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System slows to a crawl when installing FEAR

Posted on 2006-11-12
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Hey guys,

I recently bought a E6400 Core 2 Duo 2.1GHz (overclocked to 2.7GHz) and 1GB of Corsair DDR2 677 RAM. I have noticed that when I try to install FEAR the whole system slows to a crawl. I have Media Center 2005 (rollup 2) as my OS and I have an extender connected and running (live tv) while I do it but the Extender Resource Monitor shows minimal usage...

I don't knwo if this is a setup problem with my hardware (maybe I haven't optimised the BIOS settings), or maybe it is just the specs that are to blame???

Any ideas?

Thanks,
MOZ
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Question by:nikez2k4
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by:irwinpks
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what happens when do NOT overclock?
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by:irwinpks
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Also, what graphics card do you have?  Got the latest drivers?
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by:nikez2k4
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I have just checked the Extender Resource Monitor again while installing FEAR and CPU 1 is at about 100% and CPU 2 is only at 5% ish. It's slowing everything down.....is there something I can do? Or is this done by design?

Surely there must be some kind of load balance built into these new chips? Or am I being a bit nieve?

Thanks,
MOZ
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by:nikez2k4
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I have an NVIDIA 7900 GTX graphics card with the latest MCE drivers.

I haven't tried it without overclocking yet - will give that a go now.

I have just looked at the install % and its installing REALLY slow....been installing for about 10 minutes and its only about 15% done if that.....i am almost positive it installed faster than this before???

Something MUST be wrong me thinks.

MOZ
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by:irwinpks
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perhaps disable your background running software and change your display resolution to 1024 x 768 True Color (for just the installation)
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by:nikez2k4
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Overclocking isn't the problem just reset everything and restarted the installation and its still painfully slow.

The strange thing is I was looking at the CPU % during startup and it was pretty much even between the 2 - around about 30-40% on each core....so is it something to do with the FEAR installation or what?

Thanks,
MOZ
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by:irwinpks
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apply my last comment
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by:nikez2k4
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Ok I tried lowering the resolution but I am still getting the same problem.

Had a look at Task Manager and the process that is doing the installing is called - set10.tmp - and it says it is utilising an average of 5% CPU power and 15MB of RAM.

There is nothing in the processes list that is taking anywhere close to the amount of processing power that seems to be being used. The performance tab shows core 1 at 96-100% and core 2 at 5-10%

Any ideas?
MOZ
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by:Caldazarg
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To be clear, is the issue that your system runs slowly when you attempt to actually install the program off CD/DVD or is the issue that your system is slow when you attempt to play?  What kind of hard drive(s) do you have?

Start by gathering some performance statistics using Performance Monitor.

1. Start Menu --> Run.
2. Open: perfmom [click OK]
3. Performance Logs and Alerts --> Counter Logs.
4. Right-click on Counter Logs and select New Log Settings.  Enter any descriptive name for the log and click OK.
5. Under the General Tab, Add Counters...
6. Add the following counters:

-Performance Object: Processor; Counter: % Processor Time; Instance: _Total [click Add]
-Performance Object: Memory; Counter: Available MBytes; Instance: N/A [click Add]
-Performance Object: Memory; Counter: % Committed Bytes In Use; Instance: N/A [click Add]
-Performance Object: Memory; Counter: Commit Limit; Instance: N/A [click Add]
-Performance Object: Physical Disk; Counter: Current Disk Queue Length; Instance: All instances radio button [click Add]

7. Click Close on the Add Counters window to return to the General tab.   All the counters you added should appear in the Counters: list.
8. Select the Log Files tab.  Note the location of the log file (.blg file).  If you want to modify the location where the log file is stored, click Configure to change the folder destination and filename.
9. Click Apply to save your Performance log settings.  Click OK.
10.  The log you created should now appear in the right-hand pane with a green icon.  This indicates that performance data is being logged.
11. Install your game and take note of whether or not the installation runs slow.
12. After finishing/canceling the installation, go back to the Performance Monitor window, right-click on the active (green icon) performance log, and select Stop.  It is important to remember to Stop logging or the log will continue to grow and use up space on your hard drive.
13. On the left-hand pane, select System Monitor.
14. Select View Log Data (4th icon from the left above the graph, or press Ctrl+L).
15. On the Source tab, select a Log Files: source and add the .blg file you have created in Step 8.  Click OK.
16. Select the Add icon above the graph (8th icon from the left, or press Ctrl+I).
17.  Add the following counters:

-Performance Object: Memory; Counter: All counters [click Add]
-Performance Object: Physical Disk; Counter: All counters; Instance: All instances [click Add]
-Performance Object: Processor, Counter: All counters; Instance: All instances [click Add]

18. Click Close to return the main graph.
19. Your performance counters should now be in a list below the graph.  You can click through the various counters to get minimum, maximum, average, and last recorded values for each counter.  Some things to look out for:

% Processor Time greater than 85%
% Committed Bytes In Use greater than 85%
Commit Limit greater than 3,000,000,000
Available MBytes less than 32
Disk Queue Length greater than 2 for any instance except _Total (ignore _Total for Disk Queue Length)
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by:Caldazarg
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Applications will only balance across cores if the application is multithreaded.  Many games are not multithreaded and are only capable of using one of the cores at a time.

