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Mysterious slowdown…


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18 replies to this topic

#1 SturmB

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 10:22 PM

I've been around computers for more than half my life. I was in the business of fixing them for several years. And already, I know that this problem is going to be a doozie--intermittent problems always are.

For the past few years, I've been experiencing a very annoying phenomenon when watching video files on my PC. It probably isn't even limited to just videos, but that's where I see it happen the most. And since I watch quite a few Star Trek episodes that are ripped to my hard drive with my roommate, I feel bad that he's not experiencing the episodes in the best possible manner. Allow me to explain:

Every few minutes--or possibly every 1 minute (I haven't really timed it)--the video we're watching appears to slow down for a few seconds. The audio plays normally, but the video goes in slow-motion. Afterward, while the audio is still fine, the video rapidly speeds up for about a second, as if it were in fast-forward, catching up to the audio. Once caught up, it plays normally again for another minute (or few minutes--as I said, I haven't timed it). This happens several times throughout the 45-minute episode that we watch and seems to be regular, rather than random.

I'm inclined to believe that this issue is software-specific, not hardware-specific, since it did this very same thing on my last computer. Yes, there were three bits of hardware that I brought over from my old computer to this one, but I doubt they'd have an effect. Those three bits, by the way, are: BD-ROM drive, floppy drive (disabled in BIOS for now), and a 1.5TB HDD.

The computer is, overall, a fairly high-end gaming computer, with a Core i7-920, ATI Radeon HD 5870, 850W Power Supply, etc. I'll be happy to provide more specs if need be, but as I said, I doubt it's hardware-related, since it happened on my last computer, too. It has also happened when I had Windows Vista Ultimate on my old computer, as well as my current Windows 7 Ultimate OS. Perhaps now you can see my confusion.

If this problem sounds at all familiar to you, please let me know what might be causing it. I really don't want to go through the process of disabling some process or uninstalling software one at a time until the problem is found. Hell, for all I know, it could be something inherent in Windows itself.

It's quite frustrating and I'll entertain any suggestions you might have. Thanks, and take care.

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#2 Broni

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 11:34 PM

It has also happened when I had Windows Vista Ultimate on my old computer, as well as my current Windows 7 Ultimate OS.

Are we talking here about same computer, upgraded from Vista to 7, or two different computers?
What player do you use to play videos?

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#3 SturmB

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 10:57 AM

Are we talking here about same computer, upgraded from Vista to 7, or two different computers?
What player do you use to play videos?


Two different computers. I built them both with parts I purchased from Newegg. I had Vista on the old computer since it came out, then I did a clean install of Win7 RC on it when that was released in May. Both times, I experienced the slowdown issue. I now have a brand-new computer that I built a month ago, with Win7 Ultimate on it and it has the same problem.

I experience this problem with Windows Media Center, Windows Media Player, and Media Player Classic (which comes with the K-Lite Codec Pack). I doubt K-Lite is the problem since I was experiencing slowdown in WMC and WMP before I installed it.

#4 Broni

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 11:43 AM

See, if VLC Player will have same problem: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/

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#5 SturmB

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 11:57 PM

See, if VLC Player will have same problem: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/


Tried that tonight. Exact same slowdown. It also occurs with web videos, such as those found on cinemassacre.com. Most use Flash, as far as I am aware.

My educated guess tells me that this slowdown issue is system-wide, not just limited to video playback. It just happens to be most noticeable during video playback.

#6 Broni

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 12:01 AM

Did you check computer temperatures?

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#7 SturmB

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 12:21 AM

Did you check computer temperatures?


As far as I know, it's running pretty cool. Just to be sure, though, is there a utility that logs temperatures over a period of time, then I could post it here?

#8 Broni

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 12:25 AM

I'm not aware of any program logging temps over time, but you can...

Download, and install SpeedFan: http://www.almico.com/sfdownload.php
Post your computer temperatures:

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#9 SturmB

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 09:05 AM

Post your computer temperatures:


Temperatures during idle:
GPU: 53C
System: 40C
CPU: 27C
AUX: 15C
Core 0: 31C
Core 1: 31C
Core 2: 28C
Core 3: 28C
Core 4: 30C

Temperatures during load (Maxwell Render 2 running in background):
GPU: 52C
System: 39C
CPU: 50C
AUX: 18C
Core 0: 54C
Core 1: 54C
Core 2: 52C
Core 3: 52C
Core 4: 53C

#10 Broni

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 12:01 PM

Those look good....
Are we talking here about watching videos on-line, or regular DVD movie?

