A complex graphical oddity on a dual core machine...

New Member
💻 Oldtimer
Joined
Dec 3, 2002
Messages
2,490
Best answers
0
Okay I'll try to be brief here, brief as I can anyway.

One of my best buds got a new machine. Here's the specs:
  • Athlon AMD 3800 dual core processor
  • 1 gig corsair ram
  • ASUS nforce4 mobo
Machine has all it needs to shine, but my friend seems cursed to problems.

First, his old computer was 100% identical to mine in every way but he used to get all kinds of terrible performance issues, odd lag in online games, random crashes, terrible framerate fluctuations, etc. That computer has now been given to another friend who has no problems with it whatsoever. I know the problems weren't spyware because I checked out most of them myself, plus he knows enough about computers to run regular scans, etc.

His new computer is having some similar troubles despite it being massively better than his old one. I think the xfactor involved might be his monitor--it's the only thing that was different about the old computer from when he had it and when he gave it away, and it's the only thing that his new computer still has attached to it from before.

The monitor is a really old 21" Compaq monitor. It comes from a p3 500 mhz, that's how old it is...

Anyhow currently he is having some messed up issues. Constant slowdown and framerate troubles (that he didn't have for the first two months he had the computer) for one thing. When we play Generals online, the whole game is much slower than normal (even for me, and I'm the server). He also tells me that occasionally the monitor just degausses itself from time to time.

When I set up the machine for him I tried to get him the drivers for that monitor, but I think something must have gone wrong because the menus in games like WoW had shown some refresh rate options while it was a 'Plug and Play' monitor, but once I installed it's drivers it would only allow me to set it to 120hz, which is WAY higher than it should be at 1280x1024 res (in that particular game). Also the monitor seems to not like most resolutions, it's capable of 1162x864 (numbers may be wrong, sorry) and 1280x1024. I figured with the horsepower he had we could through it right to 1280x1024 but againt he monitor's crap so he's set at that weird 1162x864, which is where I think his problem is.

But there's also the problem of his dual core. See, he has an legitimate copy of XP that our ****head friend registered without permission on another PC, thus disallowing this new one to get service pack 2, which I've been told is required for the dual core to actually work properly.

I guess basically, my question is, based on the type of problems he's having, do you think it's the monitor or the fact his dual core is not being used correctly that's giving him all this grief? (For the record I think it's the monitor; at a Lan party he used MY monitor and everything seemed to be working great...but then again he didn't have it all installed yet, so I didn't see any real good game performance). But I've also heard dual cores without SP2 run like crap and ruin a lot of games (like Generals). But it's a hard call because like I said, the problems are getting progressively worse (which I deem to the monitor dying more and more because the vid card is overpowering it).

Any thoughts from you tech gurus?
 
Live free or die by the sword
Retired Forum Staff
✔️ HL Verified
💻 Oldtimer
Joined
Dec 1, 2001
Messages
7,416
Best answers
0
Not having XP service pack 2, and not having a decent monitor are both causing problems.

120Hz for 1280x1024 is absurd, I have a much newer monitor and can't manage 60Hz at that resolution. So yes, getting a new monitor may help things slightly.

Your Win XP problem is paramount though, and he may want to consider buying another copy. Alternatively, you can set every application to use only one core. This is achieved by hitting ctrl-alt-del to bring up the taskmanager, select the process tab, and right-clicking on the game executable. Select set affinity and deselect core 0 or core 1. This will make the first or second core invisible to the application.

Also, has he attempted to call Microsoft? Tell them that his disc and his key were stolen and set up on another machine without his permission. They may be able to deactivate the old key and give him a new one.
 
Super Moderator
💻 Oldtimer
Joined
Dec 1, 2001
Messages
3,125
Best answers
0
You can get SP2 update without actually going through Windows Update, not sure if its considered warez or not though, since he does have a legit copy of XP, he just can't update.
 
Live free or die by the sword
Retired Forum Staff
✔️ HL Verified
💻 Oldtimer
Joined
Dec 1, 2001
Messages
7,416
Best answers
0
I would assume not in this situation, but I'd rather it not be posted in public for obvious reasons. Feel free to pm him a how-to.
 
New Member
💻 Oldtimer
Joined
Mar 25, 2002
Messages
1,578
Best answers
0
Is it just me or does that computer have overheating issues >_>
Try some cpu temperature detecting prog and see the temp, cuz if he bought a prebuilt pc then they probably hooked him up with some lameass cooler like some pentium 3 fan or something. That happened to me once -.- and about 4 of my buds.
 
