Athlon XP 2800+, WinXP, and Choppy Games?!

I own 2 systems with the following specs:

[PC #1]
Intel Pentium 4 @ 1.7GHZ, 400MHZ FSB
40GB Maxtor 5T0040H4 ATA100 7200RPM (2 partitions, FAT32)
ATI Radeon 9800Pro 128MB Ram (256 Bit)
HP WMTA Motherboard (AGP4x)
Soundblaster Live! 5.1 PCI soundcard
Windows 2000 Pro (SP4)

[PC #2]
AMD Athlon XP 2800+ @ 2.08GHZ (Barton), 333MHZ FSB
512MB DDR Ram (2 sticks = PC3200, PC2700)
30GB Maxtor 53073H4 ATA100 7200RPM (2 partitons, NTFS)
40GB Maxtor 5T040H4 ATA100 7200RPM (2 partitons, NTFS)
ATI Radeon 9800Pro 128MB Ram (256 Bit)
Gigabyte GA-7VT600-PL (Rev 1.0) Motherboard (AGP8X)
Yamaha Legacy DS1(?) PCI soundcard
Windows XP Pro (SP2)

Doom 3 and several other games are running poorly on the AMD system (PC #2) and I'm trying to figure out why.  For running processes/services only the AMD system has the following:

Acronis Schedule2 Service
Acronis Schedlp
Diskeeper  (set to run only during Screen Saver mode)
Norton Antivirus 2002
SymWMI Service
Symantec SNDMon
Windows Firewall

The AMD system's drives have been freshly formatted with NTFS. Doom 3 and other games have only been installed to them.  According to Diskeeper's analysis the "D" drive (where i install all apps and games to) is not fragmented.

As for video drivers the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro is using the Omega Catalyst v2.5.90Beta driver on both systems using default settings with no overclocking.  Using Doom 3 as a benchmark we do not make any tweaks whatsoever setting video to 1280x1024, High Quality, 2x AA, and default(?) 8x AF. For performance the P4 system just destroys the AMD system getting averaging 40FPS (non-monster encounters) while the AMD recieving 20FPS.  There is a persistent choppyness about the AMD system during game play which is non-existant on the P4.  Even in the WinXP OS typical tasks like opening IE or browsing folders appears a bit choppy, certainly not what you'd expect from a 2GHZ processor and $300 videocard.

Could NTFS be the root of all this?  Perhaps something new in XP SP2 could be a problem? Maybe a better quality soundcard like the SB Live 5.1 in the P4 system makes that much of a difference (why that would be is beyond me)?

I'd very much appreciate a solution to this horrible performance issue Im seeing on my new AMD system.
Who is Participating?
studlyedConnect With a Mentor Commented:
using a real sound card is deffinately better when gaming. the older sound cards could be considered "software" sound cards. just like "software" modems or win-modems use cpu power to work the sound card will use cpu-power to play sound. usually you find these soft-sound cards in lower end cards and on-board sound. most realtek and ac'97 are all software based. it has been said that on a 2400 proc it can use as much as up to 80% of your cpu power to play a simple mp3. now we all know that doom3 is one of the most cpu/graphics intesive games out there. and we need all the cpu cycles we can get. try playing d3 with your sblive card and turn off the music. see what happens.
Asta CuCommented:
Norton and XP 2 issues here

Not familiar with Doom3, is it local or netbased game?

Asta CuCommented:
Perhaps patches for Doom?

Have you tried running the DirectX diagnostics (all tests) as follows
start-run-msinfo32-tools Direct X Diagnostics.
It'll check your whole multimedia setup, including drivers and registry problems .... save to file.

What all runs concurrently when the problem arises?  What available resources shown - performance?
Free Tool: Path Explorer

An intuitive utility to help find the CSS path to UI elements on a webpage. These paths are used frequently in a variety of front-end development and QA automation tasks.

One of a set of tools we're offering as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

Asta CuCommented:
Old Legacy sound card could definitely be a piece of this problem...
Also what is the Hardware Acceleration?  Have you tried changing it to see what results?
Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
Double-click Display.
On the Settings tab, click Advanced.
Click the Troubleshoot tab.
Move the Hardware Acceleration slider two notches to the left of Full (the Disable all cursor and advanced drawing accelerations setting).
Click OK, and then click OK again.
Test the game.
Asta CuCommented:
The basics

To begin with ensure you have the latest patch for Doom 3 installed. This may fix any problems you have been encountering, improve performance and so on. Doom 3 features an Auto-Update option at the Menu, so use it.

It is also important to ensure you are using new drivers for your hardware and the latest DirectX installed. As before, this will generally ensure optimal performance and the least bugs possible.

Doom 3 is a very resource intensive game. If you’re not particularly willing to upgrade your hardware to improve performance, then some of our previous Tweak Guides will aid you in getting the most out of what you’ve already got.

