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New 6970, but am I hardware limited?

jamesbond007

Diamond Member
Dec 21, 2000
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All,

I got a pretty good deal on a 6970 2GB that I couldn't pass up to swap out my heaterblock in my computer, AKA Radeon 4870 512MB. After doing a driver cleaning, it does not seem to be much faster than my 4870 in some regards.

I play at 1920x1200 in games, but I could never crank up the AA or AF because the 4870 would choke after 2x at that resolution. With the new card, I can put it on any setting and it does not lower my FPS at all...

I don't have any benchmarks yet from 3DMark or anything else, but I do use WoW to bench. :) I recently built my friend a new computer with an Intel i7-2600K CPU, 16GB RAM, same Radeon 6970 2GB, and the ASUS Sabertooth P67 motherboard. His FPS is nearly double or triple of what I get at the same settings! I have tried changing back and forth from DX9 and DX11, but no dice.

In the main cities I will get between 25-30fps with every possible setting maxed, sometimes dipping into the high teens, which isn't right. Last night I hooked up a spare hard drive, installed Windows 7 fresh and downloaded WoW, but I got the exact same results. (yes, I did turn off all my addons and I never installed any on my temporary Windows install last night) I even tried his video card, but I yielded the same numbers.

The only thing I can conclude is that I seem to be CPU limited some how or perhaps there is a bandwidth limitation of the X48 chipset I have. We have traveled to a secluded area and his FPS will still be almost always double that of mine. I can run some other benches and other games later if you'd like, but I just can't fathom the fact I would be limited in some CPU-related way at 1920x1200, even though my processor doesn't go above 25-35% CPU while playing.

My computer components:
Intel Core 2 Quad 9450 2.66GHz @ 3.2GHz
Corsair H50 'Water-cooling' (temps are ~35C at load)
ASUS Rampage Formula motherboard
8GB G.Skill 800MHz @ PC1066MHz
Sapphire Radeon 6970 2GB @ stock
OCZ Vertex 2 SSD
PC Power and Cooling 750W Silencer

I did remove my overclock last night, but that lowered my FPS more, which makes me believe even more that I am somehow limited by my CPU or motherboard.

Thanks in advance!
 
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apoppin

Lifer
Mar 9, 2000
34,890
0
0
alienbabeltech.com
First of all, you don't need driver cleaner.

Secondly use a NON-online game to compare performance with. Use 3DMark11 and try benchmarks. It could be that your Internet connection is simply slower than your friends. :p
All,

I got a pretty good deal on a 6970 2GB that I couldn't pass up to swap out my heaterblock in my computer, AKA Radeon 4870 512MB. After doing a driver cleaning, it does not seem to be much faster than my 4870 in some regards.

I play at 1920x1200 in games, but I could never crank up the AA or AF because the 4870 would choke after 2x at that resolution. With the new card, I can put it on any setting and it does not lower my FPS at all...

I don't have any benchmarks yet from 3DMark or anything else, but I do use WoW to bench. :) I recently built my friend a new computer with an Intel i7-2600K CPU, 16GB RAM, same Radeon 6970 2GB, and the ASUS Sabertooth P67 motherboard. His FPS is nearly double or triple of what I get at the same settings! I have tried changing back and forth from DX9 and DX11, but no dice.

In the main cities I will get between 25-30fps with every possible setting maxed, sometimes dipping into the high teens, which isn't right. Last night I hooked up a spare hard drive, installed Windows 7 fresh and downloaded WoW, but I got the exact same results. (yes, I did turn off all my addons and I never installed any on my temporary Windows install last night) I even tried his video card, but I yielded the same numbers.

The only thing I can conclude is that I seem to be CPU limited some how or perhaps there is a bandwidth limitation of the X48 chipset I have. We have traveled to a secluded area and his FPS will still be almost always double that of mine. I can run some other benches and other games later if you'd like, but I just can't fathom the fact I would be limited in some CPU-related way at 1920x1200, even though my processor doesn't go above 25-35% CPU while playing.

