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Nvidia GTS 250 1GB Driver & Performance Issues

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 23, 2009 10:16:29 PM

Hi all,

I have recently purchased the aforementioned graphics card as an upgrade from a Radeon 2600XT 512MB.

Unfortunately, since installation, there doesn't seem to be the impact that I expected.

Two main problems seem to be involved;

1. Drivers - I have downloaded and installed the lastest 186.18 drivers from the Nvidia site. However, when I use the scan tool located here - it says that my 'Current installed driver' is 03.04. I have tried re-installing the drivers again and have ensured any trace of the old drivers are gone but to no avail.

2. Performance - I am receiving extremely varied performance since installation which may or may not be related to the driver issue. For example, I have today purchased Prototype on the PC, with settings on Medium and AA at X4 the game initially runs very smoothly. I then reaches a point around 10 seconds to one minute in at which point the frame rate drops massively and things get very laggy (estimating around 3-6fps). I also recently installed 'Mount & Blade' which seems to run smoothly for between 10-30 minutes and then becomes very laggy where previously it was smoother than anything. This is the same for most games aside from Sims 3 which is very laggy as soon as the screen is moved from the off. The above is reminisent of overheating although temps when games become laggy are never more than 55 Celsius.

I have tried setting the card to default, OCing it a little and enabling Hyperdrive but the problems occur in the same way regardless.

To the best of my knowledge, the rest of the PC is as such;

Windows Vista Home Basic 32-bit
2 Pentium D CPU's at 3.4Ghz each
4.00GB DDR2 RAM
150GB SATA HD
2X DVD Writers
Not sure on the case but it has a fan that sucks cold air in the front and another that expels hot air out the back
Not sure on motherboard

I've had a look round on the net and can't seem to find anyone with similar issues and would appreciate any help or suggestions anyone can offer.

Cheers...
June 24, 2009 3:25:50 AM

I'll go out on a limb here and say its your processor that is holding you back. However the 250 gts is basically a 8800 gt and most people know they don't perform very well now days. The 260 gtx is a much better choice if your power supply can handle it.
a b U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 3:49:19 AM

That driver version report is the first problem to fix. Using control panel, uninstall *anything* ATI related, including ccc. Then reboot, and reinstall the nVidia drivers. If that doesn't solve the driver version 3.04 problem, uninstall all nVidia stuff, reboot and run the driver install again.

If that doesn't fix the speed problem, then please let us know your screen resolution, your motherboard make/model (or PC brand name and model), and how full your HD is.
Related resources
a b U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 3:53:37 AM

wedge71 said:
I'll go out on a limb here and say its your processor that is holding you back. However the 250 gts is basically a 8800 gt and most people know they don't perform very well now days. The 260 gtx is a much better choice if your power supply can handle it.


wat?

The GTS250 is a slightly upgraded version of the 9800GTX+, which is an upgraded version of the 9800GTX, which is a better version of the 8800GTS, which in turn is just a better card than the 8800GT/9800GT.

GTS250 destroys the 8800GT

a c 105 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 4:00:22 AM

When I read about the second game HEAT came to mind as you got to play for a while before things started happening.

The first game, Prototype, ... i looked it up and watched a u-tube video. A lot of particles flying around and sometimes a lot of distance to render in for a medium grade video card.

One of the posters said to try and remove the old drivers again. Good idea to start with. I would also un-install the nvidia drivers and re-install them.

Look in the nvidia control panel. Make sure everything you find says to "let the application decide" and turn off vsync.

Look for the physics setting and turn it off. Then I would check all my settings while i have the game loaded in the games control panel. Turn things back until you get good playability and increase things a little at a time..... also turn off vsync in games control panel.

Do a malware scan. this will hurt also. Try Spyware Terminator...... google it. and to clean up your system.... ccleaner.......... spelled that way.
a c 106 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 4:18:46 AM

First of all you probably didn't properly remove the ATI drivers. The older ATI drivers are especially troublesome. While it's always best to start off with a clean install of Windows to make sure the problem isn't driver related, or a dirty Windows installation, but if you can't, or just don't want to, do that then you should download driver cleaner pro, uninstall all your display drivers, boot into safe mode, and run drive cleaner pro to make sure that all drivers are properly removed. Once you have done that, then you install the new nVidia drivers.

