The Seemingly Unanswerable Question

Nvidia / Geforce 8800 gt
June 4, 2009 at 23:09:09
Specs: Windows XP
Hello all!

I have seen this question posted practically everywhere on the interwebs without catering to my exact situation so I'm going to post here and cross my fingers.

I'm running into a sudden slowdown/high CPU usage problem. The first time I noticed it, I'd been playing Oblivion for several days (not straight, obviously) when it slowed to a crawl. Bear in mind that I was running it at max graphics without a single hitch.

Anyway, after closing Oblivion the problem didn't go away right away; it would last anywhere between several minutes and just not going away until I rebooted, and sometimes not even then. This happened more than once until I formatted (there were other problems as well, so it seemed like a reasonable troubleshoot) and decided to avoid Oblivion like the plague.

However I was running another game that required 3D rendering at decent quality and the same thing happened. This is leading me to believe it's a video card problem, but I couldn't tell you what, which is why I'm here.

Process Explorer told me my CPU was devoting a total of 50% of its resources to Deferred Procedure Cells and Hardware Interrupts. My graphics card is an NVidia Geforce 8800 GT and I'm operating on an Intel dual-core processor with some... accompanying mumbo-jumbo.

Before you say my CPU can't handle the high graphics, have an explanation ready as to why these programs spend a good deal of time working just fine and then suddenly hog my CPU. =P

Any help is greatly, greatly appreciated (even if only so I can go back to Oblivion.)

Thank you for reading!

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June 4, 2009 at 23:26:25
"I'm operating on an Intel dual-core processor with some... accompanying mumbo-jumbo"

How do you expect to get any help without posting your system specs? And saying you have an Intel dual core is fairly useless...there are dozens of dual core Intel CPUs. The older Pentium D's, the "new" Pentiums (Core 2 based), Core 2 Duos. What clock speed does it run at? What FSB speed?

Here's what we need. The more detail you can provide, the better:

1. make/model/clock speed/FSB speed of CPU
2. make/model of motherboard
3. type/speed/amount of RAM
4. make/model/wattage/amperage specs of power supply
5. CPU & system temps, at idle & under load

"have an explanation ready as to why these programs spend a good deal of time working just fine and then suddenly hog my CPU"

But apparently you didn't think it was worth posting the explanation?

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June 5, 2009 at 00:13:03
And apparently your people skills need some work. I'd like to think that even if I'm a dumbass, I at least have the courtesy to be polite about it.

But then again, I like the no-bulls--- approach... means you know what you're talking about, anyway.

To that last point, you'll notice I didn't say that I have an explanation ready. I was asking for one in advance if that happened to be your proposed solution. But I'll forgive you that one - it's late (for me, anyway) and I imagine that the amount of people who post bad grammar here would make you automatically think it was a typo.

But in the interest of burying the hatchet, and hoping you'll forgive us lesser bipeds who don't often seek technical support, let's get this show on the road.

1. Intel Pentium III Xeon/E8400/3.00GHz/667Mhz

2. Gigabyte EP35-DS3L

3. Pshhhh..... mmm, best answer I can give you is 4gb. Make: Mushkin. DDR2. If you know where I can find the rest, by all means give me a wake-up call.

4. It's an OCZ power supply, can't find the wattage. Best answer Everest is giving me is 1.10V under "CPU Core."

5. Idle (in both normal and Fahrenheit varieties):
Motherboard: 47C/117F
Aux: 38C/100F
GPU: 64C/147F
GPU Ambient: 50C/122F

No change in temperatures under load. In fact, CPU temp went down by one degree Celsius.

Granted I'm not an expert, nor am I particularly pro at finding these details, but I hope we have enough to work with.

And since I'm sure it doesn't taste very good, please don't bite my head off.

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June 5, 2009 at 06:41:29
Your inability to find an answer for this may - just may - be linked to your att-it-ood. I know a lot of helpful people will simply ignore you.

Anyway, let's start at the beggining: do you have the latest Nvidia graphics drivers installed?

I've had this issue in the past, and it was related to a)overheating or b) RAM issues. But we'll get to that later....

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Related Solutions

June 5, 2009 at 07:30:15
<sigh> I'm sorry. It's been an irritating problem for quite a while now and the attitude is a result of having been spoken to like a five-year-old multiple times - see above. But thank you for your help.

Yes, latest drivers are installed. Actually that was the last thing I did. Unfortunately the problem popped up again within half an hour.

What kind of RAM issue was it? I've read in one or two places that sometimes it's better to have 2 gigs than 4, but it didn't make any sense to me.

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June 5, 2009 at 08:15:24
It could be the RAM, or it could be any number of other devices in your system. The trick here is to eliminate the problem device, which takes a bit of detective work. Also takes a bit of patience and time, but I'm sure you're OK with that and just want it fixed. So here are my suggestions:

1. I always go for the graphics card first, hence the question about drivers. Do you have an alternative that you could try? Also - does your mobo have in-built graphics (sorry, haven't checked)? If you can try a different card, or use the in-built without the problem happening, then we'll have nailed the culprit.

2. When the CPU starts to go crazy, open up Device Manager in Control Panel. Start disabling then re-enabling devices. It sounds a bit drastic I know, but whenever I have done this, I usually find that I get to a specific device and when I disable it, the CPU count goes down. Leaving this device disabled generally ends the CPU-burn issue. You then have a few options on how to deal with the problem device, but the key thing is you know which device it is.

Give the above a try, in numerical order. There are other possible scenarios for this problem, but try these solutions first.

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June 5, 2009 at 08:36:46
Sorry, but I tend to get an attitude when people ask for help, then provide little or no useful info about their it was 2 AM when I responded.

