Worried I'm bottle necking at my CPU

#1 Posted by GiantLizardKing (380 posts) -

I'm noticing that my games aren't running as well as I would expect with all of the settings turned up to the max. At 1080p with max settings Sleeping dogs, Skyrim and Saints Row the third all average around 45 but can drop as low as high 20s or mid 30s. That seems too low for my card. I'm worried that I may be bottle necking at my CPU.

My current gaming rig has an intel 17 920 2.4ghz with 8 gigs of ram and a gtx 670 with 2GB of VRAM.

So my question is, do you guys think I would get a significant performance increase by just overclocking, or will a new CPU be in order? I really would like to be able to play sleeping dogs at a decent frame rate :/

Thanks in advance, duders

#2 Posted by alternate (2694 posts) -

I doubt it. I am not sure what is holding you up but I don't see the cpu as dragging it down.

#3 Posted by Linkster7 (1022 posts) -

I'd try and clock it up and see if you get any performance gains, seems like easiest way to check. What are your temps on the CPU now?

#4 Edited by buckybit (1455 posts) -

Intel® Core™ i7-920 Processor has apparently 2.66 GHz, doing 4.80 GT/s Intel® QPI.

It COULD be the CPU - below 3GHz - even Intel Quadcores - might slow down, if there's lots of CPU heavy lifting to calculate. It's not that your system has not enough power; it's rather the games not being "optimized" enough to run better. But I would doubt it in your case.

Sleepy Dogs & Skyrim do tend to stress the CPU(s) more than the GPU. Saints 3 should not push neither.

I would run some system tests with Sandra or equal performance testing tools, to find out where or what can drag your framerate down. BIOS/UEFI settings can do the trick. Defragging the harddrive helps sometimes too ... the usual suspects. Overclocking or buying a new CPU should be the last resort?

#5 Posted by zenmastah (888 posts) -

I doubt that CPU will see you going very far into next year.

#6 Posted by GiantLizardKing (380 posts) -

I'm going to get a new one, but the prices on those new i7 chips are ridiculous and that's what's recommended to max out Watch Dogs :/

#7 Posted by CCYHD (10 posts) -

I'm still running an old ass q9450 (stock 2.66GHz i think), though it's OC'd at ~3.5GHz. Also using a HD 7970 (slightly faster than a GTX 670). I haven't tried to run games with my cpu stock in a while but OC'd I can run Sleeping Dogs and Saint's 3 without any slowdown (I do generally turn off SSAO though, I prefer a fairly negligible quality drop for guaranteed 60fps).


My processor's a different architecture to yours but a quick search seems to suggest that the 920 handles overclocking reasonably well, so my advice would probably be to give that a shot. Do be careful though - be sure to make changes incrementally rather than just jumping to 4GHz XD. The overclocking process was a bit of a joke for me, just pumped all the numbers up and the CPU took it like a champ (I wasn't trying to push its limits though, just keep it relevant).

Don't expect to get far with overclocking if you're using a stock cooler - you can have a dabble to see if there's any change in performance but if you want significant results you'll need to invest in an aftermarket heatsink. At that point you'll need to weigh buying a product that you most likely won't be able to use on another computer against just essentially buying a new computer - I'm not up to date on current processors but I doubt you'll get away with buying a new CPU without needing a new motherboard and maybe RAM too. Factoring in the potential jump in graphical quality (and thus requirements) that may accompany new consoles either choice seems like it's probably OK.

Sorry to ramble - figured you should know about my experience as it seems like you're in a pretty similar situation to where I was at the start of last year. Overclocking definitely worked out for me, my (mostly) early 2009 computer's smashing BF4 with ease (though this is a bit of a disappointment in itself - Crysis came out months after the first iPhone).

Best of luck with whatever you end up going for.

#8 Edited by Devildoll (877 posts) -

@giantlizardking: which ones are you looking at?

they should be cheaper than what you payed for the i7 920, that thing was a tad high end at the time, only cpu's that are in that pricerange and above are the socket 2011 i7's, and no game will require one of those to run optimal, no chance.

regarding overclocking your cpu, yeah, that is a viable option, if you have the later batch of the nehalems, you could reach 4 GHz on that puppy.
3.6 GHz is pretty much a guarantee no matter how tired your specimine is, without tampering with the voltage, ( meaning no siginificant temp change and need for an aftermarket cooler ) you can probably get it running around 3 GHz.

#9 Posted by Korwin (2837 posts) -

I retired my 920 which ran permanently clocked at 4ghz a few months ago, it was time. Anything pre-sandy bridge is going to be a bottle neck (and in many places already was) going into the new generation of cross platform titles.

#10 Edited by Jadeskye (4367 posts) -

@giantlizardking: i have similar specs to you, a 7970 gpu but an i5 2500k at 5ghz. i can honestly say running at 2560x1600 very little slows me down, i recently finished SR4 and didn't notice any big hiccups. Your cpu is actually a good chip still, i had one myself. but the clock cycles may be holding you back. it might be worth investing in a good heat sink and doing a bit of overclocking before you replace your board and cpu.

#11 Posted by MonetaryDread (2007 posts) -

When was the last time you formatted your system and reinstalled Windows? I find that my system runs a good deal faster if I reformat twice a year.

#12 Posted by Devildoll (877 posts) -

@jadeskye: 2560x1600 shouldnt be harder to spit out than 1920x1080 on the cpu side should it?

#13 Posted by buckybit (1455 posts) -

... speaking of "overclocking" - if somebody out there is speculating on overclocking the HASWELL - a major German tech magazine (heise.de) did try just that and went through lots of pain. The result was 15%(!) of stable OC, but with heavy cooling efforts. They tested different mainboard(chips) with it.

At this point - not recommended. Just FYI, if you - like me - are looking for new CPUs/Mainboards.

#14 Edited by Devildoll (877 posts) -

@buckybit: kind of crappy to use percent in this case.

Cpu's are clocked so high from the factory that 15 % is several hundred MHz

sure, an i7 920 can be overclocked from 2,66 to 4.0 GHz, which is 50 %.If you look at it like that, a haswell chip looks like utter shit.

But you forget that the 4770k, starts out at 3,9 GHz so you are getting alot more for your money out of the box, and a 15% oc would put it around 4.5 GHz.
Then, you also have to remember that haswell has higher ipc than a nehalem.

its pretty great actually, the only downside is that it isnt as fun to overclock, but the performance is there.

#15 Posted by jayjonesjunior (1087 posts) -

For general gaming your CPU is fine, some CPU bound games are going to require an overclock, but keep in mind, if you want an overclock that is going to make your CPU relevant for those types of games, you gonna need a pretty good cooling solution and it is not cheap or risk-free.

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