Where do I go from here?

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Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Wed May 09, 2012 11:26 pm

I'm in a bit of a quandary, my current rig looks like so:

i7 920 on an x58 board running at a conservative 3.2ghz (I had it at 3.6, but it started acting odd so i backed it off)
12gb RAM
2x 160gb intel SSDs in RAID 0
and here's the kicker, x2 Radeon 7950sin xfire, OCed at 1ghz GPU and 1400 ram

Pretty decent system overall if a bit long in the tooth regarding platform, but I don't see them releasing anything particularly competitive to replace my core system except for maybe SB-E and x79, but that looks a bit half baked so far and the prices are insane.

So here's the kicker, I'm trying to game on 3x 30 inch Dell U3011s, and those 7950s aren't making the cut. I hoped the 3gb of RAM would be good enough for the textures at that size, and that aspect seems to be ok, but in general the experience is not what i would call smooth. I even tried a 3rc card in trifire and that didn't seem to have much of an effect.

Do I have an upgrade path here? It seems like my components are right on the edge, with not much else to do without spending tons of money for a very minor return.

thanks for your heap!
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Wed May 09, 2012 11:46 pm

You're trying to render to 12MP- which means that you're going to need fillrate and VRAM. You have the VRAM, but the fillrate isn't there- worse, adding more AMD cards probably increases the 'micro-stuttering' to the point that fast framerates still aren't playable.

The solution? You need three 4GB GTX680's, at least- if not a pair of 8GB GTX690's. And I'm not trying to be mean. I want to upgrade my HD6950 CFX set to GTX680s, albeit one at a time.
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Wed May 09, 2012 11:59 pm

Don't the 680s have 2gb ram on a 256 bit interface? If they made a 4gb card, realistically how much faster would that be from my OCed 7950s in crossfire? A 10% boost at best?

I'm wondering if going with an x79 solution would help but that's another scenario where I'm looking at dropping a ton of money on something that will yield me a fairly small return.

I didn't realize just how much graphics horsepower these screens would need since people seemed to be using them in eyefinity running from 5970s. I guess they had the settings way turned down or something.
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Thu May 10, 2012 12:01 am

You don't have to feel safe to feel unafraid.
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Thu May 10, 2012 12:40 am

I think airmans post as a bit of hyperbole to it. Microstuttering indeed is worse on AMD card, but I don't believe it would make the games unplayable. Adding more 7950s to the mix or turning down your graphical settings is about all you can do to upgrade from where you are. You 'could' buy an entirely new setup of Nvidia cards, but that's a lot of money down the crapper for not much of a return.

Read about subjective experiences on the issue here, which is more valuable then the bar graphs IMO: http://techreport.com/articles.x/22890/10

I really wish Geoff would've done more testing on the effects of Lucids Virtu software on cross/sli, but they didn't. I personally would've opted to buy one 7970 over two 7950s personally though. One graphics card is usually better then two if you can get them at similar price points and it's a step up.
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Thu May 10, 2012 1:45 am

Hard to answer without knowing what games you want to play, at what level of graphics settings, and at what FPS.

For example, I have 3 x Dell 2711 at 3x2560x1440, and have run successfully with 2xRadeon 5870 Eyefinity 6 cards, and later with 2 x GTX580s, mostly with racing sims such as iRacing, rFactor and pCARS pre-alphas.
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Thu May 10, 2012 3:37 am

A i7 2700k and 2 GTX 670s? Rumours are that the 670 is about as fast, if not faster than the 7970. That sounds like a nice boost. The 2700K can OC close to 5 Ghz (provided it has a good cooler, i.e. Noctua D14, Thermalright Silver Arrow...etc) and it consumes less than the Nehalem i7 (at least clock for clock, OCing will def increase power consumption).
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Thu May 10, 2012 4:47 am

I imagine IVY and its pcie 3.0 would not bottleneck the cards as much as a x58 system.Ivys cores are much better then 1366 cores and you wont lose memory bandwidth to the cpu either.Memory bandwidth is almost the same if not better with sandy and ivy bridge with ddr1600.Run faster ram and ivys dual channel can beat x58s easily.

