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The Official Graphics Card and PC gaming Thread

Discussion in 'Building a new PC' started by abuzar1, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm Beta
    Crossfire scaling: 84%
    SLI scaling: 66% (May be higher - CPU limit near)

    Average 60fps:
    AMD Athlon64 X2 4200+, Intel Core 2 Duo E6400/E4600
    1920x1080 (640MB VRAM required): Radeon HD5830/6850/7850, Geforce GTX460/550Ti/650
    2560x1600 (768MB AMD, 896MB nvidia VRAM required): Radeon HD5870/6950/7850, Geforce GTX470/560Ti/650Ti

    Minimum 60fps:
    AMD Athlon64 X2 5600+, any Athlon/Phenom II, Intel Core E6600/E5200
    1920x1080: Radeon HD5850/6870/7850, Geforce GTX460/560/650Ti
    2560x1600: Radeon HD6970/7870, Geforce GTX480/570/660
     
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  3. Estuansis

    Estuansis Regular member

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    I would expect as much from Heart of the Swarm. Very well established engine now. Very well proven. I greatly enjoyed Wings of Liberty as well, being an original StarCraft 1 fan back in the day. Was one of my first ever PC games.

    Shootmania looks somewhat stupid though if you ask me. Just another UT/CoD twitch shooter clone with no defining features or advanced graphics to set it apart in an already heavily saturated market. This current glut of twitch shooters is worse than the WW2 game craze. At least WW2 gives gamers some common historical ground.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  4. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    Bit of a CPU-punisher this one, while the graphics are almost there (but for the lack of dual-GPU support which would sort the situation out entirely), CPU performance is woeful - note also the slight decrease in performance from moving from 4 to 6 cores here. Only if you manage to pull off an Ivy Bridge overclock in excess of 5Ghz will you be able to get the CPU limit to the game's 62fps engine cap!

    MechWarrior Online:
    Crossfire support: No
    SLI support: No

    Average 60fps:
    Intel core i5 2500K @ 4.00Ghz, i7 2600K @ 3.80Ghz, 3770K @ 3.75Ghz, 3930K @ 4.00Ghz
    1920x1080 (1.25GB VRAM required): Radeon HD7870/GTX660
    2560x1600 (1.5GB Nvidia, 2GB AMD VRAM required): No current cards capable (HD7970GE/GTX680 50Hz)

    Contiguous 62fps (engine cap):
    No current CPUs capable
    (40Hz Capable: i5 2500K/i7 2600K/3770K, i7 3930K @ 3.30Ghz)
    (30Hz Capable: Core i5 750/i7 930, Core 2 Quad QX9770, AMD FX-4170/6100/8150, Phenom II X4 @ 3.85Ghz, X6 @ 4.20Ghz)
    1920x1080: Radeon HD7970/GTX660Ti
    2560x1600: No current cards capable (HD7970GE@45Hz, HD7970/GTX680@40Hz)
     
  5. harvardguy

    harvardguy Regular member

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    I see that Jeff says crossfire works, and I have to agree from a recent experience a few days ago when I inexplicably dropped out of crossfire - my frame rate got cut roughly in half - I looked up at the OSD and the 2nd card had suddenly dropped to 300mhz.

    Speaking of tweaking things, I tried 8x AA. My reasoning was that my gpus were only idling at about 75% load, being cpu bottlenecked. Sure enough 8x brought them up to 90% load, and my frame rates remained about the same, and I was less cpu bottlenecked actually, but the whole game got extremely laggy.

    So I soon abandoned that experiment - but in terms of image quality - I tried to notice the effect on graphics and the visual presentation. Yes, maybe, I saw an extremely minor increase in smoothness of models - possibly a hair more polished - very hard to perceive any difference. I am already running HDAO, and ultra, so 4x AA still delivers an incredible image. I am not insensitive to jaggies - I put Far Cry 2 away for 3 years because I couldn't get above 2xAA - then ran it at max a few months ago - and I ran all the crysis titles at max - 8x AA - but this one is fine at 4x.


    Wow, that's a brilliant help. But - the i7 nehalem, at least with the later D20 and D30, was a good overclocker, right, like at least 4.0 ghz with something like a Noctua or TRUE? Well, I would take the 20% at this point, but 4.0 ghz would give me 43%. If I luck out, the only investment would be the cooler, and from what I understand, they fit all the modern sizes from 1366 to 1125 since physical chip size is about the same, right?


