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Old July 2, 2012, 07:34 PM
pwens's Avatar
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Exclamation Fast system yielding inexplicably slow game performance - what gives?

I built a really sick system (I've been building machines for over 10 years) in preparation for Battlefield 3 and Ghost Recon Future Soldier, both perform painfully slow, yielding framerates in the low teens and even sometimes dropping down to single digits

Taking a look at my components below (i7-2600K 3.4GHz, GTX 580 GPU, G.SKILL 8GB RAM...), and looking at benchmarks from around the internet, I am not getting the performance I would have expected. (I have all the latest drivers and firmware on all of my components.)

Interestingly, the poor performance is always accompanied by crackling / static sound in the game audio. I've also tried removing my Xonar DX pci-e sound card and using the on board sound, but the same performance problems occur.

Notably, other games that are a couple years old (Bioshock 2, Dead Space 2) run just fine and at the high performance that I would expect.

The only thing about my specs that I am beginning to suspect as a bottleneck is the PSU (4 years old NeoPower 650). I had always been under the impression that with a PSU, it was all or nothing - meaning that, if my PSU couldn't handle it, my machine wouldn't run at all.

Could the PSU be choking game performance without just shutting my system down completely?

======SPECS=======

[Motherboard] Intel DP67BGB3 LGA1155 (BIOS 2185, driver 9.3.0.1019)

[CPU] Intel Core i7 Processor i7-2600K 3.4GHz 8MB LGA1155 CPU Retail

[RAM] G.SKILL Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) F3-10600CL9D-8GBNT

[Graphics] Galaxy MDT GeForce GTX 580 1536MB GDDR5 (latest nvidia stable driver)

[Storage] INTEL 320 Series 120GB SSD SSDSA2CW120G3B5 Retail (firmware 1.92)

[Audio] Asus Xonar DX PCI-e (driver 17.94)

[Audio On-Board] Realtek ALC (driver 6.0.1.6602_PV)

[PSU] ANTEC NeoPower 650 NeoPower650 650W

Last edited by pwens; July 2, 2012 at 07:37 PM. Reason: formatting
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Old July 2, 2012, 08:35 PM
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I ould try a new PSU like Corsair or Seasonic 750 or over silver or gold rated.

and a UPS back up battery to save your comp from dirty power or voltage spikes on the mains.
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Old July 2, 2012, 09:01 PM
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A PSU pretty much can't affect performance without causing instability of some sort.

You didn't mention whether or not you've checked your temps and whether or not anything is overclocked, that information might help.

DPC latency rarely causes severe performance issues, (mostly minor lag issues) but they're one of the more common causes of audio crackling/popping/static. It wouldn't hurt to check: DPC Latency Checker
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Old July 3, 2012, 08:58 AM
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For sure get another PSU and give that a try. To be safe try to go to a store that has good return policies although from reading above I'd almost guarantee its the PSU.
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Old July 3, 2012, 09:11 AM
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fire up msi afterburner and check what your gpu is running at at desktop compared to in game. I know nvidia used to put up a warning in their drivers if the gpu was underpowered and your card maybe being throttled
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Old July 3, 2012, 09:13 AM
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Yeah... I'm pretty sure we've seen a case or two here where gfx cards were running throttled due to either dirty power, or greatly underpowered PSU.
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Old July 3, 2012, 02:08 PM
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I had a similar problem when I first got my first 6950. I didn't use the bundled software, I just downloaded the CCC update. It was throttling down my core from 880 to 600.

HOWEVER

The crackling you talk of with your sound card indicates "dirty" power.

I would check again that:
1: all firmware + drivers are up to date and/or the most stable version.
2: All clock settings are correct and stock.
3: You are using a proper PSU power cable. Using a thinner one can lead to problems.

If all of this turns up golden then either you have some mega-gremlin in your machine or your PSU is old and is giving you dirty power. "Dirty" power refers to, in a DC system, having the voltage vary. This is due to old components in the PSU and/or bad power at the plug. I have this problem with my audio equipment at my studio, but audio equipment and a sound card are two very very different things.

