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2900XT Bottleneck Advice

Associate
Joined
23 May 2005
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Hi, I currently own the below system (All at stock speed):

AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice (Socket 939)
Epox EP-9NPA+ nForce4 (Socket 939) (PCI-Express)
GeIL 1GB PC3200
Sapphire ATI Radeon X850XT 256MB (PCI-Express)
Enermax 485w PSU
Dual 19" Samsung SyncMaster 930BF

I built this around two years ago and now its starting to show its age. I've seen the HD 2900XT on the new drivers and im impressed.

I'm looking to buy one of these but I know there will be a bottleneck with my crappy processor but I'm not 100% sure how this bottleneck works and effects it.
Will my motherboard take an "AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 4200+ (Socket 939)" with no problems? bios flashing etc? also will this releive the bottleneck?
I cant afford a new motherboard and stuff at the moment so I cant move out of the 939 range unfortunately so im on damage limitation.

Second question is will my 485w enermax run the 2900xt ok? Ive heard it is a power sucker.

Any advice and help would be appreciated.
 
Soldato
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- A CPU bottlenceck means that the CPU will limit the framerate in some games.
- I am quite sure your mobo can take a Dual Core CPU like my mobo, it will help a lot, especially for newer games that are Dual Core optimised.
- The Enermax will run the card I think, I have the same PSU and my system under load uses 350W and it is heavily overclocked.

If you are upgrading your system also think about getting 2GB or RAM instead of 1GB as that can also be a limitation but get a Dual Core first.
 
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I can afford another gig of ram at a push, the geil I have is around £50 for a gig so I can add another.

I just dont want to pay all the money for the card if im not going to see the power of it showing.

Ive always being scared of overclocking as I dont have the money to replace parts I damage :(
 
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both really but with low framerate the game becomes unplayable. I can never tell the difference when they do benchmark image quality comparisons. Why do you ask?
 
Soldato
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Ealing
I would be inclined to try and overclock the cpu a bit first, say to 2.4ghz ish, you'll get a noticeable increase in performance at that speed, followed by 2gb ram (deffo need that nowadays considering how games use it). If the performance increase isn't sufficient, then go for the 4200. If you can get the cpu higher than 2.4ghz then even better.
 
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can you damage the cpu by overclocking it? since I have no experience in this, is it relatively easy?
 
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It's fairly easy, there are plenty of guides around that can help you if you are new to overclocking.

Also, that board will take an X2 4200 just fine. Friend of mine has the same board with an X2 4800, it works just fine. You may need to flash the bios if it is a very old revision.
 
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Sorry for all the questions, but how would I know if I have to flash the bios? the cpu just wouldnt work?

EDIT: looked on the board it says REV 1.1 on the corner.
 
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Soldato
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Not if you're sensible about and take any advice given ,then you'l be fine. Theres loadsa stickies here regarding how to do it but a good rule of thumb is slowly and small amounts and test everytime you change summat.
Generally what damages a cpu is overvolting the vcore which if you're just gonna do a mild overclock shouldn't really need adjusting, leave it at stock. Heat also is a killer but a lot of cpus throttle back to protect themselves from excessive heat. Again, with a mild overclock yuo won't be generating a lot of heat BUT always check as you go just to be on the safe side.
 
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So within my bios it has a cpu frequency and pci-e clock settings as you can see here .
If I increase the CPU FREQUENCY is this basicly overclocking it? will I have to change voltages and stuff? Also will just changing this by 1 each time until it becomes unstable cause any damage?
 
Soldato
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m|Ke said:
So within my bios it has a cpu frequency and pci-e clock settings as you can see here .
If I increase the CPU FREQUENCY is this basicly overclocking it? will I have to change voltages and stuff? Also will just changing this by 1 each time until it becomes unstable cause any damage?
Yes, increasing CPU frequency up from the default 200Mhz is overclocking and a moderate overclock most likely will not mean you need a voltage increase, as soon as you overclock >10% you might need a small voltage increase (0.1V for instance) to get the CPU stable.

Also overclocking the CPU means you also overclock the memory, if you do not want to be limited by the memory you can use a divider to run the memory slower than the FSB frequency.
 
Soldato
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Even a 4200+ will bottleneck a HD2900XT imo.

I hit the limit of my Crossfire X1900XT(X)s (which I presume would be roughly the same speed as a HD2900XT) at around 3.6Ghz on a Intel Core 2 Duo.
 
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I had a go at overclocking my amd64 3200+ and I had abit of joy but not much.

I incremented in 5 to 10mhz each time. All was well upto 230Mhz with a system temp of 32C and CPU temp of 39C and all default voltages.

Increasing to 235 then gave blue screens so I increased the voltages one by one with the DIMM voltage then the Chipset then the CPU and I managed to get it booted into windows at.
DIMM Voltage = 3.0V (max able to set)
Chipset Voltage = 1.8V (max able to set)
CPU Voltage = +0.075V

(am I correct in thinking by increasing the cpu voltage this will enable more choices in the other ones? I think after increasing the cpu voltage I had 3.1V available on the DIMM)

CPU temp = 40C

A further increase to 240 resulted in windows not even showing the boot screen and with no more available DIMM voltages or chipset voltages I am not sure if I should increase the CPU voltage. I dont want to fry it and I dont know exactly what ranges I should stay within.

I dunno if its worth sayin but the bios says the multiplier is 5x, I am able to change this if I wish.

any advice appreciated
thx
 
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Soldato
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You'll need a new CPU, I had an 8800GTS with a 3700+ at 2.8Ghz and that was a BIG bottleneck, if you dont want much of a bottleneck then your going to need a C2D I think.
 
Soldato
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My e6400 bottlenecks my 2900 XT, just to note. You'd probably need something like the 6600 or above if you did get a C2D, unless you plan on overclocking.
 
Soldato
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Try running on a memory divider like 4:5, that will lower the memoryspeed so it can't be alimiting factor.

Also increasing chipset voltage can do more harm than good so I recommend setting that back to default or maybe only +0.1V

The same goes for memory voltage, some memory can get more unstable with too much voltage and no cooling.

Are you sure the CPU muliplier is at 5x and not the HTT multiplier, if it is the HTT multiplier set that to 4x and check that the CPU mulitplier is what it should be (9x or 10X can't remember)
 
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im currently running at 230 without any voltage changes and seems stable, completes 3dmark etc and i got a 400point gain from 200.

I looked for HTT multiplier but I was only able to find the HT Frequency in the bios which must be it, this ranges from 1x to 5x, currently set on AUTO, I set this to 4x and tried puttin the CPU Frequency to 240 but still blue screens. The main multiplier was set to 10x by default. You can see bios pictures on this link

Im not sure how to do a dividor, ill have to look that up.

Im not bothered about slight bottleneck, 90% of peoples systems bottleneck unless you cash coming out your bum :) . Its just a case of damage limitation and ive always being interested in overclocking but always being scared :D

any advice greatful :)
 
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Soldato
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The advice remains the same, your memory might nog be able to run at 340Mhz (my OCZ can only run at 230Mhz) so by using a divider you can run the memory at 4/5th the speed of the FSB, you have to select DDR333 166Mhz as the memory speed in the memory options (8th pic on the link you gave)
 
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