New system, poor performance

I just purchased the following system:

P4 640 (3.2 ghz) processor
Asus P5ND2-SLI motherboard (not deluxe model)
Western Digital 250 SATA II HDD
Corsair XMS2 DDR2 512x2 memory
Antec 550W True Power II dual 12v
BFG GeForce 7800 GT OC
Thermaltake Soprano case

I am getting very poor performance in games currently. And by poor, I mean HL2 suggests I do 1024x768 with everything maxed, but I get like 15 fps. Counter Strike is getting around 15 FPS. FEAR is just a nightmare. Even when I lower everything down to 800x600 with low settings, HL2/Counter Strike is so damn slow, with no increase in FPS.

I have the latest Nvidia 81.98 drivers, latest Nforce chipset update, updated my BIOS, I dont have any of that Nvidia extra stuff starting up in my MSCONFIG/Startup. When prompted to install the Nvidia SW IDE driver, I say YES.

I plugged my HDD in using the SATA cables, so I know it's fine. I get the 'skip' during games, like it's the HDD catching up or something, but I dont think that's the main problem here.

My memory is dual channel DDR (2 x 512) Corsair XMS2 performance ram

I have WinXp Pro w/SP2 installed. No virus scanners, no Office installed or anything like that. Fresh system with WinXP and a few games.

I know that when you get a new system, you have to screw with settings to get it to run perfect. But really, can you guys offer some help here? I'm at a loss...

Here is a shot of some info.. SORRY FOR THE LARGE IMAGE, if i reduced it, it got really blurry:

When I installed Windows for the first time, I hit F6, and put in the disk that I made using my ASUS CD from another computer, and loaded the SATA drivers.

I emailed BFG, they said that the small amount of RAM I have is hurting my performance. I nearly snapped when I read that email. How can 1 gig of ram explain 15 fps at 800x600 in HL2 with my system specs?

They also said that my card must be in an IRQ setting between 5-15. If you look at my screenshot, it's on IRQ 16. But it wouldn't put it there if it was conflicting, right?

My CPU temperatures are 50-55 Celcius at IDLE, and about 60 at full load.
My Graphics Card temperatures are like 42 Celcius at IDLE, and 50 at full load.

My current attack plan: When I get home from work, I'm removing all Nvidia drivers and chipset drivers, using Driver Cleaner Pro to remove all DLL files, and I'll then try to reinstall everything again, saying NO to the Nvidia SW IDE driver. I doubt this will work tho :S
47 answers Last reply
More about system poor performance
  1. The Nvidia IDE driver is flawed. You should uninstall it and use the generic MS one. It's perfectly fine, as you don't get any sort of extra features with the Nvidia one.

    If uninstalling/rolling back doesn't work, you might even have to re-install windows... but that might be a drastic measure you don't need to take. Maybe someone else has a better suggestion
  2. Check for "shared" stuff before you uninstall anything.
    goto control panel -> Administrative tools -> computer management.
    Pick device manager, right click on that and pick 'view -> resources by type'. Look under IRQ and see whats there.

    Chances are one of your key components - HD, sound, Video - is sharing an IRQ with something its not supposed to.
  3. What BIOS version is on your mainboard? (Seen in your initial post display)

    (A minimum version of 0404 is required for your model 640 /3.2GHz cpu support, as a BIOS update was issued to suppor that cpu specifically)

    here is a link to Asus' site...

    Second possibility: CLock throttling?

    Do you use the supplied Intel thermal paste? (Generic/cheap brands do not get proper heat transfer to the heatsink, which will quickly cause the cpu to clock throttle itself down to as low as 50% or lower of max...)

    Was tape removed from bottom of heatsink, if applicable? (not trying to insult you, just covering some simple "clock throttle" causes!)

    another quick possibility: "latest Nforce chipset drivers"

    Are you sure you used the right ones, specific to the NF4/Intel chipset?

    Here's an Nvidia link for NF4/Intel SLI drivers for XP:

    Another possibility:

    You mentioned "When I installed Windows for the first time, I hit F6, and put in the disk that I made using my ASUS CD from another computer, and loaded the SATA drivers."

    Unless you are installing from /thru a RAID controller set for RAID 0/1/5 operation, you do not need to install "SATA drivers" with WinXP ; I might try deleting the C partition, recreating it, and fresh installing to clear out that installation entirely...(Ensure MB BIOS is not set for RAID operation) If your mb has an integrated RAID controller, try connecting drive to one of the native supported "ordinary" SATA ports...

