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Something is wrong with my BABY!! - a challenge

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May 16, 2007 10:27:11 PM

Well, I have been very frustrated over the past week. My 6 month old build (core2 2gb ram etc) has been hanging up.

It is overclocked, but has been stable for the whole time. Temps are fine.

every 5-15 minutes or so i get a few second hangup, where i cant click anything etc.

I tried dumping my temp files (saw that somewhere) and reset my page file.

As well as the hangups, (i always have music playing) occasionaly it stalls. As in the music slows down to like 1/5 speed. Sllllloooooowwwwww distorted sound comes out.

No dice.


Ive run multiple virus/spyware checks. No luck. Im afraid it could be hardware. I dont think it is the harddrive though, no clicking or high pitched squeeling etc.

Does this sound familiar? This is killer.

sorry for the long post, but i figured i would let you know everything i do.

More about : wrong baby challenge

May 16, 2007 10:31:51 PM

Yes, it sounds very familiar. Could be your USB drivers, if you have USB KB/mouse. In my case (and a couple others) it was my wireless router. Someone was stealing my bandwidth. Might not be the case here.
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
May 16, 2007 11:21:57 PM

I would bet on a software problem. Start up the system monitor and see what tasks are active when the problem occurs.
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May 16, 2007 11:24:25 PM

Stealing wifi lol. My buddy in an apt hadn't set up at least WEP for like months until I looked at his router. We're doing WEP OPEN for compatiblity & less speed penalty. WPA2 would be best & slow.

I suggest you save & put down the o/c values, then load defaults, & see if it solves the problem. If you're using the mobo's overclocking feature, DUMP IT! ASUS & MSI & GIGABYTE have dynamic overclocking which speeds up & slows down the cpu depending on the cpu temp. Static overclocking means punching in fixed values in the bios.
May 17, 2007 1:29:10 AM

alright.... well i killed my oc (which was done properly, im not a noob- im just in panic mode).

removed all recent drivers

problem still exists.


on the monitor, even during the seize ups, usage is never more than 30%. it does seem to happen when i open/close things, but i cant be sure.

could it be my ram going bad? opening/closing problems would be taking things in/out of memory, but i dont see why itunes would f* up.
May 17, 2007 1:57:41 AM

I think ive found the problem, but i dont know how to solve it.

my first core runs 5x slower than my second core. I found this when i ran an audio converter progam that uses both cores, and the song being converted on core 1 goes WAY slower.

sure...i do have backround progs that are using core1, but it shouldnt be this big of a deal.

i could be totally wrong here, but it seems logical. core1 sucks all of a sudden, programs get screwed when it needs to be used.

Am i most likely way off? if not, what should i do about this? is somehting limiting core 1? is my chip going bad?
May 17, 2007 6:44:13 PM

eh...bump? i was hoping this would be and interesting break from the rate my build posts.
May 17, 2007 7:19:52 PM

Honestly with the steps that you have taken so far I would format your HDD and do a fresh install on it. Make sure your motherboard/chipset drivers are up to date. I would also try running memtest on your memroy. It kinda sounds like your mem controller isn't working correctly.
May 17, 2007 7:47:28 PM

Quote:
I think ive found the problem, but i dont know how to solve it.

my first core runs 5x slower than my second core. I found this when i ran an audio converter progam that uses both cores, and the song being converted on core 1 goes WAY slower.

sure...i do have backround progs that are using core1, but it shouldnt be this big of a deal.

i could be totally wrong here, but it seems logical. core1 sucks all of a sudden, programs get screwed when it needs to be used.

Am i most likely way off? if not, what should i do about this? is somehting limiting core 1? is my chip going bad?


Five times slower? Only time I've seen a cpu run that slow was when the internal cache was disabled in BIOS. I'd try running prime 95 on both cores at once. See if core two is really beating core 1 all that bad. If you DL prime 95 and give this a shot google 'dual core prime 95 for directions on running seperately on two cores. It's easy.

I have had mysterious hang ups and slowdowns which I only solved via a reinstall of windows, or perhaps a system resore to an earlier time. May be easier than struggling to find an answer.

Since everything was fine for a while it's prolly some buggy or corrupted software. If you still have problem after then maybe it is hardware. Somehow I doubt your CPU has gone bad.
May 17, 2007 7:57:12 PM

Just a question.... do you use FireFox?
May 17, 2007 7:58:47 PM

i had an eerily similar problem with a single-core rig a while ago, and it turned out to be my PSU. i had the random hangs, that seemed like freezes, for no reason. i checked the taskmanager and all that stuff, but there was nothing wrong... and reinstalls didn't help, either.

i believe its a psu problem. is there any way that you could borrow one from a friend or something to test your system stability on?

i really think its PSU, but the thing with the cores is questionable... i don't know that i've ever heard of that, one core running slower than the other... that right there is questionable.

and i use firefox. why?
May 17, 2007 8:10:42 PM

Shut down firefox and that won't happen.

