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Unexplained Slowdowns

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a b B Homebuilt system
August 25, 2011 6:23:05 PM

Hi guys, i'm having a lot of problems with my PC recently and it is very frustrating. When i couldn't figure out what was causing it i rolled any overclocks back to stock and reformatted my system. I am still having problems though. I am getting lag spikes quite a lot, during gaming and even during web browsing. Earlier i was playing BFBC2 and talking to my friend on skype and skype was saying that my computer isn't fast enough for the call but somehow his was fine. His is C2D E7500, 4GB DDR2 with HD 5770. As well as Skype having problems, i was getting a lot of lag in BF too.

These slowdowns generally just feel like i'm on an old, slow PC that can't cope and that just shouldn't be the case.

Someone suggested keeping an eye on the resource monitor in task manager and that really doesn't look healthy. I am getting spikes in CPU usage, even while idling with Firefox open it spikes to 40% every few seconds. Also in RAM it says:

Available ~556MB
Cached ~574MB
Total 2039Mb
Installed 4096Mb

Does that sound about right? Also says 71% used physical memory, that seems high.

I am in 64 Bit Windows in a clean reinstall with only a few basic programs and games, i just don't understand what could be slowing me down.

Things i have tried:

Memtest (returned no errors)
HD Tune Scan (returned no errors)
AVG Full Scan (returned no errors)
Malwarebytes Scan (returned no errors)
Restoring Default BIOS Settings (RAID 0)
Tried RAM in different slots
Testing in WEI to see if that thinks anything seems slow (My RAM is at 5.5, seems a bit low but obviously WEI isn't exactly reliable.)

Anyone have any ideas on what to do next? I'm climbing the walls here, i can't find a solution. Thanks so much in advance.

More about : unexplained slowdowns

a b B Homebuilt system
August 25, 2011 7:59:47 PM

How long have you been using this computer?
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 25, 2011 8:04:53 PM

Let's go back to basics and make sure the problem isn't a simple one.

Disable/remove any programs that can OC or modify BIOS from WIndows.

Clear CMOS, enter BIOS, load optimized defaults, make no other changes, and boot through to Windows.

Download/install Prime95, Furmark, and CPUID's Hardware Monitor.

Run Prime95 for 30 min watching temps. Then add Furmark for 15 min more watching temps. CPU temps should stay under 75C, gpu temp should hover as high as 85C.

If temps climb higher than that with no signs of stopping, you have a heat problem which you should clear up since one of the results would be system auto-throttling.

If Prime95 reports an error you likely have a memory issue which, though real, is not likely to be the cause of your slowdown.

Let us know what happens. Next steps if needed would be directed at the OS and HD.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 25, 2011 8:13:12 PM

I wonder if the problem is Software related.

1) Is Win 7 fully Service Packed and up to date?
2) Have you installed the latest drivers for GPU etc?
3) What AV are you running? MS Security Essentials is recommended. It is free and effective and unobtrusive.
4) Have you updated your DirectX so it is backwards compatible with Direct X 90 C?
5) Are you having problems with your Internet Connection? Any lag here will cause problems for you and slow down the PC as it waits for information.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 25, 2011 8:28:37 PM

- Been using the computer around 6 months but reformatted ~1 week ago.
- I dont have any programs that modify the BIOS as far as i know.
- I can try Clearing CMOS and restoring BIOS but i will have to put it in RAID 0 to be able to boot again.
- It is definitely not a heat problem, i know this because i max out at around 50c CPU and 60c GPU on a stress test.
- I can try prime 95 overnight although my CPU is at stock and i have memtested my RAM.

1) Yes
2) Yes, don't think it is a GPU problem though because it lags while web browsing and multitasking too.
3) AVG Free
4) I let Windows 7 automatically sort my drivers
5) Some pretty minor issues but i can tell the difference between slow connection and slow PC and it is definitely the PC.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 25, 2011 8:55:10 PM

Please understand that many times folks say their temps are fine, until we run known loads and use known (to us) measurement tools. And TBH, I've personally found more memory issues with Prime95, and even Windows Memory Diagnostic, than with memtest.

Given the fresh install and no heat/memory issues, I'd then use Task Manager to find out what app/process is causing cpu usage spikes, CPU-Z to watch the speed my cpu was running at during these spikes, and check the hard disk for errors.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 25, 2011 9:10:56 PM

I suspect that AVG Free may be contributing to your issue. Try removing it and replacing it with MS Security Essentials. I have seen complaints about AVG Free causing system slowdown. This can happen with the programs that try and monitor every aspect of your computing.

http://forums.avg.com/kr-en/avg-free-forum?sec=thread&a...
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 26, 2011 12:21:40 AM

Twoboxer said:
Please understand that many times folks say their temps are fine, until we run known loads and use known (to us) measurement tools. And TBH, I've personally found more memory issues with Prime95, and even Windows Memory Diagnostic, than with memtest.

