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Slow computer

Posted on 1998-09-03
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Last Modified: 2013-12-28
Hello everybody,

We have a moderately old computer.  Here are its specs:
Pentium 150mz (non mmx)
96mb RAM
ATI Mach 64 video card (2mb)
2 HDs: 2.5gb and 850mb
4x CD

Anyway, since we've upgraded from 3.11 to '95, it has slowed down, a lot.  Then, we upgraded from '95 to '98, and it slowed down considerably more.  This computer is so slow, it is what I like to call "counter-productive."  

Since the hard drive was going frequently, we thought we would add more RAM (it had 32mb).  That sped it up some, but no where near fast enough.

We have also loaded Norton Utilities and run speed disk (weekly with full optimization).

We scan for viruses daily, so that's not it.  Besides, it doesn't even have a modem.

To give you an idea, running Quake II routinely get's about 5 FPS.  That is considerably below the average.  Age of Empires (another game) runs fairly well, but if anything big happens in the game, it will slow down (no hard drive activity, just general slowness).

Reformatting is not a preferred remedy.

What else could be causing it to slow down?

Thanks for the help.
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Question by:doornail
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Expert Comment

by:MasseyM
ID: 1644595
The fact that it is a pentium without MMX.
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dankh earned 90 total points
ID: 1644596
door,

   The speed of your games has a lot to do with your video cards (ie FPS).  You have a relatively old video card and you cannot reasonably expect it to perform well with today's hardware intensive games.  Today, most games require at least a 3d accelerator card.  I can't believe you are trying to run Q2 with a simple VGA card equipped with 2 MBs.  To answer you question, if you want better performance from you games, i would concentrate on upgrading your video cards first.
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Author Comment

by:doornail
ID: 1644597
The next upgrade we were going to be getting for it was probably going to be the video card.  We knew that was aging, and I suppose that would explain the fact that Quake II would be running so slow.

We have several computers here.  Our newest one is a Pentium II 300 with an STB Velocity video board.  Would it be a wise idea to buy a new video card for the Pentium II (probably based on Voodoo 2 or the like) and put the STB in the Pentum 150 thereby replacing the Mach64?

Thanks.
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Author Comment

by:doornail
ID: 1644598
MasseyM - I do not believe a processor with MMX and one without MMX matters very much.  Very few applications were designed to take advantage of it.  Yes, there is a slightly larger on-chip cache, but that would result in only marginal improvement.
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Expert Comment

by:dankh
ID: 1644599
Door,

    If you want excellent game playing buy the Voodoo2 chipset.  However, i believe you are going to have to buy a standard 2d card for your window applications because i don't know of a card that offers both 2d and 3d capabilities with the Voodoo chip on it.  I am currently running a Matrox Mystique and a Pure3d card with the Voodoo chip and it runs very well.  

I suggest you install that STB card in your older computer and see how it performs game wise before you make any new purchases.  It will perform BETTER than the Mach, but i don't know by how much.  Quake II is very bloated--i remember it being sluggish on my Pentium 200mmx with 64 MB of ram and a matrox mystique PCI 4 MB.  I would consider buying a Diamond Monster (est. $60) with the Voodoo I and install it on your old computer with the Mach.  You would probably see better performance because the Diamond Add-on card is built specifically for 3d games!  

You can't go wrong with a Voodoo 2 and a Pentium II 300, however.
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Expert Comment

by:dankh
ID: 1644600
Door,

  I want to clear somethings up:

There are two Voodoo chips out

1) Voodoo I (Monster I)
2) Voodoo II (Monster II)

Option 1 is a lot cheaper because it is an 'older chip.'  Game wise, you can expect 30-50 FPS.

Option 2 is the newest release.  To make use of this chip, you should have at least a Pentium II 266.  Game wise, expect 60+ FPS.

Both cards are add-on cards, not multipurpose cards.  They are used for games only, not regular windows apps.
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Author Comment

by:doornail
ID: 1644601
Thank you, dankh, for your responsiveness and answer.  Can you recommend any good cards (2d/3d combination) based on any chipset?
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Expert Comment

by:dankh
ID: 1644602
Door,

   I have been hearing good things about the new Matrox AGP card with the MGA 200 chip.  I suggest you go to this URL for in deepth info on video cards.  

http://www.tomshardware.com/releases/98q3/980818/index.html
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Expert Comment

by:h00man
ID: 1644603
I would suggest doing a fresh installation of Windows 98.  An upgrade install of win95/win98 leaves in old drivers, file associations, program registrations, etc.  That is very convenient, not to have to reinstall/reconfigure everything, but frequently compromises performance.  Especially since you upgraded the installation from 3.1 to win95 to win98.

Create a backup of the hard drive first, erase the \windows directory, and reinstall win98 and your drivers.  If it doesn't significantly speed up the machine, you can always restore your old setup.

quick 'n dirty shortcut: I've done this my renaming the old \windows folder to \oldwin (for example) and reinstalling win98 to \windows.  If it doesn't speed up the machine, you MAY be able to rename \oldwin back to \windows, and get your old setup back.  But don't bet the farm on it, as this is definitely a hack.
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Author Comment

by:doornail
ID: 1644604
Thank you dankh and h00man for your input.  I think I now have all the information necessary.
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