To get a more detailed view of processor utilization, in Performance Monitor you can add:

Performance Object: Process; Counter: % Processor Time; Instance: All instances

In Process tab of Task Manager, click on the CPU heading to sort the list by CPU utilization to ensure you aren't overlooking any processes that are using up CPU time (if you haven't already done so).
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by:nikez2k4
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Caldazarg:

I followed your steps up to step 10, however I am unable to start the logging process...I checked the event viewer and it shows the following warining:

The service was unable to open the log file C:\CPU Usage_000014.blg for log CPU Usage and will be stopped. Check the log folder for existence, spelling, permissions, and ensure that  no other logs or applications are writing to this log file. You can reenter the log file name using the configuration program.   This log will not be started. The error returned is: Unable to create the specified log file.

Sorry for being a little dim on this issue :) - I have never seen the performance monitor before so not sure how to troubleshoot it.
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by:irwinpks
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Uh...perhaps go back to basics and disable the programs running in the background.

go to MSCONFIG, and turn off programs that you recognize that you don't need.
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by:irwinpks
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and then you can't rule out that your drive OR disc may be at fault.
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by:Caldazarg
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Okay, well if Performance logging isn't working, you can still view the performance counters in real time.

1. After launching perfmon, (Start --> Run --> perfmon), stay on the System Monitor selection.
2. In the right-hand pane with the graph, ensure you're Viewing Current Activity (third icon from the left, or Ctrl+T).
3. In the counter list below the graph, delete the Pages/sec and Avg. Disk Queue length counters (click on the entry to highlight it, then press Del).
4. Add counters (8th icon from the left, or Ctrl+I)
5. Add all the counters to be monitored, the ones I referenced in a previous post.  Remember to click the Add button after selecting each counter, and don't forget to select the appropriate instance when necessary before clicking Add.
6. You can add all the Object: Process; Counter: % Processor Time, Instance: All instance as well, since it sounds, at least on the surface, to be something CPU-related.
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by:Caldazarg
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Forgot to add, if the installation program makes it difficult to switch between windows to view the Performance window easily, you may want to decrease the sampling rate (by default, perfmon samples every one second).  To do this, right-click on the graph area, select the General tab, and set the Sample Automatically Every: field to something more reasonable (say, 10 seconds).

Further, do you have an antivirus program installed and running?  If so, you may want to try disabling your antivirus program during the installation process.
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by:InfoStranger
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Have you tried reseating the CPU and RAM?  Have you tried using a different RAM chip?  I noticed no asked this yet.
Check also the specs of the software.  What is recommended for RAM?
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by:nikez2k4
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Ok managed to get logging to run :)

I have had a look at the results and based on what you said i should look for, here are the results:

% Processor Time _Total (Process)    - 197.604
% Processor Time _Total (Processor)    - 53.434
% Committed Bytes In Use    - 25.661
Commit Limit    - 2,579,001,344
Available MBytes    - 410
Disk Queue Length _Total    - 9

I'm not sure if it is relevant or not but watching the installation I was looking at the HDD and DVD-ROM lights and they were constantly on. I listened to the HDD activity and there was no sound....yet the installation IS continuing...just VERY slowly.

MOZ
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by:nikez2k4
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Just tried installing The Sims 2 aswell...it does exactly the same. Slows down the system to a crawl.

Still not got an idea what is causing it :(

MOZ
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by:Caldazarg
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Is the disk queue length of 9 the max or the average?  An average disk queue length of 9 is high.  It generally indicates that the system is waiting on the hard drive/hard drive is performing poorly.  However, if you have more than one hard drive, _Total is not a very useful instance.  Do you also have log stats for instance 0 (and 1, 2, etc... if you have more than one drive?).  Or do you only have one hard drive? (in which case _Total and Instance 0 would be the same).

What make/model of hard drive(s) do you have?  Is the hard drive a new drive?  I would also be curious to see what is logged for:

Performance Object: Physical Disk, Counter: Disk Read Bytes/sec, Instance: All instances
Performance Object: Physical Disk, Counter: Disk Write Bytes/sec, Instance: All instances

to see how fast data is moving to and from the hard drive.
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by:nikez2k4
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Thanks for your reply.

9 is the maximum value of instance 1 which includes my main hard drive and my MP3 partition (currently empty)

I have a Samsung SP1614C (http://www.samsung.com/Products/HardDiskDrive/SpinPointPSeries/HardDiskDrive_SpinPointPSeries_SP1614C.htm) its reasonably new - probably about a year old now.

The results for those tests are:

Performance Object: Physical Disk, Counter: Disk Read Bytes/sec, Instance: All instances    - 747,318.123
Performance Object: Physical Disk, Counter: Disk Write Bytes/sec, Instance: All instances    - 6,194,911

Is that good or bad? :|

MOZ
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by:Caldazarg
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6MB / sec is about the transfer rate of a 40x CDROM.  Is that write rate the maximum Disk Write Bytes/sec or the average write rate?  If it's the max, what is the average write rate?  Also, what is the average Disk Queue Length you logged during your installation test?

