Better Video Card = Slower Performance

Discussion in 'Games' started by Lord Blackadder, Dec 27, 2004.

  1. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #1
    I just replaced my Radeon 7500 with a Radeon 9600 Pro from OWC. I haven't "felt" a performance gain at all, and framerates in RtCW and Call of Duty are unchanged. XBench scores are down on the Quartz and OpenGL tests by around 20 points. Weird. I haven't run Cinebench yet, so maybe I'll see better performance there.

    I wasn't expecting to see much of an increase in performance from the card until my 1.4 GHz processor upgrade and 512MB DIMM arrives (they're on the way), since the CPU and RAM are big bottlenecks at the moment, but why would scores go down? After putting the card in I repaired permissions & ran fsck, then did an "archive and install" of Panther. ATI displays recognizes the card correctly too. It works fine, just not better...yet (come on FedEx).
     
  2. Little Endian macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    Xbench is highly inacurate in fact I used to get OpenGL tests of 20 points higher under 10.2 than I do now under 10.3 with the same machine. Don't trust xbench for anything. I would say your Processor is the bottleneck, try running something like your itunes visualizer and see if you get improved FPS. Open GL based screensavers should be good as well providing they have a display fps option. Wait until your 1.4Ghz G4 Chip arrives so you can compare side by side.
     
  3. invaLPsion macrumors 65816

    invaLPsion

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    #3
    Just to second the comment of "don't trust Xbench."

    After I upgraded from a 9600 XT to a 6800 GT I saw a large decrease in quartz and OpenL scores. Yet while playing almost any game the performance is very noticeably faster in frames per second.

    Your 533 G4 is definitely the bottleneck at the moment. I doubt it could even push the 7500. Once you get the 1.4GHz G4 you will see a nice boost in performance.
     
  4. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #4
    Wow, I knew that xbench was inaccurate, but I didn't know it was that bad. It's funny, when I ran it after I first got the G4, it scored around an 85. I added a SATA drive, and performance jumped 12 points. I pulled out the unused SCSI card that was in the machine when I bought it, and I lost 10 points! every system update since (10.3.5/6/7) seems to have caused a performance drop, though game FPS is unaffected and I haven''t noticed a difference (except that the SATA drive did speed things up).

    I figure that even the new processor probably won't be able to push the 9600 to its max potential (it's only 4x AGP now anyway), but I'm expecting to see ~30 fps in Call of Duty most of the time with the new proc and RAM bump. We'll have to see if I'm too optimistic on that.

    How does one get an fps display on the iTunes visualizer? or are you just saying that it may be noticably smoother to the eye?
     
  5. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604

    MacsRgr8

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    #5
    First of all enable the visualizer in the iTunes window, so not full-screen.
    The click on "Options" (upper right).
    Deselect "Cap frame rate at 30 fps".
    The toggle show frame rate on / off with the "F" key.

    Also using the "?" key in full screen mode gives you the options too.
     
  6. applekid macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2003
    #6
    Yeah, XBench is just inaccurate. And I hope that processor upgrades (since it is a dual processor) will help you out. I was thinking maybe the bus was a bottleneck since you're upgrading some ancient machinery, but we'll see.

    I find it odd RtCW and CoD were unaffected. Have you tried raising the settings to see if your frame rates stay consistent at least? Maybe it is the RAM...

    Keep us updated. I'd like to hear how things go.
     
  7. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #7
    I noticed a healthy performance increase with the Radeon 9600 in my dual 800 but then, I was coming from a lower end card than you were. I wonder if the games are more CPU bound than video card bound.
     
  8. BornAgainMac macrumors 603

    BornAgainMac

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    #8
    I find that Video Card performance to be confusing. You can have a fast card but have slow drivers. I want to upgrade my 9600 to that NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra card but I am worried that the drivers will make the new card slower. Waiting for Tiger and hoping some reviews put that to rest. My 9600 has display problems with sleep or if I turn off my G5 but I do like the performance. I have nothing to compare it to expect for older cards on slower G4s and Pentiums.
     
  9. absolut_mac macrumors 6502a

    absolut_mac

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    #9
    As BornAgainMac mentioned, make sure that you have the latest drivers installed. ATI update them quite regularly now.

    http://www.ati.com/
     
  10. socamx macrumors 6502

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    Oct 7, 2004
    #10
    ATi doesn't make the drivers...they make the software to use the card to its fullest potential. I've never seen a performance difference from doing an ati displays update or firmware update.

    Apple really makes the ati drivers and the updates get rolled in with os x updates like 10.3.7.

