General discussion

Need software to log CPU load.

Sep 21, 2006 2:50AM PDT


I'm suspecting my CPU is holding back my video card, so I need some application (freeware hopefully) that logs CPU load while I'm playing a game, and then review how often it hits 100%. It should be small enough for not to affect the results. Do you know anything like that? I did a little search and found nothing useful.


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Link, comment.
Sep 21, 2006 3:09AM PDT
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Thanks! to be more precise....
Sep 21, 2006 4:46AM PDT

My CPU is a fairly old Athlon XP 2200+ running stock at 1.80 Ghz, my motherboard (chipset is VIA KM266) has an AGP port (revision 2.0, max 4x). So as you can see, any modern video card will suffer a big performance hit with my PC, but I didn't realize it was going to be so BIG. Actually I had a MSI Geforce FX5200 before, and the new one, a Verto Geforce 7600GS with 512Mb is not doing much better. It could be caused by the slow AGP port, the slow CPU, or both. My original plan was to buy a full new PC, but to make the long story short, I ended up with this card, more memory and a DVD burner, not a really good investment, I know. So now I want to see if my CPU is the bottleneck, or if it's caused by the slow AGP port, just for curiosity Happy

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Really? My kid had the fx5700 on a paltry 2.0GHz P4 and..
Sep 21, 2006 6:01AM PDT

The change from the 5200 to the 5700 was amazing. We found the machine to be more stable at the 4X AGP so we left it there and games like Farcry work fine.

I'll write the from 4x to 8x AGP didn't show up except in benchmarks.

It had 512MB RAM.


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Oh my! So what's grong with mine??
Sep 21, 2006 6:35AM PDT

Well, I used Perfmon to see how my CPU was doing... it's doing 100% the whole time, playing Battle for Middle Earth II, NFS Most Wanted, Star Wars Empire at War... mostly every game I throw at it. With RTS is funny how when I leave the camera still, frames per second soar around 30, but the moment I scroll, the game chokes doing no more than 10 fps. Also now that you say that your kid has a 5700, I remember that a friend of mine with a similar PC has one, and I also remember that it ran way better than mine at this moment. So, this raises the question: could this card be overtaxing the CPU, instead of taking the load out of it? Maybe I should have sticked with a high end (and older) Geforce FX. I know this is going off topic, but now you have given me something else to think of Happy

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Ours runs at 100% during games too.
Sep 21, 2006 7:48AM PDT

It's the nature of games to do that. Even on his newer p4ht at 3.0 GHz the CPU is still 100%. This is why I thought a discussion why that is would be interesting.

I can't comment about your machine but the kid's machine gets a little help from me. There is no extra junk, pests, spyware and such.

We have the latest motherboard BIOS, drivers and such. Microsoft won't do that for us.


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Same as me...
Sep 21, 2006 10:42AM PDT

In fact I don't even remember how a virus is, that's how clean I keep my PC. I have two hard disks and I use one of them just for gaming, with its own Windows installation, and nothing more than the latest drivers. It's strange how games always use all the CPU time, didn't know that. So then I'll have to find what's causing the poor perfomance. I've seen benchmarks of the 7600 GS, and it runs almost any game at 1024x768 with AF and AA, under ideal hardware of course (Athlon X2 and superfast memory and such), but when I see that it's capable of 40-60 fps in Half Life 2 with full quality and AF & AA, at least I expected some smoothness playing Most Wanted, or Battle for Middle Earth, with AA & AF disabled and medium settings, which is not the case. 10-20 fps is not acceptable. Heck, it is not even capable of running the included Nvidia demos smoothly. There must me something wrong. As a side note, sideband addressing, fast writes, the extra power connector and a 450W power supply are in place. I should be moving this question to the hardware section... this is way off topic now, sorry Silly

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I think we're getting close.
Sep 21, 2006 12:52PM PDT
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I have 1.5 Gb PC2100 DDR, not the fastest around but...
Sep 22, 2006 3:48AM PDT

Should be enough, I think. Also the 7600 GS has 512 Mb. That article was really helpful, but this all points to the processor and my old motherboard, I think they're both conspiring to slow this card down. And not only in that game, but plenty others. I need to find a modern not-so-CPU-intensive game to make sure my Geforce is not defective, hope not cause I can't return it now. This PNY Verto has a fan over the processor, and another passive heat dissipator next to it, I think it's cooling the memory, that one is really really hot, I don't know how normal is that, but I haven't received any warning when playing, lockups, Windows or Nvidia control panel errors, nothing, just the fact that it's slow. Temp displayed by the Nvidia control panel is around 55

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I think that's an issue.
Sep 22, 2006 4:20AM PDT

PC2100 is only one notch above the slowest DDRAM I've seen (PC1600?) So you may have hit on one aspect. Measuring the CPU load is not going to help us much.

If the machine is stable, so tweaks to memory settings in the BIOS might help but it's not something I can write "do this" since there is no standard here. It's something I change a setting and look to a benchmark to see if it helped.

Here's a thought. Run HIJACKTHIS and look over each item and be sure you know what it is.


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Thanks, will try some of that stuff
Sep 22, 2006 5:19AM PDT

Thank you for helping me out. That's the memory my processor supports, this Athlon XP has a slow 266 Mhz bus, so PC2100 is the fastest memory I can put into it (in fact I have installed PC2700 or so, but it downgrades automatically). That's also why I think Pentiums degrade better over time, faster bus and more SSE instructions. Mine only has 3DNow! and SSE1 or 2, don't remember about that. I'm certain that your kid's P4 running at 2.0 Ghz is way better than my Athlon 2200+. Anyway, now I'm thinking about a full new PC, maybe later Happy Thank you again!

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