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Awful gaming performance

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June 16, 2008 4:42:35 PM

Greetings gaming forum. I'm hoping someone here can help me with my massive FPS issues.

First of all, my specs.

Althon XP 64 3600
8800 GT vid card (brand new)
2 gigs ram, DDR400
650 watt PSU (brand new)

Now my issue. In short, my PC won't play any games up to the level of performance that I'd like. This includes Age of Conan (a consistent...10 fps), Bioshock (not smooth at all), and Half Life 2 (20 FPS in an older game doesn't seem right to me, sometimes even dipping into 10).

This started not too long ago. I had been playing the AoC beta for a while now, and at first had been running it on a 7800 gt card. It played ok on low settings, but I knew I'd have to get a better card to play it on good settings. So I did. At this point, the gameplay was pretty sporadic. At times I'd get glorious stretches where it would be at 50 FPS or more, and at times it would run like garbage. I attributed this up and down gameplay to the software itself and blamed Funcom.

As far as Bioshock and HL2 are concerned, they both ran nearly perfect about a month ago when I tried them, and now both run at unacceptable framerates. AoC will not run at anything higher than 10 fps anymore, regardless of what setting or resolution I set it at. I have literally tried every combination and nothing runs it good at all.

I have taken a few steps myself to try and fix this. I have reformatted several times, using both Vista 64 bit and Windows XP. No change. I bought a new PSU to replace my 550 watt one that was in need of replacement anyway, and while I saw a slight performace increase, it was very slight and what I was looking for. I even bought a UPS because I was afraid my electricity was acting up and frying my PSU. Didn't help.

So at this point, I'm out about 300 bucks and nothing has changed from my system before spending a dime, except maybe worse performance I guess.

I don't claim to be any sort of PC expect. I enjoy buying my own parts and building my own PCs, usually with help from techy friends. But I don't know near enough to diagnose serious problems like this and so at the moment I'm at a loss as to what to do.

Some of the theories I've had thrown at me are that my CPU is bottle necking the graphics card. That my CPU is bad or dying. That my motherboard is dying.

My options at this point are to do a complete overhaul basically and just buy a new CPU, mobo, ram combo. This would put me down another 400 if I got what I am planning to get. I'd love to do this, but I'm not exactly rolling in dough at the moment so if there's another way....

Any advice? Any help is very appreciated as I'm nearly out of options.
June 16, 2008 5:05:46 PM

Where do you live? (don't actually answer that) The reason I ask though is that I live in the the north eastern US and a month ago we had outside temps in the 40s and 50s. Now they are in the 80s and 90s. Because of this the temperature in the room my PC is in increased significantly unless I have the AC on. Now normally this increase should not be an issue, but if you CPU cooling was borderline to begin with it may have been running fine during winter months but now is overheating in the summer. The same thing happened to me several years ago. I built a PC in the fall and it ran great until the summer months when if I didn't have an AC running in the same room it would overheat. Try removing the CPU cooler, cleaning both thoroughly, reapplying thermal paste correctly and making sure the cooler is attached properly. Hope that helps.
June 16, 2008 5:13:43 PM

Not really an issue. The PC is kept in a basement for one, and the AC is on as well so its a real cooler down there. And I've monitored both GPU and CPU temps and neither gets to over 40 degrees ever.
Related resources
June 16, 2008 5:48:14 PM

What if the hard drive is going bad. Wouldn't that tax the system?
June 16, 2008 6:14:29 PM

I'm not sure. I hope not, but I don't know much about hard drives. Seems the only time I've ever heard of one going bad, it goes bad as in dies or melts.
June 17, 2008 10:08:52 AM

You can stress test your PC using Everest Ultimate edition.
June 17, 2008 10:51:38 AM

I had a problem similar to yours, where my bios didnt flash correctly and was gimping my system. Im using an Asus motherboard, dont know about you. Im not sure if your problem is like mine, but you can try flashing to a new bios and see if it helps.
June 17, 2008 1:16:01 PM

What is bottlenecking u is defintely the CPU/RAM. RAM is so cheap now that for about 80 dollars u can get 4 gigs of DDR800, which will help alot. For the CPU, I would go with Intel for sure, get a Q6600. I think they're around 220 dollars right now. Thats about 300, and should help alot. If you dont want to switch over to Intel, just the RAM upgrade will be fine, but eventually you will have to use Intel. I gave prices in US dollars considering I don't know any euro prices.
June 17, 2008 1:16:45 PM

thegatekeeper said:
I had a problem similar to yours, where my bios didnt flash correctly and was gimping my system. Im using an Asus motherboard, dont know about you. Im not sure if your problem is like mine, but you can try flashing to a new bios and see if it helps.


