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Techy Question

Discussion in 'UHall' started by ColterDC, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. ColterDC

    ColterDC Visitor

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    I installed a new power supply and graphics card in one of my older machines yesterday.

    Before installing those items my CPU usage % playing UO was around 30%. Last night it was running around 60%.

    What should UO typically run at and how would changing a power supply and graphics card cause the usage to go up, if anything shouldn't it have gone down??
     
  2. Smokin

    Smokin Guest

    What did you install exactly, meaning the wattage of the power supply and brand and the graphics card what is it? Also what is the mobo and processor and ram how much do you have.
     
  3. ColterDC

    ColterDC Visitor

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    Not a computer expert, but I'll give it a shot.


    PNY - Verto NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS 512MB GDDR2 PCI Graphics Card

    BFG - 450-Watt ATX CPU Power Supply

    Intel Pentium 4

    1 Gig of RAM

    Couldn't tell you the motherboard, but it's a Dell 2350

    Yeah, I said it was an older machine. Had a 200 watt power supply and an intregrate video card.
     
  4. Smokin

    Smokin Guest

    OK did you install the latest drivers for the video card, I mean go to Nvidia site and find the latest one.
     
  5. What type of graphics card did you have before?

    You posted that this one is PCI. If the old one was on-board or in an AGP slot, that's your answer right there.

    I assume you are not meaning PCIe...which is actually a faster bus than AGP.

    Your PCI bus handles a lot of system processes, and routing your video through it will cause an increase in the amount of traffic across that bus...which means your CPU has a little more work to do, or that the bus is backed up resulting in Windows reporting a higher CPU usage.
     
  6. Smokin

    Smokin Guest

    I assume its also a PCI-e card, if I recall correctly PCI-e uses system ram when you install them, so if you check your system in the control panel it will probably only say it has 512 ram now. I remember it not being advisable to run a PCI-e card with the same amount of ram as you have installed on your board.

    So you might also need to upgrade your ram and put another stick of 1 gig in. That will help for sure. If that is the case you will need to know what type of ram your motherboard can take.
     
  7. Smokin

    Smokin Guest

    Just checked the specs on the dell 2350 and it is a pci card not a pci-e, yeah thats the problem right there, What Morgana said explains it all.
     
  8. Smokin

    Smokin Guest

    You didn't think you were?
     
  9. Smokin

    Smokin Guest

    I just hope you did not spend a lot of money on those parts, if you did I would see if you could return them and use that money to invest in a new system, sorry but its true. I do know up here those BFG power supplies go for a decent chunk of change.
     
  10. ColterDC

    ColterDC Visitor

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    Yeah it's PCI, not PCI-e

    And yes the "card" before was an onboard one, which I deactivated.

    No the parts were not very much, trust me I had the conversation with my IT guy and decided it was cheaper to just upgrade those couple of parts instead of buying a new machine. The machine isn't used for much other than some web browsing and UO. It's just one of the 5 computers in my home office.

    Everything runs fine, actually better than before. I wouldn't have even noticed the increase in CPU usage had I not checked it.

    So should everything function properly or should I worry about the computer spontaneously combusting?
     
  11. Well...I wouldn't say you need to return the parts per se.

    For other games, the reduced CPU load due to the increased performance of the GPU will be more than a wash. In fact, you should see some increase in performance even in UO...especially KR.

    But I wouldn't expect a miracle here.

    As to the CPU usage being reported by Windows...it really doesn't matter as long as the game is running fine. Like I said before, that could be a false report due to a backup in the PCI bus. It may also be caused by another program running in the background (like your old video card's driver for example) that is no longer responding.

    One of the big problems when dealing with integrated video cards is that you really do need to disable it, rather than just throwing in a second card, otherwise you are allocating system resources to both.

    You should be able to disable that on board card with either a bios change or a jumper setting on your motherboard. I would also run MSCONFIG and check to see if the driver is loading on start up (it has to be) and disable that. While you are in there, you can probably clear out some more crap too.

    I will be willing to bet that you can get that CPU overhead down to a reasonable level with minimal work and not have remove the new card and PSU.
     
  12. ColterDC

    ColterDC Visitor

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    Yeah I disabled the old card in the BIOS menu, but I think running MSCONFIG is a good idea. I'd bet you're correct and the old driver is probably still loading.

    Thanks for the info and basically confirming that everything is OK.
     
  13. Would you please expand on this and explain exactly how this is done? I paid the computer store to configure my comp when I bought it initially, and considering my usage is similar to Colter's, it sounds like they didn't do this.
     
