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New rig and overclocking

DarkSideHomeDarkSideHome Senior MemberPosts: 1,549Registered Users
edited February 2011 in Technology
Turned out that my motherboard was dying and that might have been the cause of the RAM module failing a couple of weeks ago (if anyone read my previous post). I've tested the power supply and the power supply is fine. And for some reason my CPU gave up on me last week and turned out that the CPU Fan wasn't getting any power from the Mobo and that caused some serious damage to the CPU. It still works but I was getting reboots and BSODs.


Long story short I've tried to sal***e as much as I can from the old rig and all that I could hang to was the graphic card (a GTX 260), power supply (800 Watts), HDD (160 GB) and 1 Ram module (2 GB). The Mobo and the CPU and the other RAM module were toast.


So I went out this weekend and gotten the following stuff at an extremely lucrative price:

i7 950
Gigabyte x58A-UD3R
3x2GB Kingston triple channel KHX1600 @ 1600MHz, 9-9-9-27
Cooler Master V8 CPU Fan
WD 500GB Green HDD


I was planning on getting an AMD X4 965 BE and I was finalizing the deal with the sales guy when someone walked in and asked for the 950. So one question led to another and eventually I settled on going back to Intel (although I hate myself for being a hypocrite and a sellout). I know that for my purposes a 920 or 930 would have given me the same bang for a lower price but alas I wasn't able to find any of them.

The Mobo selection was like shooting in the dark as I haven't read about it before buying it (something that I should never do but I was under shopping intoxication). It is SLI, but the box says it is CrossFire ready but I don't have the slightest clue what that might be. I don't know if it have true SLI and CrossFire or not.

The RAM modules are decent, although they are overheating and it is worrisome. I will investigate them more during the week but I think I will replace them next weekend.

The Cooler Master V8 is my first non-stock cooling device. I don't know how good it is and I hope you can give me your opinions.

I haven't upgraded the graphic card as the GTX260 is still more than enough for me until TW:S2 and Dragon Age II are released. I've found the GTX570 to be within the price range that I have in mind and in 4 months its pricing should fall.



So now here's why I have posted a new thread for a rig. I want to overclock!! I've been talking about OCing for ages with my friends but I've never had the guts to do it. With a good OCing Mobo it is at last the time for me to start.


The Mobo comes with Smart6 which allows for n00bs like meself (sic) to overclock the CPU without actually going to the BIOS and tinkering with the values there.


While the CPU in OC, I've ran Prime95 for 12 hours (all 4 cores at 100% usage) and the temperatures for the Cores were as follows (Core num, Min temp, Max temp)

Core 1: 68C, 72C
Core 2: 65C, 68C
Core 3: 66C, 72C
Core 4: 58C, 65C


Q1: Any idea if this OCing (thru Smart6) is as good as manual OCing?
If it is then I'll keep using it as it drove my cpu from 3.06 GHz to 3.67 GHz and will attempt manual OCing only if I needed to push the CPU beyond 4.0 GHz.

Q2: Are these temperature ranges safe for the CPU?
I don't know if real life scenarios would drive all the cores to 100%, but I would like to be safe and to prolong the life of my system as much as possible.

Q3: From the temperature readings, is it possible that I haven't installed the V8 fan properly? Or is it cooling the CPU as intended?
This is my first time to install a fan. EVER. But it might be also that the V8 isn't a good fan.

Q4: With the current temperatures, is it safe to try to drive the CPU to 4.0 GHz?

Q5: Any idea what the settings for my RAM modules should be?

Q6: Any idea if the Mobo truly supports both SLI and Crossfire? Any idea if mixing cards from both manufacturers is possible?

Q7: For future reference: Does PhysX give any real added value to gaming? Is it used in TW? Is it worth it to keep the GTX260 as a PhysX engine when I get a new 500 series card in a few months? Or should I forget about it and select either a Nvidia 500 or an AMD 6xxx series?

More questions will follow :p Thanks for the help guys.
Post edited by DarkSideHome on

Comments

  • AlJabberwockAlJabberwock Moderator USAPosts: 7,729Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited December 2010
    "something that I should never do but I was under shopping intoxication"

    DOH! Facepalm! (LOL)

    Well, it doesn't look too bad, but I'm still trying to go through it, so maybe we can let you off with just a 12 step program in consumer self-control and some community service! LOL

    Hoo-boy, that's a lot of questions, and some of them I will probably leave for tomorrow when I get home, so here's what I got to so far:

    Mobo
    Yes, its a Sli AND Xfire-capable mobo, one of not that many with both capabilities. Further, its a pretty decent mid-grade Gigabyte board in their x58 chip line, and was a Tom's Hardware Reccommended buy. It also has full dual 16x capability, so pretty cool beans there if you ever DO decide to go with dual cards, and has two nifty 6GB/s sata connectors for the new standard Sata bandwidths. Good board!
    Phys-x
    A dedicated Phys-x card will definitely help you if the application you are using has that feature. To my knowledge, while CA talked about the feature, said they were looking at it and may have used some ideas from it (before the ETW release if IIRC), to date, there is no official support of Phys-x in the TW series. It would be heavily apparent if there were. That said, a dedicated Phys-x card would be of no use for an application not supporting that feature.
    Video Card
    A 260GTX, if it is high core, is likley to play NTW quite nicely if the monitor res is not excessive, and therefor would probably play S2 satisfactorily as well if not at max settings (and also obviously unable to take advantage of DX11 features). By any means possible, wait as long as you can as prices will fall for better stuff- cards included. While I take benchmarkers and ranting online magazine testor hacks with a grain of salt, generally there is a serries of data that shows the 6850 and the 6870 to give very close approximations to the performance of the 470GTX. Whether you gauge that as over or under will depend on too many variables and possible test subjects that could turn on various factors related to architectural differences. A 570 has about 6% more stream processors and about a 15% increase in speed (for both core clock and mem clock). Currently the price differential between a reference 470 and a reference 570 is about $100 on Newegg. Up to you if that gradient is enough for you to spend another 100 dollars.

    Temperatures
    ON the Ram temps, is the heating up becaue you are OC-ing? Or is this even running at stock? If it is the latter, I would first look at whether you have good air flow and then replace them as you have said if airflow is not the issue.
    If it is the former, I may have a thing or two to say about that later. Please let me know when this stuff heats up.

