Is my motherboard the bottleneck?

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Is my motherboard the bottleneck?

Postposted on Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:08 am

My 2 year old system:
CPU: i5 2500K
Mobo: Asus P8H67-M EVO Rev 3.0
Memory: 8GB (2 x Kingston DDR3-1333 4GB)
Boot Drive: Samsung 840 Pro 256GB
Storage Drives: 2 x 2TB WD Caviar Green

Most of the time the system is pretty snappy, but under certain usage patterns/work loads, it seems to slow to a crawl. Most notably, Firefox, Chrome, or IE Explorer all slow to an almost unusable crawl when the system is copying a large file (2GB +) to a USB 2.0 or 3.0 drive from any of my internal hard drives. Could it be the storage controller on my motherboard is weak/slow or is it something else? I'm going to be getting a new system soon and relegating this one to my home theater, but want to make sure I don't get a fancy new CPU and other equipment only to face the same logjam if the bottleneck is elsewhere.
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Re: Is my motherboard the bottleneck?

Postposted on Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:11 am

Do you connected the SSD to the Intel ports? If connected to the Marvell ports (which are not that great) you could have your issue.
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Re: Is my motherboard the bottleneck?

Postposted on Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:22 am

What Jon said. 67 series chipset boards didn't have enough PCIe lanes given to the Marvel ports, so you actually get worse SSD performance on them than if you simply used the Intel 3Gbps ports.
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Re: Is my motherboard the bottleneck?

Postposted on Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:42 am

There's nothing wrong with the B3 stepping of an H67 chipset. Unless you wanted features that are present only in other chipsets, it's indistinguishable from the current gen chipsets. RAM and the PCI-E lanes for graphics come straight off your 2500K, so as long as you're using the H67's SATA ports you're not missing any potential performance.
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Re: Is my motherboard the bottleneck?

Postposted on Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:43 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:There's nothing wrong with the B3 stepping of an H67 chipset. Unless you wanted features that are present only in other chipsets, it's indistinguishable from the current gen chipsets. RAM and the PCI-E lanes for graphics come straight off your 2500K, so as long as you're using the H67's SATA ports you're not missing any potential performance.


Not quite. H67 doesn't have native SATA 6Gb/s ports. Just like the X58 generation, the P67 generation boards used Marvell controllers for SATA 6Gbps ports. These were given a single PCIe 1.0 lane linked off the PCH, and a single lane maxes out at 250MB/s. But there were other issues with the Marvell controller that hurt performance...

Just look at the results. Same P67 motherboard and same SSD, all I did was switch which port the cable was plugged into. I think I used an Intel 520 but I don't remember specifically now. Intel 3Gb/s port vs Marvel 6Gb/s port, and yet the Marvel is capped artificially at 150MB/s for writes... the only thing Marvell ports were good for were mechanical drives.

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Re: Is my motherboard the bottleneck?

Postposted on Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:08 pm

I'm running a very similar system (P8P67 Pro), but it looks like the Marvell controller on your board is only used for PATA and eSATA, so that isn't the issue. I would first update your BIOS to the latest revision (since you're having issues), and then carefully go through all of the BIOS settings with a fine tooth comb. Asus really loaded up that generation of boards with automatic power-saving (EPU) and automatic overclocking crap; the majority of which is enabled by default. You want to make sure all of that stuff is turned OFF. I would also manually set your RAM voltage and timings, followed by running Memtest86 for several hours.
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Re: Is my motherboard the bottleneck?

Postposted on Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:20 pm

Thanks for the helpful replies. Will definitely experiment with the Marvell/Intel controllers and see if that solves the problem. I am wary of messing with BIOS too much because this is actually a Serenity HTPC from Puget Systems that supposedly has some custom fan tuning and other tweaks in the BIOS. Incidentally, I'm sure I overpaid for this stuff but can say between the foam in the case and the extra slow fan speeds, the PC is dead silent.
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Re: Is my motherboard the bottleneck?

Postposted on Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:37 pm

Kougar wrote:Not quite. H67 doesn't have native SATA 6Gb/s ports. Just like the X58 generation, the P67 generation boards used Marvell controllers for SATA 6Gbps ports. These were given a single PCIe 1.0 lane linked off the PCH, and a single lane maxes out at 250MB/s. But there were other issues with the Marvell controller that hurt performance...

