Need real help/advice

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Postposted on Fri Mar 29, 2002 12:22 pm

This is my story. I have a custom built system with the following specs:

Gigabyte 7ZX mobo w/integrated Soundblaster
AMD Athlon 900 CPU
256 SDRAM
ATI Radeon 8500 64 MB Vid Card (Driver 4.13.9016)
VIA Apollo KT133A chipset (4in1 driver 4.38)
Windows 98SE

I bought the system with an ATI All in Wonder 128 Pro graphics card and just upgraded to the 8500 last week. I never 3dmarked the system with the old card but did so with the 8500. The results:

http://service.madonion.com/servlet/Ind ... Id=3095402

Hopefully you can access the link but I have several questions.

- My score was only 5998 at 800x600 res w/32 bit color and was 5600 at 1024x768 w/32 bit. Why are these scores extremely low with the Radeon 8500 with 64 MB of DDR RAM? Is is the mobo, the processor, SDRAM I have in the system? Is it a combination of both? It'd be great if anyone could give me an idea on what piece to upgrade that would provide the biggest bank for the buck without replacing the whole system.

- The new 8500 seems to be running o.k. Picture clarity is improved but the card is not providing the quantum leap many told me it would. It seems like during gaming my character runs in a very choppy manner, no matter what server I play on. What might be causing this?

- If any of you would access the link above and give me insight as to why it lists my AGP rates at 1x/1x and why it lists my front side bus at 10000 MHz, it would be much appreciated. I have a 256 MHz front side bus.

Any and all suggestions would be of great help. Thanks in advance.
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Postposted on Fri Mar 29, 2002 12:52 pm

On 2002-03-29 11:22, Fubar wrote:

- My score was only 5998 at 800x600 res w/32 bit color and was 5600 at 1024x768 w/32 bit. Why are these scores extremely low with the Radeon 8500 with 64 MB of DDR RAM? Is is the mobo, the processor, SDRAM I have in the system? Is it a combination of both? It'd be great if anyone could give me an idea on what piece to upgrade that would provide the biggest bank for the buck without replacing the whole system.


Get a new processor. That score is perfectly respectable for a 900Mhz Athlon.

- The new 8500 seems to be running o.k. Picture clarity is improved but the card is not providing the quantum leap many told me it would. It seems like during gaming my character runs in a very choppy manner, no matter what server I play on. What might be causing this?

Once again, underpowered CPU. Putting a brand new top of the line GFX card in an old machine won't get you a whole lot. You processor simply can't feed the card data fast enough.

- If any of you would access the link above and give me insight as to why it lists my AGP rates at 1x/1x and why it lists my front side bus at 10000 MHz, it would be much appreciated. I have a 256 MHz front side bus.


I expect you either have a 200Mhz or 266Mhz FSB depending on which Athlon revision you actually have. As far as the AGP goes, get something like SiSoft Sandra and see what it reports. If your AGP bus is running at 1x, you will get some improvement by kicking it up to 4x, though not as much as you would want.
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Postposted on Fri Mar 29, 2002 1:32 pm

Agree with the Squirrel. That 900mhz Athlon (200fsb) is holding you back. Unlock that sucker, then you can at least run it at a 266mhz FSB.

I haven't found much more than a frame or two difference between the AGP modes myself.
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Postposted on Fri Mar 29, 2002 2:05 pm

Thanks for the great feedback.

Pardon me for not knowing, but what is SiSoft Sandra? Is it software, new hardware?
I'd certainly like to know what my FSB speed is. I had no idea you can essentially overclock your front side bus? Is there any danger to doing so?

Also, if I were to buy a faster processor, say a 1.6 Athlon, would it have problems on my older motherboard? I've been thinking about upgrading the mobo anyway and am curious as to what might be the best way to go. Any suggestions?

Also, where can I go to find tweaks to my settings for Unreal Tournament or Half-Life to get better performance?

Again, thanks for taking the time to help. I'm somewhat of a newbie to the gaming world and am still learing the components of my PC.
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Postposted on Fri Mar 29, 2002 2:12 pm

You might have AGP speed set at 1x in bios.

