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Random lag in games

killshift

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#1
Good day, everyone

I am a newbie to this forum. Please read carefully.

The case i am talking has happened since months ago, I've searched all over the net for stuff on how to fix this and looks like the topics from other forums i heard was never helpful to me in fixing it.

The games i played in my PC are usually full screen, usually at least 1 GB in size and uses that much memory on my VCard.

As said in the thread title, random lag, i mean that the game runs fine at first , lags for a number of seconds, then goes back fine, then vice versa.

For example, i am playing CoD:MW2, i play a mission, it runs fine
(around 40-60 fps, the lesser the details the higher, obviously)
a few seconds later (10-15, but i cannot tell exactly when it will occur around),
it drops to 20-30 fps then goes back to 40-60 then vice versa.

(notes: i play CoD:MW2 at low/normal (or medium) settings, i choose it manually, no background app running (even those in the notification area @ the bottom-right corner of the screen) before i ran the game)

now i will post the specs of my system w/c is really necessary.

Pentium D 820 2.8 GHz
Windows 7 32-bit
Kingston 2 GB RAM (1 stick only)
Powercolor Radeon X1650 512 MB DDR2
Seagate 160GB
425 W PSU
Asus P5KPL-AM

these are 2 things i tried:

running gpu-z , free ram optimizer at the background (but sometimes freezes which let me force to end the app's process, or worse, crashes)

cleaning hardware (the card might be too hot, so i decided to brush the dust in it)

hope of your kind consideration. i would be greatly appreciated if i found something that fixes it.
 

RCoon

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#2
I am not surprised :D

1) your VRAM is low
2) your system RAM is low

These two things, i suppose, could make the game use HDD for pagefile, which would instantly slow any game down, then when it does not require the use of pagefile, you see good frames again.
Also i cant really recommend using RAM dumpers to clear your memory, i used to do that on my old gaming laptop and it would cause more instability than any help.
AntiAliasing etc is well known to use up memory, and texture size, so reducing all settings to low, and even decreasing your resolution may help.

You could:
1) get a better GPU
2) get more RAM
3) replace the whole damn thing.
 
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#3
Pentium D 820 2.8 GHz
Windows 7 32-bit
Kingston 2 GB RAM (1 stick only)
Powercolor Radeon X1650 512 MB DDR2
Seagate 160GB
425 W PSU
Asus P5KPL-AM
I think you just need a new computer. It looks like a good comp for web surfing and some really light games. You need more RAM, faster CPU and a better video card. But to do that you will need a new motherboard, probably want a faster hard drive, and MUST upgrade your power supply. Then convert to Windows 7 64 bit......damn that's everything except the case and you'll probably want to replace that too.
 

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#4
For example, i am playing CoD:MW2, i play a mission, it runs fine
(around 40-60 fps, the lesser the details the higher, obviously)
a few seconds later (10-15, but i cannot tell exactly when it will occur around),
it drops to 20-30 fps then goes back to 40-60 then vice versa.
That sounds like your running out of system memory and parts of the OS and other apps are getting swapped out to make room for the game. Upgrading to 4Gb might fix this assuming your trashing. What does your memory usage look like before you start playing and while your playing (if you have a way to view it)? Your rig all around is older so it's not going to give you amazing results, but if it only occasionally happens and it almost always goes away, it's memory.

Another way to find out if it is memory is if you go to alt-tab out of the game and it takes an ungodly amount of time just to get back to Windows, it's most likely memory. Also if you HDD activity is through the roof when you alt-tab, you're definitely trashing.

Just to check other things, I would watch GPU and CPU usage while your playing the game as well. Could shed some light on exactly what parts of your PC are getting stressed to cause this.
 

killshift

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#5
alright , guys. i understand your posts.

@RCoon , i am not sure new vcards will work properly in my sys (most that are 1GB+) because it might be bottle necked by my Pentium D which is quite damn old

For everyone else, I cannot force myself to buy a new computer since i live in a budget of only $50 per month.