If you have a lot of tabs open (or if you've opened Gmail, or if you've had an instance of FF running for awhile) it will do this thing where it bumps up to 100% CPU time and back down.. very much like the OP is talking about.
May 17, 2007 9:12:33 PM

well... i don't know... i usually have at least 2 tabs open in firefox at all times, and i do know about the spikes that you talk about... however, mine aren't that bad. they certainly aren't bad enough to cause instability or constant hangs, even though my system is significantly worse than the OP's.

however, mr. or ms. OP, you should try to check the task manager and see if any one process is hogging a majority of your system resources, as suggested previously. if there is a specific task or process that spikes and causes instability, then obviously software is at fault. however, if, as with my problem, there is no spiking of resource usage, perhaps your PSU IS to blame.

good luck, either way
May 17, 2007 9:18:03 PM

well i do have firefox, but really, ive had that for YEARS, and the problem just started a week ago.

I too doubt my cpu has gone bad, but i know my computer is basically free of buggy/corrupted software.

ill test prime95 and ill swap in my bro's psu. i know my psu has plenty of juice (hyper type r) and my bro has an antec smartpower 4xx or 5xx cant remember, but should work.


It feels like cpu usage has been bumped to 100, but taskmanager doesnt show it, and im not doing any process that should use that much cpu. itunes, aim, azureus, and firefox. my computer has always handled it fine, and it certainly should!
May 17, 2007 9:19:36 PM

It's only been since the last update that FF has been screwing my computer...
May 17, 2007 9:30:09 PM

yep. this sounds SO MUCH like my problem its not even funny. it felt like my system was grinding to a hault, but according to taskman, everything was fine. i thought something was dead, extensively tested my ram, and only fixed it with a different PSU.

i think its just that as PSUs begin to go bad, they start framing every other component in your computer so you think the whole thing is messed up... my old psu should have had enough juice, and worked fine for a few months, but then created my terrible stability issues... hopefully it is your PSU and not something worse :wink:
May 17, 2007 10:04:40 PM

ok after reading nearly all the posts, quite quickly might have overlooked any, i would say that u must re install your windows and the problem will go away. and this time watch what u install. maybe a software u installed lead to this problem. anyways reinstall the windows and the problem must go away.
May 17, 2007 10:18:54 PM

i'm all for that too, but AFTER some tests are run to prevent a reinstall. i personally have good backups, and kind of enjoy wiping my hdd, but it is a big deal, and could possibly be avoided in this case. i suggest going ahead with other testing (prime 95, different PSU, and whatever else) BEFORE wiping, because if the current install can be saved, then thats one less thing to worry about.

so, a reinstall would be a good idea afterwords, if other things don't work out.
May 17, 2007 10:23:01 PM

ur right but as far as i have experienced is that this is more of a software problem, so reinstalling the windows can do the job. and there is no need to format the whole hdd, just format the windows partition and reinstall in that partition. things will run faster, like a butter.
May 17, 2007 10:50:46 PM

Reinstalling windows should be your second to last choice, right before buying a new PC. Sure it'll cure it for a while, but that's not really trying to figure out the problem. Sounds like some piece of buggy software, maybe Firefox, I was having a similar issue myself and chalked it up to interference with my wireless mouse.
May 17, 2007 11:09:35 PM

Your audio slows down?! That's bizarre. iTunes must be coded weird. In winamp your music either plays or it stalls. Never plays slowly.

Why are you asking us if your memory is going bad? Boot into memtest and run a full pass. This will let you know if your memory is working without any software getting in the way.

Don't "guess" about what the background tasks might be doing to affect your CPU stress tests, turn them off and run the test a couple times in a row. Two instances of Prime95 setting the CPU affinity in task manager would be an easy way to do it. Is one particular core always slower than the other?

If both of those tests check out ok (they should since changing the clock speed had no affect on the problem) it's a software problem. Unless you find some evidence of very bizarre hardware failure you should ignore the odd results from itunes since playing music is a real-time task and itunes is not doing it in real time I would conclude itunes is not making proper real-time checks on how fast it's playing the music. If something screwed up and left a music player with not enough processing power to play music in real time it should just stop playing while it buffers IMO AFAIK. I would guess a software problem is either with core IO system drivers or with the OS. You have a dual core system. Maxing out one of the cores should not cause significant hangs.

Are you running any multi-threaded apps in the background? F@H SMP perhaps?

I've seen the problem with firefox maxing out CPU in ubuntu but not in windows. But in a dual core system you wouldn't even notice that happening.

Try updating drivers.

Try to replicate the problem with the fewest number of applications running as possible. Does it only happen while running itunes? Only while running firefox? What if you used a different music player and browser instead?

Try booting into Puppy Linux (linux distro that loads from a "live" CD and then runs entirely from RAM) and doing your web browsing from there for awhile and see what happens. You need to rule out software as a cause and test your hardware, you can't do that while you're running the software that is suspected to be the cause and right now the prime suspect is your OS.
May 17, 2007 11:13:52 PM

This may sound stupid actually it does but anyway.

There has been a bit of a problem where I work where windows update causes the svchost service to max out and causes 100 cpu usage.

