PC Becoming Slow

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Re: PC Becoming Slow

Postposted on Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:21 pm

download the sysinternals suite from sysinternals.com and run autoruns and click on the logon tab to see what is starting up with Windows.

Items from Adobe or Java quicklaunch should be unchecked so that they do not slow down startup, as well as steal cpu cycles.

Some apps however, such as Photoshop and anti-virus, do need their startup items enabled for the apps to work correctly.

Using the logon tab in autoruns can allow you to check on every startup item and confirm whether it's needed or not. Basically, if it's an app that's already installed like Adobe Acrobat reader, and can be started from the start menu, or like Java, which can be called automatically by the browser when required, does NOT need to be enabled in Autoruns.

You can also run Procexp and see what is actually running.

Everyone here seems to be focusing on hardware. It's been my experience that it's been software, usually several unneeded startup items which slow a PC down and cause it to stutter and lag. Disabling these by unchecking them, then restarting the PC has cured lots of 'slow' and 'freezing' PC issues, as well as speeded up startup and PC performance.

Since you're running Windows 7, I'd also suggest installing and using All CPU Meter and Network meter from addgadgets.com. These will tell you your current CPU speed, how many CPU's are running and memory usage as well as upload and download speeds. Both apps are free.

Good luck.
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Re: PC Becoming Slow

Postposted on Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:53 pm

I would've suggested that too, except that he already mentioned he did a complete re-install of the OS and still had the issue.
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Re: PC Becoming Slow

Postposted on Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:06 pm

ronch wrote: The choppiness in question happens in some areas of the map in UT2004,


It is entirely possible that your video card drivers are the source of the issue. It is not uncommon to see regressions in older games and with the recent driver issues. AMD's latest drivers have not been all that great from a performance perspective. You also may want to switch the renderer in UT2004 to oGL to see if things improve (or get worse).
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Re: PC Becoming Slow

Postposted on Sun Dec 09, 2012 4:29 pm

Deanjo wrote:
ronch wrote: The choppiness in question happens in some areas of the map in UT2004,


It is entirely possible that your video card drivers are the source of the issue. It is not uncommon to see regressions in older games and with the recent driver issues. AMD's latest drivers have not been all that great from a performance perspective. You also may want to switch the renderer in UT2004 to oGL to see if things improve (or get worse).

He already said he tried rolling back to older drivers that had worked fine for him before.
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Re: PC Becoming Slow

Postposted on Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:31 pm

If older PATA drives were set to PIO instead of DMA mode, PC performance would seriously suffer because of the change, usually due to the OS attempting to read a badly scratched disk in an optical drive, so the OS would downgrade the -hard drive- xfer mode from UDMAn all the way down to PIO mode, at which point the user complained of their PC freezing all the time.

Since you have a SATA drive, you could check the event log to ensure you don't have any disk read/write or IO errors. If you do, you have a bad drive.

If you don't have a bad drive, then you could check to see if write-caching is enabled on the drive (Device Manager, Disk Drive, Policies).

Also check to see if write-cache buffer flushing is DISabled. This 2nd option is a bit dangerous but if you're not always having power outages you should be okay.

The first option above would affect performance more though.

You can also check to confirm in the BIOS settings that the SATA interface is set for AHCI (1st choice, NCQ, TRIM, no RAID overhead), or RAID (2nd choice, a bit slower, and TRIM USUALLY not supported for SSD's ), instead of IDE (slowest). Changing the SATA setting though, AFTER the OS has been installed will usually get you a blue screen. i've seen instructions on how to update the OS/drivers/registry to change SATA modes w/o a re-install, but I personally haven't successfully attempted that. If I see a SATA drive installed and the BIOS set for IDE or RAID, I just re-install after backing whatever data I need, and then changing the BIOS setting.

