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Old 11-01-2012, 03:07 PM   #1
business_kid
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Sudden loss of graphics speed.


I have an old desktop (Asrock K7S41GX, AthlonXP-32 bit @ 2.078Ghz, 166Mhz DDR bus(=333Mhz) and Radeon HD4650 agp 8x graphics. The cpu is from 2004, the m/b is 2008. This runs slackware-13.37 and I recently expanded the memory on (1Gig PC2100 --> 2Gig PC3200)

The graphics is crawling: Switching to a virtual terminal with 3 Thunar file manager windows open took ~12 seconds to redraw! On full screen video, mouths don't move. On 3"x1.5" video, it can't even nearly keep up. Speech is at full speed.

Memory access is 620MB/s according to Memtest86. A bit slower than I expected, but reasonable. Caches go up to 1.2G/S
Hard disk (hdparm -tT) is 50Mb/S - average reading again.
Kernel built in 30 minutes or thereabouts - average for the thing.

Graphics in X are a disaster (OSS drivers as per slackware-13.37). The HD4650 is not the worst card ATI ever made. How do I go about tracing that kind of thing?
 
Old 11-01-2012, 04:02 PM   #2
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Some things I would test: With the radeon drivers you won't have video decoding on the GPU, so may be try the Catalyst drivers.
Also, IIRC, some of the older boards had problems if the CPU and the RAM are running not in sync, like in your case 166 MHz bus speed for the CPU, but 200 MHz bus speed for the RAM.
 
Old 11-02-2012, 07:42 AM   #3
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Changing the video drivers is certainly one option. I don't know if catalyst supports the 4650. I'll try that.

The ram gets 333Mhz, (=166 x 2) and the cpu runs off the same clock (166 x 12.5 = 2078Mhz) so I don't think there's a timing issue. Mind you, 620MB/S struck me as a bit slow for ram access from memtest86.
 
Old 11-02-2012, 08:01 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
Changing the video drivers is certainly one option. I don't know if catalyst supports the 4650.
This one should: http://support.amd.com/us/gpudownloa...eon_linux.aspx

Quote:
Mind you, 620MB/S struck me as a bit slow for ram access from memtest86.
That is why I thought about that timing issue. This should be far higher. If I remember correctly even SDR-DRAM at 100MHz should be faster.
 
Old 11-02-2012, 08:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
That is why I thought about that timing issue. This should be far higher. If I remember correctly even SDR-DRAM at 100MHz should be faster.
Yep, correct.

Quote:
PC-100 SDR SDRAM 800 MB/s
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of..._access_memory

Though its been so long since I booted memtest on a PC-100 machine I cant remember what memmory access speed it told me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
I have an old desktop (Asrock K7S41GX, AthlonXP-32 bit @ 2.078Ghz, 166Mhz DDR bus(=333Mhz) and Radeon HD4650 agp 8x graphics. The cpu is from 2004, the m/b is 2008. This runs slackware-13.37 and I recently expanded the memory on (1Gig PC2100 --> 2Gig PC3200)

The graphics is crawling: Switching to a virtual terminal with 3 Thunar file manager windows open took ~12 seconds to redraw! On full screen video, mouths don't move. On 3"x1.5" video, it can't even nearly keep up. Speech is at full speed.
O.K., you've possibly already done some of these, but just in case you havent-

Make sure the AGP slot and RAM slots are clean.

Clear the CMOS, go though the BIOS and turn off all the crap you dont need (e.g. Floppy drive support, serial ports, etc.).

Check the heatsink fitting.

Replace the heatsink paste on the CPU, GPU and northbridge.

Update the BIOS.

Replace the PSU.

Try a different video card.

If all that fails, sacrifice a goat.

"There are perfectly good *technical reasons* as to why occasionally you need to sacrifice a goat to your hardware".

http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~thomas/

Sorry, been playing with SCSI stuff, I guess the goat joke just stuck (along with the bloodstains)
 
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
If all that fails, sacrifice a goat.
:-).
I have theological and therefore off topic objections to this - I'm a bible thumper and the box isn't worth a goat anyhow at today's prices. It's about worth a decent steak. I'll pass on this suggestion. I would point out, btw, that it's important WHO you sacrifice to if you're going that route with your scsi :-).

I'll go quiet and try the rest of those suggestions, and even Catalyst drivers if needs must.
 
Old 11-02-2012, 12:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
O.K., you've possibly already done some of these, but just in case you havent-
Make sure the AGP slot and RAM slots are clean.
Clear the CMOS, go though the BIOS and turn off all the crap you dont need (e.g. Floppy drive support, serial ports, etc.).
Check the heatsink fitting.
Replace the heatsink paste on the CPU, GPU and northbridge.
Update the BIOS.
Replace the PSU.
Try a different video card.
I wasn't fiddling in here - I promise.
AGP & ram slots clean - definitely.
Ignored all the stuff about heat because it was crawling while everything was cool (and not much gets warm)
Replace the PSU - I ordered one, but the company went belly up so I'll have to start over.
Clear the CMOS, go though the BIOS - All the crap was already turned off.
Moving from Auto to 8X on the AGP
Moving from auto to 166Mhz for ram speed - this got me 688 Mb/S in Memtest86 :-/.
I did put back the old memory - same speed
Graphics was slower if anything :-(

I did cycle through the BIOS permutations a bit and set options I knew little about (VCore, CAS, etc) differently on a pseudo random basis and one of them fixed it
My 12 second redraw came down to 0.2 seconds :-D. I conclude it was gremlins in the BIOS, possibly aided and assisted by a change of ram and auto reconfiguration with too many things left on auto.

