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Advocate
10-21-05, 11:29 PM
Hi all,

After a 2 year hiatus from PC's and following a recent split with my missus I decided to build a new PC to help occupy all the free time I was about to have.

Without further ado here are the specs of my new system.

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 x2 3800+
Motherboard: Abit A8N Fatal1ty
Graphics: 2 x Gigabyte 7800GT in SLi
Sound: Creative Labs X Fi Fatal1ty
Memory: 2Gb Kingston DDR400
HDD: 2 x Maxtor 200Gb SATA
DVD: 2 x Pioneer DVR110
Screen: Samsung 26" LCD HDTV with VGA input @ 1360x768
OS: Windows XP Pro with SP2, all latest patches applied

Now, two years ago I sold a system that (in brief) comprised of a Pentium 4 @ 3Ghz with HT, 1Gb RAM and a Radeon 9700 Pro. I managed toplay through Doom 3 at High Quality quite reasonably with this setup with framerates I suppose in the 20's.

Quite frankly I'm not impressed with my new system. I expected it to be a screamer but in all honesty it isn't. Half Life 2 felt adequate, Doom 3 and Quake 4 are quite jerky (even though the framerate counter is registering in the 60's). Outside areas of Quake 4 show framerates in the 20's and if I try Ultra Quality it's jerk-o-vision all round (I know strictly speaking you need 512meg texture mem for Ultra but other people seem to be managing).

The system was originally running at stock speed but 3dMark05 scores were disappointing (8800ish) so after doing some reading I dropped the HT multiplier to x4 instead of x5 in the BIOS, dropped the memory speed from DDR400 to DDR333 in the BIOS and upped the FSB to 240Mhz to give me a CPU speed of 2.4Ghz and a new 3DMark05 score of over 11,000.

But........games still don't feel fluid enough despite the framerate counter.

Could this be the widescreen aspect ratio of the HDTV? The resolution of the screen isn't in my mind that high, certainly not high enough to slow down 2 7800GT's in SLi.

Anybody any ideas as to why this PC isn;t the screamer I expected?

TIA

Alistair

Sazar
10-22-05, 01:12 AM
I had a similar experience when upgrading form m y previsuos suystem :D

Results are not that gret but the dual core setup is AWESopme for performnace and how snalpppy ecverything feels :)

It could be some probllemsw ith your system perhaps, for setting it up right/.

Rakeesh
10-22-05, 01:19 AM
I had a similar experience when upgrading form m y previsuos suystem :D

Results are not that gret but the dual core setup is AWESopme for performnace and how snalpppy ecverything feels :)

It could be some probllemsw ith your system perhaps, for setting it up right/.

Excuse me son, but I am going to have to write you up for public drunkenness :D

OWA
10-22-05, 01:24 AM
Yeah, something doesn't seem right. You should be slicing through the games you mentioned with ease.

I'd probably go back to stock settings and keep working the issue from that standpoint. By changing your system settings you may just be masking whatever issue you're having making it harder to track down.

Roliath
10-22-05, 01:29 AM
Have you tried new drivers, and removing all traces of old drivers?
Also, have you tried different SLI modes?

MUYA
10-22-05, 01:50 AM
SLi is impressive perhaps the way you set your computer setup is not. Those games you mention run smooth my SLi setup....I can onlly deduce it's user installation error of some sort. I expereience stuttering in the beginning of BF2 rounds or FEAR but, afterwards its all smooth

jAkUp
10-22-05, 02:15 AM
Yea but with 2GBS of ram he should have 0 stutter.

Something definetely is not right.

Does anyone know what dual 7800GT's score in 3dMark05?

Which drivers are you using? Did you install the motherboard drivers? Did you reformat your O.S. when doing the upgrade?

Advocate
10-22-05, 02:19 AM
Thanks for the replies folks, nvnews forums are just as friendly as I remember :)

Have just got in from a nightshift in A+E (ER for all you US bods) which is where I made the original post from. I forgot to mention that before I'd left for work I'd installed the hotfix from M$ for a dual core issue. Have just played a bit of Quake 4 and while it does seem smoother it's still not as "Wow that's smooth/fast!" as I expected.

Maybe I'm just expecting too much?

Maybe I need to invest in a couple o gig of OCZ or Geil memory (ddr500?)?

Suggestions?

