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Brand New Dell XPS 9100 desktop 'stutters' or 'pauses'

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October 2, 2010 8:40:51 PM

Brand new XPS 9100 - VERY happy with it - see below:

Studio XPS 9100 Intel Core i7-960 processor(8MB L2 Cache, 3.20GHz)
9GB DDR3 Tri-Channel SDRAM at 1333MHz
ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB GDDR @ 1920 x 1200 on a Dell U2410 Ultrasharp LCD
WD Velociraptor WD3000HLFS (replaced a 1TB Serial ATA 2 Hard Drive 7200 RPM)
Soundblaster X-Fi Titanium
Windows 7 Ultimate
x64

I removed McAfee and installed Microsoft Security Essentials. Other than that it's as-shipped.

I am getting periodic 'pauses' or 'stuttering' during general use (web browsing, using My Computer) and games. Happens at random times but I can force it to occur at the opening screen of Modern Warfare 2 when you are selecting the game mode. If is move back and forth between them for about a minute, at some point, it'll hang up for a second or two. Also, when the game first starts, I hear the audio, but the opening graphics do not follow immediately.

Has anyone encountered this and what is the fix?

Can you suggest other boards where I could post this question? StorageReview.com? TomsHardware? Anandtech? etc.

It seems to me like something is 'polling' the system, causing it to stutter.

Some things I am considering:

- Hard Drive: Intel Rapid Store Technology - I removed it and the problem seems a lot less frequent now. Could the Raptor be having issues? Might it not be playing nice with the internals of this new Dell?

- Video drivers? I've got the latest right from AMD.

- RAM issues? MEMTEST86+ ran for an hour, everything's green.

- Other Dell bloatware - I uninstalled everything I could find and again it's better than it was but not completely gone.

Help please!

Thanks!

-kj-
October 3, 2010 1:19:06 PM

First thing that I would guess, is the drivers....try installing different ones/same ones again. Next thing I would say would have to be is the RAM, remove one or two of the sticks (depending on how many you have) and then try running it. And I wanted to ask, what kind of power supply do you have? The last thing I would suggest is make sure everything is plugged in/connected firmly ie: wires, video card, etc. even the chords to your monitor. Just make sure EVERYTHING is plugged in solidly. If all of this fails, I know someone that could probably help you and I will give you his e-mail if none of this works.
October 3, 2010 1:25:23 PM

Thanks! Well, for some reason, the system seems to be behaving now. I played an hour or so of MW2, L4D2 and Burnout Paradise and there were no slowdowns or hiccups, other than at the very start of MW2 when the logo loads. Will keep everyone posted. THANKS!

The PSU is whatever comes from the factory, I think it's 600+ watts, not sure...
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October 3, 2010 1:35:14 PM

alright let me know if there are any further problems.
October 3, 2010 2:09:09 PM

Thanks malmental, I love it so far.

I know SSDs have come a long way in a few years. My Thinkpad T410s laptop has one. Which would you recommend for a desktop application? I just got the 300gb Raptor a bit ago but it'd be an easy resale on eBay...

-kj-
October 4, 2010 4:57:29 PM

I'm about to purchase the same machine.
Whats the case size on the 9100?

Also, do you think the 5970 is overkill? I'm only playing SC2 right now lol.
October 4, 2010 5:17:02 PM

You can get the dimensions on Dell's site, but, it's freakin' HUGE. :) 

Pic: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kjarrett/5047271172/

Yes, I think the 5970 is overkill, which is why I went with the 5870. :) 

Love the machine. Absolutely amazing. And when I get an SSD for it about a year from now when prices drop (I'm waiting for ~300gb or so at a reasonable price) it'll be an absolute beast.

-kj-
October 4, 2010 6:54:15 PM

Very Nice Set-up!

Aright, I think I'm gonna set mine up the same way you set yours up.

SSD will be awesome. My friend has one in his laptop and It's super fast, I'm sure desktop SSD's are even quicker.
October 11, 2010 12:04:26 AM

Well, you're gonna have to add a 120gb Vertex 2 SSD to make yours like mine...

I just ordered this:

http://www.buy.com/prod/ocz-technology-vertex-2-oczssd3...

$236.99 after rebate, how can you go wrong?

I already have a NAS with more storage than I'lll ever need, so, my local disc is only for the OS and apps...120gb is plenty! :) 

-kj-
October 11, 2010 12:05:11 AM

Best answer selected by kevin_jarrett.
December 22, 2010 2:09:14 PM

Yeah, I have the same problem, mine stutters too. I've had this system for about 20 months. It's most annoying when listening to music, or watching a movie. I'll tell you what I know; maybe we can figure this out together.

My system is:
Studio XPS 9000 (BIOS A16) Intel Core i7-920 processor (8MB L2 Cache, 2.67 GHz)
(As far as I can tell, the only difference between the 9000 & 9100 is the power supply)
6GB DDR3 Tri-Channel SDRAM at 1066MHz
XFX ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB DDR5 @ 1920 x 1080 on a Dell S2409W Monitor
750GB SATA 2 Hard Drive 7200 RPM - 54GB Free (684GB Total)
Running Windows 7 Ultimate x64

The Windows Experience Index is:
Processor 7.4
Memory (RAM) 7.4
Graphics 7.4
Gaming graphics 7.4
Primary hard disk 5.9

It was originally running Vista Home Premium x64 SP1. I removed the bloatware too, and McAfee because it reports ppl to the RIAA (you can’t serve 2 masters).

My first thought was a loose connector somewhere, or memory, or something like that. None of that helped. So I thought maybe it was the sound drivers (or any other drivers, but Vista is known to have issues with some sound drivers), Nope. I updated Vista to SP2, even switched to Windows 7 to see if it would help, still no luck.
It seems to me, like it might be servicing some type of hardware request, because the cursor still moves during the freeze; like something has top priority. It could be something with the BIOS. I have been able to reduce how often it happens. The system seems happiest when I keep it busy. When I run a program called Folding@home to use my excess CPU cycles (only gets to about 15-20% busy, uses the GPU more), is when I seem to have the least pauses; go figure. I still haven’t completely gotten rid of it though.
Can anyone out there help us with this?
December 28, 2010 4:05:13 PM

well, im on a very old machine (asus z7100a) and the reason why it would shutter is because the hard drives would spin down automatically, and the cpu with intel speed step would auto underclock. both of which could be turned off, and afterwards everything was good. probably not your problem but its worth a shot haha
December 29, 2010 3:21:26 PM

Yeah, sorry but, it is definitely not the same problem. It will pause while playing a game, or watching a video. Both things will keep the HD spinning, and the processor going at normal to boosted speeds.

Thank you for the thoughts, keep‘em coming.
December 29, 2010 5:38:10 PM

hmmm... well if i was in your position, and had a lot of personal stuff on my hard drive, i would rearrange the memory, and try memtest ( think thats whats its called). check for similarities between your operating systems, i.e. what drivers and programs carried over during the install of win 7. after that, i would end up getting drastic, and swaping out parts from different computers to determine if its a hardware specific problem. if not, then i would go on google and look up to see if my system that i had is known for problems. once again, just thoughts of an amateur computer builder.
!