Upgrade the BIOS, if not its most likely your mobo is dying. Try your GPU on another PC just to check it out. If not Mobo is dying. Witch is bad because Sckt 939 mobos are rare, and not of good quality atm.
June 17, 2008 1:20:01 PM

virtusdcs said:
Greetings gaming forum. I'm hoping someone here can help me with my massive FPS issues.

First of all, my specs.

Althon XP 64 3600
8800 GT vid card (brand new)
2 gigs ram, DDR400
650 watt PSU (brand new)



No those aren't your specs. they are an abridged version of a summary of your system specifications... :pt1cable:  You do want some help - right??

I presume you have tried the usual stress tests (Gold Memory tester, CPU burn, Super PI, 3D Mark 2006, etc.)?

My first instinct would be a below par PSU - but since you don't consider that to be a system specification I can't comment on that... However is your PSU from Tiers 1-3:
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=108088
A PSU problem could potentially cause fluctuating stability issues.

You definately have a hardware issue as it is OS independent.

You are also a bit vague about the CPU... Is that a Brisbane, Windsor or Manchester core?
If its a Brisbane core (2x512Kb cache) it shouldn't limit older games too much. The older cores wouldn't realistically have enough on-die cache to game on (2x256Kb cache).

Hope that info is useful...

Bob



June 17, 2008 1:28:10 PM

radnor said:
Upgrade the BIOS, if not its most likely your mobo is dying. Try your GPU on another PC just to check it out. If not Mobo is dying. Witch is bad because Sckt 939 mobos are rare, and not of good quality atm.


I would disagree. I recently picked up a couple of excellent DFI socket 939 boards 2nd hand on Ebay (with NF4 and RDX200 chipsets). They both overclocked very nicely. Still I think I would rather have a newer board with all solid capacitors, properly shrouded SATA ports, etc. I was building systems for other people (on the semi-cheap) in this instance however...

The real problem is the supply of socket 939 dual-core CPUs. Now this whole socket is totally out of production the 2Mb Opterons cost a fortune. I had to wait about 8 weeks (total) bidding on socket 939 Opterons to get a pair of 1.8Ghz dual core CPUs at the right price (like <$100.00 / £50.00).

Bob
June 17, 2008 1:33:46 PM

I guess that's why I'm here Bob. Enlighten me. I have not run any stress tests, though more than willing to try if that helps me narrow down my problem. I have to head to work and don't have time to look up the specifics that you asked, but I'll try to get them when I get home today.

Thanks again guys, already learning stuff from this thread.
June 17, 2008 1:42:44 PM

bobwya said:
I would disagree. I recently picked up a couple of excellent DFI socket 939 boards 2nd hand on Ebay (with NF4 and RDX200 chipsets). They both overclocked very nicely. Still I think I would rather have a newer board with all solid capacitors, properly shrouded SATA ports, etc. I was building systems for other people (on the semi-cheap) in this instance however...

The real problem is the supply of socket 939 dual-core CPUs. Now this whole socket is totally out of production the 2Mb Opterons cost a fortune. I had to wait about 8 weeks (total) bidding on socket 939 Opterons to get a pair of 1.8Ghz dual core CPUs at the right price (like <$100.00 / £50.00).

Bob


That is what i meant from good quality. if I'm not mistaken one fo them problems with socket 939 is that they didn't run Dual-Channel. The IMC is on the CPU so they had to change socket. AM2 was born. In virtusdcd case "repairing" his equipment might be expensive to compare if he bought a new semi-updated system.

I like to tinker a lot a swell. I have 2 AMDs 1.5Ghz palomino Core working that i unlocked the L5 bridge so they will work as a Athlon MP instead of a XP. I paid very little for those AMD and the mobo. They were basically going to be trashed. Its a "great" LAN party, file sharing, Printer sharing, all purpose Linux server machine.

