New hardware...Where did I go wrong?

Posted on 2006-05-19
Last Modified: 2013-11-08
Ok, I decided about a week ago that my computer needed an update.  I had a vpr matrix computer with 2 sticks of 512mb ram (266mhz).  I also had a 256mb ati radeon x850 pro installed on my motherboard which only had a 4x agp slot.  I figured I would purchase a motherboard with a 8x agp slot so I could run my games at a faster rate.  So, I ended up purchasing the ASUS P4S800D-X motherboard because it had a 8x agp slot and it also had 4 slots for memory.  I then figured, while i'm at it, I would buy a pair of dual channel gig sticks (400mhz).

Once I got them in the mail, I installed them, clean booted windows and installed counter strike source to test out my new hardware.  To my surprise, it performs worse then my old motherboard.  I am very new at this whole thing but from what I understand so far, is that, it is performing worse because my cpu has a Bus speed of 533mhz and it shouldn't be mixed with a 400mhz gig stick.  My actual FSB is at 133mhz multiplied by 20 and I'm not really sure how that ties in but it multiplies to my processor speed and i'm not sure if that is what it's supposed to be.  

Now, am I supposed to go out and buy a new processor with a FSB of 800 mhz to match up with my memory?  I am just not sure why it performs worse then it did before.  I would understand more if it performed the same, but i'm getting worse frames per second in my games.  Is there any reason that my current hookup is making it more sluggish?  Is there any way I could change my settings around to make it at least perform as it was?

Thanks in advance.
Question by:shibbyy05
    LVL 33

    Expert Comment

    You could start by going into the BIOS and changing the memory speed to 133 instead of the 200 it is probably trying to run at.
    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    Several possibilities here ...

    => are you sure you've installed the memory in the correct slots so it will run in dual channel mode?   If you've only installed two 1GB sticks, they should each be in a blue socket.  The sign-on messages from the BIOS may show this ("1GB in dual channel ..."), but if you've not sure, download MemTest-86+ from, create a bootable floppy, and boot from it.   See if it shows Dual Channel mode.

    => it's true that the best thing is to match the memory with the CPU -- and your CPU should be using DDR266 memory;  but the DDR400 you purchased should work okay at the lower speed.   Further, your board is designed to allow proper FSB/memory synchronization with a 533MHz FSB and DDR400 (some boards are not).   Are you MIXING the memory with your old memory?   ... if so, remove the old memory and see if that helps -- the different SPD's can cause memory parameters to be poorly adjusted by the BIOS.

    => Did you do a complete, clean re-installation of XP?   (not sure what you mean by "clean booted Windows")    If not, you should -- you've changed motherboards, so the new chipset needs to be correctly installed for everything to work optimally.

    => Does your board have BIOS version 1005 ??   If not, you should update to the latest BIOS to be sure you have the most current CPU/memory support code.

    => One simple test to see if this may be a memory synchronization error is to install your OLD memory instead of the new memory.   What results do you get with this configuration?

    => You should also confirm your current operating parameters.
     I'd suggest you download Everest Home Edition from
    Install it and run it.   On the Motherboard - Chipset page it will show the Memory Controller's capabilities (Dual Channel) and the currently Active Mode (this will confirm if you're running in Dual Channel).   It will also show the current memory timings, and the Current AGP Speed.

    The data from Everest may be helpful for any follow-up questions -- leave it installed so if I need to know specific details you can easily run it.
    LVL 87

    Expert Comment

    Did you install all the motherboard's drivers? Are you using SATA or IDE HD's? Is DMA mode active for the HD?

    Author Comment

    Wow, thanks for all the help so far!

    "You could start by going into the BIOS and changing the memory speed to 133 instead of the 200 it is probably trying to run at."

       I checked my bios and the memory is running at 133 mhz.

    "are you sure you've installed the memory in the correct slots so it will run in dual channel mode?"

       Yes, they are both installed in the blue slots for duel channel mode.

