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Please look at the Afterburner screenshot:

Afterburner screenshot

Is this how my graphics card's gpu usage is supposed to look like? Simultaneously the GPU clock is jumping between 925 and 975.

Shouldn't I be able to play Tomb Raider on everything maxed out with this card? It's no like it's running super bad, but in the cinematic sequences my frame rate drops noticeably. This made me look into the Afterburner charts in the first place, but the fluctuation in usage / clock is no problem of Tomb Raider. I tried various other things, like Heaven benchmark and Bioshock: Infinite.

When I increase the power limit (afterburner) by 15% the frequency of the fluctuation decreases (but does not completely stop). The Heaven benchmark gets better by 2 fps.

Is this supposed to be like that? If not, is my card faulty?

My system specs:

  • Sapphire HD 7870 XT with Boost
  • AMD FX-6300 (Stock clock)
  • 2 x 4 GB Kingston Hyper X 1600 RAM
  • Asrock Extreme 3 with AMD 970 Chipset
  • Game lies on Samsung 120GB SSD (6GB/s port)
  • Thermaltake Berlin 630 Watt Powersupply with 45A on the 12V rails (Maybe it's an energy issue? 450 Watt on 12V should be sufficient for this card, shouldn't it?)

On a side note: I chose this card over the other Tahiti LE cards because of the dual fan design, nevertheless the card hits almost 90° with fan at 100% in long gaming sessions. I know the 7xxx Tahiti LE chips get hot, but 90°C?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Need a screenshot of your 3d graphics settings in CCC and Game's video settings. I have two 5850s in X-fire, and certain settings like Vertical refresh = on, and certain types of Anti-aliasing such as Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA) drag both cards to their knees. Simply selecting max video settings by default normally turns these on automatically. You should disable AA and vertical refresh then note the results.

I also recommend giving The Gamer's Graphics & Display Settings Guide a quick look over for helpful tips.

Also, see Tomb Raider 2013 Benchmark Thread to see the effect Vertical refresh has on performance and GPU usage.

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Here a picture of the ccc settings: link. Trying to turn off AA for now, but I can't believe, that this is the issue. I think this card should handle 4x ssaa, am I wrong? – Otze May 5 '13 at 22:55
It all really depends on the game. Being a software developer, I understand the insane amount of instruction set processing required to render AA in animation on screen, and if a game has thousands of objects requiring processing and rendering at xx frames per second.... then yeah, I can understand the card bogging down. Setting AA to the usual AA2X and forgoing this new Multi -- Super -- bla bla sampling crap should help considerably. As always... you also want to ensure you have the latest certified drivers from AMD. – Josh Campbell May 5 '13 at 23:07
I can understand that as well, but my question in the op was if the fluctuation in gpu usage / clock is normal. Like I said, the games don't run very bad, I am just wondering, if the fluctuation is normal, or if i've got a faulty card. Do you have any idea? – Otze May 5 '13 at 23:21
Yes, it's normal. A game does not have the same amount of objects to render in each frame of the game, therefore the GPU usage will rise and fall based on how much work it's doing at the time. Your CPU does this constantly. By pressing ctrl + shift + esc and selecting performance tab, you can see the rise and fall. Your card is fine. Also, please look at the additional link I placed in the answer box. – Josh Campbell May 5 '13 at 23:29
I'm reading the article at the moment. Are you sure about that fluctuation? I mean, this is not the first gpu I am monitoring and I have never seen such a periodic fluctuation. Even while a benchmark, where the load should be some kind of constant. – Otze May 5 '13 at 23:54

Everything is fine with your card. This technology is called boost and allows a small overclock on the fly:

Sticking with the 7900 style design though these cards also include boost technology which has the cards GPU, through PowerTune, able to manage power and speed on the fly, increasing the MHz as required/allowed up to a maximum of 975MHz (925MHz Standard).

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I'm having similar issues... except mine throttles all the way down to 500 MHz. It jumps between 500 and 925 - never hit 975. It bogs down on Diablo 3 when there are more than a few monsters on screen :-/. Thought this card would run everything maxed no problem.

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Hello Gebby, welcome to Superuser. You should know this is not a discussion site. Your answer should contain a solution to the problem not a "I have the same problem" comment. Don't feel bad, a lot of people make this mistake. If you can't revise your answer to be an actual answer, you should delete it. – Isaac Rabinovitch May 21 '13 at 23:02

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