Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Odd Performance Behavior

Last response: in Systems
Share
November 23, 2006 1:19:54 PM

Recently I upgraded to an Intel Core 2 Duo, and ever since then my computer has been acting up :( 

I will be running a game and combined with the might of my 7800GTX I'll be tearing through it with an average of 70> FPS. But ever since I got my new CPU, at random points during a game (Or so I think) my FPS will drop from this wonderful 80 to 8, or 10, or 15...

Due to odd startup behavior (Turning on then off, taking multiple trys to get a full boot) I thought it had to be the power supply, it was 450 watts and came with the case. So I bought a new one, 700 watts, very nice, but it didn't change either of the problems I'm having. I would attribute the motherboard then for the startup problems, but the FPS drop... I dunno.

Anyone have any ideas on whats going on? I don't think its programs either I've reformatted twice and I get the same problem.

RAM: 1g
Motherboard : Intel G965 Express ATX
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 Conroe 2.13Ghz
Graphics card: ASUS 7800GTX
November 23, 2006 2:21:17 PM

You're not getting a response because damn man... it looks like you've pretty much covered what people are going to suggest.

The in-game slow down could possibly be heat related as some CPU/GPUs slow down once they pass a certain temperature threshold... but that wouldn't explain your weird startup behavior. You've already reloaded so that pretty much eliminates any software problems.

Man, I hope someone can offer you some help... that's a tough one.
November 23, 2006 3:25:10 PM

I'd suggest trying programs to test ram and hard drives.
I have no idea what these programs would be, as I've never needed to use them, a quick google search should throw some results up though...
Related resources
November 23, 2006 3:32:25 PM

Memtest86 is a good way to test RAM... http://www.memtest86.com/

Although bad RAM would generally contribute to lockups and crashes... and the original poster didn't mention any of those. Still worth a shot. A bootable Memtest86 CD is a life saver when trying to troubleshoot.
November 23, 2006 4:12:20 PM

Hi undrgrnd,
Try Start > Control Panel > Power Options and set your power scheme to 'Always On". This is a handy way to disable any SpeedStep effects.
Apart from that, your basic hardware setup and configuration including BIOS are very important.
You haven't told us anything about your memory, its timing and voltage but this is also an important area to setup.
You should try something out, just to see if you get results - try setting your FSB:memory ratio to 1:1 and set the memory voltage to at least ~2.0V, and it may require more, with memory timings all default/SPD.
This could solve your strange bootup problems and may, along with SpeedStep disabled, help solve your gaming problem too (bonus).
Anyway your rig shouldn't behave like that, heheh... it should run sweet :twisted:
Regards
November 24, 2006 6:37:14 PM

Thanks for the well thought out responses everyone, its good to know you can still find helpful people on the internet :wink:

I set the power Scheme to always on, and now I don't get wierd startup behavior, hurray! I don't know if that was necessarily the reason though I restarted right before I changed it worked fine too... but anyway thats the good news.

The bad news... I still am having the dramatic drop in FPS while playing games. I looked into what you were saying about the memory, and that could be the cause of all this. I have some OCZ memory (Click Here to See Newegg) and from reading that first review that you see it looks like someone was complaining about how he needed 2.1v but he could only get 1.9v or something like that?

I also ran the memtest program and it passed 3 scans without errors before I closed it because I didn't really know what I was looking for ><. After that I opened my CMOS settings and I don't think that I can edit my FSB memory ratio or voltages. The only things I found were the timings which were set to 5-4-4-10 (their supposed to be 4-5-4-15?). I'm not much of a hardware kind of guy so I can't tell you too much there. I tried to overclock my core 2 duo since its at 2.13ghz atm and I read that it could easily get up to 2.6 or higher, but I discovered after an hour or two of research that Intel motherboards do not support overclocking (Which is why I don't believe I can change anything about my FSB)

:(  After some frusterating testing I'm at a loss once again, all I've learned is that my memory is the primary suspect here.

EDIT: I'm still getting the odd startup nevermind ><
November 24, 2006 6:59:24 PM

Agreed. OCZ is generally a finicky kind of RAM. Die-hard OCZ users will tell you otherwise, but it's true.

If you can, try replacing your RAM with Corsair or Crucial.

Does the fps drop happen with any game or just one specific one?