For concerns about my RAM, i end apps which basically just cant be closed (in the task manager, an open process of an app) by pressing the close but i go to the TaskMan, end any process of apps like utorrent, steam, xfire ,etc. which could take tens of megs of RAM to be eaten. (i see MW2 eating RAM for about 600MB-1GB, just the same as running CoD4 on extra settings when i see its process in the task manager)

Before , on a Core 2 Duo system, i had installed a 1-stick 4GB RAM which is the least needed for good results (if necessary , i ran it at the time on 32-bit OS) but it read only 2GB+

on my HDD, i freed up 40+GB with old, ancient and boring games which i also have the same symptom w/ Modern Warfare 2 (they are Counter Strike 1.6, GTA Vice City, Warcraft 3, etc. even though it might be less than or equal to a GB)

hope of your kind considerations...
 

RCoon

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#6
alright , guys. i understand your posts.

@RCoon , i am not sure new vcards will work properly in my sys (most that are 1GB+) because it might be bottle necked by my Pentium D which is quite damn old

For everyone else, I cannot force myself to buy a new computer since i live in a budget of only $50 per month.

For concerns about my RAM, i end apps which basically just cant be closed (in the task manager, an open process of an app) by pressing the close but i go to the TaskMan, end any process of apps like utorrent, steam, xfire ,etc. which could take tens of megs of RAM to be eaten. (i see MW2 eating RAM for about 600MB-1GB, just the same as running CoD4 on extra settings when i see its process in the task manager)

Before , on a Core 2 Duo system, i had installed a 1-stick 4GB RAM which is the least needed for good results (if necessary , i ran it at the time on 32-bit OS) but it read only 2GB+

on my HDD, i freed up 40+GB with old, ancient and boring games which i also have the same symptom w/ Modern Warfare 2 (they are Counter Strike 1.6, GTA Vice City, Warcraft 3, etc. even though it might be less than or equal to a GB)

hope of your kind considerations...
With the games nomnoming your memory, you also have to consider that windows inherently will be using a sizable amount of your 2GB RAM. The GPU will store 512mb of texture, which will then overspill into whatever RAM you have left. When that RAM gets full, it spills into your HDD which is 100+ times slower to read from than RAM, which causes the slowness you experience. With your budget per month, I dont think i could justify spending any of that on gaming personally, because life is life sadly. All i can recommend is an extra stick of RAM, no point in spending money on a rig that will need overhauling.
 

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#7
All i can recommend is an extra stick of RAM, no point in spending money on a rig that will need overhauling.
...and even that has diminishing returns because 2.5Gb is already mapped between the video card and the system memory and since he is running Windows 7 32-bit, applications already can't address more than 2Gb and the system can't address more than a total of 4Gb. So if he gets another 2Gb stick, he will see that only 3.5Gb is usable because the 512Mb on the video card is also mapped into that 32-bit memory space.

It will help, but it is only a bandaid. There isn't a whole lot you can do without dishing out a decent amount of cash but another stick of ram would be the cheapest route.
 

RCoon

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#8
...and even that has diminishing returns because 2.5Gb is already mapped between the video card and the system memory and since he is running Windows 7 32-bit, applications already can't address more than 2Gb and the system can't address more than a total of 4Gb. So if he gets another 2Gb stick, he will see that only 3.5Gb is usable because the 512Mb on the video card is also mapped into that 32-bit memory space.

It will help, but it is only a bandaid. There isn't a whole lot you can do without dishing out a decent amount of cash but another stick of ram would be the cheapest route.
Yeah i know, the whole thing isnt really great, but a bandaid is all he can afford at the moment.
 
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#9
I don't doubt that your problem is caused by slow or old hardware, but I'm not convinced that it is caused by a lack of RAM either. Could also be a video card problem--that card is approaching 7 years old now. Find a friend who has a newer card that they are willing to loan you for a few days to experiment with. You're going to have to buy some hardware to solve the problem--just not 100% sure that it's the 2gb of RAM that is holding you back, at least not in MW2.
 
