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Horrible framerates, need help troubleshooting!

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December 3, 2007 4:46:22 PM

I can't take it anymore!

This board seems to be full of experts and helpful people, so I've decided to post my problems in hopes that I can get help as I am lost. I've tried troubleshooting my rig myself, but to no avail. Everything that I've been told to do by friends and "people who know computers" have failed.

I consider myself somewhat educated about computers. After years of reading / trial-and-errors / and more reading, I've become rather familiar with computers, however, it seems my knowledge is limited when coming to trying to figure out why my computer is running as it should. I've spent countless nights rearranging components, updating, and reading troubleshooting threads. After hours and hours of this, my computer is running the same and I am finally about to just give up. Thank god I came across these forums.

I'll list as much information as I can. I'm currently at work so some specific information may have to wait to be posted, but I'm very familiar with my computer (see paragraph above) and I'm sure I can answer most questions without having to check my home computer.

Specs:
Pentium D 3.0 LGA Socket 775 (Not overclocked at all)
Asus P5ND2-SLI Motherboard with latest bios and chipset
2gb Corsair PC5200 DDR2
Windows Xp Home Edition
Enermax 535W PSU (2 - 12V rails, 30A total +12V)

And here is 2 seperate vid cards I've been swapping to see if there is any performance gains/differences.
Video Cards:
Nvidia e-Geforce 8800GTS 320MB
Nvidia Geforce 7800GT - 256MB

Currently installed card: 7800GT
Now, I play wow very very frequently. I did take a few months hiatus from the game, but came back about a month ago. Before, My rig was able to handle WoW very decently. In fact, I was averaging between 30-60 fps, depending on where I was in the game. (Vsync ON) Of course I expected framerate decrease in the major cities and whatnot. Over time, however, it seems to have gotten worse. I log into Shattrath City (for those who are familiar with the game, otherwise it's a major city) and my framerate is just horrible. Anyway from 5fps - 15 fps, depending on how fast I move my screen around. It's very very very choppy and almost unbearable.

At first, I figured it was just because my 7800GT was about 2 years old. I decided to purchase the new card (8800GTS), only to find that after installing the newest drivers and the card, I was receiving the same FPS, sometimes even worse. What I don't understand is that my system was able to run WoW very smoothly before, but now it just...sucks.

I installed the 7800GT back into my system and found that it ran a tiny bit better. I'd say a 2 fps boost in shattrath city. (I recall being in Shattrath City a couple of months ago and able to have about 40 fps with Vsync ON, even during midday when most people are playing).

I tried desperately to have my 8800GTS work, but everything I did (Made sure it had enough voltage, still don't know if it is, updated drivers, checked temperature, etc) didn't work.

Then I downloaded 3dMark06 and ran the test. I don't have the exact scores, but my score was around 4000, with my CPU score just barely over 500.

I'm really starting to get frustrated. Raiding on WoW has become a nightmare, especially in fights that require either 25 men or lots of spell graphic details. As a Healer, it's really really tough to throw a life-saving heal on someone when you're seeing everything at 5 fps.

I've also been looking to upgrade to a Core 2 Duo 3.0. I already know this would be a performance increase, but I don't want to put a new processor in and be disappointed at how poor my system is already running. Please help me?

Thanks!


December 3, 2007 6:30:00 PM

Perhaps a process running on your machine hogging all the CPU resources?
December 3, 2007 6:47:33 PM

There is no reason why a 8800gts should be running that slow, i have a gts also and get 75fps all the time. Your cpu will be bottlenecking you a little but it should not be giving you 5fps so it's probably something in the background using all the cpu power like cfvh600 said or a driver issue. Make sure you have the latest drivers for the 8800gts.
Related resources
December 3, 2007 6:51:20 PM

cfvh600 said:
Perhaps a process running on your machine hogging all the CPU resources?