My computer components:
Intel Core 2 Quad 9450 2.66GHz @ 3.2GHz
Corsair H50 'Water-cooling' (temps are ~35C at load)
ASUS Rampage Formula motherboard
8GB G.Skill 800MHz @ PC1066MHz
Sapphire Radeon 6970 2GB @ stock
OCZ Vertex 2 SSD
PC Power and Cooling 750W Silencer

I did remove my overclock last night, but that lowered my FPS more, which makes me believe even more that I am somehow limited by my CPU or motherboard.

Thanks in advance!
 

jamesbond007

Diamond Member
Dec 21, 2000
5,280
0
71
First of all, you don't need driver cleaner.

Secondly use a NON-online game to compare performance with. Use 3DMark11 and try benchmarks. It could be that your Internet connection is simply slower than your friends. :p
Nah, he was at my house the weekend I made it for him and we played/tested things out. My connection is 50Mbps/5Mbps, so that wouldn't be an issue; pings in-game are almost always below 100ms. In regards to cleaning my drivers, I wanted to be sure I've exhausted everything I know that can cause issues. I haven't reinstalled Windows in over 2 years, so there are a lot of 'stacked' updates to my CCC. :)
 
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apoppin

Lifer
Mar 9, 2000
34,890
0
0
alienbabeltech.com
The *point* is .. never use just one game - and an online game at that (your networking might be messed on your PC; your NIC, whatever - you are introducing variables that might affect performance).

TRY running benchmarks (3DMark11, Vantage, 3DMark 06) and SP games to confirm if there are issues - or not

Sometimes driver cleaner introduces issues; it should never be used unless you are switching from ATI to Nvidia.

Nah, he was at my house the weekend I made it for him and we played/tested things out. My connection is 50Mbps/5Mbps, so that wouldn't be an issue; pings in-game are almost always below 100ms. In regards to cleaning my drivers, I wanted to be sure I've exhausted everything I know that can cause issues. I haven't reinstalled Windows in over 2 years, so there are a lot of 'stacked' updates to my CCC. :)
 
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jamesbond007

Diamond Member
Dec 21, 2000
5,280
0
71
The *point* is .. never use just one game - and an online game at that (your networking might be messed on your PC; your NIC, whatever - you are introducing variables that might affect performance).

TRY running benchmarks (3DMark11, Vantage, 3DMark 06) and SP games to confirm if there are issues or not
Ah yes, the network card! That is a valid and potential culprit...I know you're not supposed to bench an MMO, but with most everything else equal, it just didn't validate the work. :) I will run 3DMark11 tonight on both machines and report those results.

Also, I disabled my sound card as well, but never my NIC!
 

PrayForDeath

Diamond Member
Apr 12, 2004
3,489
0
76
WoW is CPU limited, especially in cities and crowded raids. It also favors clockspeed over multiple cores (yes it's very badly optimized.)

Your Core2Quad is the bottleneck.
 
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jamesbond007

Diamond Member
Dec 21, 2000
5,280
0
71
WoW is CPU limited, especially in cities and crowded raids. It also favors clockspeed over multiple cores (yes it's very badly optimized.)

Your Core2Quad is the bottleneck.
Weak! There is talk of a 64bit client coming out soon, hopefully that will be my saving grace. I knew that it didn't use 4 cores optimally, but I guess the fact that my CPU cores are not above 30% ever while playing has me baffled. One thing I have noticed recently is that it's using all 4 cores, possibly. When I play, all 4 cores are very active instead of cores 1 and 3. My buddy's rig is 3.4GHz, but his system would likely have more power per clock cycle making his more potent in the equation. :)

I am still going to run the 3DMark11 on the machines tonight for sanity's sake.
 

bryanW1995

Lifer
May 22, 2007
11,143
32
91
When it shows 25% utilization on a quad core, usually that's just an indication that the game only uses a single core.

As Apoppin stated, use 3d mark 11 for benchmarking. Another good one is crysis demo.

