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System underperforms, test results

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#1
So my secondary gaming system, mainly used by my wife for her gaming purposes, showed some signs of not being 100%. Firstly I thought BF3 behaved strangely, but it is very playable. Then War of the Roses, her new favorite, really disappoints.

The system is made of:

Motherboard: MSI 990FXA-GD80
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 (140W)
CPU cooler: Zalman CNPS10X
RAM: 8Gb DDR3-1866
Video cards: Radeon 7970 3Gb + MSI GTX 460 768mb for PhysX
PSU: Corsair TX 750
Sound card: Auzentech Prelude X-Fi

The first thing that came to mind was bad RAM, so I ran a test utility, and the RAM is free of errors. So then I ran SiSoft SANDRA, and this is where I got the bad news...

The overall score was 4.71kPT, whereas the normal range for the system is around 8 to 12kPT.

Processor Multi-Media = 1.23 MPix/s *OK*
Processor Arithmetic = 47.01GIPS / 49.93GIPS
Processor Multi-Core Efficiency = 2.74GB/s *OK*
Memory Transaction throughput = 4.75MTPS / 4.88MTPS

I haven't been able to pinpoint which of SANDRA's tests give it such a bad score, given that I have a lot of trouble understanding the charts and the scores. Among other factors, SANDRA itself doesn't give comparable computers' results for the aggregate, which muddies waters. On their website they state that my data is out of range, and I agree, but as I wrote before, I haven't been able to pinpoint it yet.

Interestingly 3D Mark 11 free Scores P7035, which is perfectly normal, I believe.

3D Mark Vantage free edition also looks very normal, with P18695.

I can swap the CPU with another X4 965 I have in the house, but the CPU scores in SANDRA look fine.

I am baffled, any ideas?
 
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#2
Your CPU is bottlenecking that 7970 hard. In games it will still be playable but that GPU can't fully stretch its legs.

Also, what version of the AMD driver are you on? Any other games played that you feel aren't performing up to par??
 

MxPhenom 216

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#3
Your CPU is bottlenecking that 7970 hard. In games it will still be playable but that GPU can't fully stretch its legs.

Also, what version of the AMD driver are you on? Any other games played that you feel aren't performing up to par??
Probably this.

Is your CPU just running at stock speeds? id clock that bitch if you can.
 
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#4
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#5
If it's a multiplayer game, it's probably the CPU. The early Phenom/II and Athlon/II derivatives are about as good as the old Core 2 Duos/Quads that were common 5 years ago. Even my i7-3770K and HD 7970 gets significant frame rate drops in Skyrim and TF2 and my GPU isn't even loaded all the way (from 120 FPS VSYNC down to ~80 FPS), so I'd say every bit of CPU power helps.
 
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#6
Your CPU is bottlenecking that 7970 hard. In games it will still be playable but that GPU can't fully stretch its legs.

Also, what version of the AMD driver are you on? Any other games played that you feel aren't performing up to par??
We usually make sure that we turn up the graphics settings until we are about 90% GPU utilization, or the FPS start dropping significantly below 50. So in terms of pure FPS, it is true that the CPU may be limiting the GPU in some games, but we still make use of the GPU power to good effect.

Other games seem to do good, including BFBC2, which is fairly CPU intensive. But then again, I'm not the one using the PC. I guess I should fire up a CPU-intensive game and see if the performance is once again lacking... Any suggestions?

Also, I have tried running the game (War of the Roses) off the GTX 460, and it is significantly slower, except the slowest parts of the game (in the fight-heavy situations), which show the same FPS of 20-30. A friend of mine runs an X4 955 with a couple Radeon 6950s and has no such slowdowns.

Probably this.

Is your CPU just running at stock speeds? id clock that bitch if you can.
This machine use to sport an X6 1100t, but that got burnt out due to memory overclocking. This is a 140W model. OC'ing is possible, and the cooler can handle lots of heat, but I am a bit wary of doing it. I mean, I don't think the 140W CPUs are good overclockers anyway... What will 200mhz do for us? Not much, that's for sure.


Try it using a game focuser Like Game Booster and see if it helps http://www.gufile.com/b/game-booster-334/

or just kill the extra processes (that really do build up over time) manually.
I don't know anything about game booster, I'll give that a look, thanks!

I have, however, used Enditall, to kill all the background processes. No difference.

If it's a multiplayer game, it's probably the CPU. The early Phenom/II and Athlon/II derivatives are about as good as the old Core 2 Duos/Quads that were common 5 years ago. Even my i7-3770K and HD 7970 gets significant frame rate drops in Skyrim and TF2 and my GPU isn't even loaded all the way (from 120 FPS VSYNC down to ~80 FPS), so I'd say every bit of CPU power helps.
Skyrim is notorious for using only a part of the CPU, skipping a lot of cycles, for whatever reason. It isn't a good example, but thanks for your advice.

