A computer problem that cannot seem to be answered by anyone

By gared007 · 19 replies
Sep 12, 2009
  1. Okay, Hello and thank you for taking the time to look at this thread. It may be long.

    I have searched high and low for the many things wrong with my computer and no one can come up with an answer be it online or in a shop physically looking/testing it.

    CPU - Intel Q6600 Core 2 Quad @ 2.4 GHz (Stock) fitted with Arctic Cooling Freezing Pro 7
    Graphics Card - Asus EAHD4850 (Stock) fitted with a stock cooler.
    RAM - 2 x of XMS2 (1Gb) RAM (PC2-6400 400MHz)
    Mobo - Asus P5N-D (updated BIOS to Rev 1101)
    OS - Win XP SP3 (OEM)
    HDD - Seagate Barracude (7200) 500 GB
    2 CD/DVD Drives

    OK here goes. Built the PC originally by hand. Worked fine. Then I started to notice that when I was playing a game and listening to music the music started to lag. I noticed this was due to the CPU spiking. The music lagged even when I was just on firefox and listening to WMP. It APPEARS to slow down all audio on the system.

    Before this I had attached a VGA cooler to my HD4850.

    No one could figure out this problem s I sent my computer down to England to a friend (who is an officially registered PCA member and [at the time] owner of a reputable computer shop). It went down ok. My friend said that the cooler was fitted incorrectly (my mistake). Also the gfx card appeared to be incorrectly fitted, causing it to send signlas to the CPU also causing the CPU to have to use processing power to deal with these constant interruptions from the gfx card.

    He sent it back up. COURTESY OF DHL who lovingly delivered my PC. When it arrived it was smashed up due to mishandling. (I am STILL in contact with trading standards/consumer advice trying to get SOME sortof compensation from them).

    I sent my friend in England the pictures. He could tell that it had been subjected to a high G-force (being dropped off the back of a lorry or similar). The chassis AROUND THE PSU had been twisted it was that bad. Also there had been some point impacts (possibly kicked or objects dropped onto it) where the clear side of my computer had been cracked.

    The case was sufficiently packed by my friend. The box did CLEARLY state THIS WAY UP and COMPUTER CASE and in the description "High end computer".
    As is said before we are still in a legal battle with the company. In the meantime consumer advice told us to get it fixed by a computer shop and for the computer shop to make an independent assessment on the computer for insurance purposes.
    They had done so and I was told by consumer advice I would not be able to claim the full costs of the computer only for the DAMAGED CASE.

    Got the new case. Computer shop put back all the components that had been in the original smashed up case (which admittedly looked physically ok. (Please note I am aware the consquences of electronics and being thrown about. I am aware that they may appear to work fine initially but will never be the same or will break after a few days/weeks/months.

    The computer shop tested every component to it's limits. Everything worked fine.

    Got the PC back.

    Pc appeared to function fine for the past few weeks. I have put the latest gfx drivers for the card on (ATI 9.8 CCC) and updated the bios ot rev 1101 aswell as installing the usual games, programs etc.

    I noticed that other people with GTA IV and the same specs as me (some with even lower CPU specs than me) could run the game well on high with no lag. I however could not. I set all the settings to what suited me and played for about 10 days and everything seemed ok (with the occasional crash or long lag in the game).

    Only two days ago (nothing had changed hardware, software or physically to the computer from when it had been working before) I decided to play EVE and listen to WMP. At which point I noticed the CPU spikes came back due to the lagging music and oscillating frame rate of EVE. I closed all programs and the cPU was spiking between 10 - 70% (which on a quad core I thought was improbable). I restarted the computer and looked ta the cpu with just the startup programs running (AVG, windows messenger, ati drivers and EVEMon) and it sat around 0-3 %. I started wmp, it sounded fine for 2 mins then the lag happened. After that the cpu was spiking again.

    My soundcard is stock on this computer (I honestly don't think that's the problem though and neither does anyone else that has tried to help me.)

    I have both side of the computer off, a fan fitted to the chipset, gfx card and cpu aswell as an 8 inch desk fan blowing into the side of the pc. Temperatures for quad sit between 30 - 33 idle and 35-45under load. Gfx card sits around 49 idle and up to 60 underload (before the bigger fan blowing in was put there temperatures typically hit around 80 under load).

    I am SICK TO DEATH OF THIS COMPUTER. I cannot claim for a new one as I would need evidence for the courts and everytime someone tests it under load the pc appears to be working, but there are so many underlying issues with it, it just doesnt work when I use it normally.

