first and OC should only be a bonus/fun.
 
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#24
Remember what you're giving up in reliability when you OC. If you plan on using these parts for more than 2 years then I would suggest that you don't OC or a very mild OC.
That is not true advise. You can safely OC your CPU without shortening it's life or causing instability issues. It will depend on your motherboard and cpu as to how far you can OC, but as long as you stay within the thermal and voltage limits for your hardware, OC'ing WILL NOT HURT IT. Keep your CPU voltage below 1.4 volts and keep your CPU temp below 80'c at full load, 70'c for everyday use, and your hardware will be just fine. Go beyond those limits, and you will start to hurt your hardware.
 
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#25
That is not true advise. You can safely OC your CPU without shortening it's life or causing instability issues. It will depend on your motherboard and cpu as to how far you can OC, but as long as you stay within the thermal and voltage limits for your hardware, OC'ing WILL NOT HURT IT. Keep your CPU voltage below 1.4 volts and keep your CPU temp below 80'c at full load, 70'c for everyday use, and your hardware will be just fine. Go beyond those limits, and you will start to hurt your hardware.
Here we go, you are full of bias. There is no way you can ever tell me that OC will not decrease reliability. Any engineer will tell you that. That is also the reason why they bin CPUs/GPUs/etc... and clock them differently to achieve the same general rated life expectancy. Unless you want to tell me binning is a marketing stunt?

Just because OC worked out for you doesn't mean it worked out for everyone. In fact, there's people posting about it in the forums. Let's not ignore the fact that most OCers don't really complain when it fails because that is an expected risk. So you will not hear or see anything when someone OC and their hardware failed over time. It simply means an upgrade opportunity for those individuals. Normally, you hear more people boast about successful high OC or the thing lasted X years because it is something impressive to talk about rather than a failure.

I have built and OC a lot of computers. I also kept them for years and pass them on to relatives and families after I'm done with them. So far, most OC'ed computers always have a failure in less than 3(mostly around the 2 year mark). While most computers i kept at stock speeds stayed reliable for well over 3 years before problems creep up. I don't like to pay extra for a motherboard and cooler to OC because I can just put that money towards a hgher clocked/better CPU and keep my reliability. My experience and statistics of nearly 30 computers built over 10 years is probably more accurate than your opinion.

To reiterate my point, OC is not for reliability or stability. You can do it at your risk to have fun, get extra performance for free, or achievement benchmark records. If you use your PC and rely on it, it is not recommended. It also increase cost, maintenance and voids warranties.
 
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