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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, thanks for taking the time to read this, i was wondering if i could have some advice from experienced gamers before purchasing some equipment, firstly ill post my system specs:

Intel Core 2 Duo 6600 @ 2.4ghz
Windows XP Pro
Inno3d Nvidia 7900 GT with core clock @ 450mhz
2gb DDR2 Ram
No internal cooling system other than standard fan (but my room is constantly at 22c due to air conditioning and my graphics card never runs over 55c under full load)

Firstly the problem i am having is poor framerate with Company Of Heroes, around 40FPS with all settings on med/high at 1280x1024 (Post processing & shadows OFF), ive updated my video card drivers to the latest forceware.

My main aim is to boost my system to improve on CoH and future games to be released such as C&C3 and GTA4. Would purchasing a 2nd 7900GT card and running it in SLI with my current 7900GT help a great deal? would the SLI work in CoH? ive heard it has SLI problems, so yeah basically seeing as the 7900GTs have come down in price i have the spare cash to purchase one this week if i choose to, please help me with some advice, as i dont wish to buy one if it wont help me much!

Thanks and plz reply!
 

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Welcome to TSF, Zaibatsu.

Firstly, may I ask why you feel 40 fps is "poor"? Below 30 fps is where the game starts to "lag" - the fps becomes noticeable. The human eye can't see much beyond 60 fps, so 40 is actually pretty good.

Secondly, adding a second 7900GT will certainly increase performance. I haven't played CoH, so I don't know of any conflicts with SLI, but I can tell you what my performance increase my system gets with SLI. Going from one 7800GTX to two, my score in 3DMark05 increased by 62%. My in-game performance increased by about the same, depending on the game and what settings were enabled, and all that.

A couple of things to note, however:
1. You need an SLI-capable motherboard (with two PCI-E slots and an SLI chipset).
2. You need a power supply capable of running the system with the extra video card. Read "Power Supply Info" in my signature for more information about that. If you post your current PSU brand and model, we can tell you if it will handle it or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you very much for the reply Indoril Nerevar,

Sorry i didn't make it noted that my FPS is 40 when i start playing, if i get into a game with more than 2 players (cpu players) with significant amounts of units on screen in company of heroes my game drops to about 18 FPS, as for my Motherboard sorry i'm a bit of a newb with specs but its brand and model is an ASUS P5B, from memory it has 4 PCI slots but that may be wrong, it definately has at least 2 PCI slots.

As for my power supply i know this is dumb but i honestly have no idea what it is, my computer tower case is a "Antec Sonata II" and inside the front of the case manual it says: "It comes with an Antec SmartPower 2.0 Series power supply with the newest ATX12V version 2.0 specifications. This includes dual 12V output circuitry that delivers safer and more reliable output to your system's components". - Whether or not that is any help i'm not sure sorry.
 

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Hi,

That power supply in that case is a good one, but only 450 Watts. Frankly, it won't begin to pull the rig you want it to, because I have one of those and have some experience with that unit. You need to be looking for at least a 650 to 700 watt brand name supply like Seasonic, OCZ, Fortran, PC Power and Cooling....You just need a powerful supply and that 450 is not that powerful. In addition, the amps per rail on that supply are totally inadequate for those video cards.

Note: Added this information since I have that same rig in my spare unit. Indoril can give you more detailed advice on which power supply is best for you, so will leave it at that.
 

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Tumbleweed is spot-on - you need at least a 650W from one of the quality manufacturers he listed. I would go for a 700W or higher, though, as I recently had a 680W die after being used on a similar system - it got overloaded.

If your motherboard is a P5B, then it doesn't support SLI, unfortunately. It's actually "PCI-Express" slots which are important, not PCI slots. You need two PCI-E slots, and a chipset which will run SLI. So, if you want SLI, you'll need a new motherboard (we can recommend some if you want).

To help improve performance, drop your resolution down from 1280 x 1024 to 1024 x 768. In RTS games, higher resolution doesn't make a whole lot of difference, but it does drain performance a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh ok, thanks for the help guys

Looks like ill have to scrap the idea of updating, as i can't really afford a new graphics card and also a new power supply and motherboard and if i get a new motherboard that means ill need a new cpu as well doesnt it? and thats way more than i can afford.

Anyway tough break i guess, ill just have to be happy with the way it is :(

Thanks for the help anyway guys, much appreciated :)
 

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A new motherboard doesn't mean a new CPU - you just have to make sure you get the right type of board. If that's within your budget, let us know, and we'll recommend a suitable board, but if not... I guess that's too bad. Try turning down the resolution like I said - even with my two 7800GTX's, I play most RTS's on 1024 x 768 for the extra performance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I don't think this makes any difference at all but i was just looking under control panel - system - device manager and all the slots on my motherboard are PCI-Express, just makes me wonder why they put several slots in if you can only run one card? Anyway ill post a screenshot as an attachment.

