Games stuttering/freezing after 5 minutes.

Celegus

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Just today, all of my games have started getting incredibly choppy or altogether freezing after 5 minutes of working perfectly fine. Earlier today, I installed AMD Dual-Core Optimizer Version 1.1.4 and Windows XP Service Pack 3 in an effort to make Dawn of War 2 stop crashing all the time. It seemed to be working fine and then boom - crash after 5 minutes. Other games like Mass Effect and Counter Strike Source just get unplayably choppy after 5 minutes. So I uninstalled both of those in an effort to fix the problem they seem to have created - but it still does it. Is there some kind of registry cleaning I'd need to do other than just uninstalling them from the control panel?

Or...could it be something completely unrelated and just a big coincidence? My first thought was that it could be overheating (fan stopped working or something) but each core only peaks at around 45 degrees (while running Mass Effect once it starts stuttering).

And my basic specs are:
Windows XP 32bit w/ SP2
AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5600+
3328MB RAM
ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series

Let me know if full dxdiag would be useful and I can post it. Thanks in advance...my PC is practically useless to me without games!
 
How are you listing 3,328MB of RAM, what exactly is in your computer as far as M/B and RAM module types and placement.

Generally this type freezing is caused by GPU overheating, but irratic memory errors can cause it too, plus other things, but those two are basically the top gaming failures, besides an unstable overclock.
 
Don't worry about the odd memory number. That's your 32bit opsys. The first thing that would come to mind is SP3. I never used it and don't plan on it. Some people have had various troubles with it. If you can uninstall it do it. control panel/add remove.

Before you do anything run AVG Free and Spyware Terminator or Super Anti spyware to see if there's anything running on your computer.

The dual core optimizer shouldn't have hurt anything. Go into the device manager .... start/right click my computer/ properties/hardware/device manager. Look for (?) marks. This means things need updating..... but look for the processor and open it up and right click ... on both for dual core and select update driver. Might not need it but....
Go to Windows update. Easiest way to find if your machine might need something.

If you have trouble running one of your games first thing to do is go to the games web site and look for patches.

Your video card driver might need to be updated or rolled back.

Try some of this stuff and let us know what happens.

Of course you know to turn off anti virus software and instant messaging before gaming right ?..... and don't run AVG unless you turn off your existaing anti virus program....... start.... type msconfig in run box........ go to start and look for it and under cervices and look there also. save changes to both.
 

Celegus

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Thanks for the ideas. I did uninstall SP3 from the control panel add/remove and it shows as running XP SP2 again - unless there's something else it changed in the registry or somewhere else that it didn't change back to. AVG didn't turn anything up the last time I ran it, but I'll try again just to be sure. I couldn't find any updated drivers for my processor or anything else. There was an updated video driver from a few days ago that I tried after games started acting up, but it didn't change anything. All of my games are also updated to the newest patch, although this seems to be a global problem, not really tied down to any specific game.

And yeah, I don't run anything else while playing games. I recently totally cleaned up random startup programs I didn't need, and always turn off AVG before I play. At idle right before I play a game, my computer only uses about 2% processing power.

I also downloaded GPU-Z to make sure it wasn't the video card overheating and it never made it past 35 degrees while "playing" a game.
 
How much memory do you have? How much room on your hard drive? Have you cleaned up the hard drive lately or done a defrag ? start/my computer/right click C-drive/properties/disc clean up. When it's done put a check mark next to everything and hit ok. Wait for it to be done. Then do a defrag. A full drive sometimes will cause problems because it can't be used as to off load textures and stuff.... cache/caching. How much virtual memory do you have ?
 

Celegus

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I have 145gb free out of a total of 465gb (a 500gb HD). I'll try the disc cleanup and defrag then. Also, AVG didn't find anything abnormal.

What do you mean by virtual memory? Where do I find that?
 

Celegus

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It was set at 1536mb but the recommended was 4490mb, so I changed it to that to see if it would have any effect. I'll try it now, and thanks a ton for the help and fast responses.
 

Celegus

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Oh sorry, yeah, I ran both of those as well. Just a couple dumb adware things showed up with both of them. In fact, the last time I tried Mass Effect it didn't even wait the 5 minutes to get choppy - started in the menu before I could even load my game.
 


I have 4 machines running WinXP SP3, there are no problems, there was problems when it was first released, but they have been resolved long ago.

