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OK, so I have just put together a new machine, using all new shiney parts except my graphics card, which I thought would be man enough given that I'm not using this a gaming machine at all.

The graphics card is bringing the Windows Experience Index down considerably (results below), but I am surprised at the effect it appears to be having, so think it might be something else?

The problem I am getting is that rendering actions is slow, for example, opening a new tab in Firefox, or even just typing this question into the browser here. The text is appearing a few seconds after I type it. Opening a new browser tab is not as "instant" as I would expect and scrolling web pages is slightly jerky.

Opening files and programs is lightening fast, as I would expect, but it's these basic user actions that are slow and frustrating.

Any tips gratefully received.

The graphics card is an NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS and drivers are all up to date.

enter image description here

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Is the video card "integrated"? –  jrennie May 14 '12 at 14:24
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No. There is an onboard graphics card, but it only has an HDMI output port, my monitors have VGA or DVI and I have no HDMI to DMI leads, so I can't use the onboard graphics at the moment. –  Jamie Hartnoll May 14 '12 at 14:29
    
Interesting that your NVidia 8400 appears to be sharing video memory. Is your onboard video disabled in your BIOS, or is it active so that you appear to have two display adapters working at the same time? Try going into your BIOS, disabling the onboard video, and setting the amount of shared memory as low as possible. –  Bon Gart May 14 '12 at 14:48
    
OK, I will give that a go. I have only one monitor running right now, but will run two, although the NVIDIA card is capable of running two, so disabling the onboard graphics will be fine. –  Jamie Hartnoll May 14 '12 at 14:53
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Keep in mind that the WEI score is always just the value of the lowest subcategory. It doesn't mean everything else is slow as a result of one heading being low scoring. –  Shinrai May 14 '12 at 14:58

3 Answers 3

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The 8400 GS is going to get you a score somewhere in the 3-4 range (Google it and you will see people reporting various ranges depending on the spec). You can get a much better card for a very small amount of money, or even use the onboard graphics with a DVI/HDMI dongle - actually, most graphics cards come with them for free, I have several at home, so hit up some geeky friends and you can probably source them at no cost.

Given the specs of the rest of your machine, that 8400 GS is definitely going to hold you back, big time. It would definitely be worth your while spending a little money and getting something a little more modern to power your display, especially if you ever want to run any kind of game on it. A sub-$100 card like the Radeon HD6670 will net you a 7.1 WEI score and if you hunt for a bargain you may even get something better.

Go to Tom's Hardware Top Graphics Cards for the Money (May 2012 link), pick your price point and then follow their advice - they have never steered me wrong.

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Good answer. I'll go for a new card ASAP. –  Jamie Hartnoll May 16 '12 at 18:10

While I doubt it's actually slowing your system down, the first thing I would check is that you're running the latest drivers for your graphics card.

Also, check that your CPU isn't overheating and thus under clocking it's self. One time I forgot to plug the CPU fan in on a computer I built and this would happen shortly after boot up.

Finally, if nothing else, the Gigabyte Z68AP-D3 has onboard video (I believe it's HDMI only IIRC, but a HDMI -> DVI adaptor should work) so you could try that without the graphics card in. If anything it could be a BIOS issue, but that's just a shot in the dark.

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Definitely got the latest drivers going. The CPU fan is also definitely working properly. I was quite careful about cooling when building this machine, it's in a pretty large rack case with a huge CPU fan, plenty of ventilation and two pretty decent case fans. –  Jamie Hartnoll May 14 '12 at 14:17
    
I love how modern processors have all these failsafe things built in so they die very hard. –  sinni800 May 14 '12 at 18:42

Recently I had an issue with the video drivers on one of the machines I maintain, lots of hardware interrupts were happening in the background. When checking the task manager, the total CPU usage would appear to be about 45-50%, but when sorted by CPU usage, there were no active programs using CPU resources. The processor usage for these items can be seen in process explorer.

This caused everything to act sluggish. In my case the solution was to allow windows update to get the proper Nvidia driver and install it (for whatever reason the most recent version I was trying to use was not fixing, or was causing the issue). I simply removed them via add/rem programs, rebooted, then did a windows update after enabling 3rd party updates.

It seems the onboard video is pulling some memory, but there could be some sort of issue with it being active at the same time as an addin. I'd give a shot to disabling the onboard video in BIOS, then go down the driver list for the other devices.

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