Check your PCI-E link speed in CPU-Z, it should show 16x link width and 16x max. If at first it shows lower than 16x, then play any game for a few minutes then exit game and close CPU-Z and launch it again. Right before my P5B Deluxe died a week ago my link speed kept changing from 1x to 16x back and forth dropping my frame rates to 0 FPS at which my hole system crashed and RIP my P5B Deluxe. :( 
December 3, 2007 7:04:38 PM

First, thank you for your replies

cfvh600 said:
Perhaps a process running on your machine hogging all the CPU resources?


I don't think this is the problem as I have checked and re-checked this many times. 30 processes running and all of them I recognize with little to no CPU load.

Quote:
There is no reason why a 8800gts should be running that slow, i have a gts also and get 75fps all the time. Your cpu will be bottlenecking you a little but it should not be giving you 5fps so it's probably something in the background using all the cpu power like cfvh600 said or a driver issue. Make sure you have the latest drivers for the 8800gts.


That's exactly what I thought! I went to Nvidias website and dowloaded the latest Forceware software (163.75 I believe?) and tried those. Then I went to EVGA website, and they actually had newer drivers out for the 8800GTS (169.09 I believe?). Tried those as well, no difference.

I may also say that the FPS doesn't stay between 5-15 fps, only in Shattrath and in raids. When I'm staring at a wall and noone else is around, I can easily get back up to 60fps with Vsync on.

Quote:

Check your PCI-E link speed in CPU-Z, it should show 16x link width and 16x max. If at first it shows lower than 16x, then play any game for a few minutes then exit game and close CPU-Z and launch it again. Right before my P5B Deluxe died a week ago my link speed kept changing from 1x to 16x back and forth dropping my frame rates to 0 FPS at which my hole system crashed and RIP my P5B Deluxe. :( 


I'll definitely do that when I get home.
December 3, 2007 7:38:08 PM

Also theres only two components that can change you link width speed, the BIOS and the graphics card (8800GT's). The BIOS is the part which configures all your hardware, FSB, Vcore, memory speed/timings etc..
December 3, 2007 8:08:16 PM

systemlord said:
Also theres only two components that can change you link width speed, the BIOS and the graphics card (8800GT's). The BIOS is the part which configures all your hardware, FSB, Vcore, memory speed/timings etc..


I can't comment too as I haven't verified the speed yet. However, I have updated the Asus bios to the latest version and left everything at default. I'll have to verify the speed when I get home tonight to make sure it is indeed 16x.

December 3, 2007 8:59:58 PM

This is a Pentium D, so it may be overheating. Ds were running very hot and prone to throttle down in that case. Check for clogged heat sink, or bad thermal paste contact. Those HSF were also prone to became loose.. If in doubt, remove it, clean the old thermal pad, put some newer coumpound, and apply back. Check for case ventilation too.. A good cooler cannot make its job if the air inside the case is too hot
December 3, 2007 9:08:33 PM

pat said:
This is a Pentium D, so it may be overheating. Ds were running very hot and prone to throttle down in that case. Check for clogged heat sink, or bad thermal paste contact. Those HSF were also prone to became loose.. If in doubt, remove it, clean the old thermal pad, put some newer coumpound, and apply back. Check for case ventilation too.. A good cooler cannot make its job if the air inside the case is too hot


Thank you for your reply.

I actually just cleaned the heatsink and fan as well as scraped off the old thermal grease and put some new stuff in there too. Although, I am ordering a new heat sink (Arctic Freezer 92mm), so hopefully that'll dissipate some heat in case that was the problem, although my exhaust fans were blowing out cool air when the CPU was under heavy load. My sensor seems to be a little messed up as it was saying my CPU was running at 2 degrees celsius. lol?

I am also going to be reinstalling and reformatting my computer and hopefully that'll fix some of the issues as well. It'll also tell me if it's my hardware that's a problem or possibly software. My first aim is to completely reformat and update only two items, windows xp home and World of Warcraft. I'm going to see if my framerate increases and slowly add other applications until my computer has everything back. If, after the updates, it seems to be operating slowly, I'm hoping to try to see if it's some kind of hardware problem.
December 3, 2007 10:00:11 PM

Please give us your load and idle temps. Has the weather been hotter since you got back? During the summer my system became unstable do to the extra heat and cause multiple crashes 20 minutes apart.
December 3, 2007 10:25:37 PM

systemlord said:
Please give us your load and idle temps. Has the weather been hotter since you got back? During the summer my system became unstable do to the extra heat and cause multiple crashes 20 minutes apart.


