Annoying problem with games

Annoying problem with games

Postby Balious on 04 May 2009 18:36

Okay how do I describe this problem. Well I play a game as normal but at random times it does this slow freezing sort of effect where you may think its crashed like the music keeps repeating that one thing for a few seconds and nothing is happening on the screen. Then things return to normal but it happens again as well. It randoms from anytime to going on every few seconds. Well I got that with a few games such as:
Devil May Cry 4 (deffiantly need it fixed for this game as it gets me killed easily)
GRID (having that happen as soon as your about to turn isn't good especially since I suck at this game)
Deadspace (I think it does it with this not 100% sure)
Stalker (Not totally sure again but just incase)

Now I know its not my new monitor causing this as GRID did it before. Im thinking more of a video issue (Why do I always have them). I checked Nvidia to see if I have the latest drivers and they said I do but im confused why I have this issue. I checked my computer for overheating but it seems quite cool/cold.

Anyone know how to solve this problem?
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Re: Annoying problem with games

Postby EggChen on 04 May 2009 19:26

List your components and your PSU, I'm guessing it is struggling.
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Re: Annoying problem with games

Postby Balious on 04 May 2009 20:35

Here they are:
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz (4 CPUs)
Memory: 1022MB RAM
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS
Monitor: Plug and Play Monitor
Sound Card: Realtek HD Audio output
Operating System: Windows XP Professional

I have no idea what my PSU is. Is there any easy way of finding it out? I also don't know what my motherboard is #-o :(

So if I was to disable my anti-virus and other things the game should/may run fine without that annoying problem I have?
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Re: Annoying problem with games

Postby EggChen on 04 May 2009 21:00

How comfortable are you opening your PC up?
It should say on the PSU what it is, don't worry too much about the motherboard.

Then try this online calculator, it will tell you what PSU you need. If the results are way over what you have, that could be the problem.

http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp

Edit: Guessing some of your components I make it 300W (that is for a brand new PSU). If your PSU is older than a year and under 450W, it may be the problem.

One of the ways of testing this is unplugging everything you can, sound card, secondary hard drives, optical dirves, etc. If the problem is stopped (or less) it could be the PSU is struggling to supply everything when things get hectic.
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Re: Annoying problem with games

Postby Balious on 04 May 2009 21:47

Thanks for helping me Eggchen. I am not all good with opening up computers unless they pretty much useless dead ones that beginners would look at to get started. Seeing as my dad is an expert at opening up computers and fixing them then I ask him to check it out. If only I was a little smarter on this type of stuff.

I opened up my processes and noticed a program I never seen before come up. It is called drwtsn32.exe. Anyone know what it is? I tried a quick search and seems to have something to do with Windows (not helpful). And there seems to be alot of it.

Edit:
After talking with my dad he thinks my PSU is at 400W but not totally sure on this. I guess I may need a new PSU
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Re: Annoying problem with games

Postby audioave10 on 05 May 2009 05:25

You listed some serious and newer games. For current games to
be smooth you need a serious video card and 2GB of RAM. Yes,
I know we are talking about some money here but its the only
sure way to smooth gaming. I was reading up on the 8400GS
and its for media PC's and only entry-level for gaming. A PSU -
(if you need it) and extra 1gig RAM plus a better video card. I
went through this myself but never again. You might make it
better if you can reduce the background processes running.
BlackViper.com can help you there. Look under "services".
Good Luck!
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Re: Annoying problem with games

Postby EggChen on 05 May 2009 21:17

Balious wrote:After talking with my dad he thinks my PSU is at 400W but not totally sure on this. I guess I may need a new PSU


I cannot guarantee, but with the stuff you have and the fact that the PSU is probably at least a year old, 400w may not be enough.

Try removing hardware not required to boot, if you have less problems, then it is probably your PSU.
Even remove USB devices, etc.
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Re: Annoying problem with games

Postby NatVac on 06 May 2009 11:53

It is probably not a power supply problem if the game still runs. Usually one would see more serious problems like CTDs or reboots. You can buy a low-cost power monitor (e.g., Kill-A-Watt) to check out how much power your system is using. Removing hardware would be a test, but I'd still be suspicious of the results because you are also disabling the associated software.

But EggChen has a point: some no-name supplies don't really deliver the power they claim.

I suspect some background thread or task is holding off the refresh of the game, perhaps due to a higher priority setting.

Dr. Watson is a debugging program; if it had to load in the background because some other process crashed, that would definitely cause a hit to your game experience.

