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Sudden Performance Drop - Help!

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Anonymous
a b à CPUs
December 9, 2000 12:28:22 AM

I have a system with the following specs:

P120 (possibly overclocked from a lower Hz - not sure)
64 Mb EDO-RAM
1.6Gb + 750Mb + 350Mb drives
Win 95b, DUN 1.3, IE 5.5 or Win 95 (DOS 7) floppy

Just recently I have noticed a drop in performance. It is particularly
noticeable when I try to play MP3s - the software simply can't play them
properly, taking about 5 seconds to get through a second of music. Other
applications are also performing more slowly, too.

I am using a DOS MP3 player called MPXPLAY, nice powerful little thing.
However, I have the same problem with Sonique and Media Player so it's not
the software.

I am convinced it is nothing to do with Windows or other software, because
I can boot off a floppy and run MPXPLAY and the problem only gets
marginally better (always used to go better without Windows anyway).

I am also sure that there is nothing wrong with my disk/s. Firstly,
MPXPLAY offers a feature whereby you can load the entire MP3 into extended
memory before playing it, and secondly I have three hard drives and it
doesn't matter which drive I play the MP3 off.

My soundcard is fine, because I can play wavs or CDs fine. Nothing to do
with sound card memory because it always used to work fine.

RAM is a possibility, although the system reports that everything is fine.
No diagnostics (SiSoft) checks bring anything up - they all act as if
everything was normal.

According to my logic, that leaves the CPU, a P120. Again the system
doesn't report anything wrong, and I SiSoft benchmarks give a performance
rating of 120. I am told that this rating is accurate.

I have not manually changed any BIOS settings, but played with them
anyway, resetting them to BIOS then setup defaults. No difference.

I have run McAffee VirusScan with updated DATs and found nothing.

Does anyone have any ideas? Do you need more information about the system
or the problem?
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
December 9, 2000 5:24:42 AM

Does your motherboard have a piplined burst cache module. It is a module that looks like a memory SIMM but slips into an expansion slot that looks like an AGP port. My Compaq Pentium 120 performs poorly without the cache. Maybe it has come loose. Boot up and look for cache amount specified and enabled.

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends...
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
December 9, 2000 6:24:56 AM

Thanx man. BIOS is a bit limited but SiSoft reports 8 kbit external cache - should be 256, eh? I'll have a look - perhaps it's failed or, like you say, come loose.

Anybody else got any other possibilities?
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Anonymous
a b à CPUs
December 9, 2000 6:55:09 AM

Sorry, let me revise that:

SiSoft reports 8k internal cache and a 256k external, the one we're worried about.

My boot screen displayed when I boot up lists RAM and processor et cetera alongside a 256k L2 cache. Does this indicate that the cache is present and working, or can it not tell?

If not, is there any software which can test the cache? I fear it will be difficult to see anything wrong simply by looking at it.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
December 9, 2000 7:33:19 AM

You should be able to disable the cache in BIOS or on the motherboard itself. If it is working and you disable it you should see a significant slow down. Maybe you have 256k cache on the motherboard and another 256k in a slot that is not working therefore you see a partial slowdown due to a loss of some cache. If that is not the problem then maybe it is some other motherboard problem. I bet you motherboard is several years old and might be failing.

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends...
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
December 9, 2000 9:23:10 AM

Sounds like old age finally caught up to it.

Have you checked the battery?
!