All your questions pertain to the overall speed of the PC, but they all reference different parts of the machine.
To begin: The specs you see for the ATI video card are ONLY for the card. That card has 256MB memory with a clock speed (how fast it processes data in memory) of 730MHz. The on-card processor (often referred to as a Graphics Processing Unit, or GPU) has its own clock speed 412MHz.
As for the FSB speed: Yes, that figure represents the theoretical maximum speed at which data can flow through the PC. In the real world, a 400MHz FSB should be plenty fast.
Here's some definitions:
And no, the AGP slot is NOT independent of the bus...
As for your choppiness: Given the specs of your machine, that shouldn't be happening unless there's an issue. Have you installed the latest drivers for your videocard? If not, do so. Then check the videocard settings. If anti-aliasing is turned on, then you may get slower game play. Turn it off and see what happens.
These are starting points; someone else may doubtless give more and better advice. Post back with progress reports.
Can someone clarify some things for me? I?ve been trying to read about what may be making my machine fast or slow, but there is a ton of info available. Basically, I?m trying to figure out why the games I play on my machine are ?choppy? or freeze up. I?ve looked through the forums here, and got through most of HowStuffWorks.com for computer hardware, but am still a bit lost.
I have an ATI Radeon 9800XT graphics card. My computer is a Presario SR1130NX with an AMD Athlon XP3000+ 2.1GHz with WindowsXP. It came with 512MB of ram and is now maxed at 1GB. What I don?t understand is my specs say that the AGP slot is ?8X?. But on the ATI card specs it just shows memory interface of 256MB, Engine clock of 412MHz and a Memory clock of 730MHz. When I look at the computer specs I see an Advanced Front Side Bus speed of 400MHz. Does this mean that data will only go as fast as 400MHz? And if that is the case, which clock speed do I compare that to on the ATI card? Memory or engine clock speed? Also, what is the 8X shown for the AGP slot? Is that a measure of speed? My thinking in this is if I can only transfer data at 400MHz, and the ATI card can handle 730MHz, then it is under-utilized (correct?). Or is the AGP slot independant of this bus?
In short, I don?t know what is making these games so choppy, and am trying to figure out if I need a better cpu, or a faster (?) bus (in which case, I believe I have to get a whole new motherboard, correct?) Any guidance is appreciated.