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Screen redraw: card or cpu?

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  • Screen redraw: card or cpu?

    I've noticed that sometimes when my computer is thinking hard I'll get redraw failures (ie: closed programs still show on screen, or minimized windows still display). Is this a function of my mediocre video card, or of something in the computer/cpu proper?

    I'm using an Nvidia TNT2 Model 64 with a P4 machine. I have 768meg of RAM. Windows XP with all latest drivers, patches, service packs, etc.

    Will upgrading the video card fix this?
    Learn by teaching
    Take responsibility for learning

  • #2
    Boy, you really ask the tough questions! While it is likely that a faster video card will help, I don't think that this is being caused by the video card alone (notice that I said think). What is happening is that some process is dominating the CPU and not giving the offending program enough priority to allow it to complete it's task. You could run the task manager while windows is operating and see if this is the case. If you see the little icon in the system tray turns bright green while this slowdown is happening then CPU cycles are pegged out.

    Now this is usually caused by a drive I/O operation. For some reason Microsoft hasn't seen fit to correct the 16 bit OS age old problem of drive I/O priority. Of course this can be attributed to the demands of the drive hardware which require it to write it's data without interruption. Anyway, drive I/O will dominate CPU cycles sometimes and cause this. Network I/O will also cause this problem. If there is a task that windows thinks it needs to perform on the network and has trouble completing this task it will also capture more CPU cycles that normal.

    I have seen anti-virus programs cause this problem as well. Monitoring the task manager should tell you what process is dominating the CPU.

    One day we will be free of these 16 bit hardware and software problems. But until then we will continue to have to buy faster and faster hardware to compensate for these limitations.

    That's just my 2 cents.
    Last edited by KevinBE; 02-09-2003, 10:22 AM.


    • #3
      Good advice. Except when the screen won't redraw you can't "look" at anything. And when it finally frees up all the information is changed instantly to the current no-load readings.
      Learn by teaching
      Take responsibility for learning


      • #4
        Doug try this.
        If this is happening somewhat frequently, run Dr. Watson. I think xp still includes it or microsoft has a dl. It's not the greatest program, but it can give you info.
        go to run: drwatson, it will leave an icon on your systray but will not show anything.
        Then try to recreate the situation where you experience the freezing or crashes. When it occurs and clears, drwatson will popup and you can check all the log info. If it doesn't popup, you can double click after the freeze and get an somewhat extensive list of what's running and hopefully what's causing the weakness.


        • #5
          I run across this problem from time to time and always assumed it was a video card issue. I might do a little research into it to see if that is indeed the problem. It seems like the processer should be fast enough and the video card is not that bad...maybe it's an issue with AGP or even an overheating video card?


          • #6
            I think the best indicator of what's going on would be the task manager. If you have it running on your PC it will tell you whether or not the CPU is getting hosed up. Even if you aren't able to switch to the task manager window, when the problem starts, just look at the icon in the system tray. If the processor is maxed out the icon will indicate a full scale reading. If you aren't getting a full load on the processor then look to their being a hardware bottleneck in the video card or hard drive.

            We have problems at work from time to time with Norton Anti-virus realtime file check program causing problems like Doug is describing.


            • #7
              Chuck, it's ashame that we have to buy faster and faster hardware to compensate for the poor design of the current PC's. I was so dissappointed in XP when I found that they really didn't do anything much different from previous Windows versions in the kernal. Here was their opportunity to really distance us from the legacy systems that have been holding us back for so long. We have to get away from the 8 bit and 16 bit hardware devices in these PC's. They are really holding up back. I can't wait for a true 32 bit operating system designed to run with true 32 bit hardware. It wouldn't require half the power of the current systems to out distance them.


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