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Asus EAH4870 1gb DK... "fast...then chop...then fast again"

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 7, 2009 5:13:20 PM

Good morning Toms Members...

I'm fairly tech saavy (having built and troubleshot many a PC) but I'm really struggling to diagnose whats up with my kids PC.

The issue is with a new Video card I got them (Asus EAH 4870 1gb Dark Knight)... and am running into some super fast graphic perofrmance, then chops....then back to fast again. Ive tried both the Asus and ATI drivers (seperately of course...and yes I cleaned the old ones off before installing the opposite haha).

The issue seems to be in games, the card performs great for 10-20 seconds...super smooth gameplay with even the highest resolutions and settings.

But after ever 10-15 seconds it gets choppy & lags for about 5-10 seconds... then speeds up again for the 10-20 seconds... and the cycle repeats.

As you can imagine, pretty frustrating for my kids playing in games running aroudn then getting hit with the video chop in the middle of a firefight haha!

I had the same card working flawlessly in my PC for about 2 months, but upgraded to a new card and gave them mine... now the difference is their PC is a little older (1 year). It's specs: Asus M2N-MX SE Plus Motherboard (which only has a PCIe 16 vs the 2.0 mine MB has)... is that a possible cuplrit of the slow down?

They have an AMD 64 X2 6000+ chip with 3gb of DDR2 800mhz ram. The chip, ram combo felt more than enough... but is the dual core ship slowing the high end video card down?

Oh...and they've got a new 650W Antec powersupply in their case, so plenty of power for system... they only have one HD, Opt drive etc... no big power hogs besides the chip and video card. But again on my PC with only a 550 W PS the card was smoking fast.

So gang... any ideas on why the high end 4870 is doing this "fast for 10-20...then chop for 5-10...then fast again" dance?

Thank you for the help,
Darrin
August 7, 2009 5:43:52 PM

Hi again, I forgot to mention I did use the FRAPS utility...

When the games starts and for each of the "fast" perrformance 10-20 second stretches...the FRAPS score in the upper left is always 80+ Sometimes up in the 200-300 range.

However when these 5-10 second chop episodes occur... it plummets down to a FRAPS score of 1-5 total!

Any ideas team based on the post above?

Thanks
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August 7, 2009 5:52:29 PM

Well if the card worked fine in another system and you have the latest drivers, I would start checking out other components. What sort of background processes/software do you have running? When you are in game, go to your Task Manager and look at your processes and CPU usage. What does it look like? Is something other then the game pulling the CPU usage during this "choppiness." Also, you can try going to your MSCONFIG and kill whatever is loading on startup, reboot the system, then try again. Or maybe start pulling out hardware and try it again.... I have seen bad CD-ROM drives/Floppy Drives cause systems to freak out, lock-up, and/or just run really slow at weird intervals.

At this point it is going to be trial and error to narrow down what is killing your performance every so often.
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a b Ĉ ASUS
August 7, 2009 5:54:41 PM

Check the temps in the case. It may be the CPU that's throttling, not the GPU, but in either case I would suspect heat. If you take the side off the case and aim a fan into it, does the behavior change any?
Next, is there any hard drive activity during the slowdowns? If so, check for background processes, do a full virus scan, and maybe recreate the Windows page file (making sure it is big enough; "system managed size" is usually fine).
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August 7, 2009 6:25:50 PM

Thanks Brett & JT,

I checked tast mngr, Call of Duty is using 55% and the other 45 % is tied up with "System Idle." All the temp readings from the card and CPU are at the very low end of the spectrum on the monitors... and I do have the case open and the video card is barely warm to the touch in all areas as it runs... but for the fun of it I did aim an extra fan at it... no change :) 

I'll keep trying things... but is it your guys sense that I've got more than enough CPU, MB and Memory to run this card? I was starting to worry perhaps my core components werent up to the challenge...but everything I read so far it seems I've got plenty of horsepower... ahh gotta love technology.

If anyone has more ideas I'll try em (within reason haha!)

Thanks again Brett & JT
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a b Ĉ ASUS
August 7, 2009 11:10:05 PM

Any drive activity? Any other components feel a little too toasty?
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August 8, 2009 2:20:50 AM

it could be the PSU if you are overdrawing it, or the card could be defective and you may want to contact your retailer, or ASUS and get a replacement. This problem seems to be a issue with the soldering method used on these cards, and could be fixed by ovinging the card (DO NOT RECOMMEND), but i would call up whoever and get a new one.
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August 9, 2009 5:57:16 AM

ive got the 4830 from asus with exactly the same specs as cpu and 1 gig ram more but thats it . my cod runs fine without slowdown on max. and my psu is 550w
now the 4830 uses just as much as the 4850 . lol !!

i have a pciex16 mobo too and card is pci x2 as well and no probs in slowdowns. so its not that.
just try this powersupply calculator from the asus website . it might give you a fair idea of how much power you need. i dont know how accurate it is .

http://support.asus.comPowerSupplyCalculatorPSCalculato...
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August 9, 2009 10:00:11 AM

It could also be the PSU going bad and can't handle that card or the pci-e slot on the mother board is going bad. I say this because the problems happen within seconds and not even minutes of heavy use.

Try placing the card in your computer again and see if it runs as smooth as before. If it does, then you can totally rule out the card.
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August 19, 2009 2:52:21 AM

I have a brand new 650w PS... Im in the process of trying the card in my old machine again... stay tuned.
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August 20, 2009 3:14:32 AM

Reinstalled the 4870 back on my original machine.... card works like a dream.

So, back to my kids machine... I upgraded the chip today from an Athlon 64X2 6000+ to an Intel Core 2 Duo e8500 (on a spare Asus Intel board I had laying around)....and Varooom!!! the card is working like a dream. Must have been a slower chip and the limited old motherboard runing in PCI e 1.0 vs 2.0... anyway, its resolved and running fast.

Kids are happy.

Thanks for the brainstorming on it though guys!
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November 3, 2009 7:53:53 PM

I have a similar issue.

Im running an Asus M2N-MX SE Plus, with a Radeon HD 3650, and an AMD Athlon 64 Dual Core 5200+,

I have the same problem with the slowdowns, however for me its not just in games. I have been playing music, watching movies, or even just typing documents, and everything slows down for 5-10 seconds.

I am currently running Windows 7 64bit, (RC, build 7100).
I have run Windows 7 32bit, Windows XP (32bit), Windows Vista (32 and 64 bit).
Every operating system has the same issue.

The only Operating System which did not have the issue, was Ubuntu 8.01

I did some rooting around, and using Process Explorer, discovered that SVCHost was having a lot of "Stack Overflow" errors during the slowdown. I do mean *a lot* of these errors.

I have posted on the Windows support forums, and have gotten nowhere.

The issue seems to stem somehow from the M2N's onboard Audio.

When I totally disable the Audio in the system BIOS, the error goes away and does not return.

I know that a simple solution to my particular variance of the issue, would be to use a PCI audio card.

However, this does not sound like a "solution" to me, but a work around.

I am pretty stuck as to what I should do to resolve the issue.

There are a lot of these sorts of posts out there, searching google produces a handful of them. Unfortunately, it appears that no one out there has actually "resolved" the issue. Most of the "fixes" appear to be installing a new Audio Card, a new Video Card, and aparently now, a new Processor.

I would like to know if there is a fix for this that does not require using new hardware. This problem seems to occur for different people with varying hardware combinations. The only similarities seem to be the Asus M2N-MX SE, or M2N-MX SE Plus motherboard, and typically a Radeon HD graphics card of some flavor.

Thanks!
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