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Extremely slow computer

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November 11, 2008 10:23:38 PM

Hi everyone, I'm having a pretty big PC problem that I'm pretty sure is hardware related but I can't narrow it down to anything specifically.

A couple of months ago I got a virus and reformatted my computer. In my haste to backup my music and pictures to a separate hard drive I accidentally left the sata connector for my main hard drive slightly ajar. After reinstalling windows it was running unbearably slow (took about 4 hours just to install) and would take upwards of several minutes to start up and boot into windows as opposed to the normal 15-20 seconds and would be extremely unresponsive once booted. I figured it was my hard drive and got a new one recently (I'm a poor college kid) expecting to have a clean install and no issues, but I'm having the exact same problems. It still takes a long time to boot into windows, and when it does it is unbearably slow.

Normally my computer ran like a champ (for being a couple years old):

DFI Lanparty UT NF590 SLI-M2R/G
BFG Tech GeForce 7950GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16
CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s
Pioneer Black 16X DVD+R

I've had RAM issues before, but that was always random restarts, problems booting, BSOD's etc. My problem is just EXTREME slowness, and I can't narrow it down to anything other than it NOT being the hard drive. Any help or advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!
November 12, 2008 12:50:56 AM

Run Memtest for a few hours and see if it comes up with anything. You could also try removing a stick of ram and see if that fixs the problem. Its possible one stick is failing and slooooowwing dooowwwn.
November 12, 2008 1:07:59 AM

I had the same issue, but mine might be different. It was because I was using IDE cd drives with SATA HDDs. Strange that it may sound... as it should be compatible and should not have affected the drives. Swapping to SATA cd drives solved my problems.
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a c 117 à CPUs
November 12, 2008 1:21:59 AM

skeletonghost, how fast is your CPU running and how much memory is detected in the BIOS? Is everything else normal in the BIOS? That's where I would start.

Have you tried connecting the hard disk to a different port? Does the PC boot faster from a CD or DVD (I assume that you might have one, even though you didn't list any)?
November 12, 2008 1:49:36 AM

there are a few people you can check with(Zorg, Shadow703793)
Both of these people are good and can help you out
November 12, 2008 2:28:27 AM

Zecow said:
I had the same issue, but mine might be different. It was because I was using IDE cd drives with SATA HDDs. Strange that it may sound... as it should be compatible and should not have affected the drives. Swapping to SATA cd drives solved my problems.


Did you have problems suddenly or was it a problem from the start? If that IS the case for me it would be pretty spontaneous considering it ran fine for a year and a half. I tried unplugging my DVD drive and it didn't do anything...so I'm thinking that it's probably not the problem. Thanks for the advice though :) 
November 12, 2008 3:09:46 AM

try a linux live CD and see if that is slow as well.
November 13, 2008 3:21:42 AM

In response to everything:

I ran memtest for 18 hours with 18 passes, it is safe to say my RAM is okay.
My computer actually froze up trying to load Ubuntu from a cd. WTF?
I ran prime95 for a couple of hours, but it didn't seem to be working, it was on test #1 the whole time....
I used EuroSoft and did a Video Card, CPU and Mobo stress test and ALL of it passed. I have exhausted all of my ideas.

I did go into my bios and noticed my CPU was a little hot, around 55C, other than that it was clocking in as it should and getting the voltage it should.

Someone shoot me.
a b à CPUs
November 13, 2008 3:41:37 AM

You might try another install. I use 2 ops 1 on 30 trial just 4 OCing that way if it drops files I don't have to do a full install. Some installs will be really crappy.
November 13, 2008 4:27:55 AM

I'll try a reinstall tonight, but I did notice a couple new developments. I tested my cpu with EuroSoft again and the 2nd processor failed the MP symmetry test once, but I tested it a few times and it passed all the others. I'm not sure what that tests exactly, but any fails are never good.
a c 117 à CPUs
November 13, 2008 2:34:04 PM

So far we know that the computer is very slow when booting Windows, a new hard drive and reinstallation didn't resolve the issue (and reinstalling again obviously won't help), the computer froze up trying to load Ubuntu from a CD, etc.