Try using modded nVidia drivers. Omegadrivers.net are good ones.
November 24, 2006 7:05:36 PM

Updated my BIOS with no luck... The last OCZ memory I had was amazing lol ... get new RAM was not the solution I was hoping for :( 
November 24, 2006 7:30:10 PM

You have to run the mem test for a lot longer than 3 tests... leave it running all night.
November 24, 2006 8:22:52 PM

It is not ram. Ram is an all or nothing thing...

Id be more inclined to say software (something running in the background)

or bad ide cable on cd[dvd] drive, or set to CS when it only likes MA/SL (mostly older drives)
November 24, 2006 9:23:42 PM

I'd go with a GPU problem!

Dodgy Ram will BSOD!

I know that my 7600GT can recover from a crash when it is overclocked too far.

Can you get hold of another GPU????

Try running the game at much lower resolutions to see if same occurs, if the glitches go away then your CPU mobo and ram appear to be in the clear.
November 24, 2006 9:51:52 PM

I suggest you go out there and buy / borrow another gig of ram.
November 25, 2006 5:06:23 PM

or it could be a hard drive problem?
or possibly a cpu heatsink not put on correctly, throttling kind of problem
November 25, 2006 5:23:30 PM

Doubt it's a throttling issue. Setting the machine to "Always On" turns off any clock throttling, and he said it didn't solve the problem.

Just out of curiosity, what brand is the 700W unit you bought?
November 25, 2006 10:23:21 PM

I have trouble believing that its anything to do with my graphics card... because before I upgraded it with the Intel Core 2 Duo, a new motherboard, and new memory, it never had anything like this problem. I've also noticed something that leads me to believe its the RAM, it doesn't do it at specific times but it only starts after playing the game for a while, and then continues to do it... Its getting to be a bummer because basically I didn't get lag before and I was just trying to stay updated, but ever since I upgraded even playing World of Warcraft (not a graphics intense game in the least) gets those periodic spikes. I guess I might just need another stick of RAM, the drops in performance could be due to a page-filing maybe?

When it comes to temperatures inside the computer, what should everything be around? I doubt it's a problem considering I have something like seven fans but I'll look into it.
November 25, 2006 10:27:17 PM

have you made sure all heatsinks are seated properly?
you could try opening the case, and pointing a desk fan in it, on full power, cos you're never going to get better airflow than that...
and are cables, etc connected properly?
I used to get loads of problems from a dodgy sata cable...
November 25, 2006 10:53:13 PM

If it's WoW, then adding another GB of RAM would help, but you shouldn't be getting drops that significant.

You could try modded drivers. My X1900XT would get fps drops in WoW if I looked at the horizon at just the right angle. This was with ATI's own drivers, until the latest release. When I switched to Omega's modded ATI drivers, the fps drop problem went away.

But I never got the fps drop in the first place with a 7900GT...so it could be anything. I'd say uninstall your current graphics drivers, DriverClean them, and try Omega's drivers. www.omegadrivers.net

BTW, he plays WoW...he released a custom UI that he made.
November 25, 2006 11:18:44 PM

it's possibly that the game engine itself. I've read others' post saying that in F.E.A.R.(I believe), they noticed a drastic decrease in frame rate when they turn at a corner.

Hope this help. :) 
November 27, 2006 10:39:53 AM

Well, I tried the Omega drivers and I did something because it kept saying my graphics device has no drivers so I ended up just reinstalling the old ones.

Its not just the game it happens on ALL games :( 

I still think it has to do with the RAM, since as I said before the graphics card worked flawlessly with the old motherboard and CPU. I'll run that memtest program while I'm at work today and hopefully it tell something.
November 27, 2006 11:11:31 AM

Quote:
Doubt it's a throttling issue. Setting the machine to "Always On" turns off any clock throttling, and he said it didn't solve the problem.

The CPU will throttle when the temps exceed a certain limit. It has nothing to do with Speedstep. If the heatsink is not properly seated the CPU will overheat and throttle to prevent permanent damage.
November 27, 2006 11:20:43 AM

Have you measured your CPU temps? You can use the Intel Thermal Analysis Tool for that.
November 27, 2006 7:50:21 PM

I downloaded the Thermal Analysis Tool and it averages at 48 degrees and while playing FEAR for five minutes-ish and the highest it got to was 53 degrees. While playing the framerate drop happened twice.
November 27, 2006 8:26:42 PM

Those temps are normal. If your BIOS has a section that displays CPU temps you can cross-check those results with the TAT results and then totally rule out the possibility that the heatsink isn't properly installed.
November 27, 2006 8:58:53 PM

That odd startup behavior that wasn't really resolved might give us a clue. Try and switch to the integrated graphics and see if the same thing happens. If it doesn't then we might have isolated the problem to the video card and it wouldn't be a matter of drivers since you get this problem before Windows even loads. And since the video card worked well before (I assume on a different motherboard?) then it might be a motherboard issue.
November 28, 2006 12:29:16 AM

Quote:
It is not ram. Ram is an all or nothing thing...

