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My computer seems unusualy slow

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August 9, 2010 12:52:20 AM

Hi all,

This is my first post at Toms Hardware. I am unsure if this is the right place to post my question but am sure someone will tell me soon enough if it doesn't belong here. Earlier this year I decided I need a computer upgrade to prepare for Starcraft 2's release. When I got it all set up I was disappointed with its speed in Windows XP professional but attributed it to buyers remorse. Later I did a fresh install with Windows 7, trying both 32 and 64 bit, only to be shocked at how poor it performed. I had to disable all the bells and whistles to get windows 7 to come even remotely close to running smoothly. When I installed Starcraft on my computer I was appalled at how slow it ran. I went back to XP and it ran slightly faster but still the game was super laggy. To make matters worse, I gave my old hardware to my little brother and he is able to run it with little to no lag. My computer's hardware out specs his in all dimensions but is running slower. If anyone notices anything that I should be concerned about or a potential bottle neck please let me know.

My computer's specs are:

OS: Windows XP Professional
Mother Board: ASROCK A780GMH/128M
Processor: AMD Phenom(tm) 9950 Quad-Core Processor 2.6 GHz
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT
Power Supply: Topower 500W XPT Titanium Series Power Supplies
Hard Drive 1: Western Digital WD800JB-00CRA1
Hard Drive 2: Western Digital WD2500AAJS-55B4A0
Memory: 4 GB (see below)
Corsair CM2X1024-6400C5DHX (2 1-GB sticks)
Crucial BL2KIT12864AA804 (2 1-GB sticks)

All Drivers are up to date.

Sorry for the lengthy post and any input is appreciated.

More about : computer unusualy slow

August 9, 2010 1:15:07 AM

Hello post726;

A few things you can do:
Download and run CPU-Z. Check to make sure your CPU is running full speed.
Do a few test runs with just 2GB or RAM installed. The Corsair set alone and then the Crucial set alone. Compare performance to what it was with 4GB.
Download and run the 3DMark06 Basic Edition build 1.2 benchmark test.

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August 9, 2010 1:37:42 AM

What are the old system specs? It be interesting for us to compare them, and we'd have a better idea of the performance difference you should be seeing.
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August 9, 2010 2:44:23 AM

A couple of things could be going on. If you have a larger monitor, it'll require more power for the same thing. Did you see if he had it at max. detail, or is it running at low? Vice Versa, you could be running it at high details and not know it. In order to fix this just change the settings, lower the anti-aliasing, lower the detail and see how it runs!
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August 9, 2010 11:43:26 AM

As far as game quality I set all of the settings (in game) to the lowest possible. I know that my brother set most of his if not all of his settings to low as well.

His machine has 768 MB of DDR1 RAM, and a 2.0 GHz single core AMD Processor. As for the MB and video card I can get the details on those tonight. He is looking to upgrade as well now but frankly I am astonished that it even runs the game.

When I get home tonight I will check out the CPU performance and try each brand of RAM by its self. Thanks for the rapid replies and I will be back with results in about 12 hours give or take a little.
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August 9, 2010 12:53:40 PM

Two things 1st the 9600 GT it is a very very very slow card it is not a good gaming card but it should be able to play it on low to med settings without a hitch. 2nd you said windows is really slow which should not be your hardware is more then capable of running all the bells and whistles of Win 7 I had an old Pentium 4 that could run Win 7 no problem so its not your hardware in that sense. Now I would say check and make sure you have all the chipset drivers installed and make sure all your hardware has the latest driver go to manufactures websites and download the latest drivers.
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August 10, 2010 1:19:12 AM

I ran CPU-Z and it clocks my CPU at an expected 2.59 GHz. As for 3DMark, I ran it with all 4 gigs and then once with each set of RAM. Having all of the RAM in was considerably faster than either pair by its self.

I have downloaded and installed the latest drivers for my MB, and video card as well as going to RealTek for a later network driver than the MBs site had. All of the windows updates are installed. I have run out of ideas and am getting desperate. Another desperate idea was that my power supply was not providing enough power so I bought a 650 Watt PS but there was no improvement.

I really appreciate everyone's input and hope to see this resolved soon. Let me know if it would be helpful for me to post any logs.

Thanks again.
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August 10, 2010 1:26:58 AM

Did you save the 3dMark score for the 4GB run? We can compare it to other Phenom 9950 / 9600GT runs.