If your question is about whether your cpu is holding back the 6970, then the answer is "usually, though it varies by game to a greater or lesser extent".
 

s1njin

Senior member
Apr 11, 2011
304
0
0
The *point* is .. never use just one game - and an online game at that (your networking might be messed on your PC; your NIC, whatever - you are introducing variables that might affect performance).

TRY running benchmarks (3DMark11, Vantage, 3DMark 06) and SP games to confirm if there are issues - or not

Sometimes driver cleaner introduces issues; it should never be used unless you are switching from ATI to Nvidia.
Why shouldn't you use Driver Cleaner? I had to use it while updating drivers for my nVidia GTX 570. When I used the stock nVidia installer and selected clean, I was getting weird artifacts in SC2 as well as a occasional vertical line down the middle on some cutscenes. I used Driver Cleaner, reinstalled, and everything is smooth as butter. For me, it seems I had no choice?
 

jamesbond007

Diamond Member
Dec 21, 2000
5,280
0
71
Thanks bryanW1995, but as of 4.0, WoW is capable of using multiple cores, which would explain why I now see activity across all 4 cores while playing. I found an interesting thread here that looks semi-promising.
 

apoppin

Lifer
Mar 9, 2000
34,890
0
0
alienbabeltech.com
Why shouldn't you use Driver Cleaner? I had to use it while updating drivers for my nVidia GTX 570. When I used the stock nVidia installer and selected clean, I was getting weird artifacts in SC2 as well as a occasional vertical line down the middle on some cutscenes. I used Driver Cleaner, reinstalled, and everything is smooth as butter. For me, it seems I had no choice?
You should *never* have to use Driver Cleaner with Vista or Win 7 to upgrade drivers - not in a properly functioning system.

Perhaps in your specific case the drivers did not install properly; in similar cases, a second clean install of GeForce drivers usually works to correct installation issues.

As to the OP's issues, first rule out Internet issues by using multiple benchmarks - then proceed.
 

PingviN

Golden Member
Nov 3, 2009
1,848
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Overclock CPU more, if performance goes up, your CPU bound. If it doesn't, your GPU bound.

Balance is rarely the case.
 

jamesbond007

Diamond Member
Dec 21, 2000
5,280
0
71
Overclock CPU more, if performance goes up, your CPU bound. If it doesn't, your GPU bound.

Balance is rarely the case.
That would be the case then since when I took off my OC, I lost 5-8fps roughly.

What I just don't get is if I was CPU bound, wouldn't my cores be showing 100% utilization? Or as others have stated, it's a poorly coded engine, so it may not need to be fully utilized before it maxes out? :hmm: I am going to try the SetAfinity CVAR (14) when I get home and I will let you know if that helps. A lot of people on that thread I linked earlier stated they gained 10-15fps, which would be just enough to keep me afloat the 'magical' 30fps mark to keep things fluid.
 

betasub

Platinum Member
Mar 22, 2006
2,677
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Just because you have activity on all four cores does not mean that your game is making use of multiple cores. The OS scheduler moves tasks between cores (at a fast rate, faster than polling rate) to balance load. When an app only fully uses a single core, TaskManager will usually show 25-30%activity across four cores. If a second core of a quad is also fully used, this activity will be 50+%.
 

rUmX

Senior member
Feb 13, 2001
536
19
81
WoW, much like SC2, just loves cpu's with very fast cores. Lynnfield i7's were already quite a bit faster than C2Q's and then Sandy Bridge chips have higher stock clocks (and the 2600K turbo's to 3.8?) and much better IPC so it's no surprise.

