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x1900xtx - not getting the performance I expected

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#1
Hi all,

I recently bought and installed the ATI x1900xtx and I'm getting crappy frame rates in games and benchmarking utilities.

I'm not sure how to identify where the bottleneck is, and my wife isn't going to let me replace everything in the case.

Specs:
CPU: AMD 3500+
GPU: ATI x1900xtx - not overclocked
Mobo: A8N-SLI Deluxe
RAM: 1 GB Kingston
Maxtor 200GB HD, 7800 RPM
PSU: Antec TruePower Trio - 36 A on the 12V rail

The hard drive is also new. Installed the drive, installed Windows XP Pro, ran the updates, installed CA eTrust for anti-virus, updated the drivers for the graphics card and platform.

Using nForce 6.86 drivers for the platform, and catalyst version 6.1.

So, everything is freshly installed, so there shouldn't be any old driver problems, but in games like FEAR, on high settings for CPU and GPU I get frame rates of about 20-30 FPS. Similar problems in Far Cry, NWN2, Oblivion. I can run them all pretty well as long as I turn the more advanced settings down.

3dMark 05 slows to <5 FPS when run on highest settings at 1280x1024 resolution with 4x AS and 16x AA.

And with Aquamark3 I get scores of:
GPU 10611
CPU 9582
Score 68701

The card I had before, an MSI 6800GT I put in another rig and I get scores of:
10516
11125
71149

It seems to me that something is bottlenecking my system, and I can't figure out what.

I just poured $500 into a new video card and I'd love to know if the card is not functioning as promised, or - if it's something else - how do I find the problem and fix it.

Any advice is appreciated.
 
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#2
try latest 6.12 cat drivers, also 2gb ram is helpfull in current games, are you using xp or vista, if your on vista, well it needs at least 2gb ram to game(it uses 700+ for windows alone)

also fear your not gonna get huge fps in with everything maxed out , the games crazy on system requierments, cpu and gpu, dissable shadows and turn dynamic lightes down a bit if your gonna run with aa cranked up.
 

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#3
Anti virus will slow a machine down while gaming and benching also. Try disabling it while benching (If you havent already)
 
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#4
Those are fair points, and there are certainly performance differences when I turn down the settings, but there was virtually no performance difference after installing the new video card.

Why is it that a card I bought two years ago, the 256 MB 6800 GT, not overclocked, gets the same benchmark scores as the brand new x1900xtx, advertised as the fastest consumer GPU on the market (at the time I bought it).

I've disabled the AV on the computer (eTrust has very low overhead, shouldn't interfere with games, but it's worth a shot)

I'm going to wipe the drivers and install the new Catalyst drivers now, and see how it goes.

On benchmarking forums for Aquamark and 3dMark other people with my video card and a similar rig are getting 2 or 3 times the score I'm getting.

When I run the card in Vista, the scores drop dramatically.
Aquamark scores:
GPU: 3177
CPU: 4097
Score: 22899

Vista's scoring of my system was a 4.2 overall, with CPU being the lowest score. GPU got a 5.8
 

Athlon2K15

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#5
why are you running benches with Vista? vista has to be the most resource sucking os so far....and its still beta for us end users...
 
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#6
Updated to Catalyst drivers 6.12, aquamark3 yielded results only marginally higher, no discernible difference in game performance.

Aquamark3 scores:
GPU: 10896
CPU: 9661
Score: 69673
 

Athlon2K15

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#7
my Aquamark 3 score is 90,712 and i only have a 7600GT
 
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#8
:p I'm running my benches in XP Pro, I have Vista installed on another drive because we received a copy of the beta through work just to check out.

However, all of the benchmarks and frame rates mentioned in my posts are from XP.

Cheers.
 
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#9
my Aquamark 3 score is 90,712 and i only have a 7600GT
Right, that's my question. Why do my scores suck so much, with a brand new higher end card? Is it hardware, software, incompatible hardware resources?

I don't know what I'm doing wrong, I just know it's slower than it should be.
 

WarEagleAU

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#10
Perhaps its your processor? That board is Skt 939. Its a good board and all, but perhaps the other systems with that card are using AM2 and C2D. If you have updated every driver known, and still having issues, it could be AGP or PCIe bus settings. Im not too familiar with your card, but to go from a 6800GT to one that should double the performance of that card, and not see any difference, is extremely weird. Have you overclocked anything? Checked all bios settings to make sure nothing is out of the ordinary?

-The Eagle
 
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#11
Aye, more good questions.

