OK, I can't figure this one out. I *had* a P4-2.53Ghz, 1GB system with a Leadtek FX 5600 128MB card. At 1600x1200, I routinely got 20-30 fps on Command & Conquer Generals (even with lots of action on the screen).
I recently purchased a Dell Precision 650, 2.4Ghz XEON, 1GB DDR, and moved my Leadtek card to the new PC. Loaded up the latest nVidia driver (it was already installed on the previous PC), and I have the following anomolies when playing C&C:Generals:
1) At 1600x1200, medium quality, I get 4-8 fps (as reported by FRAPS)
2) If I ALT-TAB back to windows and ALT-TAB back to C&C, the frame rate rises instantly to 30 or so. After playing for a short time, the frame rate slows again to a crawl. ALT-TAB trick speeds it up again.
3) If the fps is 30+ and another game screen/windows appears, the frame rate slows to a crawl again.
I've tried uninstalling the driver and reinstalling, and also reinstaling DirectX 9.0a. DXDIAG passes, BTW.
Also, and i'm not sure if this is normal, but in the nvidia display properties page, it shows BUS: AGP (PCI mode). Is that right? Why would it show AGP, but PCI mode?
Because I got a tremendous deal on the system that I couldn't pass up! I've always been a 2 CPU person, but the noise and heat generated (DUAL AMD XP's) forced me back to a single P4. Then I found this great deal on a Dimension 650...
This Dimension 650 is quiet and fairly cool running. It's a top notch system (but not just for gaming...C&C is the only game I really play).
Yeah, the same card ran fine in my P4 system. I was happy with the performance. I agree the system should be a screamer. There is no CPU "hogging" problems. The slowdown in C&C is very reproducable and predictable. What I can't figure out is why ALT-TAB'ing to Windows desktop and then back to C&C makes it work fast again.