I used to play WoW a ton back in the day. I used to run a A64 X2 3800+ and 8800GTS 640mb, and when I upgraded to a q6600 G0 I was very surprised to find out my CPU was tremendously limiting the 8800GTS in many, if not all the games I played. I say surprised, because I upgraded to the q6600 strictly for faster video encoding, not for gaming. To see my games running much better was just too sweet.
 

jamesbond007

Diamond Member
Dec 21, 2000
5,280
0
71
Great info here! Thank you for the replies - I indeed concluded, as you suspected, that my CPU is the limiting factor. I brought my OC from 3.2GHz to 3.6GHz last night and saw another increase in performance. Though, I don't think I will keep it at that frequency because I don't want to 'strain' the CPU...but maybe I should! Hah, I thought I read that running a CPU at the peak of what it's capable of can reduce its life significantly.

On the bright side, setting the AffinityMask CVAR in the config file to 14 increased my FPS slightly. On average, I saw about a 6fps increase over what I was getting before. The lowest I can obtain now is 25 in the hardest conditions. However, I noticed I was still on the DX9 API and I changed that to DX11 and saw another slight performance. As of writing this, my lowest is about 29-30fps so I'm happy as it is much smoother. 10fps doesn't seem like a lot, but that is about 33% increase of what I was getting on Sunday.

I would LOVE to upgrade to the system I built my friend, but I can't justify it. It's not the money, but it's the fact it's a single game that I currently get 30FPS (minimum) and spending about $800 to get the components he did just doesn't seem worth while. :) I figure I'll wait out yet another generation and buy into the 2600K's successor. EVERYTHING else I play runs well and I will try out Crysis tonight and maybe pick up BF3 later this week.

It was a bit shocking to realize my system is 3 years and 3 days old now! My, how times flies...
 

jamesbond007

Diamond Member
Dec 21, 2000
5,280
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I tried what I figured the problem to be first, but I didn't have time to play Crysis or do 3DMark11 since the GF came over. I play other games, but WoW is what I play mostly.
 

apoppin

Lifer
Mar 9, 2000
34,890
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alienbabeltech.com
I tried what I figured the problem to be first, but I didn't have time to play Crysis or do 3DMark11 since the GF came over. I play other games, but WoW is what I play mostly.
So you are drawing a conclusion about your system from one online game?

That is not very scientific. i doubt that SB makes any practical difference in any other game at 1920x1080.
:\
 

GrumpyMan

Diamond Member
May 14, 2001
5,686
199
106
Some people are just stubborn and disregard helpful replies......faceplam, shakes head.
 

jamesbond007

Diamond Member
Dec 21, 2000
5,280
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71

apoppin

Lifer
Mar 9, 2000
34,890
0
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alienbabeltech.com
No.



What is 'SB'?



Did you read anything I wrote? Surely not! D:
Of course i did; you are getting all excited about your Penryn Quad core somehow being inferior to SB (Sandy Bridge, not SoB :p ) in one game and moaning that you don't have enough money to upgrade it.

i read your conclusion based on one Internet game:
I indeed concluded, as you suspected, that my CPU is the limiting factor.
:\

Sandy Bridge makes no practical difference in gaming over a fast Penryn Quad with a decent graphics card at 1920x1200. Those are the facts. i don't know about your specific case.

And something really seems to be wrong with your setup:
His FPS is nearly double or triple of what I get at the same settings! I have tried changing back and forth from DX9 and DX11, but no dice.
Double or triple the FPS and no change from DX9 to DX11 should clue you in that something other than the CPU is the issue.
 
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VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
51,734
6,775
126
Sandy Bridge makes no practical difference in gaming over a fast Penryn Quad with a decent graphics card at 1920x1200. Those are the facts. i don't know about your specific case.
Really? I thought I saw benchmarks to the contrary. Something like SB having double the FPS of Penryn. Perhaps that was at low res, I don't recall.

If that's true, then it's good to know. I built my BIL a computer a year or two ago, with a Q9550 @ 3.5, and a pair of HD6870 cards on an X48 mobo. Was wondering if I should consider upgrading his computer, or whether it will be good enough for future games for the next couple of years.

My personal opinion is that the rig is pretty damn powerful as-is, although slightly less powerful than an i5-2500K @ 4.4-4.5 and a 6990.
 

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