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Periodic Game Slowdowns


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#1 TeflonDon

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 12:28 PM

Hello Bleepingcomputer!


My computer has had no problems at all running all sorts of games, as long as the graphics settings are set accordingly (generally med - high for most programs). I have played Counter Strike Source on it consistently since I built it, with no problems. Recently I have been running STALKER and C & C 3 flawlessly.

The Problem:

However, about 2 days ago I started to have problems with C & C 3. The game would be running fine for about 10 mins (from a fresh load) then all of a sudden it would slow to a crawl for about a minute, then it would just resume the normal speed. Right before it resumes a normal speed I can hear either the hard drive / processor finish up what sounds like some major crunching. This process will happen at 5 minute intervals or so.

The slowness will still occur when I esc to the in-game menu, but when I exit the game to the main menu (maps stats and stuff come up) the menus instantly snap-to at normal speed.

When I alt-tab to the desktop during a slowdown, the computer runs at full speed, and my asus monitor software shows the CPU is running at <5%, or some such small number, which seems odd considering I can hear the processor chugging away on something in C & C before speed resumes.


This did not occur in CSS at first, so I thought the problem was just with C & C. But then today it started in CSS as well. I will normally average about 80-100 fps. But now a similar problem as the C & C thing occurs: my fps will drop to 10 or lower for about a minute, the game stutters along, and then it will go back to normal. This will also happen at 5 minute or so intervals.

I have not tried STALKER since this occured so I do not know if it will be affected too. I suspect it will, it seems like a 3D rendering problem.

Remedial Steps

I did not make any hardware changes, or install any new software, immediately prior (or even many days prior) to this problem's origination.

I have done several (thorough) virus / adware scans, including Lavasoft adaware; trojan hunter (free trial, updated); trend micro online scan; and avg free, as well as a run of registry mechanic (free trial) and hijack this. All of the virus scans etc were done in safe mode.

A few minor trojans were deleted by both the hunter and trend micro scan. There was hardly any malware. The registry was a little messy, but there were no "priority" items. HijackThis shows nothing unusual.

I properly re-installed the updated NForce drivers (93.71).

I ran the directx diagnostics and everything was fine.

Also, temperatures are fine. I run at about 55c when graphics-intensive games are running.

I de-fragged my harddrive.

I ran a couple passes of MemTest.

I used msconfig and stopped all non-microsoft processes, this did not help.

I do not have any conflicts listed in the device manager. There are some shared IRQ's, including the graphics card. But I disabled the device sharing the card IRQ (some IDE driver that I dont use, i have all SATA) and it did not change anything.

All of my games are patched up to date.

None of these attempts have made any difference.

I have downloaded a bunch of updates for my mobo but have not had a chance to install them yet.

The Sob Story

Over the years I have had what seems like the full gamete of computer hardware and software problems, game bugs, you name it. I have not encountered this one before, and I do not know if I am missing something in terms of a diagnostic tool.

I figured that there was a program in the background hogging up CPU, but as I said, when I alt-tab, nothing unusual is happening.

Maybe my card is just crapping out?

I hope not; I am having some major surgery on tuesday, and my computer was going to be my stir-crazy preventative recovery life-line.

My games are unplayable!!!!

I greatly appreciate anyone who takes the time to read this, as well as comment on it.

Thanks,

Jordan

Go Redsox!!!!!


- Asus M2N-SLI Deluxe MoBo (Passive cooling)
- AMD 64 X2 Dual 3800+ (overclocked from 2.0 to
2.06 ghz)
- NVidia GeForce 7600 GS
- 1 gig Kensington
- Win XP

Edited by TeflonDon, 27 May 2007 - 12:30 PM.


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#2 Sneakycyber

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 12:32 PM

Is windows up to date.. You said Win XP not XP SPII. And for your memory you have 1gig installed is windows and your bios recognizing all of it.. If you have 512 x 2 one of your sims may be damaged

Edit: spell checked

Edit: 2 :thumbsup: To BC

Edited by Sneakycyber, 27 May 2007 - 12:47 PM.