But surround gaming gaming on 30inch monitors is a tough task for any video cards,at least with z77 platform with 2 cards running at pcie3.0@8x and one 7950 running at pciE 3.0 @4x and a 4.5ghz ivy cpu.I think u need TRI FIRE ti get the job done with 3 30 inch 4 mb panels.
AMD cards are not affected by pcie 3.0@4x as much as nvidia cards.Besides it seems AMD/ATI cards scale better for multi monitor gaming then NV.
I dont think IF you could find 2 680s you would get any improvement in surround gaming.Perhaps 2 $1000 690s maybe,But i would try a z77 board with the capability of tri fire.Also PCIe3.0@4x is like PCIe2.0@8x.Its cheaper then grabbing a SB-E system.I do not know when IB-E is coming out but with the IB density temps even when they do shrink SB-E 6 core cpus to 22NM and possibly 8 cores I think they will run very very hot...but be awesome too
I wonder if you could run a single 30" center monitor along with 2 1600x1200 set of 20 inch 1600-1200 panels in portrait mode , your 30" has a .2505mm pixel size, the 20 inch dell has a Pixel Pitch size of 0.255 mm,pretty much a perfect match!!!!
Dell UltraSharp 2007FP 20-inch Flat Panel Monitors that in portrait mode are the same screen height as you 30" along with they are supposed to be IPS monitors .But some are and some are not,plus i would not worry about the 8ms response time since they are side panels but they would give you the surround/Peripheral vision you are looking for and also reduce the 12mb of pixels down to about,I am guessing 7mb-8mb or so.But i don't know if eyefinity will let ya do it but its pretty flexible. But a extra 1200 pixels on either side of that 30" monster would be plenty of surround along with most likely doubling your FPS.I fell that would give you a even better surround experience then having to turn your head left and right much more with the width of 3 30 inch monsters:)Plus you can still use your other 30" monitors for system monitoring or whatever :) a little overkill but who cares.
Good luck
P.S. if you can handle the cost of 3 1000$+ monitors,you can build a badazz ivy setup and a additional 7950.Then if it does not work out,you will have fun building it,you will find out that it does game a lot better then your x58 system.Then you could sell the x58 setup for a discount or the new ivy setup and get your money back or even make a few extra$ on ebay or something.But as of now i am unimpressed with SB-E x79 performance/price ratio.On top of that no PCI-e 3.0.
I would try the 20' inch dell panels in portrait mode 1st.Get them used if you can so you can get serial #s of them and make sure your getting IPS panels and not TN to match your 30".But i think TN panels for along side of your center IPS would not make a lot of difference.
Sorry for all the edits but found more info again and again.But like i said i would do the 30 inch center and 2 20 inch 1600-1200 panels in portrait mode before anything the pixel pitch is a perfect match and the extra 1200 pixels or 4960x1600 of surround for each side is plenty,even optimal over 2560pixel on each side or7680x1600 which i feel is overkill for your Peripheral vision .I am sure you have other computers that the other 2 30" panels could be put to good use on,or use 1 extra 30" as a big azz monitor panel while you game and the other for another home PC.The 20" panels in portrait mode are perfect for webpages too less scrolling:)
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Thu May 10, 2012 7:48 am

vargis14 wrote:I think u need TRI FIRE ti get the job done with 3 30 inch 4 mb panels.


Completely incorrect, as evidenced by mine and others experience. It totally depends on what games he wants to play, and what graphics settings, and at what FPS.

To make blanket statements that he needs to rush out and spend a motza on tri-fire (which may well require a new mobo as well, depending what he has), is not at all helpful.
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Thu May 10, 2012 8:15 am

I tried tri-fire, I don't know if they drivers aren't there yet, or if it's just not an efficient solution but it didn't make much of an impact, so I returned the 3rd card.

Right now I'm playing SWTOR, I can turn some of the settings up, but I have to restrict AA to 2x (in the cat panel the game's AA is awful), but I can't play with bloom or shadows enabled, and the experience isn't what I'd call smooth.

