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Extreme Slowdown After Switch from Nvidia to ATI Card - Old WinXP Sys

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 8, 2012 8:26:07 PM

Hi, need some help/advice.

Summary:
I suddenly started having problems with the nvidia video card I had installed, so I switched to an AMD 9600XT I had around. After doing so I had problems with rendering and artifacts in 3d fs games, some minor glitches in display of text during bootup, and inconsequential glitches with graphics in Win explorer. Uninstalled all drivers, used Driver Sweeper, and reinstalled ATI drivers without a hitch. But ever since then everything is super slow in terms of anything requiring a display refresh and I get momentary lock-ups in my mouse cursor, etc, as if something was running at 100% cpu even though there's not. Full (exhaustive, likely unnecessary) details follow.

This is on an old computer running WinXP32. AMD Athlon XP, 1GB RAM, A7N8X-E mobo.
BIOS is Phoenix Tech LTD ASUS A7N8X-E Deluxe ACPI BIOS Rev 1009 02/04/2004.
Had nvidia card installed (model: P218, sn: BFGR6600GTOC). Worked fine for everything, including all games I played on this system. Changed to ATI Radeon 9600.

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I've had some unrelated (?) problem with this system I'll disclose, though not necessarily asking to examine them in this thread, even though I'd appreciate any thoughts on them. My network tech friend updated my BIOS and reinstalled my OS (kind of a rush job, took way longer than expected, problems with SATA drive and slipstreaming sp2). Since I can remember, this computer had problems recognizing IDE drives. This seems crazy to deal with, but I quickly learned to live without extra HDs and CDs and it just kinda stayed that way.

A couple of years ago I noticed my CPU runs at 1.09GHz. This did not seem right and I was pretty sure it should be around 1.8GHz. BIOS reads 166MHz fsb (CPU-Z disagrees) and 11x multiplier which should work out to 1.8ghz? My processor is AMD athlon XP. I think I remember it was a 2500+ athlon, but CPU-Z won't tell me that detail and scraping off the thermal paste to check is just something I never got around to doing. I think my BIOS was borked by my friend or he got a bad version. I've never messed with BIOS before. With all the risk and dire warnings and need to backup, possibility of having to scrap and replace my machine, it just never seemed that crucial to undertake.

Several years ago I started having an issue where if I shut down my computer (whether through windows shutdown, 4-sec power button, power outage, etc), upon rebooting it would either NOT beep or do POST or even activate the monitor at all (98% of the time), or would POST then stop with only option to enter BIOS and then restart or open some flash utility thing. I spent many hours turning the computer on and off, sometimes often 1-3hrs in a day, getting it to boot only a few times. I finally learned that if I turn off the power supply switch or unplug for at least 30 seconds and then boot the system it works about 95% of the time. When it boots, mem check is ok, IDE PM/PS/SM/SS checks all not detected, floppy fail, press F1 to continue, SATA HD checks ok, PCI and IRQ stuff checks ok, and I boot into windows fine. This is curious and annoying, but I'm so used to it it's routine.

My motherboard battery is dead. Whenever I remember to buy one, I forget the number. Someday! Sys clock and BIOS settings reset each restart. (Some things I have no right ignoring before asking for help. I'm about to post this, and going to make a special run to buy a battery now).

Having a USB flash drive or USB memory card reader (even without memory card) connected while booting causes some DCPI check or something (can't remember exactly) that goes on forever and never boots.
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Just over a year ago I started having problems with the system just going to sleep at random times. I would be in the middle of something and the monitor would very abruptly go in standby (LED from green to orange) with no warning, and computer would be completely unresponsive, requiring a hard reboot. There was no specific activity causing this, and I'd sometimes wake up to an unresponsive system after it had been idle most of the night. Rebooting the system would sometimes cause it to hang in the exact same way about 90% of the time, always at very specific moments (as noticed over a great many attempts): either in the windows logo screen with the load bar during boot, at the exact point where the screen resolution changes just before the user accounts show up on screen, as soon as I moved the mouse, when I began typing the user account password, or right when it began loading windows after typing the password and pressing enter. Once in windows, there was about a 50-70% chance it would die within the first 2 minutes, usually exactly when moved the mouse or pressed a key, but not always. If I made it past this, I had either 3-24 hours of functionality before it happened anyway, or a couple of weeks before a brownout, install or something else made me restart. All this led me to believe it was a problem with the keyboard/mouse drivers. I basically stopped shutting down. Then all of a sudden this behaviour just stopped happening. I don't remember what I did, or if I did anything specific at all.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. The monitor standby/cpu hang issue I just described started up again. I wondered whether it was only the video that was cut off and tried unsuccessfully to manually restart the computer with shortcut keys or producing audible effects, but one time it happened while playing a game and the sound instantly cut off simultaneously, so there was my answer to that. After reseating the vid card and RAM a few times I decided to pull out the Radeon 9600 card and try that. The problem immediately stopped. Woohoo.

I think I installed the ATI drivers over the nvidia drivers without uninstalling those. It makes no sense that I would do this because I really do know better, but I say so because I have no recollection of uninstalling anything until I noticed problems.

