Graphic issues

I upgraded to Windows 7 when it came out. So far I have been loving it and spent a good bit of last weekend getting everything set up and running properly. However, when I started playing games on the system I noticed a fairly large problem. Namely, that I was getting similar or worse performance than an older video card was getting on Windows XP.

My Current Specs:

64x Windows 7 Pro - Retail

MSI 975X Platinum PowerUp Edition motherboard - Newegg Link
Pentium D 2.8Ghz processor (820 Smithfield) - Newegg Link
4 GB DDR2 RAM Dual Channel, 4 slots - Newegg Link
nVidia 9600 GT video card - Newegg Link
7200 RPM HDD, 250GB
Single display, generic CRT from a Dell I had a several years back

Old 7900 GS - Newegg Link

All drivers are up to date from nVidia and I am using Directx11 (even though the card is technically 10.1).
The HDD was formatted and then a fresh installation of Windows 7 Pro was installed, registered and updated.

When I noticed the issue I decided to do some benchtests and the one that stuck in my mind most is PassMark PerformanceTest. In it my system actually exceeded similar systems all the way up to the 3d tests - there it started lagging behind and when I hit the Complex 3d graphics test I ran into my biggest issue. The result was a mere 1/3 of the lowest benchmark of a similar system I could find.

When running the test it actually started out quite well hovering around the high 20's for FPS but after a certain point into the test it drops dramatically and crawls at 7-10FPS through the rest of the test. After this I put in my old 7900 GS (also with updated drivers) and ran the same test - equal results for the complex test. As it stands, attempting to play Borderlands (based off of the UT3 engine) with the 9600 GT I average 14 FPS and cap out around 30 FPS in the very undemanding areas of the game. With the 7900 GS in place I'm getting almost identical results.

Computer has been defragmented after installs. It is clear of spyware/malware. Aside from 7 saying IE has stopped (typically when I close a window), runs the troubleshooter and then ignores it all together as it continues to work, I haven't had any issues baring the graphics problems in this post. This computer is used for pretty much everything, it is both a work machine for me while I'm at home and a gaming machine. I'm not particularly concerned with maxing out the graphics capability. Nothing is overclocked and I'd be happy with a consistent 30+ FPS so that I can't see the frames update.

I'm at a loss for what could have caused this and have spent the past two days testing and brainstorming. So far all performance by either card has been much worse in every game I've tried compared to when I ran the 7900 GS on XP.

Is there something I'm missing on my system?
I also ran 3dmark06 and while the graphics tests went well, the CPU tests bombed. Is my CPU acting as a bottleneck when combined with the demands of 7 over XP? If it is can you recomend a processor to fill the LGA 775 slot that would do the job?
Are the drivers just not functional enough yet?
Would I be having this issue on a dx11 card?
For some reason the memory clocking on the card once it was on my system did not match what was advertised. It was only set to 900.
I built this system from scratch a little over 2 years ago. The 9600 GT and RAM are new upgrades I purchased for use with Windows 7.
Surprisingly, Aero works on the 7900 GS when the upgrade utility told me it wouldn't.
Any ideas? At this rate I'll likely end up returning to XP and I'd prefer to avoid that.

Edited to add information.
Edited to update link format.

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Windows Forum Admin
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Hi Lorelock,
when you ran 3dmark 06 you said the cpu tests 'bombed'...? What do you mean? The tests didn't complete or you blue screened or what?
You don't mention the motherboard bios either is this also up to date?

Lastly...Welcome to the forum :D


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
What does the Windows 7 Performance Index say.

If you check help and support and enter "troubleshoot video performance" maybe something there will help.

Thanks for the welcome.

Ah yes, by bombed I mean during those particular tests my CPU averaged somewhere just below 1 FPS. I'm not entirely sure the program used both cores properly or even at all, but even if it was only using a single core that seemed abysmally low.

Unfortunately, I don't know what it is with the new card as I had assumed it was a flaw with the card and sent it back, I hadn't thought to compare it with the old card first. Once I did I knew I had to come here and recall the card from UPS. The old 7900 GS however, scores 5.9/4.9 (Aero/Business & Gaming) while the processor is 4.6.

Also, I have noticed that the performance seems less with the 7900 GS than it did with the 9600 GT, however the FPS remains about the same so I have no evidence to back it up.

Edited: grammar and clarity.
Edited: Additional Info.

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Windows Forum Admin
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So have you sent the 9600 back? Also, what PSU are you using?

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Yes I've sent it back, it'll take time for them to send a new one though. Considering I'm having the same difficulty with the old card that I am with the new I'm hoping if we can figure out what's wrong it'll transfer when I get the new one back. Even with the old card I'm getting similar performance and like the 9600 GT it doesn't seem to matter what I set the graphics to. I can put Borderlands up to full on the 7900 GS and it'll only effect the FPS by 1-2 from what I get at minimum settings/resolution.

PSU: Newegg Link

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Windows Forum Admin
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Thanks for updating...
I'm just a little puzzled why your getting the frame rate drop.... So I read through you initial post again and noticed you'd written the you had 'upgraded' to win 7... If this is the case then your solution probably lies in doing a clean install.. We have had many posts from users like yourself who have upgraded and are getting problems..The solution is almost always a clean install. Even microsoft are now saying that a clean install is the only way to go....

No, unfortunately by upgrade I mean it's a new OS. I did a complete format of the drive (should have used DBAN but didn't have a spare disc) and then did a fresh install of Windows 7.

Something just occurred to me. During the whole driver install I did have one major issue. The motherboard cd would not autoplay so I had to go in and start the setup manually. One thing I had forgotten was that there were no drivers available on the CD - that entire tab is blank. I'm thinking it might be the lack of drivers but, I would think there would be more issues other than a low framerate in graphically intense applications. I've checked their website however, the only drivers I can think of trying would be the chipset drivers. The rest are audio (which I've take care of) or drive related.

Would the Vista drivers work? They don't offer any particularly for Windows 7.

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Windows Forum Admin
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Yes if you can't find ones for 7 then vista should be fine...

No such luck from the Vista drivers - they wouldn't even install properly. I did find my chipset and use Intel's driver install. Following the restart, there has been no change in my video performance according to the video test. As a side note I'm a little disappointed with MSI's support.

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Windows Forum Admin
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I know it's got to be something relatively simple , a setting or a driver that's been missed as your basically up and running apart from this 'hiccup'...
Is the motherboard bios up to date?

No, it's actually still using the original BIOS which according to CPUID is from late 2006.

As an update, while the graphical testers don't show improvement after the chipset drivers were installed, I'm actually experiencing better framerates from in game. It's not a huge improvement, but I'm running around in the mid 20's and only dipping down to 14-15 FPS for short periods of time rather than stuttering about for minutes on end at 10-12 FPS and peaking in standard areas at 17-20. In the calmer areas I'm still capping out around 32 FPS, so I'm not sure if it's really better or not.

As far as the BIOS update, I'm not quite sure how to do one; I never had to flash a BIOS before. As such, I'm really hesitant to do so.

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