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 Rig upgrade?

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Archon
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PostSubject: Rig upgrade?   Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:17 pm

So this is my build: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/33CvBP

I need to figure out what i need to upgrade (if at all possible) in order to get a more stable game.
Right now I run the pack at a semi-stable 30FPS, but i feel like a 980ti should be able to handle more than that, which brings me to the main question:

What's the limiting factor here? Is my RAM not enough, do i need a better CPU? Or is this just what i can expect to get from the pack's performance.

Thanks for any input you guys may have, appreciate it.

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PostSubject: Re: Rig upgrade?   Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:45 am

Hi Archon,

System stability is a complex issue, and is addressed both positively and negatively by a myriad of factors, however, most factors fall into one of two categories either hardware or software, and in-order to properly address the question I would like to go over both, so please forgive me if I cover something which you’ve already addressed.

Software
--------------------------------

If you don’t care about the software, or configuration settings, skip this and go to hardware.
Software tends to be overlooked in general, and to use an analogy if hardware was a workhorse, than software would be the saddle and an improperly setup saddle will lead to a bad time for all.
I address this because it’s the cheapest and regardless of hardware can have a major impact on performance.

Operating System:
-Bloatware and other applications hogging system resources. Try to optimize performance by terminating unnecessary applications and services running in the background. Every call to the OS or CPU by another application takes away from a CPU call that could be used by Skyrim.

-Page Files & Other Settings: Depending on how your system is setup, it will likely have a page file. On some systems this is necessary because of hardware limitations (RAM, I’ll address this more in hardware), but on others it adds to the load by taking up valuable hard drive processing time. Other settings such as power usage (Operating System & Nvidia Control Panel) as well as number of CPUs available or application priority (can be seen via task manger, though be warned higher priorities can be detrimental to OS stability) can have an impact as well.

-Updates: Firmware & software updates tend to optimize or improve earlier code, and while they do not always impact stability, it is usually better to be running the latest version of things such as BIOS firmware (including hard drive drivers for certain models), OS Updates (as mentioned elsewhere in the forums), and critical supporting software such as .NET frameworks (as an example).

Elsewhere: http://perfectlymodded.forumgratuit.ro/t694-great-news-for-skryim-32-bit-and-spm-5-and-other-dx9-games

Configuration:

-Skyrim Prefs & Nvidia Control Panel: Both of these are heavily system specific, and work best when tailored to your system’s hardware. Generally ‘optimally’ configured settings for most games will work out just fine, but to pull out everything from the game its best to configure these to be exactly what works best on your system, and fortunately Nvidia allows for application specific settings.

-Overclocking: Overclocking can be a great boon to performance while addressing the video card, CPU, and RAM. Unfortunately, it requires a great deal of understanding and computer knowledge to make modifications (whether at the BIOS level, or via OS software). So if you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t do it. Bad things happen.

Hardware:
--------------------------------

If you’ve survived this far, yay!, if you skipped, boo on you :p

Based on your current configuration, I would prioritize upgrades as follows.

1.) Get a second SSD, and place all of your games on it (or just Skyrim) so that the hard drive calls taken up by the OS will be separate from those taken by the game. This will improve performance by ensuring all the calls made to it are purely for whatever game you’re playing at that time. (SATA III / SATA 6Gb/s for best performance, based on Motherboard).

2.) More RAM, up to 32GB (based on your motherboard, this is the cap). Since you only have 8GB of RAM available, your system likely needs to have a page file, which takes up valuable hard drive access time, but provides you with an artificially enhanced set of RAM. More RAM, and faster RAM (DDR3-2133, provided BIOS can handle it properly) can significantly enhance the performance of a machine. RAM Specs: Size, Speed, Access times – I recommend G.Skill RAM because they test their sticks to work with each other at the set timings and I’ve never had a problem with them thus far.

Example: https://www.gskill.com/en/finder?cat=31&prop_3=2133MHz&prop_4=0&prop_1=0&prop_14=DDR3&prop_2=32GB+%288GBx4%29&prop_6=Quad+Channel+Kit
(Some RAM needs to have the speed hard set in the BIOS)

3.) CPU: I would recommend looking into activating “Intel Turbo Boost” for the CPU if it is not already active, this should give you a bump in performance without having to upgrade. Although, this falls under overclocking, so be careful or get help. If you do want to upgrade, you’ll likely need to look into a new motherboard as well, and anything sufficiently improved enough will likely cost $600-$800 or more to acquire.

4.) Graphics Card: Your graphics card is pretty nice, and should not need an upgrade. The only thing I could see improving here would be likely to go with an SLI bridge setup. My reasons for this, are due to the fact that the 980 Ti is roughly on par with the 1070, so upgrading won’t get you much, and a second 980 Ti might be expensive (for a new one anyway).

Graphics Card Fun Facts:
https://www.techpowerup.com/gpudb/2724/geforce-gtx-980-ti
https://www.techpowerup.com/gpudb/2840/geforce-gtx-1070
http://gpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Nvidia-GTX-980-Ti-vs-Nvidia-GTX-1070/3439vs3609

5.) Power Supply (Optional): If you do upgrade, make sure to calculate your power draw, as each piece of new or improved hardware is likely going to take more power. (Overclocking often comes at the expensive of power, so if you go that route there is even more reason to check).


Sorry for the massive wall of text, but if you have any questions let me know, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

^_^

-Laguna
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PostSubject: Re: Rig upgrade?   Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:16 am

Wow very nice reply Laguna!