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#10
If you want to upgrade fairly cheap get a gtx650, upgrade to 4gb ram, and replace that most likely worn out hard drive with any capacity you want of a western digital black sata drive and look on eBay for at least a e5000 or e6000 series pentium dual or core 2 in the 2.6 to 3.2 ghz range

Also do a scan for maleware and such
 
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#11
If you want to upgrade fairly cheap get a gtx650, upgrade to 4gb ram, and replace that most likely worn out hard drive with any capacity you want of a western digital black sata drive and look on eBay for at least a e5000 or e6000 series pentium dual or core 2 in the 2.6 to 3.2 ghz range

Also do a scan for maleware and such
He cannot afford.......
 
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#12
Srry didnt see the budget part... using my phone.

You could probably get some generic ram pretty cheap. Another 2gb stick would help.

You might want to check your antivirus software and see if ita running any scans in the background. Also check for spyware and etc. You will also want to check your cpu temps... my pent d used to get as hot as 177F. You can get a decent cooler around 15-20
 
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#13
Geez, sorry to say I'd save up and just build another rig. Your spec is very low, the GPU, it's amount of VRAM, your RAM, and CPU are all very old and low spec. What's worse is you're running W7 32 bit on it, which takes a lot of RAM and may not work as well with older hardware and drivers as XP.

I played on a Pentium 4 3GHz w/ X1950Pro 512MB and 2GB of RAM as long as I could, and I gave up about the time the GTA IV Lost & Damned and Ballad of Gay Tony expansions came out, which played like a slide show despite GTA IV actually being playable on it.

Yeah, I know a Pentium D is a dual core, but it ain't no Core 2 Duo, and an X1600 series GPU is woefully old. You also say you're playing games that take upwards 1GB VRAM on a card that has half that much. Stop living in denial and save up for a better PC, you'll be glad you did.

At the very least, for now, run the OS in best performance mode for each game. You can just right click the game's exe and set it to run without visual or desktop composition via properties. There may be background progs you can shut down too, and some services you can disable, but personally, I would not invest another dime in that rig.

Also, you need to use older drivers for older AMD (ATI in your case) GPUs. Even those on the 5000 series recommend 11.11 I think. Yours may need older ones than that, and install via a clean uninstall of the old ones first.
 
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Aquinus

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#14
For everyone else, I cannot force myself to buy a new computer since i live in a budget of only $50 per month.
That's a bit of a problem and puts you between a rock and a hard place. You're not going to get magical speed improvements out of an old platform, it's just not going to happen. Depends on where you live and the state of the economy you might want to put gaming on the hiatus and focus on working an extra job or something if upgrading is really that important because at 50 USD a month you won't be able to afford a half-decent machine for about a year if you haven't started saving already.

I used to have this problem when I was a lot younger (~16 years old to be exact,) and I re-examined my priorities and ended up finding a 25-30 hour a week job while I was in High School to cover the cost of my computer upgrades and other things I wanted at the time. Then I went to college where i was working just shy of full time (35 hours / week) and managed to pay for a large chunk of my college education while I was in school (also putting computer upgrades on the hiatus, sans one 6870 and my Phenom II 940). I don't know about other people here but I was raised being told that if I wanted something I had to work for it and if I couldn't afford it that I had to wait until I could or work harder.

Not to say that this is your case, but I guess what I'm saying is just manage your money well so you're not, let say, spending food or rent money on computer parts. Let your priorities dictate what is important, and if playing games on an old machine is more important, all the power to you.
 
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#15
...I re-examined my priorities and ended up finding a 25-30 hour a week job while I was in High School to cover the cost of my computer upgrades...
^^^This, rarely does one living at home not have enough time to find some kind of odd and/or regular job. For me, it was mowing lawns in the summer and shoveling snow off people's driveways and sidewalks in the winter when I was under the age of 16, then dishwashing jobs in restaurants when I got older. Too many kids saying I can't these days.
 

