New system, MAJOR graphics slowdown

I just put together what I thought was a killer system, but it seems to be choking in the games department.
This is the problem. From Doom 1 (you heard it) all the way to Quake 3, Icewind Dale, etc., it intermittently chunks for a second or two, then runs fine, then chunks....

Here's the specs:

Athlon socket 5 Gigabyte GA-7DXC motherboard
Athlon 1100 CPU (boxed with factory heatsink)
128 MB DDR Unbuffered RAM
Geforce 256 with 32 MB DDR RAM (creative's annihilator pro)
Hitachi DVD (GD-7500)
D-Link 10BT network card.

No conflicts, not overheating, and the task scheduler is off.

there are a lot of motherboard settings that I'm not real familiar with, but I have the video card settings (BIOS) set like this:

AGP Aperture size: 64MB
AGP Fast write: Enabled
AGP Mode: 4X
AGP always compensate: Enabled
(These are the defaults)

I left the following settings at default also:
SDRAM ECC setting (disabled)
DRAM timing setting by (auto)
DRAM Ph Limit (8 cycle)
DRAM Idle limit (8 cycle)
DRAM Trc timing value (8 cycle)
DRAM Trp value (3 cycle)
DRAM Tras timing value (7 cycle)
DRAM CAS latency (2 cycle)
SDRAM Trcd timing value (3 cycle)

The system Bus range is from 95-133, and I left it at the default: (Motherboard switches)
CPU(109) PCI(33.66) AGP(67.335)
Any change to one changes them all....

Another thing that I notice is when I check the physical memory available, there is between 20 and 60 MB free,(out of 128) and I'm not running a bunch of junk in the background.

Any help or ideas would be GREATLY appreciated.


43 answers Last reply
More about system major graphics slowdown
  1. Try setting the AGP Aperture size to 32.
  2. Yea, I tried that.. No difference.. I also moved the system bus down to 95 after reading an article on Tweak3d.
    (that got the AGP bus closest to 66)
    I also tried disabling AGP fast write. No difference.

    In quake3 it will be running at 60-90fps, then for a second or two become unplayable (3-10fps), then go right back up again.


    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by TheRealAnubis on 01/19/01 07:55 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  3. Post deleted by Take_Out What was in here basically, is that you go to My Computer icon, right click on it, left click on Properties, left click on performance, and you should read a percentage of RAM left to run new stuff, like games. The percentage should be about 85% to 98%, higher is better. What can sometimes happen, the game has not enough memory to put all the info it wants into, so it has to access the hard drive and this is MUCH slower, causing possibly the slow downs like you describe.
    Another item, before I screwed the pooch on edit, was that you can (only in Half-Life as far as I know) add to the command line (found in properties of the icon) this command:
    -heapsize 80000 This command tells the computer (I think) to set aside so much memory for the game to use if it wants to. There is another I use that I have no idea what it does:
    -zone 4000 Both of these have to do with memory performance as far as I know. Some others are -nojoy -numericping -32bpp (this one is for 32 bit color) -noipx -console. Note that the memory settings are for use with 128meg RAM. Good Luck, Take-Out <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Take_Out on 01/23/01 05:09 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  4. Yea, that seems like it could be true..
    See, the minimum setting for the AGP aperture size is 32MB, and it looks like it's reserving that from the motherboard RAM for the video card.. That then leaves me with less than 100MB RAM to start with...

    Also, are the SDRAM settings needed for DDR (PC2100) RAM ??

    I may just have to go out and get another stick of RAM.


  5. "In quake3 it will be running at 60-90fps"

    you should be getting 170fps in 640x480x16. if not, yer motherboard has issues. mine does and am getting a replacement
  6. Are you running Win2K? Win2K is a RAM eater and a performance reducer.
    Is your CPU clocked at 100 or 133 Mhz? If it is at 133Mhz, why is it set at 109?
    I guess you've got PC2100. So make sure your FSB and memory clocks are set to 133Mhz unless, of course, you've got a 100Mhz cpu clock.

    - Better go Green than Blue!
  7. Yea, but mine's set at 1280X1024 with everything maxed...
  8. I'm running Win98SE

    The 95-133 bus settings are the only ones offered.

    This is the first good system that I've had, so I'm not up on the tweaks.. What bus speed should an Athlon socket 5 1100 CPU be set at?

    I didn't notice any change in the whole deal going down, and it's just a simple 4 position switch on the motherboard away to do the 133 MHz. I don't want to overclock, though.

