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Help with very low FPS in games

Last response: in Video Games
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January 20, 2010 12:43:32 AM

In games, such as WoW (or any, really) my FPS is incredibly low for my system specs. Comparing to a friend's FPS who has the same video card and a worse CPU, I get around 8-9 FPS in places where he gets 40+. Sometimes my FPS will drop to completely unplayable levels (2-3 FPS) and I'm really stumped as to what the cause is.

My specs:
PSU: 550w, 34A on a single +12v rail
Memory: 4 gb PC6400 DDR2
Motherboard: ECS A770M-A
Processor: AMD Phenom 9500 (4 cpus at ~2.2ghz)
GPU: GeForce GTX 260 Core 216
OS: Windows 7 Professional x64

I've really looked at everything I can think to look at, dxdiag dumps, CPU-Z, GPU-Z, etc. I just can't find the issue. My CPU activity is never at 100% and my memory usage is at acceptable levels. I have reinstalled my video driver multiple times and it hasn't helped my FPS at all. I was hoping you all could at least point me in the correct direction toward fixing this problem.

More about : low fps games

January 20, 2010 1:46:55 AM

My guess is the PSU is not supplying enough power to the vid card. Post PSU specs, brand.


have you checked all your connections?
January 20, 2010 1:48:35 AM

Yes, I've even unhooked everything from the PSU and re-hooked it all back up. I made sure to check all the other connections as well (check sata cables, reseated the video card, etc).
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January 20, 2010 2:08:48 AM

Sorry, looks to be a 500w actually (it's late!)

Specs:
28A +3.3VDC,
30A +5VDC,
34A +12VDC,
0.8A -12VDC,
0.3A -5VDC,
2.0A +5VSB
Total Output Power: 500W

I didn't use driver sweeper. Win 7 loves to install drivers without giving me the option to cancel after I uninstall the previous drivers and reboot. I'll try driver sweeper, but I've been thinking of replacing this PSU for a while now anyway.
January 20, 2010 3:09:16 AM

Ultra's are a so-so PSU at best.

Unfortunately, the only way to test is to put in a new PSU.

Get one of the Corsairs, you wont be disappointed.
January 21, 2010 9:31:46 PM

I've upgraded my power supply and installed the latest nvidia driver after uninstalling and using driver sweeper, but my FPS hasn't improved. Does anyone else have any other suggestions?
January 22, 2010 2:13:25 AM

Open the nvidia control panel /manage 3d settings. Set everything to let application decide. Turn off vsync and shut down physix if it's on. Open up game. Check settings there. Try lower settings for starters. Also set draw distance. You may have it at max which might be putting a hurt on the system. If problems clear up you can start increasing settings... AA, etc. There should also be somewhere in W7 where you can turn off auto update for drivers and opsys.
January 22, 2010 2:55:15 AM

I've already in the past set the settings in the nvidia control panel you suggested. Oddly enough, lowering the settings in the game does very little for my fps (increases it by 3-4). Thanks for the suggestions though, swifty. I really can't guess what the issue is. I'm curious whether it's a driver issue or a windows issue. I might try installing Windows 7 32-bit on another hard drive I have coming in on RMA in a week or two to see if that helps at all. A bit better legacy driver support plus a windows reinstall would help tell whether it's a software issue.
January 22, 2010 3:00:17 AM

Lets hope you find out what it is. And please post result........ One of my little nephews plays WOW on a 939-3700 single core, 2gigs of PC3200 and an ATI 4830 with hardly any problems. Your machine should smoke it.
January 22, 2010 3:34:17 AM

Thanks for the encouragement :)  I'm still open to ideas, but at this point it looks like I'll be swapping parts between computers and doing major software re-installs to localize the problem.
January 22, 2010 8:07:12 AM

Without wanting to state the obvious I assume you've checked cpu clock speed and memory speed in the bios just to make sure they're not restricted?