    Wow! I have a friend who plays world war ii board games - online. The games take hours. You buy troops, etc - the the computer flips a dice. He is very into that.



    Meanwhile I'm running the wave runner around throwing up major spray and seeing how deep I can dig on the turns. I have several hundred incredible screenshots of everything, including man-eating crocodiles caught in the shocking act!


    [​IMG]

    You and my friend have the patience of Job. But I do see what you mean about reality and being immersed in the event. In some ways Operation Flashpoint was like operating on sunpower to get to a friendly settlement before you freeze in outer space. There was a lot of suspense in OF as you ran around the moonlit hills in enemy territory - it was better to avoid the chinese patrols if possible rather than to engage.

    Somehow, I was able to marshall the patience for Operation Flashpoint, but I could not get into Stalker, and I doubt I could gather as much as that space game requires - but yet - I do see how it could be quite intriguing. Very nice explanation.


    That proves it - New York City - you're a city slicker!! How does that ad for that Texas chilli go, trying to knock the competition - made where? - "In New York City???!!!!!" Hahaha.

    Why did you bother with tutorials? You remind me of me. After staying up all night trying to beat the f**king Arma2 helicopter training on novice skill level no less (but before my gaming mouse - maybe that was the problem) I said "screw that" and just started the game, and then I immediately hated the image of the giant rifle butt I was carrying.

    So did you kill the boars? LOL


    Holy cr*p. Are you talking about a game, or is this something you do to in real life? That is amazing. Do you want to post some screens sometime?

    Rich
     
  6. omegaman7

    omegaman7 Active member

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    Yes I killed the boars. From what I could tell, I had to do the tutorials. And when he tried to teach me a new technique, I got stuck in the menu. There was no way to exit out of the mode. I'm guessing that the crack somehow crippled it. It's all fine and good. I got out of the game what I needed to see. I won't be buying it :p Perhaps when it comes down to $20, I'll give it another shot for real.
     
  7. Estuansis

    Estuansis Regular member

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    Rich. The differences between HDAO, HBAO and SSAO are small but important. The part you want to focus on is "AO" or Ambient Occlusion. What that means is that it emulates the lightness or darkness of shadows according to how close they are to the casting object. This simulates light bleed and diffusion. Basically, it gives shadows more depth and realism.

    SSAO means Screen Space Ambient Occlusion. It is by far the oldest version of AO but also the lightest on resources. As a consequence though, it generally doesn't look as good as the other two.

    HBAO means Horizon-Based Ambient Occlusion. It calculates its AO not only by object/shadow distance, but also by the direction of the sun or whatever light source is casting the shadow. It offers slightly deeper and more realistic effects than SSAO but that the cost of performance.

    HDAO means High Definition Ambient Occlusion. This is basically regular SSAO rendered with more depth and detail, but not based on the direction of the sun. Supposedly this gives SSAO a performance edge over HBAO. It does look better than normal SSAO.

    HBAO Best
    HDAO middle
    SSAO Worst

    In my opinion HBAO is the best looking one, but HDAO is still better looking than SSAO. IF HBAO and HDAO are too intensive though, having SSAO is MUCH better than no AO at all. Unless you're very detail oriented, it's hard to spot a precise difference between the three, but the overall effect will be noticeable.


    I can be easily overwhelmed by complicated games. X3 took me about 5 or 6 tries over the course of a couple weeks before I finally got the hang of navigation, communications and combat well enough to start doing things, and that's after over 100 hours of X2: The Threat(though admittedly many years ago now). Everything is very detail oriented, and really makes you feel like you're living the daily rigors of a space jock. I love pulling a light tanker loaded down with freshly mined ore into a crowded space dock. Traffic control warnings, landing procedure, pirate attacks preventing docking, everything is so dense and interactive.

    If a ship gets damaged, I have to actually find a safe place, get out of the ship, and spend 10 minutes to a half hour repairing it. Which is a crazy long time for sitting there holding down a button, but highly worth it vs the insane repair fees. It really makes you feel like a freelance laborer just trying to make ends meet. This really hit home for me as my family have fixed their own vehicles since before I was born. Really makes you appreciate losing a little time to save a lot of money, especially when you fix a ship you bought with your own hard work. Just that mechanic alone makes you feel like you've gained something of worth within the game.