    On the CPU Temps, those are high-ish, though not so bad for an i7 that is being oc'd on air when you're running 100%. However, am I correct that these are the temps at an OC of (roughly) 20%? The conventional wisdom is that according to Intel, so long as you have not reached thermal throttling, you are running the CPU cores within the designed operating parameters and there is no reason to believe the CPU will fail to operate within its designed operating range for its normal lifetime. That gobbledy**** aside, clearly, heat and voltage wear an electronic component, and more wears it faster. Hopefully when you get around to a manual OC, you will see whether you can run with as little to no voltage increase as possible (one way in which a manual OC is better than auto buttons, so long as you are willing to tinker). That's all you can do as far as voltage. For heat, you can cool the unit as much as possible. The V8 is definitely a better option than the default heatsink, although it is still a less expensive alternative and others would give you superior results. It IS possible that there is a less-than optimal heatsink install making your cooling solution less than optimal. I will treat that tomorrow. as well as the rest of the Questions I simply can't answer now- bedtime for bonzo!

    Al
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Every so often things happen that can’t be rationalized in a conventional way. People wanna know their government has a response. I am that response.”
    ― Kent Mansley (in "Iron Giant")

    For most general problems, for which you have no idea of the culprit, your first port of call should be:
    https://support.sega.co.uk/hc/en-us/categories/200307381-Total-War-Support

    If you are aware of a bug or a specific issue for which you know the cause, post in the support section for the specific title on our forums. ~Al

    https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/172193/forum-terms-and-conditions#latest
  • lordmaximus77lordmaximus77 Technical Moderator Leeuwarden, NLPosts: 3,337Registered Users, Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited December 2010
    Q1: There's nothing wrong with using OC tools like Smart6. Tools like this usualy help keep stuff within reasonably safe margins. So there's less risks (take care: less risk does not mean no risk) of frying your CPU.
    But If you want total control over the OC and no extra programs that stay resident you might want to OC manualy.

    Q2/Q3/Q4: The temperature ranges are safe. Just make sure they don't get to high on load. Up to 75C under load conditions is about OK for an i7 9xx series. Also the posted temps are normal for a Coolermaster V8 cooled and OC'ed i7.
    If you wan't to push your CPU higher make sure your cooling stays sufficient. And keep those load temp under 75C.
    Just read the OC guides (posted by AlJabberwock) in the thread about CPU & GPU limits.

    Q5: Well you basicly posted your RAM settings :) DDR3 1600MHz 9-9-9-27
    the timings (9-9-9-27) are for:
    • tCAS
      The number of clock cycles needed to access a certain column of data in SDRAM. CAS latency, or simply CAS, is known as Column Address Strobe time, sometimes referred to as tCL.
    • tRCD (RAS to CAS Delay)
      The number of clock cycles needed between a row address strobe (RAS) and a CAS. It is the time required between the computer defining the row and column of the given memory block and the actual read or write to that location. tRCD stands for Row address to Column address Delay time.
    • tRP (RAS Precharge)
      The number of clock cycles needed to terminate access to an open row of memory, and open access to the next row. It stands for Row Precharge time.
    • tRAS (Row Active Time)

    Make sure to set the voltage for your RAM right. Not all boards detect the voltage correctly which cause RAM modules to get undervolted. That can cause stability issues.

    Q6: Yes it does. You might want to read this review to get to know your board.
    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/motherboards/2010/05/07/gigabyte-ga-x58a-ud3r-motherboard-review/1

    Q7: PhysX could add to gaming. If you can find a game that supports it. They are scarce. The TW titles did't have PhysX and/or Physics support up to NTW. CA didn't comment on PhysX/Physics support for Shogun 2 yet.

    [edit]AlJabberwock posted his answer while I was typing this. So now you've got two :)[/edit]
    Any fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction. — Albert Einstein

    viri non urinat in ventum — Anonymous Roman

    TOTAL WAR FORUM: TERMS AND CONDITIONS
  • DarkSideHomeDarkSideHome Senior Member Posts: 1,549Registered Users
    edited December 2010
    DOH! Facepalm! (LOL)

    Well, it doesn't look too bad, but I'm still trying to go through it, so maybe we can let you off with just a 12 step program in consumer self-control and some community service! LOL


    Tell me where I can sign up. I don't visit tech stores unless I need to change a part coz I know I will go on a shopping spree once I hit the stores. I have no self control whatsoever.


    Great, I thought supporting both Sli and Xfire would result in getting nothing (sometimes more is less). The other features of the board is the reason I dished out extra 50$ to upgrade from X58-USB3. Not bad for getting something without proper research, right? I guess the hardware gods were protecting me on that day.


    I knew about the Phys-X support must be in-game as it is basically a "library" that can be utilized by the developer. It is a shame that TW doesn't support Phys-X as that would have resulted in truly epic effects while off-loading some stress to the Phys-X unit. On the other hand being manufacturer neutral allows AMD users the same experience that Nvidia users will get on similar setups.


    The GTX260 is great for Napoleon/Empire and for Dragon Age: Origins (the only games I've played extensively in the past couple of years). On my current monitor (1400x900) I play NTW on Ultra with AAx4 and only get drop in frame rates when there is artillery effects. But the reason for the upgrade is as follows: TW:S2 will be more demanding on graphics as far as it shows so far (all the reflections off armor hurts my eyes).


    The second reason is that Hardwaremaster (may he be cursed for the ages) have tempted me to try TW on a 3D system. The GTX260 is great for 2D but will be less than adequate for 3D and especially 3D for TW:S2. But as I have said in another thread I won't be upgrading anytime soon. The card + monitor + glasses will cost me around 800$~1000$ so I'll have to save up for them.


    The reason why I would prefer a 570 over a 470 is temp and power. And in 4 to 6 months 470 will start being phased out and 570 prices will drop (fingers crossed). But that's a discussion for another thread at a much later time.