    I apologise for the caps and the rants but you have to understand I have spent £500 - £600 on a pc that has been giving me nothing but problems for the last YEAR SOLID.

    All i ask for is either technical help OR legal advice on what to do next with this computer.

    Honestly thank you for reading this thread, whatever you do though please do not let this problem get to you as much as it has got to me. I am at my whit's end with this computer but cannot simply stop using it.

    (Feel free to ask any questions and I will try my best to answer them)

    Once again thank you.
  2. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

    how big is your PSU watts and 12v amps ?
  3. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    How exactly does that happen? If someone could please explain.

    Also, are you sure it's not a software / malware issue in any way? Are there a large number of processes running that may clog your CPU?
  4. gared007

    gared007 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    In reply to Klepto, I'm still using my 550W be silent PSU. Please note (although some hardware items may not seem to be powerful enough/work together I assure you they did work for around a year perfectly)

    In answer to Ritwik7 I have the same number of programs (if not less) than I had when it was working for that first year (as I mentioned in reply to klepto). I have scanned my system using AVG, Malwarebytes and Spybot S&D returning nothing but tracking cookies which were all removed.
  5. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,020

    You haven't mentioned whether or not you received BSOD's.
    Are there any dumpfiles in your \WINDOWS\Minidump directory?
    Does your event viewer show anything?
    Have you tried doing a memtest?
  6. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    You do not have enough quality crud scanners to suit. I would cease using AVG and delete Adaware... AVG is no longer good enough, and Adaware never was.

    Processes do not clog the PSU so you can cross off one worry. You only have to worry about hugh power thieves and the crummy no-name brands that can fluctuate too slowly to answer to demands for power... small processes don't do much harm... certainly not enough for your problem.

    Are your 2 Gb of memory high quality or Value Ram?

    Then add either Avast, Avira Antivir, Kaspersky, or Nod32 (as well as the sometimes helpful and free Windows Defender) to your antivirus tool box, and add at least SuperAntispyware to your antispyware kit... Scan once in regular mode, then immediately again in SAFE MODE for those which will run in Safe Mode.

    A full run of MemTest86 for four hours or seven passes.... whichever is longer... will either help or rule out one more worry.

    Try running with just one optical drive for a few days... note the differences.
  7. gared007

    gared007 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    OK. I have had files prevously in minidump that that's due to games crashing. I've never had any BSOD's relating to this big issue. I have run the memtest (the version where you can download it and run it as an exe file) by opening for of them and testing 512mb each. Ran it to 200% and there were no errors found. It is quality and not value ram.

    Event viewer - a few applicaiton errors, service control manger (yeaserday) error a system error (08/09/09) and ati2mag error, W32Time error (x6), multiple (as in 10+)nvgts erorr on the 2/9/09, CDrom error. Other than the ones dated these errors were last months.

    Speaking of optical drives, one of my drives seems to read the CD but not actually run them. Thjis started about 5 or 6 days ago.

    Problem is too many things are going wrong at once so oyu have to appreciate it's very hard form me to deal with it all. I've been told by trading standards for now to leave the computer (I can work, play games and such [ to the best of te pc's ability] but not to download or change anything for the moment. I am taking note of all your advice and help thoguh and until something is done by trading standards my hands are tied as to fixing the computer for the moment.
  8. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,020

    Disconnect it temporarily. You need to eliminate the basice to solve this.
    If you could provide info on the errors, it would give us something else to look into.
    One thing could cause another so you need to tackle all of it.
    I'm sure if it were that simple, your friend would have easily solved it, especially since he was able to test it hands on.
  9. wefixpcsny

    wefixpcsny TS Rookie

    Just one qustion do you have any animals in the house? If so check for an animal hair with in the contact points of the cpu and its base... had a recent system come in with similar problem and found a dog hair in betwwen the cpu and the base plate possibly causing a sort on the cpu, The audio card was stock and while cpu was under load audio files would studder. Hair gone studder gone go figure... just a thought ... stranger things have happened,, I agree with raybay ditch avg and find a better detection tool like Kaspersky and superantispyware great picks for scanning for crud. Mem TESTED?
  10. gared007

    gared007 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Right, cleaned out pc (didnt remove cpu or cpu heatsink cause i would probably damage it plus i dont have any paste on me). Took out gfx card and ram (which i found out is Corsair XMS2 ram) cleaned them and their bits in the board. Currently sitting with firefox, hwmonitor, wmp, eve, catalyst control, windows live and eve mon open and sitting between 4-10% (fluctuating no higher than 25%) with no lag SO FAR. I just am so sceptical that this won';t be a permanent fix. I also disconnected my fault/not working optical drive.
  11. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,020

