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PC has really slowed down

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a b B Homebuilt system
August 16, 2011 10:48:28 PM

Hi guys.

Built a new system around 6 months ago and for a while it was great but now it just seems so sluggish all of a sudden. I thought it was because of a recent overclock but since then i have rolled everything back to stock and its still the same. Then i thought maybe my hard drive was all clogged so i reformatted. Its still slow.

It's mostly when i'm opening/closing programs and tabbing between them. (especially games) It wasn't like this before and it's getting to be a real pain, for example it just took at least 10 seconds to load firefox. I am also getting massive lag spikes in games. Generally the FPS is pretty much the same it's just random spikes.

I'm thinking maybe my hard drive is getting slow or something, maybe some deteriorate more than others? I am going to buy a SSD at some point but just trying to find some kind of short term cure in the mean time.

Does anyone have any idea what might be causing something like this?

P.S. Possibly unrelated but if i go into my RAM timings in the BIOS it will crash even if i don't change any of them. I then have to do a hard reset to get back again. Maybe i have bad RAM?

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a c 85 B Homebuilt system
August 16, 2011 11:22:07 PM

1) There is a problem. A PC should not change how it operates over time. You need to find out what it is.

2) Could you possibly have a virus or spyware infection? A reload of the OS might be in order.

3) I doubt that ram is bad. But to be certain, check it with memtest86+. You should get NO errors.

4) Is there an accumulation of dust in the case? Heat buildup can cause parts to downclock to protect itself.

5) Use the task monitor to find out what tasks are running in your system. Get rid of those that you don't need. In particular, get rid of those that puport to keep some of your apps up to date, they are checking all the time.

6) 4GB used to be plenty, but today ram is cheap, and 8gb works much better. Consider an upgrade, regardless. Here is some justification:
http://blog.corsair.com/?p=65
Don't worry about ram speeds or timings, they make very little difference in performance.

7) Is your overclock stable? Run prime95 with rounding checking for long enough to reach maximum temperatures. Again, you should get NO errors.
Also verify with cpu-z that your cpu runs at the max multiplier while testing.

8) It is possible that the hard drive has developed some bad sectors, and error recovery is doing extra work. See if the SMART info for the hard drive shows anything strange. Go to the hard drive web site, and download the appropriate testing utility. A full reformat might be necessary if you have a problem.

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a b B Homebuilt system
August 17, 2011 2:44:56 PM

1) Ok that's the plan :) 

2) No, i just reformatted but i'll do another scan to be sure.

3) Ok i'll try that now and report back.

4) No, it has filters and i recently cleaned them.

5) There aren't too many because i just reformatted.

6) Yeah i was thinking of getting another 4GB of XMS3, a Crucial M4 64GB SSD and another GTX 460 when i have the cash. Maybe ill give the RAM priority over the other two then since it's cheap.

7) I have rolled everything back to stock and it's still slow.

8) I'll do some sort of HDD test like HDtune and see what happens.

Thanks for the help guys
a c 85 B Homebuilt system
August 17, 2011 2:59:56 PM

9) Are all of your drivers up to date?

a c 85 B Homebuilt system
August 17, 2011 3:03:02 PM

10) Are you using windows-7? Presumably 64 bit.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 17, 2011 4:45:33 PM

All my motherboard/sound/graphics/network drivers are up to date. Dont know about hard drive drivers/firmware.

Yes, Win 7 Ultimate 64 Bit
a b B Homebuilt system
August 17, 2011 5:27:55 PM

Win 7 has great performance monitor called 'resource monitor'. Launch from task manager. When system is slow check:
(1) paging rate (in memory, called hard faults, should be 0 or small even with 4GB)
(2) hard drive activity (response time should be single digit mils)
(3) CPU consumption (should be 40% or less)

If you are seeing wall lock measurable slowdowns on Core i5-760 @ 2.8Ghz there is probably something in the background that is hurting you by using disk (or memory leading to disk paging). When you find it, google the process name and see what it is. Classic are antivirus scans getting aggressive after new signature file download and services that are broken). I like the spyware/malware explanation also. If you are not running Microsoft security essentials (free) or other anti-virus then start.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 23, 2011 10:06:02 PM

Ok ive been monitoring it for a while and keeping an eye out on things. Ive started getting BSOD randomly and lag spikes in firefox where i spike to 90% CPU usage now and again. During these spikes my hard faults spikes to 80%.
!