Lost in space
Banned
💻 Oldtimer
Joined
Dec 21, 2003
Messages
3,608
Best answers
0
Live free or die by the sword
Retired Forum Staff
✔️ HL Verified
💻 Oldtimer
Joined
Dec 1, 2001
Messages
7,416
Best answers
0
Seconded, he's having multi-core issues, not heat related issues. As far as I know, that dual core patch requires SP2, (it does, I just checked it), which he already stated he cannot get.
 
New Member
💻 Oldtimer
Joined
Dec 3, 2002
Messages
2,490
Best answers
0
Actually Prime's solution to the SP2 problem should solve it, so that stuff Overlord posted should be a big help too.

The computer isn't overheating, for the record. I thas a ridiculous 4 fans on it; I forced my bud to pay for extra fans knowing he'd run into heat. Either way he has a temp gauge and it is always in the green, so I know that isn't the issue.

I think you guys are right with the whole idea of both of these things causing all these problems. I'll have to go through all these fixes with him sometime soon. Thanks for all the help, everyone--definitely narrowed my options out!
 
Live free or die by the sword
Retired Forum Staff
✔️ HL Verified
💻 Oldtimer
Joined
Dec 1, 2001
Messages
7,416
Best answers
0
For the record, if you install SP2, definately get the files Overlord suggested. They are neccesary for running a good dual core system.
 
New Member
💻 Oldtimer
Joined
Dec 3, 2002
Messages
2,490
Best answers
0
That link to the "Microsoft Dual Core Patch" doesn't seem to have any sort of download. It's just a page with a bunch of info and some risky looking registry tweaks. Is there an actual file to get that I'm just not seeing or something?
 
Live free or die by the sword
Retired Forum Staff
✔️ HL Verified
💻 Oldtimer
Joined
Dec 1, 2001
Messages
7,416
Best answers
0
To resolve this problem immediately, contact Microsoft Product Support Services to obtain the hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Product Support Services telephone numbers and information about support costs, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/?ws=support (http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/?ws=support)

Note In special cases, charges that are ordinarily incurred for support calls may be canceled if a Microsoft Support Professional determines that a specific update will resolve your problem. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for the specific update in question.
 
G-Bear
✔️ HL Verified
Joined
Nov 28, 2002
Messages
762
Best answers
0
To be honest I dont think its SP1 or the monitor.

It's prolly the insane refresh rate and the videocard having problems running the high herz in graphically intense games.(Which causes FPS drops)
To be really sure its lag, if he is having the lag does the whole monitor freeze and everything stand still or does he is still able to see movement, like a walking animation?

If he doesnt see anymove it is prolly your videocard having serious problems catching up.

The dual core it just seen as a single core by windows SP1, which is a waste of your second core, but shouldnt give any problems.

The random crashes can be caused by a bug in the nForce 4 chipset. Their IDE drivers are a bit buggy.
 
Lost in space
Banned
💻 Oldtimer
Joined
Dec 21, 2003
Messages
3,608
Best answers
0
Devion said:
To be honest I dont think its SP1 or the monitor.

It's prolly the insane refresh rate and the videocard having problems running the high herz in graphically intense games.(Which causes FPS drops)
To be really sure its lag, if he is having the lag does the whole monitor freeze and everything stand still or does he is still able to see movement, like a walking animation?

If he doesnt see anymove it is prolly your videocard having serious problems catching up.

The dual core it just seen as a single core by windows SP1, which is a waste of your second core, but shouldnt give any problems.

The random crashes can be caused by a bug in the nForce 4 chipset. Their IDE drivers are a bit buggy.
I don't think that's nessacairly the cause here however. After upgrading a friend's box from a 3700+ Sandy to a X2 3800+ and after a bios update (in order for the board to recognise the dual core chip probably before removing his 3700+ so I don't run into any issues down the road during my work on the computer), Installing the latest mainboard/chipset drivers and dual core drivers, system generally had no issues.
The dual core it just seen as a single core by windows SP1, which is a waste of your second core, but shouldnt give any problems.
My theroy on this. The crossbar switch, between the cores is not operating properly when the operating system is in use. If the bios can identify the processor as a dual core processor, then we find our problem here. Core#0 is trying desperately to send data or information to Core#1 during tasks done in the operating system. Since Core#0 cannot send the data to Core#1, simply because the Operating system does not recognise the second core (obviously due to the use of sp1 and not sp2 and any other required software), Core#0 is practically saying "Hey, what am I to do with this information, where is Core#1" when it tries to write something through the crossbar switch to the other core, and since on the hardware level it is recognised as a dual core processor, it is the Operating system playing the role of the limiting factor. Another way of putting it simply is like this. Say you wanted to move a large plank of timber from the ground to a shelf, but you need help to lift it, however the person's attention you are trying to get, you are failing with your attempt to get his atention, because the other person is death with hearing issues, thus he needs a hearing aid.

