View Full Version : AMD APU plus a video card?
29th Jun 2012, 5:06 PM
I've decided to build myself a new desktop to be running Sims3 mostly.
I've been seduced by those new AMD APU's that promise to run at least some games without a separate video card.
This will be my second built and my old one is 4.5 years old. I consider myself semi-computer-literate when it comes to building.
My question: Does anyone know or have an opinion on whether I can run Sims 3 Pets properly (medium to high settings) and possibly later expansion packs without a separate video card without frying the whole thing after a while?
I've splurged on a PSU with 600W,
1600 MHz 8GB DDR3 RAM,
a beautiful motherboard together with an AMD Quad-Core A8-3870K 3.0GHz Radeon HD 6550D APU.
I know, it's not recommended to play Sims 3 with integrated video but I figure this applies to the old-style integrated graphics.
And if not, how much should I invest in the card and does anyone have any recommendations on cards that work well with this kind of processor?
Be sure to also read :
- AMD APU with internal graphics
- New video card acting up
29th Jun 2012, 6:07 PM
According to http://www.anandtech.com/show/4448/amd-llano-desktop-performance-preview/3, it performs at around the same level as a AMD 6450 or GT 220. Those two are green for base game but multiple maybes and some no's for later expansions, see: http://simswiki.info/wiki.php?title=Game_Help:TS3_System_Requirements.
If you've already paid for the CPU though, you might as well try it and see how well it plays before you pay for a discrete card.
2nd Jul 2012, 9:30 PM
Thanks for the links! That doesn't sound too good overall. I might have to buy a new card earlier than I thought.
8th Jul 2012, 6:12 PM
Just wanted to update in case anyone is interested in the configuration. I'm running up to Pets with 1.29 patch level only with my merged 500MB packages (including almost all Twallan's mods) at this time and it's running wonderfully cool without an external card.
Settings are at medium-to high. I turned them down a bit although it started with almost all set to maximum. I tried running Simsample's Jericho and there is almost no lag.
I'll update again once I installed my sims3packs with CCMagic. I'm expecting a bit of a performance hit since I have about 2GB custom content. Still, it's fabulous.
9th Jul 2012, 4:40 PM
Very nice! It's good to know since there are rarely extensive benchmarks for integrated solutions. Can I ask what resolution you're using, what FPS you usually get and a screenshot of the ingame settings you're using?
10th Jul 2012, 2:07 AM
I'd love to, if I knew how to make a screenshot of the settings and post that here.
With my overall 2GB of CC installed and merged with CC Magic, plus about 8 worlds and 20 houses (this stuff is CC-free) that I installed via the launcher, the settings are now all on medium except the sim detail which is still on max.
I don't really know how to determine FPS. I barely remember if it's better if FPS is higher or lower. If you could let me know how I determine it, I'll let you know what it is.
Overall, I can absolutely recommend such a system, even without an external graphics card. If and when I buy a CrossfireX ready card for it, the system will sing!
10th Jul 2012, 5:30 AM
To find the resolution (in windows 7) you right click your desktop, select "Screen Resolution", then look at the number where it says "Resolution:". Mine is 1920 x 1080.
FPS stands for Frames per Second, aka framerate. It's usually that the higher the better, but that's only true up to 60. Past 60 the human eye can't really tell the difference but the more FPS the harder your system needs to work and generate more heat. To see your FPS either the game has to have that feature built in, or you need a seperate program.
I like MSI Afterburner: http://event.msi.com/vga/afterburner/download.htm
A lot of people use FRAPS: http://www.fraps.com/
Apparently The Sims 3 has the feature built-in, but I haven't tried it. You need to "Press CTRL + SHIFT + C, then type fps, and press Enter to activate the code. The use of this code will display the framerate that the game is running in the top right of the screen."
I think to take a screenshot you get to the screen you want to capture, hit the "Prt Scr" button on your keyboard, then open a program like Paint, GIMP or Photoshop, hit "Paste" and then save it. Saving in JPG format at 80% quality is fine.
12th Jul 2012, 6:29 AM
Ok, thanks for the info. I'll post it next time next time I open the game. My screen resolution is 1280x1024. The system has presets for gaming as opposed to less graphic-intensive settings. I don't know if either setting will influence FPS differently, but I'll try to check it out.
