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 Post subject: A quiet NVidia PCIE card in an Antec Fusion / NSK2400?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:28 pm 
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Hi!

I'm thinking about upgrading my current passively cooled PCIe graphics card in my HTPC setup. And, as the subject says it, I'm having my setup in a Antec Fusion case. Currently, I'm lookin at the range GT 640 - GTX670, and I can find several good candidates. But the problems come from the size of the cards the market has to offer. Are there any other (casual gamers) here with a similar case? What have you managed to fit in this case (or a similar one)?

Here are my requirements:

    - NVidia (as a Linux user, ATI is still too buggy, last time I've checked)
    - Faster than the current one (no point in downgrading! A passive Gainward GT430 is the my current graphics card)
    - Quiet (at least when idle / not running graphics intensive applications)
    - Small enough it will fit!:
      - Height: full height but not an inch more! i.e. ~115mm / 4.55 "
      - L: max. ~250-270mm / ~10 "
      - SLOTS:1-2 (or, in case I'm forced to, 3)

About passive vs. active cooling: I believe most recent graphics card (at least non-low-end ones) scale their cooling quite well, i.e. they don't run their fan at full speed all the time. And, also because the case is quite cramped by design, a passive card might not be a good choice (or, I would need to install an extra fan in that case, which makes the point of buing a passively cooled card quite moot). In any case, I can't find a passively cooled stock card with decent performance that would fit (all of them have the heatsink and / or heatpipes protruding past the upper edge, for several inches). Even if the card is too power hungry (at peak), that might not be an issue, if it will be silent (quiet) when not gaming.

GT640 and GTX650 (non-TI) have lower TDP, but if I will go for more horsepower I will also get more heat, too - but that might not be an issue, if my thoughts about scalability above are correct?.

I've looked at the ohter MSI Power Edition cards, they would be quite quiet (according to reviews), and also they have more horse power. But all have some of the cooling device / shroud going past the PCB edge, and might be too high (if they will fit length-wize). The Cyclone wont fit, but a non-cyclone-one just might??? One good candidate (on the lower TDP / lower performance end) is MSI GTX 650 Power edition, but at 265mm, probably too long for the fusion?


Also, ASUS sells these cards that are energy efficient, but the cooler does not look like it is efficient (noise / dissipated heat -wise). Also, they might not be the best solution, performance-wize. At least it would fit.

Maybe I should just buy one with a good TDP/performance -ratio, a PCB that will fit, ditch the stock cooling solution and buy a separate heatsink? I'm a bit lost with the amount of options for cooling. Does anyone have any good personal experiences? I'm even considering bending the Accelero S1 as some have done - but I have only two (to three) slots to spare, and can't bend it over the card, so that might be a bit difficult!

Any other suggestions or comments?

Cheers!


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 Post subject: Re: A quiet NVidia PCIE card in an Antec Fusion / NSK2400?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:12 am 
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Choices, choices!

I'm thinking about getting anything that will fit and installing an AC Accelero Twin II into it. Haven't even ruled out bending the S1. A GTX690 with Accelero Twin 690 would most definitely be an overkill, but I'm just listing options here in case someone is contemplating a similar setup :P

All of the above still need to be double-checked they will fit (haven't done that yet).

Also, there are the Gainward Phantom cards. They would definitely have the required horsepower (there are lighter choices too, not just the one I linked), and probably run silent (according to marketing, and I *think* I saw a review somewhere). But, they are challenged both length- and heigthwise, they might or might not fit in the case by the looks of it.

Part of the obscurity comes from the fact that I don't know where do the manufacturers take their measurements (from the edge of the PCB? from the edge of the MB connector? From the brackets inner edge, or the protruding flap that has the screw hole?) Were talking about 1cm clearances here... if they just had decent PDF's of their cards, one could know wihtout actually trying.


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 Post subject: Re: A quiet NVidia PCIE card in an Antec Fusion / NSK2400?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:18 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:29 am
Posts: 567
Location: de_DE
Hi and welcome to SPCR!
Wild Penguin wrote:
I'm thinking about upgrading my current passively cooled PCIe graphics card in my HTPC setup. And, as the subject says it, I'm having my setup in a Antec Fusion case. Currently, I'm lookin at the range GT 640 - GTX670, and I can find several good candidates. But the problems come from the size of the cards the market has to offer. Are there any other (casual gamers) here with a similar case? What have you managed to fit in this case (or a similar one)?