Is your Pioneer Black 16X DVD+R SATA or IDE? If it's SATA, have you tried booting from an IDE device?
November 13, 2008 6:01:43 PM

It's IDE, and I haven't tried booting from a SATA device. However, I did try unplugging it from my motherboard and that didn't help any.
November 13, 2008 6:07:53 PM

unclefester said:
You might try another install. I use 2 ops 1 on 30 trial just 4 OCing that way if it drops files I don't have to do a full install. Some installs will be really crappy.


I cleared my CMOS and reset my bios settings to factory settings AND reinstalled windows and that did nothing. Windows took around 8 hours to install (from partition to first boot).
November 13, 2008 7:16:17 PM

Confusing to say the least. I doubt that you damaged the CPU, but I don't know about the mobo.

Try running HD Tune and post the results.

Also, I found that you have a separate controller, as per this.

Source

Quote:
Six Serial ATA ports supported by NVIDIA® MCP55PXE
- SATA speed up to 3Gb/s
- RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1 and RAID 5
Two Serial ATA ports supported by Silicon Image SiI 3132
- SATA speed up to 3Gb/s
- RAID 0, RAID 1 and RAID 0+1
I don't know for sure whether these are bootable or if they work JBOD but look in your manual and see. If they are usable then you might be able to switch to them, assuming your HD Tune results are bad.

Also go into device manager for the HD controller and check to see that you are running DMA and not PIO. This is less likely due to the reloads, but something to check.
a c 117 à CPUs
November 13, 2008 7:36:51 PM

Reinstalling Windows will not resolve your issue. Use CPU-Z to provide us with the following info:

- CPU Core Speed, Multiplier, Bus Speed and Rated FSB.
- Memory Timings.

November 14, 2008 6:18:35 PM

Good thought, download and run Process Explorer v11.21. Click on the CPU header and look for high CPU load.
November 15, 2008 5:00:47 PM

Zorg said:
Confusing to say the least. I doubt that you damaged the CPU, but I don't know about the mobo.

Try running HD Tune and post the results.

Also, I found that you have a separate controller, as per this.

Source

Quote:
Six Serial ATA ports supported by NVIDIA® MCP55PXE
- SATA speed up to 3Gb/s
- RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1 and RAID 5
Two Serial ATA ports supported by Silicon Image SiI 3132
- SATA speed up to 3Gb/s
- RAID 0, RAID 1 and RAID 0+1
I don't know for sure whether these are bootable or if they work JBOD but look in your manual and see. If they are usable then you might be able to switch to them, assuming your HD Tune results are bad.

Also go into device manager for the HD controller and check to see that you are running DMA and not PIO. This is less likely due to the reloads, but something to check.


benchmarks:

Transfer Rate:
Minimum: 11.4 MB/sec
Maximum: 18.8 MB/sec
Average: 16.5 MB/sec

Access Time: 14.2 ms

Burst Rate: 25.7 MB/sec
CPU Usage: 79.2%

Those two other SATA ports weren't bootable. I am running DMA.
November 15, 2008 5:17:22 PM

Your read numbers are in the tank, and something is causing the CPU to get hammered. That is a classic PIO problem, but if you checked then ok.

Run the Sysinternals Process Explorer linked above and find out that's eating the processor cycles.
November 15, 2008 5:17:32 PM

GhislainG said:
Reinstalling Windows will not resolve your issue. Use CPU-Z to provide us with the following info:

- CPU Core Speed, Multiplier, Bus Speed and Rated FSB.
- Memory Timings.


I couldn't find the rated FSB, maybe you have a better eye than me

Here are the speeds:
CPU Core speed: 2210.3 MHZ
Multiplier: X11
Bus Speed: 200.9 MHz

Memory timings:
DRAM Frequency 368.4 MHz
FSB:D ram: CPU/6
CAS # Latency: 5.0
RAS # to CAS #: 5
RAS # Precharge: 5
Cycle Time: 18
Bank Cycle Time: 23
Command Rate: 2T
November 15, 2008 5:51:32 PM

Zorg said:
Your read numbers are in the tank, and something is causing the CPU to get hammered. That is a classic PIO problem, but if you checked then ok.

Run the Sysinternals Process Explorer linked above and find out that's eating the processor cycles.


