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bad performance with fast computer

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October 5, 2008 10:00:20 PM

my specs are
e8400 @ 3ghz (eist, c1e off)
2gb 800mhz A-data ram
EVGA 780i Motherboard
EVGA 8800GTX
32bit windows XP
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 160gb 7200rpm SATA 3gb/s internal HD(8mb cache)

4Mbps DSL connection

i would expect this computer of mine to be fast but ever since i got it its been slow it
seems. I'm running PC Wizard 2008 all day, i turned off c1e and eist, and my computer is
always running at 3 ghz... but it when using my computer, it doesn't seem any faster than a
2ghz single core. just browsing around my computer files doing simple file operations my
computer is kinda slow and stutters at times (freezes for a few secs then returns to
normal), same with my internet browser--sometimes it takes (IE v7) 4+ seconds to close a tab
(it freezes up a bit), which is absolutely unacceptable given that the websites I go to are
MSN and NFL.com. I'm real fast at scrolling around performing all the things i do on my
computer and I'd expect my wolfdale to keep up with me. I just yesterday reinstalled Windows
and all the sites I've been to since then are clean (McAfee says so). I can run Crysis on
Very High settings with x8 AA and not get a stutter but i attribute that performance mainly
to my beefy graphics card.
I have scanned for viruses = none
i have scanned for spyware = removed some non-critical items = no performance boost
does anyone have any ideas??
October 5, 2008 10:22:32 PM

I think it may have to do with the hard drive. It stutters because it is loading information and the HD has a low IO performance, or it may just be bad.
October 5, 2008 11:31:37 PM

I was thinking hard drive as well.
Related resources
October 5, 2008 11:54:11 PM

That drive gets average read of 50-60MB/sec., which should not cause stuttering, but it could be bad. Get the DOS bootable Seatools and test it.
October 6, 2008 12:45:27 AM

I used HD Tach to test my hdd and these are the results
random access: 16.9ms (this is a little high isnt it?
average read: 60.7 mb/s
CPU utilization 25 (+/- 2%)
burst speed: 243.3mb/s

the chart dips alot but most notably in performance from 75mb/s at 23gb to 27mb/s at 26gb, which coincidentally is around the amount of space im using on this hdd at the moment

i consulted PC Wizard 2008 and it said that my hdd is at 90% health with 84% performance, both estimated.

i tested my hdd using seatools and it passed all the tests

btw, whats IO performance?
October 6, 2008 1:04:14 AM

It's input output performance. A random access of 16.9ms is high and a CPU utilization of 25% is astronomically high, it should be a few percent. Do you have a different model drive to try?

Are all the mobo drivers the latest ones?
October 6, 2008 1:11:27 AM

oh sorry, thats a typo. i meant 2% (+/- 2%)

no i do not have another hdd to try.
my friend suggested i get 64bit XP because itll be faster. is there any truth in that statement to justify shelling out another 99 or so $

there was an nvidia storage driver in the driver update for my motherboard, is this necessary to install? i think it had to do with raid. it said something about raid but it didnt say it was for raid directly

btw: the whole screen doesnt freeze, just the thing im trying to use such as a tab in IE im trying to close and the mouse skips at times
October 6, 2008 1:19:25 AM

CPU usage of 2% is right. No, your problem is not being caused by the 32 bit OS.

That's probably a RAID driver. I assume you have the drive set as IDE.
October 6, 2008 1:24:56 AM

Go into task manager [ctrl - alt - delete]. Under options select always on top. Click on the processes tab. Stretch the window vertically to show all running processes.

Recreate the stuttering and see if a process spikes in CPU usage.
October 6, 2008 1:36:42 AM

clever idea. no luck though. nothing jumped significantly, just a few norton processes with slight jumps. could it be the swap file size? or maybe my ram speed? (800mhz, 2gb)
October 6, 2008 1:47:52 AM

Norton? God help me! That's your problem... just kidding.

