Performance Tweaking and Upgrades Decisions

By on July 3, 2009 7:00:08 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Aviyur

Join Date 12/2008
+10

Hi, i've had my machine for the past 2 years. And basically, lately its starting to struggle with new games, i've been chopping and changing bits and pieces and currently, though my machine rapes older games, it has troubles with newer ones, i.e I play demigod on LOW fidelity everything and my SIMspeed will still drop to abysmal rates during later gameplay.

Anyway, i'm trying to pin-point exactly what piece of hardware is slowing me down. My assumption is processor, but I need some help from you real techheads since this machine was my first build.

Its currently got:

  • Core2 Duo 2.1ghz processor(not sure on model codes etc, since it is pretty old
  • abit Fatal1ty FP-IN9 SL motherboard
  • GeIL Black Dragon 4GB (4x1GB) PC2-8500C5 1066MHz DDR2 Dual Channel(I am aware my mobo doesn't support the 1066mhz of the ram, and only up to 800)
  • XFX ATI Radeon HD 4890 1024MB GDDR5
  • Some sort of WD Raptor drive.

Anyway, Just wondering if any of you teckies can give me an idea as to whether picking up a 3ghz Dual Core processor(£137.99) will be sufficient to "future proof" my machine for at least another year. Or if going with these parts that i've selected will ultimately be more cost effective in the long run:

  • MSI 790FX-GD70 AMD 790FX (Socket AM3) PCI-Express DDR3

  • AMD Phenom II X3 Tri Core 720 Black Edition 2.8GHz

At a total of £245.90 (I will also get a new case if I take this option as my antec900 is a wee bit cramped. But thats a given in either situation)

Thanks for the help, Karma given for awesomesauce useful answers.

Or if I should just try my hand at overclocking and hope I dont blow anything up.

       
   
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July 6, 2009 4:27:12 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Bumpzila.

No super smurt guy has any ideas?

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July 6, 2009 4:55:25 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Well you seem to have it figured out pretty well actually.

You could go for the dual core upgrade, and yes it will probably last you another year with your current config. But after that you'll probably have to upgrade again. Wether you prefer spending a bit of money now and some more later, or rather spend a lot of money now so you can use it for a couple of years is up to you.

I'm not very familiar with ATI video cards but I think that's a pretty fast one. Probably more up to date than the cpu anyway. As far as the motherboard goes, I have yet to see it make any impact on gaming performance. Most of the motherboard's tasks is pretty much supporting the other new hardware you get (especially cpu/ram). RAM is sufficient, 4GB will be enough for some years and I usually only upgrade RAM when I get a new motherboard anyway.

You could try an SSD but it will only be useful in some cases. It will load your game data faster but will probably not do much as far as framerates go. Also, the price is still pretty steap for the good SSDs (Vertex, X25). I do not recommend getting any other SSD as they still suffer from new technology faults and they are not optimized well.

I've heard good things about the Phenoms. I'm an intel guy myself (for now) so can't really say much about it, but from what I've heard you'll get the most bang for your buck at the moment with a Phenom. So it'll be a good upgrade for you. Don't forget to look at the future though, get a platform for which you can get a new upgrade later on. Also, buying a Crossfire motherboard can be useful because you could add a second videocard later for a nice graphic boost, without having to spend a couple hundred dollars for a faster videocard.

As far as overclocking goes, you could always try it. That depends on what you do with hardware once you upgrade. I tend to just let hardware collect dust after an upgrade, so then you might aswell just overclock it to see what you can get out of it. If you want to use the older hardware for a second PC, or if you want to sell it, then overclocking is a no-go.

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July 6, 2009 9:37:20 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Seems a bit odd that your system would be struggling with Demigod even on Low.

The graphics card (ignoring the extortionate X2 models) is the second best on the market performance wise and the gb of memory will come in handy at high res. Aslong as it doesn't die on you, you can get a good 3 years more out of it before requiring an upgrade (i still run a 312mb 8800gts and it handles everything fine).

