I just built a new system with the following:
Biostar K8M800 Micro AM2 motherboard
AMD Athlon 64 x2 dual core processor
ATI Radeon X1650 Pro
PNY Optima DDR Memory (2 x 1 gig chips)
Western Digital Caviar SE 320 gig EIDE HD 7200/8MB/ATA100
Soundblaster Audigy SE
Standard 48x CDRom (first tried Liteon DVD RW but Windows wouldn't install so I changed it for now)
450W power supply
Everything went together ok but when I tried to install windows xp using the Liteon drive I kept getting error messages so I pulled that and put an old 48x standard CDRom in and windows installed ok.
System booted but took forever to load - about 7-8 minutes. I figured ok, it's a new install - may be slow the first time. But the system continues to run incredibly slow. Still takes that long to boot and once it's loaded, it runs at about the speed of a 300 mhz system both in general and on the internet (cable modem connection that normally is very fast). I tried downloading updates at Windows thinking that might help but it did not. There were 79 updates and Microsoft's site said it would take about 1 1/2 hours on a cable modem - it took more than 7 hours to download and install.
I also am unable to install the video card drivers. I get a general error message that just says there's a problem and try to install a standard VGA driver first but that does nothing. (I was able to install the drivers for the APG from the motherboard disk with no problem).
Just curious, is your RAM at least DDR2 800? AM2 setups need DDR2 800 ram at the very least to reach their potential (Very memory sensitive), on top of that you seem to have a generic PSU and I would not discard problems with that either. Even if your ram is DDR2 800, I suggest you run memtest for a few hours like deuce said.
Yes, that is a typo. Sorry - I'm using the laptop and hate the keyboard. It is DDR2 memory but looking at the package it says DDR2-667/533/400 so I'm guessing that's not DDR2-800.
System BIOS cached is not enabled and Mobo drivers were installed. Have not tried memtest yet but if DDR2-800 is required, I'd guess that's the biggest issue. However, the mobo manual states that it supports the chips I am using. Do they lie? Or just mislead?
They do not lie, they are just screwing you. Simply put. The same as Dell and any other OEM do, they are COMPLETELY aware that AMD cpus are very memory sensitive (Need DDR2 800 to perform properly), but they keep putting budget PCs with AMD cpus and DDR2 667 ram.
That's why you won't find many mobos other than the extreme cheapos (AM2 mobos that is) that won't take DDR2 800 ram.
If your system is running at 300MHz clock speed that would tend to make me believe that there is something wrong. Even with Cool 'n Quiet it shouldn't downclock nearly that much. Make sure your BIOS are up to date because if your motherboard is identifying your processor as "AMD Athlon 64 x2 dual core processor" then it might not be identifying it properly. What model is it actually?
Oh yeah! YES there is a performance hit from using PC5300 instead of PC6400, but its not nearly enough to be causing the kind of performance drain you are talking about. There should be a Toms article you can look up where they did a comparison, but off the top of my head I can't imagine it could be more than about a 10% penalty. I'd possibly try to test if it could be the hard drive since your symptoms state that everything loads slowly. Use a tool like Everest to check for SMART errors. You can also use Everest to check your CPU stats but the free version might have that stripped down. A lot of people use CPU-Z.