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Old 12-10-2005, 12:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Degrading Performance - Can't Find The Cause

Hi there - first post from this guy. I'm in desperate need of finding the source of my problems and not sure where to turn. Hopefully you can help...

Over the past few weeks I've been noticing some pretty intense performance issues on my PC. I have my harddrive partitioned with 2 installations of XP Pro - one for work, one for gaming. My specs are...

* Case: Antec Sonata, Raidmax 520W PSU
* Motherboard: MSI 875P Neo
* Processor: Intel Pentium 4 3.2GHz
* Memory: Corsair 2x512MB DDR 400MHz XMS Pro Series
* Storage: 200GB Western Digital S-ATA, 200GB Western Digital External IDE
* Optical: Liteon 8x DVD+RW
* Video: BFG Nvidia 6600 GT 128MB
* Audio: Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum

The problem is that I'm not seeing the performance I should from my rig, and it's only getting worse - and fast! For instance, if I fire up Counter Strike Source and run the video stress test, I'll usually get 70-110+ FPS the first time around. If I continue to run it, the FPS drops drastically. The second time will usually be around 50, then 40, 30... at which point it usually hovers around 30 or will occasionally jump back up around 60 FPS. When I play games, I see similar results. After 20-30 minutes into a game things are chugging big time. To the point that I can't even turn without seeing dropped frames.

I took my machine over to a friend's tonight who builds PCs on the side. After 3 hours of tinkering - which included completely unhooking everything from the motherboard and setting it all back up, resetting the BIOS and playing with various settings and rolling back to older drivers for video and sound, he gave up. No idea what's wrong and has never seen anything like this.

Every piece of hardware is under a year old. I picked up the processor, video card and PSU in July. The RAM just this week. I'm wicked frustrate having pretty much just finished upgrading everything and seeing the worst performance I've ever experienced. There isn't exactly a local shop I could take it to - they'd just tell me to reinstall Windows or keep it for a week and do that anyway. And my only computer savvy friend is stumped. Hoping we've overlooked something and someone here is able to help. I'll try anything - so if you have a suggestion, let's hear it!

Thanks for your time.
Matt
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Old 12-10-2005, 12:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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i'm thinking its to do with memory. check the virtual memory (pagefile) and dma settings.
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Old 12-10-2005, 12:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the quick reply.

I have no pagefile set for either of my installations and DMA is enabled for all IDE devices.
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Old 12-10-2005, 01:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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set a pagefile
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Old 12-10-2005, 01:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I actually had one set all along - just removed it earlier today. Read that I shouldn't need since I have some pretty decent ram.
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Old 12-10-2005, 01:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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What about spyware and viruses?

What anti virus?

Got a firewall?

What anti spyware Programs?

Whens the last time you defragmented or ran disk clean up?
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Old 12-10-2005, 01:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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not sure where you read it, it may not be necessary to have a page file but it is still a good idea. make the page file larger than your previous one. if you want to take the linux rule of thumb for swap partitions it should be double your physical ram. but i don't think that really applies to windows, i would set it to around about the same as your ram if you can spare the space

edit: sorry for some reason i didn't think of the stuff in the previous post lol. thats pretty shortsighted.
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Old 12-10-2005, 12:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I keep my machine up to date and check for spyware/adware/viruses at least once a week. So I don't think it's that.

After running some benchmarks and getting some feedback from other sources, it looks like it could be a temperature issue. I'm running pretty hot with my MOBO at 59* and CPU at 49* at startup. I'm going to try dropping in a case fan in the front, changing out the CPU heatsink/fan for a higher end, after market one and tidying up my cabling.

I'll also try the pagefile again. It was at 1500MB previously.
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Old 12-10-2005, 01:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I would definitly add more cooling.

But What programs Specifically do you use?
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Old 12-10-2005, 01:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm a web designer, so I'm running some pretty hefty apps all day long. Photoshop and Dreamweaver never get shutdown and I normally have my mail client and browser open all day as well.
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