Definitely check out what is running in the background. Perhaps some anti-virus software is doing something rude. And follow the advice audioave10 gave about reducing background tasks.
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Re: Annoying problem with games

Postby Balious on 06 May 2009 16:34

Thanks for the help everyone.

My dad had a look at the background processes with me and checked out a few things and also did some tuning with the nvidia control panel that took about 20 mins.

I tried again without having much anything on apart from anti-virus, firewall and the internet then tried the game it worked fine. So im guessing something like xfire, steam or one of the other files is doing it. I will check these one at a time just to make sure or if its having too much stuff on.

Also thanks for the help on what Dr. Watson is. Is there anything you don't know? :mozilla_surprised:

Now to see if I can enjoy a nice game of Devil May Cry 4.

Edit: I forgot to mention ctfmon.exe keeps coming up and I keep wondering what it is. I looked all over google and none of it exactly helps me on finding out what it is. Is it important to have on?
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Re: Annoying problem with games

Postby EggChen on 06 May 2009 21:07

http://www.processlibrary.com/directory/files/ctfmon/

It is a valid windows service associated with advanced text services, but one of those I always used to disable in XP without any ill effects. To do so you have to open up the language bar down by the bottom right, go into settings and click "Turn of advanced text services".

By the way that process library site is very good, I often check my processes, and anything new gets researched on that site. Also check out the blackviper site mentioned earlier, never would have known about it until Natvac mentioned it in another thread (I was quite proud how close my old XP config was to BV's when I looked).

Thank Natvac, I may be hung up on power supplies after my recent problems #-o
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Re: Annoying problem with games

Postby Balious on 09 May 2009 10:40

Thanks for the help guys. I check those links for now on when I want to find out something in my processes.

So far after a few more days testing DMC4 only once and that was the first try but it only happened for a few secs did I get my problem again. So for now it seems like I have fixed the issue. But im not sure if this issue is causing my stalker to crash with the same error over again (can be seen in the NEWSA topic).

Edit: Well the stalker issue seems to be fixed for now.

But more matters that this problem has came back to haunt me for DMC4. It hasn't crashed my computer yet but it has been annoying me greatly. Hopefully this will get fixed soon.
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Re: Annoying problem with games

Postby Balious on 12 Jul 2009 11:43

Okay the problem was gone for quite a while and now its back more then ever.

Here are the games it is currently affecting from what I know:
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl
Devil May Cry 4
Killing Floor (very rare right at the moment)

They the games I have currently been playing. Here is a list of my task manager processes:
http://i31.tinypic.com/xvdd1.jpg
http://i26.tinypic.com/2dl59hi.jpg

Paint is only up there as I was pasting these into it. Im also curious why explorer is all of a sudden taking a lot of memory usage.
Also in the first picture I believe the reason it had so much CPU is because I was uninstalling PunkBuster as it stayed on after I removed a buggy Americas Army 3.

Anyone know if any of those processes may be causing the problem? Im looking through them now with the links earlier.
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Re: Annoying problem with games

Postby Nightwatch on 12 Jul 2009 14:40

Have you recently upgraded any of your components? As I remember, your PC specs did not satisfy the average settings for many games, in fact below minimum for some. You needed a PSU that would provide at average 500 Watts, not less than minimum 450 W. And you needed (definitely) at least another stick of 1Gb RAM. (total should be minimum 2 Gig)
Is your card still Nvidia 8400 GS? If so, then it's too weak for those games.

You can get a 2 Gb RAM (quality ones) on ebay at around £15 on auction. Cheaper if you go for a 1Gb RAM.
PSUs are bit more expensive to find, either a second hand one from a trusted seller or you're looking at a price tag around £50 for a 450-500W reliable PSU. You can get 8600GT at around £20-25 on ebay, or 8800 series for slightly a few more pounds. You have a good CPU, but my guess is -as the most probable reason of your described problems- that the main culprit here is the PSU.
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Re: Annoying problem with games

Postby Balious on 12 Jul 2009 16:30

Thanks for the help nightwatch :mozilla_smile:

I still have the same parts.

Im hoping to buy all these parts after I come back from America (that be about 3 weeks from today).

So exactly how much is all of this? I don't shop at Ebay but I may try there if I have no other choice.

I have about £90 in the bank (hopefully still when I come back) and plan to use that money. From what you said I gathered its under that and try to buy them parts.

I tried running the Arma 2 demo with the FPS fix jamie gave me and it seemed to be working fine. Just a little slow and lag at some time but thats expected as this game would overheat my system. But it hasn't done that annoying problem.
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Re: Annoying problem with games

Postby Nightwatch on 13 Jul 2009 22:44

I think £90 will do the job if you shop carefully; and also consider that you will be able to sell the all parts, say on ebay, so it'll earn you a few more pounds to raise the £90 to, well, about $ 100 for example.

