CPU bogging down for no apparent reason

June 1, 2009 at 19:14:15
Specs: Windows Vista Home Premium
I've had my Dell Inspiron 9400 for a couple years and it's worked great, until a few days ago. All of a sudden the CPU fan turns on and I look to see 80-100% CPU usage, with no programs running. A while into troubleshooting the problem my hard drive crashes ... After putting in a brand new HD the original problem persists, even with a clean install of Vista, and no startup programs running. The startup diagnostic shows no failures, Windows is up to date, and the vents are clean/free of dust. This CPU bog down seems to happen randomly, sometimes before the windows load screen is even done, sometimes a few minutes into operation, and -always- when I try to load any kind of memory intensive program such as a game, and it is always accompanied by the fan going at full speed. Process explorer shows System Idle Process at about 70% CPU, and nothing else substantial. Being a brand new hard drive it couldn't be a virus, right? After countless hours of troubleshooting I'm at wit's end, please help!

*Inspiron Core 2 Duo 1.73GHz 2G RAM
*ATI Mobility Radeon X1400

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June 2, 2009 at 15:40:19
Can you check the cpu temperatures in the BIOS ?

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