I was having some huge performance problems playing Call of Duty 2 and Age of Empires III with my ATI Radeon 9800 Pro. I downloaded the latest drivers, had the latest version of DirectX, and had everything turned off on my machine (Virus Scan, Datakeeper, etc). Not only was it bad performance, but often the machine would completely lockup and I’d have to manually reset it. To play Call of Duty 2 without performance problems I had to turn anti-aliasing off and turn the resolution down to 800×600. I realize the 9800 Pro is not a new card, but with a gig of RAM and 2500+ CPU, it should not be that bad.
I decided to uninstall my drivers and reinstall them from scratch, and booya! It worked. I’m back up to 1024×768 with anti-aliasing at 2X. So, if you’ve installed your new drivers over your old drivers and are experiencing performance problems, it is definitely worth a try to uninstall the drivers and then install the latest ones.
In the process of fixing this, I did consider upgrading my machine since it has been a year since I’ve done any upgrading. If I were to upgrade my graphics card though, I would have to also upgrade my motherboard to one that supports PCI-Express graphics card, and upgrade my processor to one that is supported by the motherboard (AMD 64). That’s about a thousand dollar upgrade, yikes!