    Hopping into your first large multiple crew ship is a fantastic feeling. It's a HUGE investment of time and money within the game, and not something you do lightly. You can spend days planning the buy so you know where to get the best ships, who has them the cheapest, who has the best weapons and shields, etc. Nothing like putting a light freighter on auto-pilot to a distant star system, hopping into the rear gun turret, and having long radio conversation with the fighter pilot you hired to fly escort. Only stopping the gab fest to knock down a few pirates with the balls to make a pass. And yes, I named my light freighter the Millennium Falcon :)

    At your command, lol. Will post some screens soon. Afraid I don't have a lot of cool ships yet, but I'll have a few to show off shortly :p

    Eagerly awaiting completion of a HUGE Star Wars total conversion for the game. They've been working on it since the first installment of X3(quite a while) so it's very near to completion :D

    Just to give you an idea at the scale of this game:

    http://www.roguey.webspace.virginmedia.com/maps/x3tc-map.png

    Every single little square is a wide open expanse of space that takes ~15 minutes to cross in real time. Every black bar between the squares is a jump gate.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  8. Estuansis

    Estuansis Regular member

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    Making a double post just for you Rich :p

    Click these to see them in 1600 x 900. Was playing on my TV when I shot these. Nothing like a 40" screen to put you in the cockpit :p Too bad imageshack won't take them until I reduce the size and tinypic does this to them. Not ideal.

    First shot is me using the repair laser to fix my damaged "Elite" Fighter I named Swordfish. To give you a sense of scale, that Jumpgate(large glowing ring) in the background is about 2 or 3km away.
    [​IMG]

    Close-up of the side of my fuselage. The detail is excellent considering this is such a small ship. There are capital ships over a kilometer long with this same amount of detail on every foot of their surface. And you view most things from an extreme distance, so this is particularly close.
    [​IMG]

    A shot of me(as the player character) floating outside my fighter in an EVA(Extra-Vehicular Activity) suit. It has about 20 minutes of air supply, then it's back into the fighter.
    [​IMG]

    Inside the cockpit of this same fighter. Notice I'm having a conversation with someone in the viewscreen. Missile status on the left, energy weapons indicators on the right, radar and shield/hull integrity in the middle. Distance and speed indicators above the radar screen. No object currently targeted so it only shows my speed, 160m/s.
    [​IMG]

    The cockpit isn't especially high resolution as all the cockpits are ripped from the second game and added back in using a mod. X3 does not have cockpits by default which is a huge immersion destroyer. The modders put a lot of work in so all the indicators and everything work. The glass is even tinted, so it feels like you are inside a ship vs just floating in space with a HUD. You have full range of view around the cockpit and can check out all the details, including your pilot's seat, lol.

    These shots are not the best representation of the game graphically, so here is a screenshot of one of the really huge stations that I didn't personally take.

    http://www.legitreviews.com/images/reviews/365/x3.jpg

    That particular station is HUGE. Several kilometers long and can dock capital ships.

    I would get some shots of the really large ships, but my current savegame is in a really remote border territory and all the big military ships usually hang out around the core about 2 or 3 hours away lol.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  9. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    No Rich, LGA1366 is unique, so a cooler designed for it will not fit the new sockets.
    The overclocking performance of i7 900 CPUs was good, but variable. Some made 4.0-4.2Ghz and others only 3.4. Worth mentioning also that 3.7-3.8 was often the limit for even the top end air coolers like TRUEs, before temps above 75°C were reached, due to the high voltages and high 130W starting TDP. By all accounts, as long as you buy an unlocked chip, Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge CPUs are a doddle by comparison, so even were the original i5 700s, for which 4Ghz on air was basically a certainty...
     
  10. Estuansis

    Estuansis Regular member

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    Any decently OC'd i series CPU is already quite high performance. Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge are certainly faster than Bloomfield and Lynnfield, but not enough to make it worth the price of a new platform. what makes it worth the price are other things like OCing, heat output, power consumption, etc. Lynnfield(i7 9x0) is a power sucking monster, is unpredictable when OCing and hard to cool.

    It's only too bad Intel couldn't settle on a socket as I still get confused by all the versions of i7/i5. I think Bloomfield(1st Gen i7) was LGA1366, Lynnfield(1st Gen i5) was LGA1156(what Sam uses), Sandy Bridge was 1155, 2011 for the server platform. Ivy Bridge is 1155 as well.

    Now do Ivy Bridge CPUs work on Sandy Bridge motherboards, or are they chipset and socket dependent? Have Intel actually decided to settle with a common socket for now?
     
