Bizarrely low framerate on Radeon 9600 XT

By nwAddict
Apr 9, 2006
  1. HELP!

    I've recently found difficulty in playing games with 3d acceleration.

    3D is running at a horrifying 10 FPS and lowest and if I'm lucky 30 at most.
    I'd be happy with a steady 30 FPS but it often drops to around 8 - 10.

    Here are my system specs:

    AMD Athlon 2400+
    Radeon 9600 XT
    1024mb Crucial RAM
    Windows XP with Service Pack 2


    I've tried the following routes to solving the problem myself:

    -Using the original graphics drivers which came on the CD
    -Using 3rd party drivers
    -Downloading MSI's latest AGP drivers for my motherboard
    -Changing AGP Speeds
    -Using a different motherboard

    I have come to see that AGP Write refuses to enable, even though it is enabled in my BIOS.
    Also, running AGP at 8x creates extremely frequent VPU crashes (these are set to recover but take up a few seconds in doing so)

    Please help, I have no disposable income and am nearly convinced that this is a software issue.

    Thanks, nwAddict
  2. paranoid guy

    paranoid guy TS Rookie Posts: 420

    I'm only working off the millions of graphics cards questions I've seen here, so could it be a PSU problem?
    What kind of power are you working with?
  3. nwAddict

    nwAddict TS Rookie Topic Starter

    550 watt supply. Brand New.
  4. AtK SpAdE

    AtK SpAdE TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,495

    Just a question...what games are you trying to run?

    ANd did the games run at an ok FPS before and they have suddenly dropped off?

    Are these new games.
  5. nwAddict

    nwAddict TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, I'm mostly playing Lock On: Modern Air Combat and Neverwinter Nights.

    Neverwinter Nights runs well, but Lock On has a very low framerate and makes my PC crash a lot. It is quite an intensive game, but it ran quite well not so long ago, and people with worse gfx cards than mine can run it fine.

    I am mostly concerned that no matter what I change in gfx settings - fps is the same. Even in old games.

    I understand that a low FPS in demanding games can be expected, yet I feel my hardware is more than capable of the easy graphics requirements of the software. AGP Write not working is the most baffling thing I have seen with this PC.
  6. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    Hi nwAddict,

    Don't worry about the Fast Writes as if this is a VIA chipset, ATI SmartGART disables this by default as it's a crap-shoot at best with next to no yield in performance. It's wise to just leave it off (as SmartGART will do anyways)... or if you so choose, you can just disable SmartGART and deal with likely instability in a number of conditions.

    AGP 4x to 8x is also a symptom of a VIA chipset. This a KT400/400A system? If so, these have a number of loose specs/issues with certain mainboard manufacturers. The *ONLY* VIA based mainboard I've ever gotten 8x to work stable with Socket-A AMD is the Abit Kx7 series (KD7A's have been good for me). Again though, you're issue likely has nothing to do with AGP 4x vs 8x, so it's a moot point.

    With a lot of tweaks, we've gotten our local Abit KD7A/XP 2500+ Socket A system with DDR333, also with a 9600XT to run games GREAT. Took a lot though.. lol. It is running AGP 4x and Fast Writes off + Catalyst 6.2 drivers.

    I'd start with SiSoft Sandra. Download this ( has a files section) and run it's Memory Bandwidth and CPU tests (arith, fpu, cache). I'd also say google and download CPU-Z and see if you can export the file and attach here. I'd be most interested in your SiSoft bandwidth tests as the memory speed can have huge impact on the games you've mentioned.. and indeed cripple them to sub-par 5-15 fps performance if bandwidth is like 1500-2200mb/s or lower. CPU-Z output will help us determine if you have BIOS options or settings that can help (such as latency, performance modes, interleave and the like).
  7. nwAddict

