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Old 02-20-2013, 03:15 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 72
Default CPU being eaten by video card

Just want to pick your brains, I have been trying to fix an old Dell Dimension XPS.

At first I thought there was some malware or some nasty virus eating up the CPU resources but after a total wipe and reinstall of the OS, I have determined the video card is the issue.

The processor on this thing is a 3.0GHz p4 socket 478 and it is paired with a AMD 2600 Pro AGP(No clue why this video card). Basically it will sit on 60% CPU usage, whether Safemode or otherwise.

Threw in an old PCI Voodoo3 (Yeah woot! Only thing I had on hand to test with, no more AGP cards laying about) and problem went away.

Another oddity is no recent or catalyst driver (That I tried) would install successfully, I had to install some random old driver, which cured my CPU issue finally. But is still afflicted in safemode, not that we need that.

What do you think ultimately is causing the issue?
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:11 PM   #2
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The reason is that the video card drivers for an older AGP card like yours need special 'Hotfix' drivers.

Catalyst 12.6 is the lastest available and here is the link you need to download them, just pick your appropriate OS:


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Old 02-23-2013, 01:03 PM   #3
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The AGP Hotfix drivers were used. While the drivers work (Although could only be installed via manual installation), they did not remove the CPU usage issue.
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Old 02-23-2013, 06:48 PM   #4
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The linked hotfix drivers refer specifically to the following:
"No compatible hardware found" error message appears when using the AMD Catalyst drivers provided on the AMD Graphics Drivers & Software page or "a conflict between Microsoft DirectX® and the AMD Radeon™ HD AGP series graphics cards."
Which, according to your post, is not the problem you're experiencing. I'd suggest installing Sysinternals Process Explorer v15.3 and then observe it while it monitors (in real time) which process is actually causing the spike in CPU usage. This would allow you to see whether there's a DirectX conflict causing the spike, or some other process entirely.

For your consideration; my experience upgrading PCs for clients choosing to use their older AMD/ATI chipset based AGP cards, has been that unless the card was actually manufactured and released by AMD, the AMD drivers are likely to either fail to install, or install with errors. As a recent example; I installed Windows 7 for a client who wanted to use his old Diamond AGP card based on the Radeon 9250 chipset. None of AMD's drivers for the 9250 (let alone Catalyst) would install correctly on that card. After doing some searching; the driver downloaded from Diamond installed and functioned perfectly.
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Old 03-02-2013, 03:39 AM   #5
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I have the same card, and have some experience installing it. The hardware in that card, includes HDMI sound output. However, that hardware is not supported by the AGP bridge chip in the card, and for some reason, the sound part of the card defaults to enabled upon power-up, rather than disabled. Therefore, it generates a steady stream of interrupts that bog down the processor. (With the proper drivers installed, it disables the sound output, and thus stops the interrupt stream.)

Mine was the VisionTek card, and it required using the drivers that came on the CD for XP with it. I at one point was able to use the updated drivers off of VisionTek's web site, but at some point, they updated those drivers, and then they simply resulted in a black screen when booting Windows with them (the newest ones) installed.
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