Getting low fps in games



So i just upgraded my computer there with a tight budget and got

AMD Phenom 9500 @ 2.2 Mhz
2 x 1GB DDR2 800Mhz Ram
GeForce 9800GT 1GB

Running on Windows XP at 1024 x 768 resolution

I was planning on buying the new Empire: Total war and Crysis with this rig, i also have counter strike and wow.
Now with crysis and the total war demo i barely scrape 20-25 fps on the high settings ( not ultra), css and wow play fine but the weird thing is that if i lower the graphic settings in crysis or the Empire total war demo i barely gain 5 fps which i think is very strange...
Now i know my drivers are up to date, my power supply is fine and so that leads me to think my cpu is the problem.
Stupidly i thought a quad core with low clock speed would do me better than a fast clock speed dual core, is there anything im missing or is it definitely my cpu that is letting me down?
Any suggestions to help me out? id hate to have to buy a new cpu after just getting my new one and the budget is basically gone.. i suppose i could spend around 100 pounds or so if you guys think is would majorly improve performance.
Your main problem is that the 9800GT is too weak for Crysis. Sorry, but if you want to play Crysis on high settings you need something more serious. :(

Here's a benchmark where they got 28 fps at 1280x1024
Keep in mind that they used a $1000 QX9650 and a Raptor disk and 0xAA, which will all improve their fps.

The quad core with low speed is better than a higher-clocked dual-core in FSX and GTA4, but not in Crysis. Sorry again, you got the wrong type of CPU. An X2 6400+ 3.2 GHz or an E8500 would have done slightly better. However, that's not a very important difference. It's really the GPU, not the CPU, that's causing the problem.

This article can give you a better idea about the CPU's impact in games:

I'd recommend adding two more GB of RAM right now. Then save your money until you have about 200 pounds, and buy a new video card when the new 40 nm cards are out in summer. Either get one of the new cards, or a HD 4870 or GTX 260 when their prices drop. We'll know then what makes most sense. Right now it's hard to predict, not knowing how good those cards will be and how much they will cost.



Will adding 2 gb ram help Empire: total war?
Are you sure its my gpu thats causing the problem because i noticed that during playing crysis its only using 55% of my Cpu due to the fact it dosent support quad cores...
Anyway yeah i will save up for a better graphics card if you think that will give me better performance, thanks for the advice.
I'm guessing it's 55% of the CPU as in 25% + 25% (two cores maxed by the game) + 5% (various other things in the background, like Windows services). Yeah, I think most games these days are GPU-bound rather than CPU-bound, so your money has more impact when invested in the GPU.

Adding 2 GB usually helps. I don't know about Empire Total War in particular, sorry.
The problem is that too little RAM causes swapping on the hard disk (that is, virtual memory), and that causes stuttering and low minimum fps. Here's another article:

Since you're on XP, you don't really need the extra RAM as much as people who use Vista. Also, since it's a 32-bit OS, you'd only see 3.5 GB out of 4 GB. Still, it's the cheapest upgrade possible these days and it usually helps.


Cheers mate looks like ill upgrade to 4gb to try and get my games a bit smoother, do you think 64-bit vista is worth getting aswell with directX10? i mean if two of my cores are sitting on xp doing nothing they might aswell run vista for me, right?
I don't know... Crysis will look better in Vista, thanks to DX10, but you might lose a few fps that way. That's because it puts even more pressure on the GPU.

Of course, if you want Vista because it has extra features, or because you want it on your resume, or you just like its looks, or you want to play Vista-only games (Shadowrun, etc.) then by all means get it. It's got lots of criticism at first, but after SP1 it's not a bad OS at all, I'd say. They fixed most of the annoying parts in SP1.

If you get Vista try to arrange a dual-boot setup. Then you can experiment and see which games work better on each OS.