    The reason that I set it down to 95 is because an article on Tweak3d about the Geforce256 said that it shouldn't have the AGP bus set above 66. The only settings that come close are the 95 MHz (AGP at 63.33) or the 133 (AGP at 66.6)

    I just tried it on the 133 setting and the system wouldn't boot up...
  9. Well ill supprised that that system even ran quake 3 at all. I pick up an early Micron DDR Athlon system at best buy after my old IBM crapped out(which was a replacement for a laptop......the only reason i owned a manufactured tower). The preformance on that thing with a gig tbird and a TNT2 Ultra was worse then my classic athlon 600. I had to disable the sound to even get around 3 fps. Didnt take much time for that system to go back, I think it was around 3 hours. Somethings wrong with the 760's or atleast the first runs of them?
  10. That's really weird. THG saw nothing that startling with the new chipsets. I'm thinking it's the Micron/Best Buy thing. Try They build very good systems from the reviews I've seen.
  11. I didnt really have a choice in the matter. Sold my hand built p233 tower for money on a laptop for college. Laptop died, didnt really need/want another one so got a IBM tower. Then the IBM died, but I had a p3 733 815E system built already. Then got the micron amd DDR gig system(to see what it would do/maybe swap out the chip and board to my system), it sucked major a$$. Seeing a pattern here. System from best buy are complete crap, but once they have your money all ya can do is keep getting crap system from them or store credit. Thats why my p3 733 system got a new GF2 Pro, 19" FD trinitron, Altec Lansing AC56 speakers, and a joystick courtesy of Best Buy. And the 733 system is still running with out a hitch. Hand built is the way to go for sure, stumbled into store bought systems for a while. Best of all I sold the p233 to my aunt and its still running just fine too.
  12. Quick idea: Check your Via 4-in-1 drivers. A missing or corrupted installation could crap up your performance.

    Tom Mc

    Even a fool, when he remains silent, appears wise.
  13. Of course, there are no FSB over 133Mhz as of yet (at least, that I know about). A 200Mhz FSB is actually a 100Mhz FSB double pumped (hence DDR). To set your FSB at 100Mhz, your Athlon must be made to be clocked at 200Mhz. If your Athlon is clocked at 266Mhz, then set your FSB to 133Mhz.
    You'll need PC2100 DDR SDRAM if you run the FSB at 133 or 100Mhz. If you use PC1600 DDR SDRAM, you will need to run the FSB at 100Mhz. So you can't use PC1600 with a 266Mhz enabled CPU.

    - Better go Green than Blue!
  14. Ok,

    It's PC2100 DDR Unbuffered RAM, and the system bus is set at 100. I tried setting it on 133 and it wouldn't boot up.

    How can I tell if my Athlon is clocked at 200 or 266?
    (or is the above result the answer??)

  15. If it boots at 100Mhz, you've got a winner!
    Or you could try these applications from AMD :

    - Better go Green than Blue!
  16. Hey,

    I tried both of the apps, and neither one says anything about bus speed.. Am I missing something?

    Also, I got a hint about the RAM earlier and I think that may be a big part of it.. Does the AGP video card hog up your system RAM? I have practically nothing running and I'm still down to 40-70MB free physical memory.
    (I just ordered another stick of 128)

  17. Well, you usually can tell the FSB by the part number on the CPU, but that would mean taking the heatsink off.

    The system may supply a bit of its RAM if the card can't supply enough of his under heavy loads.

    - Better go Green than Blue!
  18. No problem !

    Just tell me what to look for and I'll do it !

  19. Hey there,

    You have some nice equipment.. I built a similar system to what you have with only a few differences... I went with an ABIT KT7-RAID mobo w/ tbird 1.1 GHz, 384 PC133 memory and Anihilator 2 Ultra 64 meg.. I had a few issues at first.. first thing to always check is bios revision. My system was slugish and locking up.. I had K7 optimization set at optimal and AGP fast writes with AGP writes /reads enabled thus giving greater performance. Abit released a bios on 12/12/00 and JUST 3 days later another one.. come to find out, they removed the K7 Optimization option in the bios.. they didn't even say that.. they just said it was to fix minor issues such as the north bridge chip enhancements with AGP fast writes.. After I flashed the performance was out of this world... so if you haven't checked for an updated bios for that Gigabyte motherboard, you might try it, even if the revision doesn't list changes that you think will help fix issues with your motherboard. If ya have another system you can test your memory and video card out, try it.. Try and rule out what the possible problem might be.. If it is Gigabyte, give them hell over it ;)

    This is what I recommend

    Set everything in your bios to setup and bios defaults, then go in and enable feature at a time till you find out where your problem lies... This can be a pain in the ass process, but sometimes it is the only way...

