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Mysterious issues with new build

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May 26, 2011 4:42:51 PM

Hi Guys,

Last time I posted on this forum I received wonderful help, and now I'm back looking for some more. After a power surge/outage damaged my old system, I had to rebuild and ever since I got the new build together I've been having a lot of oddball issues. What I'm wondering is if y'all think one of my new components could have hardware issues (we all know that it's not unusual to get a bad component when you're buying several pieces of hardware.)

My new components are :
CPU: AMD Phenom II X61090T 3.2 GHz (6 Core)
Mainboard: Gigabyte GA-890FX-UD5 Rev 3.0 w/ latest BIOS
Memory: one more stick (I already had one) of G.SKILL F3-10666CL9-4GBRL 4GB Memory stick Both pairs are running Dual-Channel.
Hard Drive: 750GB WD SATA3 64-MB Cache
Power Supply: OCZ 850W Power Supply

My left-over components from the original build:
Memory 1x G.SKILL F3-10666CL9-4GBRL 4GB Memory stick
and 2x G.SKILL F3-10666CL8-2GBRL 2GB Memory sticks
Hard Drives: 1x 1TB WD SATA3 64-MB Cache
and 1x 250GBWD SATA3 32-MB Cache (My System Drive)
Video Board: XFX Radeon HD5770 1GB DDR5
Peripherals: Wireless USB Laptop Mouse, PS/2 Keyboard, a USB "Extender" which gives me a USB port on my desk (I'm a photographer, so I'm plugging and unplugging a lot of cards)
OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit

Ok, now onto the problems I'm experiencing: First, there is a general "sluggishness" that doesn't feel right on my PC, I did not have any performance issues on my old system (a 3.2 GHz AMD Phenom IIx4 955BE 4-Core, Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P, and OCZ 750W Power Supply) I Have 12 GB of DDR3 memory and the only time I push that is when I'm working on a large project in Photoshop; At any given time performing other tasks (3D Work, internet browsing, word processing, photo organizing, etc...) I'm using maybe 2 to 4GB of memory and there's about 6 or 7GB in reserve, with the rest being free. and it's really only with 3D Rendering or serious After Effects work that I get up to 100% usage on all 6 processor cores (excepting special processes, such as installation) Yet startup is extremely slow, my hard drives are slow to display and navigate in Windows Explorer, and folders are really slow to load, sometimes causing Explorer to say that it's "Not Responding" for a few moments (I have 3 total physical drives and 8 logical drives) the drives will hang up, they won't display properly, etc. Another issue I'm having is with internet speed and use. We have 3/768 Frontier service. On my old system I could load photos and stream music (using Microsoft Zune software) without difficulty. Now, songs get stuck in the buffer (If they'll load at all) and pictures are very slow to load (or they hang up and won't load at all)

Now onto the troubleshooting I've performed while trying to get to the bottom of this: I've performed 3 different clean installs of Windows on two different Hard Drives as I attempted numerous fixes/repairs and tested uninstalling different programs.

An interesting aside: I did another clean install two days ago and when I installed the latest updates for Windows, I noticed 3 updates cause severe system load (Windows Explorer wouldn't open, computer took about 2 to 3 minutes to load up after getting to the "Starting Windows" Screen, desktop was black instead of loading the desktop image) so I uninstalled those updates, they are:

Security Update for Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Service Pack 1 Redistributable Package (KB973923)
Update type: Important
-A security issue has been identified that could allow an attacker to compromise your Windows-based system with Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Service Pack 1 Redistributable Package and gain complete control over it. You can help protect your computer by installing this update from Microsoft. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer.

Security Update for Microsoft .NET Framework 4 on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 for x64-based Systems (KB2446708)
Update type: Important
-A security issue has been identified that could allow an attacker to compromise your Windows-based system that is running the Microsoft .NET Framework and gain complete control over it. You can help protect your computer by installing this update from Microsoft. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer.

Security Update for Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable Package (KB2467173)
Update type: Important
-A security issue has been identified leading to MFC application vulnerability in DLL planting due to MFC not specifying the full path to system/localization DLLs. You can protect your computer by installing this update from Microsoft. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer.

These are all "Important" security updates, so I'm not too eager to leave them uninstalled.

For the internet, I've troubleshooted our connection and found that the router and all of that is working fine (the other computers on the connection aren't having trouble; there doesn't appear to be any correlation between the load issues on my computer and other computers using the network, I have issues when no other computer on the network is active) I've also entered the "Network Address" off of my Ethernet Port, which I read is an important step on some Gigabyte boards.