HD and Memory are fine, though to maximize it you should be running 64bit (didn't mention your OS so i'll assume 32bit). Having a higher rating than your Mobo supports is always a good idea as it gives you gaurenteed OC potential. Speaking of which don't be afraid to overclock, you can sometimes get a 20-30% performance boost with little to no danger (all modern parts have various safety measures, cut-offs and in-built overclock software) I have a c2d6750 (2.66ghz) OC'd to 3.6ghz and it runs absolutely fine. You'll only ever run into problems with extreme overclocks that either pump out more heat than your setup can handle or cause electron migrations, stick with a simple step by step speed boost and the worst you'll have to do is a simple CMOS reset.

If you're getting really bad speeds it could only be the CPU causing it in that setup...or drivers. Just be sure to keep your drivers upto-date and don't be afraid to roll back to earlier ones if things seem to get worse (updated doesn't always mean better! ) and while its not required I personally like to do a fresh install everytime i make Hardware changes just to ensure the OS isn't messing things up.

Also often the most overlooked part of the PC is the PSU, a poor model can severly affect your systems stability and performance. Be sure you're using at least 600w from a decent manufacturer.

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July 6, 2009 10:22:21 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

If your sim speed is low in demigod, it points to the processor, but do not overlook the mobo. I am not very familiar with your motherboard, but getting a newer one with faster pci-e slots may boost performance enough. Also, i would suggest getting a core 2 quad processor if you can afford it and your motherboard supports them. I have my overclocked from 2.6 to 3.3 ghz on an air cooler and it runs fine and still does not produce excessive heat.

Heres a test for your system: turn the settings up to super high on demigod and play until the sim speed and everything drops and the game runs slowly. Save the game. Lower the settings and try again. If everything goes back to normal perfromance after the settings are lowered, it points to the graphics card. Otherwise, its the cpu.

I hope that helps

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July 6, 2009 10:36:56 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting XSive_Death,
Seems a bit odd that your system would be struggling with Demigod even on Low.

Its not "struggling" per-se, its just my sim speed will drop to abysmally low rates as the match goes on, finished a 3v3 on Cataract yesterday with a sim speed between 1-2. I just get the feeling that this aint right.


HD and Memory are fine, though to maximize it you should be running 64bit (didn't mention your OS so i'll assume 32bit). Having a higher rating than your Mobo supports is always a good idea as it gives you gaurenteed OC potential.[/quote]

I'm running Vista 64bit fully updated etc.

Speaking of which don't be afraid to overclock, you can sometimes get a 20-30% performance boost with little to no danger (all modern parts have various safety measures, cut-offs and in-built overclock software) I have a c2d6750 (2.66ghz) OC'd to 3.6ghz and it runs absolutely fine. You'll only ever run into problems with extreme overclocks that either pump out more heat than your setup can handle or cause electron migrations, stick with a simple step by step speed boost and the worst you'll have to do is a simple CMOS reset.

I have bad experiences with simple changes to my machine But perhaps i'll read up and try overclocking.

If you're getting really bad speeds it could only be the CPU causing it in that setup...or drivers. Just be sure to keep your drivers upto-date and don't be afraid to roll back to earlier ones if things seem to get worse (updated doesn't always mean better! ) and while its not required I personally like to do a fresh install everytime i make Hardware changes just to ensure the OS isn't messing things up.

I didn't format when I installed my new card, you think this might be a problem?

[quote who="CaptainAanderson" reply="4" id="2290862"]

Heres a test for your system: turn the settings up to super high on demigod and play until the sim speed and everything drops and the game runs slowly. Save the game. Lower the settings and try again. If everything goes back to normal perfromance after the settings are lowered, it points to the graphics card. Otherwise, its the cpu.


I hope that helps

I'll give it a try.

 

Thanks to all the above posts so far, i'll check some more and maybe snap a few screenshots later, I also learnt to try the "/nosound" thingy, which might help.

