What the hells wrong with my PC?


Prominent Member
Aug 1, 2000
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Here it is, then. I am at my wits end trying to get any 3d game working on my PC. It has been like this for a while, now, but there are a couple of games that I want to play that are performing like rubbish. This is what happens:

You begin to play a game with 3D content and the game pauses for 3 second and carries on after like nothing has happened. Often you will hear sounds looping for half the paused time then silence until the game resumes. These pauses can happen as often as every 10 seconds or every 2 minutes. The pauses are quite random and do not occur at the same points.

I have tried one of the games (Rome total war) on the other house PC which is nearly the same as the one I use (specs below) but with an MX440 gfx card and only half a gig of ram. The game runs more slowly but without pauses. So, now I have swapped every componet: memory, graphics card, sound card and even the hard disc (running as a slave) to the working PC, yet they all seem fine. The only thing that is left is the motherboard which is part of a mini PC and is based on the Nforce 3 250gb chipset, so this should be good??

Is there any software issues that I need to worry about regarding this Nvidia chipset??

Athlon 64 3ghz
1 gb ram (matched Geil pair)
6800 GT (128 mb)
Biostar Ideq 210 with Nforce 3 chipset
Audigy 2
160gb ATA hard disc fully defragged.

Help, I don't know what to do next!

The 210V and 210M have on-board graphics. Have you checked to see that this is disabled in the BIOS? Sounds very much like a conflict to me.
It is a 210P and this model does not have an onboard VGA chip.

I have all the latest microsoft credited drivers.

Strangely, the demo of Serious Sam 2 (looks like being an awful game by the way) played with no pauses what so ever! Now I am more confued than before.

I am going to try to run this Ntune thing and see if that fixes the problem - maybe there is something off in the BIOS?? (that I have updated, too)

Check the background apps that are running especially antivirus/spyware progs. Check that the swap/page file is set to windows control or not set to 1024 (a few games in the past seem to have probs when it's set to 1024). Remove the sound drivers and see if the games run ok without them (or use onboard sound).Remove the display drivers completely and boot up in vga mode then SHUT DOWN again. Reboot and install the newest graphics drivers you can find. If this fails do the same again with drivers a few editions old. I find that installing graphics after sound helps. Was your last card an ATI or other vendor. A lot of probs are caused if you fail to remove old drivers properly. :)
Have you got the latest BIOS for the motherboard ?
If there's onboard sound make sure it's been disabled and not conflicting with the Creative card.
Have you got the latest drivers for the Creative sound card ? (I've had problems with an Audigy2 card myself when it was conflicting with the inbuilt NIC on the motherboard!)
Windows is handling the swap file as I have not changed this setting and it is a completely fresh install on a new hard disc (problems also occured on the old hard disc).

Onboard sound is disabled and I have the latest drivers from the auto install site on soundblaster.com.

I really am at a loss. I have just installed Far Cry and that pauses every 10 seconds or so, but the island flyby can go on forever and not pause. Strangely, 3dmark 2005 also runs fine without pauses. I can only assume that this is a motherboard problem as the drivers never seem to install properly. The onboard firewall software never works, the ethernet driver always has a yellow warning light when I install the drivers afresh. Mind you, the other parts, GART and IDE drivers etc all work fine. I have just run Ntune overnight and have yet to see if this has solved some BIOS setting that I am unfamiliar with (a forlorn hope) otherwise, I give up. Has anyone else used the Nforce 3 chipset with no problems??

Actually, this maybe a DVD drive thing? As 3D mark and the Serious Sam demo are all hard disc based, then it may be that the DVD drive (a Sony badged Liteon model) is taking too long to speed up, thus pausing the PC? I dunno...

Are you using the latest Nvidia Forceware drivers?

Carefully check and uncheck a few options both in the games' video options and in the Nvidia control panel. Although i imagine that you have checked these already.
You are of course running the latest patches for these games, especially Far Cry?

You have Directx9.0 and XP SP2 installed?
You have tried lower resolutions ingame?

Sorry , I know these are all obvious suggestions and may have been repeated...

Could be the power supply, what make/model and how many watts is it?

Also, you could try setting the sound acceleration in windows down a little. Control panel > Sound and Audio Devices > Click advanced down the bottom and select the performance tab. More the slider under "hardware acceleration" down one notch.

If nothing makes a difference move the notch again see what happens.
Could be the power supply, what make/model and how many watts is it?
Good call. Make sure with that setup you have a good quality (Enermax, Antec, Tagan, Ocz, Thermaltake) PSU with at least 480 watts on tap.

(I've had problems with an Audigy2 card myself when it was conflicting with the inbuilt NIC on the motherboard!)
John, the words 'Creative' and 'problem' go together all too frequently.................. :rolleyes:
The power supply is part of the Mini PC box that I have, therefore I don't have much scope to change that, unless I change the box??

I am running 81.something GFX card drivers and 6.37 mainboard ones - the latest available.