Nothing is overclocked, and nothing has been on this rig. I'm not really very good at tweeking to get the very best performance, so I leave that to smarter people than me.

All the BIOS settings are standard, I haven't changed anything, only updated the BIOS with the ASUS tools.

I ran a memtest a few nights ago on the RAM, left it running overnight, and it didn't pick up any errors. The only other problem I've had since installing this card a few weeks ago is that when I turn the high end shading graphics in Neverwinter Nights 2 I get a lot of artifacting, and the game locks after about 60 seconds. So, I turn those shadow settings down or off and it runs ok, just choppy.

The Catalyst control panel says the card is running at 56 degrees C, and under heavy load that gets up to about 62 C.

I guess I'm just wondering if it's a bad video card, although usually if the card has a flaw it wouldn't run at all, or crash all the time, rather than just being slow. Should I RMA it to ATI, replace the RAM? Replace the Mobo?

I don't have much money left now that Christmas is on us, so I can't just the whole thing. :laugh:
 

Athlon2K15

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#12
what kind of power supply are you using? is the card getting the power it needs?

EDIT: looks like ur power supply is sufficient for the card but how many watts is the power supply? if it under 400w that could be your problem
 

bruins004

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#13
Hmmm....
Sounds like an interesting problems.
Did you happen to un-install the nvidia drivers before you put the cat. drivers on.
That could def. cause a problem.

Your RAM could also be holding some of you back, but def. not that much.
 
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#14
Thanks for taking the time to look at this. I appreciate it.

Original post should read that the power supply is an Antec Truepower Trio 550W.

Instead of wiping the old nvidia drivers, I installed a new hard drive, and re-installed the OS and drivers on it. I wanted some extra storage, and was finding that XP was running sluggish, so I got a new drive and set it up as the boot drive.
 

bruins004

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#15
Hmm I am curious if the PSU is working correctly.
It is possible that one of the rails in not working properly (such as maybe the one that is powering the PSU).
You might want to take a look at the amps being supplied on that rail.
 

Namslas90

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#16
I have the same card (see specs <). If that power supply actually has 38 Amps on the 12 volt rail you should be ok with that. If it turns out that the 36 amps is the total amps available( what i think) then you need to find out exactly how many amps on the 12v rail. You need 22 to 26 amps on that rail.
Also a note about ATI Drivers.

ATI drivers are kinda nuts. They stick in your hardrive like glue, more importantly they leave fragment behind that mess things up. So whenever you change your ATI drivers, do the following:
1) Use add/remove programs to remove driver
2) Use 'search' to locate additional files and remove.
3) Defragment Hdd and then reboot.

Ati drivers leave a history file that can dictate what driver you actually get in the download/install.

Go to the ATI site to download drivers, select the card version and windows XP.

Important > Do not download the Cataylist 'SUITE". Look at the bottom of the page for 'additional drivers.

Download only the top 3 drivers Cat 1, Cat 2, and the .Net thing.

Do not use the AVIVO or WDM drivers unless the normal Cat drivers do not support your Monitor. Then load WDM.

Your CPU is probably overwelmed by the avivo drivers so don't use them, you don't need them, unless watching DVD's.

Try above process and if it doesn't help, then try Catalyst version 6.9.

You would be better off with 2GB Ram, but you should get higher scores than that.
 

bruins004

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#17
I have heard that multi-rail GPUs can actually share amps that they are not using.
However, there are not many of them since this kind of thing is expensive to make.

I doubt that the Antec Trio has that ability.
Therefore, the Amps that are un-used on one rail cannot be transferred over to another.
Hence, that is why I believe his PSU is either not supplying enough power or there is a faulty rail
 

Namslas90

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#18
I have heard that multi-rail GPUs can actually share amps that they are not using.
However, there are not many of them since this kind of thing is expensive to make.

I doubt that the Antec Trio has that ability.
Therefore, the Amps that are un-used on one rail cannot be transferred over to another.
Hence, that is why I believe his PSU is either not supplying enough power or there is a faulty rail
Could be, I'm sure that 35 amp rating is the Total PSU Amps available. It took me a lot of research to find a good PSU, ( 2 returns) till I got the right one. Most likely his PSU only has an 18 Amps rail and a 20 amp rail.
 
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#19
The Antec Truepower Trio information can be found here:

Antec Truepower Triohttp://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=23550

This model actually has 3 12V rails, each at 18A max load, so maybe I'm reading it wrong all together.