640 to 670 is a large range in performance. To play in 1920 I suggest at least a 650 Ti boost. I play at that resolution and have a 670 (4GB for Skyrim mods).
Wild Penguin wrote:
- Quiet (at least when idle / not running graphics intensive applications)

Quiet my 670 with standard cooler is not, that's why I will use aftermarket cooling, more on that later.
For quiet cooling both idle and games you'll want a non standard cooler from the manufacturer or an aftermarket part.
Wild Penguin wrote:
- Small enough it will fit!:

- Height: full height but not an inch more! i.e. ~115mm / 4.55 "
- L: max. ~250-270mm / ~10 "
- SLOTS:1-2 (or, in case I'm forced to, 3)

No 1 Slot cards afaik.
Nvidias current cards with the exception of Titan and 780 should fit. If a manufacturer adds a longer cooler like some Asus, Gigabyte and Inno they will often be too long.
Wild Penguin wrote:
About passive vs. active cooling: I believe most recent graphics card (at least non-low-end ones) scale their cooling quite well, i.e. they don't run their fan at full speed all the time. And, also because the case is quite cramped by design, a passive card might not be a good choice (or, I would need to install an extra fan in that case, which makes the point of buing a passively cooled card quite moot). In any case, I can't find a passively cooled stock card with decent performance that would fit (all of them have the heatsink and / or heatpipes protruding past the upper edge, for several inches). Even if the card is too power hungry (at peak), that might not be an issue, if it will be silent (quiet) when not gaming.

The cards have a fan controller, unfortunately it's often limited to a minimum of 30% speed so the standard cooler will be audible at that speed.
Wild Penguin wrote:
GT640 and GTX650 (non-TI) have lower TDP, but if I will go for more horsepower I will also get more heat, too - but that might not be an issue, if my thoughts about scalability above are correct?.

Is heat a problem with your current system?
A card in the 650 Ti Boost - 670 range will draw ~90W-130W in games. The case you have has two 120mm fans, so the heat should't have to get trapped. Idle it's around 10W-15W.
Wild Penguin wrote:
I've looked at the ohter MSI Power Edition cards, they would be quite quiet (according to reviews), and also they have more horse power. But all have some of the cooling device / shroud going past the PCB edge, and might be too high (if they will fit length-wize). The Cyclone wont fit, but a non-cyclone-one just might??? One good candidate (on the lower TDP / lower performance end) is MSI GTX 650 Power edition, but at 265mm, probably too long for the fusion?

None of them will fit, look at the specs page the you think might is 265mm long according to specs.

Nvidia's standard PCBs in the 650TI Boost to 670 range are very short, but not all manufacturers use standard PCBs. The longest PCB in that range that I#m aware of is 670 cards using the 680 PCB like mine, which is 256mm. It might fir in the NSK2400, but you would have to squeeze it in.
Cards with good coolers pre-installed come from Asus, Inno and in the lower end (lower heat output) segment MSI.
650TI Boost:
Asus has two: The short version ASUS GTX650 TI-OC-2GD5 and a longer one which won't fit ASUS GTX650 TI-DC2O-1GD5.
Inno has a good (2 fan version) Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 650 Ti HerculeZ 2000s
660:
Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 660 HerculeZ 2000s and EVGA 2 fan cards:EVGA GeForce GTX 660 FTW Signature 2, EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Superclocked Signature 2 are safe bets, MSI N660-TF-2GD5/OC Twin Frozr III might or might not be too tall
660 Ti:
Inno3D GeForce GTX660 Ti HerculeZ 2000s
Asus has two different cooler versions and OC and non OC cards for either, the short sooler might be too tal the long is definetely too long. MSI Twin Frozr 660Ti might too tall, too.
760:
Inno3D GeForce GTX660 Ti HerculeZ 2000s
670:
I'll have to mention Direct CU mini:ASUS GTX670-DCMOC-2GD5 DirectCU Mini OC very short, but not too quiet.
Inno3D GeForce GTX 670 HerculeZ 2000s

Aftermarket coolers are great in terms of noise but they are bigger than most standard coolers, worse yet often they are taller and longer and three slots wide.
The Arctic S1 I used on my last card and modified it (pryed apart some fins), it still worked, but it wasn't pretty. Arctic's cooler are too tall except for the Extreme III, which is too long. EKL/Deepcool coolers are either too tall or four slot with fan. Prolimatech MK26 is too tall and four slot. Scythe Setsugen 2 (if available) is too tall and not very powerful. Thermalright Shaman (if available) is too tall and four slot.
That leaves you with one air cooler that might be both available and size appropriate: GELID Icy Vision unfortunately the specs don't list any of the above cards as compatible. Some cards are based on custom PCBs and the cooler might work, but there are no guarentees.