I hope you're not using DELL, as the DELL PSUs are proprietary (as last time I checked, don't know the newest models) and they can only be changed with DELL brand ones and DELL is not quite willing to sell any such part, preferring that customers who have problems should buy a whole new PC.

Otherwise, you definitely need a proper PSU of 500W at least, if you're buying now, which you are, so it should not start with a handicap, 500W is more more advisable.

games are different, so they require different levels of resources. With my rather top-spec system I hit not less than 90 FPS on Fallout 3 at full maxed-out, but when playing STALKER FSB dwindles around 35-40. So, some games may play OK on your system, while others will freeze.
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Re: Annoying problem with games

Postby VINTAR on 14 Jul 2009 06:31

Balious, dont be daunted by opening your pc case. I built a pc from scratch without knowing anything besides the tips given on this site. Ask your dad to help perhaps. I defo agree that you need more ram and i'm assuming your page file is adequate? If i were you, with my limited experience, i would definitely get a new video card (9600gt are cheap enough these days) and a new psu, and i wouldnt scrimp on the psu as a good one will prove useful with further upgrades.
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Re: Annoying problem with games

Postby Balious on 14 Jul 2009 19:08

Thanks guys. I see what I can find when after the holiday. But before that holiday I just write a bit more of my story.
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Re: Annoying problem with games

Postby ket on 01 Aug 2009 21:18

I doubt your PSU is the problem, 400w should be pretty solid if your system isn't overclocked. Undoubtedly your problem is lack of RAM and your GPU is craptacular I'm afraid. I have a 2GB kit of memory and a HD3870 512MB you can have for £65 if you want. Drop me a PM if your interested.
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Re: Annoying problem with games

Postby DooMike on 06 Aug 2009 07:23

Balious wrote: Well I play a game as normal but at random times it does this slow freezing sort of effect where you may think its crashed like the music keeps repeating that one thing for a few seconds and nothing is happening on the screen. Then things return to normal but it happens again as well. It randoms from anytime to going on every few seconds.


The description of this error you´re encountering, sounds somewhat similar to a problem i have been dealing with on my laptop for the last 6 months. I get these random system crashes when playing Stalker: Graphics freezes and sound continuusly loops for about 5 seconds just before TA-DAA: Blue Screen of Death!

Lucky you for missing out on that last bit! :-bd

It can happen after 5 minutes or 5 hours. Forget about trying to drive a vehicle in any mod = almost instant crash!

This is the laptop:

AlfaNote JFL92 Laptop (custom built system).
Motherboard Chipset: Intel PM965 (Crestline-PM) + ICH8M.
IntelCoreDuo2 T9300 @ 2.50GHz.
4GB Kingston RAM, DDR2 SD-RAM PC5300 ~ 333.3MHz.
NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT, 512 MB DDR2 SDRAM.
Audio: Intel 82801HB ICH8 - High Definition Audio.
Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit, SP2.

(System not overclocked/overheating)

Further detail:

I have updated Windows, audio and video drivers several times and have tried rolling back drivers, all the way back to base settings, applied a few hotfixes specific to the 124-BSoD, reinstalled Windows two times. Tried disabling DEP (DataExecutionPrevention). Allocated more virtual mem with the "BCDEdit /Set IncreaseUserVA 3072" and tweaked every concievable option in Vista (and Stalker). but thus far nothing is working

The computer-store found nothing wrong with the system after testing with the following: Windows install, Seatools, Memtest and running a 48 hour benchmark.

My latest attempt is posting a query on "social.answers.microsoft.com/vistaassistant" to get somebody (ANYBODY!) to tell me how i can check to see if "32-bit disk access" is switched off for some obscure reason, as i´ve learnt that certain XP/Vista laptops can have this disabled. No option in BIOS for this or anything much else really.

Updating/resetting BIOS is also a possible solution, but i am not at all comfortable meddling with this, as long as there´s a guarrantee on the laptop (1 year still) and there are still software/OS tweaks i haven´t tried...

If you suspect it is a background task is what´s killing your game, i recommend that you try out "GameBooster":
http://www.iobit.com/gamebooster.html

The program hasn´t cured my problem, but i suspect that turning off unnecessary background tasks when playing a demanding game, is always a good thing.

Please let me know if you manage to cure your problem, as it just might also be the fix i so badly need myself! B-(
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