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New System Built-Big Problems

Last response: in Systems
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August 13, 2009 2:09:10 PM

Hi all,

I recently put together a system for my friend, but he has been having a great deal of difficulty with it lately. He's been having problems with the computer as a whole being very sluggish. For example, his mouse will appear to stutter when he moves it. Whenever he works with Skype or anything video oriented, his computer will slow to a crawl and/or freeze. He needs this system to be working flawlessly because it is his main computer, and he talks a lot through Skype to his family overseas.

I feel back because I built it for him, and when I checked everything out, it seemed to be working fine. I suggested he install the most updated video drivers (hoping to cure the video problems) but that didn't work. His OS is running off an old PATA 160GB hard drive. I don't know if that was a problem, but I told him to listen for clicking noises and see there were any. I was thinking about doing an install on the 1TB drive, but he wants to keep that for storage specifically if he can.

Thanks everyone!

The system consisted of the following:

Windows XP Home-32bit

Case was reused from previous system (old, don't know what it was exactly)

AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-MA790XT-UD4P AM3 DDR3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Kingston ValueRAM 2GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model KVR1333D3N9/2G - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAIDMAX HYBRID 2 RX-630SS 630W ATX12V V2.2/ EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Modular LED Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EADS 1TB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sapphire HD4830 (no longer carried by newegg)

Thanks again.
August 13, 2009 2:27:14 PM

Well, the RAM used in the build isn't exactly a top performer, but it shouldn't be hindering the system as much as you are describing it. Not running RAM in dual channel is another small performance hit. Is he using an old IDE DVD drive as well? Might be running into some bandwidth bottlenecks trying to run the OS off an old drive like that. Sounds like there's video related issues also. the HD 4830 should be fine for his uses, are the video drivers up to date?
August 13, 2009 2:52:10 PM

I was a little suspect of the old HDD as well. He has the most up-to-date drivers, and I'm not sure if he is using an old IDE drive or not.
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August 13, 2009 3:06:00 PM

What are his idle and load CPU/GPU temps? Have you run Memtest86+ to test for RAM errors?
August 13, 2009 3:17:16 PM

Go into Device Manager and check the IDE Controllers. Check the Primary IDE Channel Properties and look at the Advanced Settings tab.

Make sure it's Ultra DMA...I had a case once, where that was set to PIO mode for some reason and it was terribly sluggish and slow. Changed it to DMA and it was fine.

Otherwise, run some HDD/RAM diags.
August 13, 2009 3:20:48 PM

Definitely run Memtest86+, there's also a free version of some basic hard drive benchmarks called HDDScan that might be interesting to run. If you're still not turning up much, get an Ubuntu Live CD or something equivalent, and see if you still get poor performance running Linux off the CD. Might help narrow down if it's hardware related, windows configuration, or that shady sounding hard drive.
August 18, 2009 2:21:30 AM

Memtest 86+ came back with no errors.

Running Ubuntu from the live CD seemed to work ok.
August 18, 2009 3:28:26 AM

might be the hard drive as suspected then. Not sure what else it could be
!