PC performance questions - new gpu

#1 Posted by Nate (702 posts) -

I got a new video card from a friend today. My old card was an ATI Radeon 4850, 512 mb. But today I purchased an Radeon 6850, 1GB. I knew this would be a big boost for me, but may have overestimated a little and am wondering why I'm not seeing the performance boost I expected. Where as my 4850 was really struggling on most current games (all ran, but usually on low or medium settings), I was told by more than one person (and sources I checked online) that I'd be running almost any game out there on high settings no problem with the new card. As I tested out a whole bunch of my games today, I found that they definitely run better, but most games that I cranked it up to high in (not even ultra-high) experienced some pretty bad frame rates. Was I simply mistaken or misinformed, or is there a bottleneck somewhere in my other system specs? My hard drive is a few years old, but I was told that would only affect load times and such, not in-game performance and frame rate. Is my processor too slow? Or do I need to mess with settings to optimize game performance? I did uninstall my old drivers and installed the new ones, but that's about it. Okay, here are my specs -

Processor - Intel Core2 Quad CPU Q8300 @ 2.50GHz,

GPU - XFX RADEON HD 6850, 1GB

RAM - 8 GB

PSU - 550 Watt

Display - 22 in widescreen (1920x1024)

OS - Windows 7, 64 bit

#2 Posted by Subject2Change (2966 posts) -

Your CPU is a bottleneck.

#3 Posted by Korwin (2813 posts) -

The 6850 isn't exactly a monster of a card, it's perfect serviceable but it comes in around the GTX 460's level of performance. However your probably not seeing all of the potential benefit due to some CPU bottlenecking, the Core2 architecture is pretty long in the tooth at this point.

#4 Posted by Patman99 (1556 posts) -

Im not really a hardcore techy but maybe your resolution is too high. 6850 is not a bad card, but it is a few rungs down on the performance ladder compared to some other contemporary cards. I mean, I run crossfire 6970s and I am, at times not able to run some modern games (BF3, Witcher 2) at the 'ultra' setting without some FPS issues. Try reducing your resolution and see if that gives it any kind of performance boost.

Online
#5 Posted by Toxeia (728 posts) -

Let me preface this by saying I haven't liked ATI since the days of the 9800. Since then, it's been nVidia all the way for me. That being said, I don't believe that the jump from the 4k series to the 6k series was what should have been expected from ATI, so you're right that you shouldn't have expected a huge gain in performance. Secondly, if I were you I'd run a little lower on my resolution. You shouldn't notice much in the way of clarity loss if you go down to around 1360x760. Third, your CPU seems to be a little bit of a bottle neck. If you feel comfortable with slight overclocking I'd be willing to bet you'd see a decent increase in performance if you get up to 2.8GHz. And you're right, your hard drive is only going to have an effect on load times. Sometimes you might have to access the drive for textures if they aren't in memory, but you'll notice a (minuscule) one-time hang while the hard drive grabs it.

Another note: when upgrading GPUs and installing drivers sometimes old bits and pieces remain. Look into Guru3D for checking for anything that might be causing issues.

#6 Edited by Nate (702 posts) -

Thanks for the input everybody. This is helpful in giving me some perspective. I'll definitely try decreasing the resolution and I'll consider over clocking the CPU. In the end I should be happy with the significant improvement this card gives for the very cheap price I paid for the card. I'll keep saving for a new pc build sometime in the next year or two.

EDIT: Changing resolution means just in the game settings, right? It doesn't matter that I keep my Windows resolution 1920 x 1024? Sorry, probably a dumb question, but I'm not too savvy ;)

#7 Posted by ShadowSkill11 (1783 posts) -

Your CPU is old and a bottleneck. Did you check to see what speed your AGP port supports to make sure that isn't a factor too? Are you using old school slow RAM too?

#8 Posted by Nate (702 posts) -

@ShadowSkill11: RAM is DDR2. How would I check on the AGP port? Would I need to look up the specs on my motherboard?

#9 Posted by ShadowSkill11 (1783 posts) -

DDR2? Naw man you aren't using AGP 16X. You need to replace your mobo, cpu, ram, and probably power supply. Your computer is too old to make upgrades efficient. You should have just built a new one. Newegg.com is your friend.