I agree with the Creative comment, but they do make the best cards for games. However, whether they make the best HCPC cards is another matter I ma investigating. Since I have changed my PC to a HCPC I have wondered if Creative use the best DACs and such like, but don't want to compromise my games too much. Anyway I digress...

The latest available drivers for NF3 is 5.1 and is flawless on my system. I tried the 6.37's that some guy put together, and they gave me a few problems, cant remember what now but enough to make me go back to the latest on nvidia's site.

And the 81's are not really the greatest set you could use, try the regular 78.05's, again, on nvidia's site. Try that lot out and see where you stand with your system then.
I may have solved the problem... with your help!

I started Farcry again and it started to pause like before. Disheartened, I made myself a coffe and a bite to eat. When I got back, the game ran with nary a glitch! I ran Total War and the same. I restarted the PC and the pauses were back. So, bit between the teeth, I decided to change my GFX card for one in the other PC. I figured that the only other thing I haven't tested is the power supply as mentioned by steve-o. I cant put in a bigger one becasue of the mini PC format, so I swapped my 6800GT card - a fairly demanding card power wise, and replaced it with a MX440 which doesn't even need a fan.

No pauses at all, other than the speed drop. So, it looks like I am taking too much from my powersupply. I assume the reason why the games worked before the GFX card swap is becasue the hard disc powered down, freeing up some power for the 6800GT.

So, thanks for all your help. Now I need to figure out how to solve the issue. I wonder if removing the Audigy will be enough?
The 6800gt is probably too much for your system. Again an obvious question but you did plug an additional power supply lead into the socket on the 6800gt card?
Yeah. The card gives off an almighty alarm if you dont...

I have swapped the GFX cards back around, removed the Audigy (the onboard sound is awful!) and the pauses are back. Looks like a new GFX card.

Anyone know of a good, low power card that won't break the bank?

Try a GF4 TI4600. Good card, good quality images, not as power hungry as the newer ones. I've run Farcry with it quite happily. Don't bother with the 5 series Nvidia cards, the 4's were better. Nip over to ebay and check out if there are any on there. Might also be worth trying a Radeon 9700 (pro) if you can find one cheap enough. The 9700 though, will be at the limit of your power requirements.
I was thinking of one of those fanless 6600GT jobbies that Gigabyte make. They don't seem to have the extra power connector, so I assume that they will be ideal for my PC?? Of course, I could just get a better miniPC case, but I am not sure if the internals will transfer? Overrclockers have a mini form factor case advertised for 60 quid or so and that has a 420W powersupply which may be a better bet?

Does the pause happen before sounds are loaded?Various games of late have these issues HL2, for one,128mb graphics isn't to much these days also, i had a simmilar problem lately with a warrantied pc, the guy came out and the game froze randomly on 3d applications and so he set about changing every bit one at a time, the problem only stopped when he gosted the hd and installed the new hd.So you could be on the right track regarding the drives, he also put a bigger psu in but this did'nt stop the problem,i used to have a TI4600, great card in its day but only dx8, hope you sort it as theres nowt worse than a pc with one of those hard to find faults.
Do you have access to another PC or a mate's, from which you can rip out the power supply and try that to see if it makes a difference? I know it probably wont fit in the case but hopefully you can "dangle" cables inside and power up the components.
I am going to do the Dangle Test tonight. Hopefully this will prove/disprove the issue. Who'd have thought all these problems for a couple of games? I knew there was a reason I bought a Gamecube and an Xbox...:rolleyes:

Roll on Xbox360...:thumbsup:
Half the fun of pc games has always been getting them to work, ah reminds me of the old dos days ...

I have had trouble in the past with my computer locking up, completly when a 3D game was run, the first frame of 3D would be shown and then my computer would just freze. I found if i installed the origional drivers it didn't seem to happen but once i upgraded to newer nvidia that improved performance by 20-30 percent or something my machine would lock up. What was actualy happening was that my psu wasn't powerful enough when the new drivers were in, I guess nvidia had something locked away in hardware that they unleased to make themselves better than ATI.

Anyway i got a new psu and everything worked fine. The card was a ti4200, and i upgraded my power to a antec 430w truepower which i still use in my latest rig.

I more recently had a problem with games sort of juddering once every few minutes, it was only the latest games like far cry and vampires bloodlines so i poped in some memory to bring it up to 1gb and it sorted it.

Although your system doesn't have the first symptom and the second is unlikely as you have plenty of ram, it just shows that hardware can cause problems were you might not expect it.
he also put a bigger psu in but this did'nt stop the problem
Depends what it was. Only the better marques can actually deliver the power specified, and even then toms found that some of them struggled. :rolleyes:
Definately the power supply. I have sold my 6800GT and have bought a silent pipe 6600. Considering the amount that I play on the PC, now, and that I will get less noise, I think this a good option.

Thanks for the help, people.

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