  14. ColterDC

    ColterDC Visitor

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  15. Depending upon your motherboard, some have an option in the BIOS (the setup menu) to disable an on-board graphics "card" if you have one. Other motherboards have a jumper (a couple of small metal pins with a plastic cap) on the motherboard that has to be changed to disable an on-board video card.

    You can more or less trick Windows into ignoring the device by disabling it in the device manager, but your system still assigns resources (interrupts and addresses) to the device if you do not disable it at the BIOS level.


    As to MSCONFIG:

    MSCONFIG is a Windows utility that allows you to select which programs and applications start when your computer starts. The more programs you load at the start up, the less resources you have for doing other things. MSCONFIG does some other things too, but I don't recommend screwing around with processes and such unless you know what you are doing.
     
  16. Harlequin

    Harlequin Babbling Loonie
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    Drats, Morgana and Smokin already gave all the good answers :D

    Connor, try disabling via the Bios first. Most mobo manufacturers that added integrated video has included a toggle in the Bios. When you power up your PC, you'll probably see a "Press the <F10/F10/F1/Del or any other key the Bios manufacturer decided to use> key to enter Bios" message.

    Look under the menus for something that hints at "Integrated Video", , "Integrated Peripherals", "Onboard VGA" etc.

    Once you find it, just follow the Bios' instructions on disabling it (most likely by changing the option using +, - or the space bar. Then save and quit.



    Changing via jumpers will take alot more work to track down the mobo type and find the manual/schematics to locate which jumper to short/unshort.
     
  17. Very true. But I have dealt with boards that jumper was the only option.

    Ewwwww.
     
  18. Harlequin

    Harlequin Babbling Loonie
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    Whoops, what I meant was try looking for the option and changing via the bios first.

    If it's not there, then we'll help you find out which jumper to short. Because it's a real pain sometimes to hunt down manuals for some of the old boards.
     
  19. Not to mention the bloody thing may be buried under under a fan on a card, or a hard drive, etc.

    I am going to date myself here...

    ...but do you remember the days of non-jumperless boards, where EVERYTHING as far as CPU speed, bus speed, etc. was done via jumpers?

    *shutters*
     
  20. Harlequin

    Harlequin Babbling Loonie
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    LOL, yup, sure do remember. And some boards were so poorly designed that you had to use clippers to remove/insert the jumpers. Fingers, or even long nosed pliers wouldn't fit.

    Some other designs used dip switches too. I hated to leaving marks by using a pen or pencil on the dip switches, so I would always use a paper clip.
     
  21. Nok

    Nok Lore Master
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    Never leave home with these... ;)

    [​IMG]
     
  22. Having nails is a big bonus when it comes to dips witches! :D

    I really do not miss those.
     
  23. ColterDC

    ColterDC Visitor

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    Would adding more RAM reduce the "bus backing up" problem?

    Right now I'm at a Gig on that machine. Would increasing that to 2 Gigs help?

    I went into MSCONFIG and stopped about 10 programs from starting up (including the old built in card's drivers) But it still shows a very high CPU% usage.

    Thanks,
     
  24. I seriously doubt that it would make any notable difference.

    Think of your bus as a path between point A and point B. The path is only so wide, so no matter how much storage you have at point A (your HD) or point B (your RAM), only blank amount of information is going to pass through that path.

    AGP bus was introduced because it is not only a "wider" path, but a seperate path for your video card to use. (same thing with PCIe).

    Your CPU makes calls to your RAM (and to other places as well...but for simplicity), if it is waiting for the information to reach it, it just waits. When your video card is sending info through that same path, it is sort of like the freeway at rush hour.

    So, increasing your RAM just adds storage at point B so to speak...it doesn't increase the width of the path.
     
  25. ColterDC

    ColterDC Visitor

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    Any suggestions on what motherboard I should go get then? :bored:

    I'm starting to think I may just want to "rebuild" this computer.

    It would be a good project and if I totally blow the thing up, oh well.
     
  26. Well, you probably don't want to hear this...but here goes:


    The case you have is possibly not going to accommodate an industry standard motherboard.

    So you are looking at buying a motherboard, and probably a case, and likely RAM...at minimum.

    Those three things can be very inexpensive...or very expensive depending on what you want.

    You are in kind of tough spot with that CPU because it sits in a socket that is dead technology.

    But here is my advice:

    Option 1 - The more expensive alternative.

    Buy a new motherboard, below are some suggestions that will not kill you financially, that are solid boards, and are going to be upgradable down the line.

    #1 - Foxconn X38A LGA 775 Intel X38 ATX Intel Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813186134

    Why?

    It's less than $150 with rebate, it is a very solid board with tons of features, it's an Intel chipset with 2 PCIe slots for SLI/Crossfire, and most importantly, it supports DDR2 or DDR3 RAM.