Setting that to 4x and enabling fastwrites might help. Im not sure what fastwrites is. I've heard these can be less reliable though but that could be wrong. Maybe worth a go.
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Postposted on Fri Mar 29, 2002 2:22 pm

As i Have learned recently Fast writes are usless with a Nvidia based card:

Read this:

http://www.radeonic.fsnet.co.uk/faswrites3.htm
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Postposted on Fri Mar 29, 2002 2:41 pm

They are? In the Hercules Geforce tweak program, Fastwrites can be set to be used or not. It must do something, surely? Still, setting AGP to 4x should improve things a little?
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Postposted on Fri Mar 29, 2002 2:52 pm

You can oc your radeon a little. That'll give you a a bit more performance depending on your luck. Also make sure your using the latest leaked drivers. They can REALLY improve your 3dmark score and game performance. You can get an oc prog(Radeonator) and the new drivers at http://www.rage3d.com
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Postposted on Fri Mar 29, 2002 7:23 pm

On 2002-03-29 13:05, Fubar wrote:
Thanks for the great feedback.

Pardon me for not knowing, but what is SiSoft Sandra? Is it software, new hardware?


SiSoft Sandra is an information/benchmarking utility. Download it from: http://www.zdnet.com/downloads/stories/ ... 99,00.html

I'd certainly like to know what my FSB speed is. I had no idea you can essentially overclock your front side bus? Is there any danger to doing so?


There is always danger associated with overclocking, usually from heat (same component running faster than rated == more power consumption == more power dissapated as heat. When you overclock your front side bus (FSB), you will also be overclocking your RAM (which runs at the FSB speed, or some multiple thereof), and oveclocking your processor (which is some multiple of the FSB). A 900MHz Athlon runs on a 100MHz/200MHz DDR FSB. This means your SDRAM ir running at 1 X's 100MHz FSB = 100MHz SDRAM, and your CPU is running at 9 X's 100MHz FSB = 900MHz. If you increase your FSB by 10MHz to 110MHz/220MHz DDR, your SDRAM will be at 110MHz, and your CPU at 990MHz.

Also, if I were to buy a faster processor, say a 1.6 Athlon, would it have problems on my older motherboard? I've been thinking about upgrading the mobo anyway and am curious as to what might be the best way to go. Any suggestions?


No, it won't fit, for one thing. A classic Athlon is packaged in an SECC Slot A cartridge. Newer Athlons are socketed (428 pin Socket A to be precise). Also, the core voltage requirements of new Athlons are different, and the data signally is different as well. If you want a new CPU, you need a new motherboard (well, you might be able to find a 1000MHz Slot A Athlon on eBay, but the 100MHz difference wouldn't be worth the shipping, much less the actual price of the CPU).

Also, where can I go to find tweaks to my settings for Unreal Tournament or Half-Life to get better performance?

Again, thanks for taking the time to help. I'm somewhat of a newbie to the gaming world and am still learing the components of my PC.


I'll leave the game tweaking questions to others, you might want to try re-posting that bit in the Gaming forum.
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Postposted on Fri Mar 29, 2002 7:34 pm

No, it won't fit, for one thing. A classic Athlon is packaged in an SECC Slot A cartridge. Newer Athlons are socketed (428 pin Socket A to be precise). Also, the core voltage requirements of new Athlons are different, and the data signally is different as well. If you want a new CPU, you need a new motherboard (well, you might be able to find a 1000MHz Slot A Athlon on eBay, but the 100MHz difference wouldn't be worth the shipping, much less the actual price of the CPU).

Actually, lenzemm he's running a KT133A chipset which means he's running Socket A not Slot A. That means he can upgrade his processor easily up to an AthlonXP with nothing more than a BIOS flash. That will definitely feed that 8500 quite nicely.
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Postposted on Fri Mar 29, 2002 7:36 pm

As i Have learned recently Fast writes are usless with a Nvidia based card


That's because Fast Writes have nothing to do with AGP Texturing. Fast Writes is a form of flow control for AGP 2x or 4x cards.

