PC suddenly chokes 1 min into any program

My knowledgeable brothers,

Okay, I'm completely baffled on this one, and I feel like I know my way around most PC troubles, this one has me vexed.

I have a Windows XP box with a Pentium D 3.4 and 2G DDR mem, Sound Blaster X-Fi card, Nvidia 220 with 1G (yeah yeah, I know, I only found out how I got ripped off on this card AFTER I installed it. Never again!! Hell, I thought I was upgrading 4-5 full GPU offerings!). I use this box ENTIRELY for games, thats all thats on it, and its the only computer I own and have been very happy with it. Heres the problem . . .

About an hour ago I fired up a new game I had just installed (Sacred 2) and have already played for 2-3 hours since install when not 2-3 minutes into the game, it turned into a slideshow. I mean OBVIOUS and unplayable, guessing 2-3 a second? 'No problem' I says, 'nothing a quick reboot wont cure'. When I reboot, I check my CPU temp just in case, no problems there. Reboot cures nothing except the game doesn't start out slow, just an exact repeat of what I said above, everything running normally then less than 4 minutes into the game, slideshow. 'Hmm, THATS pecuilular' I mumble to no one in particular as my blood pressure rises several points.

So I clearly have a problem, time to address it. Checking two other games, they are slideshows also just like the first. Further experimentation shows that its not program specific, in other words from a fresh boot any program STARTS and runs normally but after just a few minutes goes hella-slow AND this is with all programs unless I reboot, i.e. if I'm getting said slideshow and exit game and open another it is already a slideshow, no brief period of normal running then choke, it only runs okay for a few minutes from a fresh reboot then all programs are hosed.

And this is what is vexing me . . .

I feel I could address this if the damn PC was choking all the time, but why does the problem clear temp with a reboot? I even checked early on in this issue Windows Task Manager to verify both processors were turned on and everything was fine. So to help alleviate the obvious immediate solutions that usually (and I have to admit, fairly so) get offered up, I'll tell you all I can that I've done or changed or checked or don't have.

I turned off anti virus, no change.
I upgraded my existing version to the latest version of Auslogics Disk Defragmenter and did a defrag before and after installing Sacred 2, but got an easy 3-4 hours of no problems of use before this problem occured.
CPU temp is normal
Ran virus checker, no problems found
Checked my Task Manager, no unusual programs running in background/foreground, normal cpu and memory usage (and yes, I'm very intimate with what these normally read do to other troubleshooting projects from the past)

Backtrack Dave, what changed/happened since the last time everything worked fine? Well, there is this, I don't see the tie in but all events could explain or help, right? Right before this problem started I was playing a game on the box, and had to get up to use the porcelain game manual reading chair. As I exited my desk area, the dam wire from my headphones got hooked around the tongue of one of my shoes and I did a heartstopping semi-violent tug/pull on said wire connected to the back of my pc via the 1/8 headphone jack on my Soundblaster X-Fi card as I stepped away. So bad it pulled the sound card from the motherboard. Don't freak out entirely gents, that would be an unbelievably violent tug to tear loose a card from the MB if it was installed normally, but . . .

I know its stupid but I had ran out of the little single screws you normally use to seat your peripheals into the case frame and until this accident I haven't had one problem for over two years. Well, it didn't have it. So, soundcard is lying cockeyed on bottom of case (I had the side of the case off for cooling purposes so I can see this quite clearly) yet computer hasn't crashed, windows XP desktop is still on screen with no t-error messages. 'Jesus, this can't be good' I berate myself and rush over and turn off computer immediately. I reseat the soundcard after inspecting everything, no visible damage (I got lucky on this dunderheaded move, thankfully) and Pc boots normally and headphones and soundcard are too. Yet, upon first operation of the PC on a game, the above problem starts.

Sh*t, even though its working normally (at least sound wise) I guess I should pull the card and reboot and see if this new problem goes away. I just don't see how the soundcard could cause the slowdowns when its WORKING. When my programs slow down, there is no change or burps in the sound, see? Hence, this is why i came here and WHOA, I've typed a freakin novel here, sorry for my diahrrea of the keyboard gentlemen.

Your solutions, suggestions, flames (well maybe not too many of those!) hints beratements on my clumsiness are most valued and welcomed,

Humbly submitted,

4 answers Last reply
More about suddenly chokes program
  1. GPU Temps?
  2. reset your bios, Reseat your ram and GPU. Check your heatsinks (CPU, Chipset, GPU) and re-thermalpaste them and secure them. Use driversweeper and remove you video and audio drivers and then reinstall them. Hopefully you haven't damamged any motherboard components.
  3. You can always take a screw off of one of the other slots that is not doing anything and cover the open slot with a slice of tape as a stopgap, sounds like your video drivers may be corrupted and need refreshing etc, the only other thought that comes to mind is to reinstall right over existing and take offer to repair when it comes up, might get lucky..:)
  4. Okay gentlemen, solved the problem about an hour after I posted this, sorry for the delay in repsonding, and thank you all who did offer up assistance either way! :)

    Computer repair rule #1: ALWAYS check the very LAST thing you did before said PC goes south, especially if it does it right after that last thing (AHEM!!! : /)

    It was in fact the sound card. I checked my periphals under better light (damn aging eyes, sheesh!!) and discovered yours truely did NOT seat the soundcard perfectly. Upon properly seating/installing it everything went back to normal, no problems since.

    Still confused as to why it would only choke the framerate a few seconds AFTER a fresh reboot as opposed to immediately, any theories guys?

    Again, I appreciate everyones kind help in this. Love this sight, love the people! BTW, any suggestions for a dual core processor that would fit my abit IL9Pro that has my Pentium D on it? Bear in mind, I've been unemployed since Dec. 1st and have only 20-40 bucks a month extra after paying all my bills, and I'm not really that 'has to have the baddest box on the block' buy, just as long as I can run games for the next 1-2 years. Hell, I'm happily still using XP, all these horror stories of getting old games to run on Vista and 7 leave me unmotivated to upgrade since I still fire up oldies but goldies pretty much all the time . . .

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