Recently my system performance took a noticable turn for the worse. I think it has something to do with my CPU (AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition) which I was overclocked when I noticed the problem. I ran a benchmark, and the numbers were significantly lower than what was listed as normal. I am considering returning the processor to AMD, but first I want to be absolutely certain that the CPU is the problem, and not the motherboard or something software related. Any suggestions?
You don't have - or at least you haven't provided - anywhere near enough info to return a cpu. More likely your problem, if any, is related to something you did just before your system "took a noticable turn for the worse".
Without numbers or some other specifics, not much else to suggest.
I've done quite a bit of cleanup work, including defragging and running antivirus/antispyware scans of the entire system. Prime95 runs for 7+ hours without a problem. It's just that everything is running suddenly and unexpectedly slower, especially apps that stress the cpu (games, TV, etc...). I realize that resorting to an RMA request may be somewhat hasty, but I put a significant investment into this system and I want to get what I paid for.
System Specs: Phenom II X2 550 BE @ 3.1GHz, Gigabyte MA770T-UD3P, Corsair 2x1GB DDR3 1333Mhz, XFX GeForce 9600GSO, Windows 7 (32-bit)
Both 1GB sticks still show up (and 2GB is reported in Windows) correct? I only ask because I once had a Dell that stopped reporting one stick, and it slowed down quite a bit from that (and all it needed was a reseat). Longshot I know, but and easy one to check.