Pausing or hitching on a high-end PC

I recently performed a major upgrade of my PC, nearly creating a new PC out of it.

Old PC:

Athlon 2200+ (1.8Ghz)
512MB DDR 2100
MSI Board (Not certain of the model. It’s a small three slot board)
ATI 9700 Pro
Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm 2MB cache
DVD drive
CDRW drive
200w PS
Crappy HP mid-tower case (Which is really a mini. Thanks HP)
Win XP Home SP1

New PC:

Intel 3Ghz Prescott (stock cooling with Artic Silver 5 and no OCing)
2X512MB DDR 3200 400Mhz (running in dual mode)
DFI LAN Party Pro 875B Version B
ATI 9700 Pro
Antec True Power 430 watt PS
Cooler Master Praetorian case
All drives from previous PC moved to new PC
Win XP Home SP1.

I just need to upgrade the video card and I can call this a moderately high–end PC.

Since upgrading, games that ran flawlessly on the old PC, now pause or hitch at points when new characters appear on screen for combat or when moving around on a map. The sound will stutter at times. Occasionally, I can accept this, but, this occurs way too often and kills the enjoyment of the game.

Neverwinter Nights is a perfect example. However Doom 3 runs well (LOL) on the new PC, though I never ran it on the old. I have to reduce the image quality in NWN to a level below what I had set for my old PC to REDUCE the problem, but, not eliminate it!!!!!

I will sometimes hear static when the drive is being accessed, but not always. There is also popping and clicking at times in all games. Sometimes at specific points, other times it is random. Often, when I quick save I’ll hear crackling.

My HD is in Ultra ATA mode. My ram in dual channel mode. The CPU, by design runs hot (spec at 69C) and during games it reaches 59C, and no higher. Case temp is 38C on average. Nothing is over clocked. I close all non-essential processes with a utility called EndItAll, including Norton Anti-Virus, before gaming. The only card in a PCI slot is my Audigy. There are no conflicts reported by Windows.

ALL drivers, including MB, are up to date and I have tried earlier drivers just to see if that fixes the problem. I tried DirectX 9.0b and 9.0c.

It amazes me that my new PC will not perform as well, let alone not better, than my slower PC. This only occurs in games, otherwise, the PC is a sweet performer.

I have been trying to solve this problem for a month and now I turn to EE. I believe this is a hardware problem. Can anyone here offer some solid advice?

Thank you.
Who is Participating?
Glen A.Connect With a Mentor IT Project ManagerCommented:
Kidego has some good points, but I'd like to add with what's been tried so far I think it's very possible it's either RAM (either bad, flaky, or something with the memory controller on the board is), Power Supply, or the board itself.

I would personally swap in some RAM that's known to be good (not just new, but RAM you know to be from a working system that is also of PC3200 spec).  I'd try just one stick and see how that works.  If it resolves the issue, then try it in dual-channel.  If it still works, great - you know it's RAM.

If not...  I'd next swap in a known-good high-quality power supply.  The Antec you have in there is a great power supply, if it's really working properly... but any manufacturer can make a mistake...  might be bad, you never know until you test it.

Failing that, I'd say you're left with Motherboard, imho.

Let us know how it goes...
Have you by any chance done a repair install or fresh install of XP sence the upgrade?  If not, that may be your problem.  XP is not that friendly when it comes to major upgrades like you have done.  Some people don't even get their systems running without a repair.
after a big migration like that a clean install is the best solution ,

i would also look for incompatiblities between the video card and the motherboard .
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bobcannAuthor Commented:
I did 3 installs. In one I disabled ACPI so I could assign IRQs to the Audigy and 9700. That didn't help. Reinstalling XP is not the solution.

