Strange problem with Radeon 9800 pro

By Ydiss · 13 replies
Jul 7, 2004
  1. I've just bought a Radeon ATI 9800 Pro 128bit card and installed it into my system. I have an Athlon XP 2400+ (2.01Ghz), Gigabyte Mobo (133/266 FSB, supports up to XP 2400+) with all drivers installed, 2x256MB DDR PC2100 ram, 80GB 7200rpm HD and a Creative SBLive! 5.1 soundcard.

    Before I got the 9800 pro I had an Nvidia gf3 ti200 64mb card.

    Now, based on my original system I was expecting a decent increase in performance for my graphics but things didn't turn out that way.

    In Call of Duty I got an average FPS of 56 with my old card (Using timedemo on a 3 minute demo with around 16 players on mp_habor). When I ran the same demo with my 9800 pro I was shocked to see zero difference to my FPS!

    It averaged 55-56, dipped at the same spots and peaked no higher than my old card.

    The strange thing is I scored over 5000 on 3dMark03 with my new card, and that's around what I expected with my new system. All the other games I tested (GTA 3 and Vice City, Splinter Cell, Sacred and a few others) all showed a marked improvement in frame rates, all running very smoothly on the highest settings.

    It just seems that COD is the only game that has shown no improvement whatsoever. In fact, for some unknown reason, COD now runs slower than it did before!

    I've tried all the recomended troubleshooting, including using Driver Cleaner to remove all old Nvidia drivers, ensuring my ATI settings are all optimised (AGP x4 is enabled, OpenGL settings are optimised and so on), reverting to older Catalyst drivers (I have tried 4.6 and 4.5 so far) and even checking my bios settings; but still no improvement with COD, even if I reduce all graphics settings to the bare minimum.

    My only theory is that my mobo/ram/cpu setup might be acting as a bottleneck but looking at similar systems on 3dmark2001 comparisons I should still be getting over 14000 with that; I'm not, though. My score in 3dmark2001 with my 9800 pro is a feeble 9600.

    So, I'm getting a decent boost in performance in most games, except COD. I get a decent score in 3dmark03 but a poor one in 3dmark2001. I've tried everything I can think of to solve the issue with COD but to no avail.

    I'm out of ideas!

    I plan to upgrade my mobo, cpu and memory to 400mhz fsb equivalents soon, so perhaps that'll solve this problem but, having spent £125 on the card I'd have to say I feel I've wasted my money for the time being as COD is the game I play the most right now.

    One last thing, transparant graphics look very poor with the new card. Ie, when the screen fades to black, or a semi-transparent scoreboard overlay appears, it looks very blocky and patchy (almost like the kind of pixelation you see where a 256 colour palette tries to do transparency or shading with an image that should use 32-bit colour palettes).

    Has anyone got any ideas as to why this is happening, please?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Your problem is you got a 9800 Pro 128-bit.

    This is no better than a 9800SE, while decent, isn't THAT great. You'll notice a huge difference between the real Radeon 9800 (256-bit) vs your "pretend" Radeon (128-bit).

    Of course, I don't think this is your only problem. You should have reasonable performance at least. a possibility might include a piece of bad software or a system problem using a lot of resources (like CPU).

    Take a look at your task manager and check to see what your CPU usage is while your computer is idle.
  3. Ydiss

    Ydiss TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I realise the card I bought isn't as good as I could have got, and that it isn't much better than the 9800SE, but compared to a Geforce3 ti200?

    It's far, far better than that 3 year old card.

    That doesn't explain the precise-same performance in COD.

    I've checked my task manager (I do this on a frequent basis, anyway, along with Adaware to ensure no resource hogging tasks are running in the background) and nothing is using CPU in idle, except task manager itself (1%).

    Thanks for your suggestions anyway :)

    I'm going to try some other OpenGL games that I have (MOH:AA, for one) tonight to see if there's a boost in performance from when I last ran it.

    The problem may go away when I upgrade my mobo, anyway. 9800 Pro should support 8x AGP, and mine is limited to 4x. Also, it can't be great that I'm still on a 133 FSB system (albeit DDR, running at 266 FSB).

    Any other suggestions would be appreciated, though.
  4. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    Also keep in mind that the ATI cards don't excel in OpenGL - they are best in D3D. nVidia has been and still is the OpenGL king. The problem is not many games are being done in OpenGL anymore. You won't see a performance increase in going to 8X AGP - it's a common misconception. If you see any performance increase at all it'll be from other features of the new motherboard - not that you've gone from 4X to 8X. If you don't believe me try locking down to 2X AGP - you should see the same performance. The better RAM, however, will improve things.

    Expect a big change in the world of D3D - forget about it when it comes to OpenGL.
  5. Ydiss

    Ydiss TS Rookie Topic Starter

    My friend has got an x800 and his COD performance leaped up massively (although, admitedly, we're talking about cutting edge).