Good luck.
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Old July 3, 2012, 04:17 PM
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Check your power management settings for the affected games in Nvidia Control Panel (less likely but it's easy to check and fix). The detection isn't always the best and the card can get stuck in a low-power state. Shouldn't be happening with modern games, but you never know.
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Old July 3, 2012, 04:34 PM
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I wouldn't have guessed power supply off hand, but if you are getting FPS issues at the same time as sound issues then I would definitely suspect power issues (since you have already tried 2 different sound options).
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Old July 3, 2012, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilya View Post
A PSU pretty much can't affect performance without causing instability of some sort.

You didn't mention whether or not you've checked your temps and whether or not anything is overclocked, that information might help.

DPC latency rarely causes severe performance issues, (mostly minor lag issues) but they're one of the more common causes of audio crackling/popping/static. It wouldn't hurt to check: DPC Latency Checker
ilya, you nailed it with the DPC Latency. Check out my DPC latency graph just 10 seconds into a Ghost REcon Future Soldier mission (using my Xonar DX) :


ilya, what do you make of this graph considering my system specs? Reading the DPC Latency website, it sounds like they recommend that I disable devices in Device Manager...but I really don't have any devices that I can disable (can't disable the vid card, can't disable the LAN...)

======SPECS=======

[Motherboard] Intel DP67BGB3 LGA1155 (BIOS 2185, driver 9.3.0.1019)

[CPU] Intel Core i7 Processor i7-2600K 3.4GHz 8MB LGA1155 CPU Retail

[RAM] G.SKILL Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) F3-10600CL9D-8GBNT

[Graphics] Galaxy MDT GeForce GTX 580 1536MB GDDR5 (latest nvidia stable driver)

[Storage] INTEL 320 Series 120GB SSD SSDSA2CW120G3B5 Retail (firmware 1.92)

[Audio] Asus Xonar DX PCI-e (driver 17.94)

[Audio On-Board] Realtek ALC (driver 6.0.1.6602_PV)

[PSU] ANTEC NeoPower 650 NeoPower650 650W

Quote:
Originally Posted by enaberif View Post
fire up msi afterburner and check what your gpu is running at at desktop compared to in game. I know nvidia used to put up a warning in their drivers if the gpu was underpowered and your card maybe being throttled

enaberif and sswilson,

I fired up MSI Afterburner and turned on logging. Went in-game, went through the poor performing parts. However, there was no logged drop in the Core Clock. See my attached log. Notice too the piss poor frame rates in the last column.

Log from MSI Afterburner: http://i.imgur.com/wGWvf.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by Masteroderus View Post
I had a similar problem when I first got my first 6950. I didn't use the bundled software, I just downloaded the CCC update. It was throttling down my core from 880 to 600.

HOWEVER

The crackling you talk of with your sound card indicates "dirty" power.

I would check again that:
1: all firmware + drivers are up to date and/or the most stable version.
2: All clock settings are correct and stock.
3: You are using a proper PSU power cable. Using a thinner one can lead to problems.

If all of this turns up golden then either you have some mega-gremlin in your machine or your PSU is old and is giving you dirty power. "Dirty" power refers to, in a DC system, having the voltage vary. This is due to old components in the PSU and/or bad power at the plug. I have this problem with my audio equipment at my studio, but audio equipment and a sound card are two very very different things.

Good luck.
1. Definitely check. I've also tried beta drivers and rollback drivers on the video card.

2. Check for the GPU clocks and cores (I'm not nor have I ever overclocked anything on this system)

3. Well I'm using the stock power cable that came with the PSU. It's the only gauge PSU power cord I've ever worked with on PCs, and I've worked in this industry for 10 years. I will poke around for an alternative cable but I think it's good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Galcobar View Post
Check your power management settings for the affected games in Nvidia Control Panel (less likely but it's easy to check and fix). The detection isn't always the best and the card can get stuck in a low-power state. Shouldn't be happening with modern games, but you never know.
Galcobar, I set the Power Management from "adaptive" to "prefer maximum performance". Initial I thought I observed a slight but still not acceptable increase in performance. It then deteriorated back to my normal poor performance.

Last edited by Arinoth; July 4, 2012 at 09:42 AM.
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