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#3 TeflonDon

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 01:20 PM

Hi, Thanks.

Yes I am up to date with SPII and any other automatic updates that microsoft chucks at you.

My task manager shows all the ram is there, it's a 1x 1gb chip.

Man this is annoying!!

I am also thinking of trying a system restore when I get a moment later tonight.

#4 Sneakycyber

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 01:27 PM

The only base you haven't coverd is benchmarking you graphics card to see if its failing.. Try Futermark's 3dmark. http://3dmark.com/download/3dmark06/. This is a free trial version and its limited, how its limited I'm not sure I don't have a direct X 9 card. This should tell you how your graphics card is holding up.
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#5 TeflonDon

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 01:41 AM

Sneakycyber,

Thanks for the tip. I ran the benchmark and noticed I was getting some crappy readings. I downloaded "sensor view", a temperature / voltage etc program since mobo monitor never worked on this machine. My gpu was idling at 90c!

I had tried overclocking my card right before I saw the temps, and when I ran the benchmark I started getting all sorts of visual errors.

I opened up the old tower, and found that the fan was stuck on my card. Dust. I blasted it out with the air can, gave it a flick or two, turned it on, and now it's running again. Now I am idling at 40c.

I just ran C N C and it was running fine without slow downs. It did, however, crash and freeze the computer. I assume that's from the OC so I am going to just turn that off now.

Thanks, your tip led to the answer (i hope!)

One more question -

On the "SensorVIew" stats window, there are 7 voltage readings. This is how they read now:

VCoreA: 1.22V
VCoreB: 3.30 V
+3.3V : 0.00
+5V : 4.92
+12 : 11.60
+5VSB : 4.84V
+VBAT : 2.99

- My CPU is a dual core and I am wondering if the "VCoreB" reading is supposed to represent the 2nd core, or something else. It looks liks the current reading is a misplaced reading for the 3.3V rail. I am going to go try to find instructions on their site. But would the machine even run with a true zero reading on the 3.3?

Thanks so much,

J

#6 TeflonDon

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 01:45 AM

An addendum -

the SensorView program was a free trial download. It seems good. I just wanted to make it clear I didnt pirate it!

#7 TeflonDon

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 02:00 AM

I just tried another sensor program, "Everest Home Free Edition" and it too shows my 3.3 rail is dead. Or, it's at 0.03. Im surprised my computer is even runnin...maybe something is not right there. Like the sensor chip...I wish I had a voltmeter.

#8 usasma

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 08:28 AM

How to test your DC Voltage:

Get 2 pieces of wire
Get a bulb with the same voltage as the voltage you want to test (3 v, 6v, 12v) - I get mine from flashlights
Tape the wire to the 2 contacts on the bulb and insert the wires into the circuit that you're testing (DO NOT TRY THIS WITH HIGH VOLTAGES or AC CURRENT - it'll shock the dickens outta you!)
If the light lights up - then you're getting power. If not, then it's toast!

While this isn't a real scientific test, it'll get the job done in an emergency.

Edited by usasma, 29 May 2007 - 08:29 AM.

My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

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#9 Sneakycyber

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 06:32 PM

According to my manual for my power supply. The orange wire on your 20+4 is your 3.3volt and the orange wire on a S-ATA connector is also 3.3v. What the motherboard uses the 3.3 for I'm not sure I couldn't find any info on the web. :thumbsup:
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#10 TeflonDon

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 06:49 PM

hmmm

well, in a few days after my surgery pains have subsided some, I can start digging around in there and see what's up. As it is now, I can only really sit in my easy chair, eat popsicles, and watch sopranos dvds and arrested development on MSN for free.

Thanks for the help mates,

J

#11 Sneakycyber

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 04:45 AM

:thumbsup: Hope you feel better soon
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