But for gaming, is it worth to keep that 939 Mobo ? Or its better (bang/buck ratio) to make a little upgrade ? a 4800+ X2(2.5ghz) nowadays is dirty cheap, the RAM is even cheaper, and that PSU might work.
June 17, 2008 2:04:53 PM

I would recommend pricing out a new build keeping your Video Card and maybe PSU and HDD if they are not faulty. Even a cheap 650w PSU should be sufficiant for your system unless you have several extra hard drives or other devices connected that you haven't listed. Replacing a 939 motherboard is kind of silly especially if you want a performance system. Even worse would be to upgrade your CPU or add more RAM (DDR400 cost almost twice as much as DDR800 which won't work for you).
The advantages of completely (or mostly) rebuilding is that instead of spending money on stuff that may work you can build a system that you'll know will do what you want. Also instead of being left with random other parts, your current system will be mostly intact for either a secondary PC or one you can sell. Either way a whole PC tends to be more valuable than a pile of mismatched parts. Just something to consider though.
June 17, 2008 2:42:29 PM

Well, that is my next step if none of this testing works. I've already priced out an intel board, a wolfdale core2 duo, and 4 gigs of ram. I'm prepared to make that step despite my lack of income. As for the PSU, I've already purchased a 650 coolermaster, so no worries there.

One thing I'm def not going to do is look for parts and whatnot for the current set up. If indeed something isn't working, I will be more than happy to get new stuff that will not only surely work but that leaves me room to upgrade in the future if I happen to get stinking rich (always a distinct possibility).
June 17, 2008 2:57:05 PM

Your CPU and RAM are holding back your graphics card, and if your motherboard is only DDR (not DDR2) I'd suggest upgrading that too.

Cheap(ish) dual core processor.
Cheap(ish) motherboard with DDR2 support.
2Gb DDR2-800 RAM.

What sort of money are you looking to spend?
June 17, 2008 3:54:48 PM

Atm I'm under three hundred bucks with my possible choices. Though add this to the 300 on vid card/UPS/PSU, plus 200 more for my monitor, and about the only thing I'm even keeping is my HD....

Anyway, this is what I'm planning on purchasing, assuming I really do need to, which is sounding more and more like I do (though I find it still hard to explain such lackluster performance on bottlenecking. the thing does well......sometimes. Last night for instance I logged into AoC and for the first ten minutes I was getting a solid 40 fps, and then it just bottomed out to unplayability for no apparent reason).

Here's the new possible digs:

-Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor
-GIGABYTE GA-EP35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard
-G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1000 (PC2 8000) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

The memory I'm not 100% on as I know the board and CPU will hold higher memory, though the price increases dramatically beyond what I've got listed here and I'm trying to save somewhat.
June 17, 2008 4:28:10 PM

virtusdcs said:
Atm I'm under three hundred bucks with my possible choices. Though add this to the 300 on vid card/UPS/PSU, plus 200 more for my monitor, and about the only thing I'm even keeping is my HD....

Anyway, this is what I'm planning on purchasing, assuming I really do need to, which is sounding more and more like I do (though I find it still hard to explain such lackluster performance on bottlenecking. the thing does well......sometimes. Last night for instance I logged into AoC and for the first ten minutes I was getting a solid 40 fps, and then it just bottomed out to unplayability for no apparent reason).


Think House MD... You need a differential diagnosis!!

There is much to be learnt from failing systems... Like not making the same mistake twice....

CPU burn :
http://users.bigpond.net.au/CPUburn/
Stresses CPU+cache but no other systems. Needs to be run for 8+ hours to thoroughly test a system. Run one instance on each core of your CPU.

Do a google search on:
"Admin Tools Gold - 142in1 - (AIO) Bootable CD (full)"
You'll get a lot of hits... (cough, cough) Uhhmmm running the Gold Memory Tester will let you know if there are any RAM faults (its more accurate at finding problems than Memtest 86 - but run both).


We still need to know:
OC - yes/no
RAM brand & timing
CPU L2 cache size (and core)
PSU Make & Model
Motherboard Manufacturer & Model - current BIOS - you up-to-date?