I can't think in what way my setup could be wrong? Any obvious things I may have missed?

Thanks again everyone.

Alistair

Advocate
10-22-05, 02:21 AM
Yea but with 2GBS of ram he should have 0 stutter.

Something definetely is not right.

Does anyone know what dual 7800GT's score in 3dMark05?

Which drivers are you using? Did you install the motherboard drivers? Did you reformat your O.S. when doing the upgrade?

Well my original scores (with the CPU not overclocked) were in the region of 8800 which judging by other peoples scores with similar systems seems right. Once I clocked the CPU my scores increased as above.

I am using the 81.85 drivers. Motherboard drivers are all installed. It wasn't an upgrade it was a new build and as such I started with completely blank hard drives.

Thanks for the input

Alistair

jAkUp
10-22-05, 02:21 AM
Are you running quake4 at Ultra high? Or High quality? It lags horribly on even my machine at Ultra high. High looks pretty much the same.

Can you download and run this:
www.fraps.com
To see what kinda framerate you are getting....
Also, did you install the AMD CPU driver?

Also, try turning off Vsync in the nvidia forceware drivers...

Advocate
10-22-05, 02:56 AM
Well tbh I actually turned vsync on because I was getting terrible tearing in the indoor areas :s

Will download fraps and see what framerates I get and report back here later tonight when I wake up ;)

Peoples-Agent
10-22-05, 06:45 AM
Hi there,

Few things to consider, your ram, are you using two sticks of 1GB or 4 sticks of 512? .... I just had a very alarming experience, for some reason the 7800GT when combined with 4 sticks of ram falls over, the frame rate takes a serious wack, possibly down to the ram having to have looser timings @ 2T and what not.

I've RMA'ed the two extra sticks and ordered two 1GB now.

As for 3DMark05 , were you running it with V Sync on? ...that would have a huge knock on the final score, guess the usual test is to use 3dMark all settings as they come without V sync to get best comparable idea, solely because thats the best means of doing the benchmark without having to buy the software to use extra features.

I get over 7500 on my rig ...you should be smoking with that kit there!

EDIT: Forgot to mention, were reports of dualcore CPUs taking a hit if you dont use the newest driver.

DoomUK
10-22-05, 07:01 AM
The system was originally running at stock speed but 3dMark05 scores were disappointing (8800ish) so after doing some reading I dropped the HT multiplier to x4 instead of x5 in the BIOS, dropped the memory speed from DDR400 to DDR333 in the BIOS and upped the FSB to 240Mhz to give me a CPU speed of 2.4Ghz and a new 3DMark05 score of over 11,000.

:confused: Where did you read that? Common sense states that decreasing the RAM freqeuncy would cause a memory bottleneck if anything.

Might give it a try though, see what happens...

Peoples-Agent
10-22-05, 07:15 AM
Nah , the boost in CPU power wouldn't justify the lowered ram timings IMO.

BrianG
10-22-05, 07:57 AM
Well tbh I actually turned vsync on because I was getting terrible tearing in the indoor areas :s

Will download fraps and see what framerates I get and report back here later tonight when I wake up ;)
Make sure you enable triple buffering in the Doom3/Quake4 profiles. That is a huge help. Instead of halving your framerate at load points, it stays more dynamic as it have an extra buffer to render to and does not wait on the current scene to complete. (Over-simplified explanation)

Also, search for the Windows dual core hotfix and download, install and add the registry key. It helps smooth things out. There are also several settings for Quake, Doom and HL2 that help to take advantage of the added system memory and graphics capability. Again search the forums, there are several threads. Keywords include cachemegs for the Doom engine and stuttering for HL2.

I know that my system is smooth as glass with the dual-core and 2GB memory installed. When I read someone isn't impressed with their dual-core rig, I want to help because it is a night and day difference to me.

BrianG
10-22-05, 07:58 AM
And if you are still having issues after tweaking your games, you can send me one of your 7800GTs for testing. Cause that's the kind of guy I am...

Advocate
10-22-05, 10:01 AM
:confused: Where did you read that? Common sense states that decreasing the RAM freqeuncy would cause a memory bottleneck if anything.

Might give it a try though, see what happens...

The reduction in memory timings was to enable me to increase the FSB to 240mhz. The memory I have isn't any fancy overclockers memory or high speed memory it's bog standard DDR400 Kingston memory and as such doesn't clock well (at all in fact).