I'd give you all karma, but it won't let me at the moment for some reason.

Edit, quoting on this forum hates me

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July 6, 2009 11:30:36 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Your hardware seems fine...  you may have software issues.  Have you tried a clean reinstall of the OS.   You have a good motherboard, so don’t change that… you could do a processor upgrade if you want and you can increase your RAM up to 32GB’s on that board.  In fact check your RAM the board says you can use DDR 2-800 which is PC2-6400 and your stating you use pc2-8500 which is ddr2-1066.  Make sure there are no incompatibilities with your board and ram.


The motherboard is an Nforce board and I have always hated running ATI on Nvidia tech… so you may want to think about that, or maybe not… that’s just me.


Check your BIOS.  Is it updated… does it need to be… make sure hyper threading is enabled if your processor supports it, which I am sure it does…  are you using a sound card or onboard sound?  Onboard sound will increase your cpu usage.


Other than that I can see why you would be having an issue with your hardware, but you may have some faulty hardware.  I suggest running some benchmark software and see what gives…  Sisoft Sandra is good and so is PC Wizard.


Sisoft http://sisoft-sandra-lite.en.softonic.com/download

PC-WIZ http://pc-wizard-2008.en.softonic.com/download


Check your temps… is your system running hot???  Get CPU-Z and GPU-Z


CPU-Z http://www.cpuid.com/download/cpuz/cpuz_151_setup.exe

GPU-Z http://www.techpowerup.com/downloads/1379/mirrors.php


Do you adequate cooling?

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July 6, 2009 11:46:37 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I tell you what..  I have been using XFX graphcis cards lately and i must say that I am dissappointed.  I have the 8800 GT Alpha Dog edition which is the super-overclocked edition and it performs better than my XFX GTX 260 Black edition which is an over clocked edition as well and i have had issues with both cards...  I suggest running a banchmark with wither PCmark or 3Dmark and post your score here is you can. 

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July 6, 2009 11:58:48 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting The__Goo,
I tell you what..  I have been using XFX graphcis cards lately and i must say that I am dissappointed.  I have the 8800 GT Alpha Dog edition which is the super-overclocked edition and it performs better than my XFX GTX 260 Black edition which is an over clocked edition as well and i have had issues with both cards...  I suggest running a banchmark with wither PCmark or 3Dmark and post your score here is you can. 

I have to say, I know what you mean, my old BFG 8800 GTS stock OC'd card ran well, and though my new ATI XFX 4890 does deliver a few more FPS, I was hopeing for slightly more than what i got, which when i've read the reviews on Overclockers, isn't consistent.(which is why i think my system is held back elsewhere)

However my Windows Experience Ratings marks everything at 5.9, except my processor which is at 5.0, which is another reason why I didn't ship my 4890 back and ask for me moneys.

I'm fairly solid that its my proc holding me back. But I wanted opinions of people that know way more than me

But I will benchmark my machine and slap the results here later on this evening.

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July 6, 2009 12:29:36 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

regarding your Windows Experience Rating, if your processor is 5.0 then definitly do an upgrade on that first if you looking for as hardware solution.  You have good hardware...and i will stand firm on that a software solution should be your first option before spending money on new hardware... unless you want to upgrade hardware, then by all means go for it.

 

Although, this is what i would do; I would first suggest a clean reinstall of the OS and a thorough upgrade on all your updates and drivers, then install the game alone with nothing else and see how it runs.  once you have done that.. create image of your disc and use that as a fall back for issues...

 

if your still having an issue, then i would suggest checking the cpu and make sure its still running correctly (use CPUID)  and benchmarks will help give you an idea about your performance.

 

good luck, i will help you out as best i can... with anything you need.

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July 6, 2009 5:24:30 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Ok, so I rand 3dMark Vantage, and PCMark Vantage and here's the results:

PCMark:

http://service.futuremark.com/home.action;jsessionid=28A9B75C53EA94AEC2D7DDDC3609A71B?resultId=203633&resultType=18

 

3dMark Vantage:

http://service.futuremark.com/home.action?resultId=1215145&resultType=19

anyway, considering how badly my CPU spazzed out and went reeeeaaaaaallllllllllyyyyyyy slow during the CPU tests, im fairly stuck on that.