You can E-bay the old gear... But only if you know its working (unless you want to be a 0% rated seller)... Catching my drift why this important now?

Bob
June 17, 2008 4:34:23 PM

Still at work so unable to check the brands, but I will say this....I bought the RAM and CPU not long ago when my PC died completely and I took it to this free diagnosis place nearby. I bought a the CPU used from them, and they ordered the RAM for me and installed it. I'm not even sure I can find the manufacturer, unless its listed on the pieces themselves which I'll check out when I get home, even though I don't want to unseat the CPU as I don't have any gel on hand to reseat it.

I'll get what I can though. And I'm def. going to get those tester programs. That's what I've been looking for for months and no one could tell me what to get until I came to this delicious place.
June 17, 2008 4:37:40 PM

While this hasn't been confirmed by funcom in any way, the reason AoC is so sporadic is not your pc, it's their code. During beta many lowrigs could handle age of conan without any trouble, but because of some changes in the code due to a rushed effort, much of the code isn't very efficent. I have guild mates who are running quad core and geforce 8800s who are still only geting 10-20 fps. In all honesty, as nice as age of conan is, its still in beta, regardless of what funcom claims. The most blatant example of this is the memory leaks that cause clients to crash. Also, check the areas you are getting high fps in. If its tortage or an self bound instance, you get much better fps then you would get in public areas. Bio-shock and half life- can't really say... But trust me, the main issue here is AoC's rushed code. If funcom wishes to keep this game going they will get this hammered out by the end of july... hopefully, till then everyone just has to deal. Yes getting a better machine will improve it now through the brute force of a better proccessor and more ram, but hopefully this will get fixed soon enough that you won't have to worry. Also go into your advanced video settings and turn up the memory for you textures, that should help
June 17, 2008 4:42:07 PM

virtusdcs said:
Still at work so unable to check the brands, but I will say this....I bought the RAM and CPU not long ago when my PC died completely and I took it to this free diagnosis place nearby. I bought a the CPU used from them, and they ordered the RAM for me and installed it. I'm not even sure I can find the manufacturer, unless its listed on the pieces themselves which I'll check out when I get home, even though I don't want to unseat the CPU as I don't have any gel on hand to reseat it.

I'll get what I can though. And I'm def. going to get those tester programs. That's what I've been looking for for months and no one could tell me what to get until I came to this delicious place.


No worries just download:
http://www.cpuid.com/cpuz.php
If there is anyway you can post some screenshoots of each of the CPUz tabs that would be real useful!! (I.e. put them on ImageShack or whatever). That should cover the actual RAM make+timings, CPU cache size/core/stepping and should pin down the motherboard manufacturer and (possibly) the model.

Still need more info on that PSU though.

Apologies for my earlier abruptness I just assumed you had put the rig together yourself (for some reason)!!

Bob
June 17, 2008 5:19:17 PM

I did put it together for the most part. Originally I put the machine together myself, with help from some friends. I probably shouldn't have given my level of ignorance in the majority of technical PC matters, but I really wanted to try my hand at things and hopefully learn the ropes. The CPU and RAM were put in last December by a techy place, though that's the first time I've used them. The machine ran beautifully for two years or so though, so I felt good about how I'd put it together. Then again, the most complicated game I ever ran on it was probably WoW, and that's not saying a whole lot (though it made WoW pretty).

As far as the AoC code response, I would tend to agree with you there. They did release it too soon, and I know because I was in beta. Oddly enough, it ran fine for a while. It ran better in beta actually. There were times when it was garbage, but times when it was perfect as well. I never changed anything, so I assumed at the time as you have, that it had to be something on Funcoms part and that my machine was fine. Then I tried other games and became very suspicious that something was up. I tried Half Life 2, and at times it would run fine, and at times it would run terribly. I tried the Crysis demo, and it was fine on medium settings while I was alone in the woods, but when a few characters popped on screen it became a slideshow. Bioshock is playable, but its not as smooth as I believe a game needs to be to be really enjoyed, especially a game with such OH **** moments as that one. It's the inconsistency I'm getting that makes me think its more than just lousy Funcom code.