    nwAddict TS Rookie Topic Starter

    SiSoftware Sandra

    Benchmark Results
    Combined Index : 2549 MB/s
    Speed Factor : 25.1
    2kB Blocks : 16684 MB/s
    4kB Blocks : 17734 MB/s
    8kB Blocks : 18156 MB/s
    16kB Blocks : 14671 MB/s
    32kB Blocks : 12087 MB/s
    64kB Blocks : 11285 MB/s
    128kB Blocks : 7357 MB/s
    256kB Blocks : 5902 MB/s
    512kB Blocks : 767 MB/s
    1MB Blocks : 756 MB/s
    4MB Blocks : 731 MB/s
    16MB Blocks : 727 MB/s
    64MB Blocks : 726 MB/s
    256MB Blocks : 723 MB/s
    Results Interpretation : Higher index values are better.

    Float SSE Cache/Memory Results Breakdown
    Data Item Size : 16 byte(s)
    Buffering Used : No
    Offset Displacement Used : Yes

    Performance Test Status
    Run ID : M-C-G on 11 April 2006 at 10:00:42
    NUMA Support : No
    SMP Test : No
    Total Test Threads : 1
    Multi-Core Test : No
    SMT Test : No
    Dynamic MP/MT Load Balance : No
    Processor Affinity : P0C0T0
    Page Size : 4kB
    Use Large Memory Pages : No

    Model : AMD Athlon(tm) XP 2400+
    Speed : 2.00GHz
    Model Number : 2400 (estimated)
    Performance Rating : PR2901 (estimated)
    Cores per Processor : 1 Unit(s)
    Internal Data Cache : 64kB Synchronous, Write-Back, 2-way set, 64 byte line size
    L2 On-board Cache : 256kB ECC Synchronous, Write-Back, 16-way set, 64 byte line size

    SSE Technology : Yes
    SSE2 Technology : No
    EMMX - Extended MMX Technology : Yes
    HTT - Hyper-Threading Technology : No

    Chipset 1
    Model : VIA Technologies Inc VT8377 Apollo KT400/A/600 CPU to PCI Bridge
    Front Side Bus Speed : 2x 133MHz (266MHz data rate)
    Width : 64-bit
    Maximum Bus Bandwidth : 2128MB/s (estimated)

    Logical/Chipset 1 Memory Banks
    Bank 0 : 512MB DDR-SDRAM 2.5-3-2-6 2CMD
    Bank 2 : 256MB DDR-SDRAM 2.5-3-2-6 2CMD
    Bank 3 : 256MB DDR-SDRAM 2.5-3-2-6 2CMD
    Bank Interleave : 4-way
    Speed : 2x 133MHz (266MHz data rate)
    Width : 64-bit
    Maximum Memory Bus Bandwidth : 2128MB/s (estimated)
  8. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    This isn't TOO bad.. it's on the very boundary of perf. issues.

    Okay.. Ewww.. Here's likely the whole source of your problem. A very, very old 266mhz/fsb, 256kb L2 XP processor.

    Even in these OLD Socket-A mainboards, the 512kb/333mhz FSB XP's are pretty painful on Direct3D games.

    Ha, I knew it. KT400A chipset. This is exactly why SmartGART is disabling Fast Writes (which isn't important) and also likely why AGP 4x is the highest stable AGP speed (which is also unimportant and not your problem).

    This may or may not be a problem. Do you know what exact DDR memories you have? CPU-Z should have this info in it's memory tabs if you have DDR333's.

    Interleave is working okay, so you're getting "peak" performance, albeit going to be VERY slow for this system.

    If you can figure out what motherboard you have (again, CPU-Z) as well as what memories you (which should also be in CPU-Z), you can likely get a really measurable upgrade in performance for about $130 USD. A 333mhz FSB 512KB Barton Core CPU would likely double what framerates you are getting (depending on the game and settings of course).
  9. AtK SpAdE

    AtK SpAdE TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,495

    Yea your CPU is your bottleneck by far
  10. nwAddict

    nwAddict TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thank you, guys :)

    I know what needs replacing now.
    Very much appreciated.
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