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why does my pc suck!

Discussion in 'PC Gaming & Rigs' started by watchinthewheel, Jun 30, 2005.

  1. watchinthewheel

    watchinthewheel
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    im very confused here im hoping you will be able to help, my pc suck atm and i dunno why! heres my spec:

    p4 3ghz
    1gb ddr ram
    radeon 9600
    audigy 2 platinum

    now i know your going to jump on the 9600 as not a top of the line gamers card i know but it should run games at a reasonale level! i have recently bought some fps games: area 51, farcry, boiling point (road to hell) and none of em will run even at low settings at a decent speed, i havent done any fps checks but i would estimate they are running at less than 10fps. its really choppy and practiacaly impossible to play. as i said this is running on low settings! 800x600 no aa or af all lighting and partical effects turned down, i cant work it out, nothing is running in the background or anything. Have you got any suggestions as to what may be wrong? im totaly stumped, im planning on upgrading to a 9800pro pretty soon but i dont know how much of a difference it would make, after all at 800x600 even a 9600 card cant be THAT taxed!

    has anyone got any ideas why my pc is slow? thanks in advance for any replies.
     
  2. TooManyHobbies

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    If your running Xp do a control-alt-del this will open the task manager. Have a look at what programs are running in the back ground and check out the processor time that they are taking.
    Other than that make sure that you have all the microsoft updates installed and make sure your motherboard bios is up to date.
    Failing that i would consider doing a complete reinstall.
     
  3. Miyazaki

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    You might have a faulty fan or something mate, or have you updated your bios recently?
     
  4. redaction

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    Upgrading your graphics card to 9800 Pro would be a good idea regardless. Overclockers.co.uk do a nice HIS Ice cool one which you can soft mod to 9800 XT without problems (£90ish). Or go for AIW if you want TV functionality for roughly the same price.

    Boiling Point is far from being optimised and though 2 patches on, it still needs more work. With similar specs to yourself but with a 9800 Pro, I found running BP with only 1 gig of ram was choppy. Upgrading with another gig did the trick.

    Your system sounds it has recently hit problems? Overheating with the recently warm weather could cause intermittant problems and any spyware/bad programs etc running in the background could leech/upset normal running. But I suspect drivers have corrupted though you'd be wise to check the temperature and Task Manager first.

    Reinstall drivers. Boiling Point requires the latest Catalyst 5.6 drivers to operate (known bug with 5.4). Ati.com

    Also, reinstall Creative drivers maybe. Use Drivercleaner also to ensure a nice clean install.

    Oh yes forgot to ask, do other older games still run okay? If their performance has worsened then you know what to do. If it's the same then it may be you do seriously need to upgrade graphics and perhaps ram (at least for BP).
     
  5. Miyazaki

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    does 2 gig of ram really make the much difference over 1 gig?
     
  6. pragmatic

    pragmatic
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    Check for spyware and the like, get atleast 3 different proggies for it as each seems to find different things, i hope your running anti virus and firewall software. Check your drivers are upto date and you have the latest directx too.

    If you have no maulware on your pc, then it may just be overheating due to the recent warm weather (god knows how they'd play in india).

    10 fps is low but the 9800pro is quite a bit faster than the 9600 (non xt?) and will give you a nice boast.

    You didn't say if you have a prescot socket 775 or an older cooler pentium 4. Are you using the stock p4 cooler? if so i would replace it with an after market one as they are significantly better at cooling and are also pretty quiet if you buy the right one.

    I recently bought the thermalatke bigtypoon, (stupid name and a brand i wouldn't normaly buy form as all my mates with them have noisey fans). But this things cools as close to watercooing as you can get and is only 16dbs which is so quiet you have to put your ear to it to hear it.

    http://www.techfever.co.uk/products.asp?recnumber=2127
     
  7. Ethics Gradient

    Ethics Gradient
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    NO

    It would if your where running extremely big applications - mememory cacheing large images, database files etc.
    But mostly for games available, they won't make use of the extra memmory to any great benifit.