    That's weird how it used 109 for the bus speed.. Should be a way you can "user define" your choices..

    good luck!
  20. Turn off fast writes ...good idea
    but heres a thought
    windows sucks #$%@#$#$%@#$
    try manually setting swap file to SAME SIZE or windows will resize it offen creating that pause in games
    300min 300max or 400min 400max (megs) works good
    just rt click on my computer(then left click properties)
    go to like performace and filesystem or virtual memory
    i forget i use win2kpro and its been a while since i had that screen open on win98se

    Bored,certified Tech
  21. OK, here's what you do:

    Take the heatsink off and look for the serial number (somethig like this A1000ATP3B) on the die of the Athlon CPU and interpret the code according to the following specs:


    The first letter (in this case, A) refers to the family/architecture: A = AMD Athlon architecture.

    The following 4-digit number (in this case, 1000) refers to the speed: 0850 = 850Mhz, 0900 = 900Mhz, 1000 = 1000Mhz, 1100 = 1100Mhz, etc.

    The following letter (in this case, A) refers to the package type: M = card module; A = PGA

    The next letter (in this case, P) refers to the operating voltage: S = 1.5V; U = 1.6V, P = 1.7V, N = 1.8V

    The following letter (in this case, T) refers to the case temperature: Q = 60 Celsius, X = 65, R = 70, Y = 75, T = 90

    Then there is a number (in this case, 3) which refers to the size of L2 cache: 1 = 64Kb, 2 = 128Kb, 3 = 256Kb, 4 = 512Kb, 5 = 1Mb, 6 = 2Mb, 7 = 4Mb, 8 = 8Mb

    Finally, the last digit which is of interest to you (in this case, B) refers to the maximum FSB: A = 133Mhz, B = 200Mhz (100Mhz DDR), C = 266Mhz (133Mhz DDR). In your case, you should read B or C.

    I hope this helps!

    Good luck and keep me posted...

    - Better go Green than Blue!
  22. Yea, it's A1100 AMS 3B

    Thanks for the info !

  23. Cool.. I just did that as well..

  24. Sounds like a problem in a KT7 Bios document I have.

    Read this and see if it is applicable on your Gigabyte mobo.

    BIOS Setup

    Advanced Chipset Configuration


    PCI delay transaction

    This makes the 32-bit write buffer accept delayed transaction cycles. Without this enabled your system will not comply with PCI 2.1. Note that users experiencing periodic system pauses often need to disable this setting to resolve this problem.

  25. Hey,

    Well, I've tried all the ideas posted and it did seem to have an effect. All problems stopped after I switched the AGP to 1X/2X in the BIOS, and I also set the virtual memory option at 400MB. Then the other day while playing against 4 bots in Q3 it did it again. Here's the kicker, since the sound was down low *I heard the system fans slow down while the graphics lag was happening.* This sounds like the system may be starved for power under heavy graphics load, but I just put in an approved 300W power supply.

    Do you all think I need to go to 400W ?? The system wouldn't even start up with a 250W, and that's with everything disconnected, only RAM and CPU in.

  26. That slowing fan stuff that you mentioned is awfully suspicious and it seems we are running out of tricks.

    Try Look for stuff on "games stutter" and power supplies. I think there is a post on specific requirements for Geforce cards, amount of amperage required for both the 5 and 3.3 volt lines from the PSU. You probably want to exhaust all "tips" before replacing the PSU, though.
  27. This is the power supply that I have:

    Power Man FSP300-60GT 300W

    Before I put this in, the system wouldn't even start up.

    Now I need to find out the specs of the PSU that I have.
    Any hints where I could find some info ??


  28. Ah !

    Nevermind that last request...It's on the PSU.. (Jeez)
    And it looks to be low on the amps for the 3.3V line. The FAQ recommends 20A, and mine supplies 14A.

    Anyone have a nice sparkle 400W PSU for sale cheap?? ;)

  29. 20 amps! I never realized the requirement for the Geforce was so high but it makes sense because I had heard mention of it needing up to 60 watts (and 3.3 volts * 20 amps = 66 watts). Although I never really believed that number either.

