Regular slowdowns and CPU spikes

Micro-star international / Ms-7350
January 3, 2009 at 08:05:25
Specs: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium, 2.4 GHz / 4094 MB
Hi folks, i've got a really weird problem that I need some help with...

When running most games on my PC I am getting periods of very slow operation that last about two and a half minutes. Outside of these periods the game runs just fine...but i'm only getting a minute or so of normal play for every two and a half minutes of unplayability!

I checked task manager to try and find the cause during these slowdowns and this is the wierd thing...several processes that normally use 0% CPU are momentarily jumping to 2-4% usage and all active windows (including the game i'm running, task manager itself and firefox if I have it open at the time) use considerably more CPU (task manager for example uses up to 12% when it normally takes about 2%). This all adds up to around 60-80% CPU usage. For a 2.4GHz quad-core processor it's making most games a slideshow...

So far I've tried:

1) Stopping most of the processes that spike up including certain non-essential system ones (on advisement of a more technically knowledgeable person), no effect.
2) Ran full McAfee antivirus scan and AdAware spyware scans, nothing detected.
3) I've run a memory test that tells me my RAM is fine.
4) Uninstalling the game that I installed when this started has not stopped the issue.

Anyone got any more ideas?

See More: Regular slowdowns and CPU spikes

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January 3, 2009 at 08:30:13
Over heating of the CPU or graphics card?

A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman's birthday but never remembers her age.
Robert Lee Frost

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January 3, 2009 at 12:50:08
Are you using readyboost? Unlikely that you are as you're on 4GB but when I was using readyboost I found it actually hindered system performance and there were MANY CPU spikes as you explain. As soon as I removed the USB stick (after much trial and error of other unsuccessful methods) it stopped and Vista was back to normal.

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January 3, 2009 at 14:07:59
I really should have thought of overheating...yeah my CPU was up at 80C and when I looked inside the fan was caked with dust...lesson learned :S thanks!

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Related Solutions

January 3, 2009 at 14:36:59
You're welcome.

A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman's birthday but never remembers her age.
Robert Lee Frost

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January 19, 2009 at 14:35:25
I had the CPU spiking problem as well. Here's what I learned and how I resolved it:

I added a second hard drive and a controller card to my system. I accidentally attached my second hard drive to the first slot of my controller card. My first hard drive (with my XP installation on it) was attached to IDE1 on the motherboard. I have a dual boot system (XP and Ubuntu) and when I installed the grub bootloader onto my first hard drive, so it could 'see' my Ubuntu installation I had brought over from a previous computer, my system wouldn't boot at all after a reboot and I was forced to boot an Ubuntu LiveCD to troubleshoot. I won't bore you with all the details, but for whatever reason, my BIOS was seeing my first hard drive (with XP and the bootloader) as the second hard drive and my second hard drive as the first. So I unplugged my first hard drive from the IDE1 of my motherboard, plugged it into the first slot of my controller card, moved the second hard drive to the second slot, tweaked my BIOS and I was good to go.

Then the CPU spiking started. I noticed because my audio kept studdering and had tons of jitter, so I thought at first that I was having issues with my sound card. Again, I won't bore you with all the details, but I made the audio problem, and more importantly, the CPU spiking disappear by simply plugging my first hard drive back into IDE1 of my mobo, and keeping my second hard drive on the second slot of my controller card, instead of in the first slot, which I had mistakenly done when I first added it.

Bottom Line:

In my case at least, the CPU spiking was caused by the PCI bus being overwhelmed with too many devices sending too many hardware interrupts to the kernel. (I should mention that in spite of this supposedly flawed configuration, I had absolutely no CPU spiking or audio problems under Ubuntu....only XP...I'll let you draw your own conclusions!)

So if you have this problem, you should probably be looking into how much stuff you have plugged into your PCI slots and troubleshoot from that perspective.

Hope this saves someone some hair pulling frustration!

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January 19, 2009 at 14:52:58
Really great tips.


Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right.
- Isaac Asimov

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