I'd like to play Rage, I'm about 15 minutes in, and it's just unplayable no matter how I tweak the settings.

Skyrim is also on my list but I haven't bought it yet because I don't think it will run very well, especially after I sock it up with some cool mods.

Diablo 3 and SC2 HOS are on the list, those should be ok (if they even support eyefinity, I know SC2 doesn't)

Might want to have a look at ME3 off my xbox at some point, Bioshock 3, May Payne 3, Borderlands 2 are all on my list.

In general I'd prefer to actually be impressed by the graphics on these titles rather than sliding everything to the minimum to get smooth motion.
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Thu May 10, 2012 8:45 am

Maybe the rumors were exaggerated. The TR GTX 670 review just went live and "I am dissapoint".
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Thu May 10, 2012 3:58 pm

Arclight wrote:Maybe the rumors were exaggerated. The TR GTX 670 review just went live and "I am dissapoint".


What disappointed you about them?

I have one on order, with a mind to buy a second, and the HD6950 2GB cards are on the chopping block.
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Thu May 10, 2012 4:07 pm

leor wrote:Don't the 680s have 2gb ram on a 256 bit interface? If they made a 4gb card, realistically how much faster would that be from my OCed 7950s in crossfire? A 10% boost at best?

I'm wondering if going with an x79 solution would help but that's another scenario where I'm looking at dropping a ton of money on something that will yield me a fairly small return.

I didn't realize just how much graphics horsepower these screens would need since people seemed to be using them in eyefinity running from 5970s. I guess they had the settings way turned down or something.


A 4GB card would only be faster (assuming no other variables change aside from the total VRAM) in situations where 2GB wouldn't be enough. The actual performance boost would be from moving to faster individual GPUs; and if Tri-fire isn't working for you, then maybe Tri-SLi will.
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For sale!|24/2.8 IS USM
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Thu May 10, 2012 5:07 pm

Anomymous Gerbil wrote:
vargis14 wrote:I think u need TRI FIRE ti get the job done with 3 30 inch 4 mb panels.


Completely incorrect, as evidenced by mine and others experience. It totally depends on what games he wants to play, and what graphics settings, and at what FPS.

To make blanket statements that he needs to rush out and spend a motza on tri-fire (which may well require a new mobo as well, depending what he has), is not at all helpful.


As you can see i said I THINK,Not you need.With AMDs previous 6900seies tri fire scaled pretty good,quad was a bust.
Also the recommendation of using the 20 inch panels as side panels would reduce graphics load a good bit.7-8 Mb is a good bit less then 12mb of pixels and the panels would line up perfectly in portrait mode.
Also building a Ivy setup for his cards would most likely get him more FPS,since Sandy bridge gave a fps boost over a 1366 setup and IVY is a bit better then sandy but not much but you have the added pcie 3.0 native to the new 28nm cards.
They were all suggestions to someone who has over $3000 in monitors alone.
So AG try to comprehend the whole statement and not just what yo think you read.I was throwing out suggestions not orders to rush out and do anything.
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Thu May 10, 2012 5:34 pm

Hey let me know when anyone supports spanning 3D resolutions across panels of different resolutions!
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Thu May 10, 2012 6:10 pm

I see you're problem and I'll give you a cheap solution! You're problem is that you are trying to play games using two giant 30" 2560x1600 monitors of AWESOME.
Simply send one of those monitors to me absolutely free (you just pay shipping and handling). Then you won't have any problems playing games on the remaining monitor!
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Thu May 10, 2012 6:56 pm

chuckula wrote:I see you're problem and I'll give you a cheap solution! You're problem is that you are trying to play games using two giant 30" 2560x1600 monitors of AWESOME.
Simply send one of those monitors to me absolutely free (you just pay shipping and handling). Then you won't have any problems playing games on the remaining monitor!


It's actually three giant monitors, but I like what you did there.
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Thu May 10, 2012 7:03 pm

Ok guys, settle down. FIrst of all you can't run eyefinity in portrait-landscape-portrait mode, it has to all be the same resolution and orientation.