Id be more inclined to say software (something running in the background)

or bad ide cable on cd[dvd] drive, or set to CS when it only likes MA/SL (mostly older drives)


No ram is not all or nothing, don't make blanket statements because it might put him off what the issue may be.

It does sound like something hardware if it is happening on all your games. My first guess would be heat but your temps aren't that bad. I still think it's a ram or paging file issue, it sounds like the game is running out of ram space then having to load directly from the hdd. If that's the case it could be ram OR motherboard.
December 1, 2006 6:13:34 PM

I checked up on Newegg and found this under the *Features* description of my motherboard:
"Notice: Only DDR2-800 memory supporting JEDEC approved 1.8V operation with timings of 5-5-5 or 6-6-6 is supported on Intel Desktop Boards based on Intel 965 Express Chipsets."

My RAM:
:: 2.1V
:: 4-5-4-15
My Motherboard:
:: 1.8V
:: 5-5-5-*

Not good! I don't know enough to say if .3V would make a difference, anyone have a though about it? Also my motherboard is running the RAM at 5-5-5-10, so only that second number is correct with what OCZ wants. Basically my motherboard and my RAM have some serious compatibility issues.Due to Intel's unmodifiable BIOS I don't think that I can change how much voltage goes to the ram :evil: 

Does this mean I should start surfing the market for a better motherboard? I'd rather not have to spend $100+ to get another one and have this one just lay around but if theres no other options :cry: 
December 1, 2006 7:04:08 PM

Nah, the description for my P965-DS3 (and I guess all 965 boards) says the same thing. Mine defaulted my RAM to 5-5-5-18 but runs perfectly happily with 4-4-4-12 at 2.1V (what my memory is spec'd for). I think the trouble happens when your RAM can't run at all at those settings, and in those cases, I think it won't even POST.
December 4, 2006 2:49:52 AM

Doh, I guess the forums got messed up or something and deleted my last post :( 

To summarize what it was... I found that the cause could most likely be the compatibility between my motherboard and RAM. I found this little blurb hidden in the "Special Features" part of the motherboards specifications:
"Notice: Only DDR2-800 memory supporting JEDEC approved 1.8V operation with timings of 5-5-5 or 6-6-6 is supported on Intel Desktop Boards based on Intel 965 Express Chipsets."

RAM
Voltage: 2.1v
Timings: 4-5-4-15

Motherboard
Voltage: 1.8v
Timings: 5-5-5-* (Or 6-6-6-* wooo!)

Right now my RAM must be running .3v shy of what it should, and the timings in my CMOS are 5-5-5-10. I don't think that its possible with my motherboard to change the voltage running too it... I discovered Intel motherboards are virtually un-overclock/modifiable while trying to overclock my CPU for the first time (After hours of attempts and swearing :p  )

Any opinions about whether this is the cause or not? The timings are way off what OCZ wants and the most I can change is 4-4-4-* or 5-5-5-*, last time I tried changing it to the exact settings OCZ said... well lets just say its a good thing that it fixes itself because I got beeped at!

For reference:
My Motherboard
My RAM
December 4, 2006 7:14:28 PM

Hummm....
December 4, 2006 7:44:16 PM

I just went through the same type of thing, random shutdowns, etc. Memtest showed over 700 faults before it quit. I'm waiting for new ram and using a spare computer in the meantime. If you do have a ram problem, I'd also suggest going to 2 gig of ram if you have the money for it.
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
December 4, 2006 8:01:01 PM

If you check the user feedback for the intel 965 motherboards, you will see all sorts of problems if you do not have 1.8 volt memory. I think the latest bios update may allow 1.9 volts. The start and restart process may have been the bios trying to find a safe memory timing. Get some supported memory and sell the old on e-bay. You should come out even on the dollars.
You might also turn on the windows performance monitor to see if you are overcomitted on memory or if there is some unknown process or spyware program which has been started.
January 5, 2007 12:57:40 AM

Okay guys I know it has been a month but now that I got Christmas money I had a chance to get new RAM. I got A-DATA 1.8v RAM that everyone said was supposed to (and does 5/5 eggs) work like a charm with the Intel 965.