    The specific standard order for install is:

    NF4 for Intel chipset drivers
    7800GT drivers
    Directx 9.0c

    (update sound/lan driver updates from Asus afterwards....skip their RAID driver for now, unless it is impossible to even get Winxp install to access the sata drive without the RAID driver, which is unusual)
  4. I have version 0501.

    There was nothing to peel off, you just install it.. it had preapplied thermal paste on it, so I just set it on the CPU, 4 clicks, done.

    I will reinstall drivers, if that doesn't work, format, redo it all again.
  5. silly question but do you have the latest directx version??
  6. yes, if u look at the picture i linked to in my original post, it will answer most questions
  7. Make sure you have the video card in the top pci-e slot if you are running one card.

    Also make sure if you are running one card the sli selector card is flipped the correct way.

    Its not your ram 1gb is more than enough.

    Check your bios to see if there is any sli prompts in there.
  8. "I have version 0501.

    Then you are okay for cpu support, as any BIOS version after 0404 supports your cpu...
  9. ram could be faulty tho :P run memtest and 3dmark05.... 06 will give u a lower score and might scare u, ur score in 05 should be around 7-8k? i think... u only have 1 hd, or so the pic says, id say dont install any raid stuff that could be causing it, but u say u hear the hd trying "catch up" while gaming, so its either the hd or memory, u could have like 256 of usable memory and the rest could be messed (if thats even possible) or u could have just installed somthing u shouldnt have (raid drivers)... with the symptoms u described id rule out video/processor... but then again 15fps at lowest settings probably has somthing to do with video card, do u get artifacts at all? u may want to consider RMAing somthing upon further research... do u have an old machine u can put pieces into and test? (like the memory, and maybe processor) or ask a friend if u can try those 2 in his computer, that will rule out 2 of the 4 possible things, but before all this, reinstall drivers, if that doesnt work, reinstall windows... then work with the hardware running benchmarks and memtest, also right click on y computer to see what ur clock speed is, if its throttling it will show that its clocked at 2.0 or somthing
  10. Some things to try (although not as effective now that everything is integrated into the MB).

    Remove all components not necessary to the operation of the PC. Extra drives, audio card, network card, modem?...

    Remove the drivers for these devices.

    Uninstall the aftermarket SATA drivers (this may cause a failure to boot given that some controllers are not fully integrated). Make sure that if your PC has two SATA controllers that your HD is on the primary controller. This controller is normally fully integrated into the MB/BIOS and can do a detection within the BIOS of your SATA drives. The secondary controller often requires a driver in Windows to recognize the devices once booted.

    After you get (Back to performing) start to add additional components back one at a time, while testing after each installation.

    Having been in this industry for a while it really does matter sometimes the order of installation of devices. Some device drivers are written to play nicer than others. I once had a PC that ran at top o the class until the modem was installed (last). Perfomance would come to a halt due to conflicts on the IRQ. Remedy was to install the modem first and the sound card second. The sound card driver payed nicer with the rest of the equipment and went around the modems settings. This does not happen (as much these days) but it does still happen. You can direct the installation of devices by saying NO to windows hardware detection/installation and doing it yourself in your order....

    Hope this helps...
  11. Issue fixed!

    I can't believe this... The heatsink was not secured properly.. i guess I didn't *click* it in after all?! Anyways, since I reinstalled the heatsink, temperature is at 35 Celcius, and at load it's at 40 Celcius. What a difference from 60!

    Thank you for all your help!!
  12. I guess we all should have started with the old standard for problem resolution "re-seat everything" :-)

    MDD hit a homer !!!!!
  13. hehe ya.

    Now I'm looking for a better cooling solution.. a new heatsink and fan.

    Can someone suggest "the best"?
  14. Man you just opened up a CAN :-)

    People are as pasionate about heatsinks as they are about their procs.

    Looks like you are hoping to get a good active cooling system.

    Quiet or loud or I don't really care?

    Are you planning on overclocking?
  15. Preferably not much louder than my stock cooler.

    Price is not important, the more expensive, the better, so give it to me baby!

    Not interested in overclocking, but I might as well if it lowers my heat! It's not really required. I Just want this system even cooler


    Also, please read:, they say my ram should be:
    Latency : 4-4-4-12
    When it starts up it says something like 5-4-4-14 or something..