A co-worker has the same MB with the same video card and he has no such problems.
Just by chance, have you checked your device manager under IDE devices? See if everything is running in DMA mode.  
bobcannAuthor Commented:
Only checked my HD and it is. I'll check the rest when I get home in a few hours.
bobcannAuthor Commented:
My HD is in Ultra DMA Mode 5. My CD and DVD are in Ultra DMA Mode 2.
Glen A.IT Project ManagerCommented:
It may sound silly, but try lowering your vid card hardware accelleration 1 notch...  I know, doesn't make sense, but it's been a culprit before with ATI cards and newer hardware.  Worth giving a shot.
Glen A.IT Project ManagerCommented:
Here's one example of what I said happening:
bobcannAuthor Commented:
I did try lowering video hareware acc by one notch. In City of Heros and Neverwinter Nights, the cursor would blink on and off. Sometimes it was so bad I could not see it. In any case, that did not solve the problem. I really wish it would :)
bobcannAuthor Commented:
Let me additional steps that were tried and did not help:

1. Swapped the 9700 Pro with a ti4200.
2. Swapped the Audigy with a Santa Cruz.
3. Removed the Audigy and used on board sound.
4. Reinstalled XP with ACPI disabled so I could reassign IRQs.
5. Changed PCI latency settings.

Sound still pops and crackles. Hitching is a problem on some games. Outside of any game the PC runs great. I tried just about anything and I'm desperate at this time.

David WilhoitSenior Consultant, ExchangeCommented:
ok, so all you have left to work with is:
memory speed ( can you take it out of dual mode?)
motherboard chipset update
hard drive issue (doubt it though, don't you?)
power supply (maybe need more juice?)
motherboard itself is screwed.

If you've already ruled the other 4 out, then you should switch boards. You're spending too much time on something you shelled out a lot of money for, you should be enjoying it instead of being frustrated :)

wlennonConnect With a Mentor VP of Domestic & Int'l OperationsCommented:
It has been my experience too many times that some brands of Memory will not work with all Processors and Mainboards.

The MSI Site should tell you what memory will work best.

It says this on their site regarding DDR 400 RAM:

Main Memory
  • Supports 4 unbuffered DIMM of 2.5 Volt DDR SDRAM  
• Supports up to 4GB memory size non-ECC
• Supports Single or Dual Channel DDR 400*/333/266 MHz and up (*In order to use DDR 400, FSB 800 CPU is required)  
Due to the High Performance Memory design, motherboards or system configurations may or may not operate smoothly at the JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) standard settings (BIOS Default on the motherboard) such as DDR voltage, memory speeds and memory timing. Please confirm and adjust your memory setting in the BIOS accordingly for better system stability.
I recommend before buying anything at this moment, to go into BIOS and check the memory voltages and settings.  Mobo P/N should be printed on the upside of the board somewhere.  IS this the SAME MEMORY you took out of the old system???
Also take into consideration that the processor is HyperTheading technology, and is best to have the Intel PE chipset on the board.  

Another thing that can cause this would be the page file may not be large enough for however much memory you have installed, Windows automatically sets a default for page file size, when it (at least I think) should auto-set the page file to the proper size with the amount of memory installed.

Good luck...

bobcannAuthor Commented:
That's alot of advice and it will take me a while to move through these suggestions. I will get back to all of you ASAP.

Thanks so much for reading this thread and offering this advice. You gave me alot to work with.

bobcannAuthor Commented:
I've been super busy at work with tons of overtime. I'm sorry to delay in gatteing back with any feedback. When the job winds down I'll try these suggestions.

Thanks again :)
bobcannAuthor Commented:
Please do not close the question. I did post stating I was working heavy OT and have no intention of abandoning this thread.

I am testing out the suggestions. I am buying new equipment one piece at a time to try to find the problem. I will assign points when I have found the solution.

Thank you.
No comment has been added to this question in more than 21 days, so it is now classified as abandoned..
I will leave the following recommendation for this question in the Cleanup topic area:
delete/ refund

Any objections should be posted here in the next 4 days. After that time, the question will be closed.

EE Cleanup Volunteer
bobcannAuthor Commented:
Sorry for leaving this open for so long. I have found the RAM and MB combination was at fault. I just replaced both and all is well.

AlbertaBeef and wlennon pointed me in that direction, so I guess they split the points.

Thank you all for your help.

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