The issue comes down to the processor not being able to operate in the way it was designed to thanks to the operating system in it's current state on that machine, in this case load balancing. While on the hardware side it is working, sending information to Core#1 is ruled out since the operating system in use is an issue since the information cannot be directed to it.
 
G-Bear
✔️ HL Verified
Joined
Nov 28, 2002
Messages
762
Best answers
0
Nice theory, but that's total BS, sorry.
Windows just doesnt use the second core and the cores DONT communicate with each other. Windows spread the tasks between cores, but now it cant because he has SP1 installed, which means Windows will only adress one core. Furthermore the first core cant pass a task to the other core, thats Windows task and the processor doesnt divide the tasks itself.

Its the insane refresh rate or a power supply issue, but the last one I dont know for sure, since I dont know what all his hardware is, including the PSU.
 
Lost in space
Banned
💻 Oldtimer
Joined
Dec 21, 2003
Messages
3,608
Best answers
0
Devion said:
Nice theory, but that's total BS, sorry.
Windows just doesnt use the second core and the cores DONT communicate with each other. Windows spread the tasks between cores, but now it cant because he has SP1 installed, which means Windows will only adress one core. Furthermore the first core cant pass a task to the other core, thats Windows task and the processor doesnt divide the tasks itself.

Its the insane refresh rate or a power supply issue, but the last one I dont know for sure, since I dont know what all his hardware is, including the PSU.
As much as you would like to belive it's BS, it's not, re-read the post to determine better understanding.
Windows just doesnt use the second core
I think I made note of it up in my post
The issue comes down to the processor not being able to operate in the way it was designed to thanks to the operating system in it's current state on that machine
A little roleplay
BIOS: A Dual core processor is present.
Windows (not updated with what is needed]: WTF IS A DUAL CORE PROCESSOR???

Windows recognises there is one socket on the mainboard, however it is blind to realise that there is a 2nd core on the processor being used (And since it is not setup right, it therefore cannot make use of the 2nd core in this case, Core#1).

Infact, let me use yet another example. Let's take a little holiday to the wonderful world of Microsoft Paint:

I wonder how I am going to fix this issue, since this is the deirsed method of operation:

Now, dual core does not exactly operate like that at all times as I outlined in the 2nd pciture, however it gives you an idea of what operatio should be like, balancing out the load of given tasks. An example is I could put more water in one tank then the other.
the cores DONT communicate with each other
Processor (Core#0) --> Crossbar Switch/Front Side Bus --> Processor (Core#2). Now, the memory controller on AMD dual core chips is shared by both cores, and each core has it's own cache, plus Core#1 may make a request for information that Core#0 stored in ram at a given time. With the way multi threaded apps work I think you can see what i'm getting at. Whether or not my theory isn't true or not is an unimportant fact in comparision to the whole problem though in context. You bought a Dual core processor, you expect it to do what it was designed for, so in the case you want to get ti worknig as it should.

You can try using Windizupdate to obtain the updates (using Firefox) as a alteritave method of getting the hotfix, and possibly sp2 should they have it (Depending on the people running the service and their bandwidth, however if you have a service pack 2 installer handy you could also cart it over on a usb flash drive or burn it on to a cd).
 
Live free or die by the sword
Retired Forum Staff
✔️ HL Verified
💻 Oldtimer
Joined
Dec 1, 2001
Messages
7,416
Best answers
0
If you want a better understanding of the issue, Devion, read the microsoft bulletin that was posted earlier, it explains exactly why XP messes up with dual cores.

It has to do with power management, and the way the kernel distributes workload amongst the processor package. Simply put, core 1 is not getting enough voltage because of throttle down, core 0 is fine. When the kernel dumps a task on to core 1, it doesn't ramp the voltage back up. This causes the machine to work sluggish, if it does work. Otherwise the kernel writes off core 1 as locked up, and the processor gets gimped.
 
New Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2004
Messages
652
Best answers
0
Well, i know of one way to fix your friend's problem with SP2, but its kinda Illegal and would require him to reinstall (unless he hasn't activated windows yet)... so Im guessing that calling Microsoft would be a good idea.

Just thought you'd like to know....
 
New Member
💻 Oldtimer
Joined
Dec 3, 2002
Messages
2,490
Best answers
0
Well he has SP2 and the AMD patches. It seems to have helped a good amount.

@Devion: There is no way it is a power supply problem. It's a 500watt monster in this thing. But thanks anyway.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top