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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just built a new gaming PC. It isn't top of the line or anything but it is supposed to be on the upper end of midrange. An Intel 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo, MSI P9N Platinum, 2 Gigs of RAM, and an Nvidia Geforce 9600 GT (which everyone told me was pretty great).

I can't even run games from 2002 without this horrible stuttering crap that happens in every single game I've tried so far. I don't know if it's the video card, my RAM, or the processor but every few seconds the game slows down to a crawl and then resumes it's normal speed again. It doesn't matter if I have the video quality turned all the way up or all the way down, which is strange. I can run games like Gothic 3 and Oblivion with the graphic settings turned as high as they will go, including resolution, and they run just as fine as they do in low quality until the choppy bit happens.

The first game I tried was Dark Messiah of Might and Magic and I looked online to find some answers and it said that a few people were having slowdown problems with the game so I tried a few more games. No luck. Does the Geforce 9600 simply suck? I had a Radeon x1600 on my last PC (an AMD 64 that I bought in 2003) and it ran circles around this newer card.

I really don't want to believe that I've just blown $800 on a computer that is worse than the 1.7 GHz HP from 2002 that I just replaced. Sure the specs on this one are nice but if it can't actually do anything without constantly freezing and slowing down, what good is it?

Any ideas? Need more info? I'm all ears.
 

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That card will be able to run those games fine. It's most likely a matter of having the right drivers installed, and having the right patch installed for the game. Make sure you have the latest patch for the video card, available from www.nvidia.com, and make sure you have the latest patch for whatever game you're trying to play.

Also, do you have Vista, or XP? If you have Vista, that could also be a problem, try running it in a compatibility mode.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I couldn't install the video drivers off of the CD because after I did Windows would no longer boot. It would just sit at the loading screen until I turned it off. Even now it takes about 5 minutes to boot and I think that's freaking ridiculous. My AMD 2000+ booted in about 30 seconds and I don't even have any software on this PC yet.

I have all the latest patches for the games and I downloaded and installed the latest nvidia drivers to no avail. I am running XP SP2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK I did some research on my own. I think it is either a corrupt Windows installation or SOMEHOW my system is too hot. I don't know why it would be since I only have standard parts in it and they're all heatsinked. My idle temp was around 35'C and when I ran Oblivion for a few minutes it shot up to 75'C and has stayed above 70 ever since. Is that bad? I know a lot of people say anything below 70 is good but I can't imagine why my processor would be heating more than it should be.
 

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Holy moly! If your processor temp is shooting up to 75'C in a few minutes you should look at the cooling.

One error I had once (from a factory built machine) was too much thermal grease on the processor. You only need about 1/2 a grain of rice quantity-wise of grease.

If the processor came with a thermal pad. Most of the intel stock coolers do, then you don't need to add any grease. If you added grease to the pad then that'll be the error there.

Thermal grease can causes problems as a little means effective heat transfer, too much means insulation. To solve the problem, get some lint free cloth (coffee filters) and clean the CPU. You'll need some solvent (check arctic silver's website), to get a good clean. Then reapply the thermal grease and hope that's sorted it.

If you didn't add any grease to the CPU, check the fans are powered. Keep us posted on progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
All of my fans are powered. I didn't add any thermal grease but am thinking that maybe I should because that's the only issue I can think of. I just reinstalled Windows from a brand new (and more updated) version and it hasn't solved any of the problems with installing my drivers. My PC still refused to boot up after I installed both my motherboard and video card drivers from the factory CD. I had to use the add new hardware wizard instead. It baffles me that I could have an identical problem on two completely different machines with completely different copies of Windows. Is this a common problem with Nvidia?

I have two fans on my motherboard, one on the back of the case, and a tube leading out of the side of the case that is centered over the motherboard fan. This should be enough right? I guess after work I'll buy some thermal compound and see if that does anything. The heat sink didn't come with a thermal pad it came with a really thin layer of thermal grease that I couldn't even tell was on it until I accidentally touched it. Perhaps when I touched it I wiped some of it off.
 

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If it came with some grease and you didn't add any more it should be ok. 75'C is hot, but I think it's tolerable by the CPU.

As for drivers, just load the latest from the Nvidia website. The ones on the CD are just there so people don't phone them asking where the drivers are. By the time the CD leaves the warehouse they are probably out of date.

I had a similar problem with Dark Messiah, slowdown randomly. The problem was that it's just buggy on some systems. Oblivion? No problems here.

If you still think the processor heat is a problem (I'm thinking not now). I'd stick a Zalman cooler on the CPU. That thing just refuses to heat up.

Have you a spare graphics card to swap in the machine? Maybe a friend has a PCI-E card? It could be the graphics card that's at fault. It doesn't need to be as good as the 9600, just enough to run a game that causes problems. If you still have issues then you can point to the CPU, if you don't then you can point to the GPU.

Ooh, I just hit 100 posts :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I just pulled the processor off and put some thermal grease on that I got at radio shack... wouldn't ya know it that since I've reinstalled windows the program that lets me check the CPU temp doesn't work anymore. I haven't tried any games yet but I'm about to... your idea about the heat sink is a good one... I know for a fact that right now I don't have all the clamps down and I'm having a hell of a time getting them in. Any tips? I really don't want to crack my motherboard in half by trying to push these annoying things in there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update: DualCoreCenter won't start up anymore, I don't know why. I downloaded CoreTemp instead and it is saying that my CPU is now running at 25'C idle. That is about a 15'C improvement... if one of the programs isn't wrong about the temp. Anyone know of a program I could use to push my CPU to see how hot it gets under some strain?
 
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