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Low graphics performance in Vista

Last response: in Windows Vista
April 14, 2007 7:35:32 PM

I recently installed vista on my system and encountered a significant reduction in FPS in all games, despite having updated my graphics and sound drivers. The system specs are as below:

Motherboard: MSI Neo2 865G,
CPU: P4C 2.8GHz HT on,
RAM: 1.5GB (2x 256 + 2x 512, 400Mhz), 4xFSB @ 800Mhz,
OS: Windows Vista Home Premium,
Main HDD: Wester Digital 120GB 7200rpm ATA,
GFX: nVidia GeForce 7800GS 256MB, Detonator 100.65, 2 monitors - primary LCD DVI + secondary CRT Analogue,
Sound: Creative Audigy 2, Drivers from May 2007.

Despite my best efforts, the fps in games such as counter-strike (v 1.6 via steam, not source!) is ~40, dropping frequently to 20 @ 1024x768, whereas in XP it used to be steady at 70fps. Similarly EA BFME2 stutters so much it's nigh on unplayble, independently of the graphics settings I choose (v. low to high), whereas I could run it smoothly with high graphics in XP.

From what I have seen on the net, there are two school of thoughts on this type of problem: that the vista drivers are immature, or that the user has somehow misconfigured their system (since some people report better performance on vista than XP).

I am a little frustrated as to what to do to correct the situation. For the meanwhile I have set up an XP boot on a second HDD, so I can play games at good fps, whilst I try to sort out this problem on vista. What do you think could be causing the problem. Is the processor the cause - as processor usage has a tendency to get higher than it used to in XP? Is it to do with hyperthreading? Is this related to the directsound emulation that vista uses in contrast to the model XP uses? Is it a multimonitor problem? (I reverted to single monitor mode with no significant improvement). Are there better performance nVidia beta drivers out there?

Any help with the problem would be appreciated.

April 15, 2007 12:01:19 AM

Hmm...I had a very similar problem. I would check the profile settings. I'm at an XP computer at the moment, but I think those settings are found around here:

Control Panel-nVidia Control Panel-3D Settings-Adjust Profiles

Or something like that. Since this problem is found in all games, I'd think it would be a global setting. Go in there (Global Profile?) and make sure everything is set to application controlled. Change what you'd like.

April 15, 2007 5:15:59 PM

Isn't Vista horrile on a P4 2.8Ghz? I installed it on a 3.0 GHzwith 2 GB memory and it was a pain in the ass.
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April 15, 2007 7:42:08 PM

Isn't Vista horrile on a P4 2.8Ghz? I installed it on a 3.0 GHzwith 2 GB memory and it was a pain in the ass.

Me? I've since upgraded. The 2.8GHz P4 is sitting in a closet in a dead motherboard. PSU blew out and took the whole sha-bang. Right now I have a E6600 @ 3.5GHz and Vista is quick and speedy. Minor slowdowns, but I can live with those. I expected butter everywhere, but there are some places where there seems to be some bottleneck. I think it is my 'mediocre' (lol, jk) 7200RPM Seagate.

April 15, 2007 8:53:41 PM

I think the source of the problem may be a hardware failure, since I experienced an increasing frequency of freezes that would render the computer unusable when I was on XP - part of the reason I changed to vista, since I had to reinstall anyway. Now, the freezing has only happened once, but the computer feels sluggish in general. The CPU usage is 90% on just dragging a window around and the hard disks can hardly be heard working since they work so intermittently.

The motherboard is the prime suspect, since the old PSU failed only recently and was replaced, but maybe it was replaced a little too late.

Motherboard-dependent or hardware-sensitive software such has nvTune and CPUZ have produced some spectacular system crashes (freezing + a protracted horrible sound).

I'll replace the motherboard and processor and see what happens.

Thanks for the suggestions, ikjadoon. I've already experimented with the profiles to exhaustion - they make no difference - the computer lags as much at full graphics settings as at low graphics settings.
April 15, 2007 11:09:41 PM

You may be right, but a motherboard couldn't cause this much havoc? Maybe.

April 16, 2007 11:56:14 AM

I know what you mean. I thought it might have been a memory problem, but I tested that thoroughly and the memory is 100% functional.

As far as I know processor malfunctions are much easier to spot - the computer doesn't make it more than a few seconds into boot.

Other hardware problems I would expect to affect their respective functions, but since sound is fine and 3d graphics appears to be normal and running a 3d game doesn't increase the chances of failure, there isn't really much else it could be.

The hard drives are all SMART OK and have 0 bad sectors.
April 17, 2007 1:16:32 AM

I would try 101.41 drivers and the 101.71 drivers. Both are BETA, but see if they cure anything.

April 17, 2007 7:17:27 PM

I'd already tried 101.41 to no avail.

A change on the motherboard and processor appears to have fixed things - the system feels spritely - just installing some games, I expect they'll be ok.
April 17, 2007 11:15:51 PM


If you'd like, nVidia has released some new Vista drivers today.

April 17, 2007 11:16:22 PM

If you're running legit, you will be receiving a major performance increasing bugfix from microsoft, and you should download todays updated driver for vista.

I just went from 20-30 fps outside, to 30-60, just like that with a driver update.
All source games are bugged without microsofts compat patch wich was released four weeks ago.

Dont know for sure about old CS, but.. You know there's CS:S now right?
You're running a 7800GS with a game that maxes out in software mode on a 1ghz p3 dude.
April 24, 2007 5:10:22 PM

Thanks for the feedback guys! I've been running with the new MB for a while now and everything's smooth as silk. Funny point with regards to running CS on a GF7800GS :D ... old habits die hard, maybe I should move on to source or something.
April 25, 2007 12:18:27 AM

Great, I'm glad it is working!