    How do I change it to those recommended settings? It's on Auto, but I have the following choices:

    Addressing Mode

    I need to change settings in each.. what do I set them to, to achieve the recommended latency?
  16. This is a great resource to understand what you are looking at and why you should or should not change your timings...
  17. Okay but can u help me by telling me what each of those settings is supposed to be? :)
  18. Okay go to that site and listen to section 21 through 24.... it will give you everything you need to read that and you will learn it from them and not have to trust me. :-)

    Read and Listen young Grasshopper :-D
  19. I noticed something: When I run CPU-Z, its showing my core speed fluctuating from 2800 to 3200 MHz, and the multiplier keeps changing from 14x to 16x. I read on a forum that this is due to EIST (Enhanced Intel Speedstep Technology) and that it's reducing the processor to 2800 MHz (the lowest this series can go) when idle. And it kicks it up to full speed when needed. They said it's safe to disable this in my bios because the only real savings is overall CPU life, which, really, who cares.. In a few years I'll upgrade anyway.

    Does this make sense?
  20. Does your MOBO have dynamic overclocking?

    Like MSI and others it will do a dynamic OC with an app in windows called CORECELL. Dynamic OC is not really a good thing to do since you do not know where you are at... I would disable this if it is enabled.
  21. Well my motherboard has NOS (Non Delay Overclocking System) set to AUTO. It says it intelligently determines the system load and automatically boosts the performance for the most demanding tasks.

    Should I turn this off?
    And then turn off EIST too?

    My friend said "Either overclock, or dont. Don't let your mobo decide how fast your processor is supposed to run. Make a choice to stay stock or overclock".
  22. Your friend is very wise.

    Turn it off and do a mild OC yourself. For instance my primary PC is a P4 3.0C and I have it OC'd to 3.1 with the auto turned off.

    The place you can have issues with the dynamic OC stuff is inside of games. For instance the PC at a crucial time beleives that you are not doing enough to have the CPU spun up because you are going down a dark hall with little detail. You then step through the door to the 10 guys on the other side shooting at you. It will determine at that point that you need the Horse Power and give it to you but it is now too late.

    That is just a for instance. It may not be that bad but you get the idea.
  23. No no, you're absolutely right, that makes sense.

    How should I overclock? I havent done this forever now. Do I just increase the FSB a bit?
  24. Let me look for a while and see if I can find an up-to-date OC tutorial. I found one the other day that was geared to the AMD but may not fully apply to the Intel that you have.

    Will get back to you.

    In the mean time you could do a little yourself, try:

    in google search window:
    +intel +"dual core" +overclock +tutorial or +"how to"

    That is where I would start too..
  25. i dont have dual core :P
  26. Yup you are right :-)

    For some reason I thought you had the 900 series not the 600....

    Just read your first post again :-)
  27. Dual core is 800 series :D
  28. Testing 123 Testing 123

    Test failed!! :-D
  29. I wanna know FOR SURE that this heatsink is on right, coz in the back of my mind i keep thinking "what if it's not on right still?" I'm 99.5% sure it is, but I want to be 100% sure :) I mean, I dont know HOW MUCH harder I can still press on those damn screws, so I guess it HAS to be on right if I'm getting 35 degrees right?

    I dont know HOW I'm going to verify the above photos on my setup without pulling the mobo out.. really dont wanna go there!

    I really need to clean up the ratsnest inside my comp. tho. Cables EVERYWHERE from the P/S
  30. I thought you had the 940 which is dual core. The 800 series is also but the 900 series is also dual core.
  31. The solid copper Zalman "flower" style heatsinks work VERY well. I'm not partial to one brand or the other, but when I did run an Intel P4, the Zalman reduced my temps by almost 10 deg. celcius. It's also a $50 heatsink, so by no means cheap. The have a newer one as well, it looks like a giant sideways get engine made of copper fins, and it costs just under $100, but it is supposed to be the best non-watercooled heatsink on the market. Just make sure it'll fit into your system before you buy it, and if you do upgrade the heatsink, buy a $7 tube of Arctic Silver thermal paste, that reduces the temps by at least another 2-3 degrees.
  32. Hey Slaw,

    I stole this from another thread and it actually looks pretty good.

    The last part actually walks you through OC'ing an AMD but I think it too covers very well the steps you would need.
  33. wicked thx!

    I disabled EIST speedstep, and Enhanced C1 (C1E), which was the bastard that was throttling me down!

