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MY X850 XT IS STUTTERING INSANELY

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January 8, 2007 4:49:20 AM

Hi everyone,

I just upgraded from a gf4 Ti 4400 to a x850 xt (agp4x/8x) currently running in 4x mode (that's the max that my mother board supports). And well there is this problem, it stutters in games like there's no tomorrow, i cannot stand it.

I don't know what the problem is and i don't know what to do.

I run an OCed 3Ghz p4, with a 600 Mhz FSB and 1GB of DDR400 (clocked at 375Mhz, that was the max setting i could set the FSB/dram multiplier in the bios). this set up ran fine with the GF Ti4400 except it was slow in newer games.

I haven't done anything to the graphics card, it runs stock (520/540 core/gmem).

No idea what to do.

Had a thought that maybe the gmem is getting too hot, as the stock cooling on the card has no heatsinks on the samsung gmem chips. just an oversized heatsink+fan on the GPU. I read that GDDR3 chips run cool, and are stable when hot, but if so why is my computer stuttering so much. the other reason that i thought of the gmem is that all other cards like this that i've seen do have a heat sink on the gmem chips.

Any help would be apperciated.
January 8, 2007 6:17:13 AM

Download and install ATI Tool. It will allow you to individually control GPU and DDR3 frequencies, and load test the card for artifacts and cooling.

http://www.techpowerup.com/atitool/

Hope this helps. 8)
January 9, 2007 2:16:41 AM

The OC was good before the new x850 xt card so it should be good after right?, I will try using stock speeds and see.

I have a 430 W PSU, googleing found my graphics card would require a minimum of 350 W for the system.

I think you might be right about the power though i recently had a really random thing happen, the mouse just stopped working. And later there was some kind of error message, something along the lines of "usb doesn't have enough power or something", i wasn't there at the time the message came up.

So i had to unplug one of my harddrives (i had three plugged in at the time), and just to be on the safe side i use a ps/2 adapter for my mouse, i'll try unplugging a second drive and use only one, and see how that goes.

I have done a clean install of windows xp pro, and yeah, it's a tiny bit better, but far from what it should be.

Also, question: could it be the crappy stock cooling? There are NO HEATSINKS on the GDDR3, i mean i'm sure that it's made to run hot, that's what graphics cards do, but NO HEATSINKS!!!??? (note: there is a giant heat sink with a small fan on the graphics core, but it doesn't touch the gmem) I really would like to know if i'm just an idiot or the cooling is bad.

I have ati traytools installed and it has helped to make the unplayable games playable, but i need to get the visual splendor that i paid for.

Btw. it plays games like NFSC (nfs carbon) pretty well (despite some stutter), i mean that compared to some other games like Hitman: blood money, and FEAR. Of course it SHOULD be able to play NFSC pretty well, considering that it's an x850 xt.

NEway I will update progress soon.
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January 9, 2007 11:12:16 PM

Turns out u were right, it was the power supply, i unplugged two of my hard drives and presto it was performing significantly better. Do harddrives really use that much power or did a miracle just happen?

I tried it with no overclocking and just the bare minimum things i would need to play games (system HDD, cdrom etc.), and it was a lot better than before.

I'm thinking to get out my old 300W power supply do some case warping/moding and power the HDD and CDROMS with it. I'm too cheap to go out and get another psu and waste the money spent on the two i already have (430W + 300W). Does my system really need that much power though i thought a 430W would be enuff? check this out:

http://www.guru3d.com/article/content/212/4/

or google "x850 xt x850 xt pe" and click the first link.

this this article also talks about the quality of the psu but a psu is just a bit of analog electronics made to look fancy with some specially shaped plugs coming out, and i'm sure there is no difference in quality between the a 550 watt psu that costs $40 and one that costs $100+, just that the $100+ one might be able to go a a little more than 550W to make it seem special, ie. a $100 550W psu is really a 600W psu with a 550W sticker.

730W is what a new 8800 GTX system needs, mine is running a classical p4 northwood.

Unfortunately there is still this strange stutter, like if i turn too fast or walk into a large room in FEAR and even just at other random times. It is also there in some other games. I used ati tray tools to increase the PCI latency of my graphics card to 192 to try and aleviate the problem, no noticable difference. Also the frame rate in FEAR varys WIDELY like from from 10 fps to 85 fps. The fps counter doesn't change when there is stuttering, which is less frequent now, but still occurs quite often: often enuff to be annoying.

Dxdiag is also being evil; not sure if it's due to anything i did, but when it tests direct 3d the cube spins so fast it's stupid, then it asks "did you see a spinning cube?" I saw somthing, something that was quite blurry.