Just try disabling windows update breifly and see if that works its probably not the same problem but its an easy thing to test.
May 17, 2007 11:14:12 PM

This may sound stupid actually it does but anyway.

There has been a bit of a problem where I work where windows update causes the svchost service to max out and causes 100 cpu usage.

Just try disabling windows update breifly and see if that works its probably not the same problem but its an easy thing to test.


Oops sorry bout the double post I'm impatient what can I say.
May 17, 2007 11:16:32 PM

The first thing I would do would be to run Memtest for at least 2 hrs.

the other suggestions are also very good
May 17, 2007 11:51:19 PM

Quote:
Reinstalling windows should be your second to last choice, right before buying a new PC. Sure it'll cure it for a while, but that's not really trying to figure out the problem. Sounds like some piece of buggy software, maybe Firefox, I was having a similar issue myself and chalked it up to interference with my wireless mouse.


yes, EXACTLY. just what i was saying. run some tests (prime95, memtest, look @ taskman to see if svchost is crazy-ing, try new PSU) before wiping. reinstalling takes time that the op may not have. true, so does tinkering around and running tests, but what if the OP doesn't have his/her hdd partitioned? the thing is, i've reinstalled pointlessly sometimes, realizing the OS WASN'T the problem afterwards, and thats just plain frustrating.
May 18, 2007 12:30:55 AM

hmm memtest and prime95 run fine (over an hour each).

im reinstalling some drivers that could be buggy (soundcard). after this i guess it will be down to hardware.
May 18, 2007 12:48:05 AM

Quote:
hmm memtest and prime95 run fine (over an hour each).

im reinstalling some drivers that could be buggy (soundcard). after this i guess it will be down to hardware.


So Prime 95 runs equally well on either core?
May 18, 2007 2:01:29 AM

Quote:
hmm memtest and prime95 run fine (over an hour each).

im reinstalling some drivers that could be buggy (soundcard). after this i guess it will be down to hardware.


*deep breath*

You're talking an hour of some of the most demanding tasks you could possibly throw at your computer and you say they both work fine, but web browsing and playing some music is too much for them? Indicators still suggest software as the prime suspect. CPU and Memory seem fine. Other IO hardware might be to blame but they are the things least likely to fail. Ussually if an integrated sound, network, or drive controller goes bad the whole motherboard become inoperable so it's likely that your hardware is fine. I've seen a few motherboards where just the integrated NIC, inegrated video, or integrated sound is bad and if you disabled them in BIOS and used and add-in card instead they worked fine, but I've seen far more motherboards that weren't stable enough to boot into the OS no matter what I did to them.

Try reinstalling drivers (even if there aren't updates reinstall the latest version) for network, drive controllers (ide and/or sata), and sound card and update anything else that has an update available. Disable onboard stuff in BIOS if you aren't using it to rule it out (FDD port, parallel port, serial port, are common candidates).

If that doesn't work THEN I would start worrying about obscure and hard-to-detect hardware problems and start considering if I wanted to try disassembling my entire computer, cleaning contacts, and reassembling it and then reinstalling windows if that didn't work or reinstalling windows first, then reassembly, then another reinstallation of windows.

Also, there is the possibility that there could be multiple failures...

But stop having such a guilty conscience about OCing. You stress tested it. It ran fine for months. Unless you didn't have adequate cooling there's no reason it should have quite working and even then it probably wouldn't be subtle failure.
May 18, 2007 2:55:45 AM

i used tat to crank the cores, and the 100% workload is NOT WHAT I AM EXPERIENCING. i get a total seize, not "lag". i am typing this now as my cpu is at 100% (due to tat stress testing), though slow, it works.

Im not guilty about ocing, im 99% sure it has nothing to do with my problem.

I would reformat but A) not partitioned hd B) i have another drive coming in a week, so i probably will end up reformatting then anyways (back up files, reformat, one hd for op system and a backup of my music, another for everything).

I reinstalled my soundcard driver, no dice. Its weird, usually when i f* something up, i can attribute it to something dumb i did. I remember exactly when this began, and theres nothing i can think of that caused it.

I'm in highschool, i have plenty of time 8O but i hate doing redundant stuff. (reinstalling random drivers etc.)
May 18, 2007 3:17:55 AM

If you have a 'system restore' point before the trouble started it would be worth a try before you reformat/reinstall.
May 18, 2007 7:20:52 AM

good thinking, i havent thought of this though. the op must try this. or else one thing is certain thain the time taken in searching the problem has been around two days and surely reinstalling the windows would not have take this much time. i know that this is the last step but right now the problem identification is taking so much time. it is wiser to reinstall windows and this time chk what u installand make restore points so if this happens again then u can restore back to normal. try it.
May 18, 2007 8:25:56 AM

I don't think this has been suggested but apologies if it has....have you tried flashing your mobo with the latest bios from the manufacturers site? I've had pc problems before and it is amazing how many were sorted by a quick bios flash...you could even do this for your graphics card bios as well if the mobo one does not work.

Good luck

Lazarus
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