Anyone else with ideas?

Thanks
 
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#7
Using benchmark software is not a good way to scale anything. Changes in the program such as the slue of recent updates to Sandra can change score.

I think you are just convincing yourself of an issue that does not exist. If anything it may just need a good cleaning to avoid the CPU down clocking to avoid overheating is my best guess.

You could also upgrade her to an FX-8320 or FX-8350.

P.S. Game Booster and software like it are all complete BS. All Full screen software takes priority. The only way background tasks are getting in the way of performance is if they are using the Internet bandwidth on multiplayer games. You may want to run a virus scan and a thorough cleaning, but Game Booster will not help.
 
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#8
Using benchmark software is not a good way to scale anything. Changes in the program such as the slue of recent updates to Sandra can change score.

I think you are just convincing yourself of an issue that does not exist. If anything it may just need a good cleaning to avoid the CPU down clocking to avoid overheating is my best guess.

You could also upgrade her to an FX-8320 or FX-8350.

P.S. Game Booster and software like it are all complete BS. All Full screen software takes priority. The only way background tasks are getting in the way of performance is if they are using the Internet bandwidth on multiplayer games. You may want to run a virus scan and a thorough cleaning, but Game Booster will not help.
I have been wondering about the FX-8350 in gaming, and after some research, it does appear that the FX-8350 does provide a significant boost in performance over an X4 965... I'll go and get one, see if that helps. Thanks! :)
 

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#9
I have been wondering about the FX-8350 in gaming, and after some research, it does appear that the FX-8350 does provide a significant boost in performance over an X4 965... I'll go and get one, see if that helps. Thanks! :)
My 8350 performs just as well as my 3570k in games (real world performance, i dont care about synthetic results), it was clocked at 4.8Ghz mind you, on a h80 at that point.
So I think you will be very happy with the results!
 
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#10
My 8350 performs just as well as my 3570k in games (real world performance, i dont care about synthetic results), it was clocked at 4.8Ghz mind you, on a h80 at that point.
So I think you will be very happy with the results!
I think I should be able to get a nice OC using a Zalman CNPX-10X, maybe not as good as water however... Hm... Maybe get a closed loop like yours at the same time... Antec Kuhler H2O 920 a good choice?
 
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RCoon

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#11
I think I should be able to get a nice OC using a Zalman CNPX-10X, maybe not as good as water however... Hm... Maybe get a closed loop like yours at the same time...
I got hold of a second hand H100 after using my H80 for other things as a refurb for a mere £60. Then Ebuyer accidentally sent me a new one (i was honest and told them their mistake, but they let me keep it all the same).
620's and 920's are a perfectly reasonable choice for the 8350 though.
 
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#12
Hm, due to the nature of the case, a very handsome Lian-Li, and the placement of the machine, our living room, I am restricted to a single 120mm rad, so I think the Corsair H80i would be among my top choices?
 

RCoon

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#13
Hm, due to the nature of the case, a very handsome Lian-Li, and the placement of the machine, our living room, I am restricted to a single 120mm rad, so I think the Corsair H80i would be among my top choices?
I assume you mean 120mm fan aswell as the rad for room? In which case yes, and in some cases H80i will perform just as well as a H100.

Please Note: dont use the corsair link BS software, it doesnt work properly, and when it does, it sucks anyway.
 
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#14
Horrux when you originally said not running at 100% in the first post does that mean that the rig was running the games at more of a 100% than now?
 
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#15
Horrux when you originally said not running at 100% in the first post does that mean that the rig was running the games at more of a 100% than now?
Well, it's hard to tell... I don't game on that PC because it's also our living room PC, I browse and play movies & music on it, that's about all. My wife is the gamer on it, and she's not tech-savvy enough to tell if things are right or not, only that performance isn't satisfactory, in this case in the War of the Roses game. Great game BTW.

She gets FPS drops to 25-30 in moments of heavy fighting, which I consider to be abnormal. Moreover, a friend of mine runs the game with an X4 955 and says he doesn't get slowdowns at all. He's running a pair of 6950s however, so it isn't the same machine. Thing is, when I reduce image quality settings, max FPS increase, but min FPS remain the same, which leads me to say it's on the CPU side of the equation. How can a 965 underperform a 955?

The thing that makes me nervous about buying an FX-8350 (and a closed water system for it) is if it's the motherboard or software that somehow makes this under-performance happen, then buying these things will just cost money and not fix anything.

I guess my only steps would be to swap the CPU with another X4 965 I have in another desktop, and see if that helps anything. Also, I'm thinking of erasing all PhysX and running driver sweeper to be sure everything is removed, then installing it again, see if that helps. Coz that game uses PhysX, although I don't know if it's a CPU-side only implementation or a more flexible one. I've been trying to find out but no luck.