So you didn't try the things that caused the stuttering with the base install of the OS, before you started loading all the pig crap into it?

If that's the case there are things we can try.

Run the machine in safe mode with networking and try to duplicate. Safe mode can get a little glitchy on its own, but it may give you some insight.

You can also either uninstall potential problem programs, like Norton etc., or stop them from booting and turn off their services.
October 6, 2008 1:57:15 AM

i only installed 1/2 of the programs i normally use and figure arent causing any problems. I cant uninstall norton or i wont have any virus protection

i dont understand the point of going into safe mode to make it stutter, does it have error reporting in it or something?
October 6, 2008 1:57:43 AM

Norton is a resource hog. Disable Norton and see if it still happens.

AVG Free is better then Noton and uses way less reources.
October 6, 2008 2:00:51 AM

okay...get rid of your norton antivirus, it's crap and it hogs up so much resources on any machine. even if it's not the case of your slowdowns, your system would respond faster with it out

i would recommend for you to use avg antivirus, not a system hog and it is better than norton, there is a free edition out that has free updates.

http://free.avg.com/

October 6, 2008 2:01:15 AM

roadrunner, u beat me to it :p 
October 6, 2008 2:04:11 AM

i disabled norton but i still get stutter. interesting note though, when i make it stutter just browsing through numerous files, explorer.exe takes up some of my CPU, i got it up to 18 just now, then other times at 2
October 6, 2008 2:10:45 AM

The reason to go into safe mode is that it only loads minimal services and programs. If it doesn't stutter you can rule out hardware and concentrate on the programs and services that load in normal mode.

The purpose for shutting down or removing Norton etc, is for testing purposes. I didn't want you to shut them down permanently.

As far as using Norton or having no virus protection at all, even while searching virus laden sites, it's a toss up. :lol: 

Like they said, get AVG free or Avira.

Go to EVGAs site and download the latest drivers for your mobo and install them. Possibly even get the latest BIOS.

October 6, 2008 2:14:49 AM

Have you tried going to pcpitstop and running a free scan of your computer?

http://www.pcpitstop.com/

It might give you some useful information about what is going on with your system.

October 6, 2008 2:28:54 AM

:lol:  Sorry, I couldn't help myself.
October 6, 2008 2:30:59 AM

in safe mode (network) i cant get it to stutter consistently; i mean, sometimes if i exit a large word document and try to quickly enter another one it could freeze momentarily, which is normal? exact same scenario with tabs in IE. this is supposed to be a real fast processor and considering no other background non-windows processes are running, including AIM, WLM, and NORTON, im a little disappointed in my wolfdale =(. i would have hoped it could handle so many of my background programs but maybe its just norton, huh? just browsing around my computer, its fast, for the most part. though its not as fast as i thought it would be just displaying thumbnails in a folder full of my photos. then other times if i just exit a document it might freeze a bit without me trying to enter another document
October 6, 2008 2:39:04 AM

3 things...

1. AVG is terrible virus protection - I agree it's better than Norton, so that makes it the second worst you can do.

2. You mentioned McAfee and Norton, are you running both?

3. How many processes are you running in Task Manager, Windows XP should be about 30, if you're running Norton then 35
October 6, 2008 2:47:45 AM

1. ill try another then if you have anything better.
2. just McAfee SiteAdvisor, not virus protection. i think they have that i just cant find it anywhere
3. 48 before uninstalling Norton (which i am)
October 6, 2008 2:54:10 AM

I didn't think Norton would load in safe mode. If the stutter is ocurring in safe mode it doesn't mean that much. As I said safe mode can be a little glitchy because it's running on minimal drivers/services. It would have meant something if it didn't stutter and that was the reason to try.

I'll say it again, uninstall all programs, except maybe MS office, including Mcafee Site Advisor and anything else you think you need.

At this point I would reload XP and mobo drivers. Test to see if you have the problems. Set a restore point and start updates. Reboot and test between each group of updates, to ensure the problem isn't there. Set a restore point between each group of updates. Continue with the same procedure with the programs.