Secondly, I think a 12 megapixel rendering area will blow out 2gb of RAM, I could be wrong about that, but one of the reasons I went with AMD was the 3gb buffer. If anyone has any data showing 680s running 3x 30 inchers I'd be curious to see it.

Overall I'm kind of feeling like I'm stuck. I'm somewhat interested in upgrading to SB-E, but with ivy bridge I'd rather wait for Ivy-E, and it seems like the x79 boards could use a chipset update.
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Thu May 10, 2012 10:51 pm

Hi Leor, it's really hard to answer your question without you telling us what games you want to play, at what graphical settings, and what FPS. Categorically, I can tell you that you don't need two or more GTX680s to drive your screens, depending of course on exactly what you're doing with them.

I have been running three 2560x1440 monitors (close enough to your setup) with one 5870 Eyefinity card, then two 5870 Eyefinity cards - which gave almost no FPS improvement on the games I play, and more recently with two GTX580s. In the racing sim games I play there is almost no benefit from SLI or Crossfire, so I'm really getting by with only one card. Note that the only reason I have two GTX580s is because you need two of them to physically connect to three screens; at least that's true for the model of 580 that I have.

So, any chance you can tell us what games you plan to play with your nice setup?
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Thu May 10, 2012 11:23 pm

Anomymous Gerbil wrote:So, any chance you can tell us what games you plan to play with your nice setup?

leor wrote:Right now I'm playing SWTOR, I can turn some of the settings up, but I have to restrict AA to 2x (in the cat panel the game's AA is awful), but I can't play with bloom or shadows enabled, and the experience isn't what I'd call smooth.

I'd like to play Rage, I'm about 15 minutes in, and it's just unplayable no matter how I tweak the settings.

Skyrim is also on my list but I haven't bought it yet because I don't think it will run very well, especially after I sock it up with some cool mods.

Diablo 3 and SC2 HOS are on the list, those should be ok (if they even support eyefinity, I know SC2 doesn't)

Might want to have a look at ME3 off my xbox at some point, Bioshock 3, May Payne 3, Borderlands 2 are all on my list.

In general I'd prefer to actually be impressed by the graphics on these titles rather than sliding everything to the minimum to get smooth motion.
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Thu May 10, 2012 11:58 pm

Airmantharp wrote:
Arclight wrote:Maybe the rumors were exaggerated. The TR GTX 670 review just went live and "I am dissapoint".


What disappointed you about them?

I have one on order, with a mind to buy a second, and the HD6950 2GB cards are on the chopping block.



I was talking from his perspective, coming from 2 OCed 7950s not from ur 1 x 6950......

In his case he won't see a huge jump in performance, me thinks, at least not enough to be justified by the amount he has to shell out for it.
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Sat May 12, 2012 12:01 am

Airmantharp wrote:Hey let me know when anyone supports spanning 3D resolutions across panels of different resolutions!


As many of you have said PLP would not work at all under any circumstances, orientation is governed by software and not hardware and the fact that running in a window works across PLP and programs like HTSoft.AMD just has not supported it with there software,HTsoft is one alternative i have found so far that allows PLP.Here are some links that can do the rest of the talking.

http://www.kegetys.net/SoftTH/
and a video in action PLP
http://youtu.be/A5ncSyhKyVw

I am jut trying to help, but i feel like almost everyone is so hostile to anything i suggest or post.Maybe in person everyone is nicer but online is another story.
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Sat May 12, 2012 12:37 am

leor wrote:I'm in a bit of a quandary, my current rig looks like so:

i7 920 on an x58 board running at a conservative 3.2ghz (I had it at 3.6, but it started acting odd so i backed it off)
12gb RAM
2x 160gb intel SSDs in RAID 0
and here's the kicker, x2 Radeon 7950sin xfire, OCed at 1ghz GPU and 1400 ram

Pretty decent system overall if a bit long in the tooth regarding platform, but I don't see them releasing anything particularly competitive to replace my core system except for maybe SB-E and x79, but that looks a bit half baked so far and the prices are insane.

