Ways to Improve Performance

Ilpav

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I am looking for some help to improve the performance of my PC without any upgrades. I am playing Assassin's Creed right now, and it is pretty laggy when I play on lowest settings (resolution doesn't make a difference in performance). It plays pretty smooth in some parts (like when you're in the lab), but when I actually do missions, it's pretty laggy.

I would like to know how I can improve the performance. I tried to delete some useless, memory-robbing processes, but that didn't make a big difference.

Here are my specs:

Windows XP Home
Intel Pentium 4 2.6 GHz
1.5 GB DDR RAM
Radeon HD2600 Pro 512 MB AGP

What could be causing the laggy performance?

Thanks for any help.
 

thevictor390

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How many processes are running normally? There's not much you can do after the basic defragment HDD, kill unnecessary processes, update drivers, etc. I think you just have a PC that only barely meets the requirements.
 

Ilpav

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Are you open to trying some overclocking?
That will speed up my GPU and CPU, right? Won't that decrease the life of them?

I might actually spent some money to buy a new processor (current P4 2.6GHz is 4 years old). What would be the best compromise between price and performance? I don't think I need the Quad Core ones. If I upgrade my processor, should I upgrade my motherboard as well? If I have to do that, I might as well just buy a new PC, right?
 
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Crazyjeeper

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Yeah, seeing as you are running an AGP card, it wouldn't hurt to upgrade. Intel is about to move to a new socket so the current and still very fast LGA775 stuff is getting very cheap.
 

_HighVoltage_

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Before embarking on dangerous overclocking procedures, take a look at your Windows processes. Overclocking is not dangerous if done properly - good PSU, good cooling system and good RAM. Do you happen to know what your mainboard is?
But like I said before you do any of it, try some software optimizations. While in Windows not running any major programs press Ctrl+Alt+Del and look in the lower right corner of the window - Commit Charge. What number does it say? If it's more than 400MB then you have a problem - unnecessary software is slowing your system.
 

Crazyjeeper

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First, do you have stock cooling on all of your components and what core is your P4?
 

Ilpav

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Before embarking on dangerous overclocking procedures, take a look at your Windows processes. Overclocking is not dangerous if done properly - good PSU, good cooling system and good RAM. Do you happen to know what your mainboard is?
But like I said before you do any of it, try some software optimizations. While in Windows not running any major programs press Ctrl+Alt+Del and look in the lower right corner of the window - Commit Charge. What number does it say? If it's more than 400MB then you have a problem - unnecessary software is slowing your system.
At idle (0% CPU usage), it says it's using 375M / 2156M (does the "M" stand for megabytes?).

Here are my full system specs:

Computer
Operating System : Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
OS Service Pack: Service Pack 3
Internet Explorer: 7.0.5730.11
Computer Name: PENTIUM-4

Motherboard
CPU Type: Intel Pentium 4A, 2566 MHz (6.5 x 395)
Motherboard Name: ASRock GE Pro-M2 (2 PCI, 1 AGP, 1 AMR, 2 DIMM, Audio, Video, LAN)
Motherboard Chipset: SiS 650GX
System Memory: 1536 MB (DDR SDRAM)
BIOS Type: AMI (11/04/03)
Communication Port: Communications Port (COM1)
Communication Port: ECP Printer Port (LPT1)

Display
Video Adapter: ATI Radeon HD 2600 Series (512 MB)
Video Adapter: ATI Radeon HD 2600 Series (512 MB)
Monitor: Plug and Play Monitor [NoDB] (F6KU54041261C)

Multimedia
Audio Adapter: SiS 7012 Audio Device

Storage
Floppy Drive: Floppy disk drive
Disk Drive: WDC WD800BB-00FJA0
Optical Drive: ATAPI CDRW 52X32
Optical Drive: HL1293S JLI562Z SCSI CdRom Device
Optical Drive: HL-DT-ST DVD-ROM GDR8162B (16x/48x DVD-ROM)

Partitions
C: (FAT32) 76279 MB (38100 MB free)
 

Buba

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Come on, Assasins Creed pretty much needs a DualCore from what I read, so OBVIOUSLY, thats the reason for it being laggish... Usually people around know what they are talking about but the exception to the rule... Bla bla bla.

Any chance your MoBo will take any DualCore, like a Pentium D920 or anything? Shouldn't be that expensive...
 

Ilpav

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Come on, Assasins Creed pretty much needs a DualCore from what I read, so OBVIOUSLY, thats the reason for it being laggish... Usually people around know what they are talking about but the exception to the rule... Bla bla bla.

Any chance your MoBo will take any DualCore, like a Pentium D920 or anything? Shouldn't be that expensive...
So even if I had a very high-end video card, it would still be laggy because of the processor?

Anyway, can you give me some suggestions on CPU's, and do I need to change my motherboard?

Edit: I found these so far:

Intel Pentium D 830 3.0GHz / 2MB Cache / 800 FSB / Socket 775 / Dual-Core / Processor with Fan - $98

Intel Celeron Dual Core E1200 Processor - 1.60GHz, 512KB Cache, 800MHz FSB, Allendale, Dual-Core, OEM, Socket 775, Processor - $56

Intel Celeron 440 Processor - 2.0GHz, 512KB Cache, 800MHz FSB, Conroe-L, OEM, Socket 775, Processor - $56
Those are the three cheapest ones from Tiger Direct.

Would they be able to run current games like Assassin's Creed without lagging?

