What causes texture loading lag?

I'm playing Gun right now, and have been getting a lot of texture loading lag, even at the very lowest video settings (I haven't heard anybody else complain about this problem with this game). Usually, there is a 1-2 second pause while the textures load, but sometimes the textures fail to load at all, so I'm stuck with a huge sky texture for a few seconds. Either way, it's really annoying and makes the game impossible to enjoy. I've had this similar problem with other games, such as Half Life 2 and Fear. What are the possible causes of this? I doubt it's my video card's fault, as the problem occurs with every option at the lowest setting. Could it be RAM? Hard drive?
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More about what texture loading
  1. how much ram do you have? and yes it could be that you dont have enough ram and the harddrive has to load the textures which causes humongous slowdowns, or could be video memory in your bios make sure you have atleast 128mb set. ive been haveing a problem with cod2 also where some textures are insanely laggy and i have to look at the ground to even run the game. and i tried setting everything to lowest also, ill try to increase the apeture size and see what happens, also gives us some computer specs.
  2. Specs:
    Pentium 4 2.66 GHz
    1 Gb DDR 333 (in single channel, unfortunately)
    120 and 200 ATA-100 7200 RPM hard drives (I have games on a separate partition)
    Radeon X850XT PE 256Mb
    Sound Blaster Live 24-bit
    My AGP aperture is set to 256Mb.
    Has anybody else played Gun? This problem isn't as severe in other games.
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