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 Post subject: Re: A quiet NVidia PCIE card in an Antec Fusion / NSK2400?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:16 am 
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boost wrote:
640 to 670 is a large range in performance. To play in 1920 I suggest at least a 650 Ti boost. I play at that resolution and have a 670 (4GB for Skyrim mods).

Yes, well I have a large range to look at ;-). Silence / quieteness is the priority. I've managed (with the games I play) even with the GT430 (just a little bit more beef would not matter at all!).
boost wrote:
The cards have a fan controller, unfortunately it's often limited to a minimum of 30% speed so the standard cooler will be audible at that speed.

That's too bad, as the aftermarket cooler options are very limited, it seems...
boost wrote:
Wild Penguin wrote:
GT640 and GTX650 (non-TI) have lower TDP, but if I will go for more horsepower I will also get more heat, too - but that might not be an issue, if my thoughts about scalability above are correct?.

Is heat a problem with your current system?

Heat is not a problem currently. The two case fans circle the air quite nicely to the GT430 even, at least according to the nvidia control center, the temps are always <60°C; also the CPU, MB temperatures are <60°C, actually I've rarely seen anything above 50°C. Usually at idle-ish (even with the room ambient going above 28°C) just above 40°C.

*but*, I suspect the nvidia control center might not show the right temperature, or then the VRM's get heated (they have no heatsinks at all on the current card). I get random resets when runnin graphics-intensive applications *sometimes* (but, never ever any graphical artifacts). Sometimes it throttles, but that could be because mythbackend running in the background ;-).

I believe the graphics card is defective, and / or my PS needs replacement - this is one of the reasons to upgrade.
boost wrote:
A card in the 650 Ti Boost - 670 range will draw ~90W-130W in games. The case you have has two 120mm fans, so the heat should't have to get trapped. Idle it's around 10W-15W.

However, if I put a large card in there, there will be a pocket of hot air left to it (the case fans are to the right and won't help there). In case yo meant I could try a passive card.... I strongly believe I will need an actively cooled card (or, in case I'll go passive as I do now, the card should be small and with a small TDP).

boost wrote:
Wild Penguin wrote:
I've looked at the ohter MSI Power Edition cards, they would be quite quiet (according to reviews), and also they have more horse power. But all have some of the cooling device / shroud going past the PCB edge, and might be too high (if they will fit length-wize). The Cyclone wont fit, but a non-cyclone-one just might??? One good candidate (on the lower TDP / lower performance end) is MSI GTX 650 Power edition, but at 265mm, probably too long for the fusion?
None of them will fit, look at the specs page the you think might is 265mm long according to specs.


I believe I found some MSI PE card that was short enough, but I could be wrong.

Also, I've taken a bit more measurements. From the edge of an add-in card (PCB) to the HD-compartment wall:24,5cm. From the edge of a add-in-card bracket to the said wall:26cm. Actually, if I was so inclined, I could dremel away the wall to make room for a larger card, but I don't think I'll go to that length (pun indented).

boost wrote:
Nvidia's standard PCBs in the 650TI Boost to 670 range are very short, but not all manufacturers use standard PCBs. The longest PCB in that range that I#m aware of is 670 cards using the 680 PCB like mine, which is 256mm. It might fir in the NSK2400, but you would have to squeeze it in.

If the PCB is 256mm, that is too long, if my measurements are correct. If it includes the bracket, it might just fit. with ~3mm clearance ;-).

But thanks for your card suggestions, I will look into them.
boost wrote:
Aftermarket coolers are great in terms of noise but they are bigger than most standard coolers, worse yet often they are taller and longer and three slots wide.
The Arctic S1 I used on my last card and modified it (pryed apart some fins), it still worked, but it wasn't pretty. Arctic's cooler are too tall except for the Extreme III, which is too long. EKL/Deepcool coolers are either too tall or four slot with fan. Prolimatech MK26 is too tall and four slot. Scythe Setsugen 2 (if available) is too tall and not very powerful. Thermalright Shaman (if available) is too tall and four slot.

I looked some more at the Arctic cooler and game to the same conclusions. I'm still considering as one option, getting the Extreme III, and bending it. There should be room in the case if it were curved, and if I'm reading the specs correctly, the other dimensions should not be a problem.
boost wrote:
That leaves you with one air cooler that might be both available and size appropriate: GELID Icy Vision unfortunately the specs don't list any of the above cards as compatible. Some cards are based on custom PCBs and the cooler might work, but there are no guarentees.

