Help! PCI wireless card causes system to stutter

Ok, folks, I've got a very weird problem, and my own pool of IT folks have drawn a blank.

My old system developed a stutter. It would freeze for a half-second at a time in short bursts. The stutter would appear off and on at random, and went on for a good year, coming and going. I couldn't locate the source, but it seemed to get worse when either the graphics card or the sound were called on heavily. Near the very end, the hard drive started getting corrupted, more and more swiftly. I had to replace my machine.

So I created new, a fresh, home-built system:
* Asus P8 Z68-V motherboard
* Intel i5-2500k
* 16 GB RAM
* Radeon 6850
* 465 GB WD platter hd
* 128 GB SSD with a fresh install of Windows 7

After completing the installation of Windows, I brought over my old DVD drive, my old wireless card, and my old hard drive. I copied my old data to the new drive, and was relieved that I was able to do so successfully. Almost immediately, I began to get the stutter again! I did some troubleshooting, and discovered that the stutter went away when I pulled out my wireless card. I tried switching it to a different PCI slot, but the same thing continued. When I was able to test the machine with an ethernet cable plugged directly into a router, the stutter was gone. I bought a fresh wireless card, but the same thing happened immediately.

What's the deal? This problem has followed me across two systems with almost entirely different hardware. If it's a virus, how do I ditch it? If not, what's causing it?
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  1. Hello and welcome to Tom's Hardware Forums.

    When these wireless cards were in use, were they under Windows control or of the manufacturer's own software utility?

  2. Hello and welcome to Tom's Hardware Forums.

    When these wireless cards were in use, were they under Windows control or of the manufacturer's own software utility?

    Thanks for the welcome!

    On the first system, I believe I had the Linksys software installed originally, but a few OS installs later I was just using Windows. Bear in mind that the first machine (the one that originally began stalling) was functional for a good few years and I reinstalled the OS a few times over the course of its life.

    On the new system, it's been entirely controlled by Windows.

  3. That throws my best suggestion out of the window then :D

    Am I right in my reading that this stutter occurs whether or not wireless transmission is happening? Are you Windows 7 32 bit or 64?

  4. Yep, stutter happens regardless of connectivity. I even see it on the Windows login screen. It might even come up earlier, but without a way to test the mouse and keyboard, I don't actually know.

    Windows 7 64-bit.


    Forgot to mention: without meaning to, I picked up a fresh version of the same wireless card I had before:

    Linksys WMP600N

    And now, from some Googling on the model number, it looks like that model comes with a host of problems, many of which sound precisely like mine. So I guess that'd do it, though it's really odd that the problem didn't show until I copied my old data over to the new machine. And it was just data! Documents, movies, some old photos. Weird. I'd really like to know what that deal is.

    Too bad. The card is rated pretty well on Newegg. Time for another RMA, I guess.

  5. Do you have another system in which you can test that wireless adapter and, if so, does it work properly in there? This has to be hardware or hardware related driver issues - maybe one that says it works in 64 bit systems would be better. What make and model is the new one?

  6. Nope, no other system to test on, sadly. But if it's a problem with the model itself...

    I'll pick up a different card and see what happens.

  7. A USB dongle would be pretty bomb-proof - just in case it's your PCI slots.

  8. I did try a USB dongle, briefly. No stuttering, but the speed was abysmally slow--about 25% of my PCI card. The connection was spotty with the router on the other side of the house, and with USB 2.0 being what it is I was averaging 300k/sec where the PCI card could get 1.2mbps.

    I've gotten a decent workaround (stole the router and got a hard line into it) but this means I'll have to pick up a bridge for the rest of the house. I'm still quite curious on why the cards worked fine until I plugged in my old hard drive and ported data over. Could it be that there's an undocumented virus running around out there that likes to spam PCI ports with requests? I guess it's either that or the problem just hadn't manifested yet.

    Ah, well. We'll see what the new network card can do.
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