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Need I upgrade to i7 ? update: YES! WE SHOULD!

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
my configurations:

Core 2 Quad Q6600 OC 3.6GHz
Gigabyte X48 DQ6 (X48 chipset)
6GB DDR2-800( running at 1000)
Windows 7 Ultimate X64 (with latest patch and hotfix)

my 5870CF runs very well on 3DMark 11 Extreme mode, Heaven Benchmark v2.1 and AMD-Demo-HK2207-v1.0, the crossfire efficiency rate all round 90-96%, and can get 59% (19fps VS. 30 fps) in Metro 2033 Benchmark (DX11 mode, 1680x1050, 4xMSAA, 16xAF, VH with DOF on ) crossfire efficiency with 80% average GPU usage.

but my 5870CF perform badly in Battlefield: Bad Company, Dirt2, F1 2010, MOH2010 etc with 1680x1050 Dell 22 LCD, the fps of the two card is even less than a single card, for example, I tried F1 2010 with its 1.01 patch (Add DX11 support with a built-in bechmark) and Cat 10.12, CAP10.12, to my surprise, I definitely saw the performance increase at the garage with crossfire on (from 86fps to 140fps with 62.8% increase), but after run the benchmark (1680x1050, 8xMSAA, DX11, Ultra Preset), 5870cf only get 41 average fps, compared with 53 average fps on single 5870.

When I raised the relotion to 1920x1440 on my old CRT monitor, with 8xAA 16xAF and HBAO ON in Bad company 2, finally there's 40-50% crossfire efficienct rate , but Dirt2 with 8xMSAA, all Ultra setting, the 5870CF is only 2-3fps ahead than the single 5870.

I've tried almost all game patch, all cat drvs and caps, does this mean my Q6600 to be the bottleneck ? Need I upgrade to i7 ? THX
Edited by mao5 - 12/26/10 at 12:11am
post #2 of 22
I'm having similar issues on a GTX 580. For the most part I fixed it by trying out different driver versions, but in many other games I'm only getting 20% GPU usage.
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post #3 of 22
My setup is not similar but it is CF so maybe it will help? I've got an i7 and 4890 CF under dx9. It does 98fps avg at 1680x1050@ultra settings using the F1 2010 bench. Lowest fps is 83 btw. The AB graphs show both gpu's pegged in F1. F1 2010 is a poorly coded game though, with some ppl seeing improvements with 1.01 and others getting halved performance. Codies has no clue on how to fix it too.
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post #4 of 22
Don't take my word for it, but don't I think the Q6600 is a bottleneck for something like 2 5870s. Mine balances very well with my 4870X2, so 2 5870s should do well with it. I think you should mess around with different driver versions (doing a Driver Sweeper clean between each install to be sure you completely eliminate your last install)
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post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
I did a lot of test, it seems when games rely on CPU heavily, such as BC2, Dirt2, Crysis benchmark, F1 2010, My 5870CF GPUs' usage is alway bad, in Crysis, 1680x1050 DX10 VH 8XMSAA only 2 fps higher than the fps of 1920x1200 DX10 VH 8XMSAA, obviously Q6600 is a bottleneck

As for most benchmark which rely heavily on GPU, such as 3DMark 11 GT tests, Heaven Benchmark 2.1, and some games such Metro 2033, my 5870CF always scale very well, crossfire efficiency is near 100% in 3DMark 11 GT tests.

So it's time for upgrading to i7

btw, just tried Cat 10.5a, the 5870CF scaling is much better than before, but I'm still not satisfied with the improvement.
post #6 of 22
I'm going with the green on my next build. SLI scales far better than Crossfire it seems.
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post #7 of 22
Quote:
I'm going with the green on my next build. SLI scales far better than Crossfire it seems.
That actually is not true with the latest cards!

The HD6800 series scales almost at 100%

The HD6900 series are close to 90%

GTX 500 series are at 85%

All are much better then the scalability of the HD4000 series

All the top graphics cards will experience some bottleneck with a Q6600, even with a Q9550.
Edited by Electroneng - 12/23/10 at 8:17pm
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post #8 of 22
I for one got a major performance boost going from my old Q6600 to my i7 930. It's like night and day in terms of minimum FPS. I say go for it, TS. Might I ask those who say it's not a bottleneck: Have you guys actually tried moving from a Q6600 to an i7, while packing the same GPU power as TS?
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post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArcticZero View Post
I for one got a major performance boost going from my old Q6600 to my i7 930. It's like night and day in terms of minimum FPS. I say go for it, TS. Might I ask those who say it's not a bottleneck: Have you guys actually tried moving from a Q6600 to an i7, while packing the same GPU power as TS?
good, I will buy i7 950, x58 mb and 6GB DDR3 1600 tomorrow
post #10 of 22
The problem of low GPU usage, more often than not, can be reduced to a small handful of causes. The first: CPU bottleneck, which becomes painfully apparent in multiple GPU configurations with "antiquated" chips. Sometimes misinterpreted as the aformentioned is poor driver optimizations (probably manifested as outdated catalyst/forceware updates), and as a case in point the initial Eyefinity drivers running off multiple 5870 cards. It was common to have GPUs connected to top-end Nehalems seeing teens to twenties performance though everyone knew these performance scenarios were GPU limited, not vice versa. Finally, PCI-E bandwidth saturation can result in negative scaling type results (i.e. 3 cards functioning at low percentages), though I've personally only seen this on ***** P55 motherboards with a third PCI-E x16 tacked onto the platform control hub's generation 1.0 x4 lanes (which also is shared by the chipset sata II, ethernet, et al.)

The reason you're getting 100 percent usage in certain benchmarks is specific to the way benchmarks are coded. It doesn't mean that, because you've seen near maximized GPU utilization in one evaluation (benchmark whatever), since other software demonstrates far poorer performance comparatively, the performance deficit is because of an intrinsic flaw in AMD's drivers, crossfire scaling, and so forth.

In ATI's VLIW-5 architecture, the so-called t-unit was devised and implemented when DirectX 9 & vertex shaders kept the widest SP occupied. Transcendental operations (accounting for a dramatically higher proportion of overall code when the architecture was fresh) have become less often utilized from year to year, such that essentially 1/5 of the units are, on average, sitting idle.

The point being, benchmark software like Vantage, 3dmark 06 and whatever optimize software to, in a sense, achieve a higher performance result than ever would happen in the context of..well, reality, by utilizing shaders that more often than not are remaining idle in games.

Upgrade to an i7. It'll resolve all the problems noted here, & the shift in performance is night & day difference
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