I also got the impression it is not very effective at cooling, but I will look in to the review more closely.

Thanks for your input!


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 Post subject: Re: A quiet NVidia PCIE card in an Antec Fusion / NSK2400?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:41 am 
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viewtopic.php?f=19&t=62194

it blocked all my pcie slots, but it does indeed work.

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 Post subject: Re: A quiet NVidia PCIE card in an Antec Fusion / NSK2400?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:30 pm 
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There are HD 7750 low profile cards. May end up replacing the cooler...but the form factor should fit.

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 Post subject: Re: A quiet NVidia PCIE card in an Antec Fusion / NSK2400?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:23 pm 
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CA_Steve wrote:
There are HD 7750 low profile cards. May end up replacing the cooler...but the form factor should fit.

But they are Radeon. Radeon will tear my HD video apart and crash horribly on my Linux box. :twisted:

A good strong candidate for my use is currently the ASUS GTX650TI-1GD5. I'm also thinking that anything more powerful is just an overkill in my case, since I only game on Linux, and only casually, and usually older games in any case (I have a tendency to play retro-games and get bored with the never ones quite quickly). Also, rest of my rig is not that powerful, and will form a bottleneck if I get something more powerful - but, I think I will be upgrading some of it too, soon. And you never know what the (near) future will bring to the Linux gamers, with the steam working the way it does and more and more games being playable natively (although older ones)...

So, anyone else in the same situation - YMMV.

If I wont be getting the ASUS GTX650TI-1GD5, then anything else (from NVidia and at least equally powerful) that will fit, even if I can't find good data on the noise the fan makes (I found techpowerup to be an immensely useful resource). If the noise is very bad, I will order the Gelid Icy Vision afterwards (which, seems to be suffering from poor availability, and might not be compatible) - or more likely I will get bent and buy a Accelero S1/S2/Extreme to be mangled in my hands :twisted:.

Cheers!


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 Post subject: Re: A quiet NVidia PCIE card in an Antec Fusion / NSK2400?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:32 pm 
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Wild Penguin wrote:
I'm also thinking that anything more powerful is just an overkill in my case, since I only game on Linux, and only casually, and usually older games in any case (I have a tendency to play retro-games and get bored with the never ones quite quickly).
Switch to an AMD Richland with beefy integrated GPU? This doesn't solve the AMD problem, but the drivers have been improving (I hear).


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 Post subject: Re: A quiet NVidia PCIE card in an Antec Fusion / NSK2400?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:52 am 
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I'd try and get something like http://www.evga.com/Products/Product.as ... P4-3650-KR with a rather simple cooling solution.

I do not know if you can adjust speeds of the fan with Linux, but even if you can't and the fan turns out to noisy, i'd strip the fan&shroud, strap a 92mm Noctua@7V to it and probably call it a day (check temps first).


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 Post subject: Re: A quiet NVidia PCIE card in an Antec Fusion / NSK2400?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 12:44 pm 
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I finally decided to buy an MSI N660Ti PE (well, actually I have been running it for a month or so now).

In the end, I do not recommend putting a gaming card in a HTPC case. But I really wanted to do it in my case. Just FYI, the MSI 660Ti is the largest one that can be squeezed in - and you will need to fiddle a little bit (see below)! YMMV.

First, in case someone is considering doing something similar:

  • Double check the cards physical size, if it is near your limits. Remember the manufacturers reported size could be wrong (or, ambiguous - does it include the bracket?). Even with similar looking cards, the size can be different (For example, the MSI 670TI is larger, although by quick glance, might look identical to MSI 660TI!). Online photos (from techpowerup for example) can be handy. The PCIe connector is a good reference point when making measurements from a photo. Make sure you can return the card to the store, in case it wont fit.
  • Power connectors at the top edge of the card (pointing away from the MB) will cause problems. The connectors itself are too high, you need low profile ones, which are hard to come by - or be prepared to make a modification.

I took a conscious risk when buying it, since I knew it will be a millimeters clearance to fit it in my case. Also the power connectors were at the top... but I was prepared to deal with both issues:

  • I needed to make a little notch into the wall between MB/HD compartment in the Fusion case (only for the shroud - the card itself and heat sink itself do fit nicely).
  • Also, I needed to make a little modification to the PCIe power connectors.

Finally, it fits, although just barely. If the shroud was just 1mm shorter, it would fit without any modifications! Another option would be to remove the shroud, but I did not want to void the warrany on the card.