    If you have issues with performance on current games that is eliviated with adding another Gig of ram ..... its usually down to the fact that your system is bogged down with too many background applications and processes in the first place.... which will still be somewhat decreasing your systems performance regardless of the extra ram.
     
  8. CrispyXUK

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    You may have a virus, also get at least a geforce 6600gt
     
  9. watchinthewheel

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    thanks for all the advice.

    i have checked for spy/adware etc and havent found anything (i check frequently anyway) i have checked task manager too and its fine (i check that too)

    i think the problem as you suggest is overheating, my fan has been running very very fast recently, my processor is a prescott and i think they overheat a bit too easily. Im only using the stock cooler, its not up to the job i dont think. would you all reccomend the cooler that gazbarber does or should i bite the bullet and go for water cooling?

    i have checked performance with older games now, and they aint exactly sparkling, even with games it should be able to run without too much strain onm the gpu they are slow.

    before i splash out and buy some new cooling (does £25 really count as splashing out? :rolleyes: ) i would like to be 100% that it is the problem, how do i check the temperature from windows, i know in setup there is a monitor but it wouldnt really give the effect if nothings running on my pc apart from the bios!

    thanks a lot for all your help :thumbsup:
     
  10. CrispyXUK

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    Defra your hard drive too you crazy downloader you :)
     
  11. pragmatic

    pragmatic
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    You could just runn something stressful and then reboot, and check bios.

    Remember to check what temp you get when you first start from 'cold' then compair it against some decent gaming action temp.
    Not sure what the ranges are and to be honest bios temp reader are not know for there accuracy, but they will give you a good idea about the rage you are talking about.

    Inded it could be your hd, check a website out that has a review of your model and get the software they use for benchmarking. If there is a big descrepencey between your results then thats your problem.

    I know I broke a hd after a bit to much 24/7 downloading, there ment to last like 50 years but thats just ********.
     
  12. Ethics Gradient

    Ethics Gradient
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    it is unlikely to be your CPU or HD causing problems

    ( you are reporting low frame rates in games ... these do not indicate either a n over heating CPU nor HD )

    if it was your cpu overheating ..... it would generally crash your box.
    Some graphics cards over heat and switch down to a low power 2d mode.

    cpu / chipset etc can often be read using a util from the mother board manufacturer ... or you can download

    MBM

    one of the overclockers fav monitoring utils.

    ..... as I said though , if the cpu is overheating ( to the point of it effecting the PC ) it won't be slowing down games ..... it will be stopping them dead along with the rest of the PC.


    concentrate your efforts on checking the machine for extra stuff running that shouldn't be and check out your gfx card for going into 2d Mode - see if the manufacturer had a temp sensor / util for it.

    a manual inspection of your boxes air flow - gfx card fan etc can help spot anything clagged up or not running.

    one thing you can do, its:

    <cntrl> <alt> <del> to bring up task manager

    select the performance tab and note down the cpu usage while it sits there
    see if anything taking up cpu time about 1% while it should be doing nothing.
    Also make a not of the pg file usage - mem / virtual memmory used / avail and let me know - i can see if it looks 'dodgy'
     
  13. pragmatic

    pragmatic
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    Although there is no hardware i can think of which would underclock it self when overheating, ecept i remember seeing a tomshardware aritcle a few years ago where they ran a p4 and athlon xp witohut heatsinks. The althon 64 was smoking and hence dead the p4 on the otherhand just kepp chugging away, although quite a bit slower.

    If my memory is correct and intel is still using this type of system then it could be the cpu overheating. The cpu fan could have also become disloged to the point were it is not in full contact with the cpu, this is actualy more common then you'd think, especialy if the computer is moved a lot.
     