So here's the kicker, I'm trying to game on 3x 30 inch Dell U3011s, and those 7950s aren't making the cut. I hoped the 3gb of RAM would be good enough for the textures at that size, and that aspect seems to be ok, but in general the experience is not what i would call smooth. I even tried a 3rc card in trifire and that didn't seem to have much of an effect.

Do I have an upgrade path here? It seems like my components are right on the edge, with not much else to do without spending tons of money for a very minor return.

thanks for your heap!


You have too much money!

nah, just kidding. If it makes you happy then go for it. But wow, 3 3011's in eyefinity? I've never even heard of that. That'll run you $4500 right there just for the displays alone. And I feel sorry for you trying to find a GFX setup that can handle it, if such a thing even exists. good luck.
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Sat May 12, 2012 10:43 am

Hey leor question for you, for the 2 SSD in a RAID 0 how's the performance with TRIM disabled?
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Sun May 13, 2012 12:43 pm

tfp wrote:Hey leor question for you, for the 2 SSD in a RAID 0 how's the performance with TRIM disabled?

Performance is very good, I'm using a dedicated RAID card, and the transfer rates are only about 300-350 mb/sec, but it feels super snappy. There are faster SSDs out there right now, not sure if they would feel faster.

I guess that's sort of the point behind this post. When the x58 platform came out the "high end" was head and shoulders above everything else, and that's not really the case anymore. This system is primarily a graphics workstation, but I do like my games, and it's aggravating that a 2 year old system doesn't have a clear upgrade path at this point.
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Sun May 13, 2012 2:02 pm

This might be totally not what you want to do, but have you thought of lowering the resolution in-game to 1/4 of native (3840x800) so that you can crank up the details some and avoid ugly scaling artifacts. Not ideal, but a possible solution that might look better than you expect.

You could also try some intermediate resolutions; if you enable scaling on the video card a lot of times it's better than the scaling in the monitor (though those monitors probably have better scaling than most).

I'm sure you've thought of this, and I'd be loathe to lower resolution and/or details too.
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Sun May 13, 2012 8:38 pm

I think you've hit the limit. Until I see 12MP benchmarks, I will extrapolate that the 3GB buffer on a 7950 will fare better than the 2GB buffer on a GTX 680

Since there's nothing significantly faster than two 7950's in crossfire, I think you have to start doing what the rest of us do: tweaking the graphics options.

Very few games have art assets good enough to justify 12MP, so you should probably see how you get on with 3x 1080p, maybe with a bit of light antialiasing if the screens don't scale gracefully.
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Sun May 13, 2012 9:14 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:Very few games have art assets good enough to justify 12MP, so you should probably see how you get on with 3x 1080p, maybe with a bit of light antialiasing if the screens don't scale gracefully.

They really, really do not scale gracefully. I have very sharp vision, and I'm used to staring at these screens in acute detail for my work, so seeing a blurred out image in a game (i've tried it) is abhorrent.

In a lot of games I can tweak the settings and all is well but for a game like Rage, it's just unplayable at any setting. I think you hit the nail on the head, Chrispy, I could try an SB-E setup, but really we're talking minor improvements. I'm probably just stuck until the next gen comes, maybe Big Kepler in the form of the 780GTX?
leor
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Mon May 14, 2012 12:15 am

Now that we have GTX670's with 4GB announced, two or three of those sound like your best bet (closer to three than two, I'd think).

Trying to render to 3x30" is more work than 6x1080p screens would be! I don't even think that the 3GB AMD cards have enough RAM for that, supposing they did scale well.
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Re: Where do I go from here?

Postposted on Mon May 14, 2012 6:17 am

leor wrote:I could try an SB-E setup, but really we're talking minor improvements.


That is not likely to help in any way whatsoever. You have a graphics card bottleneck, and they don't make significantly faster ones yet.
You don't HAVE to game on 3 screens. I know it's nice, but I'd take silkly-smooth 60 franes a second at 2560x1600 over juddery stuff with peripheral vision any day.
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