It's a hassle, but you didn't do the initial reload with any method conducive to finding the problem.
October 6, 2008 3:00:41 AM

oh no, i norton didnt load up in safe mode. i uninstalled norton in normal mode and its still stumbling around like a drunk old man. i meant that in safe mode it didnt stutter as often as it normally does and i could fly around my computer with minimal stutters and slowdowns (many fewer than normal)

so in normal mode you want me to uninstall unnecessary programs? is this to narrow down the list of which programs could be slowing my computer down?

i thought my previous windows got its registry messed up or something..
October 6, 2008 3:06:44 AM

48 processes is quite high....
Go click on "run" in the start menu and type in msconfig, then on the first page of the window that comes up hit "selective startup". Then go to the "startup" tab and uncheck all the junk that you don't want running in the background constantly. And then do a restart.
October 6, 2008 3:22:31 AM

Good, then any chop in safe mode is probably due to the generic VGA driver.

No, you misunderstood me, I said uninstall all added programs, except maybe MS office, one at a time. Reboot and test between each. Start with the big ones. How many programs did you install?

It could even be a printer driver. Try unplugging whatever printer you are using and uninstall the driver and program.

It could also be any USB peripheral you have installed, unplug them all. and remove any associated programs.

Come on, dig man dig. I can guarantee it isn't your CPU.
October 6, 2008 3:27:44 AM

i have two games, two messengers, about 7 utilities (now, haha), and then ms office

i dont know, an e8400 is very very fast, is it? i come from an AMD 3500+ with only 512mb of cache, so maybe im expecting too much..
October 6, 2008 3:31:03 AM

Its probably not the games I don't think they load anything resident. Are they SOE games? What games?

What utilities?
October 6, 2008 3:36:01 AM

Games:
Crysis
ChessMaster X

Utilities:
PC Wizard 2008
Ad-Aware
WinRar
SeaTools
AVG
Nero 7 Essentials
HD Tach
Process Manager 2 Lite
McAfee SiteAdvisor
Google Toolbar
(maybe more than eight :p )

Messengers:
Windows Live Messenger
Aol Instant Messenger

and i also have 2.5gb of personal data
October 6, 2008 3:49:40 AM

I have a E6400 (2yrs old) with 52 processes. I never have stuttering. I can assure you that it is not your processor.

Im still gonna have to go with your Hard drive or some programs. If you have a different OS try installing it on a different partition. If you don't have a free partition try resizing one with Partition Magic. You could also try a linux live cd. These could rule out hardware issues.

It also seems like you don't have to many programs and a low enough amount of data that can be backed up on a dvd. You could try reinstalling.

About the IO of the hard drive. I read an article on either Anand or Toms on SSDs with a Jmicron controller with low IO operations per second. Because of this it would cause the system to studder. Even when using MSN messenger and sending a text it would make the system studder because it had to write the text to a log file.

Edit: Wanted to add that on some system I have repaired Norton was the cause for the F*** up. I would recommend Kaspersky.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 6, 2008 3:50:55 AM

Do this, go to the start menu, then to run, click there, then type msconfig and hit enter. This will bring you to a new window, and select the diagnostic startup. Under the startup tab I think, it will allow you to see what programs start when your computer boots. Disable all of those you do not need, and apply the settings and see if that helps. It will pop up a box with a little box you can check. Check that box when it boots, it should never pop up again.
October 6, 2008 4:02:42 AM

im be ready to reinstall whenever, i didnt create any new data id like to save and i have all my data on a dvd from my previous reinstall of windows just yesterday, but ill follow Zorg's suggestions for now. Reinstalling is a pain and i have the feeling the problem will still be present.