  11. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    The sockets are far from straightforward, but to be honest, I don't think understanding what goes where is any more difficult than with AMDs given the chipset revisions and potential pitfalls from outdated boards that need BIOS revisions etc.

    In my opinion for compatibility's sake, a different socket for each new generation of CPU is fine by me, as it stops all the problems arising from BIOSes.

    I started writing a verbose explanation of the i-series CPUs, but there's too many, so I'l do it in tabular form in a bit.

    The important bit:

    First: LGA1366 (2008) - BLOOMFIELD (130W) i7 900 series only (quads except 970/980 which are hex and were introduced later in 2010)
    Second: LGA1156 (2009) - LYNNFIELD i3 (dual) 500, i5 600/700 (6 are dual, 7 are quad), i7 800 (quad) series only
    Third: LGA1155 (2011) - SANDY BRIDGE - i3 & i5 2000 series, i7 2600/2700 series
    and IVY BRIDGE - i3, i5 & i7 3000 series
    Fourth: LGA2011 (2012) - SANDY BRIDGE-E - i7 3800/3900 series (all hex except 3820 [quad]) - top-end products only
    Fifth: LGA1150 (2013) - HASWELL - i3/i5/i7 4000 series

    LGA1366: First to feature CPU integrated memory controller - relies on northbridge for PCI express (32x) bus. - Chipset generation 5 (X58)
    LGA1156: First to feature CPU integrated PCIe controller - no northbridge on any new Intel chipset from this point - CPU PCIe controller limited to 16x - Chipset generation 5 (P/H/Q 55/57)
    LGA1155: Chipset generation 6 (P67/Z68 etc.)
    LGA2011: Chipset generation 7 (X79 etc.)
    LGA1150: Chipset generation 8 (Z88 etc.)
     
  12. Estuansis

    Estuansis Regular member

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    Some more screenies for Rich. Now you can't complain that I never take screenshots :p

    That large ship taking up the right side of my screen is a Teledi Albatross Heavy Freighter. I tried to get a full shot but my fighter was fresh from battle and damaged. It was slowly leaking oxygen.
    [​IMG]

    This is a shot of my new fighter fresh from the shipyard. An Argon Nova Raider. The direct successor to the Argon Elite from my previous screen shots and the above cockpit shot.
    [​IMG]

    This huge complex is a Corporate HQ for a large arms developer. This is an approach shot as I come into dock for armament and fitting after purchasing the new fighter.
    [​IMG]

    A close-up shot of one of the towers on that complex with my fighter shown for scale. These space stations are HUGE.
    [​IMG]
     
  13. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    World of Tanks 0.8.3
    Crossfire support: No
    SLI support: No

    Minimum of 60fps:
    No current stock CPUs capable
    Intel Core i7 2600K @ 3.85Ghz, Core i5 2500K/i7 3930K @ 4.00Ghz
    1920x1080 (No FXAA) (1GB AMD, 1.25GB NV VRAM Required): Radeon HD7970, Geforce GTX660Ti
    1920x1080 (Hi FXAA) (1GB AMD, 1.25GB NV VRAM Required): Radeon HD7970GE, Geforce GTX660Ti
    2560x1600 (No FXAA) (1.25GB VRAM Required): No current GPUs capable (GTX680@40Hz, HD7970GE/GTX670@35Hz)
    2560x1600 (Hi FXAA) (1.5GB VRAM Required): No current GPUs capable (HD7970GE/GTX680@35Hz)

    Average 60fps:
    Intel Core i5 760 @ 2.90Ghz/2500K stock, i7 930/2600K/3930K stock
    AMD FX-8350 Stock, Phenom II X4/X6 @ 4.00Ghz, FX-4170 @ 4.35Ghz, FX-6100 @ 4.15Ghz, FX-8150 @ 3.95Ghz, FX-4300 @ 4.10Ghz, FX-6300 @ 3.90Ghz
    1920x1080 (No FXAA): Radeon HD6970/7870, Geforce GTX480/560Ti/660
    1920x1080 (Hi FXAA): Radeon HD7870, Geforce GTX570/660
    2560x1600 (No FXAA): Radeon HD7970GE/GTX680
    2560x1600 (Hi FXAA): HD7970GE, No Nvidia GPU capable (GTX680@55Hz)
     
  14. Estuansis

    Estuansis Regular member

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    World of Tanks has rather buggy performance. Have been playing constantly for well over a year and changes happen quite often. It recently got moved to a new rendering engine.
     