I assumed that by dropping the memory speed in the BIOS to "DDR333" and then increasing the FSB to 240mhz that the memory would run at faster than DDR333 due to the increased FSB.

That make sense? I've just got up so if it doesn't I'm sorry :s

Alistair

Advocate
10-22-05, 10:05 AM
Make sure you enable triple buffering in the Doom3/Quake4 profiles. That is a huge help. Instead of halving your framerate at load points, it stays more dynamic as it have an extra buffer to render to and does not wait on the current scene to complete. (Over-simplified explanation)

Also, search for the Windows dual core hotfix and download, install and add the registry key. It helps smooth things out. There are also several settings for Quake, Doom and HL2 that help to take advantage of the added system memory and graphics capability. Again search the forums, there are several threads. Keywords include cachemegs for the Doom engine and stuttering for HL2.

I know that my system is smooth as glass with the dual-core and 2GB memory installed. When I read someone isn't impressed with their dual-core rig, I want to help because it is a night and day difference to me.

I'll try triple buffering before I go to work tonight (that's in the Forceware CP yes?)

I've installed the dual core hotfix from MS, didn't know I had to add anything to the registry as well though....hmmm

I've increased my cachemegs in Quake 4 to 300, that enough? Try higher?

I do love the dual core system as in general day to day use it is indeed very smooth (iTunes seems to be able to make it pause though :s ) but still not the :o WOW! that I expected.

Alistair

Advocate
10-22-05, 10:07 AM
Hi there,

Few things to consider, your ram, are you using two sticks of 1GB or 4 sticks of 512? .... I just had a very alarming experience, for some reason the 7800GT when combined with 4 sticks of ram falls over, the frame rate takes a serious wack, possibly down to the ram having to have looser timings @ 2T and what not.

I've RMA'ed the two extra sticks and ordered two 1GB now.

As for 3DMark05 , were you running it with V Sync on? ...that would have a huge knock on the final score, guess the usual test is to use 3dMark all settings as they come without V sync to get best comparable idea, solely because thats the best means of doing the benchmark without having to buy the software to use extra features.

I get over 7500 on my rig ...you should be smoking with that kit there!

EDIT: Forgot to mention, were reports of dualcore CPUs taking a hit if you dont use the newest driver.


Am using 2 x 1gig sticks of memory. 3DMark05 has always been run with vsync off, according to a thread on their forums a dual core cpu doesn't help much (if at all) with your scores which is why I only saw an increase in score after overclocking the speed of the cpu from 2.0Ghz to 2.4Ghz.

I think I'm using the latest CPU driver, I got it from AMD although the AMD site does say that Cool n Quiet doesn't work with the 3800+ x 2.

Alistair

BrianG
10-22-05, 10:56 AM
The reduction in memory timings was to enable me to increase the FSB to 240mhz. The memory I have isn't any fancy overclockers memory or high speed memory it's bog standard DDR400 Kingston memory and as such doesn't clock well (at all in fact).

I assumed that by dropping the memory speed in the BIOS to "DDR333" and then increasing the FSB to 240mhz that the memory would run at faster than DDR333 due to the increased FSB.

That make sense? I've just got up so if it doesn't I'm sorry :s

Alistair
What speed does CPUZ say the memory is operating?

Advocate
10-22-05, 01:52 PM
According to CPUZ these are my memory speeds/timings

Frequency 200.3 Mhz
CAS latency 2.5 clocks
RAS to CAS delay 4 clocks
RAS precharge 4 clocks
Cycle time (Tras) 7 clocks
Bank Cycle time (Trc) 11 clocks
DRAM Idle timer 16 clocks

That help?

Alistair

pingu2
10-22-05, 01:57 PM
Did you use the same monitor before? I reckon what you see as jerkyness could just be due to the response time of a lcd tv - I notice that its fps games you are talking about mainly, which are often the most dependent on monitor response times / ghosting etc..

Advocate
10-22-05, 02:01 PM
Yeah I know what you mean but this definitely isn't ghosting. If it was ghosting I'd have the problem all the time rather than like it is now. :)

Alistair

pingu2
10-22-05, 02:02 PM
so you had the same monitor before?

Advocate
10-22-05, 02:03 PM
This is a new system with a new monitor m8, I haven't just bought a new monitor to go with an existing system :)