Also instead of buying a new motherboard, power supply & 7900GT card would my current computer handle taking out my current 7900GT and running a brand new 8800GTX? Because one of those would probably be equal to running 2 x 7900GT's ?

Thanks guys, sorry to be a pain
 

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You may have more than one PCI-E slot, but you need the right chipset to be able to run two cards in SLI.

Unfortunately, you can't just put in an 8800. While performing as well as 2 7900's (or thereabouts), it also draws as much power as two 7900's (or thereabouts), so you'd need the new power supply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Oh ok, so to purchase the SLI motherboard and change my power supply to a good one, id probably be looking at severl hundred dollars i take it, I live in Australia so in our currency what would you estimate? around $1000?

Also is it possible my current powersupply is damaging my computer at the moment? because if its only 450 and you recommend 700+ even with my current setup that seems low?
 

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It certainly won't be helping. You really should have that system on a 550W or higher. If you add in a second 7900, that would bump the requirements up to 650/700W+.

Around $800 - $1000 would cover motherboard, power supply, and an extra 7900GT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
$800-1000 is more than i was hoping to spend, also with the new power supply & motherboard ill need somebody to install it and swap my cpu to it etc because i dont know how to do all that stuff and ill end up breaking it, so thats labour for an IT tech which is costly, maybe ill just get the new motherboard this week and then save up for the power supply and extra card over a few months.. Then again by the time a few months comes all this stuff will probably be outdated again haha, that sucks hey, i purchased this computer 5 months ago and it seems that already its outdated and crappy.

Thanks again for your help!
 

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Hi,

Just a thought. If you want to graduallly upgrade (and that Sonata II is a great case iMHO), then start with a new and improved power supply. Then, you can upgrade as you get the cash, because it is much better to upgrade from the bottom up than starting from the top down and putting components in danger from lack of power. Indoril can guide you on your long term needs with a power supply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
One more thing,

i read on a website about SLI compatible RAM? will i need to change my RAM if i install SLI? my ram is DDR2 - 2gb.
 

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No, you won't need new RAM. All RAM will work with SLI (so long as it's compatible with the motherboard, of course). The "SLI-certified" RAM is the stuff they've tested and found to "work the best with SLI". Really, it's all just a bit of publicity for the RAM manufacturers and NVIDIA. Any RAM is fine, although I don't advise you to use off-brand stuff - use Corsair or another quality brand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I was just talking to my local PC Tech guy, he told me his honest opinion was to steer away from SLI for now, and if i wanted to spend the money and upgrade my computer instead purchase a 8800GTX with my current setup, when i asked him about power supplies he said he could get in a 750 watt power supply from Silverstone for $280 (Australian), would that be a sufficient supply?

Also would a 8800GTX really be a big improvement over a 7900GT or only slight?

Thanks guys
 

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An 8800GTX would be a very big improvement over a 7900GT - it's a generation up. Video cards are made in generations. The "050" is the lowest card in the generation, and the "950" is the highest. The other numbers are of course in between. So the "7900" is a high-end 7-series card. The "8800" is a high-end 8-series card.

A 750W Silverstone would be fine, so long as you didn't want to add a second 8800GTX later. The 750 Silverstone was actually what I looked at when I quoted $800 - $1000 earlier. Have a look around, because you can get them a lot cheaper on the net than retail (from my suppliers, I can get them for $210). By the way, Silverstone is a very good brand. I use an 850W Silverstone in my system.

Where in Australia are you?

Also: there's no real reason to stay away from SLI. Computer parts move so fast in terms of rank and price that you can't really say that SLI is cheaper or more expensive than having just one card.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks again Indoril you have been very helpful, by chance did you see my other thread about the weird improvement i got from updating my motherboard BIOS from .211 to .908 ? And for the record im from Nerang on the Gold Coast, and yourself?
 

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No worries. I did see the thread, but will have to look at it tomorrow.

I'm in Bundaberg - about 3 hours north. I'll have a look at some Queensland sites, and see if anyone stocks Silverstone (I actually get my parts from wholesale suppliers). I know that www.umart.com.au stock Seasonic, which are just as good (if not better), but I think they only go to 650W...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks Indoril, if you could post some stores you find and their prices on here id much appreciate it. Also to save you time reading my other thread to give you a quickfire summary - i flashed my Asus -p5b bios from version .211 to .908 and my FPS in company of heroes went from 40 FPS to 96 FPS, ive rebooted several times and tried the game about 10 times now to make sure im not seeing things and its still holding that good FPS for now.. I got the idea of doing this from a review page of my motherboard which said they had 20% increase in counter strike & Battlefield 2 from updating from the "out of the box" BIOS of the P5B from .211 which i noticed to also be my version
 
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