CPU "stuck" at a low percentage

Im having a problem. I am using free ram to monitor my system and occasionally my processor will get "stuck" at about 25% of its total. Initially I thought that this was just a bug in the freeram program but if i run the default 3dmark I lose 2000 marks. When I exit 3dmark the CPU percentage used has not changed from 25%. If I run 3dmark after reboot the CPU use goes up to 100% and I have ascore of 7000.
has anyone else experienced this

1.1Ghz Athlon (not oc)
Abit KT7A (bios WW, Via 4.28)
256Mb PC133 CL2
Hercules 3D II Pro
IBM 30Gb
SB LIve Player
Diamond Modem
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