Heres the CPU-z dump of my Proc:

Processor 1 (ID = 0)
Number of cores        2 (max 2)
Number of threads    2 (max 2)
Name            Intel Core 2 Duo E6400
Codename        Conroe
Specification        Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU          6400  @ 2.13GHz
Package            Socket 775 LGA (platform ID = 0h)
CPUID            6.F.2
Extended CPUID        6.F
Core Stepping        L2
Technology        65 nm
Core Speed        2133.3 MHz (8.0 x 266.7 MHz)
Rated Bus speed        1066.7 MHz
Stock frequency        2133 MHz
Instructions sets    MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, EM64T
L1 Data cache        2 x 32 KBytes, 8-way set associative, 64-byte line size
L1 Instruction cache    2 x 32 KBytes, 8-way set associative, 64-byte line size
L2 cache        2048 KBytes, 8-way set associative, 64-byte line size
FID/VID Control        yes
FID range        6.0x - 8.0x
max VID            1.325 V
Features        , VT

Once again, I'd give you lot all Karma for the help, except it wont let me atm

 

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July 7, 2009 1:03:17 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Well it shows your cpu with a low score and its definitely where your bottle necking at.  your graphics card out performs your cpu a great deal, more than 300%, so yes your hold back is your cpu as you have suspected, but playing demigod with settings @ low and seeing a choppy play is something beyond just replacing your hardware.

 

Try one more thing for me.  get a program calld Speedfan and list the temps.

 

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July 7, 2009 4:24:05 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Will do, at work for the next 8hours though =/ Anyway, thanks for all the help so far, I think this forum community is by far the greatest i've posted on

Its not that it plays chopily, its just that later game my sim speed plummets to abysmal rates, I done the /nosound thing, and now late 2v2 i'm sitting with 3-5 sim speed on high settings, so its not so bad.

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July 7, 2009 5:21:31 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

The onl thing you really need to worry about, as has already been said is your CPU and motherboard. Since you have an E6400 C2D you have quite a bit of room to bump up your speed without buying a new mobo. You could get a lot of boost buy getting an E8xxx Intel and dropping iton the existing. A lot of boost.

I'm a bit skeptical of the x3 AMD chips, but I run a PhenomII x4 940 and it absolutely rocks at 3.5 o/c from 3.0. ANd it is rock steady, too. Now that the AM3 chips are out you would make the right move to get an AM3 M/b because your room to grow is immense. You can later update from DDR2 to DDR3 which will bring something around 10 to 15 percent increase, under current tests I've seen. Not to mention room to gor to x4 later. And I have heard whispers that there might be an x6 sometime in the future.

If you have the money to spend the m/.b chip upgrade would be a good move.

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July 7, 2009 5:27:14 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Hawkeye666,
The onl thing you really need to worry about, as has already been said is your CPU and motherboard. Since you have an E6400 C2D you have quite a bit of room to bump up your speed without buying a new mobo. You could get a lot of boost buy getting an E8xxx Intel and dropping iton the existing. A lot of boost.

I'm a bit skeptical of the x3 AMD chips, but I run a PhenomII x4 940 and it absolutely rocks at 3.5 o/c from 3.0. ANd it is rock steady, too. Now that the AM3 chips are out you would make the right move to get an AM3 M/b because your room to grow is immense. You can later update from DDR2 to DDR3 which will bring something around 10 to 15 percent increase, under current tests I've seen. Not to mention room to gor to x4 later. And I have heard whispers that there might be an x6 sometime in the future.

If you have the money to spend the m/.b chip upgrade would be a good move.

