Help me diagnose this please!

#1 Posted by Rattle618 (1456 posts) -

Ive been having performance issues on this pc for a while and I cant figure out what the problem is, if you guys could help me out here Id be very grateful! First of all, my specs:

- AMD Phenom II x4 955 @3.2ghz

- Asus M5 A97 R2.0 mobo (latest bios and drivers)

- 2x4gb DDR3@1600 sticks.

- ATI Radeon HD7870 (latest drivers)

- 120 gb Corsair SSD as main drive

- 1 tb HDD for storage

- 600w power supply

The only two things on that list that are not relatively new (as in bought recently) are the power supply and the processor, I know this is not an incredible rig but it should be good enough to run a lot of stuff well, specially since I use only one monitor at 1680x1050.

The problem: Bad performance on a lot of games regardless of graphic settings. There are games that run just fine maxed out, I do not see any graphical glitches. I will list a few examples:

- Guild Wars 2: Maxed out, the first few times I played (came back to it recently after several months) it was single digits fps most of the times regardless of graphical settings, after running the game a few more times and just setting everything to max it has stabilized and I stay above 30 fps most of the time, except when there are a lot of people on the screen (this is normal).

- Skyrim: Similar to GW2, just said "fuck it" and left everything maxed out after trying every combination of settings I could think of and eventually started to run smoothly, although I have to play vainilla cause I cant achieve good performance with mods.

- The Amazing Spider-man: Also maxed out since I noticed that no matter how low I set the graphic options I have the same issues, in this case the "indoor" sequences run mostly very well (except a few minor problems) but the open world part of the game goes from acceptable to terrible performance.

The list goes on, I was able to play Metal Gear Rising with almost no issues (except the first few times I ran the game and whenever I decided to chop something into a billion pieces, but I guess that last part is normal) and Dota 2 runs just fine also maxed out.

Outside of this the pc runs perfectly fine, and I only had a few strange startup problems when I was messing around with the AI overclocking (mostly to see if this affected performance since I dont OC), but when I just left the OC profile to normal the problems went away.

Im thinking maybe I should replace the power supply, but I would rather actually diagnose the problem before spending even more money on it and Im running out of ideas, any help would be really appreciated. Thanks!

P.S.: I know this is not a tech support forum and all that, but I figure there are some pretty smart dudes here that might be able to help or point me in the right direction.

#2 Posted by believer258 (12176 posts) -

Did you first start noticing any of these issues immediately after changing out a part? And are these the only games that they happen on?

#3 Edited by Rattle618 (1456 posts) -

@believer258: I did not notice it right after any upgrades, actually Ive tried Total War II Rome after every single upgrade with pretty much the same results (I think I know the benchmark video by heart now... Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!)

The games that I listed are the only ones Ive tried in the last month or so, except for the less hardware demanding stuff like Spelunky and such.

#4 Posted by believer258 (12176 posts) -

@rattle618: All right, what about fans? Are all of your fans working and is your computer running cool? Have you gotten all the dust out of your computer sometime recently?

#5 Edited by Stonyman65 (2861 posts) -

Install Prime 95 and Unigine Heaven or 3dMark and run benchmarks/stress tests. Install Memtest 86 on and run it to run a RAM diagnostic. Make sure all drivers/firmware are up to date. Makre sure there isn't any serious dust built up around the case fans or the heatsink fans on the video card, processor, or power supply.

At any point if your CPU or video card runs higher than 80 degrees celsius under stress, that means you need better cooling as 80c is right around the maximum of what most parts can take safely. Obviously if your system crashes while running stress tests you know something is wrong... Do all of that and them post back here with the results, or any problems.

Just out of curiosity, what power supply are you running? Sometimes running a bad/cheap power supply can cause things to chug since the PSU isn't supplying good voltages making things unstable.

Edit: That processor is OLD. Hate to break it to you, but (assuming everything else is fine) that might be what is bottlenecking your system. All of the games you listed are pretty CPU intensive, so that could be an issue. If you can, I would suggest getting at least a low-end Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge and a new mobo to match. That would be a HUGE improvement over what you have now.

#6 Edited by TriBeard (134 posts) -

Three possibilities that I can see.

1) Overheating. Run something like hardware monitor in the background, then play some games and see what your temperatures are. If they are getting too hot, that can cause problems. The fan on my stock intel heatsink got hung up on the wire and the computer ran like dog shit till I figured it out. It may not be something that drastic though, it could just be dust.

2) PSU issues. What brand is the PSU? Specific model would be best. If it is an older unit, particularly a lower end one, it could no longer be able to give you the power you need when you are at full load.