Is there a more definitive test of PC performance I could use in order to diagnose problems?
 

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#16
Well, it's hard to tell... I don't game on that PC because it's also our living room PC, I browse and play movies & music on it, that's about all. My wife is the gamer on it, and she's not tech-savvy enough to tell if things are right or not, only that performance isn't satisfactory, in this case in the War of the Roses game. Great game BTW.

She gets FPS drops to 25-30 in moments of heavy fighting, which I consider to be abnormal. Moreover, a friend of mine runs the game with an X4 955 and says he doesn't get slowdowns at all. He's running a pair of 6950s however, so it isn't the same machine. Thing is, when I reduce image quality settings, max FPS increase, but min FPS remain the same, which leads me to say it's on the CPU side of the equation. How can a 965 underperform a 955?

The thing that makes me nervous about buying an FX-8350 (and a closed water system for it) is if it's the motherboard or software that somehow makes this under-performance happen, then buying these things will just cost money and not fix anything.

I guess my only steps would be to swap the CPU with another X4 965 I have in another desktop, and see if that helps anything. Also, I'm thinking of erasing all PhysX and running driver sweeper to be sure everything is removed, then installing it again, see if that helps. Coz that game uses PhysX, although I don't know if it's a CPU-side only implementation or a more flexible one. I've been trying to find out but no luck.
Check taskmgr for a process called iehigh. If you see it, kill it, and run malwarebytes.
 

ueutyi

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#17
Your CPU Need to overclock to get 7970 working properly
 
Joined
Jun 2, 2011
Messages
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System Name An experiment in continuous upgrading
Processor Intel Core i7 2600k @ 4.2 Ghz | Phenom II X4 965 | Phenom II X4 965
Motherboard MSI P67A-GD53 | MSI 990FXA-GD80 | Asus M4A79 Deluxe
Cooling Noctua NH-D14 | Zalman CNPS10x | Coolermaster*212+
Memory Kingston KHX1866C9D3K2 |*8Gb | 8Gb
Video Card(s) MSI GTX 580 TF2 x 2 (SLI) | Sapphire Radeon 7970 + GTX 460 | Radeon 4870 1Gb
Storage Crucial M4 120gb Sata3 SSD + WD Caviar black 1Tb + 1.5Tb | WD Caviar Black 1Tb x 3 | WD Blue 500gb
Display(s) Samsung S23A700D 120hz + nVidia 3D Vision + 17" Acer secondary LCD | 40" Sony 1080p TV | Sam. 2233rz
Case Antec 1200 | Lian-Li PC-8 | Antec 302
Audio Device(s) Auzentech Prelude X-Fi + Senn. PC360 G4ME | Prelude X-Fi + Home theater | Creative HS-1200
Power Supply Corsair TX850W | Corsair TX 750 | OCZ 700
Software About 400 top-rated games. | 150 top-rated games | No games
Benchmark Scores No time for benching, I prefer gaming.
#18
Your CPU Need to overclock to get 7970 working properly
Seriously, don't post in someone's thread if you have no idea what you are talking about. It will do you lots of good to learn before you say something that simply isn't true.
 
Joined
Jun 2, 2011
Messages
739 (0.31/day)
Likes
125
System Name An experiment in continuous upgrading
Processor Intel Core i7 2600k @ 4.2 Ghz | Phenom II X4 965 | Phenom II X4 965
Motherboard MSI P67A-GD53 | MSI 990FXA-GD80 | Asus M4A79 Deluxe
Cooling Noctua NH-D14 | Zalman CNPS10x | Coolermaster*212+
Memory Kingston KHX1866C9D3K2 |*8Gb | 8Gb
Video Card(s) MSI GTX 580 TF2 x 2 (SLI) | Sapphire Radeon 7970 + GTX 460 | Radeon 4870 1Gb
Storage Crucial M4 120gb Sata3 SSD + WD Caviar black 1Tb + 1.5Tb | WD Caviar Black 1Tb x 3 | WD Blue 500gb
Display(s) Samsung S23A700D 120hz + nVidia 3D Vision + 17" Acer secondary LCD | 40" Sony 1080p TV | Sam. 2233rz
Case Antec 1200 | Lian-Li PC-8 | Antec 302
Audio Device(s) Auzentech Prelude X-Fi + Senn. PC360 G4ME | Prelude X-Fi + Home theater | Creative HS-1200
Power Supply Corsair TX850W | Corsair TX 750 | OCZ 700
Software About 400 top-rated games. | 150 top-rated games | No games
Benchmark Scores No time for benching, I prefer gaming.
#19
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