12th Jul 2012, 3:23 PM
I'm a firm believer of spending my hard-earned money once, for the best performance for the things I want the PC to be able to handle, for at least 2-4 years at a minimum. Which means I aim to have minimum or no problems running the games and apps I want the PC to run - no crashes, no lags, no graphical glitches, no overheating.
All the benchmark reports I've read of the earlier APU models are comparable to an Intel i3 processor (Sandy Bridge) with Intel HD 3000 IGP. In that instance AMD wins out - it performs better. It is a good low-cost solution if you have a 23" or smaller screen and don't intend to go multi-monitor setups in the near future. And it is still OK for Sims 3, provided Sims 3 is the only game you play. And you don't have other resource-hungry applications like 3DSMax, Photoshop, encoding videos or Folding@Home, etc.
But once you want to play newer DirectX 11 games or any of the 3D games, without some loss in FPS, the setup no longer works; because all the new games on the market right now need discrete graphics.
Granted, the APU models meet Sims 3 minimum requirements, but you have to remember minimum is exactly that, and also remember - that minimum requirements spec sheet is only for the BASE game, with no addons. For base game only, it would be fine at Low-Mid games settings, and you won't see issues right off the bat because the system is brand-spanking new. However, if you include addons in the equation, you may expect a lot of crashings and lags, even at low resolution. Even more issues can be expected after some months due to the wear and tear happening at a much faster rate (when machines are pushed to their limits). I have seen countless i3 systems (and a handful of APUs) on the forums complaining of issues when playing Sims 3 And with an IGP setup, you need to adjust your expectations to be able to run Pets at High settings. ;)
Have you done a cost comparison of an AMD APU system versus an i5 Ivy Bridge + discrete graphics system? How much is the difference?
You need then to counter that price difference with the heartache and frustration of having games crashings and so on, and always troubleshooting problems instead of playing.
With the A10 APU Trinity just released (or about to), there's been some new reviews you may be interested in:
I'm very excited about APU technology, but sadly gaming is not one of its applications. Maybe a HTPC, or as a small form-factor AIO machine in the kitchen/living-room, but it has still a ways to go yet for resource hungry gaming.
(oh dear! I didn't mean to preach, but you did ask for opinions.) :)
13th Jul 2012, 9:37 PM
Thanks for the opinion. I didn't take it as preaching. I'm glad I hear from people.
So far, I have abslutely no problems running Pets with medium settings (object hiding, animation smooting and advanced rendering is on, 3 high detail lots, only mirror reflection) and about 2 GB of CC. The system is cool and quiet. The average FPS rate is about 55. My monitor is only 17".
The only game I play is the Sims 3, although, I think I want to try out the first Mass Effect. I've never been good at these kinds of games and when I constantly have to worry about dying, it isn't much fun for me. So, this computer is pretty much for Sims 3 except watching movies and listening to music. I don't need multiple monitors.
Having said that, I'm perfectly ready to buy a graphics card if I run into problems but so far, this is the best my game has played since the basegame came out and I had no CC and on my old computer. For the average Sims 3 player, I can only recommend it. Having said that, the system is now 1 week old, I played about 15 hours. If it encounters problems down the line, I will of course buy a card, but at this point, I don't really see the need.
14th Jul 2012, 9:50 AM
It would be great to have some reference screencaps and videos. Plus a snapshot of the settings you play on.
You know what would be great?
If you could record the FPS and temperature when playing and post here on the forums every six months or so. I also have a video to show the latency my GTX 460 have when zooming in and out from Map View to Sims' House, so we can have a basis to compare how long the textures take to load. I also have a video to show my loading time somewhere, though I have don't think I uploaded that (have to hunt that down).
As inactive threads (when the threads have no activity for weeks) get Archived, you can post a new thread every six months or so to see how the IGP is holding up after some wear. And I'll merge the threads together so we have the history and new updates in one place.
19th Jul 2012, 5:36 PM
OK, I am happy to share my experiences but I don't really want to sign up for a youtube account for this. I hope you understand.
