Hey there. I recently came back from a 2 week break and booted my computer up to find an insanely long load time for Vista. I loaded up World of Warcraft and Starcraft separately, and was unable to load both maps in SC2, and any character anywhere in WoW. This computer is about 2 and a half years old, but I've kept it in good condition, run it at factory specs (no OC'ing), and kept it very dust free. I recently upgraded it slightly with a NVidia 430 GT (I have a strict budget, sadly) and had to install a fresh partition of Vista. This computer used to be a prebuilt HP Pavilion, but it was higher end for the time and came with brand name parts instead of no-name or outdated components. I've not used it much for about a year because I had made a laptop for gaming, and the video card that came with the HP was terrible and burnt out because of the manufacturer.
Essentially, I came back to slow load times for everything. I never did specifically find the problem with my Hard Disk, but I know for a fact that my initial problems were related to it. I found a temporary fix involving changing the SATA cord from the disk to the mobo and putting it in a different Master SATA socket on the mobo. The first boot, it worked and the computer loaded at the speed it should. I played WoW for about an hour and then started experiencing intense pausing and stuttering when I entered combat, loaded the map, or opened any windows in the game. I restarted, and the problem resurfaced.
Then, I installed the latest Intel storage driver (an updated version of the one that was already installed either from Vista's default drivers or the Western Digital using some sort of plug and play install) and I've not yet seen the same lag. The load times are a little slower (barely noticeable compared to the first time I booted), but now I have stuttering in my games.
I've got fully updated drivers for everything I can think of and an updated chipset. I still have the stuttering, but the intense lag seems to have gone, even in combat or anything CPU intensive.
Thanks again in advance.
Also please keep in mind; I'd like to explore all the options before I pay for a new Hard Disk. I don't have a lot of money to piss around, so I want to make sure that's the issue.