I have been pounding my head against the wall all night on this one so I'd appreciate any help you can give.
Tonight, I came upstairs to use my computer - no major system changes recently. Everything has been running just fine. Well, first thing I notice, Windows 7 Aero animations seem to be taking twice as long to run as they normally do (minimize, maximize, etc). Ignoring this, I head to YouTube. Everything seems fine. I then continue general usage and the Aero thing starts annoying me, so I make sure nothing is running that shouldn't be.
Well, everything else seems normal. So I run Malwarebytes and that comes up clean. Odd. I make sure my graphics drivers are up to date. Yup - everything is good to go there. Out of curiosity, I open Skyrim. Bethesda logo pops up and all hell breaks loose. I get janky audio and laggy video. In the game is even worse. Everything appears to be happening in slow motion.
That's when I get serious. I reinstall graphics card drivers. No change. I roll back to an older version I knew worked. No change. I make sure I clean all of the drivers up and do it again. I run ccleaner and fix some registry errors. I do a system restore to three days ago. I run Windows Performance and my scores all stay the same. I run diagnostics on performance and everything checks out. All of my hardware seems to be running just fine and yet - all graphical performance outside of the animated smilies on my screen as I post this and encoded or flash video seems to be entirely messed. Clarifying - video seems to work fine, but games and Aero performance are really poor all of the sudden.
I've googled everything I can think of and found nothing. I was hoping someone here could help me out.
1tb hard drive
Single Powercolor Radeon 6870
I haven't overclocked anything. I'm defragging tonight and running another Malwarebytes scan since I am going to bed. Any help would be much appreciated.
Do a system restore to "before this happened" - Could of been some updates from MS that caused it, if its automatic updates. Rule of thumb also, If you don't need the latest video drivers, don't even install em. I still use version 11.12 or something with the same card, and its flawless.
I would look into a backup/format and install if the system restore to "before you noticed this", Not worth the hassle to deal with something like this. Its faster to start over, than to deal with frustration system issues.
You can also disable AERO, or some settings if it bugs you. Right click computer Icon, Click on advanced system settings, Advanced, Performance. Customize as needed and test.
System restore above to a earlier point may be the trick though.
I prefer a reinstall every year with windows 7 or so(performance eventually gets worse over time). Windows 98 was every 2-3 weeks as it sucked.
OK. Now things are even weirder. I'm starting to think it's a hardware issue.
I have an old 5770 card lying around so I tipped the machine on its side and flipped cards. Performance problems disappeared, so I chalked it up to the card being the issue. So, I reassembled everything flipped it back up and suddenly and booted it back up. Performance issues were back but this time on the spare card that I had put in it.
So, I flipped the tower back down on its side and put the 6870 back in. Booted it up, everything is running great. I put the side panel back on and reboot again. Everything is fine, so it doesn't appear to be temperature related. I tip it back up to the standing position and reboot - BAM - problems are back. Apparently the issue has something to do with the orientation of my computer now.
I'm pulling it back apart now to check the MoBo and see if anything there is visibly wrong. While I do that - any other suggestions?
MoBo looks fine, but now we are back to no matter what I do the performance problems remain. I'm still having issues regardless of whether the tower is standing or laying down while I work on it. Weird.
Well, after much tinkering tonight, it seems to have been resolved a couple of hours ago.
I checked every cable since I knew the video card was secure. The main things I ensured were nice and tight were the main power to the MoBo, a loose fan power cable I discovered and I double checked the two SATA cables I had going. After some gaming and a reboot/update, everything seems hunky-dory.
Thanks all for the help. I am marking DM186 as the best answer since he posted before I could get my solution up and it lines up with what I ended up doing. I will return should the problem come back.