    I also second that XBench is a worthless piece of crap...says that my nvidia 5200 ultra does better than my current radeon 9800 pro, in the graphics test that is.
     
  11. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #11
    Just a little comment, you have to feed the card and older G4s just cant manage to feed a card thats running say 4,8 or 16 pipes vs a older card that may be running 1 or 2 pipes. this is why a newer card may get less frames then a older one. Also the newer cards can draw new effects or shaders etc. Its a myth that a newer card just draws faster. A better GPU usually needs a faster cpu to go with it. Hope that helps.
     
  12. Vlade macrumors 6502a

    Vlade

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    #12
    What??? Can you show your sources? Pixel pipelines has nothing to do with slowing down the render speed, it would only speed it up. I am almost positive what we have here is a CPU bottleneck that should be fixed (err... improved) with the CPU upgrade. Benchmarks please.
     
  13. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #13
    You're both saying that he needs a CPU upgrade. What's the problem?

    If the system is not balanced, it won't work better. It's like putting an ATA/133 drive into an older system. It doesn't speed up just because you want it to do that.
     
  14. Vlade macrumors 6502a

    Vlade

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    #14
    Yes, we do agree that he needs a faster CPU and the CPU is the bottleneck, but the above quote makes it sound like more advanced cards are SLOWER than older cards, when they will actually perform the same if the game is CPU limited.
     
  15. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #15
    Thanks all, I'll try that thing with visualizer when I get home. My RAM showed up this morning, still waiting on the CPU.

    I almost ordered that new 1.7GHz G4 from Sonnet, but then I read that it had no L3 cache....you can get away with that on a G5, not on a G4!

    G4 towers can't push 9600/9800 class GPUs to their full potential, even upgraded to the hilt. They may be slight overkill, but they are the last word in G4 video cards (literally) and support Core Image so it's worth it (especially the modded 9600s).
     
  16. deadfrog macrumors regular

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    #16
    yep, personally i noticed a huge difference but then i was jumping from a rage 128 pro to a 9600 pro... personally i find call of duty and rtcw run very well, was expecting far more slow down, even battefield runs ok, certainly playable with ballanced settings. The key is the ati overrides but then you would know this lordblackadder as it was you who directed me onto them.

    Hope you have more luck with your processor upgrade... incedently, how much did it cost you, always thought they were so expensive you may as well just by a new machine but i may be wrong.
     
  17. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #17
    I fiddled with the overrides and got things as balanced as possible for all my games with the 7500, but I haven't done as much tweaking with the new card as of yet (too many relatives coming over during the holidays).

    The OWC upgrades are pretty reasonable I think. If you use the link at xlr8yourmac.com top get to OWC you get a slight discount. The G4 I bought is a 1.33GHz overclocked to 1.4 for $380 plus shipping (I'm in the US). They also have a 1.467 overclocked to 1.5 on offer for $100 more. Sonnet has slightly higher prices and come without heatsinks so I went with OWC.

    United Offensive ran playable on my G4 with the 7500 BTW, which surprised me. It would be too slow for some (vraxtus, wherever you are), but definitely playable for the casual/semi-serious gamer when you turn settings down.
     
  18. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #18
    Just in case anybody's still interested, I ran cinebench to compare with the old setup. I forgot to do one before I put in the RAM, but oh well:


    512MB RAM / Radeon 7500

    Shading (CINEMA 4D) : 77 CB-GFX
    Shading (OpenGL Software Lighting) : 209 CB-GFX
    Shading (OpenGL Hardware Lighting) : 115 CB-GFX

    OpenGL Speedup: 2.72

    1GB RAM / Radeon 9600 Pro

    Shading (CINEMA 4D) : 77 CB-GFX
    Shading (OpenGL Software Lighting) : 225 CB-GFX
    Shading (OpenGL Hardware Lighting) : 496 CB-GFX

    OpenGL Speedup: 6.44

    Hardware acceleration numbers are up as expected.

    With the new card (and RAM), iTunes visualizer ranges from 20-34 FPS at full screen, 1152x870 res. I can say that with the 7500 it was noticably choppier, with an unscientific guess of around 10 FPS difference.

    I've been going through United Offensive and so far the only mission that was unplayably slow for me was the bomber mission on 800x600 res, everything turned down.
     
  19. Converted2Truth macrumors 6502a

    Converted2Truth

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    #19
    iTunes on my system runs at 30FPS constantly. I think 30 is the max.

    Edit: Crap... i guess that's an option you can disable...
     
  20. Rezet macrumors 6502a

    Rezet

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    Connecticut, United States of America
    #20

    Thats true, you can disable that. But do you really need to watch a bunch of swirly things at faster than 30 fps? :)
     

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