I recently put together a computer with the following specs:
ASRock 990FX Extreme3
AMD FX 8120 w/ stock heatsink
2 x 4 GB GSkill Sniper DDR3 @ 2133
SilverStone (or something like that) 600 W power supply
Antec 900 Case
ASUS DVD Burner
My computer has been freezing a lot and trouble handling anything more than a bare minimum load (like opening/trying to use a different tab on an internet browser). However, after I first put it together, it was even slower, until I went to AMD's website to download the latest drivers for the chipset (I think it's an 8 series chipset, but I really have no idea). So everything is turning on, I'm successfully running Windows 7 Professional 64 bit, and the case is very well ventilated. One thing to note: since my motherboard does not have built in graphics, I had to use an old (very old) video card so that I could plug into the monitor and get output. The card is a Mad Dog GeForce FX 5200 and has allowed me to use my monitor. I have tried getting the latest drivers for this card and the problem is that they are not available for Windows 7. Anyway, I know there's a lot going on here (at least to me), but I would much appreciate any pointers on why my system is not flying through the basic programs I'm throwing at it. Forgot to mention, has a 250 Western Digital HDD. Thanks for your help!
Even with the generic Windows video drivers, the video card shouldn't slow your entire system down. If the computer is freezing a lot though, you definitely have something wrong. Try starting with a RAM check. If you can run windows long enough, you can schedule a Windows Memory Diagnostic check. Click on the 'start' or 'Windows' button and in the search box, type 'Windows Memory'. The Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool should appear at the top of the Programs list as a result. Click on this to schedule a RAM check and restart the PC when prompted.
You say that the case is well ventilated, have you checked your cpu temps anyway? Improper thermal compound application can cause overheating issues in even the most well ventilated cases. I use CoreTemp to monitor mine at all times, its free download. If temps are within normal range for your CPU during the slow down times then check task manager while it is being slow, click on the CPU tab to have it sort to the highest load on the cpu to see whats bogging it down, do the same for memory, then post back with your results.
Coretemp reports (I think it's wrong) a CPU temp of 9 degrees. The CPU monitoring software that came with the mobo says temps when not under load range between 28 and 35 degrees. I should note that while I was putting this PC together I put the CPU heatsink (stock) on backwards and had to pull it off of the CPU which resulted in some thermal paste being stuck on the CPU.
I did do a fresh instal of windows. This hdd was brand new. As for antivirus software I have avast and Microsoft security essentials. I hope I've answered all of your questions.
First thing that I would do is get some new thermal paste and re-apply after properly cleaning it, rule of thumb if you move the heatsink more than a slight wiggle, start over on the thermal paste, any air bubbles or spaces where the thermal paste does not make uniform contact can cause issues.
After that is done go and uninstall one of the antivirus programs, you only need 1 running and the extra is just causing unneeded conflicts and slowdowns. This is most likely the cause of your slowdown and things should run better once this is done, the thermal paste may not be adding to your problem as of yet but it may be a ticking timebomb, better safe than sorry.
Are my CPU temps normal? I ran prime95 for a few minutes and it got close to 60 so I turned it off
AMD CPU's are notoriously touchy about their temps vs performance. AMD's like it cool and in fact they tend to have much lower max temps than Intel, from what I can find for your particular CPU 61c is max temp, this does not mean that your CPU will burn up at 62c but the closer you get to 61 the lower your performance and the farther you go beyond 61 the higher risk of killing it.
Long story short, if your getting close to 60c after just a few min of Prime95 and the temp is still rising then something is wrong, given your faux pas with your heatsink the likley culprit is uneven thermal compound contact and/or air bubbles.
Take the steps detailed in my above post, properly clean off the old thermal paste and apply new, dont move the heatsink more than a slight wiggle once you place it on the CPU, lock it down and ensure proper airflow. Then when you boot back up remove one of your antivirus programs so that you have only one installed and running (Avast is pretty good, I use the paid version of it but the free one is just as good)