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Suggestions for extra FPS on HD 6950?

AkiTanaka

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#1
I'm just looking for some good advice on what to do to get more FPS. My specs are as follows:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 840 @ 3.21GHz
GPU: XFX Radeon HD 6950 2GB Single Fan Reference model
RAM: 6GB, 2GB + 4GB (4GB is PNY, 2GB is unknown brand, both not sure if DDR3, DDR2, or etc)
Mobo: ASUS M4N68T-M V2
Case: Orion 202EVO (Has 3 working fans, one up top, one on the rear, and one on the side, all 120mm)

Running slight OC @ 840/1325, anything above that really and I'll start getting artifacts and a glitchy screen. Left attachment below is readings of GPU-Z under idle, slight browser use. Right attachment is under BF3 play at Ultra settings, giving me an average of 34 FPS. Any suggestions? I'm already running a custom fan curve. I heard temperature is a factor, and that when people water cool their GPU with an H60 for example, it allows them to OC more and get it to be stable. Also I heard that air flow is a big contribution for temperatures as well. With the small case, should I upgrade the case, or go straight to buy an H60, or what? I can get pics of what it looks like on the inside if needed. I'm a little new to all of this so please be friendly. :)

Edit: Attached thumbnail of my specific card.
Edit 2: Shaders are also unlocked to 1536.
 

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#2
lower bitmap quality in ccc


in bf3 set shadows to low also should get major fps increase
 

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#4
I meant overall in terms of how to get a better OC. Say, in preparation for BF4.
Unfortunately it doesn't sound like it from your original post.

Temperatures don't normally cause artifacts, lack of voltage and a weakening GPU does.
 

AkiTanaka

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#5
Unfortunately it doesn't sound like it from your original post.

Temperatures don't normally cause artifacts, lack of voltage and a weakening GPU does.
Yeah I know, bad at explaining things. But that's what I was going for. How can I determine if the GPU is becoming weak? I have the power limit set to 20 on MSI.
 
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#6
Hi

34 FPS is about right if you are playing at 1920x1200 or 1920x1080 not much more to be had from the card; VRM's look cool under load and the GPU looks fine
Example: [Note: the PC spec's differ from your rig this is not a direct comparison]
BF3 6950 1920x1200.jpg

Atifacting shows that the vga card is at or very near it's limit. even with a waterblock the chip may only get 4 or 5 fps difference and pushing the card like that may shorten it's lifespan.

with regard to the case; as long as the fans are sucking air in to the case at the front or side of the rig and expelling air at the rear and top; there should and is good air flow which shows from the temps that are posted in the OP

NB: lowering the res may help achive higher fps

atb (all the best)

Law-II
 
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#7
I'm still running a Powercolor 6950 1Gb model, and I get Great FPS. I'd say that Just like with Everything from GPU's to CPU's, and HDD's, that it's a bit of a "luck of the draw" thing. Mine Phuking screams for a 1Gb 2year old GPU.
What Driver are U using?
Also SEEMS that Yours is Running Quite a bit Hotter than mine. Maybe the "Blower" style design, or possibly something else, But it Shouldn't effect your performance at the Temps YOur getting. Or really ever, Except for REALLY hot, Yours are NOT bad @ all.
@theoneandonlymrk.... I agree, The Memory temps is a deciding factor in some performance. I frequently dissassemble and check the pads.

Are You Certain that the Left one is Basically IDLE?? it Seems a Bit much to be running 40% Core usage @ near idle. Should be , like 1%-5%.This is running 6 tabs, with 1080p Youtube as well. Oh I see You have it set to MAX Value. Sorry.
[/IMG]
 
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#8
I find gfx is mostly temp limited in the vrm area or gpu mine max at 70/52 respectively with full cover blocks , enough rad and 925/1200 any game stable with max bench able Still 1000/1150 gpu/mem on older cards 3+ years.
 

AkiTanaka

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#9
I'm still running a Powercolor 6950 1Gb model, and I get Great FPS. I'd say that Just like with Everything from GPU's to CPU's, and HDD's, that it's a bit of a "luck of the draw" thing. Mine Phuking screams for a 1Gb 2year old GPU.
What Driver are U using?
Also SEEMS that Yours is Running Quite a bit Hotter than mine. Maybe the "Blower" style design, or possibly something else, But it Shouldn't effect your performance at the Temps YOur getting. Or really ever, Except for REALLY hot, Yours are NOT bad @ all.
@theoneandonlymrk.... I agree, The Memory temps is a deciding factor in some performance. I frequently dissassemble and check the pads.