Given the fresh install and no heat/memory issues, I'd then use Task Manager to find out what app/process is causing cpu usage spikes, CPU-Z to watch the speed my cpu was running at during these spikes, and check the hard disk for errors.


I know youre just trying to help but seriously my temps are definitely fine, i'm at stock clocks in an Antec 902 and Noctua NH-D14. I have tested with CPUid, Prime 95 and Furmark.

I have looked at task manager and there are hardly any processes there. Just Firefox, AVG, some sound drivers and around 10-12 windows processes. The only one that seems to take up much memory is Firefox but surely that's pretty normal.

I will try MS security essentials.

EDIT: I should say though, AVG probably isn't the problem. Maybe MSSE will make my system run a bit faster but i have had AVG for ~8 years and never had problems like this.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 26, 2011 1:17:57 AM

Well i can safely say that nothing i have done up to now has worked, i just tried playing a game and got really weird regular 10 second lag spikes every 20-30 seconds. That seems like an extreme version of what happens when im on firefox and media player.

Keep the advice coming though, i really appreciate it. Thank you so much for the help i have received so far.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 26, 2011 1:21:32 AM

It is quite possible that AVG isn't the problem but it would be good to eliminate it from the equation. MS Security Essentials is a better product anyway in IMHO.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 26, 2011 3:01:53 AM

look at all the procees something is trying to connect itself whem you go on the net,could be a browser extension for games
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 26, 2011 1:04:34 PM

It doesn't just happen on the internet, it's when i use most things.

I ran a Prime 95 blend test for 12 hours straight and got no errors and it topped out at 56c.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 26, 2011 7:51:23 PM

I wonder if it is the RAID 0. I have seen people complain that 500 GB Barracuda is not ideal for RAID 0. I have two in RAID 1 that seem to work well enough. Benchmark the drives with HD Tune or similar.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 27, 2011 1:20:39 PM

Ok i'll try that when i get home, i'm away for the weekend. Thanks for the suggestion.
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August 27, 2011 1:34:57 PM

Disable Aero?
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 27, 2011 1:43:05 PM

Thanks for the suggestion but i'm not looking for ways to speed up my system i am trying to isolate a definite problem. My system should definitely be strong enough to browse the net without lag and use skype while gaming etc. and it doesn't seem so at the moment.
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August 27, 2011 1:57:39 PM

Seriously, give it a try. It cannot do more harm.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 27, 2011 2:07:41 PM

I don't think you understand, i am trying to find a problem not make my PC run faster. I want to keep the visual themes and be able to use my PC as normal.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 28, 2011 2:26:57 PM

Just did a HDtune benchmark, heres what i found:

Transfer Rate:

Minimum - 91.7MB/sec
Maximum - 178.7MB/sec
Average - 149.7MB/sec

Access time: 14.5 ms
Burst Rate: 85MB/sec
CPU Usage: -1.0%
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 28, 2011 7:44:37 PM

Ok that is normal range for those drives though the seek time is a little high by today's standard. Not so high that it is the cause of the issue though.

I am leaning towards a possible malware infection. Download Malwarebytes AntiMalware program and give the machine a full scan.

http://download.cnet.com/Malwarebytes-Anti-Malware/3000...
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 28, 2011 7:50:11 PM

Yeah i have already tried that, it's in things i have tried at the top.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 28, 2011 9:23:59 PM

Wow this really is an intense issue. All the normal suspects have been cleared. Do you have another HDD that you could do a quick install on? That way we could eliminate the software configuration on your current install and the HDD's. If you can run a HDD then unplug your RAID 0 drives and leave them disconnected. Switch the RAID Controller to standard SATA and see how the next install goes. If that acts up also then at least we have narrowed down the possibilities. Its all we can do I think Dude.
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September 15, 2011 6:08:00 PM

Hi, I have exactly the same issue.
I am running a Dell XPS M15X which I believe is the same or very similar to the Alienware.
I have had the problem since Skype automaticly updated from 4.2 to 5.x whatever the unstable buggy version is now.
It is fixable by completely removing Skype and reinstalling version 4.2. I am now back to gaming on BFBC2 and chatting on Skype.
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