Also your CPU is pretty slow and will hold back your GTS250 a majority of the time.
a c 105 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 4:49:29 AM

For the life of me. I can never understand why people would say to re-install windows. Dumbest and laziest thing anybody could ever say. Inexperience at it's greatest.
a b U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 7:07:53 AM

If the game runs smoother with no AA turned on, then you know your system is fine and you'll also know its limits as far as framerates go. I don't think there's anything wrong with your card. If it was a driver issue, all your games would crash or not work right.

Find out your motherboard's brand and model, post it here, and we can check for you how much of a CPU upgrade it can handle.
June 24, 2009 12:53:05 PM

I should probably have mentioned previously another thing. Once the slowdown in framerate begins to happen, if I goto options and turn off AA, the game then seems to run even slower which just confuses matters.

I have heard that a change in hardware could help with a fresh install of windows and I was thinking of doing a wipe soon anyway.

After my post last night, I did get around 5 minutes of perfectly smooth and gorgeous performance from Prototype before the slowdown occurred so I'm fairly sure there isn't a problem with the CPU slowing things down. Basically, the games run slower than when I had my Radeon 2600XT in when the fps drop begins. I'll search through C drive for anything ATi related and get rid. I have 19GB free I think on the drive at the minute.

Not sure of the motherboard make and model at the minute but I'll check when I get in. The PC was custom made and bought off eBay about a year and a half ago.

Also, is Driver cleaner pro free?

Couldn't get a GTX 260 as PSU isn't powerful enough.
a c 271 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 2:34:46 PM

swifty_morgan said:
For the life of me. I can never understand why people would say to re-install windows. Dumbest and laziest thing anybody could ever say. Inexperience at it's greatest.

Does this mean that we can expect you to always come up with a perfect software solution then?, I for one shall be looking out for your genius problem solving posts.
a c 106 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 3:08:44 PM

swifty_morgan said:
For the life of me. I can never understand why people would say to re-install windows. Dumbest and laziest thing anybody could ever say. Inexperience at it's greatest.


Lazy, yes. Inexperience, NO. If you have experience working on computers, then you know that it's common for people to have their installation corrupted by improper installing, and uninstalling drivers as well as the removal of malware that tries to embed itself in the system. Doing a clean install assures you that the underlying problem isn't your windows installation.

When I first started working on computers and swapping out parts I use to always try and fix the windows installation, but considering all the time it takes to identify the problems, manually edit the registry and config files, remove old driver files that windows likes to keep using because it's convenient and thinks they are newer than the ones you want to put in there, and replace any damaged files it's just not worth it.

It's faster to format, re-install the OS, and install all the programs. You may be thinking it doesn't take that long to fix a windows installation, but it really does take a long time to do it right. I'm sure you'll realize that when you're not so wet behind the ears :D .
a c 271 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 3:12:58 PM

^+1.
a c 177 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 3:30:41 PM

How hot is the CPU getting? Use Speedfan to find out. Those old Pentium Ds' could run hot, even when new, perhaps it's just overheating and 'throttling', which would certainly slow the system to a crawl.
Which powersupply do you have? The GTS250 draws twice the power of a 2600XT and, again the early Pentium Ds' were renowned for their high power draw, you could simply be overloading the unit which will take time to heat up and fail, just because it's quite a large heat mass.
a c 105 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 4:25:25 PM

Kind of dumb to reformat and lose everything you have on your machine when a little bit of work could cure the problem. And if you have the experience you should have already tried some of these simple tasks. Nothing hard about removing drivers but you failed there.

Here's something I never think about much. Those driver numbers you mentioned above.... they sound like mother board drivers. Maybe you need to look into that. And how old is the bios since you sound like you want to work.
June 24, 2009 4:43:18 PM

CPU was idling at 60C and when playing Prototype went up and hung around the 93C mark until I left the game. This seems quite high to me and the little flame icon next to the CPU temp in Speedfan doesn't fill me with confirdence either.