I'm going to have to get back to you on this one as my sensor is messed up. When I open Everest, it says some of the temperatures of different parts of my computer, however, my CPU temp reads ~2-5 degrees celcius. Considering this temp is close to freezing, I sincerely doubt my sensor is reading my CPU temp correctly. (I don't know how to fix that sensor either, trying to research that.)

I may have damaged my CPU due to overheating sometime in the last year and that may be the problem causing all of this. Not sure though, and I wanted to check other possibilities before I bought a new CPU.
December 3, 2007 10:52:31 PM

Install Cpu-Z and give us the info it shows (specially PCI-E link speed), also run otrhos and memtest to know whether your CPU is overheating or not, finally, run 3d mark 06 and tell us your scores, I'd like to see that because lag in wow can also be caused by bad, limited or ISP blocked connection.

BTW: when you install cpu-z do NOT freak out when it reports an incorrect multiplier for your CPU, this is most likely because of speedstep and it's perfectly normal unless it doesn't change under load.
December 3, 2007 11:55:33 PM

slygambler said:
Thank you for your reply.

I actually just cleaned the heatsink and fan as well as scraped off the old thermal grease and put some new stuff in there too. Although, I am ordering a new heat sink (Arctic Freezer 92mm), so hopefully that'll dissipate some heat in case that was the problem, although my exhaust fans were blowing out cool air when the CPU was under heavy load. My sensor seems to be a little messed up as it was saying my CPU was running at 2 degrees celsius. lol?


Blowing out cool air don't indicate always good ventilation... If the cooler don't make good contact with the CPU, it don't become hot, and the CPU become very hot.. Not good

December 4, 2007 4:18:18 PM

Wasn't able to do memtest or orthos. Opened up the case when I got home and took the heatsink off to examine the coat of thermal grease on top of the processor. Found out that one of the plastic "snaps" on the stock heatsink was actually busted. Decided to not turn on the computer until I can have a new heatsink installed.

I rush ordered a new heatsink (Artic Freezer 7) as well as some new RAM (OCZ 2GB DDR2 800) so as soon as that gets delivered, I'll test out the framerates. It may have been my processor overheating and throttling down.

Will run the tests as soon as I can get my computer up and running and will post the results asap.

Thank you to all those who replied so far. I greatly appreciate your help.
December 4, 2007 4:28:42 PM

slygambler said:
Wasn't able to do memtest or orthos. Opened up the case when I got home and took the heatsink off to examine the coat of thermal grease on top of the processor. Found out that one of the plastic "snaps" on the stock heatsink was actually busted. Decided to not turn on the computer until I can have a new heatsink installed.

I rush ordered a new heatsink (Artic Freezer 7) as well as some new RAM (OCZ 2GB DDR2 800) so as soon as that gets delivered, I'll test out the framerates. It may have been my processor overheating and throttling down.

Will run the tests as soon as I can get my computer up and running and will post the results asap.

Thank you to all those who replied so far. I greatly appreciate your help.


I knew something had to be throddling back weather it be CPU, GPU and/or PCI-E link speed. Glad to hear you found out the problem. Whenever I actual find some component that has failed I look at it like a good thing, that way at leased you know what it is and can therefore actually fix the problem. The Artic Freezer 7 is a good quality cooler for less than crazy overclocking guru's. Yeah let us know how things turn out. Cheers :D 
December 4, 2007 6:30:45 PM

Glad you got it sorted out. :-)
December 4, 2007 8:16:05 PM

Yes, thanks to you guys! I could have swore that the last time I cleaned my heatsink, the snaps had been intact, but I could have mistaken that or possibly broken it myself.

After I replace the heatsink, I'm hoping that will solve the problem. I won't know until my order comes in, but I'm crossing my fingers!

