New vid card (Rad 6770) but worse fps, what is wrong?

Hi. I'm in the terrible uncanny valley of information where I know just enough to get myself in trouble I can't get myself out of.
The machine I built in 2008 (yay stimulus money!) was this:

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Windsor 3.0GHz Socket AM2 125W Dual-Core Processor
CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X2048-6400C4
ECS N9600GT-512MX-P GeForce 9600 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

It's running Win XP 64 Pro. I surf the internet, watch youtubes here and there, and recently rejoined World of Warcraft to tank for my casual/semi-serious guild. In the event that I get a better computer (which I will build using a guide and not by me making choices, since obvs I make bad ones), the hubs will inherit this one where he will casually play the new Star Wars mmo with some friends, as well as some not-traditionally-crazy-intensive games like Civilization. I say all this to describe the type of use I'm hoping a system will support without being a paperweight crapface machine.

Between 2008 and summer 2001, I used the above build while primarily doing the surf-youtubes-maintankinWow stuff. The computer was tolerable but I was never able to put my video settings above Fine/medium, and several had to be on low. I accepted this, as money was rather tight at the time and better parts were out of the budget. I would occasionally get up to 55 fps in Wowcraft, assuming low system demands (ie, in an area with few people). Even during somewhat high demands (the rare 25man raids), fps rarely averaged less than 20.

About 3 weeks ago, the hubs ok'd me getting a better video card, so I spent twenty hours over three days reading every review I could comprehend on video cards (including several posted at Tom's Hardware) and many forum threads that the search function returned when I searched for specific video card names/numbers. I eventually settled on

XFX ATI Radeon HD6770 1 GB DDR5 VGA/DVI/HDMI PCI-Express Video Card HD677XZNLC

from Amazon. The card arrived, I put it in, installed the latest driver exe from the Radeon website, and....

I get 30 fps. Max. Everywhere. When in a 5man, I get ~20 fps. When in a 25m raid (which is going to become more common, if you know what LFR is), I get a despicable 4 fps, and that's with every setting on absolute low. I made sure to uninstall the Nvidia drivers, then uninstall-restart-reinstall-restart the Radeon drivers. I ran the 'overclock' feature in the Catalyst program, it did nothing (except possibly burn out a Dynex 500watt PSU? I have an OCZ 600 watt psu now).

What went wrong? Is this a sign that the card is bad and I need to RMA it? Is the fact that I'm running XP throttling the card? If I really drop the two hundred and fifty dollars or whatever overpriced tag is on Win7, is that going to fix the fps? Did I manage to misread over fifty reviews and forum threads and get a card that wasn't worth the $110 I paid? Is this all I get for a $110 card? Worse performance than a three-or-more year old card that apparently wasn't even that great when I bought it?

Secondarily, if this machine tries to play SWTOR, is it going to be crapface? Is it worth even attempting to bandaid this machine and make it last another year, or are the parts too low-class to do anything gamewise anymore? and I should just relegate it to an internet machine.

For ten years I've had greater faith in the greater value of a homebuilt system over some preloaded-with-bloatware overpriced prebuilt, but it's frustrating when all my guildies and friends can outstrip my performance. I understand that to run a game like Wowcraft and probably SWTOR on not-low settings, I'm going to have to buy all new parts, and for the new machine we're going to be able to get in a month or so, I'm going to adhere to a guide and follow someone else's judgements. I just get really worried when a new part that should run things better, actually runs them much much worse. It doesn't leave me much faith in my ability to make homebuilts that function.
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  1. Thanks for the lol's.
    Did you un-install the old card properly first?
    Best option? Fresh install of XP. Sorry to bring you the bad news.
  2. What did I say that was funny? : o I'm actually very worried/frustrated that I spent some money and got something that performs worse. What happens if I spend $800+ on parts for an entire new machine and it runs like crap?

    I went through settings>control panel>add/remove and removed anything that said nvidia.

    Will a fresh install of XP fix the problem? It's worth doing if it will solve the issue.
  3. Best answer
    Your card is better than that, but your CPU is a dragging anchor. You don't say what resolution you're at. Tom's review of the 5770 (the 6770 is little more than a rebadged 5770) shows pretty good performance. That dual-core, though, ....
  4. I like your writing style, that's all.
    A tool like this makes sure there's nothing left behind (registry entries etc.) to cause issues.

    But I think it's too late for that and fresh install will set you right. Some on here will always reinstall when changing the GPU.
  5. Petrofsky said:
    Your card is better than that, but your CPU is a dragging anchor. You don't say what resolution you're at. Tom's review of the 5770 (the 6770 is little more than a rebadged 5770) shows pretty good performance. That dual-core, though, ....

    Ohh, the cpu. I can see that. None of the parts were particularly top of the line four years ago, so ok, I do feel better that a part I know I need to replace is probably the culprit, and not the part I just spent money on. Hopefully when I upgrade to a much newer mobo/cpu/ram, all will be fixed?

    The resolution is 1920x1200, and I apologize for not including that earlier.

    I've been kinda meaning to get around to reinstalling WinXP... the system is getting slow, so I guess it's time. Thanks for the replies, I really appreciate it : D.
  6. Best answer selected by sannask.
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