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#16
change power properties when youre gaming to max performance (Custom)
 

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#17
I killed bears and wolfs with my bare hands and sold the furs to russian hunters. At the nights i provided an escort service to the old hag next door.
 
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#18
If you don't know about Hardware components and want to learn more, I understand.
You might be new to hardware, cuz that is what I am really thinking of.
If you know your system specs, that is a good start.
But if you really know what components you need to have and asked this question that is quite stupid.
Anyway, you can ask why your games lag!
 

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#19
Okay guys, i know a 12 year old windows xp is always lighter than windows 7 , it's months since i reformatted windows xp (service pack 3) to 7

I remember that i had some damn hard time at the early part of my xp sp3 installing motherboard and video card drivers which could make me use xp very crappy (when i do not install the drivers) esp. the slow or laggy moving of the "windows" on the explorer.

Some weeks or months after this it almost slow down my other 80 GB HDD (i guess), it had a ungodly slow start-up or load time before entering the desktop (also with shortcuts at the time that looks like a paper that has its edge folded in win7 which states that the file cannot be read) and the solution i might only find to wipe it and it made me rethink to reuse my 160 GB one.

Now as i mentioned earlier, which is months after i reformatted windows xp to 7, i might have thought that even though i do not install motherboard and video card drivers , win7 32 might run fine. I downloaded the motherboard drivers on the Asus site and it even refused to install drivers on my mobo.
 
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#20
Okay guys, i know a 12 year old windows xp is always lighter than windows 7 , it's months since i reformatted windows xp (service pack 3) to 7

I remember that i had some damn hard time at the early part of my xp sp3 installing motherboard and video card drivers which could make me use xp very crappy (when i do not install the drivers) esp. the slow or laggy moving of the "windows" on the explorer.

Some weeks or months after this it almost slow down my other 80 GB HDD (i guess), it had a ungodly slow start-up or load time before entering the desktop (also with shortcuts at the time that looks like a paper that has its edge folded in win7 which states that the file cannot be read) and the solution i might only find to wipe it and it made me rethink to reuse my 160 GB one.

Now as i mentioned earlier, which is months after i reformatted windows xp to 7, i might have thought that even though i do not install motherboard and video card drivers , win7 32 might run fine. I downloaded the motherboard drivers on the Asus site and it even refused to install drivers on my mobo.
you just need new hardware man. 80 GB HDD?!?!?! If you haven't upgraded the motherboard, I don't think you can find one that'll have updates for the new windows. Don't expect manufacturers to have updates for hardware that are older than 3 years. You'll be lucky if you get updates for something 5 years old.

My best recommendation is that if it isn't broken then don't fix it!!! It's only awfully slow because you're trying to run "modern" bloated software on old hardware that can't handle the data bandwidth necessary. Look at the size of just a graphics driver these days or any applications. It's full of unoptimized codes. Your 80 GB HDD will have a read/write of ~20 MB/s maybe? If you installed Windows 7 on that then you might as well go to the gym while your computer is booting up.
 

Aquinus

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#21
Look at the size of just a graphics driver these days or any applications. It's full of unoptimized codes.
That's not true. Drivers and software can be big because there is a lot of platform specific optimizations that are designed to use up more space in hopes to execute code faster by offering code that executes fastest on certain platforms. I would actually expect smaller drivers with the same functionality to run considerbly slower becausen the machine code would have to be written to work on all platforms rather than having special code paths for particular CPUs. This tends to be an optimization feature of the compiler that is used and in many cases the added space is due to inline expansion optimizations.

So no, the size of the driver has nothing to do with performance.

This is no more complicated than, the computer is old. It's that simple.
 

de.das.dude

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#22
you need atleast 4Gb of ram to play COD on win 7 propely.

since your PC is not exactly top notch, why do you insist on using windows 7? switch to windows xp immediately. also isnt windows 7 more expensive than xp? that money would have beeter been used on hardware.

ram does not cost much, and you can always go second hand from a reliable source.