The motherboard by the way is an ECS P4M900T-M2 with a 1066 FSB. Screen resolution is at 1280x1024 on desktop and in-game.

I have deleted everything with Ati on it already by all accounts as there is nothing left. I have tried a deletion and re-install of the latest Nvidia drivers but the result is the same.

I have turned of Physx in the Nvidia Control Panel as well as V-Sync which has increased framerate during the initial period of smooth gaming and has had a slight effect when the slowdown hits although still unbearable framerates when things get busy on-screen.

As this was a custom build and very cheap I doubt the PSU is the best in the world, it has a make of Casecom and is an ATX 500W model...
Thanks to everyone who is trying to help so far it is much appreciated.
a c 177 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 4:59:03 PM

How hot?!
Good God! I'm surprised it can keep going at all!
You really must sort out that CPU temperature!

June 24, 2009 5:02:25 PM

swifty_morgan said:
Kind of dumb to reformat and lose everything you have on your machine when a little bit of work could cure the problem. And if you have the experience you should have already tried some of these simple tasks. Nothing hard about removing drivers but you failed there.

Here's something I never think about much. Those driver numbers you mentioned above.... they sound like mother board drivers. Maybe you need to look into that. And how old is the bios since you sound like you want to work.


I would say it's dumber still to assume that if I reformatted my computer I would lose everything...

I'd put it all onto DVD's, etc and back it up of course.

And, although I don't remember mentioning my experience of computers, of course I have already tried removing and re-installing drivers. I have also re-seated the card, ensured all connections are fine and that the motherboard isn't dusty or any of the fans clogged.

There is an element of onboard graphics although the only display mentioned in my Device List is my graphics card rather than anything onboard.

Also, if you'd like to help, please try to do so without being offensive or condesending. Cheers.
June 24, 2009 5:03:18 PM

coozie7 said:
How hot?!
Good God! I'm surprised it can keep going at all!
You really must sort out that CPU temperature!


Don't say it like that!!! Lol.

What do I do to keep it cooler?
a c 271 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 5:07:55 PM

It's dual Pentium D's is it not?
a c 177 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 5:09:43 PM

A huge bucket of ice?;)

First, run the computer with the side off and check the cooling fan is working, and that the cooler fins are not blocked.
If the fan is running the heatsink has probably worked loose, the push-pins are kinown to soften and even fail totally over time. Only soloution is to change the cooler.
June 24, 2009 5:20:18 PM

Mousemonkey said:
It's dual Pentium D's is it not?


Correct.

Does anyone know what sort of temp I'm actually supposed to be at with the CPU?
June 24, 2009 5:26:37 PM

coozie7 said:
A huge bucket of ice?;)

First, run the computer with the side off and check the cooling fan is working, and that the cooler fins are not blocked.
If the fan is running the heatsink has probably worked loose, the push-pins are kinown to soften and even fail totally over time. Only soloution is to change the cooler.


I have a spare heatsink and fan from a Pentium Dual Core E2160, any idea whether this will do and if I do need something a bit meatier, what's your suggestion?
June 24, 2009 5:31:03 PM

coozie7 said:
Are you sure it's TWO processors? Because if this is your MB I cannot see where two will fit:

http://www.ecs.com.tw/ECSWebSite/Products/ProductsDetai...


Definately two, Device Manager says so, as does system information, them 'Can I run it' things that some games have on their sites (I think EA have them) say there's two so there better be two.

a c 177 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 5:34:07 PM

I doubt it'll handle the heat of a Pentium D but if it's a similar size it can't hurt.
But is the fan working on your current heatsink and does it feel fully attached?
Is the motherboard I linked to the one you actually have?
What is your favourite colour?
What is the maximum airspeed of an unladen swallow?
Where were you on the night of the 9th?