The first thing I noticed was during bootup the white text (dos-like on black BG, during POST, etc) what I can best describe as "every text character in every 3rd fixed width column of characters was affected; affected characters had missing pixels, every 3rd or 4th vertical pixel, along the last pixel column of character".

Though it translated quite differently visually in the windows gui environment, I noticed a similar "stripped columns" effect there too. Most things displayed fine, such as browser buttons and tabs. But some icons on my desktop had grid-pattern dots of discolouration, and all explorer notification window graphics/animations such as the file copy animation (paper sheet from from one folder to another) appeared masked by alternating pink and transperent horizontal stripes.

I tried two games on this computer and both experienced severe artifacting. Rise of Nations Gold loaded fine, but after several seconds anything covered by fog of war transparency got all geometrically garbled with artifacts until it looked like some deformed crystalline formation. Tabbing out and back fixed it, but only for a few seconds. There were some other additional minor glitches, but the game was fully playable with patience and never crashed. With Battle for Middle Earth 2:RotWK different artifacting happened where the terrain was chopped into 1-inch squares with wide black borders and a triangular quarter cut out from the top of each one. Hard to see anything, but still playable and no crashes.

I went to add/remove and uninstalled anything 'nvidia", ran all installers in the nvidia folder I could find that gave me a "remove" option, tripple checked I got rid of everything. My control panel still contained two things: nvidia nview device manager (which did nothing when clicked), and nvidia nforce control panel (sound eq, etc). I could find no way remove either one, and google offered no help. Rebooted several times in doing this.

Then I uninstalled the ATI stuff too and deleted the ATI folder. Rebooted. Redownloaded ATI driver and installed. Rebooted. Same problems persisted.

I downloaded Driver Sweeper 3.2.0 (Driver Fusion, it's successor, requires .NET 4.0 which I don't want to install. These are legacy drivers and I think Driver Sweeper can handle it). DLed from techspot.com because the phyxion.net direct DL link redirects to Driver Fusion now. I don't like the 3rd party DL location, but it scanned clean. After uninstalling ATI CCC and drivers, I rebooted into safe mode. Ran Sweeper and got rid of all ATI display and Nvidia Display objects. Rebooted.

Redownloaded ATI drivers and installed. Rebooted. Set my resolution to 1240

This is where I am now, with new problems. Ever since rebooting my computer is running like it's 350MHz, bogged with malware or doing something intensive. Anything I do is slow or jittery, especially anything requiring refresh of the display. Switching window focus, loading/refreshing web pages, clicking another tab in browser, minimizing/maximizing windows, opening start menu, etc are all delayed by one to several seconds, and when such large display changes happen they update on screen slowly, top to bottom, with a visible horizontal line as the screen refreshes over the period of about 1-3 seconds. Scrolling down pages is especially excruciating. I've also experienced some momentary freezing (about 1 second) while moving the cursor and other similar "bogged down" effects if anything else is going on (eg explorer is opening a folder I double clicked).

Task manager lists firefox at 0-10% cpu, taskmgr.exe at a consistent 20-33% while it is open (strangely high), a couple of processes intermittently at 2% or so, and idle process taking up the rest.

Device manager lists ATI 9600 and ATI 9600 secondary (2 entries) under Display Adapters working fine. There is now also an unknown device in DM, type: other device, manuf: unknown, Location: on ATI Radeon 9600 / X1050 Series, device status: This device is not configured correctly. (Code 1)". It was a long time ago, but I recall having this entry in DM but with no problems when I used the ATI card years ago.

:o  Phew! Okay.

Thanks for reading. This is old hardware/software, which is probably harder, not easier, and requires tedious debugging. I won't disappear and leave any helpers hanging. I'll check back for at least a couple of months, until I get a full solution or you all run out of steam/ideas. I'll diligently follow any advice, provide requested info. For now I intend to reinstall the display drivers again and try it without ATI CCC. I'll report any changes tomorrowish. I also plan to get some paste in a week or two and discover once and for all what cpu I have, but I don't know how much I plan to mess with my BIOS yet. I'd be happy just to get things running smooth with the display drivers again.
a b Î Nvidia
September 8, 2012 8:56:26 PM

i would do one thing reinstal the win xp with sp3 then put back the motherboard driver that came with the cd after that all the other needed driver
September 9, 2012 12:47:58 AM

Trying to avoid that. Can't back anything up until I get my new computer. This motherboard doesn't support SATA3 HD which I'll likely be getting, and IDE not working so I can't load on an old HD or even burn DVDs.

A reinstall was actually the plan eventually once I had a new system going. But I'm still just starting to re-learn about computers after 8yrs of tech-hiatus before I can decide what I want for parts and save some cash, look for deals and build my system. Looking to overhaul my security/privacy profile and likely go Linux which makes things more involved than in the past.

This happening now puts me in a jam.
a b Î Nvidia
September 10, 2012 4:04:27 AM

could you have a way to test the drive you got i this system with the drive maker tool
!