I'd still want to run Procexp (Sysinternals Process Explorer) just to see if there was something that was hogging CPU cycles. Some anti-virus programs are notorious for causing freezes due to hogging 90%+ of the CPU for several minutes while performing 'updates' or 'scans'. You could have something installed that is corrupt and causing your issue. You may be able to see it in Procexp. You could also use Procmon, and I'd almost guarantee you could find the culprit, but describing the use of Procmon would be as some might say, beyond the scope of this short post. :)
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Re: PC Becoming Slow

Postposted on Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:48 pm

@flip-mode: I'm actually looking at getting an HD7770 the next time I upgrade my video card. Thanks for the offer though. :)

@streagle27: I'm using ActiveSMART, a hard disk monitoring utility. It constantly monitors the drive's S.M.A.R.T. (how awkward is that to type! LOL) parameters, and there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the drive. got it just last year (May 2011). Write Caching is on, as well as AHCI in the BIOS. I was inclined to think Avast! Antivirus was causing this, but after I did the reformat and reinstall, I ran the game before installing Avast! and figured out it wasn't the cause. Overall, I'm not sure the hard drive is the cause but hey, your suggestions can come in handy one day. :)

@deanjo: Unfortunately, only "Direct3D" and "Software" appear in UT2004's options for graphics rendering. Do you know how to make "OpenGL" appear in the list?

I'm gonna try and use another old Catalyst version and see if that fixes the problem. I have an older Catalyst version (10.12 and 10.6). I know these to be what I've been using before (although I tried downloading 11.4 and using it, it's not really the version I've been using when I got this setup).

Edit - Err.. no.. Catalyst 10.12 didn't fix it. I'm sure as heck this is the driver version I've been having a lot of fun with back in those days.
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Re: PC Becoming Slow

Postposted on Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:42 am

UPDATE: I said earlier that my video card seems to be hitting its specified clocks. I realized that I shouldn't have checked only if the GPU is hitting 775MHz (top clock), but whether the GPU constantly stays on that clock while playing games. Well, I looked at the numbers again (in fact, the graphs), and I noticed something strange. I launch GPU-Z before running UT2004 so GPU-Z can 'record' the clocks as time progresses (a la Task Manager), and I noticed that when UT2004 is running, the GPU isn't running at 775MHz (full clock), but instead is quickly switching between 157MHz and 400MHz (I think it's 400MHz; I see GPU-Z reporting it sometimes). Selecting "Show Highest Reading" from "GPU Core Clock" tells me it only hits 400MHz while gaming. So it's not even touching 775MHz. I tried other maps and they seem to fare better by reaching 775MHz during short intervals, and this is why I was able to say earlier that my GPU does hit 775MHz. I should've paid more attention to those graphs and those pull-down menus in GPU-Z. And yeah, the VRAM is running at 900MHz instead of 1GHz most of the time too, and temps hover around 48C while gaming (remember, GPU is also often at 400MHz while gaming). Not sure if the video BIOS thinks that's too high to crank the clocks up any further though. Fan seems to be running fine.

So is this indicative of a faulty video card? I believe the HD5670 is supposed to stick to its highest clock when gaming but i could be wrong. Heck, this is like the CnQ problems that aren't very uncommon with past and current AMD CPUs. Are you guys witnessing this same behavior from your video cards?
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Re: PC Becoming Slow

Postposted on Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:09 am

Can you borrow someone else's graphics card? Or try yours in someone else's system?

Long term reliability of early 40nm class GPUs might be an issue.. depending on the usage, temps and various manufacturing issues, these cards might be getting towards the end-of-life point right about now.. Same for GDDR memory. These things push the envelope so hard that they might not last that long anymore
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Re: PC Becoming Slow

Postposted on Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:19 am

Does your card enable overclocking/powertune settings in the CCC? The temperatures look very good, so it's not thermal throttling, but it could be power starved; You can try whacking the powertune up to 20% to see if that helps.