My CPU seems to be at a constant usage of AT least 60%, though in windows task manager it fluctuates frequently from 15-100%...

Sysinternals process explorer shows:

scchost.exe: 50%-67%
Procexplorer was taking up around 15-16%
and the system idle process was taking 11-18%
services.exe 10.80%

I double checked to make sure my hard drive wasn't PIO.
a c 117 à CPUs
November 15, 2008 6:15:17 PM

If you wait for several minutes, does svchost.exe eventually stop using the CPU that much? If so, then does the system perform normally?
November 15, 2008 6:28:39 PM

GhislainG said:
If you wait for several minutes, does svchost.exe eventually stop using the CPU that much? If so, then does the system perform normally?


It seems to go down every once in awhile, and if I leave it alone long enough it doesn't eat up any cpu usage. However, even simple processes like IE or firefox sometimes take up 60%, so I never notice an increase in performance.
a c 117 à CPUs
November 15, 2008 7:49:13 PM

Could you launch Task manager, select the Performance tab and post it here?
November 15, 2008 8:02:56 PM

Totals:
Handles: 5088
Threads: 273
Processes: 20

Commit Charge:
Total: 164612
Limit: 4037808
Peak: 289032

Physical Memory:
Total: 2095532
Available 1778908~1779308
System Cache: 1486952

Kernel Memory:
Total: 56404~56412
Paged: 33808
Nonpaged:22648

CPU Usage: usually about 59-61% and I have nothing open, though windows is downloading updates.


November 15, 2008 8:15:53 PM

skeletonghost said:
My CPU seems to be at a constant usage of AT least 60%, though in windows task manager it fluctuates frequently from 15-100%...

Sysinternals process explorer shows:

scchost.exe: 50%-67%
Procexplorer was taking up around 15-16%
and the system idle process was taking 11-18%
services.exe 10.80%

I double checked to make sure my hard drive wasn't PIO.
Totally screwy.

Process Explorer should be taking nothing or less than 1%.

Click on the Process header and move the mouse over the svchost.exe (I assume you meant svchost and not scchost) that is stealing cycles, it will give you more information. You can also double click it to get even more information.
November 15, 2008 8:53:38 PM

Yeah, I meant svchost. Right now it's not taking any cycles, but the update is taking 50% and system idle process is 30%. These are processes which shouldn't be taking up much at all. Do you think I could just have cpu with a failing core?
November 15, 2008 8:53:56 PM

1) You said that you left a SATA connector "ajar" before experiencing sudden performance problems. Have you tried swapping SATA cables and bouncing them around the different bootable SATA slots? Motherboards usually come with at least two SATA cables.

If you're forced to use IDE, make sure the hard drive connector is an 80-pin version, in contrast to the 40-pin CD cables. The striations on the 80-pin cable are twice as dense.

2) Individually unplug and re-seat all power and data connections to/from the motherboard. Reroute anything that might get in the way of fans or seems prone to falling back off due to pressure from obstacles. During this step, look for burnt connector tips - evidence of a power surge through one of the low voltage supply lines.

3) Leave the case open. Try to start up Windows. Check that all fans (other than on the video card) eventually start spinning - do any of them twitch and never really turn on?

If none of these steps work, the motherboard Southbridge may have been damaged. Remember that hot-swapping IDE and SATA devices on a desktop motherboard can cause permanent damage. Good news is that a replacement AM2/+ motherboard is fairly cheap.
November 15, 2008 9:47:36 PM

I swapped out the SATA cable and tried a different SATA slot (slot 6 instead of 1), but I didn't try each and every one individually.

I have actually taken my computer completely apart and used a can of air to clean all the fans and parts individually. I never noticed any burnt connectors on my mobo. Air flow should be okay, though not GREAT. I have noticed my cpu is running pretty hot (56C idle) in my bios, and I'm not feeling any hot air blowing out of the back. All my fans work though.
a c 117 à CPUs
November 15, 2008 11:07:56 PM

After reinstalling Windows, you should let the update complete. It's normal for svchost to be busy for a while after booting.
November 16, 2008 12:50:20 AM

I hope you got the high svshost numbers before you did the update, which was a foolish thing to do, given the state of affairs.