    I will have to check the RAM settings. I haven't touched them myself but the Smart6 application might have OC'd them. As for airflow: You are right, the position of the RAM modules right now is between the V8 exhaust and the Power Supply's exhaust. I will try to get a case this weekend where I can put the Power Supply away from the CPU/RAM location and to get a fan directly near the RAM modules. Thanks for that, I haven't noticed the air flow before you've mentioned it. I've been thinking about the CPU's airflow so much it made me forget about the rest of the case.


    Waiting for the rest of your manifesto :p

    Q5: Well you basicly posted your RAM settings :) DDR3 1600MHz 9-9-9-27

    That's the thing, I don't thing Smart6 is clocking them at 1600. Out of the box, the system was running the memory around 1100 MHz mark (don't know the access times). With Smart6 it was near 1333 MHz. I will investigate this further once I'm at home and will post my findings.

    As for voltage I had a huge problem with my previous setup. I had the XMS3 from Corsair (excellent modules) that are rated at 1.5V. Unfortunately since day 1 they were crashing until I've increased the voltage to 1.7V. It wasn't stable otherwise. I prefer to run my RAM module at slower frequency but better access times and lower voltage than running them at the label settings but with high voltage.

    AlJabberwock posted his answer while I was typing this. So now you've got two :)

    He does that a lot, doesn't he?


    Gentlemen, thanks to you both. Waiting for your comments and hopefully tonight I'll ask my remaining questions. I appreciate your patience, I know my posts are usually too long for the average forum members.
  • AlJabberwockAlJabberwock Moderator USAPosts: 7,729Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited December 2010
    Well this thread has made me totally crack up more than once as I read it. Unfortunately it has taken so long to read I have to fly, and will be back at a computer in about- 2 hours... I will try to finish up whatever didn't get covered or I left (typically) flapping!

    Al
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Every so often things happen that can’t be rationalized in a conventional way. People wanna know their government has a response. I am that response.”
    ― Kent Mansley (in "Iron Giant")

    For most general problems, for which you have no idea of the culprit, your first port of call should be:
    https://support.sega.co.uk/hc/en-us/categories/200307381-Total-War-Support

    If you are aware of a bug or a specific issue for which you know the cause, post in the support section for the specific title on our forums. ~Al

    https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/172193/forum-terms-and-conditions#latest
  • AlJabberwockAlJabberwock Moderator USAPosts: 7,729Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited December 2010
    Ok, here goes... Loose ends left flapping:

    The Heatsink install.
    1)
    The first thing is getting as good a fit onto the top of the cpu as possible. Some people will lap the cpu and even the heatsink to get as good a contact between the two surfaces. There is a good reason. The two surfaces have something like 50 times the ability to conduct away heat from the surface of the CPU as the TIM (thermal interface material, or whatever goo you have that you put between the heatsink and the cpu). Even Arctic Silver is no match for copper or even aluminum, and this has an important bearing on how we put the TIM on. AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE! We want the TIM to just fill in gaps and scratches, not to prevent the two surfaces from touching where they otherwise could! Yep, well so if the TIM is so much worse than the two surfaces touching each other, why would we want to bother putting it on and possibly getting in the way of the two surface touching? Well its true that the two surface are way better than the TIM in transferring heat, but if there are dead air spaces, the trapped air essentially traps the heat and obviously this is a lot worse than what TIM would do. One way to put on TIM, and Arctic Silver is a good one btw, is to put a small dot (or as Arctic Silver's site famously says "an amount equivalent to a grain of rice") in the center. Then take a small flat piece of plastic or cardboard and spread it around the central 80% or so of the surface of the top of the CPU, making sure you don;t get any over the edges and that it is evenly and very thinly spread out. Put the heatsink on top, and with very gentle downward pressure, give it a couple of quarter turns each way carefully wiping away any excess or any that comes near the edge. Hook it up!
    2)
    The The second thing is getting the fan direction to be as efficient as possible so hopefully it is blowing towards a fan that is sucking the heat out of the box, this means usually having the fan blowing air towards the back of the case (or sometimes, the top depending on your case's exhaust fan locatoins). Usually on most after market heatsinks you get at least a little leeway as to how you will face the fan. The V8 has a bit of a reputation for having miserable instructions, so don't feel bad if you had to fumble about with it before getting it to make sense.

    Keep in mind that every time you take the heatsink off and put it back on, you have to replace the TIM -wipe off the surface of the CPU with isopropyl alcohol (your basic rubbing alcohol from the drug store - I use a 70% solution). and a cotton swab, making sure you dont get any over the side. The alcohol does NOT cancel out the conductive nature of the particles in the TIM and these can cause shorts if they come in contact with electrical circuitry! Wipe off the bottom of the heatsink also, and then repeat the procedure I outlined above. Look, just because _I_ do it that way doesn't mean you have to. There are other ways to do it, and its pretty hard to screw it up unless you are sloppy or unlucky, this is just the way I learned to do it from other builders who taught me.
    If you find another way you prefer, do that. Just keep in mind, we want the heatsink touching the CPU as much as possible and then the Tim filling in any areas that otherwise might be dead air spots. Less TIM is better than more.

    Temps for the V8
    It may be you are fine and lordmaximus is right that your heat profile is normal for a v8 ocing an i7 by 20%. I do not know as I neither use that heatsink nor reccommend overclocking on air. It never hurts to check your install if you are unsure as long as you are careful. Its practice, you won't hurt anything with care, and maybe you'll just do a better job this time and improve your results.
    I am certain from what I have read that it is a less than optimal solution for the rather hot-running i7 clan, and another solution would give you better cooling. While more expensive does not always mean better, I am pretty sure you will be spending more than you did on the V8 if you intend on meeting your objective of surpassing 4ghz, while remaining below lordmaximus's reccommendation of 75c or less.