Texture loading times are a bit long at the beginning when I start playing but then are much shorter. An estimate would be 8-10 seconds when I start, 3-4 seconds during game play.
The AMD Vision Control Center allows for presets and when I set it to "gaming", the texture loading is shorter, even at the beginning, maybe around 5 seconds. During play, it's 1 or 2 seconds.
I'll try to time it next time I play.
Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, I don't know, FPS rates go higher when I'm on basement levels regardless of what I do there (up to 140). "Upstairs", they fluctuate between 45 and 85. Most of the time, they stay around 65.
How do I monitor the temperature while playing? All I do is place my hand on the case. It becomes warmer than during normal use but it's not hot. I have one case fan at the back, and the normal CPU and PSU fans.
22nd Jul 2012, 4:21 PM
If you have a gmail account, you already have a youtube account, but I understand.
You can try these Temp Monitoring tools:
- http://www.hwinfo.com/ (does more than monitor temps)
This being a first generation technology, I'm interested to know how it holds up in the long run. If it is a good investment for intensive gaming or would it wear out and need a discrete card anyway. Or if it falls between the Intel HD IGPs and the discrete card offerings, as is par for the course based on its specs. So we can input this information on the SysReq Wiki, so future Simmers can make an informed decision.
25th Jul 2012, 6:37 PM
Ok, it looks like the temp monitoring tools that you recommended are not compatible with the APU. I read around and some people are reporting completely ridiculous readings for CPUID and at least odd ones for HWinfo. I haven't found any convincing suggestions what other tools to use instead as of yet.
I've added some more CC and I'm now up to 3.6 GB and the FPS rates are getting higher. Around 90 on average. How bad is that? It circles around 200 while loading but goes down during actual game play.
Temperature remains stable. With normal use, the computer is cool. Playing Sims, it's warm.
I'll keep updating with any changes in case things go downhill (or not) with prolonged use or further expansions although I'm not planning on getting anything until whatever weather expansion there will be. Not interested in Showtime and I'm on the fence for the supernatural one.
25th Jul 2012, 11:02 PM
Hrmm that's weird bug with CPUID and HWInfo. 90 FPS on average is good! Though you might want to check if you can force V-Sync in some options somewhere. It'll limit your FPS to 60. Ideally you want to be at around 60 while playing. If you can't be at 60, its usually better to be a bit above 60 than a bit below it. The new APUs sound really exciting for on-the-go gaming :)
26th Jul 2012, 5:32 PM
There's also http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php - the first temp monitoring tool I used way back when.
The latest chipset info is probably not in the programs' database yet. If the programmers offer Beta versions, you can test to see if the chipsets are in those versions.
Surprisingly, this thread is the only one with success story running Sims on APUs. By the way, are you still on Onboard Graphics or already playing Sims on a discrete GPU?
5th Aug 2012, 10:18 PM
As promised, my graphics settings. Forgive me for the quality, I am one of those few people who have never actually done any picture editing.
Yes, I'm still playing with the internal graphics chip.
I took a few videos of my sim running around and conversing with others in China but it doesn't seem to record the fps rates as shown with fraps. When I play the clip, it goes up to 30 fps and stays there.
Overall, you'll have to trust me (or not ;) ) that the fps rates are about as follows (at least until I figure out how to record them):
Above ground: running on average between 50 and 80.
In tombs: around 100.
During saving: starting around 500, going down to 200
Loading: around 200
Temperature is still the same. It's warmer than with normal use, but nowhere near hot.
6th Aug 2012, 6:56 PM
Fraps does record the videos at 30FPS, even if the source is something else. That's why you're seeing 30FPS for your videos.
17th Aug 2012, 5:28 PM
Radeon HD 6550D = Solid Radeon class gpu w/ 400SPs,like Radeon HD5670 but w/ shared DDR3 system ram instead of dedicated GDDR5,performance on par w/ HD5570 ddr3.
Of course u can run TS3 very good,maybe u can try to max everything(2xAA) on 900p?
HD 6550D is a rly good Integrated GPU and plus,TS3 is a lightweight game,u don't need a top of the line GTX680/HD7970 just for this game!
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