I just uninstalled about 4 programs/15~ and little difference). i reentered safe mode and still theres some slight stuttering at times (but not the slowdown i get in normal mode) which tells me it could be a bad harddrive like Derek suggests

btw (if you didnt read before) im new to these quick processors and i was wondering how much of a slowdown are you supposed to get when you first startup your computer? i mean when you finally get to see youe desktop.
October 6, 2008 4:10:53 AM

Do you by any chance have an HD controller? Is all chipset drivers up to date? Also try unplugging unnecessary peripherals.

My systems keyboard was messed up one time and was causing explore.exe to use all the power it could get and lock my computer up for 10 seconds when certain keys where pressed. I tried a new keyboard and it fixed it. This probably isn't your problem but its a good example of what peripherals could mess up.

When my windows install was new with probably 10GB of extra programs installed the loading bar would swipe twice and I wouldn't see the login screen, it would go straight to desktop. Now a little over a year after the install and 130GB of programs and games on my boot drive it takes 12 swipes but still goes straight to desktop. However the system is slow to do much for 30 seconds because it is loading background tasks.
October 6, 2008 4:17:41 AM

no, i dont think i have an HD controller. my video card drivers are not up to date. my motherboard drivers are, bios i dont know.

I just unplugged my keyboard, no difference. i plugged it back in and now my backspace button noticably only delete one letter at a time when you hold it down (you know that normally if you hold it down it speed up deletion of characters)

i just noticed so i dont know, could have gotten messed up a few minutes ago, who knows. it wasnt like that yesterday, or a few hours ago, thats for sure.
October 6, 2008 4:18:50 AM

I would have to go with my previous post to install XP again. I haven't payed much attention to SecuRom and it's negative effects. I have only heard about it screwing up some CD/DVD drives. I wouldn't put the stuttering HD past it though. I think the version in Crysis is not as bad as some of the others, but like I said I don't know.

As far as I know SecuRom will not be uninstalled if you uninstall the game. Apparently there are a few versions out there so it is hard to manually remove and be sure you got it all. I think some have associated rootkits and some don't. Like I said I'm not up on it. I don't know if it is the cause of your problem or if there are any programs that can delete it cleanly.

Continuing the Easter egg hunt is somewhat pointless with it installed.

Save your files to CD/DVD and reload. Test, then do the updates and test. Next install the pigcrap... uh...er I mean the DRM laden Crysis game and test. If you get the problems you can easily reload, if not continue loading and testing and you will find the offender.

This assumes that you were correct saying that in safe mode things were much better.

October 6, 2008 4:23:42 AM

You know just because the HDD passed the Seatools tests, doesn't mean that it still couldn't be the HDD. I had a WD 80GB drive (IDE) that started acting up after a motherboard replacement (the drive was about a year and a half old). At first I thought it was the new motherboard because the drive had worked fine before the motherboard change. I would get a short hitch every so often causing Windows to pause whatever it was doing for 2 seconds or better. When it did this, I could hear an audible click come from the drive. I tested it with quite a few different programs, all of them said that the drive was fine. I kept experiencing them, so I went out and purchased a new 160GB WD drive and re-installed Windows and everything was great. I e-mailed WD about the drive and they RMA'd it no questions asked based on my description of the problem. I guess the deleting, remaking and formatting of my partitions during the new motherboard installation was enough stress to cause the problem.

So having experiencing this myself, I thought I might pass along this information. If you have another drive try installing Windows on it. If not get a new one and give it a try. Drives are cheap and having extra storage around never hurt anyone. If it turns out to be the drive, you have fixed your problem and if the old drive is still under warranty (5 years for Seagate) you'll get a new drive.