Also, if I try overclocking my current PC, would it really help in terms of performance?
 
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_HighVoltage_

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Everything with your system seems to be ok. The only possible fix of the lagging issues is to reinstall Windows.

Looking at your specifications - overclocking will not help much, and it will not be safe (your mainboard is not very good...).

Buying a new processor - I'm not sure if it's worth it. It will not make things MUCH faster.
It might be a better idea to start saving money and just get a new computer (new Mainboard, CPU, RAM and VGA)
 

Ilpav

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Everything with your system seems to be ok. The only possible fix of the lagging issues is to reinstall Windows.

Looking at your specifications - overclocking will not help much, and it will not be safe (your mainboard is not very good...).

Buying a new processor - I'm not sure if it's worth it. It will not make things MUCH faster.
It might be a better idea to start saving money and just get a new computer (new Mainboard, CPU, RAM and VGA)
Yeah, I'm gonna play it safe and not overclock anything. I just wanna know: if I install one of those cheaper CPU's will my Assassin's Creed run faster?

As I said before, it only lags when I'm doing a mission with lost of people around, but it's fine if I'm in the modern lab with only 2 other people. Same thing with LFS; when I'm playing alone or with a couple of cars, it runs very smoothly, but when I play with 10 or more cars, it slows down considerably.

I always thought it was a RAM shortage that does that, but now I know it's the CPU.

So, will any of those CPU's make things better (if so, which one)?

Here they are again:

Intel Pentium D 830 3.0GHz / 2MB Cache / 800 FSB / Socket 775 / Dual-Core / Processor with Fan - $98

Intel Celeron Dual Core E1200 Processor - 1.60GHz, 512KB Cache, 800MHz FSB, Allendale, Dual-Core, OEM, Socket 775, Processor - $56

Intel Celeron 440 Processor - 2.0GHz, 512KB Cache, 800MHz FSB, Conroe-L, OEM, Socket 775, Processor - $56
 

thevictor390

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I'm pretty sure the single-core Celeron is worse than what you have, and there probably won't be a huge difference with the dual-core one. The Pentium D will be an improvement but you're still limited by RAM and Video card. When you're running the game, try to see (using the task manager) if you're constantly maxing the CPU or out of RAM.
 

Ilpav

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CPU Usage: 100%
PF (page file) Usage: 1.08 GB
Commit Charge: 1115M / 2156M

That's while the game is running, so the CPU is definitely being maxed out at 100%.

I would also like to know what Page File Usage and Commit Charge are.

So I might as well forget about the Celerons, right? They aren't going to make a big difference.

For now that Pentium D 830 3.0GHz is my choice, but here are some more that are a bit more expensive:

Intel Pentium D 830 3.0GHz / 2MB Cache / 800 FSB / Socket 775 / Dual-Core / Processor with Fan - $98

Intel Pentium D 940 Processor - 3.20GHz, 4MB Cache, 800MHz FSB, Presler, Dual-Core, OEM, Socket 775, Processor (no fan included) - $112

Intel Pentium Dual Core E2220 Processor - 2.40GHz, 1MB Cache, 800MHz FSB, Allendale, Dual Core, Retail, Socket 775, Processor with Fan - $119

Intel Pentium Dual Core E5200 Processor - 2.50GHz, 2MB Cache, 800MHz FSB, Wolfdale, Dual Core, Retail, Socket 775, Processor with Fan - $119

Intel Pentium Dual Core E2200 Processor - 2.20GHz, 1MB Cache, 800MHz FSB, Allendale, Dual Core, Retail, Socket 775, Processor with Fan - $119
How come the E2220 and E2200 are the same price as each other (what are their differences), and also why are they the same price as the E5200 (much better specs)?

The E5200 looks like the best deal, will it work OK without upgrading my MoBo?
 
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thevictor390

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Intel Pentium D 940 Processor - 3.20GHz, 4MB Cache, 800MHz FSB, Presler, Dual-Core, OEM, Socket 775, Processor (no fan included) - $112
No fan included - you'd need to buy one separately

Are you sure those all fit your motherboard? They're all better than what you have. And the page file is space on the hard drive that Windows uses as extra RAM, basically. Makes multitasking possible with less RAM but you lose some performance because the HDD is much slower. As long as you're not out of physical RAM don't worry about it.
 

_HighVoltage_

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Commit charge - the total amount of memory your computer is using at the moment. It is a combination of your phsyical memory (RAM) and virtual memory (Page File). The actual amount of used RAM can be seen with additional applications.
Page File - designated amount of your hard disk space, used as operating memory. It has the same function as RAM, but is slower (because HDD is slower than RAM).
Page File is needed when you don't have enough RAM to run certain applications.

You always need a Page File, no matter how much RAM you have - it's a problem that Windows XP has - it has to have a page file, even if it's a small one) You can try and limit the amount of Page File, if you need more HDD space, but it will not have an effect on performance.
 

Crazyjeeper

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Um, none of those processors will work with that motherboard. Pentium 4A's are socket 478, and those processors are all 775.
 

Buba

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Hm, crap. You better safe up for a new machine then...
 

NooDle

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yup, you're pretty much screwed, you need a whole new PC.

I've learned that the time between you think you need an upgrade, and the time you've worked out what you will need and what it will cost, they'll have built a quicker "new" PC for less

So I always wait until I get an awesome deal and then buy everything shiny and new.
 
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