#10 Posted by ZimboDK (848 posts) -

What games are you playing? I've got a Q6600 Quad@2.4GHz, 560 Ti. 6GB DDR2 Ram. Stuff like Space Marine, Skyrim, DiRT 3 and The Witcher 2 runs great at 1080p. The Witcher needs a bit of tweaking and I can't run it with everything maxed, but I've got no complaints.

#11 Edited by haffy (673 posts) -

@ShadowSkill11 said:

DDR2? Naw man you aren't using AGP 16X. You need to replace your mobo, cpu, ram, and probably power supply. Your computer is too old to make upgrades efficient. You should have just built a new one. Newegg.com is your friend.

Why would he need to replace his power supply or ram? It should be more than enough. I doubt he'll be able to replace DDR2 with DDR3 with his motherboard anyway, and it doesn't make much of a difference.

If I was OP I'd just get a new fan and try to overclock the motherboard. Probably would buy a new motherboard if it won't overclock. Also solid state drives are cool, they're quite expensive and have low storage but nice to have.

#12 Edited by ShadowSkill11 (1783 posts) -

@haffy said:

@ShadowSkill11 said:

DDR2? Naw man you aren't using AGP 16X. You need to replace your mobo, cpu, ram, and probably power supply. Your computer is too old to make upgrades efficient. You should have just built a new one. Newegg.com is your friend.

Why would he need to replace his power supply or ram? It should be more than enough. I doubt he'll be able to replace DDR2 with DDR3 with his motherboard anyway, and it doesn't make much of a difference.

If I was you I'd just get a new fan and try to overclock the motherboard. Probably would buy a new motherboard if it won't overclock. Also solid state drives are cool, they're quite expensive and have low memory but nice to have.

Really? Wow... time to freshen up on your A+ or something man.

#13 Posted by Rattle618 (1463 posts) -

@Nate said:

Thanks for the input everybody. This is helpful in giving me some perspective. I'll definitely try decreasing the resolution and I'll consider over clocking the CPU. In the end I should be happy with the significant improvement this card gives for the very cheap price I paid for the card. I'll keep saving for a new pc build sometime in the next year or two.

EDIT: Changing resolution means just in the game settings, right? It doesn't matter that I keep my Windows resolution 1920 x 1024? Sorry, probably a dumb question, but I'm not too savvy ;)

Ingame resolution only, yes.

I doubt you are using AGP, it is probably PCIe.

What kind of performance issues are you having? Is it just low fps on average or do you get spikes of good performance and then a slowdown?. There is a lot you can do to maximize your hardware. I run Witcher 2 on High (not highest, but still awesome) with no OCing at a constant 30+ and my rig is crappier than yours:

Phenom II x4, 6Gbs DDR2 RAM, Radeon 5770 1gb.

You need to do some reading and tweak the shit out of your graphic settings.

#14 Posted by haffy (673 posts) -

@ShadowSkill11 said:

@haffy said:

@ShadowSkill11 said:

DDR2? Naw man you aren't using AGP 16X. You need to replace your mobo, cpu, ram, and probably power supply. Your computer is too old to make upgrades efficient. You should have just built a new one. Newegg.com is your friend.

Why would he need to replace his power supply or ram? It should be more than enough. I doubt he'll be able to replace DDR2 with DDR3 with his motherboard anyway, and it doesn't make much of a difference.

If I was you I'd just get a new fan and try to overclock the motherboard. Probably would buy a new motherboard if it won't overclock. Also solid state drives are cool, they're quite expensive and have low memory but nice to have.

Really? Wow... time to freshen up on your A+ or something man.

So, explain why he needs to replace his power supply or ram? His PC should have plenty of power, his ram is more than enough to play any game comfortably. And explain why you can't get away with just overclocking? It won't be as good as buying a new one, but it's cheaper.

#15 Posted by Nate (702 posts) -

@ShadowSkill11 said:

DDR2? Naw man you aren't using AGP 16X. You need to replace your mobo, cpu, ram, and probably power supply. Your computer is too old to make upgrades efficient. You should have just built a new one. Newegg.com is your friend.

That's coming ... some day. That's at least an $800 investment (probably more like $1000), the card was $80. So you know, not being made of money and all I'm just trying to get by. Pretty happy with how I'm getting by right now. My PC games are now looking better than the console versions (of the ones I own). Skyrim, Borderlands, and Deus EX: HR, for example.

@ZimboDK said:

What games are you playing? I've got a Q6600 Quad@2.4GHz, 560 Ti. 6GB DDR2 Ram. Stuff like Space Marine, Skyrim, DiRT 3 and The Witcher 2 runs great at 1080p. The Witcher needs a bit of tweaking and I can't run it with everything maxed, but I've got no complaints.

