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Old 25th Jun 2010, 04:25   #1
TheMusician
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Lag Every 5 Seconds (with everything)

Ever since about February, my mom's PC stutters, or lags for about half a second every 5 seconds.

It happens in Windows when doing anything. Everything hangs, even the mouse. I always thought it was just some spyware, and that a fresh install would clear it up. I was running XP SP3.

Here we are, with upgraded hardware and a fresh install of Win 7 Pro. And... it still happens. It's a modified Compaq SR1810NX. It's not the PSU because I installed a fresh one (upped to 300W). It's not the GPU because I installed a new one (went from integrated NVIDIA 6150 to a dedicated GeForce 210). It's definitely not spyware as this is a fresh install, and it's noticeable even in the Windows splash screen.

The CPU is original (Sempron 3200+). The hard drive is original, and it's about 5 years old. It's a 160GB Maxtor IDE drive of some sort. The RAM is from different places, but it's all DDR400. Two 256MB sticks, one 512 stick, and one 1GB stick.

I'm running Memtest in Windows at the moment and will leave it over night. I used the search function on these forums and have read that this is usually a sign of a failing hard drive. What do you guys think? I have never once gotten a BSOD on the PC, further hinting at an HDD problem.
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Last edited by TheMusician; 25th Jun 2010 at 05:18.
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Old 25th Jun 2010, 09:09   #2
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It could be constantly paging? I've seen something like this happen before and it ended up the computer had lots of crap running in the background all the time taking up all the RAM causing it to page constantly and really slow everything down.

Check the memory usage.

Also, Microsoft recommends a minimum of 1Gb for Windows 7 32bit and 2Gb for 64bit, if you've got 64 you might find that it's just not enough RAM or its too slow =/
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Old 25th Jun 2010, 09:42   #3
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Check the error logs for hard disk faults as well
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Old 25th Jun 2010, 10:58   #4
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Put a vanilla 7 install on a blank hard disk and see if it stutters. This should rule out the hard disk.

Then wipe the drive and put XP on there. Start unplugging sticks of ram (XP should be ok on 256MB for testing) and see if the problem goes with a particular stick removed.

If you eliminate the RAM aswell, download the Ultimate Boot CD and do processor stress testing. If that fails to find the flaw then use the CD to eliminate other components piece by piece.

That'll should point you in the right direction at least
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Old 25th Jun 2010, 12:13   #5
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Try disabling some non-essential background services such prefetch and disk indexing.
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Old 26th Jun 2010, 04:00   #6
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Disabled superfetch and indexing, and no change. Also took out a 512MB stick, and no change.

Actually, it was going well for the first 3 minutes, and then I forgot that I split the HDD into two partitions and one of them wasn't formatted yet. So I started formatting it. 1 minute into formatting, and it started up again.

Further evidence of an HDD problem?
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Old 26th Jun 2010, 10:48   #7
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Try this, Game booster it's an easy way to get rid of non essential background proccess (gaming mode) and bring them back (normal mode)

I use it before playing a game works well, and tells you wants going on.
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Old 1st Jul 2010, 12:07   #8
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So my dad (well, I chose it) ordered a new 320GB WD Blue HDD since we figured it's probably the component that's giving us the stuttering...

...and nope, no change. There's probably something up with the Mobo (a socket 939 Biostar that I had to put in as a replacement about 1.5 years ago).

At least he realizes that the new video card and hard drive will be compatible with any new PC, so it's not a complete waste of money. Just a temporary one. >_< Whenever the computer gives up or my dad does, we'll put'em in.

Econoboxes suck. At least these circa 2006 Presario desktops do. They're highly out of date (DDR1, Socket 939 while the world was already on DDR2 and Socket AM2) and Compaq ships really crappy motherboards with them (this one's already died and I already replaced it a long time ago).
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Old 1st Jul 2010, 12:24   #9
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No it wouldn't be the HDD. What anti-virus software are you using? From what you've said it is only a basic problem and not hardware related. Just something running in the background.

Anti-virus software notorious for intermittent lag is AVG and Norton. What else do you have running permanently according to the taskbar?

Open your start menu, and type in 'msconfig'. Click the services tab, and untick those from programmes which you either no longer use or don't need, but don't touch the system services
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Old 1st Jul 2010, 15:30   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sexton View Post
No it wouldn't be the HDD. What anti-virus software are you using? From what you've said it is only a basic problem and not hardware related. Just something running in the background.

Anti-virus software notorious for intermittent lag is AVG and Norton. What else do you have running permanently according to the taskbar?

Open your start menu, and type in 'msconfig'. Click the services tab, and untick those from programmes which you either no longer use or don't need, but don't touch the system services
I noticed it as early as Windows 7's setup. It's not 3rd-party software. I have no anti-virus up right now.
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Old 1st Jul 2010, 18:09   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMusician View Post
I noticed it as early as Windows 7's setup. It's not 3rd-party software. I have no anti-virus up right now.
Hmm very odd then... I could have almost guaranteed it wasn't hardware but now I'm not so sure :/ If it is then all I could suggest is the RAM... the other components would either work or not work, not just be a bit slow.
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Old 1st Jul 2010, 23:38   #12
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In the bios, is there an option to give vga its own irq? Maybe disable things in bios like serial port/printer port/built in sound/modem/etc.
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Old 2nd Jul 2010, 01:04   #13
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unplug the cd rom drive and see if it makes a difference.
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Old 3rd Jul 2010, 12:02   #14
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Maybe it's a problem with the interface between mobo and HDD, which would explain why swapping out the HDD didn't fix it. Any idea on temperatures ? Old PC's often get very dusty, which can stop the HSF from working efficiently, so maybe the CPU's constantly overheating and throttling (seems unlikely but you never know). Try some pressurised air to clean it out if you haven't already. Otherwise it's just possible the old PSU was dead and you've been really unlucky and the replacement you bought is also a dud.
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Old 3rd Jul 2010, 12:10   #15
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What I did to test if it was a PSU problem was that I switched its PSU and my family's home server PSU. Nothing changed, and the Compaq PSU seemed to run just fine on the home server. (part of the reason I did this is because the GeForce 210 wants at least 300W, and the Compaq PSU is 250W) This rules out the PSU.

I used pressurized air to clean everything on the motherboard and inside the case well before I performed all this hardware swapping.

What remains is that it could be an interface problem, or an IRQ/peripheral problem. I will try what morris8809 and kenco_uk said. Thank you guys.
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Old 3rd Jul 2010, 15:33   #16
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I have seen a weird problem like this on two laptops and one desktop and every time replacing the cd drive has fixed the issue. On my personal laptop the whole thing would hang and the hdd led would blink once like it was trying to access something. Once i pulled the cd drive all was good. I think what happens is something in the drive goes bad and the pc thinks theres a cd in it that it is trying to read all the time which is causing lag, but then again im not sure why it did that...
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