"Intel Pentium III Xeon/E8400/3.00GHz/667Mhz"

There's so many things wrong with that description that I don't know where to But I can guess that you have an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz @ 1333MHz FSB.

You have a decent motherboard but your temperature readings seem out of whack. Where are you getting them from? 47C is awfully high for the system temp & the CPU temp isn't even on your list, unless you typed GPU by mistake? And if that's the case, 64C is awfully warm & *may* indicate that the CPU is throttling back to prevent itself from overheating. Try checking the temp readings in the BIOS & try a different software program. How about GigaByte's EasyTune?

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June 5, 2009 at 12:37:56
Did you use permon to see what is going on?

"Best Practices", Event viewer, host file, perfmon, antivirus, anti-spyware, Live CD's, backups, are in my top 10

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June 5, 2009 at 13:08:44
@Jam: No hard feelings. =) I appreciate that you're trying to help!

My problem is that I don't know what's high and what's not, temperature-wise. My education on hardware specs and everything related to them is woefully incomplete. I did indeed mean to type GPU... what sort of temperatures should I be expecting? And do you think that's the cause of the slowdown?

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June 5, 2009 at 13:09:13
@Jefro: Permon?

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June 5, 2009 at 13:26:54
@Jefro: If you meant Perfmon, I Googled it quickly and from the looks of it I wouldn't even know what I was looking at.

I'm sorry I'm a bit useless on this stuff..


The problem just came up again so I ran Everest to have a look at temperatures. My motherboard temperature almost doubled (89C). Somehow I think that might have something to do with it.

UPDATE X2: As embarrassing as this is to say, my CPU fan was not functioning. Upon further examination, I found that it was not properly plugged into the motherboard. I shall have to have a word with the man who built my computer about that, but oh well.

But that didn't fix the problem. Not ten minutes after fixing this problem and getting a decent temp reading... same problem.

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June 5, 2009 at 14:26:42
I read this bit the same way as Jam too (oops):
"Before you say my CPU can't handle the high graphics, have an explanation ready as to why these programs spend a good deal of time working just fine and then suddenly hog my CPU."

I've spotted the reason. It's just that there was no question mark, so it read rather like a "statement". Probably best to avoid anything which restricts/predicts responses on a free help site anyway.

No offence intended whatsoever, just trying to "oil the wheels" for some other ocassion, so that you don't get off to a bad start.

Hope you fix your problem, sorry I can't help.

some other bloke...

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June 5, 2009 at 14:34:45
This happens to me on occasion. If you have a PCI-E video card that has a fan, for instance, dust collects and blocks the heat sink fins within the card. You need to shut down your computer and disassemble the cards heat sink assembly (pretty easy) and clean it out. You could also replace the existing heat dope with some arctic silver or the like. Reply if this is the problem. It happens to me every 9 months to a year because I have my computer next to a forced air vent. Good Luck.

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June 6, 2009 at 03:36:46

Intel Pentium III Xeon/E8400 what is reporting this ?

you cant have both descriptions for the cpu,
download this and find out what you have,

if the builder has sloppy enough with the cpu fan get some one who knows what they are doing to refit the cpu cooler / thermal paste.

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June 6, 2009 at 03:49:34
simple prolem with hard solutions:

1. shutdown your pc.
2. take out 1 ram and start pc.
3.see whats happening.
4. if ok transfer ram into other slot. see what heppen.
if ok, just let your ram like that only. then take out other pci or picx device ang start computer. 1 by 1.
5. this solution if hard to you maybe but this is the best for you to knoe if hardware problem.

sometime we format and install windows can make some hardware driver not fully installed during windows installation like windows important file (dll,etc.).

sorry my bad grammar. visit

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June 8, 2009 at 23:25:55
I really think we're looking too deep here, people...

Not meaning to suggest everyone is wrong - certainly there are suggestions/ideas here which help...but let's consider something.

When you exit a given (3D) game, your Windows environment will, without failure, always be sluggish. I've never, out of realistically 40ish 3D capable computers I've worked with, seen a system that did not do this.

I think the problem you're seeking to find an answer for, OP, does not have an answer...for it is a hardware issue. Perhaps I'm going out on a limb, but I'd say the GPU just doesn't like switching modes (2D vs 3D)....regardless of how good it is in either mode.

PS. I tried attitude here once upon a time - it doesn't go over so well. These people know what they're talking about, and they know the value of their information and service. Respect them always - they come in handy. Hats off to the regulars here.

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June 9, 2009 at 00:27:37

Not to insult your credibility, and I do appreciate that you're trying to help, but I think you might have misread the problem. It wasn't an issue of sluggishness upon exit; the sluggishness happened while I was playing the game, and it would happen quite suddenly, without anything happening within the game I was playing that would change the load my GPU was trying to process. If it was just a case of sluggishness post-gaming, I probably wouldn't even be here.

I understand where you're coming from, though, and I'd probably agree if the slowdown was consistent - ie, it would start as soon as the game started, as opposed to during play. But this is not something normal. I think I've narrowed it down to a hardware (probably temperature) issue, but I'm not trying to get either my CPU or my GPU to do anything they weren't built to handle easily.

And about this so-called "attitude" thing: that was a miscommunication issue between myself and Jam and has been settled. I appreciate your feedback, but I'm not a confrontational person.

Thanks again for the feedback!

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June 9, 2009 at 08:51:51
Last para #16 makes sense. Apologies, I'll try to learn when it is best to not poke my nose in.

some other bloke...

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June 9, 2009 at 09:26:27
@ Derek:

Don't worry about it, I see how it could be misread. :P

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