Mine won't be as detailed but for smooth sailing with SPM 4.4 and 5 in particular i would jump to 16-32GB of ram and a bit faster CPU (close to 4GHz) with CPU/GPU technologies have changed quite a bit in 6 years,it's not just the frequency.

Release the freq:
 

Can't really advise on a GPU since i can't test if the pack's hit a wall regarding GPU draw (I have a 3GB GPU 45-60FPS)
If you can grab a m.2 drive (doesn't really have to be the best) it will help with loading times and stutter on your side of things (if any)

Running the pack take a lot of "power" in all departments because of the many textures, NPC and all the stuff that's been added and V5 will have a lot of new stuff.

There's also MO's hooks and virtualization technology,then there's SKSE running TESV.exe and enbhost.exe(The ENB) running on top.Not to mention the scripts and other crazy stuff.

Hope you have an idea now and sorry for the late reply i tend to forget to answer things sometimes.

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PostSubject: Re: Rig upgrade?   Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:37 pm

you can easily tell which part of your rig is holding your FPS by reading both CPU/GPU usage while playing.
get MSI Afterburner go in play the game go where your fps drop and then go see MSI Afterburner logs.

if your GPU usage is 100% that mean:
your GPU can't handle the graphics.
there is a graphic glitch in your location or you are looking at something that eat your gpu.

ok then if your gpu is not 100% let say 70% that means your fps bottleneck is from your CPU.
look at your CPU chart(make sure nothing consuming your CPU only skyrim):
if your CPU is working hard 90% and more means that your cpu can't handle more.
there is a script/mods that eat your CPU.

if neither are working more then 90% it mean other things:
can be bad optimized game.
bad mods setup.
bad hard drive.
overheating?
maybe full RAM/VRAM.

in your case you have very old CPU i5 6600k which was out ~two years ago is better then your current CPU.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCUgidBdtDE

don't even talk about today i7 should be double your CPU in performance.
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PostSubject: Re: Rig upgrade?   Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:56 am

Both Rotten and Hakim3i brought up good points.

As Rotten stated, an M.2 drive would boost your disk read times, which in the case of games as large as modded Skyrim (150GB+ for SPM 5), can make a big difference. Be aware though, your current motherboard only supports a SATA III (6Gb/s) drive, and newer PCI E 2.0 and 3.0 versions exist.

As Hakim3i stated, applications which monitor performance such as MSI Afterburner exist, and a good idea would be determining which ever piece of hardware is throttled the most.

In the same line of thought, Windows 7 has a performance information tool, which while mostly useless, could tell you which of your components was the weakest. I am uncertain as to whether Windows 10 has the same feature.

As Hakim3i also brought up, benchmarks exist for just about everything. They compare the two products and analyze which one has better performance and where.

There are sites where you can compare your hardware versus something new, and as both Rotten and Hakim3i suggested, let us use CPU as an example.


Your i7 2600 vs an i5 6600k
http://cpuboss.com/cpus/Intel-Core-i7-2600-vs-Intel-Core-i5-6600K
Your i7 2600 vs a new gen i7 6700
This is an example of a newer core, using the same general specs as your own. (3.4Ghz w/ (4/8) cores)
http://cpuboss.com/cpus/Intel-Core-i7-6700-vs-Intel-Core-i7-2600


These gives an ok idea of which one is better, but neither one is specific to your setup.

What I would suggest, in-order to make an informed decision, would be to get Performance Test.
This will run a benchmark of your system for all of your hardware (even does a cool little graphic of it). You can then check the ratings of your rig against that of someone else’s or even against specific CPUs / GPUs. (Baselines > Search CPU etc…)
The software can be found here: https://www.passmark.com/download/pt_download.htm (Free for 30 days, but is a trial software unless purchased)
Seizure Warning: Graphics test has lots of pulsating colors and lights

As an example, I ran my i7 3930K against the newest i7 8700K, the ratings were 14422 vs 16000s and 17000s (I used 6 baselines with a similar setup for RAM). This resulted in a difference of about 20% gain for just the CPU. Nice, for sure, but for me that 20% is not worth $1,500 for an upgraded rig.


========TLDR========
/becauseImadeanotherwalloftext

1.) Get Performance Test: https://www.passmark.com/download/pt_download.htm
2.) Setup your rig to the exact same environment as you would run when playing Skyrim
a. Or to Ideal settings, with literally nothing else running.
3.) Run the test and get a rating for CPU / GPU / RAM / Disk
4.) Find hardware that you could upgrade to, to compare against as a baseline
a. https://www.techpowerup.com/cpudb/?mfgr%5B%5D=intel&class%5B%5D=desktop&released%5B%5D=y14_c&released%5B%5D=y11_14&logo=&nCores=&process=&socket=&codename=&multi=&sort=generation&q=
b. (CPUs, including yours: sorted by generation, newest should be on bottom; Tick AMD if you want to include those. The site also has a list of GPUs)
c. Existing CPU comparisons: https://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html (Site includes benchmarks for other hardware as well)
5.) Find a baseline in Performance Test which is comparable to your system, or what you would like to have, and compare the ratings.
6.) Make an informed decision on what to upgrade :3
7.) Profit

Hope this helps.

Side note: Rotten, since your rig runs SPM 5 smoothly atm, any chance you’d be interested in setting up a baseline? :D Give us a good idea what to compare our own systems against. (More of a fleeting curiosity than anything serious)

Cheers!
-Laguna
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