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Inexplicable Slowdown

June 4, 2010 at 03:04:38
Specs: Windows 7
Well, ok, maybe it isn't inexplicable per se. But, at the very least, I can't figure it out. I'm running Windows 7 Home Premium with a 3.33GHz Celeron D, 2 gigs of RAM and a GeForce 8400 GS. Up until about 2 months ago everything ran well. Not perfect, but pretty good. I was able to watch videos and run some relatively heavy-load games at high or even max settings (Farcry 2, Borderlands). But about 2 months ago everything went to hell. I can't recall any new programs that I've installed or any other kind of software changes. Even stranger, it somewhat works better in safe mode, although still not at the level it was working at before, which to me indicates it may be a combination hardware/software issue.

I can't find anything in the task manager that seems to have a particularly high CPU usage (other than the idle process, although that's to be expected) at any one time, although a few programs seem to fluctuate, especially Firefox and Peerguardian. However, closing these programs doesn't seem to really help make anything run better. Even worse is Chrome, which, although I don't really like it and it hasn't run too well on any computer I've had, I could usually rely on as an alternative to Firefox if I had any problems with it. Chrome barely even runs now. It's slow, laggy, and can barely perform even the slightest functions, such as opening an image or a new tab.

Videos are also completely unwatchable, whether they're hosted online (Youtube, Hulu, Dailymotion, etc) or local files on my hard drive running on Windows Media Player, Media Player Classic, VLC, or anything else. They're stuttery, laggy, they get out of sync, and sometimes just crash altogether. Most games I try to start suffer the same problem, even the ones that worked alright before.

I've exhausted almost everything I could think of as being a problem. I've run virus and spyware scanners, tested my hardware in various ways, booted in safe mode (as I mentioned before, it ran a little bit better, but not perfectly), booted in XP and Vista (same problems), and checked other threads on here. Unfortunately since with nonspecific issues it's hard to get general advice, I haven't been able to find any help. I can grab any kind of diagnostics needed. Anybody have any ideas?

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June 4, 2010 at 04:43:58
The first thing you can check is to see if you have an overheating problem. Check your temps in the Bios and clean the machine out real well. The second thing you could do is uninstall and reinstall the vid card drivers and also check for any new revisions for the drivers. It could be a failing video card and even a possible psu weakness. Good Luck.

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June 4, 2010 at 05:00:03
I agree with grasshopper...the 1st thing you should look into is whether the CPU is overheating & throttling. But I find it very hard to believe that you were able to "run some relatively heavy-load games at high or even max settings" with an 8400GS.

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June 4, 2010 at 14:25:11
@grasshopper: I had checked that previously, and it ran around 75 degrees C, but I just checked it again, and now it's running at 90!! I've cleaned it out, but it wasn't particularly dirty to begin with, so I hope I don't just have a malfunctioning fan or something. It's a freestanding machine, I don't have it closed up in a desk or anything, so I wouldn't think it's a ventilation problem. I also tried reinstalling the video card drivers, and that seems to have helped the video problem a bit. Thanks! I should have thought of that to begin with.

@jam: I know, right? I couldn't believe it either. I should note that when I said "relatively" heavy-load games I meant relative to my system. I was able to max out San Andreas, but the other games listed weren't totally maxed out, they just had high-ish settings. Not bad for a $30 video card, haha.

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June 4, 2010 at 15:42:45

That seems very hot. Here is a list of cpu critical temps.

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June 4, 2010 at 15:49:45
Yeah, I checked that same list earlier, haha. It's running absurdly hot, which is worrying me. I'm at work presently but when I get home I'm going to be doing everything in my power to fix that. Thanks!

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June 4, 2010 at 15:56:45
Good Luck and if you have a couple of eggs handy, you can place them on top and you'll have supper.

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June 8, 2010 at 17:27:24
Fixed it, replaced the fan. Previous fan was moving but apparently just wasn't keeping it cool enough. Works beautifully now. Thanks!

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