Open up task manager and see how many Processes are running on the Process tab.
(right mouse click on the task bar, choose Task Manager)
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August 10, 2010 1:28:23 AM

Try running HDTune, Are you using the 80GB drive for boot, that could be a problem?

Then try reseating everthing and run memtest and IntelBurntest to check if you got a bad part.

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August 10, 2010 1:33:32 AM

Like I said in my first post its most likely hard drive or a driver and since you updated all the drivers it must be one of those older drives you are using.
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August 10, 2010 1:37:03 AM

Just for our reference - what scores are you getting for the WEI?
Type WEI into the Start Menu search bar and choose Check the Windows Experience Index
List the scores for each of the categories.
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August 10, 2010 2:34:47 AM

4947 3DMarks with all 4 GBs of RAM, and 33 processes running.

Yes I am using the 80 GB drive for my install. The larger one is my media drive and I didn't have the cash for a new primary drive. Both drives are the same speed so I didn't think it was much of an issue. Tomorrow after work I will try HDTune and IntelBurntest. Push comes to shove I can always see if an upgrade in the HD department helps, but not for another week or so.

As for the WEI, it is getting late and I have to get up early, but I wrote down the scores for Windows 7 64 bit.

Calculations per second: 2.8
Memory Operations per second: 4.2
Desktop Performance for Windows Aero: 2.9
3D Business and gaming graphics performance: 6.5
Data Disk Transfer Rate: 4.6

I can post the results for Windows 7 32 bit tomorrow but I remember them being quite a bit better.

Thanks again for the fast replies and I post more info tomorrow night.
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August 10, 2010 2:55:28 AM

thats a horrid cpu score...
Is it possible you have one of the 140w 9950's which is not supported by your motherboard?
or is there a way to enable/disable cores and the other three are turned off?

The memory score is low too, what is your bus speed set to?
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August 10, 2010 3:09:44 AM

A couple of those those WEI scores look whacked. The 2 that stood out to me:
CPU: Calculations per second: 2.8 Much lower than expected. Another system with Core 2 Duo c 2.2Ghz scored 5.5
RAM: Memory Operations per second: 4.2 Lower than expected for DDR2 800 RAM. Another system with 2GB DDR2 667 scored 5.5


Data Disk Transfer rate: Low, but not out of line for an older disk. Using that WD WD2500AAJS as your boot disk should bump up that score to around 5.5-5.9.

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August 10, 2010 6:13:28 AM

the cpu score is definitely out of wack, perhaps bios settings disable some cores or in need of bios update.
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August 10, 2010 8:25:34 AM

I remember i had this problem when i had a Asrock Mboard. I installed all the drivers from the website, but on the disk was the AGP driversm which enabled it to preform at 8x speed, rather then the 2x by default.

I had to install these and the speed was back to normal. All located on the disk. I have also just found out whilst typing this, a mate who also had a Asrock board had to install standard fro, the disk drivers for any performance.
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August 10, 2010 11:39:24 AM

If i remember correctly the CPU score jumped up to something like 4.7 when I ran it in 32 bit mode. I am at work now but will verify that when I get home.

My CPU is the 125 Watt models and I checked in the BIOS for any settings that might disable any cores and I found nothing that looked related or out of norm.

As far as disk drivers go I installed the SATA2 driver but that is going to do nothing for my IDE drive that I am aware of. I will see if I can find a AGP Driver on the disk and try to use that. Is there an easy way to check if it is at 2x, 8x or any other speed for that matter?
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August 10, 2010 12:02:33 PM

Your CPU score should be around 6 and same with your memory. This is a very odd issue indeed its almost coming down to start thinking that either the motherboard or processor might have a defect more likely the motherboard.

One last question from me and then I got nothing.
Did you try updating the bios to see if that has any impact on performance?
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August 10, 2010 1:11:48 PM

You have a PCI-E GPU, not AGP which is old technology.

I had to install the AGP Motherboard drivers, but not sure if there is a similar PCI-E motherboard drivers.

In the end, i threw my Asrock board out and bought a MSI one, even that simple change increased the performance, back 5/6 years ago..