I'm more inclined to suspect the power supply, which would also put more credibility into the irregular DIMM slot behaviour and manifest as throttling both on the CPU and GPU caused by voltage drops under load. You could log the voltages during gmaeplay if you were suspicious of this, I'm not sure how much you'd see from a temperature monitor which updates every two seconds or so, I think the fluctuations might be a lot faster than the update interval (ie, out-of-spec ripple which averages out to good values).
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Re: PC Becoming Slow

Postposted on Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:40 am

Neely! Good to see you here, man! :)

I think I've finally nailed it, although some things still puzzle me (more on that later). I took out the HD5670 and replaced it with an HD4670. Voila! Frame rates are back to silky smoothness under UT2004. I'm inclined to think the video card is going nuts, but I think it won't be long before I buy a new PSU either; I've noticed its LED flickering the other day and there was one time last week when Win7 was booting up when the PC suddenly shut down as though someone pulled the plug. I don't know if that's a software problem (because software can very well shut down your PC) but I've been using this ACBel 600w unit for almost 5 years now. I'm looking at choosing either Thermaltake, FSP (Aurum or Epsilon, perhaps), Coolermaster or Corsair.

A couple of things are puzzling me still.

1. Putting only two DIMMs instead of four (regardless of whether its 2 x 2GB or 2 x 4GB) results in lower Memory Mark scores under Passmark.

2. I monitored the HD4670's clocks and it too, doesn't always stay at 750MHz. It often stays somewhere between 165MHz and 750MHz (VRAM always at 1GHz), but the framerates are what I've known them to be. Perhaps the HD5670 is deteriorating? Or is it because the HD4670 has 32 texture units while the newer HD5670 has only 20? Still, the HD5670 used to play UT2004 smoothly prior to the last few months. Heck, the HD4670 (Palit) was purchased last Dec. 2008 while the HD5670 (Sapphire) was only bought last June 2010! I think I'm gonna stay away from Sapphire from now on.

Like Chrispy_ said, it could be the PSU, and I'm inclined to agree. Perhaps the PSU should be on top of my hardware shopping list. When I do buy a new PSU I'll see if the HD5670 is really a goner or it was just power-starved. And I'm gonna retest the DIMM issue as well.

So, that's all for now, I suppose. Framerates are back up, but until my next PSU is here I'm not sure I can answer those questions above. And even with a new PSU the same issues may persist. I wanna sincerely thank everyone who took time and effort to help me out here. You guys rock!
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Re: PC Becoming Slow

Postposted on Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:08 pm

ronch wrote:@flip-mode: I'm actually looking at getting an HD7770 the next time I upgrade my video card. Thanks for the offer though. :)


OK, but HD 5870 is AT LEAST 2x faster than that. :wink: You know where to find me 8)
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Re: PC Becoming Slow

Postposted on Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:25 pm

@flip-mode: Yeah, but given the games I play, even the HD4670 I'm using now is pretty good. :) Heck, I bet even an A10 will do just fine. :)
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Re: PC Becoming Slow

Postposted on Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:47 pm

I understand; I always end up regretting selling my nice video cards anyway. I really regretting selling my HD 5770.
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Re: PC Becoming Slow

Postposted on Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:41 am

@flip-mode: In my case, I don't sell my old PC parts, I just pass them down. We have several PCs here at home and people certainly can't complain about something that's free. :) But the one graphics card that I still keep after all these years is my beloved 3dfx Voodoo3 3000. It's my very first 'real' 3D accelerator! I bought it back in college, and the next day I didn't attend my classes! LOL!

I said 'real' because I technically had a 3D accelerator before the Voodoo3: an S3 ViRGE PCI '3D accelerator' that never really worked well with games. I remember trying to play Half-Life with it, which resulted in everything not having textures at all, just shaded polygons (I think it was called gouraud shading or something like that). And even that wasn't done very well.
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Re: PC Becoming Slow

Postposted on Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:09 am

We called the S3 Virge a graphics decelerator because it was so bad.

The only thing I ever saw it attempt to do in hardware was Wipeout 2097 and the list of graphics problems was so large that it would be easier to say what was displaying correctly (Not much: "Some of the smaller track textures" is about the extent of that list).

For nostalgia, I still have my VoodooII. I had an original Voodoo as well, but it wasn't as impressive a piece of obsolete engineering so I probably binned it.
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