My quadcore is running like a Pentium 2
January 13, 2010 4:09 PM   Subscribe

I think I've covered most everything to diagnose my desktop problems, but still with the same unusual problem(s)

First, the system:

Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H with the latest firmware (F11)
Phenom X4 9650 CPU
4 GB memory
512 mb evga video card
500 W power supply
WD 640 mb HD
Nothing is overclocked.

The symptoms:

For a couple of weeks now the bootup process has been very sluggish. It posts properly, Windows will start, but while programs are loading up in the system tray, and the desktop icons appear (very, very slowly), the remainder of the startup will hang (freeze) and a reboot is necessary. After a couple of tries Windows will load to completion. Then while using the computer, it'll be waaaayyyy too sluggish for a quad-core. Another odd startup symptom is that I will get an error message that my anti-virus is off (mine is NOD32). To see if the AV software install was nuked, I uninstalled it and replaced it with MSFT Security Essentials...the same symptom resulted...a system tray error that the AV software was off.

What I've done:

Updated motherboard firmware
Run AV, malware/spyware products (multiple)
Run Memtest on the RAM
Run hard disk diagnostics including WD diagnostics and Spinrite
Run Windows Cleanup! (maybe I deleted something critical?)
Run CCleaner (including its registry cleaner )
Changed CMOS battery


Could this be the motherboard? ( I did note a different posting message recently that occasionally pops up stating "AMD Data Change, Update new Data to DMI" )...googling this message didn't yield anything noteworthy.

Could it be the power supply? (I have no reason to believe this)

Is this Windows? (but if it is, why do I successfully boot up sometimes? Wouldn't it never work?

I'm not an IT guy, but I am effectively one in my!

posted by teg4rvn to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I doubt a power supply would cause the symptoms you're experiencing. Is it possible for you to re-install Windows? Are you using the system installation as provided by a specific hardware vendor? Most of them come with a lot of pre-loaded crap that will impact performance (although, not usually to this degree).

When you first stared to describe the problem my immediate assumption was the video card. Seeing as you're using a motherboard with on-board video, have you tried updating the video card drivers to the latest version? (Use Radeon drivers directly off ATi/AMD's site).

My second guess would have been hard drive, but you've run the diagnostics utilities, so that seems unlikely.

My recommendations:
1. Try latest video drivers
2. If that doesn't work, re-install Windows.
posted by purephase at 7:19 PM on January 13, 2010

Does it do the same thing if you boot up in safe mode? You could also run msconfig from the command line and try unclicking some of the things that load on startup to see if one of those is causing the issue.
posted by white_devil at 8:10 PM on January 13, 2010

Seconding white_devil's suggestions. See if the symptoms persist in Safe Mode. If they don't, then it's probably software. If they do, then it's probably hardware.

My best guess at this point is either a borked Windows installation, or the system is overheating once Windows loads.

Another way to test might be some flavor of a liveCD to see if the sluggish issues persist in another OS completely.
posted by m0nm0n at 8:55 PM on January 13, 2010

This sounds like software to me. Try booting into safe mode and, if everything is fine there, gradually reenabling services and startup programs to isolate the problem.

Beyond that, a repair install of Windows might fix deeper OS issues without requiring you to wipe your data & programs.
posted by camcgee at 10:00 PM on January 13, 2010

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