    CPU Internal Thermal Control is set to AUTO, not sure what that does.. doesn't seem to hurt me.

    Now it stays at a constant 3200.
  34. try running 3dmark 05 before u overclock it... no need in overclocking if ur getting average marks with ur setup... but i guess overclocking a bit wont really cause any problems, but if ur computer was throttling from heat then u might not wanna overclock it, even if its just a little, although it will turn off if it gets too hot... id just try running 3dmark before u overclock, and monitor the temps with speedfan or some other temp program... make sure it isnt overheating and then overclock... to be honest i didnt read the entire thread so u may have said its not a heat issue, i forget lol. so if heat is ruled out then ignore this post...
  35. What temps are you running?

    Both Idle and say while running prime95?
  36. It is good to baseline before you start your OC'ing.

    That way you know what chagnes offer better results without suffering elsewhere. Run some of the benchies listed in the article to draw your baseline and then start having fun.

    The speedstep disable will also cause you to have higher electric bills but really not by much. I personally disable speedstep in my notebook during gaming evn though things get a little bit hot. Most of the time as long as your cooling is acceptable you will not hit the thermal barriers.
  37. Electric bills? R U kidding? lol I leave my dads PC on 24/7.. this one I plan on shutting down @ night, but is it really going to be that big of a deal?

    Temperatures (using Asus PC Probe II):
    - Completely idle for 2 mins = 32 degrees
    - Browsing thru the net, MSN, chatting, etc: 35 degrees
    - Prime95, 5 mins in = 45-47 degrees
    - Motherboard temp = around 30 degrees

    Memory info: What a great link! Thank you so much.. but I still dont understand, if I'm supposed to have 4-4-4-12 timing, what are all those other numbers in there? i dont know what to set them to.. I only see 4 numbers (4,4,4,12).. Dont understand
  38. Here's some info, maybe u can make suggestions on my memory timings?

  40. It is solved already,

    He is now just looking to find ways to exploit the power of his config.
  41. Memory Timing Question:

    I have Corsair XMS2 DDR2 ram.. the website says my timings should be 4-4-4-12 at 1.9V. I'm not sure how to properly set this up, so here is my BIOS screen:

    And here is my current timings using CPU-Z:

    So I think I got most of it figured out.. I have to set:
    T(CAS) to 4
    T(RCD) to 4
    T(RP) tp 4
    T(RAS) to 12
    T(RC) <--- what do i set this to? I hear it's the sum of RP + RAS? Set it to 16 then?? Or leave on Auto??
    Addressing to 2T

    Is what I wrote the correct setup if it's rated for 4-4-4-12? I'm not sure if I have it right or not.. Then I have to find my frequency and set it to 667 Mhz, right?
  42. K,

    You have the follwoing memory I think?

    If not let me know.

    This memory was tested to 675mhz.

    You are showing a much lower mhz... And since it is higher performance memory you should be using a 1T addressing. This is where I would start bay changing to 1T... and retest...

    Did you do the baseline testing?
  43. Not sure what baseline testing means :S

    I will set Addressing to 1T. It doesn't say anything anywhere about that setting, so if it's stable at 1T (which is should be right?) then we're good to go :P

    Should I leave T(RC) on AUTO, or set it to 16 (the sum of T(RP) and T(RAS))??
  44. First,

    Baseline testing is testing your original configuration to identify its characteristics in performance and stability.

    Baseline means you detail how hyour machine works before making changes so that you know you are making a difference for the positive when you test later.

    Basically Baselining lets you know if you are makig a difference in your tweaking. The cool thing about it is it also lets you know how far you got or how successful which kinda neat.

    In your first time overclocking go SLOW. Make one change and then test to see the differences made. Then make the next change and test again. It is a longer process this way but you will get a better understanding of what you are doing and the diff it makes. Also by going with one change at a time you will know what part of your testing failed if it does and imediately go back to the last stable value.
  45. Well, I used to be into it pretty hardcore, like peltiers and shit.. but I just fell off the map for a while, so now I'm trying to remember everything that I knew back then, but so many things have changed lol
  46. Here is another good memory OC article.

    Paying attention to the sync or asynch will help you a bit too.

    Does your mobo bios allow you to set the clock for the memory?

    if you set the timings and then play with the clock you should be able to get some good results.
  47. Yeah, here look at this:

    Should I set the MEM speed to 675? Corsair says that's what the ram runs at, so is this the place to change it?
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