    I built a machine for someone using this board recently and she loves it!

    #2 ASRock X38TurboTwins LGA 775 Intel X38 ATX
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157136R

    Why?

    It's cheap. And it has 2 PCIe slots and supports both DDR2 and DDR3. I have not dealt with this board in the past, so I cannot vouch for it.


    With either of these boards, you are going to need to buy new RAM unfortunately as well. But the good news is, DDR2 800 is almost free these days :) Shop around at like www.newegg.com, www.tigerdirect.com, etc...and you can usually get 2GB of DDR2 800 for like $20.

    Later, when the cost comes down, you can throw in DDR3 RAM and get an instant upgrade without pulling your mobo and reinstalling Windows and all that fun stuff.



    Going this route you will need a new CPU.

    Right now, for cost vs. performance...I recommend:

    Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115037

    Why?

    It's not terribly expensive, it runs at 3 Ghz, it's dual core, and it has a 6MB cache as opposed to 2 or 4 MB on some other processors. The 65W draw is nice too because it runs cooler than some other CPUs out there (prolongs life of CPU).



    Finally...

    You will need a video card.

    Right now, I recommend:

    POWERCOLOR AX3870 512MD3-PH Radeon HD 3870 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...10380048 106792462&name=Radeon HD 3000 series

    Or really any variation/brand of this card that strikes your fancy.

    Why?

    It's cheap...and it performs really, really, well.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Now I am not sure what your power supply is like, but you will need to make sure it has a PCIe rail, or you may need to replace it. Also, 450 Watts is a little low, so if you do replace it...go at least 650.


    As for a case...they are all basically the same. The differences are more features (USB ports, LED lights, number of case fans, size), looks (cool widgets, and LED panels, etc.), but there is some difference in construction to consider. Cheap cases tend to rattle more, and they can have sharp edges on the inside...so be careful (OUCH!). Generally, I think you are spending too much on a case if you drop more than about $70 on it. Granted, you can spend much more than that...but you don't need to.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Option 2 - The cheaper way

    You are running a P4 single core now...right?

    You probably are not going to want to remain on that architecture for too much longer, but you might be able to stay on a socket 478 CPU until the prices of the new 1366s come down to affordable levels.

    If you want to reuse your RAM, it looks like you are running PC2100...so you will need a board that supports socket 478 and PC2100 RAM. I would go ahead and go with PCIe instead of AGP unless you just have an AGP card lying around collecting dust.

    It's should be only like $60.00 or so...and you can drop your existing CPU and RAM into it. Just get a new case and a new video card (I still recommend the 3870 for PCIe ... or the 3850 AGP) and you should be all set.

    You may have to go with something that is AGP with that RAM though. Most of the PCIe boards out there use 240pin RAM, you have 184pin.

    After everything, you can do this for less than $200...if you get an inexpensive case and your 450W PSU has a PCIe rail. (you can also adapt a Molex rail on your PSU to PCIe with a $4 adaptor BTW and it won't matter if you have to go, or choose to go, AGP.)




    ********************************************************

    But here is something to be aware of.


    You are likely going to have to format your hard drive and re-install Windows


    Anytime you do a motherboard swap, it is not only advisable to do this...it is sometimes unavoidable.

    Windows, when it was first installed on your system, has already allocated resources (addresses, interrupts, etc.) to your motherboard components (HD controller, PCI bridge, USB controller, etc. etc.). When you throw a new mobo in, and boot into Windows, assuming it will boot, it will need to find and reallocate all of those resources. This can often times create conflicts, which may cause performance degradation, or even failure.

    It is my opinion that you are better off backing up any necessary files that you want to keep, and just getting a fresh, clean, installation of Windows whenever you swap mobos. Some people don't do this...but they should.



    I hope some of this helps.
     
  27. ColterDC

    ColterDC Visitor

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    All of it helps and definately gives me something to think about.
     
  28. Nok

    Nok Lore Master
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    Great posts Morgana! And right on the mark.

    Just to add on about RAM. Many systemboards can use more than one speed of RAM. Like a systemboard may have PC 2700 on it, but PC 3200 is also supported. So long as their is not a HUGE price difference (usually there is not), go with the faster RAM.
     
  29. Smokin

    Smokin Guest

    Oh forgot to tell you when I checked the specs, your motherboard says it can only take 1 gig of ram, so you are already at its max.
     
  30. You might be able to overcome that RAM limitation with a BIOS flash.
     
  31. Smokin

    Smokin Guest

    Does dell put out bios for their computers.
     
  32. Nok

    Nok Lore Master
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    Yes. Just go to Dell's Support - Driver and Downloads page, and choose your model or enter the service tag number. You'll get a list of patches, updates, etc. available for your model.