Poor gaming performance - graphics

By Nikki Jones ยท 21 replies
Feb 27, 2007
  1. Hi, we recently bought a Packard Bell H5960 pc just for my son to use for games. This pc is not attached to the internet and runs no realtime virus protection. The problem is that for the spec we bought, we feel that the performance is not great - it seems to be the video performance.

    Here are some of the specs to start with:

    Running XP Home with SP2
    Intelprocessors x 2 model 4, 3.4Mhz
    Physical RAM 1024 Mb
    Display card Radeon X600, 512 Mb, Driver version
    Direct x 9.0c

    The game that he is most struggling with is Scarface. He can only run it as 640x480 not due to any errors but for speed. It is otherwise very slow, characters in the game just move very slowly. Cannot turn on any aliasing or other graphic features. We have seen the game run on a friends pc which is a far, far lower spec and it is much quicker.

    So far, all I have done is load the latest ATI driver for the X600. Run all the Direct x diagnostics and they are all good. The system is very stable, no errors or crashes.

    Any ideas would be great.

    Thanks in advance
    Nikki Jones
  2. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,273

    Hmm... I never heard of a X600, only x800+
    Maybe it's a integrated card or something ( That's just what im thinking, dont get mad if Im wrong )

    Try doing this:

    Go this this website:
    www.systemrequirementslab.com and run the test for Scarface ( if it's there, if not then look for a game with similar requirements )

    If you get recommended you system might be running too much programs so go to Ctrl + alt + delete and delete all the useless stuff like MSN, AIM, Itunes or anything you dont need while running games, Also Do Not delete anything under System, Local Service, Network or Taskmgr.exe / Explorer.exe

    If you get a minimum pass then upgrade your system to the stuff it needs ( videocard, RAM or something else like that )

    If you fail do the same for the minimum pass results

    Hope I helped :)
  3. Nikki Jones

    Nikki Jones TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Video Card - details

    Hi, thanks for the response. The card is a Radeon X600 by ATI and seems to be written about quite a lot - if you go through google.

    Up to now, we always thought the card had 512mb ram cos the system reported it this way. Last night I opened the box and found that the card has only 256mb ram but says "dual channel". So maybe this is why msinfo reports double the ram. When we bought the machine it was sold with video ram being 512. Maybe we were duped?

    Thanks for the tip about checking requirements for scarface, will try that.

  4. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Yeah I think you were duped. Maybe the lag is because of a fragmented HDD? Have u tried a defrag and then running the game?
  5. Nikki Jones

    Nikki Jones TS Rookie Topic Starter

    We defragged the drives which were pretty bad but there is no real improvement. Reading the spec for the graphics card, it says it supports antialiasing, anisotropic filtering etc etc etc, but when it comes down to it, it really doesn't seem to. Need for Speed 3 and Scarface particularly can only be played with all of those settings off and maximum resolution of 640x480. You cannot believe how disappointed we are as when we bought the system we were assured of the best performance in these games. I guess I need to take a trip back to the retailer with the pc+games and get them to see what we are talking about - I kind of feel the ball is in their court. Any wise opinions out there in this regard?

    Thanks, Nikki
  6. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    X600s are only available in 128MB and 256MB 'flavors' so I think that guy lied to you when he said it was 512MB. Is the card PCI Express or AGP? To tell you the truth, the X600 is almost useless for games but I'm surprised even NFS3 doesn't run well. And just as a hint, I can't find that particular Packard Bell model or any info on it anywhere on the Net, so the guy might have duped you into buying it. Also, what exactly do you mean by the below statement?
    Download and run SIW from here and use it to tell me ur system specs.
  7. Nikki Jones

    Nikki Jones TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for yr response, if u go to the Packard Bell website and click on support tab, option to put in Serial No to go to the direct spec of machine - my serial no. is 049730820026 just in case you got a mo. In the meantime, we will run the file that u suggest and post up the result.

    Msinfo reports both a primary and a secondary processor although again when I opened the box there definitely is just one?