But not sure in this case, but maybe the PSU is on its way out and not providing enough power for the components?
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August 10, 2010 1:25:50 PM

I think the PSU change has ruled out a power problem.
It's hard to imagine what might be making the CPU score so low if it is in fact running on all four cores. If four core are running and running at stock 2.6Ghz speed it's almost seems like the internal CPU cache must not be working.
Can you start the 3DMark06 benchmark test and watch TaskManager Performance tab and see all four cores in action?


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August 10, 2010 4:16:22 PM

Update Bios before you do anything if its not up to date already.
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August 10, 2010 10:23:25 PM

WEI for Windows 7 32 bit:

Calculations per second: 4.5
Memory Operations per second: 4.5
Desktop Performance for Windows Aero: 6.8
3D Business and gaming graphics performance: 6.8
Data Disk Transfer Rate: 4.4

I checked the performance monitor when running the benchmarks and all four cores were active.

Next I will be tying to update the BIOS and see if I can find anything for the GPU.
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August 10, 2010 10:25:15 PM

Windows score, is a horrible measure for performance.
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August 11, 2010 11:35:58 AM

I put the latest BIOS on my MB but no change.

I also ran HDTune, but did not notice until this morning that I accidentally ran it on my media drive and not my primary. I saved the screenshot but don't know how to load it here. there are 3 holes in the otherwise downward sloping line, I am not sure that is normal. The results are:

Transfer rate
Min: 17.4 MB/s
Max: 95.2 MB/s
Aver: 45.4 MB/s

Access Time: 19.3 ms
Burst Time: 11.2 MB/s
CPU Usage: 16.6%

When I tried to run the IntelBurnTest, but it froze my computer. When I tried to run memtest it wanted me to run 4 instances to test all of the memory but I could only consistently get two running. By the time that I opened the third or fourth instance it would stop responding so I could never get the last bit started. I have it running at home now just testing 2048 MB of ram in 2 processes.
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August 11, 2010 2:07:34 PM

Computerrock1 said:
Windows score, is a horrible measure for performance.
It's no worse than some of the other benchmarks out there.

In this case it's been a useful diagnostic aid to ID hardware problems.

The Win7 32bit CPU score of 4.5 vs Win7 64bit CPU 2.8 score is very interesting - and confusing.
I was leaning toward thinking it might be a motherboard problem till I saw that.
Now I'm swinging over to thinking it might be the CPU. Or a combo problem between the MB and CPU.

Win 7 32 bit / Win 7 64 bit:
CPU: 4.5 / 2.8
RAM: 4.5 / 4.2
Aero: 6.8 / 2.9
3D: 6.8 / 6.8
HDD: 4.4 / 4.6


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August 19, 2010 12:16:06 AM

Sorry that i have been away so long. My girlfriend came in town for a week and long story short my computer problems sat on the back burner. Ever since I ran the benchmark tests my computer has been running even slower. Firefox is laggy along with everything else now. Applications are taking a while to open now.

I noticed when looking at the HDTune results that I accidentally ran it on my SATA drive. here are the results for the 80 GB:

Transfer rate
Min: 1.6 MB/s
Max: 47.0 MB/s
Aver: 16.9 MB/s

Access Time: 17.6 ms
Burst Time: 10.3 MB/s
CPU Usage: 31.1%

These results are considerably worse but I am not familiar enough with them to know if that is the problem. Should my next step be installing the OS on a new HD?
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August 24, 2010 12:15:20 AM

Well, it has been silent a while. I did a fresh install on a sata HD but there is no noticeable improvement. I am getting desperate. Please someone post some more ideas.
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August 24, 2010 2:30:00 AM

do you mean disable write caching? From what I understood write caching improves performance at the slight risk of losing data at power loss.
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August 24, 2010 3:46:27 AM

maybe the bestest way, u format ur windows...it should be fasteest....lol
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August 24, 2010 11:50:21 PM

Thanks mirulkimi for the helpful reply.

I think that we have ruled out the bad memory. It has passed a memcheck and trying either brand by its self only degraded performance.

I doubt that it is the HD either. I ran perfmon while the game was running and HD disk queue was only full while loading. Later in the game while it was still running at around 2 fps the HD disk queue was near 0.

I bought a new PSU, but it showed no improvement so I returned it. PSU ruled out.

After contacting blizzards tech support I ran a trace route, which showed that the network connection to their sever was not the problem.

