K6-2 CPU performance reduced by 50% because of USB 2 card

Recently I found that my K6 system was running slow in some games, the mouse was for example lagging and games like C&C Red Alert were unexpectedly slow. So I ran a 3DMark 2001 benchmark with the default setting and got this, 1312 points. This is not normal for such a system.

One change I recently made was to add an USB-2 PCI card (NEC chipset) to my system so I can use faster USB keys to transfer data around. Could it be the problem? I went to the device manager and disabled the card under Windows XP. After a reboot I ran the benchmark again…1990 points this time. This is a huge difference.

Going even further, I physically removed the card and ran the benchmark once again, this time 2011 points! That’s around 55% increase in performance and it was all due to the USB 2 controller, even when nothing was connected to it.

So beware if you add hardware to your system…All the benchmarks were run 2 times and the results were close, so it’s not a fluke. And my system feels responsive again.

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