    Thanks for keeping us up-to-date. Out of personal experience, WMP uses a lot of memory, so try shutting that off temporarily if it acts up again.
  12. gared007

    gared007 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Keeping you up to date is the least I could do. A small problem i've encountered (most likely unrelated) when I put bbc iplayer or youtube (only in HD) into full screen the screen freezes after a while, but the sound continues. I actually think it's fixed now but I'll keep you updated.
  13. wefixpcsny

    wefixpcsny TS Rookie

    Further note had one gamer who just plays EA Tiger woods golf game and it would blue screen while running BFG nvidia 9800 with GDDR3 every time the fan on the video card got a little gunked up just "dust" really fine particulate like from Fabreeze - just smoking soot, note it would have to be cleaned out every three weeks to stop his WMP from freezing and blue screening. What doe the video have to with audio you say remember the rules or IRQ "if they conflict we must move it... well maybe not that drastic.. I digress...
    He was running 2 GB of g-skill 400 DDR with P4 3.0 HT on his rigg. Some times the temporary fix is the obvious one. Hope you have no mor lag, also try to move your music to drive other than the drive your game and maps are on, just a thought... Your rigg should not even flinch when multi tasking...
  14. gared007

    gared007 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    OK well it's al been fixed with regards to dodgey memory. I STILL HOWEVER HAVE THIS DAMN AUDIO LAG caused by CPU spikes!! WHY!!!! ARGH!!
  15. seanc

    seanc TS Rookie Posts: 88

    As mentioned before, unplug your optical drives in case there is an issue with them, causing them to flood the I/O bus with errors.

    Check your hard drive with Speedfan - specifically the online analysis. It will give you a permanent link at the bottom of the page, post it here please.
    If your PC was dropped and bashed that badly, I'd be skeptical of the reliability of the HDD now anyway.
  16. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    You can run Hard Drive diagnostics and Memory diagnostics (this one done now) and even download diagnostic tests from your manufacturer
    Including ASUS Smart Doctor: http://dlcdnet.asus.com/pub/ASUS/vga/nVidia/SmartDoc549.zip
    And Troubleshooting steps: http://support.asus.com/troubleshooting/troubleshooting.aspx?SLanguage=en-us

    BUT, all these hardware diagnostics should have been done by your computer shop
    Not, you find out later on that "dodgy memory" was the issue!
    What exactly did they do and test? Nothing? Just put a new case on?

    In my view, other than running lots of hardware tests (of which I would have done)
    And possibly even benchtesting the Motherboard (of which I would have done)
    And installing Windows totally clean, incl. remove partition (of which I would have done)
    Then it was confirmed working (hardware wise)
    You yourself received it back (from the computer shop) working
    These faults (Memory; Hard Drive or whatever) could have come later (Who's to know)

    We can give all our assumptions and what ifs, but when it comes down to it, you need to start at the beginning then work through.

    1. Backup your data, and install Windows clean (This is No.1 Step)
    2. Run all the hardware diagnostic utilities
    3. Confirm all Manufacturer updates are done
    4. Confirm all Windows Updates are done

    Note: Nothing else is installed yet, no extra hardware, no extra software
    Does it now spike?
    By the way, I'm leaning towards Hard Drive too
  17. gared007

    gared007 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Right. Well to complicate or maybe even SOLVER the porblem about two days ago the whole hing STOPPED. I cleaned out the pc and took the covers off and it still did it afterwards for a couple of hours. But now it has stopped. I don't think it's to do with cleaning it cause I tried that when i last had the computer. I have had suggestions of a faulty motherboard/soundcard. I'm not ereally sure how the aduio works on this machine due to it having onboard sound BUT i THINK my HD4850 also has a sound card/sound device on it. ANYWAY ITS STOPPED SPIKING.
    HOWEVER a smaller more insignificant problem has appeared whereby, when i play any audio (game/music) and talk to someone on ventrilo the sound is played into ventrilo no matter how low I have the volume in my headphones or speakers.
    I use realtek HD audio drivers.
  18. seanc

    seanc TS Rookie Posts: 88

    Could you please run Speedfan and run through my earlier post?
  19. gared007

    gared007 TS Rookie Topic Starter

  20. gared007

    gared007 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Now it;s back again!
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