Thanks again guys. I've called so many "tech" places, and I got one of two answers:

1) Reinstall and reformat, only putting windows and the game you are seeing troubles with on the computer.

or

2) Bring in the computer for a diagnostics check. Damn thing would have cost me nearly $75, before they even "replace" what they deemed was wrong.

Again, a big thanks to you guys. Let's hope this was the problem :) 

EDIT: Also, I didn't post it, but I checked CPU-Z before I checked the heatsink and my PCI-E link speed was set to 16x.
December 5, 2007 9:06:22 PM

Got my heatsink and RAM delivered today. Will be installing and checking out any differences.
December 6, 2007 11:25:51 AM

:pt1cable: 

This whole issue is caused by the fact that he hasn't updated his UI mods, and they're having tons and tons of errors, slowing the game down in the extreme. There's an option in the menus to disable showing lua errors, which he must have enabled.

I'm certain this is the problem, since it's so elusive, and I had the same issue. It's too bad he went to the wrong place to ask about this, since it isn't a hardware issue, and now he's spent money already. :( 

At least he discovered another potential problem... :lol: 
December 7, 2007 5:00:35 PM

jaculum said:
:pt1cable: 

This whole issue is caused by the fact that he hasn't updated his UI mods, and they're having tons and tons of errors, slowing the game down in the extreme. There's an option in the menus to disable showing lua errors, which he must have enabled.

I'm certain this is the problem, since it's so elusive, and I had the same issue. It's too bad he went to the wrong place to ask about this, since it isn't a hardware issue, and now he's spent money already. :( 

At least he discovered another potential problem... :lol: 


I have updated my mods. I know that this could've been a problem, except disabling all of my mods didn't change framerate one bit.

Also, I have !swatter to handle my lua error strings.

Good news! I have installed Artic Freezer Pro 7 and I have seen awesome results. (I also rearranged cables/fans to have better air flow in the case itself. Thanks for mentioning that in a previous post!) My bios reads that my CPU temp idles at 40 degrees Celsius. I had to raid last night so I wasn't able to perform any tests on the system, but my framerate is back up to 60 fps steady with my 7800GT (between 35-55 during fights/etc. 30 fps in shattrath when surrounded by hundreds of players). I even OC'ed my Pentium D to 3.38GhZ and after being on WoW for about 5 hours, I rebooted and checked my bios again. Even better news! With OC'ing and continous strain from WoW, my CPU temp read 42 degrees celsius. That brought a huge smile to my face, thanks to you guys!

However, I did notice that every so often, my game freezes up. No blue screen errors, the game just freezes and I have to reboot. I've also noticed this only happens during WoW. Other games that take little resources don't have this error occuring (CS 1.6, gunbound, etc)

I wasn't able to install my RAM as I was dumb and didn't check what my motherboard could handle. Found out that my motherboard supports up to DDR2 667 RAM, and I had gotten DDR2 800 RAM. Sent it back and reordered 2gb OCZ Gold DDR2 667 RAM.

On the same note, I realized that I may have found my error as well. I had 1gb stick installed, along with 2 other 512mb sticks. This may in fact be leading to my probs. I'll be installing my new 2gb RAM the correct way (slot 1, slot 3) and hoping for good results. I'll definitely do 3dmark06 tests as well as memtest and prime test over this weekend and get those results to you guys asap. (We don't really raid on weekends, hooray)

Now, I do have 1 question. I have been afraid to put my 8800gts in simply because of my RAM. The drivers I have installed right now are from Nvidia's website, 163.75 to be exact, and are perfect with my 7800GT. When I search for new drivers for my 8800gts, the same drivers appear, 163.75.

Taken from description of my drivers:
Quote:
WHQL certified driver for GeForce FX, 6, 7, and 8 series GPUs.


Just for reassurance from more knowledgeable people, I won't have to install new drivers, correct?

Thanks again for all your guys' help. You've had a tremendous impact on the health of my computer and my entertainment. I greatly appreciate it.
!