My computer is getting old and cranky.
May 13, 2006 5:11 PM   Subscribe

My computer has been laggy since I got my dual-dvi card...anything left to do that I haven't tried?

General specs of my computer:
AMD XP2000
1gb ram. ddr333

So my computer was smooth as can be for 3 years, I'm talking original winXP install, uptimes that went over 100 days and were usually ended by power outages. I loved my system, and I decided to make it better...I got two 19" LCD's to replace my single 19" CRT...and that's when my problem started.

For the first few days, as a temporary solution I had 2 video cards (my original nvidia 5600xt and then some other PCI card). With this setup my problems begin... I then managed to get my hand on a matrox g450 which eliminated having 2 cards, but was still analog, and my problem did not go away. Finally my Quadro4 NVS280 arrived..and my problem has not gone away since...

Now, you're wondering what my problem is...if I am watching video the video will often be choppy/laggy. For example if a car is riding past the camera it will go normal speed, then slow down..and then go warp speed for a 10th of a second while everything catches up. When I listen to music, even if I am not doing anything, it will occasionaly make minor skips/pops/beeps. If I try loading an application, it skip/pop/beep until the other application is done loading (completly impossible to listen to). This was not the case with my previous single monitor setup.

It is probably important to note that I don't have many processes running and that these skips often occur at below 50% cpu usage.

The things I tried:
1) There was no IRQ "conflicts" (according to windows) although at first my video card shared resources with other devices, as did my sound card. This was fixed. There are no conflicts anymore.
2) Video drivers installed, sound card drivers reinstalled.
3) Removing all cards except my video card/sound card.

Why would the video and/or sound skip if the cpu isn't even being used much? AFAIK, normally that would be an IRQ conflict, but my video card and sound card are both on their own interrupts.

Is my only hope to upgrade my computer because it can't handle the duty of supplying video for 2 monitors?
posted by Sonic_Molson to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: My new card is on the AGP.
posted by Sonic_Molson at 5:25 PM on May 13, 2006

Is there a reason you bought that instead of (I'm guessing) an equivalently priced Geforce 6600GT - the XFX versions are all dual-DVI? You might have better luck with a more mainstream card if it is in fact driver-related.
posted by kcm at 5:25 PM on May 13, 2006

Hm. Could be a driver problem. Go to the card manufacturer's site, and download the latest graphics card drivers if you haven't already.
posted by baggers at 5:42 PM on May 13, 2006

Response by poster: kcm: I found the card on a newsgroup and picked it up for $50 CAD, other than the cheap price there was no other reason for chosing that card in particular.

baggers: I have the latest drivers for both video card and sound card.
posted by Sonic_Molson at 5:49 PM on May 13, 2006

uptimes that went over 100 days and were usually ended by power outages

Have you been applying updates regularly? I doubt it'll solve your problem, but you should be updating (and rebooting when required) as a general rule.
posted by trondant at 5:52 PM on May 13, 2006

Response by poster: I got sick of restarting so often, so my updates are disabled. Please don't hack me :-)
posted by Sonic_Molson at 6:10 PM on May 13, 2006

Response by poster: Spyware has *nothing* to do with updating windows, viruses and trojans...sure. As I said my system was perfectly fine until I switched to a dual monitor setup.
posted by Sonic_Molson at 6:30 PM on May 13, 2006

I'd see if there are any AGP setting you can twiddle in the video card drivers.
posted by Good Brain at 6:44 PM on May 13, 2006

Maybe this is too obvious a question, but what happens if you disconnect one of the monitors?
posted by Embryo at 7:09 PM on May 13, 2006

Check that all of your heat sinks are on securely and tightly (both on the video card and on the main cpu). It's possible that one got loose while you were upgrading and the chips are going into thermal protection mode. (which will make things nice and slow until they cool off).
posted by jba at 11:40 PM on May 13, 2006

Check your HD's aren't running in a PIO mode (Device Manager, IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers, Properties -> Advanced Settings on each channel). It doesn't take much to convince Windows that your disk controller sucks and that it needs to handhold all IO with the CPU. If Windows won't let you switch it back to DMA, uninstall the offending channel from the context menu and reboot to reset it.

Remove the soundcard. Creative cards are especially prone to causing PCI bus problems in some setups, and it's good to rule out as many components as possible.

Check PSU voltages (in BIOS or with something like SpeedFan). If your PSU is an $8 noname that's lighter than a toilet roll consider replacing it with a nice Tagan or so.

Make sure you're running the appropriate drivers for your motherboard chipset, like the Via 4 in 1's or nVidia's nForce platform drivers. AGP drivers especially.
posted by Freaky at 4:09 AM on May 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Embryo: I disabled one of the monitors just now, problem did not go away.

jba: I will try that in a moment, it sounds very plausible

Freaky: They drives are all running DMA, removing sound card does not solve the problem. voltages are fine, my motherboard has the latest drivers which are still quite old as it is an older motherboard.
posted by Sonic_Molson at 10:20 AM on May 14, 2006

Let us know how this one turns out. I'm thinking that JBA may be right: it sounds like the GPU or memory may be overheating. If the heatsinks look fine, try running the system for a bit and then touching the heatsinks for both. If they are really hot, you may not have enough ventilation around them for the heat to dissipate. A fan to blow cool air over the card would help in this case.
posted by baggers at 1:41 PM on May 14, 2006

There are a couple of things that come to mind. I have a similar set up and occasionally suffer similar effects. First off, what is the bitrate of the video? Alternatively, could you tell us how the video is encoded, what decoder you are using, and how large the file is?

Have you examined how fragmented your hard drive is? Is your paging file on the same drive as your video clip?

You mention that you have a dated motherboard. There is the possibility that something other than your video is competing for bandwidth across the board. Are you moving/downloading files?

Are you running your montors at or near max resolution/color depth/refresh rate of the card? You don't include any of this, but if you are, you may be asking too much from the card. What a card is capable of and what it is good at may be very different.

Finally, you are a bit ambiguous of your playback. Are you attempting to watch the video spanned across both monitors? Windows just doesnt' do this well.
posted by kc0dxh at 10:46 AM on May 15, 2006

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