Skyrim, Witcher 2, Battlefield BC2, GTA IV, Borderlands, Dead Space 2 are some of the more taxing games I've played in the past 6 months or so. They are definitely running a lot better than they were, and as I mentioned above, I can tell they run better than the console versions now that I have this new card.

#16 Posted by ShadowSkill11 (1783 posts) -

@haffy said:

@ShadowSkill11 said:

@haffy said:

@ShadowSkill11 said:

DDR2? Naw man you aren't using AGP 16X. You need to replace your mobo, cpu, ram, and probably power supply. Your computer is too old to make upgrades efficient. You should have just built a new one. Newegg.com is your friend.

Why would he need to replace his power supply or ram? It should be more than enough. I doubt he'll be able to replace DDR2 with DDR3 with his motherboard anyway, and it doesn't make much of a difference.

If I was you I'd just get a new fan and try to overclock the motherboard. Probably would buy a new motherboard if it won't overclock. Also solid state drives are cool, they're quite expensive and have low memory but nice to have.

Really? Wow... time to freshen up on your A+ or something man.

So, explain why he needs to replace his power supply or ram? His PC should have plenty of power, his ram is more than enough to play any game comfortably. And explain why you can't get away with just overclocking? It won't be as good as buying a new one, but it's cheaper.

I could but I think it would be more fun if you thought about what would have to be done to a computer if you put a modern part in a 8 year old computer and are trying to avoid massive bottlenecks.

#17 Posted by Nate (702 posts) -

@ShadowSkill11 said:

@haffy said:

@ShadowSkill11 said:

@haffy said:

@ShadowSkill11 said:

DDR2? Naw man you aren't using AGP 16X. You need to replace your mobo, cpu, ram, and probably power supply. Your computer is too old to make upgrades efficient. You should have just built a new one. Newegg.com is your friend.

Why would he need to replace his power supply or ram? It should be more than enough. I doubt he'll be able to replace DDR2 with DDR3 with his motherboard anyway, and it doesn't make much of a difference.

If I was you I'd just get a new fan and try to overclock the motherboard. Probably would buy a new motherboard if it won't overclock. Also solid state drives are cool, they're quite expensive and have low memory but nice to have.

Really? Wow... time to freshen up on your A+ or something man.

So, explain why he needs to replace his power supply or ram? His PC should have plenty of power, his ram is more than enough to play any game comfortably. And explain why you can't get away with just overclocking? It won't be as good as buying a new one, but it's cheaper.

I could but I think it would be more fun if you thought about what would have to be done to a computer if you put a modern part in a 8 year old computer and are trying to avoid massive bottlenecks.

That's a one year old card in a three year old machine, actually.

#18 Posted by ShadowSkill11 (1783 posts) -

@Nate said:

@ShadowSkill11 said:

@haffy said:

@ShadowSkill11 said:

@haffy said:

@ShadowSkill11 said:

DDR2? Naw man you aren't using AGP 16X. You need to replace your mobo, cpu, ram, and probably power supply. Your computer is too old to make upgrades efficient. You should have just built a new one. Newegg.com is your friend.

Why would he need to replace his power supply or ram? It should be more than enough. I doubt he'll be able to replace DDR2 with DDR3 with his motherboard anyway, and it doesn't make much of a difference.

If I was you I'd just get a new fan and try to overclock the motherboard. Probably would buy a new motherboard if it won't overclock. Also solid state drives are cool, they're quite expensive and have low memory but nice to have.

Really? Wow... time to freshen up on your A+ or something man.

So, explain why he needs to replace his power supply or ram? His PC should have plenty of power, his ram is more than enough to play any game comfortably. And explain why you can't get away with just overclocking? It won't be as good as buying a new one, but it's cheaper.

I could but I think it would be more fun if you thought about what would have to be done to a computer if you put a modern part in a 8 year old computer and are trying to avoid massive bottlenecks.

That's a one year old card in a three year old machine, actually.

I don't care when you bought the machine. I was referring to how old it's technology was.

#19 Posted by AlexW00d (6167 posts) -

@haffy said:

@ShadowSkill11 said:

DDR2? Naw man you aren't using AGP 16X. You need to replace your mobo, cpu, ram, and probably power supply. Your computer is too old to make upgrades efficient. You should have just built a new one. Newegg.com is your friend.