SBA or Pipelining is used for AGP texturing.

http://developer.intel.com/technology/agp/agp_index.htm
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Postposted on Fri Mar 29, 2002 7:46 pm

That means he can upgrade his processor easily up to an AthlonXP with nothing more than a BIOS flash.


Not necessarily. Palomino required some voltage adjustments and certain KT133A boards were not up to the task.

The KT7A-RAID for example only has one revision capable of supporting the Athlon XP: Revision 1.3.

KT7A Processor Support

As for his Gigabyte GA-7ZX Board. Unless he is revision 5.1 or later he won't be able to use a Palomino.

GA-7VX 5.1 or later BIOS

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Ryu Connor on 2002-03-29 18:47 ]</font>
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Postposted on Fri Mar 29, 2002 8:41 pm

Ryu,

How can I tell what revision of my motherboard I have? I went back and checked the manual and I have an Apollo KT133, not the KT133A GA-7ZX/7ZX-1, but there's no mention of any revision #. It does say "supports 500 MHz - 1GHz...and faster", so I'm assuming that's the answer to my question: if I want a faster CPU, upgrade the mobo. But I'd like to know how to find what revision I have. BTW, thanks for the link.

BTW, I just verified, from the mobo manual, my FSB speed is 100 MHz. Lenzenm, I have PC133 SDRAM in my system now but does this mean my RAM is only running at 100MHz, regardless of the 133 speed?

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Fubar on 2002-03-29 19:49 ]</font>
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Postposted on Fri Mar 29, 2002 10:49 pm

Your RAM is capable of running at 133MHz, yes. By default, it will only run at 100MHz on that board, however. Now, your board may allow running the memory asynchronously with the FSB, so you could do 133MHz with the 100MHz/200MHz DDR FSB. However, this is a BIOS option that may or may not be present for you to take advantage of. Consult your manual to see if it allows this option; many of the KT-133/KT-133A boards did allow it.
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Postposted on Sat Mar 30, 2002 3:31 am

How can I tell what revision of my motherboard I have?


It will either be listed in the motherboard manual, at the BIOS prompt, or on the board somewhere. A popular spot is on the sticker on the bottom of the ISA slot, one of the four corners of the motherboard, or right beside the model number.

I went back and checked the manual and I have an Apollo KT133, not the KT133A GA-7ZX/7ZX-1, but there's no mention of any revision #.


Revisions

It would appears you have either a 1.0 or 5.0 board. You cannot use a Palomino without a new motherboard.

You might consider the ECS K7S5A based upon the SiS 735. The board is about $60 and will accept SDRAM.

If you decide to lay down some money for some new DDR along side the Palomino and motherboard purchase. The MSI nForce 415-D is a solid choice.
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Postposted on Sat Mar 30, 2002 5:04 am

On 2002-03-29 19:41, Fubar wrote:
Ryu,

How can I tell what revision of my motherboard I have? I went back and checked the manual and I have an Apollo KT133, not the KT133A GA-7ZX/7ZX-1, but there's no mention of any revision #. It does say "supports 500 MHz - 1GHz...and faster", so I'm assuming that's the answer to my question: if I want a faster CPU, upgrade the mobo. But I'd like to know how to find what revision I have. BTW, thanks for the link.

BTW, I just verified, from the mobo manual, my FSB speed is 100 MHz. Lenzenm, I have PC133 SDRAM in my system now but does this mean my RAM is only running at 100MHz, regardless of the 133 speed?


OK disregard the Gigabyte info :smile:.
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Postposted on Mon Apr 01, 2002 12:42 pm

Thanks for all the great advice gang. Your input has really helped my understanding of what the frick is going on inside my PC.

I went to a computer shop over the weekend and looked at new motherboards. I told the sales guy what equipment I currently had and he advised I buy the SY-K7V Dragon-Plus mobo. Their price was $145. Looks like a good board for the money with on board sound, a built in 10/100 connection, and 6 USB ports. I didn't ask but I'm sure this is USB 1.0.

One thing I don't have a grasp on is the on board RAID feature. Can anyone give a quick synopsis as to what benefit this is?

Thanks again for all the help.
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