HD 3850 AGP Sluggish performance

Yeah, this card again! Someone should make a rule banning threads about this card, but until then, I'll try to seek you guys advice over this:

My old card (Radeon 9550) was pretty outdated already, and I thought an upgrade wouldn't hurt, so I went down to a hardware shop and bought an Sapphire HD 3850 AGP 512mb, and by the reviews I read before, It looked like it was just kickass.

I installed the card just like always: Remove old card, uninstall the drivers, plug new card in, install new drivers, reboot, play. Well, everything went fine! Until the 'play' part.

I assume I WAS expecting some bottleneck from the D 315 CPU, but this is just ridiculous! I didn't feel any FPS difference on some games, and on others, the FPS just got worse!

I can't help but post some in-action screens:

This is Prey. Little old now, shouldn't be hard to handle 1024x768 with all maxxed out, right? Well, not to soon, boy!:

8fps. Just... Wow..

So I thought "Well, I think the GPU isn't THAT great... Let me put this thing down a bit...". And so I went check it @ 640x480, ALL low, NO shadders. Anything lower, and I'd be playing wireframe'd:

I'd rather play wireframe'd :S

Wait, 3fps faster? Ouh, this MUST be some crappy GPU! (or not!)

This repeats with Bioshock, COD 4, and some other DX 9.0 games. Old directX 8.0 and 7.0 games don't show this issue frequently, e.g. on FlatOut 2 I manage to rock 40 FPS all maxxed out during races, but it waves like mad from 30-50 all the time.

Just in case, specs!:

CPU: Celeron D 315 (2.26GHz) // Yes, a bottleneck! But I'm pretty sure it isn't its fault, this time!
RAM: 1GB @ 200hz
GPU: Sapphire HD 3850 AGP 512mb
PSU: A-Power 600w
Driver installed: Latest Catalyst (9.12, installed directly from folder 'thru 'Add Hardware' because drivers aren't signed and ATI installer couldn't install it *sigh*). I've tried 9.11 and 9.10 before, and no luck.

One more thing: Catalyst won't open. No error messages, the process just vanishes without a trace during load.

I'm like DESPERATE trying to find a solution to this. I don't want to return the card in, 'cause I'm pretty sure this can be fixed, even though I currently have no clue how.

Thanks in advance, and thanks for taking your time to read (or not!) this so long thread,

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More about 3850 sluggish performance
  1. are on xp or vista/win7? if catalyst wont open, presumably dotnetfx3.5 is not installed.
  2. Forgot to add that! I'm on XP, latest .NET installed. All previous Catalyst opened fine. Happens only with this install.
  3. Guys, I think I'm starting to figure this thing out...

    I ran 3DMark03 in hope I could reproduce the issue on Prey, COD4 and such (the issue: High Polys = turtled FPS).

    The tests were fine, all the graphic ones went along 100+! 16k points.

    The CPU went as expected, giving me shameless 300 points lol

    Then, the sound tests. First test, 28FPS with everything maxxed out, well expected. The second test finally bring a clue to the issue: The same scene, same animation, same everything, but with sounds: 10fps avg. It didn't even hit the 30fps mark at any moment! This might answer why in the games, the pause menu is so much faster than in-game (even though the scene is rendering on the background)

    Still, no clue why this happens. Anything that might resolve this, guys?


  4. I'm pretty sure now that this is some kind of hardware conflict of any sort. I googled and didn't found anything. I'm really desperate, you guys! Any help would be appreciated :(
  5. Check the date before posting.
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