Are You Certain that the Left one is Basically IDLE?? it Seems a Bit much to be running 40% Core usage @ near idle. Should be , like 1%-5%.This is running 6 tabs, with 1080p Youtube as well. Oh I see You have it set to MAX Value. Sorry.
It was set to MAX and I probably did something to set it that high, if you look at the flow meter it went back down.

As for everything everybody has said, if I understand correctly, all I need to do is keep somewhat average temps and I'll be fine?

And in the end, basically this is the cards limit?
 
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#10
That card is a Great GPU, Just try realize that it is Getting older now, and Current titles will push it. You COULD have Done MUCH worse. You could swap for a 7970 or something current, and it would resolve the issue, IF money isn't too tight for You, But Your getting Basically what Your gonna get out of it. These things get old quick. You COULD try to run a different Driver version, and See which works best for You. I PERSONALLY wipe ALL old AMD driver's, (I have an INTEL based system) and atleast Try the Newer drivers. 12.10 is pretty good though.New Thermal Paste would Likely help a Little with temps if Your concerned, You could get some @ radioshack, or Your local Electronics dealer, e.g. bestbuy, etc.. Best of luck.
 
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#11
If it is a reference card have you tried flipping that little swittch and flashing it with a reference 6970 bios?
 

AkiTanaka

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#12
That card is a Great GPU, Just try realize that it is Getting older now, and Current titles will push it. You COULD have Done MUCH worse. You could swap for a 7970 or something current, and it would resolve the issue, IF money isn't too tight for You, But Your getting Basically what Your gonna get out of it. These things get old quick. You COULD try to run a different Driver version, and See which works best for You. I PERSONALLY wipe ALL old AMD driver's, (I have an INTEL based system) and atleast Try the Newer drivers. 12.10 is pretty good though.New Thermal Paste would Likely help a Little with temps if Your concerned, You could get some @ radioshack, or Your local Electronics dealer, e.g. bestbuy, etc.. Best of luck.
Thermal paste.. Yeah I tried opening my card earlier to see how the current paste is doing and.. I could never get it to open. I unscrewed all the screws on the backside of the card, then did the 2 little screws I found where the HDMI and all is. It would be loose but it would never come off.. I even tried pushing the clips in, but I found that amazingly difficult as it didn't snap in to hold itself. Any suggestions?
 
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#14
No I haven't, I already have the shaders unlocked, would it make a big difference?
No.
You will most likely damage the vram by flashing to 6970 bios more than anything.
The shaders are already unlocked so there is not much else you can do except OC it.
 
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#15
if shaders are unlocked, wouldnt pushing the clocks to 6970 speeds be the same thing as flashing a 6970 bios?

what settings are you running? i would just drop MSAA first thing when FXAA/SMAA are available, it's also been said that BF3 gets quite a hit when MSAA is enabled

i like to keep the overall look of gfx as high as possible, so i wouldnt touch lighting or shadow options, except in this case i think you have the option of HBAO vs HDAO, try the lower one to get a boost there as well
 
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#17
No I haven't, I already have the shaders unlocked, would it make a big difference?
Having the memory above 1325 makes little difference until the core is at 880 and above and then it really only makes for a few extra frames per second...I know some people have had issues with the memory at 6970 speeds but I have not...the only issue I have encountered was UEFI BIOS's don't like to run mismatched GFX bios's and you have to use RBE to rename the 6970 BIOS as a 6950 BIOS.
 

AkiTanaka

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#18
Thanks for replying everyone. Following the suggestions and everything, I am going to end up buying a new GFX card pretty soon. What are the suggestions for an upgrade from the HD 6950?

By the way, I did manage to OC further, I managed to get my voltage to 1.2v and the clocks are now 915/1425. But you guys were right, it's not that much of a difference. The voltage stayed at 0.9v idle and just went up to 1.065v (stock voltage) no matter how much I tried to change it but everything is fine now.

Got a new case fan, re-did my wiring so it's neater, and got rid of dust and it now peaks at 53C.

Still open to suggestions for a new GPU or suggestions for upgrades. (Ex. I want to be able to play BF4 on Medium settings at the least with about 45fps or more average no matter what's going on in the game.) What do you think?

EDIT: I haven't ignored the Graphics change settings with turning down MSAA etc. I've done them and thanks. I didn't know it made that much of a difference. :)