That leaves the proc, mb, and video card. Any ideas on how to narrow it down further, or if any of my above conclusions seem erroneous?

Thanks again for all of the help everyone. I know that we are close to getting this one solved.
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Anonymous
August 25, 2010 5:39:17 AM

I think it is a video card problem. Cards are cheap now. a 9600 is like 40-60 bucks. Why not go up to a 9800, or get an AMD 5770, 4870, or something like that. I don't think that Nvidia is the best for an AMD board. Also, be sure to use det destoryers to remove all the Nivida drivers if not reformat your HD, and put it on your fastest drive. Even a 5830 might do the trick. You have a quad core and the 790 chipset. If you have the G chipset you can crossfire with an AMD card, make sure you dont have crossfire set in the bios. Remember a 8800 = 9800 which is about equal to a 250 performance wise. Your 9600 is too old for starcraft 2. I am sure it is not your quad core unless your board doesn't see all four cores. If you use CPU-Z it shoud tell you how many cores you have. Also, with XP you have to reformat from time to time, and make sure to save to CD's Sp1, SP2, and fixes. I would not run Sp3, many people I know that run SP3 their computers are running slower and I think it is a bug MS put in to get you to upgrade to WIn 7 or Vista. Stick to XP, download the SP's if you don't have SP2 or 3, and download the security downloads to disk and save them as you will have to reformat XP about every 6 months. That has been my experience with XP. As far as your machine a new video card is needed, I saw this once I saw your specs. A new game requires you to run better hardware, and the 9600 which is a 8600 is way to old to play new games with. Good Luck. I hope you have the money to upgrade and send the PSU back that they suggested you buy. I would tell you to buy intel, but AMd performs well, and if you have a good video card you should be fine. Also if you have the G version of the MB see if you can crossfire your MB with a 5770 or a 5830 as this will give you better speed as AMD is made to work with AMD cards espeically if it is the G model.
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August 25, 2010 9:49:22 PM

Thanks for the reply. I appreciated the level of detail and I will post back later with the results.
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August 25, 2010 10:25:50 PM

Did you say intel's burn test didn't work? Maybe try a prime95? Sounds like a very unstable CPU.

A 9600GT isn't top notch but SC2 is a pretty CPU dependent game. Since your old PC ran it better with a single core and slower GPU... and software is ruled out, I'm thinking you have a hardware malfunction issue.

If your new GPU doesn't work out (if you go that route) you might want to look into a new CPU and/or mobo.
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August 26, 2010 12:11:52 AM

Well I just ran prime95 and my computer blue screened shortly after. So something seems to be bad with the hardware...

I don't have any cooling other than a stock heat sink and fan on the CPU, but the case redirects the air from the fan outside of the case. I have read that my video card is bad about cooling because its fan blows the hot exhaust right into the case instead of outside. how do I find out if this is a heating issue vs faulty hardware?
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August 26, 2010 12:51:12 AM

well I ran CoreTemp and found that my u is running idle right now at about 60 C. When I started to stress it it climbed into the low 70s, dropped back down and crashed shortly after. I just went to AMDs website and found that the max temp for my CPU is 61 C. http://products.amd.com/en-us/DesktopCPUDetail.aspx?id=...

I am going to get some decent cooling for my computer now. Would a hot CPU run slower? I was under the impression that it just crashed when it overheated.
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August 26, 2010 1:11:40 AM

CPUs should throttle when they get too hot, or blue screen. This would cause it to be having the exact problems this shows. 64-bit software taxes the CPU more=hotter CPU thus a lower WEI score, since it would throttle more.
Maybe the stock cooling isn't on the CPU tight enough? I would check that out before you decide to change anything. Make sure that if you take the cooler off you reapply thermal paste.
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August 26, 2010 6:16:17 PM

Yikes! There's your issue!

Like Haserath said try re-seating your current heatsink with new compound and see if it helps. That is definitely your culprit.

Gah can't believe we missed that, figured we knew the temps. :/ 
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August 27, 2010 12:45:43 AM

Well, when I pulled off the heatsink I noticed that under the fan was a crapload of dust. The lack of air flow was the culprit. I cleaned it out, reseated it with new thermal compound and the thing is running like a champ. the temp was idling in the low 40s and capped out at 53 while playing SCII. Thanks for all of your help. I mean it. You saved me.

I Love You Guys!
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!