H67 and P67 both have 2x native SATA 6Gbps ports. On the H67 board in question, none of the internal SATA ports run through the Marvell chip, so that can be crossed off the list.

SheridanPC wrote:I am wary of messing with BIOS too much because this is actually a Serenity HTPC from Puget Systems that supposedly has some custom fan tuning and other tweaks in the BIOS. Incidentally, I'm sure I overpaid for this stuff but can say between the foam in the case and the extra slow fan speeds, the PC is dead silent.

Ehhh. I'm not really familiar with the brand, but I doubt they did any custom programming in the BIOS. If they did, that would only make me more suspect of the BIOS being the problem. So long as you're sure that's the board you have, I would install the latest BIOS from ASUS. Worst case senario, your fans turn a little faster.
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Re: Is my motherboard the bottleneck?

Postposted on Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:40 pm

Kougar wrote:Not quite. H67 doesn't have native SATA 6Gb/s ports.

You're mistaking H67 for H61; H67 has two native SATA 6Gb/s ports.
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Re: Is my motherboard the bottleneck?

Postposted on Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:53 pm

The Egg wrote:H67 and P67 both have 2x native SATA 6Gbps ports. On the H67 board in question, none of the internal SATA ports run through the Marvell chip, so that can be crossed off the list.


Thanks. It's been awhile since I did anything inside the computer, but when I first added in an SSD two years ago I made sure I had it plugged into the best SATA port and looked at my MOBO manual and several reviews of it online just to make sure I didn't mess it up. It's definitely the Asus model I referred to - Puget is a custom PC builder and gives you the original manuals for all the hardware inside.

The Egg wrote: Ehhh. I'm not really familiar with the brand, but I doubt they did any custom programming in the BIOS. If they did, that would only make me more suspect of the BIOS being the problem. So long as you're sure that's the board you have, I would install the latest BIOS from ASUS. Worst case senario, your fans turn a little faster.


I may have to try that - guess I can always revert if need be. The Puget BIOS stuff though I doubt is too controversial as it's mainly just more aggressive fan control. Who knows though, could be other more problematic tweaks I suppose.
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Re: Is my motherboard the bottleneck?

Postposted on Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:09 pm

SheridanPC wrote:I may have to try that - guess I can always revert if need be. The Puget BIOS stuff though I doubt is too controversial as it's mainly just more aggressive fan control. Who knows though, could be other more problematic tweaks I suppose.

In all likelihood, they just adjusted the settings a little for the power-saving features that Asus had already included on the board. You can go in and write down the current settings, or (like I do) take screenshots with your phone before making changes. As I said earlier, I would be very weary of allowing the BIOS to automatically adjust power-saving features or overclocking/voltages of any sort. If the "power-saving" is too aggressive, it could be screwing with the chipset or putting your H67 southbridge functions into a semi-sleep state.
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Re: Is my motherboard the bottleneck?

Postposted on Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:40 pm

I have no Idea why you are getting a new computer or what kind you have in mind.
But your 2500k has a lot of potential performance just waiting to be unleashed with a motherboard that you can overclock the CPU with. I do not know why anyone would buy a unlocked K CPU and use a motherboard that will not let you overclock unless the price was right.

With your current non overclockable motherboard your CPU runs at3300mhz, 3400mhz if turbo is enabled and all 4 cores are utilized, also the turbo goes up 100mhz for each core less it uses up to 3700mhz using only 1 core, 3600mhz with 2 cores etc.

I would get a half decent z77 motherboard like this ASUS P8Z77-V LK LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard for $125 along with a decent CPU cooler like at least a $30 Coolermaster 212 Evo air cooler or a AIO 120mm water cooler like a $50 cooler master seidon 120m and your 2500k could be running at 4500-5000mhz depending on how good your chip is.
The gaming performance difference between a 2500k, 3570k or a socket 1150 4670k is under 10% at low game resolutions and settings. Its under 5% when video settings are turned up and your graphics card becomes a bottleneck not the CPU. Also the Sandy bridge 32nm chips are so much easier to keep cool then the smaller 22nm Ivy bridge and socket 1150 Haswell chips. Your socket 1155 2500k will work fine in a z77 1155 MB made for the 22nm ivy bridge CPU that is just a die shrunk Sandy Bridge CPU with a few more GPU shaders added that turned it into the i5 3570k.