For the hard drives, I've run check disk (through System Mechanic and TuneUp Utilities 2011, not Windows ChkDsk. No errors were found. All of my hard drives are fairly new (<3 years) and they're all on SATA connections

For the general slowness, I've made sure that all of my drivers are installed. So far the board-specific drivers I've loaded are:
Ethernet Controller, SATA drivers, Realtek HD Audio manager/ driver, ATI chipset/RAID drivers, and USB3.0 controller.

Ok, so to sum it up my biggest issues are a slow/sluggish system, slow access to hard drives, and internet connection issues. Do you guys think that any of this is related to my new hardware? If not, do you have any ideas what might be causing these slowdowns? I read on the Gigabyte "Sticky" for this forum that it is very important to "Load Optimized Defaults" in the BIOS on new boards, I've not done that so I'll try it as soon as I post this. I also read something of concern: The sticky warned never to use @BIOS. This is the program that I used to flash my BIOS (I was having these problems before flashing the BIOS, that's the only reason I flashed it in the first place) do you think I'm okay? I've not noticed any new issues since loading the new BIOS.

If none of this sounds like a problem and I'm just being paranoid, I sincerely apologize for wasting anyone's time. It's just frustrating because these new components are supposed to be "upgrades" but my new system is more troublesome than my old one ever was. It seems like 2 more cores and 4 more gigs of memory should make a computer faster, not slower! I've tried to be as thorough as possible, so I apologize if this post is too long.

As a final piece of data, here are the programs that I usually have installed. As I said, I've been installing and reinstalling Windows, so my load right now is pretty light. I've placed an asterisks in front of the programs that are presently installed.

-Adobe Master Collection CS4 w/ all components * (note, I've disabled the CS4 autoload components, they're not needed)
-MSN Explorer 10 w/ Designer E-Mail *
-Stardock Object Dock Plus 2 *
-TuneUp Utilities 2011 *
-OnOne Perfect Photo Suite 5.5 *
-System Mechanic 10
-Google Chrome *
-Norton 350 v5 *
-Amazon Unbox Video *
-Microsoft Zune *
-Microsoft Silverlight *
-Gigabyte On/Off Charge *
-Amazon MP3 Downloader
-Gigabyte RAID configurer * (I don't use RAID, but it's part of the chipset driver)
-E-On Software Vue 9.5 XStream
-Netwek Lightwave v9.6
-Apple iTunes
-Apple Safari Reader/Browser
-Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

Thanks Everyone for taking the time to read this and for offering your computer wisdom.

Best Regards,

May 26, 2011 5:37:11 PM

Stevie R said:
First, there is a general "sluggishness" that doesn't feel right on my PC, I did not have any performance issues on my old system (a 3.2 GHz AMD Phenom IIx4 955BE 4-Core, Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P, and OCZ 750W Power Supply) I Have 12 GB of DDR3 memory and the only time I push that is when I'm working on a large project in Photoshop;

Start by what is actually executing; not what is loaded. That means (at minimum) Task Manager. Search for bottlenecks. For example, an obvious one is too much CPU time on one process. Another is too many page faults - a program swapping out too many times to the virtual memory (disk).

Irrelevant is what you think is running. Relevant is what exists unique to your machine. If it is sluggish, then your CPU could have lots of System Idle process while waiting for some other bottleneck. Those facts and especially related numbers must be provided to obtain better answers. Use View to select other important parameters not normally provided by default settings.
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May 28, 2011 8:06:49 AM

Good advice from westom also the big hype about the 6 core was way overrated 35% of ppl who picked that over the quad core went back to the quad cuz it seems faster with load times and also way better for gaming....Im not sure your gaming on that but that 6 core might be trying to crunch your numbers over all your cores which will lag your system just for the fact it uses the cores for your load times....at the start of the post it sounded to me like you got some spyware in your system as well but then you said thatyou did a clean install....so that should rule that out.....I think its that 6 core that is seeming to slow your processes down....you can downloada free program called process explorer and it will give you a better run down of what processes are running how much resource its using and see if you get alot of interrupts while the system is running and those update are fine to keep installed and the @!bios program is a good one thats what I used to flash to the fda bios for my mobo....
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May 30, 2011 2:35:05 AM

Hey Guys,

I've been real busy and haven't had time to really delve into these issues, but I wanted to let y'all know that I really appreciate the pointers and will try them as soon as I can, I'm not ignoring your advice, just been too busy to get to it!