  15. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    Finally sorted my specs page out again after the discussion we had earlier in the dream build thread (See sig). Pictures perhaps to follow.
    Funny the effect spammers can have!

    There's too little light to take decent photos this late at night, but a bad set of images has been uploaded here:
    http://imgur.com/L0IGKbl,OUSuzBj,lqjHX9P,qq5zJaR,tzpuxH4,RIT0fPf
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013
  16. Estuansis

    Estuansis Regular member

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    Very nice Sam! I personally can't imagine myself using such a wide set of peripherals. It takes me a long time to grow accustomed to a new KB and mouse for gaming. I tend to go for the least extra functionality possible with keyboards.

    My ideal keyboard is an absolutely standard QWERTY layout. My only requirement outside of a clean layout is volume controls. No macros, no anything. Am currently using one very badly beaten Saitek Eclipse Blue which has served me faithfully for quite a while now. Previously had an Eclipse red, but at that point in time, the parts quality was lower and the reds had failure issues.

    Having noticed the keyboards you use though, I am interested in a QPad now. Have considered other mechanical keyboards, but I absolutely must have back lighting, so Das Keyboard is out the window. Otherwise I would have picked one up second hand a while ago.

    As for mouse, am rocking an aged Logitech MX518 v1. Intend to replace my MX518 with a G400(MX518 v3) when it finally ceases to work.

    Used an MS/Razer Habu for about a year which was the best mouse I have ever had the pleasure to use. Unfortunately, Microsoft insisted on having a hand in the internals, and put piss poor click switches in. Double click every time I single click...

    I tend to hang onto peripherals until they're junk and no longer useful. Since I only run two PCs at any given time, I can normally get away with a KVM switch for controlling both systems. When other people are using the Intel box, any mouse and keyboard laying around will do the trick. I have an old mechanical IBM keyboard from 1983 that you could drop a bull elephant with then write the entire collected works of Shakespeare. Then entire frame of it is steel and it must weigh ~20 pounds.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
  17. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    Yeah well the basic peripherals for the server function as a 'console' and not something I use routinely. The same goes for Princess, as they're only used when the PC is in situ here - when it travels to LAN parties with me, I take the Qpad and Diamondback.
    Since the MK-50 and MK-85 I have use the same type of Cherry MX Switch (red type) they're interchangeable as far as I'm concerned when I use them (although the MK-85 keys are gloss finish, presumably for the backlight, whereas the MK-50 have the same textured finish as most standard keyboards).

    To be honest, there are lots of backlit mechanical keyboards you can try - Corsair, Coolermaster and Razer are all offering some interesting ones as well as Qpad. Be careful though - despite the considerable expense, while you get a very robust keyset (since Cherry MX switches are not manufactured by the keyboard manufacturer) the rest of the unit is typically no better quality than your average gaming keyboard, and high-end gaming keyboards have a far lower build quality than standard office keyboards.
    I'd therefore say use caution with QPAD. The majority of QPAD backlights start failing after a few weeks/months of use - they work, but will flicker annoyingly, which can be very distracting when playing games. The fault is not an electrical one, but a control component so not user-reparable, and Qpad have no manufacturer warranty system, so it's down to your retailer whether you'd be able to exercise a return.
    It's a shame, as apart from that the keyboard is excellent. I'm not saying you won't see the same problems with other mechanical keyboards, but the MK-80 and MK-85 are very expensive products, and you can get backlit mechanical keyboards for less.
     
  18. harvardguy

    harvardguy Regular member

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    Well, regarding those screenshots, Jeff, including the ones on this page, with the really GIANT spacestations, and giant ships, the expanse of the game is mind-boggling. I'm amazed that there is no default console, until you employ a mod - I can see how you and the rest of the modding community can get very enthusiastic about a particular title and want to spend the time to improve the game - from crysis, to this space game.


    Thanks for that Jeff. Inasmuch as Sam's charts showed that HDAO consumes the most resources, and when I went into my ULTRA settings I saw that I had been running HDAO, I assumed that HDAO was the best, and I did some comparisons. I had a very hard time determining whether or not I liked HDAO more than HBAO, although I thought they both clearly beat SSAO.

    I won't post those comparisons today - that's the subject for a future post - plus a future post about the comparison of no AA, 2x, 4x, and 8x AA - plus a future post about man-eating crocodiles, plus a future post for Kevin about shooting up the place, on a scale that nothing in New York City can touch.