3) CPU bottlenecking. Fire up something like MSI afterburner, and see what your GPU usage looks like, and then see what your CPU usage looks like as well. If GPU usage is around 100%, and CPU is around 80 or so, it's not CPU bottlenecking most likely. However, if the CPU is pegged at 100 all the time, or the GPU isn't close to 100, your CPU simply isn't up to par.

#7 Posted by Evilsbane (4735 posts) -

@believer258: I did not notice it right after any upgrades, actually Ive tried Total War II Rome after every single upgrade with pretty much the same results (I think I know the benchmark video by heart now... Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!)

The games that I listed are the only ones Ive tried in the last month or so, except for the less hardware demanding stuff like Spelunky and such.

Don't judge your performance on Rome Total War 2 that game runs like garbage even with a high end rig.

#8 Edited by Rattle618 (1456 posts) -

@tribeard: @stonyman65: @believer258: There wasnt a lot of dust build-up, but I cleaned all the fans out anyways, no change. Cpu temp sits around 48c and 43c for the gpu, I have not checked temps while gaming though.

Im downloading all the benchmarking tools you guys mentioned, but none of my parts are MSI, would the afterburner still work? I am using AMD Overdrive for monitoring at the moment.

#9 Posted by JJBSterling (217 posts) -

I was having a similar issue with my R9 280X, turns out what the problem was AMD's Catalyst was using a set of default settings that would be assigned to games that would, in theory, make it so you wouldn't have to fiddle around with the settings in-game.

For me it messed up with Dead Island a lot, because the problem was it was trying to set the anisotropic filtering to something crazy high while the game never had the setting for it in the first place, making it practically hidden.

Could be something else, but checking your game settings in your Catalyst could help.

#10 Posted by Rattle618 (1456 posts) -

@tribeard: @stonyman65: @believer258: @jjbsterling: Ive messed to no end with all the graphic options, and it doesnt make a difference.

Unigine gave me a score of 1083, 43 fps on average, the only noticeable fps drop was at the begining of the thing but the rest of the thing ran as I expect games to run. I set it to high settings (not ultra), x4 AA and temp stayed around 70 for both gpu and cpu.

I also tried today unplugging my HDD and DVD drives to see if it helps, but there is no change, either they do not consume enough power to make a difference or it is not a power issue. The power supply I have is supposed to be high quality, but I cant get good brands here for anything close to a reasonable price.

Is a cpu bottleneck the conclusion we are arriving at? Id hate to get a new mobo and cpu just to have the same problem, but Ill get one if I have to.

Something like a i5 4670k would be ok, right?

#11 Posted by believer258 (12176 posts) -

@tribeard: @stonyman65: @believer258: @jjbsterling: Ive messed to no end with all the graphic options, and it doesnt make a difference.

Unigine gave me a score of 1083, 43 fps on average, the only noticeable fps drop was at the begining of the thing but the rest of the thing ran as I expect games to run. I set it to high settings (not ultra), x4 AA and temp stayed around 70 for both gpu and cpu.

I also tried today unplugging my HDD and DVD drives to see if it helps, but there is no change, either they do not consume enough power to make a difference or it is not a power issue. The power supply I have is supposed to be high quality, but I cant get good brands here for anything close to a reasonable price.

Is a cpu bottleneck the conclusion we are arriving at? Id hate to get a new mobo and cpu just to have the same problem, but Ill get one if I have to.

Something like a i5 4670k would be ok, right?

Before you go doing that, @jjbsterling had a good idea. Check this screen:

and make sure that everything is set to "Use Application Settings" or off.

#12 Posted by Rattle618 (1456 posts) -

This is what my setting have been for a few months, I left them like this so I could control graphic settings from the games themselves.

#13 Edited by Akyho (1698 posts) -

@rattle618 said:

@believer258: I did not notice it right after any upgrades, actually Ive tried Total War II Rome after every single upgrade with pretty much the same results (I think I know the benchmark video by heart now... Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!)

The games that I listed are the only ones Ive tried in the last month or so, except for the less hardware demanding stuff like Spelunky and such.

Dude. Rome Total war 2 is well known for not running well and that benchmark killing fps on all PC's at max. Do not use that as a your benchmark. Thats my only advice.

Online
#14 Posted by TriBeard (134 posts) -

Do you have a model number/brand name for the PSU?

Other than that, I would lean toward the processor. You could go intel with something like the i5 4670k, but with that motherboard, I would probably just throw an 8350 or 8320 in there and call it a day. It'll save you 150ish bucks because you won't have to install a new motherboard, you won't have to worry about possibly having to reinstall windows, and the performance on it will be way better than what you have.