    Before you spend anymore money you might want to get some more feedback on the power requirements for the Geforce.

    Also, if it were me, if given the prospect on spending $100 on a 400 watt powersupply I might take a hard look at just putting that money toward a Geforce 2 GTS which consumes less power.
  30. Hmmm. My L&C PSU only supplies 14A also on the 3.3 leg and my Geforce256 SDR works fine even when overclocked to 150/210. My system is, however, modestly equipped. I only have 1 DIMM and and a PCI modem to draw additional power on the 3.3 volt line. I think my ISA sound card draws from the 5 volt line. Also not all PSUs are the same. I think the ratings are at full load on all lines. It is possible that more power could be drawn on one line if others aren't at full load.

    I don't know what to tell you but I still think that fan slowdown you speak of is suspicious.
  31. Yea, that sounds good... The only problem with going with another card is the fact that I probably won't be able to get a refund on the GeForce256.. I've had it just a little over a month..

  32. Ok, I checked with the place that I got the card.. They prefer to replace, but it may be possible to upgrade to the GTS card..(or maybe get a refund) The problem is, it's $219.. That's about $100 more that I paid for the 256..

    So, do you think it's better to blow the $100 on the PSU, or blow it on the GTS?

    I know the system in general is a power hog, since it wouldn't even boot with a 250W PSU, I wonder if it would still have the same problems with the GTS?

    Also, do you know where I could find out about the power needs of the GTS?

  33. This is a tough one. As you see from one of my previous posts it is possible to get a Geforce card working with a PSU no more capable than the one you have.

    A literal slow down of devices is definitely a power related problem but it may not be your only problem. The source of your game "slow-down" problems maybe something else entirely.

    I would hate to have you spend money on the wrong thing. On the otherhand, you probably don't feel comfortable with that power supply at this time.

    A Geforce 2 MX would be a compromise but it would reduce power consumption by quite a bit and it would cost about the same (or even less) as a Geforce DDR.

    Do you feel you have exhausted all possible solutions? Were there any tips left to try at
  34. One thing that I am thinking is that the system in general is a power hog, so when the GeForce needs that little bit extra, it's just not there..

    The system slow down only happens in games, so I have assumed that the video card is somehow faulty, or that it is not getting something that it needs.
    I have had the system on for hours playing Mp3's, watching DVD's, etc., but only games seem to cause this problem.

    How does the MX stack up against the 256 ? I like the performance, and I guess I'd get a MONGO power supply if it would just run right...

    I have read through most of the FAQ, and have tried many ideas. The biggest clue that I have found is in the 20A recommendation for the 3.3V line.. I am going to keep searching, but I am also in the process of trying to get the place that I got the original GeForce card to cut me a deal on the GTS card. After an online chat with support, they think that the card is faulty. I'm not sure it's that, but it's something.. Do you know how much less power the GeForce2 GTS uses compared to the 256? I could only find the FAQ for the 256 online, but I've been a little busy lately.


  35. Here's another idea:

    I think I saw that you've got your resolution at 1280x1024. Try lowering that to 1024x768 or lower. And if your color's at 32 bits, try lowering it to 16 bits (which should be almost as good). Also, make sure your refresh rate is set somewhere between 75 and 85 HZ.
    Doing all three of those things could significantly reduce the work you're making your system do, which should improve performance. Maybe the card's just being overworked...

    I hope this helps! Good luck!
  36. This may have been asked before (too many replies to wade thru) but what is your resource level before U run UR games ??? what is your virtual memory settings... thse can drasticaly effect running any games...

    Try having at least 88% sys respoures free and virtual ,memory about 3 time the amount of memory U have (min & max if U can do it) also what version of Direct X have U got, if running v8, try v7... U caould also reinstall UR graphics drivers...

    Were cookin' now... whoops...
  37. Oh a thought... what temperature is your system running at when U have had it on for a while... eg an hour or so (reboot and check in the BIOS), I know Athlon processors run hotter that Intels...

    I could be wrong but it could be an idea to check...

    Were cookin' now... whoops...
  38. The system runs cool for as long as I've had it on.. (6-8 hours). I have the virtual memory set at 400 for both (I saw that on a 3d tweak page).

    Regarding the other post, I tried turning down the resolution and depth, but GeForce cards actually run worse on the lower settings, so the problem is more pronounced.