But...hopefully those benchmark programs will help me determine this, I hope?
June 17, 2008 8:03:12 PM

Here's the CPUz tabs.





June 17, 2008 8:36:29 PM

I would upgrade. Your CPU and ram are holding you back horribly. I built a couple of systems and sold them for $589 that play those games very smoothly. 3dmark 06 score was a bit over 11000.
e2180 @ 3.0
2 G Ram 800
575 watt PSU
8800GT 512 Evga
Windows Vista Ultimate
June 17, 2008 9:08:29 PM

virtusdcs said:
Here's the CPUz tabs.
...


OK thanks for the post... Now we know what we are dealing with!!

So the motherboard is OK(ish) - most people woulldn't go Abit as a first choice though... I see it only supports PCIe 8x lane for the GPU but I don't think this will hurt any because...

The CPU is like the el-cheapo of the el-cheapo. A A64 2.0Ghz is OK for gaming but not with 256Kbit of cache per core...

... Coupled with Gold balls (who they??) no-name RAM : 2.5 3 3 7 @ DDR333 clocking is like really awful...

I am surprised you can run anything past say Deus Ex 1 and Red Faction 1 on that rig...

If you want to game get:
MB - Gigabyte P35 DS3 (don't go too cheap here)
CPU - Intel E2160/E2180
RAM - 2x 1Gb Ballistix DDR2-800 RAM (cheap - overclocks well)

Plug in your GPU and overclock the CPU up to 3.0Ghz and you're all set!!

I would also still check out that PSU brand to see if it is decent (a UPS won't help a crap PSU). You won't need more than 400W for the rig - quality not quantity is required here.

Bob
June 17, 2008 11:06:11 PM

I had a feeling the PC guys might have been jerking me around (in a bad way). They gave me the CPU and the RAM both. Looks like I'll be upgrading.

The PSU i got had very good reviews. I also already sent in the rebate so I might be SOL on replacing it atm...

Thanks for the info. Nice to know I'm not just crazy here.

Are the equips I listed above that I was pricing out okay?

-Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor
-GIGABYTE GA-EP35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard
-G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1000 (PC2 8000) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

I figure this will last me a while and leave room for future improvements.
June 18, 2008 12:50:45 AM

The RAM u have is very nice. I got the same thing RAM-wise a while back except for I got the g.Skill DDR2-800. the next day after ordering, I was kicking myself becasue I saw the 1000 that I could have bought. I'm glad you found the good kind right now.
June 18, 2008 6:07:30 AM

virtusdcs said:

-Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor
-GIGABYTE GA-EP35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard
-G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1000 (PC2 8000) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory


Yeh can't complain about that lot!! I believe the Wolfie overclocks nicely with the stock cooler (don't quote me on that!!)

Quote:
The PSU i got had very good reviews

What on Newegg?? Or real reviews... You're still a bit cagey with details there!! A really bad PSU can damage equipment attached to it... That gear you quoted plus your GPU is worth a fair bit of money now!!

Bob
June 18, 2008 9:32:28 PM

Well I went ahead and upgraded. Gear should be here in a few days and I look forward to having my problems wiped clean.

As for the PSU....like I said, I'm a bit stuck. I already sent in the rebate for it, so I don't believe I can get a replacement at this point, and my monetary sense (what little I have) refuses to scrap it and get a new one.

Here's the Newegg link to it, if that helps any possible assessments of it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
June 18, 2008 10:56:03 PM

virtusdcs said:
Well I went ahead and upgraded. Gear should be here in a few days and I look forward to having my problems wiped clean.

As for the PSU....like I said, I'm a bit stuck. I already sent in the rebate for it, so I don't believe I can get a replacement at this point, and my monetary sense (what little I have) refuses to scrap it and get a new one.

Here's the Newegg link to it, if that helps any possible assessments of it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Its Tier 4 on the XS Tier list but most net reviews seem positive. Give it a try.

You had me worried as I thought it was going to be some "Rosewill" nightmare PSU-like thing!!

WhenIf it blows up get a Corsair next time... :pt1cable: 

Bob
June 19, 2008 3:58:14 AM

Thanks for all the advice Bob (and everyone else). If nothing else, I've learned some things (even if i still had to spend some cash :p )
!