Well, the main deal was, when I bought my 4890, I put the card in, and realized the thing was an absolute beast, so I had to move my HD a few slots up, and completely rearrange the cables, they still looked cramped..so I figured. "well I need a new case" Then I thought..."if im getting a new case i should find out whats crapping me up, and upgrade it." But yeh I do like the future proofing that the new setup would give, and i'm currently leaning towards it instead of banging a 3.0 Core2 in.

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July 7, 2009 1:27:59 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

What type of case do you use right now and another really important thing...  what power supply do you have running.  Inadequate power can really be a detriment to a smooth running PC and definitly ruin your electronics (ie: cpu, memory, video card, motherboard  et. al.)

I wouldn't worry about changing your motherboard unless you plan on some major hardware upgrading for the future.  The motherboard is still a strong board.

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July 7, 2009 1:54:19 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

This is the readout from that speed fan thingy.

My case is an Antec 900 Gaming case:

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA-065-AN&groupid=701&catid=7&subcat=

its an ok case, but collects dust like mad so i frequently clean it.

And powersupply is a Akasa 550w SLi ready something or other.

 

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July 8, 2009 5:26:48 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

ouch  your temps are high check your cooling and air flow...  you have a great case but your power supply might be low...  check back later for a reply from me tonight  i have to run to the airport so when i get back i will post more

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July 9, 2009 4:44:31 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting The__Goo,
ouch  your temps are high check your cooling and air flow...  you have a great case but your power supply might be low...  check back later for a reply from me tonight  i have to run to the airport so when i get back i will post more

The Air flow should be fine, since all the case fans are on high, and i regularly sweep for dust collection. So I have no idea why its running hot.

But if it helps, I'm using the stock fan, and haven't taken it off the processor since I put it together.

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July 9, 2009 7:31:20 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I'm using the stock fan, and haven't taken it off the processor since I put it together.

 

Are the fins in the CPU cooler stopped up, have you blown them out lately? Sounds like they may be blocked up.

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July 9, 2009 12:30:57 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Stock cpu heatsinks and fans do ok, but really... I will always suggest buying an after market cpu coooler.  But yes the CPU is running hot .  What size of fan do you have on the cooler...  the speed of the fan looks fine for a 120mm, but if you have one smaller than that its running slow. 

At the bottom you see where the voltage is... the +12V should be reading around +/-12V, half the amount doesn't seem right to me...  you might want to have someone check that power supply...  have someone run a tester on it, or switch it with one you know is good.

From the looks of it you may have some faulty hardware (namely the power supply)... but this is a guess from where i am sitting. 

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July 9, 2009 6:10:46 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I can't read the temps. Switch to farienheit.

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July 10, 2009 4:39:47 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting kona0197,
I can't read the temps. Switch to farienheit.

System: 82.4F

CPU: 136.4F

Aux: 107.6F

Core1: 174.2F

Core2: 172.4F

 

I think those are right.

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July 10, 2009 11:12:54 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Those temps really aren't that surprising for a C2D with stock Intel HSF; even brand new they'll let the CPU get to 70C or more at load. They're really very poor coolers. Even a cheap aftermarket cooler such as this one (the one I use) should make a significant difference.

Edit: Looked closer and saw those appear to be idle temps, so there may indeed be more to it than the HSF alone.

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July 10, 2009 11:31:02 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting kryo,
Those temps really aren't that surprising for a C2D with stock Intel HSF; even brand new they'll let the CPU get to 70C or more at load. They're really very poor coolers. Even a cheap aftermarket cooler such as this one (the one I use) should make a significant difference.

Edit: Looked closer and saw those appear to be idle temps, so there may indeed be more to it than the HSF alone.

We'll i'll take the CPU cooler off this weekend, give it a good clear out from dust etc, stick it back in, and see what the temps are then. If that fails. I'll try an aftermarkert cooler. If that fails. I'm back to sitting around waiting to upgrade the whole thing Unfortunately I can't actually test my PSU =/

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July 10, 2009 6:08:48 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

My Pentium 4 runs at 130 F all the time even with a third party HSF.

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