Why would he need to replace his power supply or ram? It should be more than enough. I doubt he'll be able to replace DDR2 with DDR3 with his motherboard anyway, and it doesn't make much of a difference.

If I was OP I'd just get a new fan and try to overclock the motherboard. Probably would buy a new motherboard if it won't overclock. Also solid state drives are cool, they're quite expensive and have low storage but nice to have.

Overclock his motherboard? I uh, don't really know what to say.

@Nate: I think what the above dude really meant (I hope) was to overclock your CPU. I dunno how well the Q8300 OCs, but if you have a semi decent cooler (Read: not stock) you could probably push it to 3ghz comfortably. It'd keep you going another year or so.

And tbh, a new mobo, cpu, and ram would only cost you about $300, not a grand.

#20 Edited by Shivoa (606 posts) -

CPU is a bit weak (not surprising, given the age) and it'll be down to the game vs someone with a high end Core2Duo as to who wins (Core i5 means 4 cores so wide execution (many threads) for any games that can use that and they're fast cores so even only using a couple it is still a beast, and Intel added some dynamic clock sauce so when it uses two cores they run faster for the new design, which allowed them to get beyond the Core2Duo/Quad compromise of four slow cores vs two fast ones that you had to make when you purchased that computer - today's games are likely to expect at least a first gen i5 in a lot of computers for people looking for higher end settings, even if PC settings are far more about GPU than CPU requirements).

Don't let people tell you the 6850 is a terrible card, but you didn't buy an enthusiast card designed for trying to get the settings as high as they can go, you spent $120 for a GPU (possibly should have spent $140 for the 6870 model but if you only had a bit over $100 to spend on an upgrade then you didn't get taken for a ride) so you have to play with the settings to find out what detail you can add without crippling your frame-rate. You may find a few people who say the card was quite high end, these people did not realise when AMD changed their numbering system (the 5850/5870 became the 6950/6970 with that generational upgrade, the 68x0 cards are a lower tier aimed at mainstream and OEM 'gaming' systems and not people who spend hundred of hours and dollars on games and buy their hardware appropriately (if my Steam account has $4000 of games tied to it then I can probably live with spending $300 every few years to get a GPU to really get every ounce of visible detail out of those games)).

In my book (buying today) the 6870 with the higher clock speed and an extra block of cores in the GPU design (the 6850 has a block disabled compared to its brother) in the sub-$150 area of 'gaming but skint, will gets lots of use in F2P titles as games are expensive and Steam sales are the only way of getting access to occasional AAA hotness'. But you didn't get conned if you asked people to advise you for a very cheap GPU. When a bleeding edge GPU is $500 and spending $350 to $250 is where gamers (enthusiasts) should focus, spending half of the bottom end of that and still getting something playable is decent, and your CPU will possibly hold you back in some games anyway (although things like better textures and shaders can be an almost 100% GPU focussed processing requirement so some settings should not care about your CPU).

If you want to return that card as you were actually looking for advice for a really nice GPU (thinking that in maybe 12 months you'll be replacing the CPU/mobo/RAM but bringing over the GPU in a staggered upgrade cycle that makes a decent amount of sense - because at one point you'll need to get a modern CPU to continue to play any PC game rather than picking and choosing based on games with low CPU load) then the nVidia GTX570 is getting very close to $250 with rebate right now. It is about to be replaced by a new 660Ti (the 670 will be coming for $350 more than likely and should be a few notches faster but the 660Ti is the expected $250 new model from nVidia and I don't think anyone is entirely sure if it'll slot in just above or just below the 570 in performance - it will use less power but as long as that PSU is a good brand then you should actually be ok with powering the 570, although people are always going to be happier if the PSU says 650W on the side when you're using a high load power GPU) but at $260 (last week I saw it on NewEgg at that price, this week it's maybe $10 more from my quick glance) this is being sold to clear the way for the new model at a great deal price. This card wasn't a terrible idea for $350 a few months ago and is going to let you enjoy the sliders and only really play with them to get around the weakness of your four slow CPU cores (which will mainly be an issue if games are coded to use two fast cores so that'll be a per-game worry and not a universal compromise - more modern engines are going to be more likely to use DX11, which actually uses less CPU to render scenes so increasing sliders will be less likely to get bogged down in the CPU limitations, and also be coded to get the most out of all four cores).