  14. pragmatic

    pragmatic
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  15. Ethics Gradient

    Ethics Gradient
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    ..... just spoted he has a P4 .... not a 64 heh


    watchinthewheel - ignore what I said about the CPU .... I sped through the thread and thought you had a 64 but athlon -- not a P4

    the do have a thermal throttle - it will drop to 50% cycle - and worst case to 12.5% cycle

    -- sorry for the mistake ( I suffer from Dyslexia .... )



    try the MBM util and watch the cpu temps - download Prime95 ( just google it ) and run that for 10 mins and see if the temps go too high
     
  16. AML

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    I would say check to make sure you are up to date with your drivers. Also, with your ATi graphics drivers, make sure and check the settings. If you leave the driver settings on default it shouldnt be a problem. Make sure the settings arent set too high for your card to handle.

    Same for other drivers.

    I agree with the HDD defrag. It should be done regularly to help keep everything running smoothely. You can also defrag your memory by the way.

    A newer card would certainly go a long way. But you should still be able to play with your current card.

    Make sure the games are patched. Also check that theres nothing wrong with the monitor! Monitors use drivers too.

    Make sure everything is conected properly. Inside the PC too.

    Is your PSU enough for your current set up? Sometimes lack of power can cause problems.

    Make sure your PC isnt over heating too much. You could open it up and leave it like that while you play. This way you can also look in while your runing a game. You can see how the PC "reacts" to the game.
    If anything seems to be stressing out then that could be the problem.

    Thats all I can think of!
     
  17. cwick

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    You can, if you believe in Snake Oil. In truth, it's totally bogus.
     
  18. pragmatic

    pragmatic
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    RAM is direct access so there is no speed advantage to defragging it, it could be used for getting better space management but os's use pretty adcanced ones as it is so this is pretty useless. Also it'll stay in your memory and use up proccessing time, making your computer slower.

    Indeed pointless if it does anything, bogus otherwise.
     
  19. watchinthewheel

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    ok so it probaly is my cpu then? nice one at least i know what the problem is now.

    i have installed mbm and after being puzzled about it for some time have worked out where it tells you all the temps lol. my cpu is at 50c now but i have only just booted my pc so that will rise. according to mbm its still pretty high, especialy since it isnt actualy doing anything apart from running windows! looks like i have been frying my cpu, i dont get it though, itsnot overclocked (i was going to try that at some point but am i glad i didnt yet!) and im using the heatsink that came with the chip, surely its meant to work at a decent temp!

    anyhow ill post back later with the temp to see how high it gets, have you guys got any reccomendations for a good cooler, there was a link to one above, is that a good one to get? or should i go the whole hog and go for water cooling?
     
  20. TooManyHobbies

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    50 degrees ain't that high TBH. It may be worth cleaning the base of the heatsink off and putting new thermal compound on and while your at it clean any dust from the heatsink and fan blades.

    I have a Northwood that runs at 50deg idol. I'm not sure what it is going to reach when I get the operating system on though.
     
  21. watchinthewheel

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    ok after a hour game of counter strike the heat level is 60c according to the graph thats pretty high, and i know it will get higher because the fan isnt even at full speed yet. any suggestions of what cooling i sould go for? is the one reccomended above a good one?

    when i installed the cpu i did notice there wasnt much thermal grease on it, could it be that simple to fix?
     
  22. watchinthewheel

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    ok im going to get a better cpu cooler, i have checked around the net and there are a few people saying they had problems like mine. unfortunatly i cant tell which heatsink/fan/watercooling to get there are hundreds and very few hard stats to say which is best, i would rather go for regualr fan/heatsink than water for price reasons but im open to any suggestions, at the moment im looking at these

    the second on on that page

    or

    the second on here

    or

    the third one down here

    any suggestions about these or other solutions?
     
  23. pragmatic

    pragmatic
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    All of those are great so which ever one you choose will be better than the stock one.

    Also get some artic silver or other compound, i'll bring down the temp an extra few degrees.
     
  24. HMHB

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    A few more questions:-
    What motherboard do you have ?
    Do you have the latest BIOS ?
    What PSU do you have ?
    Have you always had this problem with this computer or has it started doing ot recently ?
    Have you checked all the drivers - not just the graphics card ones ? I've had problems with dodgy Creative drivers which have caused many stuttering problems.
     