    "Are you MIXING the memory with your old memory?"

       No, I only have the dual channel sticks installed.

    "Did you do a complete, clean re-installation of XP?"

       Yes, I re-formatted my HD and re-installed XP.  Although, I am running in SP1, do you think that could be a problem?

    "Does your board have BIOS version 1005 ??"

       Yep, I installed this version last night but it didn't solve my problem.

    "One simple test to see if this may be a memory synchronization error is to install your OLD memory instead of the new memory.   What results do you get with this configuration?"

       I installed the old memory and it performs even worse.  (starting applications took longer, took longer to start up games).

    "I'd suggest you download Everest Home Edition"

       Wow, This program is amazing, thanks for letting me know about this utility.

    "On the Motherboard - Chipset page it will show the Memory Controller's capabilities (Dual Channel) and the currently Active Mode (this will confirm if you're running in Dual Channel).   It will also show the current memory timings, and the Current AGP Speed."

       It confirms that I am running in dual channel 128 bit and my AGP speed is at 8x.

    "Did you install all the motherboard's drivers?"

       I installed SiS mini IDE driver, SiS AGP driver, and the Soundmac driver.  I didn't install SiS PCI LAN driver, and USB 2.0 driver.

    "Are you using SATA or IDE HD's?"

       I'm not sure...

    "Is DMA mode active for the HD?"

       Also, I'm not sure about this...

    Even when i'm scrolling this page it seems as if it is taking a snapshot and then scrolling to the next snapshot as if it is having troubles processing all the information and graphics on this page.  Normally when this happens, I figure my GPU drivers aren't installed right but it looks as if they are.  I am now beginning to think that my problems trace back to SP1 and maybe an old driver from ATI will work better?

    Thanks for all the great help already!  

    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    Go into BIOS and load Default Optimal/Performance settings in all pages. Make neccessary changes to the IDE settings and any other settings that you are sure off. Set the AGP apperature size to 128MB. Leave the CPU and DRAM timing to auto. The motherboard BIOS should recognise it and set it to appropriate speed.

    Reinstall the ATI Catalyst drivers...

    Good luck

    Author Comment

    "Go into BIOS and load Default Optimal/Performance settings in all pages. Make neccessary changes to the IDE settings and any other settings that you are sure off. Set the AGP apperature size to 128MB. Leave the CPU and DRAM timing to auto. The motherboard BIOS should recognise it and set it to appropriate speed."

       Just tried it and it still seems to be pretty slow.

    But, back to what coral said...I checked the everest program for my memory bus speed and it is indeed running at 200mhz.  What does this mean? and how can I change it to run at 133mhz?
    LVL 87

    Expert Comment

    IDE disks are those which have been used for a long time, there is a molex connector for the power, and a broad, flat cable for the data. Jumperws are used to select master/slave/or cableselect. SATA disks use a more modern interface with a thin data cable which can only attach to one disk, the connector is about 10mm wide, the power cable maybe about 20mm. Everest will tell you what mode the disks are running at (PIO or DMA....), it should also tell you if you are using SATA or IDE HD's.

    Author Comment

    ATA Device Properties      
    Model ID      WDC WD800BB-00CAA1
    Serial Number      WD-WCA8E5473130
    Revision      17.07W17
    Parameters      155061 cylinders, 16 heads, 63 sectors per track, 600 bytes per sector
    LBA Sectors      156301488
    Buffer      2 MB (Dual Ported, Read Ahead)
    Multiple Sectors      16
    ECC Bytes      40
    Max. PIO Transfer Mode      PIO 4
    Max. UDMA Transfer Mode      UDMA 5 (ATA-100)
    Active UDMA Transfer Mode      UDMA 5 (ATA-100)
    Unformatted Capacity      89436 MB

       This is all I could find on that.  I am using IDE because I didn't hook any SATA cables up to my HD.  I know I sound stupid but i'm new to this :/

       Here you can check out my specs.