I didn't research this PSU before buying, I just knew that I needed a more powerful supply and asked the guy at the store to recommend one. He said that you would add together the values until 12V1, 12V2 and 12V3 for your total AMP output.

The PSU was bought the same time as the card and drive, so if that's the problem I can replace it. So, it's starting to sound like 18+18+18 does not necessarily equal more than 18A of power. If your power supply is insufficient, would a card like this scale down its performance to match its power source?

A
 

bruins004

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#20
The guy was correct in one aspect.
To get the total Amps on that PSU you do add them together.

But what he didnt tell you is that when some amps arent used on one of the rails, those amps are not transferred over to the other 2 rails.
The problem you prob. are having then is that one rail is only supplying power to your GPU.
So that card is only getting 18amps.
Unless you connected 2 rails to it which would supply it with 36 amps.
 

hagr

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#21
pretty weak CPU

well. I would think you have a too weak CPU... I got a 3800+ and a x1800GTO, and the CPU was always in 100% load, playing or benching... so I needed a faster CPU.. bought a new x2 4200+, and I can see how well it performs compared to the 3800+ I think I suddenly can use my x1800GTO as it`s suposed to be used ;)
 
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#22
uninstall old drivers, restart to safe mode, use drivercleaner pro to remove remnants of old drivers, install new drivers, far easyer then surching around for old driver files manualy :p
 
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#23
there is something seriously wrong. it's not your cpu or ram tho. it's either gpu or psu (most likely, judging from what is written above).

i want to say it prolly isn't psu because you are not encountering any stability issues (am i right in that statement), therefore it's your gpu

(i'm pretty sure it isn't cpu or ram because you had these same things with your 6800 and score was similiar. the psu is however under more load...)

also, your new hdd does not directly affect fps except at loading junctions usually (it hasn't been mentioned much, but i at least wanted to recognize that it is most likely not that)

so


make sure you aren't forcing any features in ati catalyst control (AA, AF, etc)
this is a top reason why people see less performance than they expected when getting a new card

also, run 3D05 with everything standard (1024x768 with no AA or AF) and report the score.

list of things to be sure of -
running only 1 monitor
3D clocks are being initiated (dl atitool and run fuzzy dice thing)
you are not running a lot of background apps (take a screen shot of task manager with all processes that are running)
 
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#24
i want to say it prolly isn't psu because you are not encountering any stability issues (am i right in that statement), therefore it's your gpu
ok, we're really rocking this post. There have been a few stability issues with the new configuration - I've gotten the occasional blue screen crash - but I had attributed that to maybe my RAM starting to fail since it was crashing at random times during operations that were not graphics intensive. For example, I tend to get a blue screen and reboot when I close Firefox, or a couple of times when I've had a number of tabs open or was loading a video. I assumed it was an unrelated issue, maybe that was ignorant of me. The only time I got reboots while in a game was with Neverwinter Nights 2 with all settings turned all the way up to max.

(i'm pretty sure it isn't cpu or ram because you had these same things with your 6800 and score was similiar. the psu is however under more load...)
For the sake of clarity, the 6800 I was running was not run with this power supply. I've given that 6800 away to a friend, and he's having a great time with it. But I haven't run it with this PSU. He gets very similar numbers to mine, with my old card and basically the same rig (he has intel, I have amd)

also, your new hdd does not directly affect fps except at loading junctions usually (it hasn't been mentioned much, but i at least wanted to recognize that it is most likely not that)
Mostly I just mentioned that to indicate there shouldn't be any 'old driver' issues, since it's a clean install on a new hdd.

make sure you aren't forcing any features in ati catalyst control (AA, AF, etc)
this is a top reason why people see less performance than they expected when getting a new card

also, run 3D05 with everything standard (1024x768 with no AA or AF) and report the score.

list of things to be sure of -
running only 1 monitor
3D clocks are being initiated (dl atitool and run fuzzy dice thing)
you are not running a lot of background apps (take a screen shot of task manager with all processes that are running)
All settings in the catalyst control are set to default, nothing has been changed, everything is application controlled.

Only 1 monitor, not a lot of background apps. I have google desktop (not indexing) ATI Catalyst, volume, MSN Messenger, Logitech Keyboard and Mouse, eTrust anti-virus and Safely remove hardware.

Take manager shows 38 processes running, including Firefox and Outlook, and I keep a pretty good eye on that. I can take a screenshot if you like, but there isn't anything in there that I didn't put there.

I'll run the 3dmark tonight and post the results. As for the 3d clocks, I don't know how to do that so I'll look on the net and try it out.
 
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#25