Edit: less spelling mistakes

#21 Posted by Nate (702 posts) -

@Shivoa: Wow. Just, wow. Thank you. I feel like I just learned a lot.

#22 Posted by SlasherMan (1725 posts) -

@ShadowSkill11 said:

I don't care when you bought the machine. I was referring to how old it's technology was.

His CPU is just over 3 years old. Launched in late 08.

OP, I have a similar rig to yours and I can tell you that an overclock will go a long way to lifting the bottleneck caused by your CPU. I'm on a Q9400 (overclocked to 3.3Ghz from 2.6Ghz), 4GB DDR2, and a 6850. If you can bump the clock to around 3 Ghz, I think you'd be fine for the most part.

#23 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -

@Subject2Change said:

Your CPU is a bottleneck.

That's not entirely true. His CPU, while not the most modern being two generations behind what's current, isn't really much of a problem. All he needs to do is overclock it to around 3ghz and the machine will perform markedly better with current games.

#24 Posted by Subject2Change (2966 posts) -

@SeriouslyNow said:

@Subject2Change said:

Your CPU is a bottleneck.

That's not entirely true. His CPU, while not the most modern being two generations behind what's current, isn't really much of a problem. All he needs to do is overclock it to around 3ghz and the machine will perform markedly better with current games.

I run a Q9550 and it feels a bit dated now to me, the CPU is the BOTTLENECK on that system however at it's current state. An OC will make it run a bit better but that is the limitation. If he is running STOCK cooling he will most likely not be able to pull a stable 3.0 on that rig. I can get a 3.6 stable on my Q9550 with my Coolermaster V8, i've been trying for 3.8 for a while. I run my CPU at stock for now as it's gonna get hot soon.

#25 Edited by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -
@Subject2Change said:

@SeriouslyNow said:

@Subject2Change said:

Your CPU is a bottleneck.

That's not entirely true. His CPU, while not the most modern being two generations behind what's current, isn't really much of a problem. All he needs to do is overclock it to around 3ghz and the machine will perform markedly better with current games.

I run a Q9550 and it feels a bit dated now to me, the CPU is the BOTTLENECK on that system however at it's current state. An OC will make it run a bit better but that is the limitation. If he is running STOCK cooling he will most likely not be able to pull a stable 3.0 on that rig. I can get a 3.6 stable on my Q9550 with my Coolermaster V8, i've been trying for 3.8 for a while. I run my CPU at stock for now as it's gonna get hot soon.

Whatever works for you mate.  I wouldn't use a V8 personally.  Too large, ineffective for the size and mucks up airflow.  Up until I changed to a Noctua I was using a Zalman 7000 on this i5 750 @ 3.2 while before that I used a Zalman 9700 on my e6750 @ 4ghz.  Your 9550 is probably having heat issues because of the v8, not despite it.  Airflow is more important than direct to the core cooling.
#26 Posted by Subject2Change (2966 posts) -

@SeriouslyNow said:

@Subject2Change said:

@SeriouslyNow said:

@Subject2Change said:

Your CPU is a bottleneck.

That's not entirely true. His CPU, while not the most modern being two generations behind what's current, isn't really much of a problem. All he needs to do is overclock it to around 3ghz and the machine will perform markedly better with current games.

I run a Q9550 and it feels a bit dated now to me, the CPU is the BOTTLENECK on that system however at it's current state. An OC will make it run a bit better but that is the limitation. If he is running STOCK cooling he will most likely not be able to pull a stable 3.0 on that rig. I can get a 3.6 stable on my Q9550 with my Coolermaster V8, i've been trying for 3.8 for a while. I run my CPU at stock for now as it's gonna get hot soon.

Whatever works for you mate. I wouldn't use a V8 personally. Too large, ineffective for the size and mucks up airflow. Up until I changed to a Noctua I was using a Zalman 7000 on this i5 750 @ 3.2 while before that I used a Zalman 9700 on my e6750 @ 4ghz. Your 9550 is probably having heat issues because of the v8, not despite it. Airflow is more important than direct to the core cooling.

The V8 was purchased before the Noctua was out to my knowledge, I thought about upgrading but figured it wasn't worth it til I got a 2700k. At the time it was the go to, again this is a 3 year old CPU. I swapped from an E8400 to the Q9550 as I use this as an Edit station as well, so the quad core was the improvement. The heat issues is due to the weather in NYC as it can change drastically for the seasons, so during the summer I tend to not OC my computer as I don't like running my AC 24/7. Also I am running dual GPUs as I am running 3 monitors; 2 for editing use, 1 for client use (my tv). As well I am using a bad steel case that I want to swap out soon. Looking to swap to the Lian Li PC-A70F soon along with an SSD when I have the extra money.