    Other subjects related to OCing on air
    Since you are cooling with air, I will mention a couple of things people who do not build systems on a regular basis do not always spend much time or thought on. Air inside your case is not always as dynamic as you think it is. If you have not designed the air flow to act in as efficient a manner as possible in getting in, flowing over hot parts, and then getting the hey out of there, a surprising amount of air just -does whatever it wants to do -and surprisingly a lot of it just STAYS there retaining what little heat it would have otherwise taken away, while collecting even more and more, and reducing the efficiency with which the fins on your heatsinks can dissipate heat. Why? Because the rate at which they can dissipate heat has to do with the differential (the delta) between the air temperature flowing over the surface and the temperature of the surface times the amount of airflow. Ergo, if airflow is weak, that's bad. Increase airflow. If airflow is good but the delta is low because the air is freaking hot already, you need to work on making your system more efficient. This includes NOT having fans blowing air at one another or in a confusing "noisy" fashion that does not conduct the cool air in, over, and out in as efficient and consistent a manner as possible. Try to have all air conducted in from the front, keeping anything out of the air flow as much as possible, then having clear lanes to the exhaust fans blowing out of the back or top. Its ok to have both back and top exhaust, its ok to have scoops, but DO try to make everything move in the same general direction and keep the balance, if possible, in favor of the exhaust fans. In an efficient airflow, wires are all tied down or velcroed to the sides or underneath the mobo, nothing impedes clear lanes of air over the principal components and chipset and ram, and all air enters in one direction and exits in another with a general negative air pressure inside the case. (A bit positive isn't too bad, although it leads to less efficient air currents than a net negative will). So, with this it should be clear that it is always better to have a vid card that exhausts hot air outside the case (out the back), that it is a NO NO to have your PSU exhausting hot air INSIDE the case, that you should do everything within your power to have the CPU heatsink fan blowing its air out in as direct a path as is possible to the exhaust fan in most direct line. You want to take advantage of as many things as you can that cost nothing, and these arrangements only take a little tinkering. Its bad enough you will likely have chipset and god knows what other silly little fans blowing heated inefficient air this way and that confusing the air flow, don't let major items really screw it up for you.

    Using an OC program
    I have used these myself depending on what I am doing. For a longer term overclock, I will probably do that by hand. The reason I hinted at above and has to do with brinksmanship. What many OC ers will try to do is get as much stable overclock as they can without increasing the voltage, or increasing the voltage as little as possible. The reason is because over-volting is one of the two principal causers of premature failure of electrical components. Now there are specs that occasionally for some chips will allow you to stay within the parameters and OC to your heart's content, but less voltage is still better if you can manage less. The same is true with heat (the other principal component killer). As I said above, Intel has a statistic they call tjunction max (and tjunction target for that matter, but lets leave that for now) that theoretically cannot be surpassed because the core will start to throttle and prevent the heat from exceeding this temp within the core. Their basic response is that you don't need to know what is best - so long as you haven't reached the point at which the core starts to throttle (or turn itself off!), you are withing the normal operating range of the chip! Heh! That said, it is logical and part of Intel's own failure rate and life expectancy modelling that more heat, and higher voltages lead to premature failure and shortened lifespan, while lower temperatures and lower voltage lead to extended lifespan and lower chances of failure. Ergo, if I can cool my components better, and keep them at lower voltages, I stand to lower my risk, and extend the product life of my components. What's not to get? To repeat, though, if I am trying out different stable points, checking out performance differences or other short term projects, I may be less interested in the long term effects, because doing it by hand and finding the stable point is time consuing and may lead me through a series of bsods I don't want to bother for for a ten minute project. There's something else. I am exceedingly careful, risk averse unless time is a factor, and I am tiresomely concerned with efficiency. If you're not, ignore this post.


    Without going into detail of what they are called or how these can vary, I will simply say that target core temps for the i7 are more or less known although it does not offically exist in published form anywhere and Intel has steadfastly refused to release precise information- very likley because it is more an art form than a science to determine the range of temps for each chip. It is widely described as about 100c plus or minus 5 or 6 degrees, and varies a little for each cpu, and in fact even each core on each cpu. It is speculated even (by UncleWebb of Real Temp authorship) that there is a deliberate gradient of about 5 c between cores 1 and 3 in i7 quads. At the targeted temperature (plus or minus some as the temperature leads used by Intel are not the most accurrate!), the core should begin to throttle operations to control the temperature and reduce efficiency at the same time. It will of course resume regular operations the moment perceived temp is lower than the target and as it performs this test about 100 times a second, it tends to cycle between too hot, not too hot and make a rather **** pattern on any graphing you might be maintaining. Equally or less amusing depending on your point of veiw, depending on what other things are going on and depending on your MOBO, MOBO may decide to take a hand and shut the whole circus down because it has its own temperature safety device and it is not amused at the Intel chip's shenanig.ans. Rest assured, you can (according to Intel) run the beggar hot, cool, or middling, and it won't matter so long as you are within the specs, it should last on average beyond the warranty period... Yay!?

    With all this precise information from the MANUFACTURER of the freaking thing, I don't know about the 60 degree level, the 70 degree level, the whatever. I keep everything as cool as I can, as low volted as I can (while maintaining stability) and increase the life and statistical edge in my head as much and as often as I can. I haven't lost a component yet, but then, I don't oveclock for long periods very often, and when I do, I am using liquid cooling, usually at over-kill levels.

    Well I don't know what I haven't covered at this point, including a bunch of things I know you didn't ask! Hehe!

    Oh yeah, um, you CAN'T mix NVidia and AMD cards. Aliens, enemies, cats and dogs. Heck no. To be honest, its only been recently that you could mix different manufacturers of the same chip maker's cards IF they are the SAME GPU core!

    Al
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Every so often things happen that can’t be rationalized in a conventional way. People wanna know their government has a response. I am that response.”
    ― Kent Mansley (in "Iron Giant")

    For most general problems, for which you have no idea of the culprit, your first port of call should be:
    https://support.sega.co.uk/hc/en-us/categories/200307381-Total-War-Support

    If you are aware of a bug or a specific issue for which you know the cause, post in the support section for the specific title on our forums. ~Al

    https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/172193/forum-terms-and-conditions#latest
  • DarkSideHomeDarkSideHome Senior Member Posts: 1,549Registered Users
    edited December 2010
    I will reinstall the V8 once I can get some paste. I did a thin layer (but it can be much thinner) as you have instructed but I spread it over most of the CPU. Reinstalling the fan won't be much of a big deal and at least I can know for sure the limits of the V8.


    I will change the case pretty soon too. I have a mid tower and everything is cramped especially with the V8 and the ****py location of the SATA connectors on the x58. So I'll try to get a case with frontal airflow to create the tunnels you are talking about.