Something i'd thnk of doing would be to do a fresh install of windows, and run 3dmark or something and get a numerical figure for your pc being benchmarked. If this gives a number pretty high and expected for a machine of your spec something is happening with the software side of things and not the hardware.
January 22, 2010 9:46:57 AM

Something I've noticed with Vista and older games is that it needed older drivers for them to run. You could try older drivers....... ones for Vista but not W7 listed and see if they make a difference. Try the 182 or earlier drivers and see what happens.
January 22, 2010 12:41:18 PM

"I'll be swapping parts between computers"
Start with that ECS motherboard lol.
But seriously, it's more likely to be a software issue than hardware, that psu should be runing things fine, even a pi** poor 550watt should handle a gt260.

User driver sweeper to kill any leftovers of VGA drivers then re-install.
Also check that the swap file is set to system managed as I have seen this affect WoW a few times quite badly
January 22, 2010 1:34:21 PM

Quote:
Without wanting to state the obvious I assume you've checked cpu clock speed and memory speed in the bios just to make sure they're not restricted?

Yeah, checked the bios and CPU-Z, all report the expected clock speeds.
Quote:
Something i'd thnk of doing would be to do a fresh install of windows, and run 3dmark or something and get a numerical figure for your pc being benchmarked. If this gives a number pretty high and expected for a machine of your spec something is happening with the software side of things and not the hardware.

Fresh windows 7 (32-bit) install is probably my next step. If that doesn't work, check with a fresh windows xp install. If that doesn't help, then I start playing with hardware! I don't have 3dmark except for the run-once trial version, and I doubt I would be able to be able to even recognize whether the numbers are good or not.
Quote:
Something I've noticed with Vista and older games is that it needed older drivers for them to run. You could try older drivers....... ones for Vista but not W7 listed and see if they make a difference. Try the 182 or earlier drivers and see what happens.

I'll give that a try, might help my FPS a bit. I'm not sure if it would help though (doesn't hurt to try) because compared to my friend with the same OS/Video card, I'm pretty far below him on FPS and he has the latest driver.
Quote:
"I'll be swapping parts between computers"
Start with that ECS motherboard lol.

Hah, well it more would be dropping single parts in other computers to see if I have the same FPS problems on them. Noted on the motherboard!
Quote:
Also check that the swap file is set to system managed as I have seen this affect WoW a few times quite badly

I did have it set manually. I did it to fix some out-of-space errors I had a while back that ended up being attributed to a dying cmos battery. Swapping it to system managed didn't help much though, but it did seem to help a little if it's not a placebo effect. Thanks!
February 24, 2010 1:51:44 AM

I figured I would give an update to this relatively old thread. I reinstalled windows 7 32-bit with no change in frame rate in any games (fresh install, straight to game installation, really not much FPS difference).

I've been suspecting the motherboard since odd things occasionally happen. One example is when I unhook the power supply from the motherboard and hook it back up, it can take a while for the computer to decide to post for the first time. Many times it will just sit there quietly and not responding even to the case's power button; the only way to turn it off it is to throw the power switch.

Another odd thing it does (very very rarely) is when plugging something into a USB port, the screen goes blank and I have to hard reboot.

The post codes have never been a comforting single beep... it varies with peripherals plugged in. Heck, swapping out keyboards changed it from upwards of 6 beeps to 3 beeps, removing my USB headset removes a beep, etc. I really have never understood this motherboard.

I might try installing XP to see if it's a windows 7 issue before I go ahead and start saving up to replace the motherboard (it and the CPU are pretty old anyway...), but it looks like it's a bit flaky.
February 24, 2010 8:20:28 PM

Have you tried overclocking your card?
February 25, 2010 3:22:27 PM

I've not attempted overclocking my video card, if that's your question. The bottleneck appears to be CPU as screen resolution changes, etc have little effect on FPS. I have tried overclocking my CPU to see if any change is noticable, but even a slight FSB increase make the system non-posting (CMOS must be cleared via jumper/battery).
!