    CPU Properties      
    CPU Type      Intel Pentium 4
    CPU Alias      Northwood, A80532
    CPU Stepping      C1
    Engineering Sample      No
    CPUID CPU Name      Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.66GHz
    CPUID Revision      00000F27h
    CPU Speed      
    CPU Clock      2667.35 MHz  (original: 2667 MHz)
    CPU Multiplier      20.0x
    CPU FSB      133.37 MHz  (original: 133 MHz)
    Memory Bus      200.05 MHz
    CPU Cache      
    L1 Trace Cache      12K Instructions
    L1 Data Cache      8 KB
    L2 Cache      512 KB  (On-Die, ECC, ATC, Full-Speed)
    Motherboard Properties      
    Motherboard ID      63-0501-009999-00101111-090705-SIS655FX$A0149001_BIOS DATE: 09/07/05 17:04:08 VER: 08.00.09
    Motherboard Name      Asus P4S800D-X  (5 PCI, 1 AGP, 4 DDR DIMM, Audio, LAN)
    Chipset Properties      
    Motherboard Chipset      SiS 655FX
    Memory Timings      2-3-3-6  (CL-RCD-RP-RAS)
    SPD Memory Modules      
    DIMM1: Corsair CMX1024-3200C2      1 GB PC3200 DDR SDRAM  (3.0-3-3-8 @ 200 MHz)
    DIMM3: Corsair CMX1024-3200C2      1 GB PC3200 DDR SDRAM  (3.0-3-3-8 @ 200 MHz)
    BIOS Properties      
    System BIOS Date      09/07/05
    Video BIOS Date      01/18/05
    DMI BIOS Version      1005.001
    Graphics Processor Properties      
    Video Adapter      ATI Radeon X850 XT Platinum AGP (R481)
    GPU Code Name      R481  (AGP 8x 1002 / 4B4C, Rev 00)
    GPU Clock      540 MHz  (original: 540 MHz)
    Memory Clock      587 MHz  (original: 590 MHz)
    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    Okay, let's check a couple more details ...

    On the Computer - Summary page of Everest, look for your "Disk Drive" (or drives).   For each drive it will show you the make/model, capacity, and whether it's SATA or IDE/Ultra-ATA.

    On the Storage - ATA page it will show you the "Active UDMA Transfer Mode".   Post what it shows there.

    Now go to Device Manager (right-click on My Computer;  select Properties;  click on the Hardware tab; then click Device Manager).   Are there ANY yellow exclamation points??   If so, describe them.
    Then look at the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers section (expand it by clicking the "+" sign), and for each of the Primary and Secondary channels do a right-click, Properties, and click the Advanced Settings tab.   Look at the "Transfer Mode" and the "Current Transfer Mode" for each channel.   If the Transfer Mode does NOT say "DMA if available" for any device, then change it.   Regardless of what you see here, it's not a bad idea to force a redetection of your modes.    To do that, you need to do the following:

    Load RegEdit (Start - Run - Regedit)

    Go to the following keys:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\ Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\000x

    The last four digits will be 0000, 0001, 0002, 0003, and so on.

    Under each key, delete all occurences of the following values:


    Now reboot your system and the transfer modes will be redetected and set to the best possible.

    As for your memory speed - as I noted in my last post, your motherboard is designed to properly synchronize between a 533FSB CPU and DDR 400, so it's fine that your memory is running at 200MHz.   If you switch back to your old memory, you'll see that it will run at 133MHz -- the system's simply setting the memory to the correct parameters per the reported SPD information.

    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    ... a couple other thoughts:

    =>  Does your video card have an additional power connector?   If so, it probably wouldn't work at all without it connected, but just in case -- be sure you have power connected to it.

    =>  Are you sure you have the current graphics drivers installed?   If all of the hardware parameters look good (which so far they do -- pending you confirming you're operating in DMA mode for both the hard disk and the optical drive) then you likely have a driver issue and/or conflict.