    I am not all that keen OCing my computer for all of my uses. The biggest reason behind me wanting to OC is actually Rome: Total War. As it is a single threaded application, it depends on the speed of a single core more than the number of cores. I have more trouble with Rome than with Empire or Napoleon. But my other games (Empire, Napoleon, Dragon Age, Dawn of War II, etc...) won't really suffer if I keep the cpu at stock or if I OC it just a bit (10% instead of the current 20% or the planned 30%). Dragon age is one game that distributes loading between cores pretty well. Hopefully TW:S2 will support better threading.


    I didn't realize that there was so much difference between air cooling and water cooling. I might have gotten excited seeing the OCing guides that I didn't check what type of cooling the extreme overclockers are using. But again, nothing is lost and I can always get a water cooling system if I ever need to get 300% performance out of my rig (which I doubt).


    It's a shame that you can't mix cards yet. I've read that someone was able to use an AMD card as main and an Nvidia card as PhysX. But since PhysX is being used by games that I don't use I don't care really for PhysX. But looking forward to getting a 3D kit to be able to experience 3D gaming.




    Ok, now for new sets of questions:

    Q1: Should I enable Hyperthreading?
    I have disabled it initially on the BIOS as windows wasn't launching the first time before I disabled most the CPU features. Will I notice any advantage on Hyperthreading in games? I know what hyperthreading is from university days and I doubt that it would be helpful outside a scientific simulator.


    Q2: Should I enable TurboBoost?


    Q3: Should I enable Virtualization?


    Q4: Is there a way to control or reduce the frequency of the processor when Idle?
    Currently at 3.7GHz OC'd, the CPU would drop to around 1.9GHz when I'm not using the system. I want to make it drop even lower as to reduce heat and power.
  • lordmaximus77lordmaximus77 Technical Moderator Leeuwarden, NLPosts: 3,337Registered Users, Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited December 2010
    Q1: Yes! Hyperthreading improves performance. If you turn it off you're turning your i7 into an i5.

    Q2: If your running @ stock speeds Yes!. If you're OC'ing its better to turn it off as it affects stability.

    Q3: Virtualization Technology is only used by virtualisation software / hypervisors like VMWare. So as long as your not
    using Virtual Machines there's no harm in turning it off. But leaving it on doesn't affect performance and/or OC'abilty.
    So there's nothing against keeping it on either.

    Q4: No there isn't. Its called Intel Speedstep Technology. And its mostly enabled by default. It changes the multiplier and not the busclock.
    Any fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction. — Albert Einstein

    viri non urinat in ventum — Anonymous Roman

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  • AlJabberwockAlJabberwock Moderator USAPosts: 7,729Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited December 2010
    (Doh! This time you beat me lordmaximus! dagnabbit!)

    Many overclockers DO use air. I just don't recommend it. I also don't recommend a weekly parachute jump for your constitution. Its just statistics man!

    1)
    Mmm. There are very few applications that use hyperthreading efficiently, but it is effectively what allows you to operate 8 logical cores, instead of only 4. This is usually of interest to the extent Windows will use it if you are not using an application that will. In this regard, HT is supported for Windows OSs after ME and 2000, so you should turn hyperthreading on if you have XP/Vista/7 unless it is destabilizing your system for some reason. Nota Bene, XP BARELY uses it and basically just tolerates it, while Vista will take some significant advantage of it if there is need (which is pretty rare since there are so few cases wher eyou are using an application that has really significantly occuppied the four PHYSICAL cores). 7 is supposed to be better at it, and while I do not know how much this is actually true, I am aware that this was a particular marketing pairing between MS and Intel (a marriage made in programmer's heck).

    What OS are you using and what version of it?

    2)
    I would definitely enable turbo boost if you are not overclocking. Especially you since your turbo will boost your chip to 3.33, which is basically a 10% overclock if useage demands it, while it will NOT use that boost if it is not needed. Further, if you reduce your freq, to stock, you will find your idle is lower. Note that some people do not like to leave it up to the CPU when it will or not operate at a faster speed. IN general, I have not found any reason to argue with its use of Turbo when I have it enabled, which is usually. I will not use it with an OC, because this may bring it into areas where it operates unstably either because of timing limits, or voltage or both.
    3)
    Virtualization will be of importance where you are operating multiple OSs (one within another on a "virtual machine" isolated from the host OS) or have need of virtual machine operations... this is rare unless you are doing some pretty weird stuff or into programs that are going to have significant issues with your main OS because of compat issues. Unless you are doing Folding or that sort of thing?
    I would probably leave it off unless you are certain you need to use Virtual Machine (in this case virtualization should help you reduce the performance hit).
    4)
    Well you can take it off OC, and then your idle will be lower. As I mentioned above, your CPU will turbo to almost a 10% overclock when there is demand, and then when it is at idle, it will revert to the lower stock idle.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Every so often things happen that can’t be rationalized in a conventional way. People wanna know their government has a response. I am that response.”
    ― Kent Mansley (in "Iron Giant")

    For most general problems, for which you have no idea of the culprit, your first port of call should be:
    https://support.sega.co.uk/hc/en-us/categories/200307381-Total-War-Support

    If you are aware of a bug or a specific issue for which you know the cause, post in the support section for the specific title on our forums. ~Al

    https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/172193/forum-terms-and-conditions#latest
  • DarkSideHomeDarkSideHome Senior Member Posts: 1,549Registered Users
    edited December 2010
    @lordmaximus: Thanks for the name of the technology. Now that I know the name I can google for more info (referring to Speedstep)

    @AlJabberwock: I'm on Win7-64 Home Edition.

    @all:

    I wish I had Virtualization on my servers in the office. I have a couple of 2-yrs old HP servers that I use for testing and I do so using VMware. Additional support for virtualization would have helped squeezing some more processing power out of the servers.

    I have just installed steam yesterday so I'll start testing a couple of games this week. I'll try gaming with stock but with TurboBoost as control and then will try Smart6 and manual OCing and compare the results. I'm not expecting to get much performance gain from OCing on the games that I play, but I know it will help when TW:S2 is out.