Westom,

Tango Mike for your in-depth instructions. As I've been reinstalling my programs (after the aforementioned fresh install) I've been pulling up the task manager and/or performance monitor like you advised. What I'm seeing is that when it starts to lag and slow down, for example when opening a windows explorer window or opening a program, all 6 CPU cores seem to set around 35% and occasionally spike up to 80-90% But there are so many different processes going on at once (they all look like Windows System Services) it's hard to tell if there is any one bottleneck. Ill keep watching. So do you think the fact that the CPUs aren't jumping up to 100% suggests a bottleneck somewhere else along the line?

Viper69,

Thanks for making me feel better about that wad of cash I spent on a fancy six-core CPU! But seriously, thanks for the information regarding the new processor. I don't do any gaming, I use it for my Photography and, as a hobby, I do 3D rendering. That's actually why I decided to go 6-core, because other performance issues aside, when it comes to rendering it's a pretty big speed boost anytime you have another processor core. As for malware or other security issues, I got my security suite (Norton 360 v5) installed and, since I have 3 physical hard drives (meaning of course that a clean install wouldn't necessarily wipe out a virus, since it could hop to another drive that won't be formated) Ill run a full system scan when I can.

Some time down the road when budget allows, I'm planning on building a small render farm for my projects. Given what you said, do you think that when I do that I'd be better off putting a quad-core in my main system and just leaving the 6-core as a (big, expensive) piece of the farm? That way I'd get the performance speed on my system, while still getting the render boost on my renders.

Thanks again everyone, Ill try to get back when I've had some time to work on it more.

Stevie
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May 30, 2011 2:50:45 AM

well for your other build it all depends on you and what your budget for it and what brand you want to go with...we can get to that when you come around to it...and your main system for doin all your apps that you use you should find everything more "snappier" with the 6 core....thats what I have read anyways...I personally have not used the six core yet just went to the quad core last year and with my oc I havent had any real complaints about it.
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a b V Motherboard
May 30, 2011 3:18:32 AM

Sounds like it could be Win7 media. If you see anything active in task manager, like mencoder.exe, look at its path and see if it's a media player file. I recently had this issue after recording live HD TV. Win7 was processing the recording after I stopped recording.
Also: Do you have windows on a smaller partition on the 250gb drive? Have you run disk clean? How full is the drive?
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May 31, 2011 2:52:10 AM

Hey All,

Viper69,

Yeah it's gonna be awhile before I can start to really put together my farm, but Ill consider "We can get to that" an open invitation to call on your guys' knowledge for that when I do get around to it!


Jockey,

Thanks for the pointer about Win7 media, I hadn't heard that and I'll keep an eye out for it. I Have Windows installed on a 250GB partition of a separate 250GB hard drive, and it's got plenty of free space (198GB) I ran Disk Clean Up last night as it was showing a heavily fragmented drive.

Okay, so I think I found something earlier, and you guys are probably going to (deservedly) slap me upside the head for not checking this before I posted on the Forum: When I rebuilt my system after the power surge, I purchased a new 4GB stick of memory. This morning as I was troubleshooting I pulled out both of my 4GB sticks because I don't know for sure which one is the new stick. Here's the interesting part: even though I was losing 8GBs of RAM (the two 4GB sticks) when I started up my computer running only my two 2GB sticks, I noticed an immediate and significant increase in performance, and I've not noticed any of the unusual sluggishness (Westom, I know you said what it "feels like" isn't relevant, but I'm afraid I don't know any better way to say it, I can now open up my windows, start programs, etc. Without the computer freezing up or processes stopping or anything of the sort) So, you guys think that a bad stick is a probability? Or is there a reasonable explanation for why I would notice a faster system after removing some of my memory? Just as a technical FYI all of my memory, the 2GB and 4GB sticks, have the same frequency and latency, so I wouldn't think that the 4GB sticks would be bottlenecking anything.