    Kevin went out hunting, and decided the game was boar-ring.

    Hahahaha.

    Kevin, you can rage for days in this game and have running firefights with bands of enemies who will continue to drive in on jeeps, and you can experience all the bloodshed that even you would need, to consider the game a shooter.

    For example, I love this hill deep in enemy territory - there's an enemy jeep whose gas tank just exploded out on the roadway - but see that jeep full of soldiers barreling in on me?

    [​IMG]

    Now you see them, now you don't.

    [​IMG]

    I don't know about you, Kevin, but I don't think I'd be in that jeep heading straight into my fire. A boar has some nice big tusks, but that box on my left is supplying me with some rather biggish 50 caliber rounds, and those things tend to put some rather biggish holes into things. The other mounted machine gun in the game is a rapid-firing 30, but this bad boy is the big ol 50 - watch how it tears things up - watch how it shoots those steel fences out of the way (the 30 won't budge the fences) so you can park your jeep above a busy intersection a hundred yards from here.

    [​IMG]

    You know, so you can direct traffic. "You guys (BLAM!) you guys spread out over there, and you guys, yeah you, you guys just go paint the town red (with your blood) over on that other side."

    Trust me, it's a shooter Kevin. LOL

    I have gotten a little behind on things, but I see that the i7 that I may get, is problematic both in terms of producing a huge amount of heat - THAT for sure is true - and maybe being very hard to overclock. Also - I thought I understood correctly that the footprint of the chip, from 1366 to 1125, is not very different - so I thought most of the coolers could be moved across the families, meaning that I can spend $100+ on a silver arrow for 1366, and move it over to 1125 one day. Let me go google that for a second.

    [​IMG]

    Okay, I see that 1125 and 1126 aren't included, so let me see what I would be missing. I am surprised to see 775, and I think that's my current quad core 9450 - meaning maybe I should go get it right now and get this 9450 up from 3.343 to the 3.6 you guys said I should be able to hit, at fsb 450 (I'm at 418 now) and that WILL help me a bit with my cpu limitation.

    LOL, in looking back I guess there is no such thing as 1125 or 1126, it's 1155 and 1156. So from what I understand now, this particular cooler WILL handle the new 1155 and 1156 slots (if it handles 1156 as stated on the literature, that means it also handles 1155 as well, doesn't it, since the physical size of the slot 1155 and 1156 are the same, right?)

    Anyway, please correct me if I am reading something wrong, but it looks like this cooler, if I get the troublesome nehalem card free (like Jeff says, free is not a lot of money, and that includes at least 8 gigs of Ram, maybe even 12, plus a pretty good gigabyte mobo as I recall with 3 16x expansion slots) will be able to move with me over to ivy bridge if I ever make that move.

    I have been reading some troubling articles about micro-stuttering, particularly with the new 7000 series. Wiki has a new article on it that quotes Tom's Hardware, plus a new swedish overclocking web site article. The bad thing about the swedish article besides being in swedish with a weak google translation - but better than nothing - is that it showed a WILD swing in timings using crossfire 7970s - the good thing about the Tom's article, which is a little dated on the 6000 family that you guys, Sam and Jeff, currently own, is that the cf micro-stutter is bad, but by adding a third card it drops down to almost nothing - a result that shocked Tom's and I would hope carries forward with the 7000 family, because I have noticed and posted about the choppiness of Far Cry 3 for me with cf 7950s.

    [​IMG]

    The dark auburn line on top, is the triple cf, with none of the wild timing differences of the greenish line below it. You don't get all that much more average fps, but you virtually eliminate the micro-stutter, totally worth it even if you didn't get any performance gain at all. Choppiness sucks big time, fluidity is BLISS!

    So, if I get the nehalem with 3 slots, I can get rid of these HIS cards that are almost 3 slots wide, and get three 2-slot cards ... OR ... I could get a 7970x2 3-slot card, and keep one of my HIS 3 slot cards, and run the 7970x2 with my 7950 which I am pretty sure will work - I think I have read newegg reviews on the 7950 where the guy paired it with a 7970 for good results, maybe even two 7970s as I recall - yeah I think so - I'll go try to find the review. I realize I wouldn't get the full benefit of the 2 extra 7970s, but for sure I would at least get the benefit of like adding a second and third 7950, which might only add 50% scaling for the third card, but the main benefit would be that top line on the Tom's chart - the elimination of micro-stuttering.

    What would be the economics?

