Graphics Issues


Oct 31, 2009
I'm not sure if this should be here or under Windows 7 but, here goes. I upgraded to Windows 7 when it came out. So far I have been loving it and spent a good bit of last weekend getting everything set up and running properly. However, when I started playing games on the system I noticed a fairly large problem. Namely, that I was getting similar or worse performance than an older video card was getting on Windows XP.

My Current Specs:

64x Windows 7 Pro - Retail

MSI 975X Platinum PowerUp Edition motherboard - Newegg Link
Pentium D 2.8Ghz processor (820 Smithfield) - Newegg Link
4 GB DDR2 RAM Dual Channel, 4 slots - Newegg Link
nVidia 9600 GT video card - Newegg Link
7200 RPM HDD, 250GB
Single display, generic CRT from a Dell I had a several years back
500w PSU - Newegg Link

Old 7900 GS - Newegg Link

All drivers are up to date from nVidia and I am using Directx11 (even though the card is technically 10.1).
The HDD was formatted and then a fresh installation of Windows 7 Pro was installed, registered and updated.

When I noticed the issue I decided to do some benchtests and the one that stuck in my mind most is PassMark PerformanceTest. In it my system actually exceeded similar systems all the way up to the 3d graphics tests - there it started lagging behind and when I hit the Complex 3d graphics test I ran headlong into the issue. The result was a mere 1/3 of the lowest benchmark of a similar system I could find.

When running the test it actually started out quite well hovering around the high 20's for FPS but after a certain point into the test it drops dramatically and crawls at 7-10FPS through the rest of the test. After this I put in my old 7900 GS (also with updated drivers) and ran the same test - equal results for the complex test. As it stands, attempting to play Borderlands (based off of the UT3 engine) with the 9600 GT I average 14 FPS and cap out around 30 FPS in the very undemanding areas of the game. With the 7900 GS in place I'm getting almost identical results with it instead being an average of 11-12 FPS and again capping out in the less active areas at 30-31.

Computer has been defragmented after installs. It is clear of spyware/malware. Aside from 7 saying IE has stopped (typically when I close a window), runs the troubleshooter and then ignores it all together as it continues to work, I haven't had any issues baring the graphics problems in this post. This computer is used for pretty much everything, it is both a work machine for me while I'm at home and a gaming machine. I'm not particularly concerned with maxing out the graphics capability. Nothing is overclocked and I'd be happy with a consistent 30+ FPS so that I can't see the frames update.

I'm at a loss for what could have caused this and have spent the past two days testing and brainstorming. So far all performance by either card has been much worse in every game I've tried compared to when I ran the 7900 GS on XP.

Is there something I'm missing on my system?
I also ran 3dmark06 and while the graphics tests went well, the CPU tests bombed giving an average under 1 FPS. Is my CPU acting as a bottleneck when combined with the demands of 7 over XP? If it is can you recomend a processor to fill the LGA 775 slot that would do the job?
Are the drivers just not functional enough yet?
Would I be having this issue on a dx11 card?
For some reason the memory clocking on the card once it was on my system did not match what was advertised. It was only set to 900.
I built this system from scratch a little over 2 years ago. The 9600 GT and RAM are new upgrades I purchased for use with Windows 7.
Surprisingly, Aero works on the 7900 GS when the upgrade utility told me it wouldn't.
Any ideas? At this rate I'll likely end up returning to XP and I'd prefer to avoid that.

For the time being I've switch back to the old card, 7900 GS and sent the 9600 GT back for a replacement just in case it is defective and in case the 7900 GS really does perform this badly. All I can really think to do now is make a second partition and install XP to directly compare the results. Only problem with that is that I'd have to redo the 7 install as well due to the boot loader/boot.ini issues.

Edit: Links weren't working.