Did you double click on the offender?
November 16, 2008 1:01:36 AM

Yeah, but nothing came down. Not in windows task managers anyhow. I could try sysinternals.

The updates are just the windows automatic updates. I haven't turned them off, but maybe I should considering the state of my computer. The svchost numbers seem high usually for about an hour (this is a rough guess) of me booting my computer.
a c 117 à CPUs
November 16, 2008 1:36:50 AM

I edited my post becaused I missed your reply. From what I can see, Task Manager is normal. Since your system currently uses so little memory, can you disable virtual memory (No paging file)?
November 16, 2008 2:37:58 AM

skeletonghost said:
I could try sysinternals.
[Deleted for non-responsive]
Did you double click on the on the offender?

This is either a bad HD, bad mobo or bad OS. I'm going for bad mobo, although I can't understand a cocked SATA cable causing it to fail.

Did you try to load Linux with all unused drives and USBs etc. uninstalled? That would rule out HD and OS, that leaves... mobo, it is very unlikely it is the CPU.

Actually, if the controller wasn't looking for the drive, then you might not see the failure. You need to get another drive and plug it in temporarily, after you get a clean boot of Linux, of course. Not hot, with a reboot. I know you know better, but I had to clear it.
November 16, 2008 4:18:04 PM

GhislainG said:
I edited my post becaused I missed your reply. From what I can see, Task Manager is normal. Since your system currently uses so little memory, can you disable virtual memory (No paging file)?


I just tried and it ran just as slow.
November 16, 2008 5:36:07 PM

Quote:
LOL, it's so funny to come back here and see how stupid you all are.


OK...well thank you so much for telling us all what the problem is, Almighty one.
a c 117 à CPUs
November 16, 2008 6:03:36 PM

I'd say that either the motherboard or the CPU is defective. Can you have your components tested at a shop?

It would obviously be nice of xtremecpu to provide the solution.
November 16, 2008 6:40:54 PM

GhislainG said:
I'd say that either the motherboard or the CPU is defective. Can you have your components tested at a shop?

It would obviously be nice of xtremecpu to provide the solution.


That's what I've been thinking most of the time, but I haven't been able to narrow it down. The consensus on here seems to be that it's my mobo, I'll take my cpu to a shop and have them test it, obviously if it's working okay on a different computer it's probably safe to say it's my mobo.

Zorg, I'll try your advice ASAP, I'll have to borrow a friends drive.
November 22, 2008 9:06:56 PM

I vote bad SATA HD. I had a problem much like that last month on my Athlon64-3800+. I have it loaded with HDs on a Gigabyte K8N-SLI MB, and the culprit was a fairly new Seagate 500GB SATA II drive. It was declared flaky by Windows at this time. What was happening is that a few minutes after booting up I got a lot of 100% CPU usage by Explorer. I did not have any Explorer window open to the drive at the time, and was not running any program referencing the drive, and do not allow any indexing of files, so the drive should have been inactive. My theory is the Win XP Pro was checking drive status in normal kernal housekeeping, and got read errors on the drive. I removed the drive and all problems disappeared, but I have not tried recovering the files yet. I suspect many are recoverable, but expect Windows to freak out when it finds the drive present.

My plan is to try access thru a USB adapter. Maybe the OS will not be so picky there. Maybe SMART would have helped me anticipate the failure, but this MB did not seem to have SMART available. I later found that it only shows up in Setup after you enable advanced control mode, by pressing ctrl-F1. This is not documented in any prominant spot I found.
December 4, 2008 6:24:53 PM

Well it wasn't my CPU, and I'm trying a new hard drive later today. I'm voting bad mobo at this point.
November 11, 2009 6:29:34 AM

This issue can be caused by any of the below possibilities
1 Several software programs have been installed/uninstalled leaving behind bad files and/or confusing the software.
2 Data Corruption.
3 Corrupt OS.
4 Bad Hardware.
You can try ErrorFix, it can easily speedup your PC. http://www.make-pc-faster.com/
December 20, 2010 11:18:23 PM

Amazing article with a lot of useful information, actually, recently I've found another way to speed up my poor PC, the software "tuneup360". It’s very easy to handle and of course very powerful, my friends and I all use it now, maybe you can have a try.
!