    Three 2-slot cards, at $300 each, less selling my two HIS cards for $400 for the pair, means $500 out of pocket, or one 7970x2 for $900 and sell one card for $200, means $700 out of pocket. Plus another $100 for the silver arrow either way.

    But ... those 7970s would run a little slower to scale down to my 7950, and consume less energy sitting on one platform, with a lower tdp total than if on two discrete cards - maybe under 350 watts total? So my 750 watt toughpower might just barely keep up with my system for now, enabling me to avoid the expense of a bigger power supply, hopefully for the foreseeable future. (By the 9000 family these things will be on 22nm, right?, so using less and less power as time goes by.) Plus I like the extra beefy cooler on my 3-slot HIS IceQ, and the 3-slot 7970x2 that HIS has built but not on market yet looks equally well-cooled.

    Let me conclude with a couple of screenshots, since Jeff was so generous with those incredible space screens.

    And also, since Tyler, the very adept Ubisoft tech guy who helped me get past my QTE glitch and finish the game, has kept our ticket open and recently told me to continue to link him and his Ubi friends to my future screenshots, let me shout out,

    WELCOME TYLER AND THE UBISOFT TECH SUPPORT TEAM - YOU GUYS ROCK!!

    I will be posting more in the future, but here are just a couple screenshots to close out this post - this is from a group of 92 that I have culled out as my all-time favorites, beyond the crocodile and AA and HDAO comparison shots.

    Notice how well they do motion blur. Most of my favorites have to do with water - just like with Far Cry 2 - and most of them are on this green crocodile-infested river.

    [​IMG]

    Fortunately, while the cf 7950s may be giving me major micro-stutter, you don't really feel it in a vehicle, and the wave runner ride feels very fluid and lovely out on that incredible reflecting water!

    Way earlier in the game, before I figured out how to trick the director into spawning a wave runner on the river (other than the one you can steal for 2 minutes by pretending to enter the slalom race) I had many shots from out in the ocean where there are a lot of wave runners.

    [​IMG]

    Oh, and did I mention that I have a compulsion to shoot any shark I see - I mean - that's what sharks are for, right, for shooting? Especially in a boat with a mounted machine gun - float down to the bottom good sharkie.

    [​IMG]

    But on a pier with my bow and arrow, that's good too for shark hunting. It takes two arrows, then dive in and get the arrows back, and make sure none of his shark buddies are around wanting revenge.

    This shot was nowhere near any sharks - there's nothing but crocs in this river and they only need one arrow - and I pretty much walk around the game all the time now like this, they call me Robin Hood. Way over there is my favorite safe house where I now have a "46" save folder with a wave runner parked right there - no more need to trick the director.

    [​IMG]

    Rich
     
  19. omegaman7

    omegaman7 Active member

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    The beginning is a little too long. It takes a while to get into a mode that I'm familiar with. Killing the boars, and gathering plants wasn't the problem. It's the incessant tutorials, and ultimately getting stuck on one of the screens. I don't believe it was crippled by the crack/hack either. Call me slow, or whatever, but I could not figure out how to get off of a particular screen. Perhaps that's ultimately why I'm so annoyed :S I'll probably give it another go. Perhaps today when I reinstall my GTX 260. I'm gonna see if it still runs. Honestly though, it's rapidly decreasing in price. I'd be lucky to get $75 for it. So if it does run, I'm better off keeping it for a backup GPU. Perhaps save it for a build.

    I guess I can remain patient, and wait til I get the new AM3+ board.
     
  20. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    Rich, to clarify on the coolers:

    There is no such thing as socket 1125/1126, the correct names are LGA1155 (Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge - current, being replaced this year) and LGA1156 (Lynnfield - older, what I currently use).
    These sockets are fairly similar size-wise, but are not interchangeable for CPUs. LGA1366 is the older Bloomfield socket for the original heavyweight i7s such as the one you have (or will have?). It is markedly different from the other sockets physically. It has also now been superceded by LGA2011 for the new i7s (3900 series hex CPUs).

    However, it is possible, as you've seen with the Silver Arrow, to get coolers that fit all sockets. How they do this is by using a generic base, with an adapter that attaches the base to the cooler - different adapter for each socket. Sometimes they're included, sometimes they're not.

    The base Thermalright coolers look like this:
    [​IMG]
    Here is an example of one of the bolt brackets, on this occasion for AMD's AM2 socket:
    [​IMG]
    As you see, this attaches (and this is a fiddly process!) over the top of the base block, attached to the CPU by the spring-loaded screws and black backplate you see underneath.