In his specific situation the weakest part of his system is that older CPU, going to 3.0 (I am at 2.83) is not that big of a change. Stuff runs well, and I am fine with it as I never was into the super high end level. Again this is and will be the bottle neck, same as I have it.

#27 Posted by Toxeia (728 posts) -

DDR2's not going to be your bottle neck, the CPU is if anything, but he's asking about what kind of graphics port you have. It's going to be a PCI-E 16x, guarantee. My motherboard is PCI-E 16x and I'm running 4gb of DDR2 and a e8400 celeron duo.

#28 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -
@Subject2Change said:

@SeriouslyNow said:

@Subject2Change said:

@SeriouslyNow said:

@Subject2Change said:

Your CPU is a bottleneck.

That's not entirely true. His CPU, while not the most modern being two generations behind what's current, isn't really much of a problem. All he needs to do is overclock it to around 3ghz and the machine will perform markedly better with current games.

I run a Q9550 and it feels a bit dated now to me, the CPU is the BOTTLENECK on that system however at it's current state. An OC will make it run a bit better but that is the limitation. If he is running STOCK cooling he will most likely not be able to pull a stable 3.0 on that rig. I can get a 3.6 stable on my Q9550 with my Coolermaster V8, i've been trying for 3.8 for a while. I run my CPU at stock for now as it's gonna get hot soon.

Whatever works for you mate. I wouldn't use a V8 personally. Too large, ineffective for the size and mucks up airflow. Up until I changed to a Noctua I was using a Zalman 7000 on this i5 750 @ 3.2 while before that I used a Zalman 9700 on my e6750 @ 4ghz. Your 9550 is probably having heat issues because of the v8, not despite it. Airflow is more important than direct to the core cooling.

The V8 was purchased before the Noctua was out to my knowledge, I thought about upgrading but figured it wasn't worth it til I got a 2700k. At the time it was the go to, again this is a 3 year old CPU. I swapped from an E8400 to the Q9550 as I use this as an Edit station as well, so the quad core was the improvement. The heat issues is due to the weather in NYC as it can change drastically for the seasons, so during the summer I tend to not OC my computer as I don't like running my AC 24/7. Also I am running dual GPUs as I am running 3 monitors; 2 for editing use, 1 for client use (my tv). As well I am using a bad steel case that I want to swap out soon. Looking to swap to the Lian Li PC-A70F soon along with an SSD when I have the extra money.

In his specific situation the weakest part of his system is that older CPU, going to 3.0 (I am at 2.83) is not that big of a change. Stuff runs well, and I am fine with it as I never was into the super high end level. Again this is and will be the bottle neck, same as I have it.

You have a steel case and you have a heat issue?  Mate, deal with your airflow and I'm not saying that to grief you.  Your case should be acting as a large heatsink and, frankly, when it comes to ambient heat I think Australian summers are much more stifling than New York's and I don't have much in the way of AC either (a small portable unit which is pretty low on the BTU side).  Good choice on the eventual Lian Li though, I'm a huge fan of their work and right now I'm using their budget Dragonlord PC-K60 which is filled with 8 HDDs inside the case along (5 in the 3.5" trays and 3 in 5.25" section, one is still ATA too) with an i5 750, GTX 470 and the bespoke Noctua.   Arguably you have more going on in your case which would be arresting flow, but I'll bet your interior is also somewhat of a mess eh?  As you can see, mine largely isn't.  I've routed whatever I can behind the motherboard tray.  Airflow, it's what's for dinner.
 

 In his case, unlike yours, he has a much weaker CPU out of the box (4MB cache on his vs 12MB on yours) so the jump from 2.66Ghz to 3.0Ghz will be much more pronounced.  Just increasing his FSB from 133 to 150 would do the trick (if his RAM can cope and most should with only a minor voltage bump).  When you overclock your CPU the performance doesn't really increase all that much in games, but rather more so in things like shortened render times because your larger on die cache already reaches beyond the limits of a reasonably small 133mhz FSB.
#29 Posted by Korwin (2813 posts) -

@SeriouslyNow: The Core2 architecture (especially the lower cache models) is a pretty big bottle neck these days, even at 3 ghz. I did some SCIENCE (not really science) a few months ago.

http://www.tested.com/profile/korwin/blog/5335/

Unfortunately Tested's new design kinda nuked the formatting.

