Friend's having some framerate issues on their PC


#1

I know this forum usually isn’t about this sort of stuff, but y’all are brilliant, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

A friend came to me complaining about some problems playing games on her computer that started up, according to her, spontaneously about two weeks ago. The product worked fine beforehand and she can’t recall anything major she did to the system in the interim. I can usually help with these sorts of things, but I’m a bit stumped.

Link to the dxDiag

I know it’s an old machine and there’s lots of stuff that looks like it needs upgrading, but like I said, the product worked fine a few weeks ago, so that doesn’t seem the issue.

And a description of the problem:

When playing single or multiplayer 3D games ( sprite games do not trigger this problem in any fashion, nor does the graphical quality of the game ) at seemingly random intervals about once every 2-5 minutes, lasting for about 1-4 minutes the framerate will drop to about 3 and in certain multiplayer games the ping will also shoot upward ( Only noticed in the new Call of Duty, which doesn’t give numbers for ping so I don’t have a solid number for you, but latency will go from green to red in that instance ), before returning to normal ( 25-60 depending on the game )

Now here’s where it gets a bit odd: The problem isn’t tied in any fashion to the intensity of action on screen ( lag looking at a blank wall in an empty building, 26+ framerate in an 8 way firefight, etc. ), nor is it tied by all appearances to the quality of the game’s graphics. The problem has been duplicated in Team Fortress 2, half life 2, world of wacraft, half life 1, call of duty: black ops, mass effect, mass effect 2, fallout 3, fallout new vegas, left 4 dead and sequel, Sam and Max, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Battlefield, and others.
Even odder there’s apparently a couple peculiar exceptions to this bug, namely in Call of Duty and Team Fortress 2, an empty multiplayer lobby will not generate this scenario, despite single player and normal multiplayer modes both doing so. Apparently there’s no issue in some of the “older” areas in Warcraft either.

As for things I’ve already tried to fix the problem:
-Both rolling back, updating, and uninstalling/reinstalling drivers for sound and video cards. ( as well as updating lots of other misc drivers )
-Exchanging the CPU, graphics card, RAM and motherboard for spare components
-Removing sound card and switching to onboard sound.
-Uninstalling/reinstalling offending games
-Virus/malware scans
-defragmentation of both harddrives the user has and their RAM
-registry cleaning
-cleaning the computer
-adjusting casing to improve ventilation ( the CPU doesn’t appear to ever get hotter than normal though )

So any input would be much appreciated.


#2

It’s most likely the GPU, it’s overheating which is causing it to crash the display drivers or start artifacting.

Try running a stress test like Furmark or ATi tool and check for artifacting, also note the temperature.

You can also test the CPU with Prime95

Grab some compressed air, get rid of all the dust, re-apply thermal paste on the GPU (maybe even your CPU if it has been a while)

The thing is, is that GPU is pretty old and could just be on its way out.

Edit:

I noticed you tried swapping out the GPU?

The only thing you haven’t tried it seems was a reformat. (try it on a different drive or make a small partition if you don’t want to back up data)

I also noticed your friend is still using Windows XP SP2. SP2 doesn’t natively support dual cores you may want to install the AMD dual core optimizer or SP3.


#3

It’s your handle, the MODOK part hasn’t evolved beyond the joys of trolling and is causing her PC to crash.

But yeah, sounds very much like a video card problem. Aside from what plzate said, the most basic thing to check for would be if the GPUs fan was actually still running. I’ve personally come across a good number of PCs where the problems were caused by the GPU fan being stuck up with dust or whatever.

EDIT: Scrap that, seems you’ve already tried replacing the graphics card.


#4

The only thing I can think of that wasn’t mentioned above is the power supply isn’t feeding enough juice to the system (these things do degrade over time!) while it’s the video card is in 3D mode and that’s causing the stuttering issues. Might start with performance issues, then it might lead to blue screens and then the power supply goes out (with the potential of shorting system components). The more intense the scenery, the higher the system draw for power. This really should be a last resort thing though if nothing else seems to fix the issue.


#5

Oh stupid me, I forgot about the PSU! Yeah that seems like that could be the issue as well.