  25. redaction

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    You say that even old games that used to run okay now don't. This is indicative that it isn't just your PC's hardware struggling to cope with the increased demands of the latest games.

    Yes, I have noticed a positive improvement to PC performance with 2 gb of ram rather than just 1 gig. As mentioned, Boiling Point was choppy as hell before I boosted the amount. FWIW, Battlefield 1942 uses a lot of physical memory and a large page file. I don't know if Windows Task Manager is all that much use in monitoring allocated physical/etc ram if you exit a game (even with it running) as the system demands immediately change. My point would be in having the page file turned off with 1 gig as is sometimes recommended for improving a system's operating performance but is generally against M$'s advice. With it switched off at 1 gig I ran out of virtual memory and the game acted strange leading up to the moment it crashed. I don't believe it is strictly necessary to have that much more than 1 gig as other games I've run such as Half Life 2 don't work any better with it. I would include BF 2 also save for not having run it with just 1 gb. The more the merrier I'd say - but really its uses are best in image manipulation software and the like as recommended by photography buffs. I'm not sure but encoding to wma/mp3 has greatly improved and perhaps this is down to the increased ram?

    Back to topic: do apply some arctic silver or other compound. Follow their excellent instructions for applying it in most effective manner - in a word - cleanly. Remove any residue from the heatsink/cpu with clean lint free cloth (like a lens cloth) and you can use something non water based that evaporates like white spirit (though not usually recommended) to the job done. Then they say put a tiny amount on the heatsink, rub in with a cloth and then remove (no white spirit) so the microscopic valleys in the heatsink's metallic base are filled and provide better contact. Apply a very small rice grained sized amount to the cleaned CPU die (nothing else) with a plastic spatula type thing, providing an equal but thinly applied covering - so long as the die is covered it should be adequate. Do check their site though - you can use a spacer to cushion the processor from overtightened heatsinks but do put the heatsink on well tight though as it makes a difference. You can also get a zalman rheostat or similar for altering the fan voltage and thus speed to suit your cooling/accoustic requirements. You can get this stuff from Overclockers.com - I just got their copper Geil compound but have yet to use it. According to many, copper is a better conductor of heat than aluminium so there should theoretically be an advantage. Plus do upgrade your cooler if you feel you'd benefit from doing so.

    In any case all this info is irrelevant if your CPU is not actually being overloaded or overheating - your core runs hot and is designed to cope with that aspect (however undesirable). You might save time and money just doing a reinstall of Windows and reloading the latest clean drivers for your hardware. If you can't be doing with that then just reinstall chipset, graphics and possibly soundcard drivers - my money is on the chipset drivers being corrupted maybe. And do use task manager to ensure there is no extraneous unecessary programs running in the background. You can use something like Easycleaner which is another excellent utility like MBM to get the best out of your system - it has a wizard for deleting unwanted start up program keys so all those innocuous and unecessary update programs can be shut down etc saving whatever clock cycles are possiby being leeched away from gaming. Plus, be sure to run minimal software whilst gaming - using FRAPS will have a dramatic effect on system running if you're making gaming vids of course.

    PS - just had a quick look at the linked article on CPU heat tolerance over at THG and things have reversed themselves since then: AMD is now reknown for operating far more efficiently in respect to heat output than Intel. This is even truer for the latest dual core architecture. Your CPU is likely to be a Prescott core (remember with P4 and AMD K series processors there are always many revisions to the core architecture). Unforunately, most of these Prescott processors have a reputation for high heat output though they are very common in the gaming community. The latest socket 775 processor support more thermally efficient processors as does the AMD 64 platform I believe. Things are nowhere near as bad as they used to be with the old Thunderbirds though AMDs latest are not meant to be as good as the likes of El Barto?
     
  26. mjn

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    Have you installed the correct chipset drivers for your motherboard? As this would seem to be the main cause to me.

    Oh, and try a clean install of Windows?
     

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