A-DATA RAM

Unfortunately, it's doing the same thing. This is ridiculous! Oh well looks like I have 2g of RAM now - which is good but worthless unless this is fixed. Add that to the list with the new power supply, and my computer should be running fine, but it's not.

At first I thought that it happened once the memory was used up to a certain ammount before it had to kick in extra voltage or something (Just my uninformed assumptions) but it has nothing to do with the memory load. The memory was running fine with only 50mb open room, and then the FPS was dropping with 125mb open. It's not the RAM, not the power supply, what is it?

Are there software monitoring programs that are easy to use that I can just have running in the background to check for activity, and what activity it is? I know process manager has a sort of this but... you all may laugh but CTRL+ALT+DELETE doesn't work! Don't worry about this though I don't want it drawing from the main problem here - it worked before when the problem was still happening and shouldn't be related.

Another thing... At first I thought I solved the problem because it ran fine for a long while without symptoms - probably due to the shutdown of my computer to install the new RAM. I don't know what this means but its basically once it starts it doesn't stop. (And please don't tell me the solution is to just turn off my computer :p )
January 5, 2007 2:05:38 AM

To be honest, I've never heard of A-Data ram before, so I couldn't say if its good or not. I had to go back and reread through all the previous responses cause I couldn't remember what all had happened.

If CTRL+ALT+DELETE isn't working correctly, then that indicates a problem in the OS. Next question is why isn't the OS working properly. I see you've tried reformatting and reinstalling Windows, so it should work.
That leaves me wondering if either the motherboard has a problem, causing the ram and video card not to work properly. A motherboard problem could even effect how the hard disc works.

Last, I might suspect the hard disc itself. If it has some bad sectors or other problem, even though you reinstalled Windows, some part(s) of the OS might not be getting to work as intended.

Hate to put it this way, but when all else fails, it might be time to take the computer in to a professional shop and have them diagnose it. Sure it costs money, but it can solve endless headaches and perhaps buying parts that didn't need to be replaced. I went through this a bit last year myself, going round and round trying to find and replace bad parts with no luck. I swore it was a bad motherboard, but a shop said it was a bad hard disc, my D: drive, that was preventing the C: drive from working properly. It cost $35.00 for the diagnosis and that was money well spent.
January 5, 2007 2:53:37 AM

It's going to be really hard to explain to someone a problem with video games, nothing noticeable happens outside there in Windows or other applications.

In other news ATM I don't want to hear about OS's, I put my old sticks of RAM back in with the new ones to have 2g and now Windows is giving me the BS about "re-activate" since your hardware changed. Apparently I've used up all my keys from reformating / hardware changes in the past and now I'm screwed.
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
January 5, 2007 4:21:48 AM

I think intel wants multiple ram sticks to be the same type and speed. If you have installed both 1.8 and 2.1 volt ram,you might be violating the type part. If memtest runs properly with both, then I would rule out ram as the problem. Otherwise, just use the 1.8v stick, not both.
Microsoft may invite you to call them for activation to verify that you are not running a pirated copy of the OS. Just explain the situation to them.
There is a very nice performance tool in windows/xp. Go to control-panel/administrative-tools/performance. Start this up with the factors you want to monitor. If need be, you can log the results to a file so you might get some clue if there is a failure.
The inability to use alt-cntl-delete may be a clue to your problem. That would likely be some sort of software issue. There might be some conflict with anti-virus program, a spyware problem, or even the program that reports your FPS. Whatever is impacting alt-cntl-delete is likely to affect your games also.
January 5, 2007 3:58:39 PM

I've had to call MS and re-active Windows a couple times myself. It wasn't any problem. I don't think it would be so much of a problem to explain to someone that you're having trouble with vidoe games. The guy has probably heard it before and will have an idea of what's wrong before you're finished. After that, he'll just have to test a few things to confirm it adn tell you what's wrong.
January 11, 2007 7:16:06 PM

Got Windows reactivated lol, still hate Microsoft because I heard Vista will be worse.

I ran the Performance Monitor - I noticed that when the "lag spike" occurs, th only change is in

%Privileged Time : Which goes from about 20 to 40
and
%User Time: which goes from 40 to 20.

Basically they switch. I don't know what Privileged Time and User Time are but maybe they can lead to a solution, any ideas?
January 11, 2007 11:23:30 PM

Forgot to mention that after reformatting Task Manager works fine, and the chances of the issue being an outside source are even more limited now.
!