PC stuttering

So I built a system several months ago and it has been working fine until today. In Windows XP every 3 seconds for 2-3 seconds everything freezes up. I figured it was a Windows issue, so I restarted and went to the BIOS just for the fun of it. Turns out it does the same thing in there!

I've never had the BIOS do such a thing and that has me worried. I checked the temps and they were in the mid 30's. The CPU is running at stock speed and the RAM is set to auto. As I said it has been working fine for months.

Any thoughts?

Asus P5QL Pro
Intel E8400
Kingston HyperX 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 1066
EVGA GeForce 9800 GT
Corsair 550w PSU

I've been building computers for years and never seen this!
22 answers Last reply
More about stuttering
  1. Well it cant be windows and it cant be a driver if its happening in BIOS .

    But just to be sure do you have a live Linux CD handy to boot from? .

    You could also boot to windows and have a look in tsk manager .
    Hit ctrl + alt + del just once , and have a look in the processes and performance tab to see if any program has refused to let go of RAM or CPU usage
  2. Have you run memtest86+ for a few hours to test for RAM errors?
  3. @Outlander:

    No Linux CD's here but as you said that prob won't help. I looked in the task manager first thing and there was nothing out of the ordinary.


    Good Idea I shall go do that now!
  4. The first thing I think of when I hear freezing/stuttering is RAM problems.
  5. HOLY CRAP it's doing it in Memtest!

    no errors yet though...
  6. This is an unconventional fix but it can solve problems like this :

    Turn the computer off , unplug it from the wall and let it get cold .
    Swear at it a couple of times . Call it a POS and threaten to give it away to a teenager you dont like .

    Then smack the side panel fairly hard with the palm of your hand a couple of times and try restarting . If something was loose its either just fallen out or fallen back in


    if its an IDE hard drive you have a cable problem
  7. LOL that's how I fixed my old computer and it's got the dents to prove it! I prefer fist to the top of the case approach, feels better.

    I better not do that to this one though, it's a work computer and it's in a Lian LI case.

    No IDE drives here, all SATA.
  8. I would check EVERY connection and connector in the computer. (redundant huh)
    Make sure Ram is fully seated, Video Card Seated, HSF secure, CPU locked down, monitor cables.
  9. Well if it's doing it in MemTest than it can't be the HardDrive because memtest runs strickly in memory and never writes to disk.

    Don't just check the cpu temps. Also check the vreg temps NB temps and SB temps if you can. If your bios doesn't monitor them try touching them with your hand and see if they are hot enough to burn you.

    I would try just one ram stick for a little while. (first reseat it too and make sure all the gold plated connectors are clean).

    Also check your timings in bios and voltages both for your cpu and ram.

    This might be your PSU saying i'm about to die (i doubt this because I think it'd throw a blue screen first).

    I'm guessing that this is hardware related. Something is dieing.
  10. That SATA hard drive... is it a seagate 7200.11 ?

    These have problems that can cause stuttering among other things . Some are so bad they are paper weights , but according to seagate a firmware flash can fix the problem
  11. But the bios doesn't use the harddrive at all. If everything is checking out, I'm wondering about the video card. All of the things done so far involve that video card, maybe its dying? I'm just guessing here, I would have thought ram or motherboard.
  12. When the stuttering is happening is it happening just for the display or is your entire computer stuttering? For example when running memtest is the precentage making big jumps? big jumps would make me assume display, where as small jumps would make me think its ram/motherboard.

    I know seagate is famous for stuttering problems but like u said, if its happening in bios, then it can't be the hard drive. The bios is not written to disk. I don't think its the Hard drive, I'm thinking these symptoms cannot be from the hard drive. If you want to confirm this you can unplug your hard drive and run memtest. See what happens.
  13. Thanks for all the suggestions so far guys!

    No luck, however. I checked all the connections and reseated everything and it's still happening.

    I'll try switching out the video card and PSU tomorrow morning. Right now though it's quittin' time and I just found out it's only Thursday. Yesterday I thought it was Thursday and all of today I thought it was Friday! Talk about a bummer.

    I'm definitely going home early after finding that out.

    See you all tomorrow!
  14. video driver or video card
  15. knotknut said:
    video driver or video card

    Cant be a driver .
    Drivers would only load when the computer boots windows and its happening in BIOS .

    Very unlikely to be the gfx card since it happens in BIOS too.
  16. I missed the part about it doing it in Bios.
  17. Has the OP tried with just one stick of ram? I think that's where i'd start.
  18. Assuming its not a faulty monitor ...

    I think it is the hard drive , or more specifically a problem with BIOS and hard drive .
    I think there might be an IRQ conflict . Ive seen this happen on older DOS versions of windows when there was a power spike , or a power cut . Maybe XP can have the same issue.

    It could be other system components but the hard drive is most likely because of the way the pc is behaving

    The cure is to reset BIOS , and manually reassign IRQ's if you need too
  19. I might be wrong about this, but arn't IRQ's assigned after the bios startup? If not then yes I totaly agree with you that maybe it is the hard drive and an IRQ problem. That would make a lot of sense then.

    I would deffantly give a try of resetting the cmos.
  20. Good News Everyone!

    We now know some things that it's NOT.

    I reset the BIOS
    Tried with just one stick of ram, then the other, then some good RAM
    Tried another PSU
    Unplugged the HDD and DVD
    Tried a working video card
    The monitor is actually an LCD tv and it seems to work fine

    I guess we're down to mobo, or processor...
  21. It really could be either of these items. My Vote is its the MotherBoard. Ussualy if its a processor you'll get a checksum error or bsod. but its possible it still is the cause of the problem.

    Have you tried flashing your bios up to the latest verison?
  22. Well I figured I'd try and switch out the processor for a known good one and sure enough it now worked fine!

    (BTW I moved it back to my office to get out of the conference room.)

    So I tried the "bad" processor in my good computer, the donor of the known good processor. That one worked fine too! So I put the "bad" processor back in the "bad" computer and it now worked!

    So I took the computer back to the conference room and as luck would have it, it stopped working!

    Well now I knew hit had to be the LCD tv or a connection to it. It only has VGA and HDMI inputs (and component but whatever) and it was currently connected to the HDMI via a DVI to HDMI cable. I took that out and connected it via VGA with a DVI to RGB adapter and VGA cable. That worked just fine!

    So I guess now it's either a problem with the DVI to HDMI cable or the HDMI inputs on the TV (I tried all of 'em).

    Talk about a lot of work for a simple problem...

    Nice idea Outlander with the faulty monitor solution. I wish I had thought that was more of a possibility and saved myself some work. Although I still don't think it's actually the monitor, I'm betting it's the DVI to HDMI cable.

    Boy would that be wierd... Thanks for all the help and suggestions!
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