Sounds like it could be either:
1) your HDD(s) need defragging;
2) you may not have enough memory (RAM) - you need at least 512Mb for the XP OS alone, then possibly more for games - remember they are memory intensive;
3) you may need a bigger graphics card, quite a lot of the big games use between 64Mb to 256Mb fraphics RAM; and/or
4) it would be a good idea to update ALL the drivers you use, especially the graphics drivers (and don't forget the motherboard drivers).
Whenever I open a game (either an EA sports 3D graphics game, or DXBall, a '96 low sized game) the CPU usage jumps to 100%, the fans start overworking, and suddenly every couple of minutes -or less- the game comes interrupted/freezed for a few seconds.
I've seen that the freezes occur when CPU usage is used by DPC's (about 15% - 20%). DPC's are not using any CPU when I'm not playing a game.
The same occur to me when browsing over 3 or more IExplorer windows.
Pentium 4 1.7 GHz
Hope somebody can help me.
Thanks in advance...