    Q: Do you guys think benchmarking applications like 3DMark are a good way of measuring performance?
  • ToxicseagullToxicseagull Senior Member Posts: 944Registered Users
    edited December 2010
    just remember ALJabber is a water apologist, spreading his liquidy propaganda. ;)

    good air cooling is more than enough for most overclocks.*jedi hand thing*

    heaven benchmark is good (gpu generally), as is cinebench (this one is mainly a CPU tester). i tend to avoid 3dmark.
  • DarkSideHomeDarkSideHome Senior Member Posts: 1,549Registered Users
    edited December 2010
    10x toxic... I was just reading your thread over at the NF's site. Good thing you've saved me the trouble of joining the clan :p
  • lordmaximus77lordmaximus77 Technical Moderator Leeuwarden, NLPosts: 3,337Registered Users, Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited December 2010
    Dark Side wrote: »
    Q: Do you guys think benchmarking applications like 3DMark are a good way of measuring performance?

    3DMark is a synthetic benchmark. You can use it to measure performance differences. So you could use it to get a rough indication of what kind of performance gain you could achieve by overclocking.

    But if you happen to own games with built in benchmark features its better to use those. Also using multiple tools instead of one gives a better result.

    You could run 3 or 4 different benchmarks and calculate an overal score. (e.g. 3D Mark, UniEngine, Crysis, OCCT)

    A good place to get Benchmark tools : http://downloads.guru3d.com/Benchmarks-&-Demo's_c6.html
    Any fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction. — Albert Einstein

    viri non urinat in ventum — Anonymous Roman

    TOTAL WAR FORUM: TERMS AND CONDITIONS
  • DarkSideHomeDarkSideHome Senior Member Posts: 1,549Registered Users
    edited December 2010
    Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp!


    Just got a message that I cannot activate windows. I have the full package (not OEM) that comes with both CDs for Win7. I guess this is because of the change of the Mobo and/or the NIC and therefore the ID of the system. I know that I can use the package as it is not OEM (not fixed to a single system). How can I solve this?
  • AlJabberwockAlJabberwock Moderator USAPosts: 7,729Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited December 2010
    Well I'm not a software kinda guy, but I've dealt with those knuckleheads enough times with OEM issues...

    Heh, dunno when the last time is I didn't have an OEM copy- whadda them retail versions look li----

    Oh ok fine! (LOL)

    What error message did you get and were you given options? What were they?

    Usually there is a number to call that will send you to Mt freaking MS O-limp-us, you can also achieve this through choosing "other ways to activate" instead of the auto online activation (uncheck the online box!). Choose telephone. You might get through the automated system, but I doubt it, because you changed hardware. If you get the machine to do it, they will ask for some numbers, and then give you bunch you will have to input- presto, you're done. If you get transferred to a human they may actually ask you if you changed hardware, and maybe you can tell them the truth with your vers. (although if they ask I would at least probably tell them the old stuff crashed and burned, bit the big one, treads the silicon stairway to ethernet heaven, -uh,er anyway...) then they may ask for some other information so have your doc.umentation handy, and if all is well will do what the machine would have otherwise done, but a lot faster. That should do it. Most likely you are dealing with a case where your previous machine and MAC are recorded as having the title to the key you want to use, and now you went out and got different ones- you THIEF! Heh heh heh.

    EDIT: Just read TS's post - Emphasis on GOOD, with a neccessary increase in risk as temp and voltage rise. Just think of me as your old Grandpa- warm, caring, careful, and always thinking about everyone's, and especially _your_, safety...
    [pictures images of throttling TS with a tygon hose -"Ungh! Its---for---your SAFE---ty!---Ungh!"]

    LMAO!

    EDIT #2: Yeah yeah, I'm getting old and poor of eyesight - whatever! Ok, I missed the question on benchmarking-

    I agree with lordmaximus on preferring in game benchmarks with fraps- however it is important to know the architectural tendencies of certain titles and developers as many if not most have definite leans on how they dev their titles with an eye towards this or that architectural or api offereing prominent in one chipmaker or another. Hence the emphasis on multiple titles to see what is what. I like these better as predictors of what you will really see in a game or day to day actual useage because benchmarks will usually be testing your equipment and making comparisons at max/near-max flatout operation- just not that good a predictor of what will be experienced in the real world of computing for most users.

    The advantage to what Toxic is suggesting is that you don't have to get 5 different titles together to do a comparison and still not be sure if you aren't favoring one maker over another. Benchmark programs wont help you see what you are likely to experience, but they can act as artificial thermometers of performance to compare one system or component with another. Take a look at Tom's Hardware benchmarking (you saw Shire post the site in the sticky) and note they used an exhaustive collection and then used a total comparison for good measure. They give pretty good explanations of why you might use one kind of tool versus others, although they don't speak to individual game title leans. Note if you are going to use benchmark programs, Heaven and Cinebench are both widely accepted as good specific component tests.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Every so often things happen that can’t be rationalized in a conventional way. People wanna know their government has a response. I am that response.”
    ― Kent Mansley (in "Iron Giant")

    For most general problems, for which you have no idea of the culprit, your first port of call should be:
    https://support.sega.co.uk/hc/en-us/categories/200307381-Total-War-Support

    If you are aware of a bug or a specific issue for which you know the cause, post in the support section for the specific title on our forums. ~Al

    https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/172193/forum-terms-and-conditions#latest
  • ToxicseagullToxicseagull Senior Member Posts: 944Registered Users
    edited December 2010
    i also find that the benchmarks even using the ingame engine dont measure up to the performance if you just played the game. as jabber mentioned, each title has its own bias so it doesnt seem to me to be the best average to take, although if your desperate to know how your rig performs for a particular game i guess it helps.

    so i just use that software to check the overclock and see how much performance the overclock has theoretically given me.
  • DarkSideHomeDarkSideHome Senior Member Posts: 1,549Registered Users
    edited January 2011
    I have done some temp and performance benchmarking over the last couple of weekends and I found the following: My rig is awesome :p *knocks on wood*


    I have tested Mass Effect 2 and Napoleon on two CPU OC's: 10% and 15% (20% was generating too much heat on idle and I'll stay away from it as long as I get good performance out of the 950).


    Mass Effect 2 with all features on was giving 60 FPS (steady no matter the amount of effects and motion) and temperature maximum of 50 (spikes) but average of 42.


