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Old 07-25-2006, 09:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Laptop woes: Insufficient PSU or MB?

I've had various issues with my laptop when it comes to demanding 3D applications (ie games) over the past two years. Namely, I seem to be registering poor performance in relation to the components in my system. I originally looked into heat issues, as any laptop with a P4 tends to get hot. However, I now use a reliable aluminum cooling pad, and heat does not seem to be the primary cause of my woes.

Recently, a friend suggested that poor framerates, unusual crashes, and random choppiness could be the result of a poor PSU. Upon consideration, it would seem that the standard, cheap laptop PSU would not suffice for such a power-consuming machine. However, I have been unable to confirm these suspicions.

Regardless, I have taken countless steps to try and resolve my issues, but to no avail. I will list the ones I can remember below:
-Compaq tech support
-Upgrading RAM (from 1 GB to 1.5 GB)
-Upgrading HDD (to 7200 RPM unit)
-Updating drivers and experimenting with various 3rd party drivers (current video drivers: Omega based off of the 6.5 Catalyst)
-Reformating (twice)
-Changing pagefile size and function
-Tweaking registry for various optimizations
-Running Windows with visual styles disabled
-Spyware, worm, virus, and trojan checks
-External LCD monitor (the notebook is widescreen, so I have tried non-WS display options)
-Cleaning the fans frequently for dust buildup
-OCing the video card (both RAM and GPU; the card can only be pumped up a few MHz before artifacting appears, and underclocking does not help either)

That's the big list, for now. The reason why I suspect faulty (or insufficient) hardware is based on the fact that I've tried all the possible fixes that I have ever come across. Any suggestions, ideas, or insights would be appreciated!

System Specs:
3.2 GHz P4 (w/ HT)
1.5 GB DDR 2700 RAM
ATi Mobility Radeon 9600 w/ 128 MB VRAM
80 GB Hitachi HDD @ 7200 RPM
Creative Audigy 2 ZS Notebook PCMCIA card
Windows XP Professional SP2

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Old 07-26-2006, 03:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What's the brand and model of your laptop?

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Old 07-26-2006, 06:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Compaq Presario R3000 CTO (also known as the R3000T)
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Old 07-26-2006, 06:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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What do you mean by performance problems? What do you get in 3dmark 05 for example?

Realisticly you can't expect tons of performance from that laptop, the video card is decent but unable to run new stuff at high frame rates.

It should run half life 2 at high 1024 at maybe 20-40 fps I'd guess.
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Old 07-26-2006, 07:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, if it were simply a poor framerate, I wouldn't be too concerned, as I can't expect much from this card. However, the problem is really the combination of a variety of odd glitches, crashes, and hitching.

Here's an example, when playing Source engine games:
-Large yellow spots will appear on wall, ceiling, and floor textures (this does not appear to be artifacting, as it looks like weird neon yellow circles were painted over the terrain)
-Whenever player deaths are triggered, or in areas of gunfire, the game will freeze for 1-2 seconds (this is sometimes accompanied by the CPU usage chart spiking down to 0%, but it NEVER goes above 80%)
-These problems occur regardless of the drivers used
-These problems did not occur when the machine was new (HL2 performed well at medium settings, but now, after various reformats, running the same drivers as then, the performance is about 10 FPS lower with the glitches mentioned above)
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