P.S. I just realised something going over you first post. You have a nVidia chipset, nVidia had problems with both the 6 & 7 series SATA controllers on their chipsets. Both were fixed with new BIOS's, something to look into if you haven't flashed a new BIOS to your board. Just something I thought of, most likely it's not your problem.
October 6, 2008 4:25:00 AM

i will do that. and one more thing, will only 8mb of cache on a hd affect performance like this? maybe my processor is too fast for my HDD in that case.
October 6, 2008 4:26:49 AM

You could run HD Tune in safe mode and compare results, specifically the random access time.
October 6, 2008 4:33:22 AM

yeah, i agreed with techgeek. new hdd+reinstall os. you can always use your old hdd for backup storage.
October 6, 2008 4:40:09 AM

where do i go to get a "bios flash"? is it just a driver package that i download and install or is it something more difficult to apply?

unfortunately i dont have an old drive sitting around
do you think a 7200 rpm hdd is too slow for my processor? can you reccomend me a nice hdd speed and cache size to suit an e8400? thanks

btw
my HD Tune results
transfer rate minimum: 6.5mb/s
maximum: 77.6mb/s
average: 59.4mb/s
access time: 15.2ms
burst rate: 165mb/s
cpu usage: 2.5%
October 6, 2008 4:42:47 AM

8MB of cache shouldn't have that big of a performance impact. Also I never met anyone whose harddrive was fast enough for their processors. So its not too fast its normal.

The Bios update it a good idea.

Just wanted to add that I am running a virus scan that is using the HD a lot. Every so often as I type this I get a few words ahead of the computer as it momentarily locks up. This further adds to my theory that if the computer doesn't get the info it wants it locks up till it gets it.
October 6, 2008 4:45:09 AM

derek2006 said:
8MB of cache shouldn't have that big of a performance impact. Also I never met anyone whose harddrive was fast enough for their processors. So its not too fast its normal.

The Bios update it a good idea.

Just wanted to add that I am running a virus scan that is using the HD a lot. Every so often as I type this I get a few words ahead of the computer as it momentarily locks up. This further adds to my theory that if the computer doesn't get the info it wants it locks up till it gets it.


so you're suggesting a program could be my trouble?
October 6, 2008 4:45:29 AM

proto_prime said:
i will do that. and one more thing, will only 8mb of cache on a hd affect performance like this? maybe my processor is too fast for my HDD in that case.
No, either the drive is starting to crap out or there is something in the OS. Only you can tell if the difference in safe mode and normal mode belies a bad drive, and only an OS reinstall and test can prove it.

There is no way a processor that is too fast could cause the problems you are having. It could be related to the mobo, but I lean toward something in the OS or a flaky drive as the culprit.
October 6, 2008 4:50:10 AM

proto_prime said:
so you're suggesting a program could be my trouble?
The delay he is seeing is because the drive is busy being accessed by his virus scanner. It's not your problem unless your drive light is on and it's churning away.
October 6, 2008 4:51:36 AM

One other thing to check is download CPU-Z and make sure it aint throttleing up and down just incase you didnt get all of speed step shut down.

Ive seen systems stutter from speedstep. Try it even though you say you disabled it.

I never use hard drives under 16MB cache.
October 6, 2008 4:52:08 AM

If you are not familiar with BIOS flashing make sure you do all the research beforehand. If this is done wrong, you will turn your motherboard into a doorstop. Here is the link to your BIOS (double check it yourself):

http://www.evga.com/support/drivers/default.asp?switch=...

This version was released a couple of weeks ago.

It suggest a few methods for doing it. The logical one would be the one through Windows, although that method is the one I would suggest you not use. I personally have had a BIOS flash go wrong in Windows (many years ago) on a Giga-Byte board. Fortunately I have access to an EEPROM burner and was able to get my motherboard back up quickly. Personally I have used the floppy method, but the CD method should be pretty much the same.

As for 7200RPM drives they are the defacto standard and pretty much all you need.
October 6, 2008 5:01:27 AM

Agreed, definitely DO NOT EVER USE WINDOWS FLASH, especially with a hard drive that is acting screwy. It's mobo suicide.
October 6, 2008 5:15:30 AM

ok, i've flashed the bios
i see some improvement. still stutters but not as many
October 6, 2008 5:33:33 AM

It's either something in the OS or the drive.
!