    As it happens, neither my main gaming PC or file server use natively supported sockets for their coolers.
    My gaming PC uses an Ultra-120 Extreme Rev. C designed for LGA775 and LGA1366 but with a purchased bolt-thru kit to add support for LGA1156. It works, but isn't as elegant as the proper configurations, as the cooler can only be attached in a forward-back airflow direction, not upward-out as I had the LGA775 cooler configured.
    The file server, being a 4U rackmount case and not a tower, will not fit a full-height 120mm Thermalright, but there is a special 4U version of the HR-01 that fits - trouble is, it's a server case, so is only designed for server boards (LGA771), thus only comes with the bolt kit for such. Fortunately since I had a spare LGA775 bracket leftover from the aforementioned Ultra-120, I used that, and it fits, after a bit of swearing :p


    Now onto the discussion of micro-stuttering.
    First things first with that graph, let's put it into perspective:
    -The graph is from Tom's Hardware. That may not be such the case any more, but previously Tom's Hardware have had affiliations with nvidia and have biased their testing methodology to suit, so treat anti-AMD results with scepticism.
    -Further, their competence latterly is questionable. I mean just look at that graph. The axes aren't labelled! It's obvious that fps is on the y axis (although nothing says it isn't ms per frame), but what's on the x? Frame count, or second count?
    -One of the cards being used is an HD6870X2. This is not a native product, and was an unofficial third-party solution produced, I believe by TUL (parent company of PowerColor). Bugs and inconsistencies it suffers are not necessarily indicative of problems the HD6 series or HD6800 range suffer as a whole.
    With that over with, micro-stuttering is a real issue, and it's something you will always get with crossfire, to varying levels of significance.
    General rule to follow here is, aim for 60fps. With a single card you can drop below 60fps and it not cause too much irritation, with crossfire, if you have a title that microstutters badly, you'll find it very annoying indeed, so if you can't make 60fps with crossfire, you may be better off just turning the detail down.
    Some games suffer more than others. Both Serious Sam 3 and Saints Row The Third have seen frame rates below 60fps recently on my system, but neither have really caused me issues with microstutter. Other titles it can be a nightmare. It's really down to how well the game balances load between the cards - if one card takes significantly longer to render its frame than the other, you will experience it. Also compound this with the previously discussed impacts of running on a 60Hz display below 60fps.

    Please avoid the third-party HD7990 offerings. There is no HD7970 dual-GPU card in the official channel (it was cancelled), so the products you see out there are hacks produced by the partner brands - card, power management and all. Apart from being incredibly expensive (and imminently going to be outclassed by the HD8 series, even if not by that much), such cards are often very unreliable - The Powercolor cards shipped with a 100% DOA rate as there was a design defect in the cooler - since cards like these are not tested before being boxed (!) this wasn't picked up, and the various review sites out there all had to break the screwdrivers out before they could review the card.
    Add to this the experience I had with a similar card two generations back with the HD5970 4GB from Sapphire. Both cards I received were DOA as neither had been tested before being packaged. Compare this to the previous top-end dual-card behemoths I had used, the reference-built HD4870X2, which offered me 2 1/2 years of faultless service, initial driver and motherboard issues notwithstanding.
    Lastly, there's simply no point - two regular HD7970s are cheaper and easier to work with. The only downsides are extra noise and hotter temperatures (and only when compared with the non-reference dual cards - typically one reference dual card e.g. the HD6990 will be noisier than two singulars, e.g. HD6970s). Really though, small price to pay for what you get.
    I could quite happily have bought one HD6990 instead of my two HD6970s, but I chose not to. I paid less, got a quieter PC, and unlike with the HD4870X2s, had no plans to move back to a quad graphics system again. It was great to have, but having a PC produce 60db+ when gaming as well as heating up the room with the same potency as a 1 bar electric fan heater, and drawing 800W from the mains in the process (the equivalent of $1 in energy every 5 hours), it just wasn't necessary given the huge leap in efficiency gained from the HD6 series versus HD4.
     
  21. omegaman7

    omegaman7 Active member

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    Doesn't seem so bad when you put it that way:

    "(the equivalent of $1 in energy every 5 hours)"

    However, I still plan to go forward with my electrical scheme :p Imagine powering your entire home, and only paying a constant 10 - $15 a month...
     

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