    Author Comment

    Alright, gary I deleted those values that you described and rebooted.

    I checked in my device manager and I do have some unknown devices marked yellow.  They are described as multimedia controller and multimedia video controller.

    In my IDE/ATA section of device manager they are all displaying "DMA if available" I also displayed the info in my Storage -- ATA portion of Everest in my last post if you wanted to take a look at that still.

    Thank you so much for helping me with this!

    Author Comment

    Actually, I know what those unknown devices are.  It is my TV tuner that I haven't installed yet.  Would that be causing a problem?
    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    Simple enough to test whether or not the unknown devices are causing an issue (assuming you're correct about both devices being related to your TV tuner) ==> just remove your TV tuner card and see if Device Manager is now "clean" (no exclamation points).   Assuming it is, then see what your performance is like.
    LVL 12

    Assisted Solution

    "Where did I go wrong?"

    kind of outdated chipset, 478.

    You should have looked at at least 754, preferably 939 chipsets.  Most are not quite ready yet for 940 chipset and above.

    K8V-SE, A8N5X, boards like that.

    Error #2:  SATA; you really want PATA and PCI-X, IDE-64.

    Things are moving ahead fast in today's computers, and basically the Pentium's are outdated.

    GaryCase has a good handle on helping with your problem.  I would suggest though that the next motherboard purchase you take a little more time to peruse what's available.  The boards I've mentioned are in the same price range, but perform five to ten times better and faster, with bettr future expandiblility than the P4 series.

    I'd also suggest an AMD 3000 series 64-bit processor, up to the 3500 or so.  You won't have to worry so much about buss speeds.  But, just as a little mnemonic for remembering about buss speeds, if the base is a fractional integer of 4/3, as 133 mHz is, it won't work in 8/4 type slots [originally 25 mHz, not in 100 and 200 mHz buss speeds, but you can see this is not representative of the 4/3 fraction until 8X133 = 1200 mHz, which will accomodate both because 1200/200 is an integer, 6.  If both are integers when divisible by 4/3 and 8/4, the busses are interchangeable, this doesn't happen until about 1.2 gigaHertz between 133 mHx and 200 mHz].  Is 400 mHz applicable to both?  400/133 = 4/3, 400/200 = 2, so, because both fractions are represented, yes, it will work.  Pretty much, although I've probably stated it poorly, 33 mHz and 25 mHz were the first two buss speeds; whereever these two fractions meet the least common denominator as a whole number, they are interchangeable.  That is, wherever 1/3 and 1/4 result in an integer for the same number; as in 3x4=>12 times for the first intersection at 400 mHz.  But for the 133 mHz, the fractions change to 4/3 and 8/4 [which is another way of saying "2"].  Invert and multiply: 3/4 factored 8/4 => 24/4=>6X200=1200 mHz.

    It's all done with mirrors, fractions, and reciprocals.  When you get an integer for both results, that is where to two converge and it will work.

    Any other combinations below 1200 mHz where 133 and 200 mHz will work?  No, since there are no common denominator integers until 1200 mHz, but many above, 2400 mHz, and so on.

    For the FSB above, same rule; 533/133 is an integer, 400/200 is an integer, but note that these are on entirely different busses and that is why the combination works.

    It has to do with synchronized clocking of buss timing signals; 5 533 mHz clocks syncrhonize at the same point as 133 mHz clocks, every fifth 533 mHz clock occurrence.  All in the timing diagrams.  No integer, no workie.

    Multimedia controllers are probably the onboard audio and video I think I mentioned here.  You need to install motherboard drivers for the new motherboard after you install XP or whatever.

    Crashfree BIOS on that board is a good feature; even if you misburn the BIOS, the board itself can fix it, don't trash an Asus board just because you misflashed the BIOS, read the motherboard manual and you'll see how to recover even a badly flashed BIOS; great feature there!

