High CPU Temps and Choppy Streaming Video

For about the last 2 weeks I've been having issues with choppy video playback while streaming. The audio has generally been good, just choppy video.

At first I though maybe I was having internet connection issues, so I took my router out of the picture and connected my laptop directly to the cable modem. After running a bunch of speed tests, I felt that my connection wasn't the issue. I called Netflix, and I have to say I'm amazed at the information they can track from your computer while you're streaming movies. The tech that I spoke with said that while streaming he could see that my processor was maxing out, and that was more than likely what was causing the problems. Now I needed to figure out why.

So I tried to think back through any changes I'd recently made to my computer that would cause a change in my CPU performance, and all I could come up with is that about two months ago, one of the cooling fans started running really loud, so I just unplugged it. Mind you, this is a laptop (HP ZD7000 w/a pentium 4 @ 3.06GHz), so this probably could easily build up too much heat. After this the temperatures weren't getting high enough to trip the high temp shutdown, so I just left it unplugged.

So, I downloaded CPUID HWMonitor and looked at the temperature of my CPU, as well as the processor usage in the task manager while streaming a movie. Low and behold the video began to get choppy right when the CPU started to hover over 90% usage. What was more interesting is that these two things could be directly correlated to a threshold temperature of 66C. <65C everything was fine, >65C no good.

Last night I bought a Cooler Master Laptop cooler for $12, and watched a movie. CPU temps stayed at around 62C or less, and the video playback was flawless. So I don't really have a problem at this point, but I was curious if anyone knew whether this is a normal function of CPU's. I knew high temps could damage processors, but I didn't know they'd cause loss of performance.
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  1. So CPUs (I know new ones do) throttle back the CPS speed when a set temperatures is reached. I would REPLACE that fan, it could also be providing cooling to other Parts of the computer, ie the IGP, the mosfets.
  2. clean that sucker out with some extreme air pressure.

    Sweep the legs johnny!
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