After I upgraded your current motherboard to the latest Bios that might let you use either a Ivy bridge or Sandy bridge CPU. You would have to check the CPU compatibility list for you motherboard and its latest bios to make sure you can use a Ivy bridge CPU or you just pick up a used non K series Sandy chip for you HTPC project.

Believe it or not my 2600k Gaming rig also serves as a HTPC. I use The Smooth Video Project that uses Media Player Classic home theater along with the madVR renderer that also uses reclock and avsynth and other programs to convert whatever frame rate the video you are watching to the monitors or TV's refresh rate. Let me tell you watching a movie at 60FPS over the original 24FPS looks so much smoother and more fluid. But to crank the settings on SVP to get 60 FPS without any ghosting or artifacts etc, you need some CPU power. My 2600k at 4300+ mhz can be brought to its knees at 1080p with some video files breaking 85% cpu usage and causing frames to drop or the video to freeze. The madVR renderer runs my GTX770 at 80% usage even with a 720p video since it does the chroma and video upscaling very nicely. But if I turn up the settings too high it will drop frames and use 100% of one of my gtx770s. AMD cards work best for madVR since it utilizes open CL I am pretty sure. Any AMD card like a HD7750 or above can pretty much max out madVR a quiet HD7790 or HD7850/70 would be ideal and allow for some good 1080p gaming. I have 2 other HTPC's both with i3 2120 3.3ghz dual cores with HT and they can just handle Smooth VP with a little bit of artifacting but it still looks better then 24fps. Also one has a HD7750 card and the other a HD6570 lp card. I use light madvr settings with the HD6570 and heavier settings on my HD7750. Also MPHC can play anything is easy to use and comes with the Smooth Video Project install package. I use VLC player for ISO image files but they only play at 24fps:)
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Re: Is my motherboard the bottleneck?

Postposted on Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:47 pm

Only an SSD can saturate a pipeline like that, copying from one of the HDDs shouldn't cause this problem. The HDDs could be the bottleneck if you also have the Users directory (which browsers cache in) on the same drive you're copying from.

I'd compare the copying from the SSD versus copying from an HDD, presuming your Users dir is on the SSD you should only see a slow down when copying from the SSD. If you get the problem when copying from the HDD then could you have a defective PCH?

Make sure your SSD's firmware is up to date and the OS is optimized also using Samsung Magician to rule out any SSD issue.
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Re: Is my motherboard the bottleneck?

Postposted on Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:46 pm

vargis14 wrote:I would get a half decent z77 motherboard like this ASUS P8Z77-V LK LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard for $125 along with a decent CPU cooler like at least a $30 Coolermaster 212 Evo air cooler or a AIO 120mm water cooler like a $50 cooler master seidon 120m and your 2500k could be running at 4500-5000mhz depending on how good your chip is.


What would you recommend for a micro-atx size board? My current mobo is micro-atx and my case is an htpc style low profile case. The cooler inside is a Scythe Big Shuriken CPU Cooler V2 - larger coolers simply wouldn't fit due to height restrictions.
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Re: Is my motherboard the bottleneck?

Postposted on Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:10 pm

SheridanPC wrote:What would you recommend for a micro-atx size board?

Z77 isn't widely available anymore, but I like my AsRock Z77 Pro4-M. Used to be around $110 when it was current-gen. If you'd like better fan controls, the Asus P8Z77-M used to cost roughly the same.

I'd still agree with Vargis that you're best off getting a Z77 mobo if you can't resolve your problem. That 2500K still has a lot of life in it, overclocked or not.
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Re: Is my motherboard the bottleneck?

Postposted on Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:41 pm

Thanks. Will definitely explore the upgrade. I'm a little wary of butchering the perfect assembly job on my system (it's one of the main reasons I bought it from Puget Systems instead of building my own like my previous two systems), but I know it's not rocket science.
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Re: Is my motherboard the bottleneck?

Postposted on Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:24 pm

Spending $225 on a new motherboard and OS license seems a bit absurd to me. You probably paid a premium for this system, and you're only asking that it functions as it should. It's not a matter of the system being old or outdated. If you're ultimately unsuccessful after BIOS updates and such, I would explore every possible option first, including warranty coverage from the PC maker and then warranty coverage from Asus (they give 3-years on motherboards).
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Re: Is my motherboard the bottleneck?

Postposted on Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:47 pm

Check that the HD controller is running in full DMA mode.
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