You should always uninstall a SP in Safe Mode.

If your problems are hardware related Memory Errors or GPU overheating, all these efforts you're doing is a waste of time, your problem will still be there, eliminate the hardware failure possibility first, then concentrate on the software, if the problem still exists.
 
Eliminating the easy stuff first Ryan........... Got any dust bunnies clogging the heat sink on the processor ? Also, pull your video card and check that out. If it's a double wide and it has exhaust ports on the back of the card take it out side and blow into the exhaust ports forcing air to blow through the fins and out of the intake. Will clean it out good that way. A few hard blows. Wait to install it so your "spit" dries up first. Sometimes Q-tips clean stuff up really good. Be methodical, take your time.
 


Wait to install it so your "spit" dries up first?

You think thats good advice?

@Celegus, Use canned air to clean all the dust buildup off the CPU heatsink and GPU heatsink, some of the components and moisture don't get along so avoid blowing "spit" on them period.

Test your memory modules 1 at a time for errors using Microsoft memory Diagnostic program located here. http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp

Sometimes an overheating GPU needs the heatsink removed and the Thermal Compound replaced, and thats not exactly easy stuff, but sometimes necessary.
 
Thanks for your concern Ryan but "spit" means condensation........ which is very present in canned air. Why pay for "spit" when you can create your own ? Memory was next but since you know enough not to intimidate somebody ( celegus ) who isn't as smart as you, I'll let you finish this project... where at the end you'll find a chest for your medal.
 



The moisture propellant in canned air dries instantly and is completely electrical component safe, thats why its used and designed for cleaning electrical components, it does not contain spit and you should know that.

You might do yourself a favor and re-read the forum rules, especially the part about supplying misleading information.
 



Would you please list your full system specs in detail, motherboard brand and model #, power supply brand and model, graphics card brand and model #, memory same same, Etc.
 

Celegus

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Vid card - SAPPHIRE 100265L Radeon HD 4830 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16
RAM - CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
Processor - AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600 Brisbane 2.9GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 65W Dual-Core Processor
Mobo - Foxconn A74MX-K AM2+/AM2 AMD 740G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Power Supply - OCZ StealthXStream OCZ600SXS 600W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready Active PFC Power Supply
(all bought from Newegg, I can supply the links there or dxdiag if that's of use)

I've been running this setup since February and haven't had any problems until just now. I did try cleaning out the dust with some canned air last night to no avail. There wasn't that much in there as I try to keep up with it, and I made sure all the fans are still running fine. I've been checking CPU/GPU temps frequently and haven't seen anything much over 40 as a peak.

I'll try the memory diagnostic tool next and see if that turns anything up.
 
I'm tired and going to go to bed now but try this.......... go into the bios and check to see that the on board video has been disabled. If it hasn't, disable it. Make the initial display adapter your PCI-e slot or the PEG if you can..... or check to see if there's an "auto" setting for the video which should point it to the video card instead of the on board.
 
Are you allowing the M/B to automatically set your memory timings 5-5-5-18 and DDR2 slot voltage 1.8v, or are you setting that manually, if on auto are they showing up set to the right settings?

Did you reinstall or rollback the ATI graphics drivers as previously suggested?

FYI; Sometimes due to the mass production of graphics cards the thermal compound between the GPU die and the GPU heatsink either dries out or was never making good contact in the first place.

In my experience ATI is particularly notorious for that happening I've had 2 previous ATI cards with that problem, if I was in your situation, I'd carefully remove the GPUs heatsink, inspect the GPUs contact patch footprint, remove the old thermal compound from the heatsink base and GPU die and apply new thermal compound like AS5 (Artic Silver 5) or comparable.

Carefully reassemble keeping the thermal pads in tact over the memory chips themselves, the memory chips normally have thermal pads as they don't make solid contact close enough to use a thermal compound.

Usually just doing that can bring an overheating graphics card new life, if that doesn't work, or you're not sure about being able to do it, contact your GPU manufacturers customer support and tell them what has suddenly started happening with your graphics card, tell them what you've done to resolve it, and they may go ahead and issue you an RMA for the card.

Here is a You Tube video guide of replacing the thermal compound on the GPU leaving the Thermal Pads in place, its a different graphics cards than yours but basically the same procedure involved in doing your card.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XX-8cC3PNg4
 

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