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Weird Lag in Games

924 Views 16 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  TurtlePhx
Starting a few months back, whenever I would play any games (any settings, any resolution, Starcraft, Counter Strike, MW2, whatever), after a minute or two I start getting some really bad lag. I'm dual-booting with Windows XP, and I don't get any problems there, but obviously it's a big hassle to have to reboot whenever I want to switch tasks. I recently got a new graphics card to replace the integrated graphics that came with this desktop, and I was hoping the problem would go away, but it didn't.

The lag is also kind of weird. As I said, the games run fine at full 60+ FPS or something for a minute or two, but then decrease to around 20. After that, it'll be like, 20 smooth frames, then freeze, for half a second, another 20 frames, then freeze for another half second, etc. (it's not just like a consistently low framerate).

The lag happens with any game, old or new, online, offline. Windows 7 itself, Firefox, GIMP, whatever, all work fine, it's just games that lag (Starcraft/Warcraft also lag in windowed mode, so I don't think it's some weird full screen thing). It's also worth noting that the audio doesn't skip, only the video, and that if I Alt-Tab out of the games that the system runs fine, but going back into the game, the lag is still there.

My video card drivers are the latest, and my core temp is around 52 C. Can anyone think of something I'm missing?

HP Pavilion a6530f, 2 years old
Windows 7 x64 Ultimate
AMD Phenom X3 Triple-Core @ 2.1 GHz
ATI Radeon HD 5770
500W Thermaltake PSU
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Hi and welcome to TSF, TurtlePhx!

You PSU seems to be a little too weak for your system. Generally, it's recommended that you have a PSU of a minimum of 650W since they can wear down over time.
My PSU is actually brand new...I got it with the new video card. According to the "eXtreme Power Supply Calculator" 500 W is more than enough =|

And the operating system doesn't affect hardware, I have the same PSU in both XP and Win7 (obv., it's the same computer), why would the lag only be in Win7?
Because Windows 7 has a much "heavier" graphical user interface and requires more hardware power than XP.
Could you please post the model number of the Thermaltake PSU. Even if you match the Wattage the eXtreme Power Supply Calculator "lite version" does not give you the minimum required amps your system needs.
Here's the PSU:

But then, how come the games play fine in the beginning?

[ EDIT ]
So, in theory, if I switched my theme to Windows Classic, there would be no lag?
What he is trying to say is basically there is not enough clean power going to all of your hardware. Meaning,though your system can run on this power supply, there is not equally distributed power to all the hardware. When i say "equally distributed power" I mean e.g. Your CPU and GPU could be taking all the power away from other hardware which is not good. And your PSU is only 72% efficiency on average. So a PSU upgrade that has more than 600W will equally distribute power to all your hardware without cutting corners. Plus the Amps on your 5V and 12V rails is kind of low compared to higher and more efficient power supplies.
This is one of Thermaltake Cheap PSU. They do make great PSU but you have opted for the cheaper range.

A Good quality PSU can only hold full-load (Maximum Rated full-load) for about 30-60mins before dropping to about 75%-80% of full-load. A lower quality PSU can only do this for about 5-10min before dropping to about the same range (Generic PSU are worse).

The PSU you have also chosen has an efficiency rating of 72%, this rating will drop as soon as you load the PSU more than 60% of its full-load capacity (Typical load of PSU is about 60% of full-load), So your loosing Wattage when its above 320W. Also the hotter the PSU is it will also start to loose wattage (for every 1c above 25c = ~1W)
So you can already see that the PSU is not suited for a gaming environment. Which is why its best to spend that little bit extra for an extra 200W. It will make a difference.

So the reason why it could be fine running in XP is because XP demands less of your hardware to run. So in XP your PSU could be Idling at about 150W-250W but in Win7 it could be closer to 250-300W then when under load its pushing to about 400W-450W which your PSU may only be able to do for a short period of time.

So id recommend a PSU with a minimal of 600W(650W preferred), 80% Efficiency rating, 42A in total on the 12v line.
Still stick with Thermaltake if you like they are a great brand.
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Ok...So I guess I'll invest in a better PSU for the new graphics card...

But this was happening on my old factory power supply (here), with the old integrated graphics, before I even upgraded. Do you think power was also the issue then?

And also...if took out this new dedicated card and used the integrated graphics (lower power consumption), then do you think the lag would go away? (Not as a permanent solution, but just to test.)

Sorry if I come off as kind of skeptical, I just feel like it's more likely some sort of software problem, not hardware.
You could try taking out the graphics card and see how it runs. Now one more question do you lag on both online and offline game or just online?
I mentioned it in my first post, but yeah, it lags both offline and online.

I'll try taking the card out tomorrow and see what happens, it's kind of late now. =|
Well I tried the games with the new PSU and the old integrated graphics, dice. Any other ideas?

And also, how does this one look:
thats a pretty solid PSU, greats Amps on the 3, 5, and 12V rails meaning clean power all the time and its 80% efficient. that will do just fine.
Well I tried the games with the new PSU and the old integrated graphics, dice. Any other ideas?

And also, how does this one look:
From the specs looks pretty solid, i have not seen that model before, Im going to have to look in on it
It's one of three Coolermaster just came out with about 2-3 months ago I'll link a review for you. Here is a review for the 750W version because it was kind of hard to find a good through review of the 650W
That PSU looks good for your card.

Minimum System Requirments for ATI Radeon 5770

Can you take your temps using SIW while you are in-game for 10 minutes?
Yeah that PSU looks pretty BOSS for being as cheap as it is I might put one of these in my cousins computer that I'm build for him.
Actually just a little earlier I was gaming on XP and checked, my core temp was the same as in the OP (52 C), but the temp in the GPU core was 64 C o_O

Anyway, I'm getting that Cooler Master PSU...but that's not what is causing the strange lag...seriously does anyone have any ideas about what could fix it?
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