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by:nikez2k4
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All those values were maximums - sorry should have said that :)

Averages:
Performance Object: Physical Disk, Counter: Disk Write Bytes/sec, Instance: All instances:    2,009,815
Disk Queue Length:    1

Do you have an idea what could be wrong? I am thinking it might be a BIOS setting?? I never had a problem before I installed this motherboard. I had my Core 2 Duo in a different mobo before this (ASUS P5L-VM 1394 - http://uk.asus.com/products4.aspx?l1=3&l2=11&l3=194&model=1324&modelmenu=1).

Maybe it's not I don't know....really am clueless :(

MOZ
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by:nikez2k4
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Just had a thought....

My housemate installed Flight Sim X on here (said it took hours!) but he says that it runs fine, 20-30 fps, which is normal for the quality settings. So I am thinking maybe it could be something to do with the DVD drive? If the HDD activity looks normal and everything runs fine when it's not installing off the DVD there might be a fault with it? Is there a performance setting I can enable to test that or should I try copying a load of files off a CD/DVD?

I had problems when I first installed the mobo. It wasn't recognising my DVD drive and asked me to install a raid driver when I booted into Windows Vista (that's what I was running at the time). I found a BIOS update off ABIT's website and it solved that problem but could that be a causing factor?

The DVD drive I have is a Sony DRU-720A (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sony-DRU-720A-16x16x4x-DVD%C2%B1RW-Kit/dp/B0007TBBZ2)

Just a thought :)

MOZ
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by:irwinpks
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@nikez2k4...I believe I mentioned the DVD drive could be at fault a few comments ago...do you have another available?

Forget the performance settings for awhile.... put everything back to normal... replace the drive with another, and see what happens. Perhaps before that, you can enable/disable DMA on the drive.

If it resolves your problem, tweak your system for faster performance.
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by:nikez2k4
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Appologies irwinpks you did say that,

Not got another drive at hand, although I will try another 1 when I can. I have checked DMA on all the IDE controllers but they are all set to DMA - can't see an option on the DVD drive properties page to set the DMA option though.

Still the issue remains....

MOZ
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by:irwinpks
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perhaps "borrow" a drive?  That seems to be a limiting factor due to the fact that your are loading software off a physical device.
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by:mluther223
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I'm starting to think iewinpks might be on to something.  I had a similar problem just before my DVD drive completely died.  I believe the incredible slow install is caused from the DVD drive having to re-read the information several times.  In my case, I was trying to install 2142 battlefield (last week), and it took FOREVER.  I then took the same DVD to my nephews computer, and it installed in about 10 minutes.  I did proceded to completely uninstall the program on my computer, installed a new DVD drive, and then reinstalled the program.... it took about 10 minutes.   I would definately look at replacing the drive,  and now a days you can pick one up relatively cheap.  Hope it helps
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by:nikez2k4
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Ugh....I just spent £600 upgrading the thing lol!!

Thanks for your advice guys....I will see if I can borrow a DVD drive to test this theory out. I hope that is the problem!

MOZ
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by:nikez2k4
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NOPE!!!!!

I just installed a drive (and cable) I KNOW works fine and I am still getting the same slow down problem on XP MCE 2005 RU2....

I say that because I have now just installed Vista and everything runs absolutely great! While installing FEAR & Flight Sim X I monitored the performance tab in Task Manager and both cores were being utilised and running at roughly 50% on each core. This never happened in MCE - one core was being used at 100% and the other core was at 10% or so.

Therefore it has to be something to do with MCE?! My processor is listed in device manager and there are no conflicts, I have an "Unknown Device" in there but have tried to search the motherboard CD but it can't find a suitable driver. I have also installed the Intel P895 chipset update from their website and updated all my hardware drivers.

I have installed Update Rollup 2 for MCE and the April & July 2006 Rollups but still nothing....

Really getting annoyed by this now :( - The games run fine once installed which is the frustrating thing!!!!

MOZ
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by:irwinpks
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By installing that drive, we now narrow down the problem. Just because it didn't work...does not mean it did not help us.

Are you planning to use Windows Vista versus MCE?
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by:nikez2k4
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irwinpks...with all due respect I do know that it not being the drive narrows down the problem.

I am dual booting MCE and Vista, I would like idealy to use Vista as my main os, however until my Vista express upgrade arrives in March/April I can't use the final version...

I therefore have to use MCE for another 6 months or so. I am dual booting as I am still testing Vista out before getting it.

MOZ
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by:irwinpks
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Can you post what is running using MSCONFIG?
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by:nikez2k4
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Crap - completely forgot about this question sorry guys!

It turned out to be the Unknown Device that was causing the problems. I needed to install an application off the ABIT CD which in turn installed the final driver...seems a bit stupid to have to install a bundled application to get the final driver installed but there we go.


All sorted - thanks for all your advice guys!!

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