CPU spikes and won't go down

By Skandranon ยท 8 replies
Mar 24, 2012
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  1. Hi,
    For a while now, my computer has been spiking on CPU usage when doing things, mainly playing games. At first it only happened after hours of play and only with online games, now it seems to happen all the time with all games after only a few minutes, which is incredibly frustrating.

    When idling, or doing anything, CPU usage, temperature and memory usage are all normal (CPU idles at around 2-10%, temp around 60 C) but when I boot up a game and play for awhile, it suddenly jumps to near 100% and stays there. These are the same games I've logged hours into before, and they could be played on my computer fine before this started happening.

    Not only does it spike, even after I turn the game off, the CPU usage either stays near 100% or is still abnormally high, as in idling at around 30%, and any new process drives up the usage back to 90+ levels. The offending process never actually shows up; it always add up to way less than 100% in task manager.

    I at first thought it was the temperature, but CoreTemp reports normal temps until after the computer has been at 100% for awhile. I've run Malwarebytes and Microsoft Security, and came up clean. It's starting to drive me crazy.

    Item Details

    Windows: Windows 7 Home Premium Edition (64-bit) (Build 7600)
    Memory (RAM): 3893 MB
    CPU Info: Intel(R) Core(TM) i3 CPU M 350 @ 2.27GHz
    CPU Speed: 2260.7 MHz
    Display Adapters: Intel(R) HD Graphics | Intel(R) HD Graphics | RDPDD Chained DD | RDP Encoder Mirror Driver | RDP Reflector Display Driver
    Manufacturer *: Dell Inc.
    Product Make *: Inspiron N4010
    BIOS Info: AT/AT COMPATIBLE | 03/31/11 | DELL - 6040000
    Motherboard *: Dell Inc. 021CN3

    Thanks in advance!
  2. akannitaoheed

    akannitaoheed TS Rookie Posts: 79

    What is the temperature level of the processor during the spikes?
  3. Skandranon

    Skandranon TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Usually not that high, like mid-60's, but if I don't reboot the computer it'll keep rising as long as the CPU is still at 100%.
  4. Skandranon

    Skandranon TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Also, one of the main ways I can tell when the CPU is starting to malfunction is the sound. Whatever is playing at the time starts to crackle and break up and sound kind of staticy.
  5. Doctor John

    Doctor John TS Enthusiast Posts: 204   +15

    It might be worth checking (in task manager) which processes are causing the overactivity - you could have a software conflict, competing anti-malware programs are particularly prone to this.
  6. MrBlkfx1

    MrBlkfx1 TS Evangelist Posts: 863   +204

    If I read that right.. your CPU seems to idle at temps around 60c? That is entirely too high for idle temperatures. Not saying this is the cause of the problem. but your CPU seems to be severely overheating.
  7. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Check the air flow inside the case... Laptops full up with dust, dirt, mogus, and firch quickly... and the air channels (for cooling) should be thoroughly checked or cleaned out every four months or so... What you describe sounds as if it cannot adequately cool itself.
  8. Skandranon

    Skandranon TS Rookie Topic Starter

    So I tried using a can of compressed air on my fan, at which point it stopped completely, which clued me in to it being stuck.

    Took my laptop apart and cleaned out the fan completely, and all my problems are solved.

    Thanks for the advice!
  9. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Thanks for the update. Makes perfect sense... but will it happen again?

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