#15 Edited by DonPixel (2617 posts) -

@rattle618: AMD is your problem, the Phenom is +10 year old performance wise, I actually find kind of offensive they still selling it. AMD mobos are quite bad too, specially for older gen cpu like yours. Nowadays vid cards is the only thing AMD does good, the rest is for the junk market.

Long story short: your vid car is good, everything else is the bottleneck.

#16 Posted by Rattle618 (1456 posts) -

@tribeard: Ive done some reading on cpus and even though it would be cheaper not to change the mobo Im seeing Intel greatly outperform AMD in benchmarks and reviews of all sorts, specially in single-thread operations (which as I understand is most important for games), do you think the jump from my phenom to a 8350 would be enough or should I just bite the bullet now and change the whole thing? I am looking to spend as little as I can, but I dont want to be dealing with this kind of shit every month or so, Ive usually been able to build a pc and have it perform well for 2-3 years (with the occasional upgrade) before I have to build a new one.

Im using now HWiNFO + the OSD Server from MSI afterburn to see cpu/gpu load and fps ingame (as seen here http://www.overclock.net/t/1229915/how-to-cpu-and-gpu-usage-along-with-fps-in-game ) and even though I still see the same kind of issues they do not show up in the numbers, maybe the processors will be around 40% load and I see a big fps drop for a second and MAYBE load jumps to around 60%, but I never see either the cpu or gpu go above 70%. So Im either reading it wrong or the logging is unable to report such quick drops in performance or what?

#17 Edited by TriBeard (134 posts) -

Moving from your old phenom to the 8350, you're looking at a 20-25% increase in single threaded applications and about 50-60% increase in multi-threaded applications. To me, that's worth it but everyone is different.

Take a look here, particularly at the gaming benchmarks at the bottom. That's a rather large increase, and those are older titles that aren't as taxing anyway, so the gains will almost certainly be greater in more demanding stuff.

Moving to an i5 from the 8350, you're looking at something more along the lines of this for general computing, and this and this (don't mind the russian) for gaming. I don't know if you are going to overclock or not, but either way, in a lot of those benchmarks there isn't, imo, a significant enough difference to justify the extra 150 bucks of switching to an intel platform, but you have to make that decision for yourself.

If the GPU is never going above 70, that seems like a CPU bottleneck to me.

#18 Posted by CrazyBagMan (858 posts) -

Not sure if the 955 has the stupid Cool 'n Quiet feature but you might wanna dig around in your bios and see if it's there first of all and turn it off if it is. I was having weirdness with my computer and that fixed it.

#19 Edited by Rattle618 (1456 posts) -

@tribeard: Yeap, those numbers make a lot of sense and I can save a bunch of money cause prices are quite inflated here, I guess I was trying to move away from AMD but the performance difference is not that great compared to the cost. I´ll get the 8350 now and just build a new Intel pc from the ground up when is time to upgrade again (hopefully in a long time).

I did notice that the fps drops happen every time any of the processors go around 60% or more... Ill get that new cpu tomorrow, hopefully it will solve this!

@crazybagman: I turned that off a while ago and I remember it making a difference at the time, but its been off now.

#20 Posted by TriBeard (134 posts) -

Let us know how the new CPU runs. You may also wanna pick up an aftermarket CPU cooler if you don't have one. I would recommend the Cooler Master 212 Evo because it's relatively inexpensive in North America, but I have no idea what prices are like around you. the 8350 just can run a little toasty with the stock cooler is all.

#21 Posted by ch3burashka (5238 posts) -

It's probably water in your carburetor.

#22 Edited by Rowr (5824 posts) -

@evilsbane said:
@rattle618 said:

@believer258: I did not notice it right after any upgrades, actually Ive tried Total War II Rome after every single upgrade with pretty much the same results (I think I know the benchmark video by heart now... Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!)

The games that I listed are the only ones Ive tried in the last month or so, except for the less hardware demanding stuff like Spelunky and such.

Don't judge your performance on Rome Total War 2 that game runs like garbage even with a high end rig.

Seriously.

Also I would assume it obvious but update/google your drivers to see if anyone else has the same issues with the hardware

#23 Posted by Rattle618 (1456 posts) -

@tribeard: Success! Im happy to report that the problems are gone almost completely. Spider-man still hitches now and then but nothing compared to what it was yesterday. I also installed Hitman Absolution (which used to run so crappy I could never bring myself to play it) and it runs butter smooth now.

Thanks a lot to you and everyone else that pitched in! Im still 100% sure I will switch to Intel, but I´ll do that down the road and by building a new rig from scratch, I might even be able to hold out until DDR4 stuff becomes available.

#24 Posted by TriBeard (134 posts) -

Glad we could help.

#25 Posted by VACkillers (1075 posts) -

what was the problem in the end that fixed your issue? (just curious)

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