    Napoleon with all features on Ultra except AA (set to x4) and AS (set to x4) and shadows on medium was giving me 25 to 35 FPS with temperature maximum of 55 (spikes) but average of 46.


    Both games were smooth with no noticeable jitter at anytime.


    Overclocking didn't help at all in performance so I guess the CPU is not longer a bottleneck in my rig.


    Still a couple of months away from TW:S2 and Dragon Age 2, so hopefully prices on the GTX570 (maybe a 580) will drop by then so that I can get it with the 3D Vision kit from Nvidia (including a 1080p 120Hz monitor from Acer). That would be my only remaining upgrade on this rig.


    According to the power calculation tool that Iscaran provided in another thread I was able to estimate my current consumption at about 600 Watts with 20% capacitor aging. With a 580 my power consumption would reach 750 Watts with 20% capacitor aging. My PSU is 2 years old with 800W rating, do you guys think that I should change the PSU when I upgrade to be safe or should I test it first and see if it works? What is the extent of the damage to the rig in case the PSU doesn't supply enough juice?


    @HardwareMaster: If you read this, please tell me how much difference in performance do you experience between 2D and 3D with your 480-SLI setup, and if you tried 3D with a single monitor and a single 480. If you haven't tested a single 480 and single monitor in 3D then I command thee to do it and relay your results to me :D
  • AlJabberwockAlJabberwock Moderator USAPosts: 7,729Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited January 2011
    PSU failures run the gamut. You can have a flash fire, a pop, a BSOD and fizzle, or just a plain failure to bootup. The worst case for me is where it continues to function but intermittently you notice crashes and artifcating that you can't track... Maybe its heat, or a setting, bad driver, random windows vapidity... But it is infrequent, or maybe barely noticeable. This can be a classic under-powering where at the peak demands, the PSU is missing the mark and various components aren't getting fed enough. This can significantly wear components and reduce efficiency, or simply make them stop functioning one day. (This has happened to me and also to some folks I have worked with or built for). The potential for damage is great. What actually will occur is rather random.

    Unless the 12V+ is low, I would think you are quite within the safety margin with what you have. If I recall you are using a PII quad and an otherwise standard setup, with a single video card and no Raid. Unless you have some unusual things I was not aware of, even with extra fans and lights, and a mild overclock, 750 watts of actual useage seems adsurdly high. Even and especially with a 580 as compared to a 480, see this
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4012/nvidias-geforce-gtx-580-the-sli-update/1
    And this:
    http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-580-review/2
    I would stay with what you have untill you either get yet another card or go SLI... then you WILL need something else. What are the 12+v amps on your PSU?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Every so often things happen that can’t be rationalized in a conventional way. People wanna know their government has a response. I am that response.”
    ― Kent Mansley (in "Iron Giant")

    For most general problems, for which you have no idea of the culprit, your first port of call should be:
    https://support.sega.co.uk/hc/en-us/categories/200307381-Total-War-Support

    If you are aware of a bug or a specific issue for which you know the cause, post in the support section for the specific title on our forums. ~Al

    https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/172193/forum-terms-and-conditions#latest
  • DarkSideHomeDarkSideHome Senior Member Posts: 1,549Registered Users
    edited February 2011
    Sorry for the necro, but I don't want to create a new thread for this one. My current rig is:


    Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R
    800W Epsilon PSU (I thought it was by Gigabyte until a couple of days ago!!!)
    Intel i7-950 OC to 3.7GHz
    Coolmaster V8 CPU Fan
    3x2GB DDR3 @1333 9-9-9-27
    XFX GTX 260
    LG 23" 1920x1080 120Hz (3D Vision Ready)
    3D Vision Kit (Glasses + IR emitter)
    500GB Green SATA HDD
    120GB SATA HDD
    DVD ROM
    Case Cooling: Single 120-mm fan at the back


    Finally, March is upon us, and it is time for me to consider upgrading my graphic card. This card has been with me for over 2 and a half years now and it hasn't let me down until I turned on 3D Vision (The same games are excellent with 3D Vision off), and of course, it is not DX11 enabled. My problem is that I am using only a single monitor but with 3D vision so I am not sure whether I need VRAM or more power or both. There are not many benchmarks for 3D Vision with single monitor (most enthusiasts have 3D Vision on 3 displays).


    Now here are my options and I'd like to hear your opinions on which ones you recommend and which ones you don't


    Option 1:
    Get GTX 560

    Option 2:
    Get GTX 560 and get another one for SLI + PSU at the end of the year

    Option 3:
    Get GTX 570 (probably needs a new PSU)

    Option 4:
    Get GTX 580 (definitely needs a new PSU)

    Option 5:
    Get GTX 595 (should be released next month, definitely needs a new PSU)

    Option 6:
    Wait till Nvidia Kepler comes in Q4 then buy a cheap 580/595 or one of the new 6XX


    I play Napoleon on Ultra with only 4xAA (I don't notice the difference since I keep the camera zoomed out) with 3D Vision off. I have to reduce settings to High to play with good framerate with 3D Vision on.


    Dragon Age: Origins gives excellent frame rate on ultra even with 3D Vision on.


    The two games I am planning on playing this year are Shogun 2 and Dragon Age 2. The big difference between Napoleon/Dragon Age and Shogun/Dragon Age 2 is that the new games support DX11 and I would like to experience the difference. But I am willing to wait a couple of months to experience that as this will be my final upgrade and won't be upgrading for at least 2.5 to 3 years.


    My heart is telling me to wait and get a 580 when it drops to ~350$ or get the 595 when it drops to ~500$ or get the equivalent of the 580 in the new Kepler series (680?) next Xmas.