    I'm not too fussed, I guess. I'll probably get a new mobo by the end of the month and see how things go :)
  6. Ydiss

    Ydiss TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, well. Just tried MOH:AA out.

    Before, on South France, I used to get around 60-80 FPS in the courtyard (the area with the most mtexs) and never higher than 160 FPS inside.

    Just now the peak was 256 FPS inside, lowest was 80 FPS outside and it was mostly over 100 FPS everywhere else.

    It's continually looking like COD is the only game that isn't showing any improvement. If that's the case then I'm not too fussed because I won't be playing COD forever :)

    I think I'm going to buy the AMD Athlon 64 2800 OEM / Coolermaster Hyper6 / MSI K8T Neo-FIS2R / 512MB GeIL PC3200 Golden Value - Bundle from next month :) That should set me up nicely for HL2 and banish any memories of this problem.

    I'm still puzzled, but less concerned that my card or software is playing up as I was yesterday.
  7. FeTaLDaMagE

    FeTaLDaMagE TS Rookie Posts: 44

    LNCPapa is very correct about ATI and open gl games. I have done the same as you Ydiss when I switched out my g4 4600 ti card for the 9800 pro. Wasn't impressed with the results in open gl games, but there was a huge diffrence in D3D.
  8. Ydiss

    Ydiss TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'm a prize numpty.

    I really am.

    What's the first thing people usually always suggest you do if you have problems with a game? The very thing I totally ignored because it hardly ever bloody works? Also, probably the only thing I haven't yet tried and yet, probably the first thing you should try?

    R E I N S T A L L

    I uinstalled and re-installed COD. It now runs at 75 fps average on that timedemo.

    Job done. That's exactly what I expected originally.

    As I said, I'm a numpty. This is embarrasing, lol :blush:

  9. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    Nothing to be emberassed about, sometimes people overlook a problem thinking it is more complex than that. Glad you got it all straightened out, and hope to see you stick around and possibly help others :)
  10. Ydiss

    Ydiss TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'll be sure to pop by from time to time :)

    I have a feeling that reinstalling COD didn't actually fix this, you know... I say this because I tried 3dmark2001 and 03 again and my scores jumped up.

    2001 is now over 12k and 03 is now over 5300.

    As I didn't test COD that day, prior to reinstalling it, I'm now wondering what might have fixed my issue.

    After all, I can't see how reinstalling COD would, in itself, increase my graphics card's overall performance. Very odd... Like my friend said to me, "Sometimes these things just sort themselves out".

    Oh well :) COD's luverly and smooth now.
  11. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    Well it could have been a slightly corrupted install where one of the files wasn't copied correctly. Who knows, but the most important thing now is that it is working ok :)
  12. eitama

    eitama TS Rookie

    Radeon 256 Bit VS 128 Bit

    Just wanted To Let you know some stuff.

    I owned a gf4 mx 440 and than bought an Nvidia Geforce fx 5900,
    than (i'm friends with the sales man...) changed to radeon 9800 pro 128 bit which was worse then the 5900, so i added some money and got the 256 bit eddition.

    A great change!!! it works really good, it's no x800 but it really kickes ***.
    about 4x to 8x difference, there is a difference. I have a problem with my setupm 8x locks my computer after a few minutes of playing, card was changed but still the same thing, I believe it's software related but just didn't have the time to format re install... So i use it with 4x and it works great.
    Doom3 ultra high 1024X768x32 , smooth like a baby's ***!

    Farcry, very high settings with antialising and all that **** 1024x768x32 works perfect.

    And it is important to say that my computer is old!!!!

    P4 2.4 GHz old edition (northwood) i think... none HT 533 MHz bus...
    Asus MB deluxe 8x. and PC400 512MB ddr.
    Maxtor 7200RPM HD, not sata.

    when i upgrade the computer i'm defently staying with this graphic card! it kicks ***. by the way, Computer ram is Very important!

    Eitam Doodai.
  13. ATP_Flip^

    ATP_Flip^ TS Rookie

    wow im glad i found these forums. i seem to be having the exact same problems! i just upgraded from a 128mb geforce fx5200 to a 256mb radeon 9800xt. now just like ydiss, i was expecting some serious upgrades in the form of FPS. i play americas army. however, after i uninstalled all of my nvidia omega drivers, then used driver cleaner, uninstalled my 5200, installed my 9800xt, and installed the ati omega drivers, i noticed a DECREASE in FPS while playing americas army. i have posted in other forums but i havent gotten a solid response. i need your guys' help! thanks!

    AMD Athlon 1800+ ~1.53ghz
    512 mb pc2700 ram
    ATI Radeon 9800xt
    40 gig Maxtor HD
    ASROCK K7S41GX mobo
    300w power supply*

    *I was thinking this might be the problem? if not im thinking it could be a bottleneck in my system somewhere....
  14. ATP_Flip^

    ATP_Flip^ TS Rookie

    bump? come on guys i really need help, its been a day and no response :suspiciou
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