#30 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -
@Korwin said:

@SeriouslyNow: The Core2 architecture (especially the lower cache models) is a pretty big bottle neck these days, even at 3 ghz. I did some SCIENCE (not really science) a few months ago.

http://www.tested.com/profile/korwin/blog/5335/

Unfortunately Tested's new design kinda nuked the formatting.

You're comparing Core i to Core 2, they don't even share the same pipeline because the Core i range has the ondie memory controller, let alone the DDR2 to DDR3 differences.  That's where cache makes little difference at speeds below 3.2ghz because there's no interleave and very little latency for MOV (memory operation) commands.  The expectations of performance when comparing two wholly disparate arch's is going to lead to inflated figures in favour of the more modern arch, this is a much true as it is for cars as it will be for CPUs.  I'm not saying that he will see Core i like performance if he OC's to 3ghz+ (3.2 has always been and remains the sweet spot for gaming on pre Sandy Bridge arch) but I am saying he will see better than Q9550 base performance from his Q8400 OC'd to 3ghz (preferably 3.2 if his RAM can handle it).
#31 Posted by Korwin (2813 posts) -

@SeriouslyNow said:

@Korwin said:

@SeriouslyNow: The Core2 architecture (especially the lower cache models) is a pretty big bottle neck these days, even at 3 ghz. I did some SCIENCE (not really science) a few months ago.

http://www.tested.com/profile/korwin/blog/5335/

Unfortunately Tested's new design kinda nuked the formatting.

You're comparing Core i to Core 2, they don't even share the same pipeline because the Core i range has the ondie memory controller, let alone the DDR2 to DDR3 differences. That's where cache makes little difference at speeds below 3.2ghz because there's no interleave and very little latency for MOV (memory operation) commands. The expectations of performance when comparing two wholly disparate arch's is going to lead to inflated figures in favour of the more modern arch, this is a much true as it is for cars as it will be for CPUs. I'm not saying that he will see Core i like performance if he OC's to 3ghz+ (3.2 has always been and remains the sweet spot for gaming on pre Sandy Bridge arch) but I am saying he will see better than Q9550 base performance from his Q8400 OC'd to 3ghz (preferably 3.2 if his RAM can handle it).

The implication is that the Core2 is a bottle neck when it comes to modern video cards, not that it's slower than a 4ghz clocked i series :)

He'll undoubtedly see better performance with more clock speed but that CPU really is on it's last legs at this point and he may want to start shopping around soon if he want's to see the most out of his 6850.

#32 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -
@Korwin said:

@SeriouslyNow said:

@Korwin said:

@SeriouslyNow: The Core2 architecture (especially the lower cache models) is a pretty big bottle neck these days, even at 3 ghz. I did some SCIENCE (not really science) a few months ago.

http://www.tested.com/profile/korwin/blog/5335/

Unfortunately Tested's new design kinda nuked the formatting.

You're comparing Core i to Core 2, they don't even share the same pipeline because the Core i range has the ondie memory controller, let alone the DDR2 to DDR3 differences. That's where cache makes little difference at speeds below 3.2ghz because there's no interleave and very little latency for MOV (memory operation) commands. The expectations of performance when comparing two wholly disparate arch's is going to lead to inflated figures in favour of the more modern arch, this is a much true as it is for cars as it will be for CPUs. I'm not saying that he will see Core i like performance if he OC's to 3ghz+ (3.2 has always been and remains the sweet spot for gaming on pre Sandy Bridge arch) but I am saying he will see better than Q9550 base performance from his Q8400 OC'd to 3ghz (preferably 3.2 if his RAM can handle it).

The implication is that the Core2 is a bottle neck when it comes to modern video cards, not that it's slower than a 4ghz clocked i series :)

He'll undoubtedly see better performance with more clock speed but that CPU really is on it's last legs at this point and he may want to start shopping around soon if he want's to see the most out of his 6850.

Yeah but that wasn't the point of my discussion with the other guy who hasn't responded.  He claimed that OC'ing an 8400 wouldn't show much benefit because OC'ing his 9550 didn't.  There's no doubt that what you're saying is true but that doesn't make what I'm saying false or by proxy what he's saying true.  That's my point.

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