    I have never been as hesitant as I am right now, and all of that because of the 3D Vision kit. It has revolutionized my gaming experience, but there is not enough info about it online. What would you do in my shoes?
  • AlJabberwockAlJabberwock Moderator USAPosts: 7,729Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited February 2011
    What would you do in my shoes?
    Send the 3d vision kit to AlJabberwock to try out. He will return it...unless he can't find you, or... --he forgets...
    ;)
    LOL

    Firstly, let me say 'thank you' for making me research my response, updating my knowledge on this subject (about which, previously I had some but antiquated information). Secondly, I really do wish this were in another thread as its more about 3d than anything else, and there is some interesting stuff going on in that area presently. Finally below are my responses, and a few links specific to your situation and a couple that are general for any other reader who may be interested. Note that the second link below is specifically a single 3d monitor-based review of a few current cards including the 560Ti. WHile it doesn't cover ALL of the cards or bases you were looking at, I think it DOES point in the general direction of what you should think about (that is to say, yeah, you need a little more of everything! lol)

    nVidia 3D technology Prereqs
    http://www.nvidia.com/object/3D-Vision-Requirements.html

    Interesting Video Card review of th 560Ti and others using a sinfle 3d monitor (BenQ)
    http://www.hardwareheaven.com/reviews/1103/pg4/palit-nvidia-geforce-gtx-560-ti-graphics-card-review-test-system-and-methodology.html


    Power and Cards you are looking at:

    http://www.hardwareheaven.com/reviews/833/pg1/fsp-everest-80plus-800w-psu-introduction.html

    800Watts, 90 amps on the 12+v, either 85 % or more efficiency depending on which model you have,... Um... Unless your PSU is old or exhibiting unusual behavior, its already more than you should need for any single card- WHATEVER single card. Its, well, as ridiculously over-the-top as mine is (I am running a Corsair 850 with an i7 920 and 285GTX-it was always intended to be extended later, and soon will be).

    If you're using a 570 or 580, with a test system basically identical to mine and nearly to yours, on load in Crysis, the whole system wattage was 371 watts with a 570, and 404 with a 580. Considering likely uses (S2) this is far far below what your current PSU is likley producing. IF you use Sli 570, you are probably still safe, although on the edge of risk once you take into account innefficiiency and safety margin for age, particularly if you take the very cautious (and probably slightly exaggerated) potential power consumption in this recent Guru of 3d review here:

    http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-570-review/8

    In that review you are looking at around 225 watts per 570, 260 per 580, and probably needing about 20 amps on the 12+v per 570, and about 22 amps per 580. Although they recommend a 1k watt for SLi even for the 570, I would agree if you can afford it but it might be unneccessary if your system is: highly efficient; a good mark likley to produce anything close to what it is purported to generate; not too old. For 580s in SLI, no doubt about it, you need a bigger PSU. 560's (which I am not recomending until they come out with overclocked versions) are showing useage based on the Guru3d methodology of about 185 watts, 15 amps on the 12+v, no need for a new PSU if in SLI.

    What would I do...
    My plans are to get two 570's (OC'd models if available) probably around March/April since the rest of the system I am making is not available before then, which should make their price slightly more reasonable... The 570's are a better bang for the buck than the 580 and two of them are far beyond the needs of most display needs I can conceive of at the moment-including yours BTW. 595 Dunno. I have been toying with an idea, but if its much more than $500 I probably will just get more 570's or see if I can't get some super jacked 560Tis that might be out by then. Obviously waiting is better- price falls for ever improved and technically more capable cards. The more you wait, the better your condition becomes. I am somewhat in the same boat, but fortunately I am FORCED to wait by the SB chipset screw up, not like you, poor *******, who only has his own will power to rely on!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Every so often things happen that can’t be rationalized in a conventional way. People wanna know their government has a response. I am that response.”
    ― Kent Mansley (in "Iron Giant")

    For most general problems, for which you have no idea of the culprit, your first port of call should be:
    https://support.sega.co.uk/hc/en-us/categories/200307381-Total-War-Support

    If you are aware of a bug or a specific issue for which you know the cause, post in the support section for the specific title on our forums. ~Al

    https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/172193/forum-terms-and-conditions#latest
  • DarkSideHomeDarkSideHome Senior Member Posts: 1,549Registered Users
    edited February 2011
    PSU question: So even when the 800W becomes 5 years old, I can still depend on it to deliver +600W? I thought a PSU loses 10% efficiency every year on average.


    I have decided after much needed research over the Nvidia 3D vision forums to wait for at least a couple of months. Due to lack of benchmarking the community uses that 60% rule (multiply a card's performance on 2D by 0.6 to get the average framerate in 3D) and that is not encouraging for medium range Nvidia cards. And some drivers don't scale up SLI in 3D. So I don't think I'll go for SLI as an initial setup.

    Additionally, DX11 will not make nor break my experience, and that will be a motive to replay the games later on when I get a compatible card.


    VRAM question: Besides getting a heavy-weight card, I am also having my eyes on the extra memory cards (580 3GB and 560 2GB). Do these offer real performance due to the added VRAM or will the rig suffer due to the limitation on the bandwidth and no amount of VRAM can compensate for that?


    And thanks for the help as usual.
  • AlJabberwockAlJabberwock Moderator USAPosts: 7,729Moderators, Tech Moderators, Knights
    edited February 2011
    On the PSU, hard to say. The rule of thumb is 5 to 10%. However, you also have inefficiency, so even when new its probably not delivering what its rated at, so best bet would be it might NOT be deliviering 600, but once again, its not a contract. Its a rule of thumb. I have a few power systems that are 5 years old. I expect them to go out, but they haven't yet. I have to keep testing them so I don't damage components. Eventually, I will replace them, even though they are Corsairs, because I simply value some of those components too much not to be careful.

    VRam
    This is a frequent question, and the easiest way to explain this is that if you have very large resolutions and heavy 3d titles with all enthusiast settings maxed out, yes, extra ram helps. If you don't have massive multiple screens, even though you do have loads of 3d and setting demand, much above 1 gig may not help that much, although we have estimated that you probably need just beyond one gig of vram to operate on all Ultra settings for S2.
    VRam is the fastest memory on your machine, and it is used to hold and process data that is being rendered by the card. Obvously the intense graphical detail and scope of S2 is more demanding than many,and having a bigger 'memory buffer' can't hurt, and may help depending. :)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Every so often things happen that can’t be rationalized in a conventional way. People wanna know their government has a response. I am that response.”
    ― Kent Mansley (in "Iron Giant")

    For most general problems, for which you have no idea of the culprit, your first port of call should be:
    https://support.sega.co.uk/hc/en-us/categories/200307381-Total-War-Support

    If you are aware of a bug or a specific issue for which you know the cause, post in the support section for the specific title on our forums. ~Al

    https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/172193/forum-terms-and-conditions#latest
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