Thanks Again,

Stevie
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May 31, 2011 3:26:37 AM

1987389,7,441654 said:
Hey All,

Viper69,

Yeah it's gonna be awhile before I can start to really put together my farm, but Ill consider "We can get to that" an open invitation to call on your guys' knowledge for that when I do get around to it!



no problem thats what most of us are here for....
as for the memory Im no expert on it just a shot in the dark but if your noticing better performance with the 2 gig sticks than the 4 then it might be cuz your cpu has that much more memory to search thru and your processor is workin thru all that un used mem....Thats what Im thinkin but like I said Im not an expert on memory...do you need 8 gigs of ram? if not I would just stick to the 4 if its feelin faster for ya....that is unless you need the 8 gigs but usually thats not the case...And for MY next personal build I also will be asking ppl here as well...
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May 31, 2011 1:37:52 PM

Stevie R said:
I pulled out both of my 4GB sticks because I don't know for sure which one is the new stick. Here's the interesting part: even though I was losing 8GBs of RAM (the two 4GB sticks) when I started up my computer running only my two 2GB sticks, I noticed an immediate and significant increase in performance, and I've not noticed any of the unusual sluggishness

When a system starts, a special port reads configuration of each memory stick. So a computer can access each memory uniquely. Best is to first learn what a computer actually sees that memory to be. Comprehensive diagnostics would be informative. A third party memory tester might report this. Yours is an unusual problem that includes many suspects including counterfeit semiconductors. Or a motherboard for some reason designed with too much latency for that type memory.

Appreciate that you were asking questions that other consumers would not bother to ask. Most would say it is working. And therefore is 100% good. But you are asking questions based in numbers (speed). So if memory was (for example) counterfeit, your supplier would not be informed by most consumers.

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a c 160 V Motherboard
May 31, 2011 7:47:45 PM

Are your memory sticks mismatched? Maybe that's the problem. You are asking for trouble if you use different types of sticks. What is the model numbers of each stick of memory that you have now and are trying to use?
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May 31, 2011 8:31:54 PM

westom said:
When a system starts, a special port reads configuration of each memory stick. So a computer can access each memory uniquely. Best is to first learn what a computer actually sees that memory to be. Comprehensive diagnostics would be informative. A third party memory tester might report this. Yours is an unusual problem that includes many suspects including counterfeit semiconductors. Or a motherboard for some reason designed with too much latency for that type memory.

Appreciate that you were asking questions that other consumers would not bother to ask. Most would say it is working. And therefore is 100% good. But you are asking questions based in numbers (speed). So if memory was (for example) counterfeit, your supplier would not be informed by most consumers.




+1...westom...just dived into this today and came up with pretty much the same as what you posted......beat me to the punch! :pt1cable: 
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a c 160 V Motherboard
May 31, 2011 10:56:10 PM

Deleted Message.
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a c 160 V Motherboard
June 2, 2011 3:46:53 AM

I would try the two, 4 gig sticks. You probably should use memory sticks with the exact exact same specs. Mixing the 2 and 4gigs sticks might be the problem.
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June 2, 2011 4:33:44 PM

yes as a gerearal rule you should stick with same size ram and name brand....dont mix and match....
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June 5, 2011 3:15:50 AM

Hey All,

Sorry I've not gotten back to you, just wanted to post a quick reply since ya'll have offered several pointers.

Westom: Gonna be honest, I didn't understand half of what you said, but the general message I got was test the memory, so I'll try Memtest or another utility like that and see if anything comes up.

Spooky2th: Thanks for the tip about the memory; I was under the impression that as long as each channel in a dual-channel configuration was identical, then the overall configuration didn't matter (IE: having two identical sticks in CH1 and then having two identical sticks of a different size in CH2 would be ok) That's why I have memory that's the same brand, same latency, and same frequency, just different size, but from what you're saying it sounds like overall configuration is also important, so I'll take your advice and try just the two 4GB sticks.

Also, someone (think it was Spooky2th) asked if I needed all of the memory. I'm a photographer, and working with dozens and even hundreds of full size (10-17 mega-pixel) images, Photoshop eats up every bit of memory it can handle. I use Photoshop CS4 64-Bit, which interestingly enough can only support 10GBs of memory, so I liked having 12 because it meant I could devote 10 full gigs to Photoshop and still have 2 'spare' gigs to handle all the system processes and my security suite (well, that and Zune or Windows Media Player 95 percent of the time)

That being said, Photoshop is the only truly memory-intensive application; internet, word processing, etc. can be run on as little as 2.5GBs of memory on a 64-bit system, and 3D applications like Vue and Lightwave don't really use a lot of memory, they mostly need the Videoboard for working and the CPU for actual rendering.

Thanks Again,

Stevie
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