Edit, sorry, got carried away;)
a c 105 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 5:35:38 PM

here's your on board video

Integrated Chrome9™ HC IGP

look around the bios and see if you can disable it.


It's a dual core processor not 2 processors.
June 24, 2009 5:56:03 PM

swifty_morgan said:
here's your on board video

Integrated Chrome9™ HC IGP

look around the bios and see if you can disable it.


It's a dual core processor not 2 processors.


Had a look in the Bios but couldn't find anything relating to it unfortunately.
June 24, 2009 5:59:43 PM

coozie7 said:
I doubt it'll handle the heat of a Pentium D but if it's a similar size it can't hurt.
But is the fan working on your current heatsink and does it feel fully attached?
Is the motherboard I linked to the one you actually have?
What is your favourite colour?
What is the maximum airspeed of an unladen swallow?
Where were you on the night of the 9th?

Edit, sorry, got carried away;)


It is the motherboard that I have. Having had a quick look at the CPU I can't find any looseness at all although in between the cooling metalics there is a slight build up of dust.

I just checked the garage and I do have another cooler which I forgot about. It is designed for Quad cores so should be able to make a difference. I'll switch it over and let you know how I get on.

Do you know what the temp should actually be?
a c 177 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 6:06:51 PM

The highest I've seen on the Intel site is 72C I would expect to see an idle temperature of under 40C unless you are living in Death Valley or somewhere else very hot.
You seem to know a bit about computers, but I'll ask anyway; You know to put new thermal grease on the replacement cooler and clean the old stuff off the CPU and cooler with alcohol?
a c 271 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 6:07:53 PM

As has already been pointed out, you do not have dual Pentium D's. I just thought I would show you why we queried.


June 24, 2009 6:15:40 PM

coozie7 said:
The highest I've seen on the Intel site is 72C I would expect to see an idle temperature of under 40C unless you are living in Death Valley or somewhere else very hot.
You seem to know a bit about computers, but I'll ask anyway; You know to put new thermal grease on the replacement cooler and clean the old stuff off the CPU and cooler with alcohol?


Yeah, I've installed a couple of CPU's before so I know what to do and expect.

Although, I wonder how long I have to wait before I can change the cooler. I don't wanna burn my fingers off if this thing is cooking! :) 
a c 105 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 6:17:36 PM

Anything in the bios pointing to initial display device ? ( or vga ) Set it to PEG or to pci.
a c 271 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 6:19:50 PM

Yes, mine lists four Q9550's but I still only have one. It's just that confusion can be started when a Dual core CPU is described as two CPU's that have two cores each.
June 24, 2009 6:22:48 PM

mousemonkey - ahh okay.

swify_morgan - There was actually but the options were PCI or PCI Express. It was set to PCI...
a c 177 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 6:23:22 PM

@ Sokoprok: No worries, had to ask.
I think it would be best to take it off when 'warm' the thermal paste is a little less inclined to hang on like a limpet.

It's a bit confusing, my C2D shows two processors as well (chance would be a fine thing), but Windows counts the cores, not the physical package. I think.
a c 271 U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 6:31:58 PM

Sokoprok said:
the options were PCI or PCI Express. It was set to PCI...

No worries, and set to PCI Express.
a b U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 10:12:22 PM

Well if your CPU is going to 90 C, that can be the cause of your lag.
June 24, 2009 11:07:33 PM

hundredislandsboy said:
Well if your CPU is going to 90 C, that can be the cause of your lag.


That's precisely the cause of the OP's problem.

http://processorfinder.intel.com/details.aspx?sSpec=SL9...
http://processorfinder.intel.com/details.aspx?sSpec=SL9...

Your CPU is one of those two I just linked, depending on which stepping you have. Either way, your thermal specification is 63.4 C. You are hitting 90+C at load, so you are going nearly 30C over your thermal limit. Your CPU is lowering its work load to save from frying itself. Fix your cooling and you'll fix your performance ;) 

Try opening your computer case and aiming a box/floor fan at the innards of your computer. Watch speedfan and see how much your temperatures drop. Then try playing prototype and see what your temperatures do. You may need to end up re-applying thermal paste to your CPU and/or getting a new heatsink . There are lots of walkthroughs/guidelines on this process available online if you google it.
June 25, 2009 7:26:21 AM

Now I've come unstuck, I changed over the heatsink and fan last night to a better one I had on another computer. I turned the computer on and went into the BIOS, before I could select anything the computer turned itself off.