    I think I'm going for the 400W PSU.. I'll let you all know if that takes care of the problem or not.


  39. I found these at Paul's Unofficial KT7 FAQ.

    They sound like they could apply to any mobo with the VIA chipset.

    Why does my KT7 freeze every 5 seconds?
    Try the following:

    Set "PCI Delay Transitions" to "Disable" under Advanced Chipset in the BIOS
    Set "Memory hole at 15-16mb - enabled in BIOS
    This may also be due to sharing of hardware IRQ's by a pair of PCI cards. See the question below "My system hangs with my network card. Why?" on how to troubleshoot this one (even if you don't have a network card!).

    Another user reports that ACPI appeared to be the cause of this. He discovered that his video card was sharing an IRQ with the ACPI driver and that this IRQ was listed in Power Management/Wake-up Events/IRQs Activity Monitoring. He suggested disabling this, and if this doesn't help, disabling ACPI (see misc section)

    This problem has also been linked to the power management software supplied with HP scanners.

    Another user reported upgrading from VIA 4in1 driver v4.24 to v4.25a solved this problem.
  40. 'Annubis'

    Rather than blowing $100 on a 400 watt p.s., you may want to check out the Enermax EG351--it can be had for between $60-70. It is a 330W p.s. that provides 30 amps peak/max on 3.3+ v., which should be more than sufficient for your system. It is a two fan design (92 mm. above the MoBo; 80 mm. rear).

    Your system isn't maxed out in respect of expansion cards, and those are the principle users of the 3.3 'line'. I doubt that you need a 400W p.s.--besides, some high quality 300W supplies blow away 400Wers (don't be fooled by the numbers--always check the specs. The most important are the 3.3+ and 12+ output loads).

    Final note: the '351' has a reasonably good reputation as a high quality, but relatively inexpensive p.s. PC Power & Cooling provides a good write-up on p.s. technology, and a good guide for determining the total load a particular system needs.
  41. Now, that's some really useful information! (These Geforce cards are a nuisance).

    Do you have any good links on power supplies and cases? Mine are fine for my present system. However, I sure would like to be able to give good recommendations to friends and not rely on "good luck".

    I hope it fixes RealAnnubis' problem.

    Thank you.
  42. phsstpok--

    AnandTech did a real good comparative review of 10 power supplies; however, it is somewhat dated now.

    ArsTechnica has an excellent forum for checking out a whole variety of issues, particularly in respect of cooling (and, I suspect, cases). I have used a variety of other sites; unfortunately, I bought both my power supply and case (a Lian Li PC-60 all-aluminum case--real nice, but pricy) a while back and don't remember which specific sites I used. is an excellent search site to use for finding a variety of information: once you know a model number or whatever, use that as a search term and begin exploring. This is how I find reviews, and often hard-to-find information (I'm a librarian, so I'm used to locating information). It does take time, however.

    One word of advice: if possible, always buy a case w/out a power supply if at all possible. If there is one things where vendors almost always skimp, it's the power supply. A large number of lock-ups, slowdowns, etc., are often due to an inadequate and/or cheap power supply. As with anything regarding computers, its almost always better to choose your own components.

    A general rule of thumb is: determine the wattage (amps * volts) that each component uses (and I mean everything --cards, RAM, CPU, fans, etc.); add the figures up; and then tack-on a 20-30% fudge factor. Although quality power supplies can actually operate at up to approx. 160% rated capacity for short durations, to stress a power supply continually will wear it out (well duh!). Providing a fudge factor generally eliminates the power supply as the cause of problems; allows leeway for systems expansion; and provides an invaluable peace-of-mind ;)

    A good general reference book to pick-up is 'PC Hardware in a Nutshell'. The authors are somewhat opinionated; the information is 6-8 months out of date; but it is well-written and not-too-lengthy (500 p.). It can be picked-up via for approx. $22 US.
  43. bahngeist, (That's a hard name to remember but I guess mine isn't any easier) Thanks for the info. I wish I had read that AnandTech article befor I bought a case. I still might have made the same purchase. I was on the tighest budget and the case and AMD approved power supply was only $42 from Prior to reading that article I didn't know how to tell one 300w PSU from another. I also didn't know about a Geforce requiring 20A on the 3.3 volt line. I will in the future.

    Anyway, my PSU has been working great for 3 months even with the supposed troublesome Geforce Card but only time will tell.

    Thanks for your help. I'm archiving both of your messages right now.

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