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#11 SturmB

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 12:05 PM

Those look good....
Are we talking here about watching videos on-line, or regular DVD movie?


Everything. Online videos, local video files (.AVI, .WMV, etc.), DVDs, you name it. And it seems my last post about getting a partial fix didn't make it, so I'll try to re-post it.

#12 SturmB

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 12:15 PM

I've discovered a partial fix to this problem.

I had noticed that when I watch a Blu-ray movie, PowerDVD automatically puts my desktop into Windows 7 Basic mode, meaning I lose the Aero Glass effects (and other graphics card acceleration for the desktop). No big deal. But I also noticed that none of my Blu-ray movies exhibited this odd slowdown behavior. After the lightbulb above my head went away, I tried watching a local video file (a Star Trek: Deep Space 9 episode) with my roommate after I manually entered Windows into Windows 7 Basic mode.

Eureka! We were able to get through the entire episode without a single slowdown event. Granted, I'd sure like to be able to watch the videos without having to put my desktop into Windows 7 Basic mode, then change it back to Aero afterward, but it's only a minor inconvenience--one I can live with for now.

The bubble burst, however, when we tried watching some videos online. I guess maybe Flash videos are a different animal, since things got worse when trying to watch them while I was in Windows 7 Basic mode. In fact, while watching one of Cinemassacre's latest videos (which uses Flash, the same way YouTube does) in full-screen, the video would halt abruptly. Sound would continue, but it looked for all the world as though my computer had frozen. I could not do anything to get out of it (back button, <ESC> key, etc.) except to right-click on the video and hit "About Adobe Flash Player 10." This exited the full-screen viewing of the video and open a new tab in my Chrome browser to Adobe's site. Meanwhile, of course, the video's sound is still playing normally. Close the Adobe tab and I go back to the Cinemassacre video on the original tab in the browser. The video is playing again; in fact, it's at the point where the audio is. I then have to rewind the video to the point where it seemed to halt and watch it from there.

This occurs several times throughout the video and is really intolerable. Perhaps something strange is going on with full-screen Flash video when the Windows desktop isn't using graphics acceleration (i.e., Aero)?

So, as you can see, my problem is half-solved. Any ideas for the other half?

#13 Broni

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 12:23 PM

How much RAM do you have? Probably plenty, but it won't hurt to ask.

It looks to me, like you're having some issues with your video card.
Did you try to reinstall video drivers?
If so, is there any chance, you could borrow a video card from a friend and see, if same thing happens.
Alternatively, you could switch to on-board video, but it would be a lesser option.

Also...
Download Autoruns for Windows: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinte...s/bb963902.aspx
No installation required.
Simply unzip Autoruns.zip file, and double click on autoruns.exe file to run the program.
Go File>Save, and save it as AutoRuns.txt file to know location.
You must select Text from drop-down menu as a file type:

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Attach the file to your next reply.

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#14 SturmB

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 01:42 PM

How much RAM do you have? Probably plenty, but it won't hurt to ask.

6GB DDR3 triple-channel.

It looks to me, like you're having some issues with your video card.
Did you try to reinstall video drivers?
If so, is there any chance, you could borrow a video card from a friend and see, if same thing happens.

This problem has happened with the current drivers, as well as the last release.
Also, please refer to my initial post: I had this problem on a completely different computer: it was running Windows Vista and, later, Windows 7 RC. Its video card were entirely different, as well, being two nVidia GeForce 8800 GT cards in SLi while I'm currently running one ATI Radeon HD 5870.

Alternatively, you could switch to on-board video, but it would be a lesser option.

This ASUS P6T Deluxe v2 motherboard has no on-board video.

Also...
Download Autoruns for Windows … Attach the file to your next reply.

I've got the file ready to attach, but i don't see any way to do so here without putting it inline with CODE tags or some such. It's very long, so I doubt you'd want it inline with the post.

Thanks for your swift replies, by the way, and I appreciate your willingness to help me, Broni.

#15 Broni

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 01:45 PM

Upload the file(s) here: http://uploadmb.com/
Post download link.

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