    Via chipset, onboard Ethernet, Integrated Graphics [that means onboard video chip, the cause of at least one of your unidentified devices, hence, the motherboard drivers are required], I believe you should have an nVidia driver CD with that board; this is what you need to install, including the RAID drivers for all disks to work properly, even if you don't use RAID.

    Hyperthreading: watch out for this one, not all Operating Systems and not all microprocessors suppor this currently; I think Itanium may be one of the one's that doesn't.

    In the end, it's probably not the tuner, it's probably the onboard graphics conflicting with the tuner.  Again, you need the motherboard drivers installed to correct this.

    Find out also if that board has 3 IDE slots; this will affect Windows disk configuration if the driver is not installed, from the motherboard and RAID set of drivers.

    In the end, you need to read the motherboard manual and follow it's advice.


    Author Comment

    Ok, I did a number of things in the past hour

    The unknown devices in my device manager was in fact my tuner.  I installed the tuner and everything was fine in my device manager until I installed the omega drivers for my card.

    I went into safe mode -- deleted old drivers -- installed omegas -- rebooted

    After I did this I found 2 unknown devices and they were being diplayed as my video card.

    I then went into safe mode -- deleted the omegas -- rebooted -- reverted back to the new catalyst drivers and everything was back to normal.

    When I benched my card in ATI Tray Tools, I got a score of 7118 and this is better then my score with my old hardware, but when I try a game I get 2x worse performance then what I received with my old hardware.

    Gineric: The reason I bought this motherboard was because I just recently bought a x850 AGP card with 8x capabilities which my old motherboard couldn't handle.  This, along with a pair of dual channel gig sticks I knew I could see a significant performance change.  My old hardware performed great but it just wasn't giving the edge I needed.  I just didn't want to go out and buy an AMD CPU, pci-e motherboard, 550 watt powersupply, a SATA HD, and THEN have to buy a new pci-e video card just for the simple gaming that I do you know?

    I do get what your saying in the sense.  My CPU is sort of bottlenecking my GPU into performing worse.  I just don't understand how it really could perform WORSE when nothing changed except the fact that I have a motherboard that has more capabilites and a pair of decent gig sticks.

    Also, I did install all my drivers as the manual said.  It told me to install the SiS AGP driver after I install my display drivers for my card, which I have been doing.  Everything else I installed right when I booted up XP for the first time.

    I really don't know what to do at this point.  Do you guys recommend any 478 socket pentium CPU's?

    LVL 87

    Expert Comment

    You might want to check the game's site for patches that might address problems with your hardware.
    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    Your video is benchmarking fine (better than before, as you've noted);  the system seems to be working okay;  .... so ==> look at the settings you're using for the game.   Have you turned on high levels of Anti-Aliasing and/or Anisotropic filtering that you weren't using before?   Be sure the ATI drivers have this set for "Application Preference" -- and then be sure you're not being overly aggressive with these settings with your game.

    Author Comment

    Well it's not just my game.  The bench in ATI Tray Tools didn't seem accurate for me so I went and installed 3dMark05 to see my score and this is what I got.

    This is a horrible benchmark for my card and all of my settings are on balanced so it can't be that.  I've tried three different drivers and they were all the same.

    Do you think that having XP Proffessinal SP1 is getting me these resluts.  I really don't want to update it to SP2 because I had some problems with it before but if you think that this could be the problem, then I might as well download it.
    LVL 70

    Accepted Solution

    Your link doesn't work (have to be logged in to futuremark) -- what was your 3DMark number?  

    Whether or not you're running SP2 shouldn't make a difference -- but I do recommend you do the upgrade.   There are quite a few improvements in SP2, and it COULD make a difference.   Certainly wouldn't hurt to try it.

    Author Comment

    I ended up getting a score of 3310.

    I suppose I could update it and see how that goes.  Hopefully, it won't perform worse, as things tend to do when I update :/
    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    3310's not a "bad" number -- perhaps not as good as you'd like to see, but certainly not "bad".   The PCI Express version of an X850 gets around 5550 -- but with an AGP interface you're not going to do that well.

