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Old 07-18-2010, 08:26 PM   #1
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Default Computer having problems

My computer is having framerate stuttering, VGA errors/crashes, freezes, and sometimes forgets what it is doing when I transfer large files.

I am also having difficulty playing games that my computer should be good enough to run without problems.

In Fallout 3, back when I played it, my computer randomly crashed. It also had framerate hiccups where the screen freezes momentarily, then resumes. I haven't rated the computer's FPS in Fallout 3, but it appeared smooth when it wasn't choking up. I ran Fallout 3 at Ultra settings, but with reduced AA and AF settings. (2AA and 6AF) The resolution was at 1440x900. Reducing the graphics quality settings down to high, getting rid of AA and AF, and lowering the resolution down to 1280x800 got rid of the small amount choppiness that the framerate had on the higher settings, but it did not prevent the stuttering or stop the crashes. I quit playing Fallout 3 last month because the crashes became too frequent for me to tolerate. I have had similar problems in "The Witcher", so I haven't played that game in a while either. I haven't bought any more games beyond those two for a variety of reasons. Mostly because I didn't have the card to run the games until I got the video card I have now, but now that I have the card, my computer is too messed up to run high-end games effectively on any reasonable settings.

I have ran and dabbled with UDK on this computer since February of this year, since I have an interest in making games in the future. My computer runs the editor reasonably well on small-scale levels, but the premade levels that came with UDK cause my video to stutter in the persceptive view of the editor and have random hiccups in the in-editor game-testing mode. (V-CTF Necropolis and DM-Sanctuary especially) The framerate registers about 60 FPS on the FPS counter, but reduces to a single-digit number once every 15-75 seconds while running the game test mode. Strangely enough, though my computer pretends to have good performance while game-testing the premade UT3-demo levels, the performance of the perspective view editor window is atrocious while one of these maps is open.

In Combat Arms, my computer acted like it was fine most of the time until recently, but it still had the random occasional framerate lag/stutter and would crash occasionally. The problems have been getting worse and more frequent the older the computer gets. Now the problems are frequent enough that I don't even want to play Combat Arms anymore for all the random unpredictable frame lag I get and the nagging feeling that it just might crash on me at the most inopportune time it possibly can.

The video card is about 3 months old, and the rest of the computer is 13 months old. I got the computer in June 2009 and the video card in April of this year. I suspect that maybe my IGP heat-damaged the motherboard, since I ran the games on it I mentioned above (on very low settings) for 9-1/2 to 10 months before I could finally afford the video card. I was supposed to be able to afford a video card at least as good as the one I got 1 month after buying the original system and not almost 10 months later, but unexpected personal issues made sure that wasn't possible. The IGP had major overheating problems regardless of how low I had my graphic quality settings set to, so if my motherboard is heat-damaged because of it, I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest.

The IGP is now disabled, and I uninstalled its video drivers before installing the drivers for the card. I have also done a fresh install of windows since then and installed the latest drivers for the card.

What is wrong with my computer, and is there anything I can do about it? Or do I need to get a new machine?

Computer specs
OS: Windows Vista Home Premium SP2

Processor: Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition (AM3/AM2+)
Motherboard: BioStar TA790GX 128M (AM2+)
Motherboard's IGP: ATi Radeon HD3300 (what I was running until I finally got my video card in April)
RAM: Corsair XMS2 4GB DDR2 1066Mhz Dual Channel
Video Card: ATi Radeon HD4850 512M (single card)
Hard Drive: Western Digital 1TB 64MB-cache "Caviar Green"
Power Supply: Ultra LSP 650-Pro (650 Watt)
Monitor: Acer X223w VGA/DVI monitor

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Old 07-19-2010, 10:09 AM   #2
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Default Re: Computer having problems

*Sigh* I typed a huge reply for this and the site didn't save :'(

Nice video card!

From the problems that you're describing, and specifcally, the issue with transferring large files, it sounds like an issue with heat. How clean is the computer? I would first download this program, then start the transfer of a large file and watch the temp of your CPU. Then you can try to monitor the HD activity with this program.

I wouldn't just yet go as far as replacing the Motherboard or reinstalling the OS ( another hypothesis of mine) so please try the above, see what your computer is doing during these stressful times and get back to use.
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