    Pending this though, I guess it's a matter of perception - i.e. I go to computer shop and I want the best gaming pc for my son and the guy thinks what he thinks and points me in the direction that he did. I just don't know enough not to be taken for a ride s'pose. How do I ever prove that the guy in the shop told both of us that the machine had a 512mb graphics card? Urrrgggh.

    NFS3 is not as bad as Scarface but is still not brilliant, but sometimes even
    playing just music files with video attached, it isn't smooth. If it came down to the fact that i got to upgrade vid card, what would you suggest that would not strip my already stripped budget?

    Will upload the results of test when run.

    Thanks so much, Nikki

    Every time I try to attach log file, I get an invalid file error. Will try again later.
  8. Nikki Jones

    Nikki Jones TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi there - have tried everything to attach file in html format but could only get it there in txt format. took out software stuff for now and other stuff like network and printer info, can u look at it in this format? Would really appreciate your help

    thanks a lot so far

    Attached Files:

  9. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Hmm everything seems okay but right now I can think of only three possible solutions:
    1. Some malware or a virus has somehow found it's way to your PC and is now hogging system resources. You need to download and run the AVG Free Version from here and Ad-Aware Personal Edition from here respectively and see what they report.

    2.Your PCI-E X600 is installed in the PCI-E x1 slot instead of the PCI-E x16 slot on your motherboard and you need to get it out and put it into the right slot.

    3.There are many useless processes running in the background that you need to stop. Look at the image I have attached to this post. Aside from the VSMON.EXE, ZLCLIENT.EXE, NOD32KRN.EXE and NOD32KUI.EXE processes, all the other processes are the only ones that should be running on ur PC. Tell me if there are any extra processes.

    Attached Files:

    • sys.JPG
      File size:
      84.9 KB
  10. Nikki Jones

    Nikki Jones TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi, the X600 can only go in the dual channel slot on the board. I see that the slot states DDR2 alongside it, does that mean that we could never upgrade to a DDR3 RAM vid card?

    Will check the processes and let you know.

  11. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Dual-channel slot? What's that supposed to mean? The PCi-Express x16 slot is supposed to look like the black slot in the image I have posted.(FYI, the white ones are normal PCI -- not PCI-e x1 -- slots).
    As for the DDR2, it's the name of the motherboard, the full name being GigaByte Sunshine DDR2. As for ur video card, it seems to be this one. It seems to be a HyperMemory card, which means it uses up system RAM for itself, much like an integrated card. Let me know if I'm right.

    Attached Files:

  12. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,273

    Hey rage how do you only have like 20 processes running?

    My PC has atleast 30 and most of them are from CCC ( ATI's control panel thing )
  13. Nikki Jones

    Nikki Jones TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Forgive my ignorance. Card is in black slot - that is the right card. Does it mean that perhaps the 1 Gig of RAM we have in the pc is insufficient if the video card also makes use of it?

    Have attached processes running.

    Attached Files:

  14. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Aha! It seems you have Norton Antivirus or something similar running on that PC. Norton is a very bad system resource hog and can slow down every other program quite considerably. Check if it is installed by going to Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel. If it is, (which I am almost 100% sure it is), then uninstall it and install the free AVG antivirus I posted the link to in post #9. It's a lot lighter and better at virus detection. Good luck with all this and do let me know.
    @TimeParadox, I've set msconfig so as not to load ATi's CCC at all. Keeps more memory free. And I end other processes, such as the Bluetooth service my brother installed for his mobile, manually through Task Manager. Keeps the PC running fast and smooth.
    1 person likes this.
  15. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,388

    Games will never run too well with 51 processes... I get worried when I have more than 28...
  16. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,273

    Oh so you dont need the ATI's CCCs to run for the videocard to run?

    Ok i'll turn those off :)

    Here's a screenshot of my Task manager, Most of my stuff comes from other then just from me ( like from the System stuff and all that )

    I still dont know what MOM.exe is lol

    Attached Files:

  17. Boogityboo04

    Boogityboo04 TS Rookie Posts: 302

    I'm afraid that if you had wanted a good gaming PC, a Packard Bell would not be the way to go. I'm not sure how much you paid for it but it was almost defiantly too much. Almost any PC bought at Best Buy/Comp USA will be outdated and/or marked up 150%.