Finally, before using any of the settings covered here be sure to enter the Options menu, select System, select Scan Hardware and Select Optimal Video Quality. This sets up many of the necessary options you will need to run the game correctly and it would be worth doing so again should you change Graphics card also.

RE. NTFS vs. FAT32... I've not seen a noticable difference on some tested games, though not Doom3 after converting to NTFS, and chose that for security reasons and many others.  This is a question here that discusses the file systems, impacts and games.
Steve McCarthy, MCSE, MCSA, MCP x8, Network+, i-Net+, A+, CIWA, CCNA, FDLE FCIC, HIPAA Security OfficerIT Consultant, Network Engineer, Windows Network Administrator, VMware AdministratorCommented:
I would pull one of the RAM sticks.  You have a speed mismatch and the system may be having an issue with it.
download ALL drivers for your system (chipset drivers,videocard drivers, soundcard drivers etc...) from the manufacturers website.... alot of times micro$ofts default drivers under xp are ok for surfing the net but when it comes to high performance they just cannot deliver.
Asta CuCommented:
Found it... although for another system type is informative for Radeon and Doom3
Typically I'd blame the video drivers... Upgrade to Catalyst 4.9...
I know you're playing with the latest Omegas but they wont always have the right effect...

Another thing could be your AGP apature size in your BIOS settings. I think it lurks under Itegrated Peripherals but I could be all wrong =)
You want to set it to 128Megs

Another thing that could be your RAM timings could be faultering... try getting another 2700 stick and doing things that way.
I swear by Diskeeper but I also swear to NEVER USE SET IT and forget it. I have seen it cause some terrible problems even when it should not be running.  Turn off the DKService and also the SET it and forget - only run manual defrags.   See if it helps.
I agree with samccarthy try to remove 1 stick RAM, having 2 different speed could bring some problems.
In other way, I think 512MO is maybe too short for games like Doom III.
XP is a real RAM eater :) 256 or 512 is fine for word and so on but not for last generation games
A friend get nearly the same hardware configuration and has no problem and he doesn't change bios advanced settings.
hope that help
i'll give you a little insight into this as I know well about this.

your AMD computer runs slow. Well first off the minimum requirements for Doom 3 are basically 256 MB of RAM and a 64 MB video card and recommended is like 1 GB of RAM and 512 MB of video memory. I have an AMD 1900+ XP, 1 GB of PC2100 RAM, 64 MB video card and I can't play the game except on the LOWEST quality and the LOWEST resolution. Even at the lowest settings it still looks awesome but is slightly choppy. Doom 3 takes a massive brand spankin new computer to be able to enjoy, you will have to upgrade the RAM and double the video memory and still play at about medium quality or less to enjoy it. It's sad but they wanted it to be so mega huge super duper crazy good graphics and all and of course with their millions of dollars they had the best computers in the world while they made it. UPGRADE UPGRADE UPGRADE or just try the lowest settings under options.
Did I mis read this question?  It looks like system 2 is the superior system of the two.  I though tthe question said that the slower system is actually running this better.  This last batch of answers seems to negelect that critical point- or did I mis read?
i don't know where you got the AMD as bein superior than #1. #1 has more RAM which is more important for speed and performance than processor speed, the intel has more FSB, it has a better sound card, windows 2000 isn't as laggy as XP SP2, etc etc etc. i'm guessing you only looked at the CPU and the extra hard drive to come to that conclusion.
I personally don't place the premium you do on memory over 512mb.  The AMD cpus i have seen perform better at that clock speed than the intel in this example not withstanding the additional ram.  HD size means nothing to me as long as it has a few gigs to spare. Thanks for the clarififcation.  I would still suspect the Diskkeeper Screen saver SET-IT-and FORGET-IT setting since I have seen this do the same type thing on a similiar system.  I believe these systems should perform relatively equally and that it is a specific problem not an engineering inadequacy.  - I respect your opinion but disagree with the assesment..
'personally' doesn't mean anything when more RAM = more speed = more performance = fact. i upgraded from 512 MB to 1 GB and never looked back my comp got bogged down from a couple hundred gigs gettin full and would run so slow, upgraded RAM and it's 200x better now.

'Personally' does cut it when its a 1.7ghz Pentium... a 2800 will whip it back to the stone age, even with less (albeit faster) RAM.

The CPU is always the primary limiting factor in the speeds of PC.

As for XP being slower - it has so many optimisations over 2000 now that load times, running performance etc etc is much better than if you're in 2000, as long as you know how to beat XP into submission and turn off those stupid ***king rounded windows amongst other 'features'

The AMD also has **cough** AGPx8 **cough** ...

There's no way ANYBODY woud chose #1 over #2... unless you're some kind of Intel enthusiast... or employee... If so you should queue behind those IE programmers by the gates of Hell.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.