View Full Version : New computer problems - help please

2007-Jun-18, 02:57 PM
I know there are a number of computer experts (and gamers) here. I'm hoping someone might be able to help me out with a problem I've been having. I just put a new budget system together over the past month:

Duel-core AMD Athlon 64 X2 5400+
Diamond Radeon X1050 graphics card
Abit motherboard with onboard sound and LAN
Sabrent ATA 100/133 IDE RAID PCI Controller Card
Generic 450W power supply

I had some problems initially. My power supply shot a spark out the front and died, and I needed to replace it an my motherboard. After that the system seemed fine, though, and I managed to get WinXP SP2 installed without a problem. All the normal programs, like Word, Photoshop, and Firefox, are working fine. I've installed the newest Catalyst suite, DirectX 9.0c, and the first two games I installed, Age of Mythology and Emperor, both older games, work relatively fine.

Even they have some problems though. Intro videos on both seem to run at double speed. I'm assuming this is because it's a dual core system. I have little experience with WinXP, however, so I'm open to thoughts. I installed the AMD utilities that are supposed to resolve this, but without success. This issue is just a minor annoyance, but I mention it in case it has bearing on the more serious issue.

That more serious issue being that several of my games simply will not start. The three I've tested are Heroes of Might and Magic V, Etherlords, and Etherlords II. They all do the exact same thing. I get an hourglass next to my cursor for about five seconds, and then nothing. The screen doesn't blink and I don't see a splash screen. When I check the task manager I find the exe file for the game running, using 0% of the processor and having 0:00 listed for used processor time. This same thing happens if I try to open map editors or options screens for these games. I have let each go for nearly an hour before killing the process, and one I let run overnight, but nothing changes; the exe just sits there hanging.

I reinstalled my graphics drivers considering that may be the problem without success. I tried reinstalling directX but can't figure out how. When I hit 'next' to start the install it immediately tells me it's finished, probably because it detects that I already have dx9 installed. I guess MS doesn't believe in reinstalls. I've tried setting every compatibility mode in the list for each game exe, but all it does is hang with slightly more memory used. Since these are newer games that use more 3D graphics, and the two games that work are old-style birds-eye isometric views, I was guessing this has something to do with the graphics card but all the directx 3D tests work fine.

I spent most of my weekend working on this and am just about out of ideas. Any suggestions would be extremely appreciated. This was meant to be mainly a gaming PC, so this is more than a minor problem for me. I planned to try installing a few more games this week to try to work out a pattern, but my free time is severely limited...which is why I'm here looking for a miracle cure. ;)

Thanks for reading.

2007-Jun-18, 05:08 PM
Might be 64bit incompatability issues.

2007-Jun-18, 05:15 PM
Might be 64bit incompatability issues.

Very likely.

2007-Jun-18, 05:22 PM
Might be 64bit incompatability issues.Very likely.

Thanks for the suggestion. This seems unlikely to me, though, as Heroes V was released last December, and 64 bit processors had been out for some time already at that point. I'm also only running XP Pro, not the x64 edition.

Is there an easy (or hard) way to force a program to run in 32-bit emulation to test?

2007-Jun-18, 06:12 PM
Heh, most gaming companies aren't writing their softwares for 64 bit native environments because the bulk of their target audience still hasn't moved to the 64-bit standard.

Even accessory hardware makers (graphic and sound card makers, even some network card manufacturers) haven't jumped on the 64-bit bandwagon. Again, not enough software to support the need for a major hardware revamp.

The real dropped ball was in the hands of the OS makers. They decided, Microshlock in particular, to make the transition from 32 to 64 bit as agonizing as possible.

As far as emulation, it might not be possible. The change from 32 to 64 is nothing like the change from 16 to 32. There's more system architecture than just the floating point that's been changed.

2007-Jun-18, 07:57 PM
----Here are two things that ya need----
AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual Core Processor Driver for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 Version (x86 and x64 exe) - Allows the system to automatically adjust the CPU speed, voltage and power combination that match the instantaneous user performance need. Download this Setup Installation program (EXE) to automatically update all the files necessary for installation. This package is recommended for users whom desire a graphical user interface for installation. This .EXE driver is a user friendly localized software installation of the driver designed for end-users. This driver supports AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual Core processors on Windows XP SP2, Windows 2003 SP1 x84 and x64 Editions. Download (http://www.amd.com/us-en/assets/content_type/utilities/amdcpusetup.exe)

AMD Dual-Core Optimizer - The AMD Dual-Core Optimizer can help improve some PC gaming video performance by compensating for those applications that bypass the Windows API for timing by directly using the RDTSC (Read Time Stamp Counter) instruction. Applications that rely on RDTSC do not benefit from the logic in the operating system to properly account for the affect of power management mechanisms on the rate at which a processor core's Time Stamp Counter (TSC) is incremented. The AMD Dual-Core Optimizer helps to correct the resulting video performance effects or other incorrect timing effects that these applications may experience on dual-core processor systems, by periodically adjusting the core time-stamp-counters, so that they are synchronized. Download (http://www.amd.com/us-en/assets/content_type/utilities/Setup.exe)

---The one below is Optional----
AMD Power Monitor Version 1.0.2 - This application is used to monitor the current frequency, voltage, utilization, and power savings of each core of each processor in a system. This application also has a system tray icon that can be used to view and select power schemes on the system. The system tray icon will show the average utilization of every core on the system. Download (http://www.amd.com/us-en/assets/content_type/utilities/powersetup.exe)

Be sure and let us know how it turns out!

2007-Jun-19, 01:09 PM
Cookie, thanks for the suggestions, but I have all of those installed already.

I appreciate the thoughts, but it looks like I may be stuck wiping the OS and doing a reload. I just finished getting it setup too... :(

2007-Jun-22, 02:06 PM
For anyone interested, or anyone who found this thread via a Google search because you're having the same problem, I think I found the cause.

I tried a memtest the other night and it came back clean, leaving my graphics card as the only component I hadn't truly tested. As normal programs and some games were running fine, and the directX 3d test ran fine, I didn't think this would be the problem, but decided to pull the card, turn on the onboard graphics chip, and load the Nvidia drivers just in case. The moment I did, without any further tweaking or updating, everything started working fine. So the only place the error could be is in a driver incompatability or a physical problem with the card. Since I've played at least one of these games on an AGP version of this card (the same chipset) in the past, and I've read of users running all of these games on the same driver version, I'm guessing it isn't a driver issue.

Since my power supply and motherboard were both fried in a surge a few weeks ago, my guess is that the graphics card was also damaged in some way that allowed it to work fine on normal tasks but die when initialize for certain 3D tasks. In any case, I'll be returning it for a new one.

Thanks to everyone who replied and tried to help. :)