    Regarding your problem, it seems almost defiantly to be a software problem. even though it's not a great machine, it should run both of those games tolerably well at 1024x768. My old P4 that is slower than your computer and has integrated graphics with 8mb dedicated memory can run both those games at medium quality at 28 fps without too much trouble.

    Maybe upgrade your hard disk and get a clean install of Windows if possible. It looked like you only had a 30 Gb hard drive, which is completely outdated by any modern standards.

    EDIT: I noticed that you PC reports that it is actually connected to the internet through a 1934 network adapter. Could your son have gotten online without you knowing and download some virus infected file?

    EDIT 2: Okay, I'm still not sure if that 1394 adapter is actually a network adapter at all. It might just be firewire or something.
  18. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    Just to clarify a few things that seems to be troubling OP and some of the others.

    You do not have 2 cpu's, but you have a cpu with something called Hyper Threading. This is a technology which gives you some of the functionality of two cpu's, but is nowhere near as efficient as having 2 cpu's.
    And this is a point you could possibly complain about.
    Intel has released new cpu's with something called "dual cores" which, somewhat simplified, is putting 2 cpu's into one. If the store clerk told you that you were getting a system with 2 cpu's or cores he has misled you! This does not mean he did it intentionally, but might still be grounds to return the machine for another, better, one.

    A "1394 net adapter" is simply a FireWire adapter, but windows like to call it a net adapter none the less...

    Yes, the black slot is where the graphics card should be. I'd be amazed if it had been stuck into a slower port, as that would be physicly impossible!
    If you scroll to the bottom of this page you'll see the different speed and sizes of PCI-Express. Compare them with the connectors at the bottom of the cards on this page and you see that the card have to be installed in the correct slot.

    Dual Channel is only describing how the memory is accessed, and does not, unfortunately, double the amount of ram you have available. It does increase the speed by which the memory you do have is accessed.

    Dual Data Rate (DDR/DDR2) is just another way of transferring data from one place in your computer to another. And no, you can not upgrade your system to DDR3. Your motherboard doesn't support it, nor do I think the specifications for pc's are complete. Graphics cards use a type of DDR3 which is called GDDR3 (Graphics DDR3), but you can not upgrade the ram on your graphics card, so don't worry about it.

    Even though your graphics card is "stealing" 256mb ram, you should have enough to play Scarface, as it's requirements is P4 2800, 512MB RAM, 5GB HDD, 128MB video card.

    So as Rage_3K_Moiz says, your problem is most likely due to you running Norton Antivirus which is about as bloated as something can get.

    Follow Rage_3K_Moiz's instructions about uninstalling it, and hopefully your problems should be sovled :)
    If not, post back and we'll try to continue to help!

    BTW: To those of you who chime in with problems that you experience, but is not directly related to that of Nikki Jones, would you mind posting them in a new thread instead of trying to hi-jack this one? It's great that you want to help out, but it's so much better if each subject has it's own thread. How the number of processes affect the performance is very dependant on what processes you have running, so what is true in one case might not be true for another.
  19. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Thanks for that great clarification MrGaribaldi, it sure shot down a lot of doubts floating around about the issue at hand.
  20. Nikki Jones

    Nikki Jones TS Rookie Topic Starter

    To all of you who have helped me along with my problem, I really want to thank you in a big way. It's a fantastic forum with a lot of input and for people like myself who believe in technology but who are somewhat challenged (!) you have made a great place available. THANKS!!! I will do the Nortons remove, I remember now that it came installed with the pc.

  21. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    Just glad to be of service :)

    And Rage_3K_Moiz, you were the one who spotted the (most likely) culprit, so credit goes to you.
  22. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    We all did our part. So, the next time you need any help Nikki, you know where to ask! :)
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