Question: does my graphics card not have a temp monitor? cause i can't use the ATI Overdrive overclocking utility in ATI Tray Tools. I have ATI Hot Key Poller enabled, and the ATI Smart Service on. Also when i go into the Hardware->Overclocking Settings in tray tools, there is no temp gauge. I still overclocked it though (from 520/540 to 540/540, gpu/gmem) just to get the core in sync with the mem, i saw that these x850 xts are quite oc friendly.

2nd Question: is it possible to some how enable temp monitor in the hardware? if i go out and bother to get a custom cooling solution, or even just for my own peace of mind.
January 10, 2007 12:10:27 AM

btw, try to check out if the problem resolves if you get your AGP speed down to 2X or lower..
when I got my radeon 9800 from an Geforce 2 MX 400, I got the same horrible STUDDERING. and it was the AGP thing....

reducing the AGP speed in the drivers, fixed my problems , go figure.. :/ 
January 10, 2007 12:46:38 AM

If you do combine your PSU's, don't worry about watts. Worry about the Amps.
That's your problem. Even though the requirement is "350w PSU", it is not basing that off of how many amps the card needs.
January 10, 2007 10:38:47 PM

Like the others said, it does sound like the PSU as you have confirmed.

Just a note about what I have experienced, I had an Athlon XP 2800+ with a 9800XT and that was running on a generic (Honli) 480W PSU and I had similar problems to you, random freezing etc but I noticed that i could hear the system fans slow down when I started a game. I changed that out to a Thermaltake 430W and everything performed much better with the lower rated PSU.

My opinion, don't use low quality PSU's, they are rubbish, and allways add at least 50W to any figure you calculate with any of the online tools, just to be safe.

While the Thermaltake PSU is not of what I would call "high Quality" it is certainly much better than a "Generic" one and can be had for as little as US$30 if you get the OEM one fitted to one of thier cases ie: Armour, that is where mine came from.
January 11, 2007 12:56:44 AM

That's why me and another person coined "Don't skimp on the power supply."
January 11, 2007 1:36:20 AM

It probably is that you still have an inadequate power supply in it. I have a friend who has had the same problem with his graphics card because he refuses to ditch his junk ass generic power supply for something half way decent. I experienced this problem once myself and when I swapped out the generic power supply for an antec rated at the same wattage but more amps on the 12V rail all was good. That little antec true power 380watt power supply is still going in fact. I would try asking a friend who has a good power supply if you can borrow their power supply to test if that is in fact still the problem. Make sure its a good one though and not any kind of generic POS.

Good luck
let us know what happens with it
January 11, 2007 6:02:36 PM

Thanks for the help all, however this is where it gets weird........

I'm pretty sure I have a decent quality psu, it is a thermaltake 430W psu, the one that comes with the Sopranos, i knew i would have to get a bigger power supply before i got my new x850 xt, and so i got a nice looking case as well.

So i just don't know what to do ...

Did i get a dud card ??? Did i buy a crappy product ??? there is a 1Yr warranty on it (I got it from an ebay store).

??? Help.
January 11, 2007 6:55:32 PM

try my tip of lowering the AGP speed inthe drivers of ATI.
from 4X to 2X or disabled, try checking that..
January 11, 2007 8:00:06 PM

I don't want to try lowering the agp speed cause the card is only rated for the 4x/8x standards, lowering the agp bus to 2x causes the voltage to double from the 1.5V in 4x mode to 3.3V in 2x mode, i'm pretty sure that this will fry my card, don't really want to try it.

Ur 9800 must be one of those cards that is AGP 1x/2x/4x compliant, my card's box says AGP 8x/4x compiant, my motherboard box however says AGP 1x/2x/4x. Therefore the config that shud keep everything happy is AGP 4x.

Thanks for trying to help though.
January 11, 2007 9:20:35 PM

Before anyone else says it's the psu or it's something else, I have a question that I don't think has been asked yet, what games are you experiencing the problem in and what settings are you using?

I know the X850XT is a good card for it's age but are you possibly expecting too much from it?

It could also be that the AGP 4X is actually limiting your graphics bandwidth, some of the newer games will certainly saturate AGP 4X, especially on higher settings.
January 13, 2007 3:26:46 AM

Well that's a good question, the thing is that the stuttering occurs on whatever settings I set unless they are like old non-Source CS. FEAR: Auto Detect, Tomb Raider Legend: Whatever came up when it installed, DoW:D C Max (at 1024x768) with no bodies and medium battlefield scarring. The stuttering that i am experiencing can be likened to a cd player skipping it doesn't happen all the time, but often enough to be annoying. Also what's weird is that the frame rate does not change when it stutters, it remains at 60, 70 fps! I use ATI tray tools to monitor the frame rate, i'll try fraps.
January 18, 2007 5:27:24 AM

Hey everyone, thanks for all your help, um the problem is fixed, i'm just gonna run with one HDD, got a enclosure for the other two.
!