Now it won't turn back on...

When I unplug the power lead and put it back in again a push of the power button does turn the lights and fans on for a millesecond but it goes dead straight away. I could smell no burning from the motherboard when it first went.

And before anyone points out, yes I did wipe the old thermal paste off with alcohol and attach the new one with fresh thermal paste...

My brother has a similar computer and his Power Supply went a couple of months ago and showed similar symptoms so I'll get another one tonight but does anyone have any opinions that it may not be the power supply?
a c 177 U Graphics card
June 25, 2009 10:43:05 AM

It is possible, a lot of electrical failures occur during startup but I have a horrible feeling that disturbing the CPU may have been its final undoing.
If the new PSU fails to solve the problem, try to boot the system with the CPU taken out, most motherboards will tell you but at least you'll get POST beeps and a disply to tell you the rest is OK.
a b U Graphics card
June 25, 2009 10:45:00 AM

Did you check the fan power connection? Some BIOS instantly shuts down if there's no CPU fan detection.
June 25, 2009 11:02:17 AM

Final undoing? You make it sound like an evil villain, lol. Which I suppose it will be if it has gone!

Fan power connection is fine, during the millesecond that the computer does power up for, the CPU fan begins to spin and was spinning when I first changed it over. I have put the original back but the same problem occurs now.

My brothers computer actually caused a burning smell but replacing the PSU worked straight away for him as though nothing had happened, so I have fingers crossed that it will be the same for me. We are both running off the same motherboard although my PC has a few higher specs than his.

I do have another dual core chip but it's a 1.8Ghz :(  but at least it works.
a c 177 U Graphics card
June 25, 2009 11:08:57 AM

Depends on how much time you have, I'd seriously consider swapping the CPUs first, it's quite easy and will eliminate that as a cause, and as a bonus you can check around the socket for signs of motherboard damage.
June 26, 2009 8:14:00 AM

Exactly the same problem with a new 580W PSU. :( 

At one point though I did forget to plug in the 12V cable to the motherboard, and the computer came on and worked although the display didn't come on. There were no beeps or anything and I could hear the HD working away while it loaded.

This seems to me to be a motherboard problem relating to the 12V socket but if anyone has any other ideas I am all ears :) 
June 26, 2009 8:15:19 AM

coozie7 said:
Depends on how much time you have, I'd seriously consider swapping the CPUs first, it's quite easy and will eliminate that as a cause, and as a bonus you can check around the socket for signs of motherboard damage.


I did swap the CPU's first but it was the same.

There is no visual damage anywhere on the motherboard or around the socket in question.
a c 177 U Graphics card
June 26, 2009 11:51:43 AM

OK.
Is there any way you can put either of your CPUs' into another machine and check they are actually working and undamaged?
This is starting to look like a motherboard problem now:( 
Then again, maybe it was a MB problem all the time, try resetting the BIOS by taking the battery out for a few hours or shorting the reset jumper and trying again.
a c 177 U Graphics card
June 27, 2009 6:08:24 PM

Still here?
June 27, 2009 9:41:19 PM

I've actually ordered a replacement motherboard now. The system is the same with both CPU's tried and an attempted boot without the CPU present and with an brand new power supply, it can be only one thing. I've taken the Graphics card out as well as swapping out the RAM and it's the same problem so it must be the mobo.

Will keep you posted and let you know what happens when it comes on Tuesday.

Thanks for all your help :) 
a c 177 U Graphics card
June 27, 2009 10:49:02 PM

Sorry to hear it's being such an expensive pain, mate.
Still, you've more patience than me.
I'd have jumped on it, foaming at the mouth with frustration by now.

GL
!