As for the power connectors, I took apart some spare ones (from cheap adapters), made them lower profile with a dremel, and replaced the original connectors of my PSU with the modified ones in my PSU (staples are handy at removing the wires from the power connector housing, unless you've invested in a dedicated tool). As the PCIe power connector itself provides some insulation for the power lines, I was very careful with insulating - shorting the 12V line is something I do not want to do (that has potential for a big disaster and / or even a fire). Even after the modification, the cases lid is leaning on the power connectors and lines, though not with presusre, so I don't think it will cause problems. Do not do this if you do not know what you are doing!


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 Post subject: Re: A quiet NVidia PCIE card in an Antec Fusion / NSK2400?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:59 pm 
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So, what temps are you seeing at idle/while gaming? :)

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 Post subject: Re: A quiet NVidia PCIE card in an Antec Fusion / NSK2400?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:34 am 
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The temperatures are very modest. At idle 38°C (or, desktop usage with 3D effects). The fan ramps up at boot, but goes down later to 30% (I believe when the nvidia module is loaded, or when X.org starts up, or maybe it's just a delay programmed in to the NVidia graphics cards firmware). The 30% is the minimum hardcoded into the firmware, and with some tools and reflashing (and voiding your warranty in the process, unless you don't tell anyone and can reflash the card), I believe it could be lowered - but at that speed, it really is quiet. I'm not sure, but maybe the speed at boot time could also be lowered. It doesn't bother me, but if I had this setup booting up by BIOS wakeup next to me when I was aspleed, it might...

IIRC I checked the temperature and fan speed after a gaming session, and the temperature didn't rice noticeably (maybe to ~45°C or so???). I didn't ever notice the fan speed ramping up. Well, if it did (or would), I can't hear it from the shotgun. (although, haven't had time to game that much jet, some Serious Sam 3 - which is the most graphic intensive game I have, I think - in addition to HL2/source based games, and some Civilization V). Maybe I should test with some benchmarks, haven't done that jet... is Unigine still a good test platform?

One can set the fan speed from 30%-100% with nvidia-settings in Linux quite nicely (or, leave it to automatic). The cards fan will start to emit an annoying sound very soon if the fan speed is increased at all from the 30%, though. At 100% it is unbearable, but I believe such speeds would never be observed at normal usage (maybe when overclocking and stress testing the card with benchmarks). Also, I have no idea how well will the fans stand the test of time. I've read some users complaining, that their graphics cards fans worn out very fast (in a year or two) and started making annoying sounds because the bearings didn't last (or collecting dust?). Only time will tell...

At idle, I have hard time discerning the fan from behind the case fans (two Nexus voltage controlled fans @800rpm), and I really need to get to 10-20cm range to be able to hear either (the case fans or the graphics card). The sound from the traffic is more loud (and the closest road is 100m from my apartment, although it is a quite busy 4-lane road - not a highway, cars going around 40-50km/h. Maybe you get the picture ;-)).

EDIT: Actually, I can't hear the traffic after I close the window - unless there's some teenager speeding on the road. Apart from that, the next loudest noise (after closing the window) is my refridgerator. So I think the setup is really quiet enough :-D)

Also, this is a HTPC, so it's not sitting at the desk near to me, so I'm really happy with the setup, although it could be quieter. The next thing I would do to make this setup more quiet, is to replace the voltage controlled Nexus case fans with something more efficient (at noise / airflow ratio).


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 Post subject: Re: A quiet NVidia PCIE card in an Antec Fusion / NSK2400?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:02 am 
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I run / played around with unigine-heaven for ~10 minutes, and only thing I can hear is my case fans ramping up to 1200RPM. The GPU temperature rose to 40°C. Not a proper test (way too short for example, and I have background processes running), but gives some rough idea about the temperature the card produces. But the difference to the GTX430 I had previously is like night and day! It could barely run (if you can call it running) the unigine-heaven test at all at low resolution, this one can *run* it at fullHD (although, if it were a game, it wouldn't be playable - at 8-15RPM most of the time).

I believe my CPU is the bottleneck here, since it was ramped up to 100% when running the test (AMD Athlon 4850e).


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 Post subject: Re: A quiet NVidia PCIE card in an Antec Fusion / NSK2400?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:49 am 
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Quote:
I believe my CPU is the bottleneck here, since it was ramped up to 100% when running the test (AMD Athlon 4850e).


Could be - it's fairly long in the tooth. On the other hand, it looks like Uningine only needs a certain level of CPU horsepower before it's not the bottleneck. What that level of CPU is...idk. That i5-2500K in the link can certainly run rings around your 4850e. :)

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