Thanks for the sound suggestions. Since I quit Electronic hardware, I've grown to hate fixing stuff myself. I never realised how much I hated it at the time, because there was a family to be fed; but that phase is over. I can hate it as much as I like now :-/.
 
Old 11-03-2012, 11:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
I did cycle through the BIOS permutations a bit and set options I knew little about (VCore, CAS, etc) differently on a pseudo random basis and one of them fixed itMy 12 second redraw came down to 0.2 seconds :-D. I conclude it was gremlins in the BIOS, possibly aided and assisted by a change of ram and auto reconfiguration with too many things left on auto.
Could be BIOS gremlins, but I'd guess its somethign else- degradation.

If your DD1 is meant to be CAS 2.5, but its got old and sick, it might not be able to actually run at CAS 2.5. Dropping the CAS rate to 3 can fix the problem.

Just a guess, and I'm just glad you managed to fix it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
Thanks for the sound suggestions. Since I quit Electronic hardware, I've grown to hate fixing stuff myself. I never realised how much I hated it at the time, because there was a family to be fed; but that phase is over. I can hate it as much as I like now :-/.
Oddly enough, I actualyl enjoy working on dodgy systems. Mostly its just frustrating, and I end up basicly trashing some system because of some problem. But when it works, its rewaring to me.

Of course, I'm not doing it professionally anymore. When I was paid to fix dodgy systems, I wouldnt do anything to my hardware collection at home, it was too much like work. Given a few more years of doing it, I wouldnt be suprised to find myself saying 'I'm sick of this, I dont want to pick up a screwtwister, soldering iron, or thermal paste again'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
:-).I have theological and therefore off topic objections to this - I'm a bible thumper and the box isn't worth a goat anyhow at today's prices. It's about worth a decent steak. I'll pass on this suggestion.
Its worth a steak? If only I ate red meat, I'd have a few days worth of food in my junkbox collection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
I would point out, btw, that it's important WHO you sacrifice to if you're going that route with your scsi :-).
That's what I'm doing wrong! Thanks for the tip.
 
Old 11-03-2012, 02:16 PM   #9
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I wasn't in PCs, I was fixing Fork Lift Boards, Lift & Elevator boards, Printing machinery and a wide variety of crazy factory machinery (Valve operated RF Generators for wood curing or plastic welding, Herring Sex Sorters, a thing for recovering silver from used photo developer, etc etc). Manufacturing moved out here because the cost base was too high, and the government was in the pocket of developers, and I was left trying to fix crap that I couldn't buy the parts for - the range of parts required simply was not carried by the suppliers because all the other repair guys had given up. A number of pivotal companies designed out repair-ability - just to keep the new spares on the move.

During that final phase, I developed an allergy to board repairs that I'm only slowly getting over.
 
Old 11-08-2012, 10:44 AM   #10
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Further from Post #7 which was vaguely on topic:

I got my 12 seconds back in installmemnts - 6 seconds, then I swapped the PSU (NO m/b fiddling) and 12 seconds or more was back.

It's down to VCCM and VCore. I have VCCM set to 2.58 now, and VCORE set to -12%(=1.51V) for the vintage 2004 AthlonXP 32bit. They are minimums. THAT fixed it. I think messing with them fixed it. For Today. . .
But they have nothing to do with the issue, as the cpu wasn't affected in any way by this slowdown. Would the flash holding the BIOS settings be going senile?

The range for vccm is 2.58V - 2.73V, and VCore is 1.51V - 1.8V.
 
Old 11-09-2012, 11:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Would the flash holding the BIOS settings be going senile?
This is definitely the case. Whether battery or flash, rewriting the settings fixes it - for a short while. I'll go figure.
 
Old 11-10-2012, 04:29 AM   #12
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Serious gremlins in that system.

IMO from having gremlins before, it can be down to various things- tired/old/noisy (electrically) PSU, old/tired voltage controls, old/dodgy RAM, old/dodgy/slightly corrupt BIOS. Sometiems all these things can be a little dodgy, and fixing any of them will improve things.

If you have access to an external BIOS flasher and can replace the BIOS chip, that might fix it. If it does fix it, it could last for the usual few reboots, or it could last for years. How long it might last is impossible to say in my experience.

BTW, if you want to keep poking the system for fun or learning, I'd try bumping the VCORE back up to 1.6v-1.65v. I ran Athlon XPs downvolted for years, and as the CPUs get older they run worse and worse at lower than stock voltage.

If it makes a difference, then its CPU releated (as well as BIOS and/or PSU and/or RAM). It bumping VCORE back up to stock or near stock makes no difference, you problems are not CPU related IMO.
 
Old 11-10-2012, 10:09 AM   #13
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Thanks cascade9:

Agreed - serious gremlins. Fatal gremlins, I feel.
The cpu was run at 'Normal' Vcore (1.69V) and it was just as bad.
I think I have an eprom programmer (also flash), but it's dos and isa bus:-/. I can easily get a flash burned, (I'm in a deferred year in College) but I'm not really bothered using up favours for such an old system.
The LAST thing I want to do is poke at it for fun or learning. I've put more pcbs under a soldering iron than you have had hot dinners. My farting about with them now is very goal oriented - fix it or junk it.

I have diagonsed some form of senile dementia in the BIOS, (Or Northbridge/Southbridge which have flash too, don't forget). The chipset is SiS ((Sis 743/900??)). It's for the bin.

Last edited by business_kid; 11-10-2012 at 10:10 AM.
 
  


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