    Your CPU Mark of 1472 is fairly low -- but with a 2.66GHz non-hyperthreading 533MHz FSB CPU that may just be what it is.   I'm not a gamer, so I don't have a high-end video card;  but just for grins I downloaded 3DMark05 to see what kind of score my ATI AIW9600XT would get.   I got 1590 3DMarks -- but my CPU Mark was 3772 (3.4GHz hyperthreading 800MHz FSB).

    It would be interesting to see what kind of performance you'd get with an 800MHz FSB, hyper-threading CPU.   Next time you want to spend a couple hundred $$ on your system that would be a nice upgrade :-)

    Author Comment

    lol well lately it seems that my anti-drug has been buying new computer parts, and i already took a gander at the latest Intel HT chip for socket 478, which is roughly $1000.  Might not be getting that for a little while :)

    The windows update didn't work though....But, I was thinking, in light of all of this new hardware, have you ever heard of a power supply limiting fps before?  I figured that if this was the case, that my PC would just power off, but now that I think of it, I had to raise the timings on my memory because it kept on rebooting.  I have a 300 watt power supply, which is pretty low, so I don't know if this could be a problem or not?

    What do you think?
    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    I have seen MANY cases where strange issues "disappeared" with better power supplies.   A 300 watt supply is pretty small by today's standards -- it seems unlikely that's the problem; but using a better power supply with plenty of "headroom" (extra power) is always a good idea.   I suggest a Seasonic supply --- highly efficient, run very cool, amazingly quiet, and rock solid power.   This would be a good choice that will have plenty of extra power for the future:

    By the way, you could get an excellent HT 800MHz FSB Socket 478 chip for MUCH less than $1,000 ==> for example:
    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    ... or if you'd prefer a Northwood core (a bit older, but runs cooler):

    Author Comment

    Wow, i'm stupid, I guess I didn't shop around enough to realize what is out there.  Well, now that you tell me this I might as well just buy the processor and see how that goes.  I'm going to flip a lid if I buy this processor and it doesn't help any or gives me worse results.

    One thing for sure though is that running applications is so much smoother and faster with the dual channel gig sticks.  That was an investment well spent. :)
    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    Glad you're seeing some improvements -- you should :-)    ... and with a faster CPU w/hyperthreading you'll see even more.    ... and you can join the "3 GHz club"  :-)

    Author Comment

    Don't worry, I'll be receiving a cool $1050 within the week and i'll be sure to purchase that CPU the instant I get the cash.

    I just wish I could press a magical button on my keyboard that would fix my problem instantly.  :(

    I sent a ticket to ATI's customer support group in hopes of maybe a last minute hooray and that magical fix I am waiting for but my hopes aren't that high.  We'll see how it goes i guess....

    Write Comment

    Please enter a first name

    Please enter a last name

    We will never share this with anyone.

    Featured Post

    IT, Stop Being Called Into Every Meeting

    Highfive is so simple that setting up every meeting room takes just minutes and every employee will be able to start or join a call from any room with ease. Never be called into a meeting just to get it started again. This is how video conferencing should work!

    Is it worth it to buy an Echo? In a word, yes! For me it was definitely worth it. I use mine on a daily basis. Prologue & Privacy At first, I was very skeptical about the Amazon Echo. In general, I don't like voice assistants. I don't li…
    What do we know about Legacy Video Conferencing? - Full IT support needed! - Complicated systems at outrageous prices! - Intense training required! Highfive believes we need to embrace a new alternative.
    To add imagery to an HTML email signature, you have two options available to you. You can either add a logo/image by embedding it directly into the signature or hosting it externally and linking to it. The vast majority of email clients display l…
    Sending a Secure fax is easy with eFax Corporate ( First, Just open a new email message.  In the To field, type your recipient's fax number You can even send a secure international fax — just include t…

    737 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    22 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now