Why does my Media Center CPU spike?
March 25, 2006 9:52 AM   Subscribe

What upgrades do I need for my Media Center PC?

I just recently purchased a new Windows Media Center PC. It has an Athlon 64 3500+ processor, 1 GB memory, 256MB Shared Video Memory (Radeon Xpress 200), and a 200GB HD. I added on a PVR-500 Hauppauge TV Tuner.

The CPU usage keeps spiking, and I can't identify what is actually causing it to spike. It will just shoot the CPU up to 100%. It seems completely random. For example, when recording TV shows last night, while playing Counterstrike on the same machine, it wasn't hitting too high. But this morning, when I pulled the machine up, it was at 100% and hasn't gone down.

When I go into task manager, I get the listing of SYSTEM as what is taking 99% of my system resources.

I was considering adding memory, or maybe a new video card to eliminate the usage of shared video memory, to resolve the issue. But I'm curious if you all think this will help, or can offer other suggestions to help remedy this situation.
posted by benjh to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
try getting Process Explorer. It gives a really good breakdown of what is using your system resources. It could be the indexing service, if it it is a new PC.
posted by slavlin at 10:27 AM on March 25, 2006

Well, adding an actual video card is always a good idea. But really the rig sounds sufficient... I think you have a software problem.

Try slavlin's suggestion.
posted by selfnoise at 10:28 AM on March 25, 2006

Are you leaving some kind of P2P software running? If it has too many half open ports (or something) open, it can force SYSTEM to use a lot of CPU, since it has to do the actual management of connections.

I've seen this before, but I can't remember if Process Explorer was able to see the problem correctly.
posted by easyasy3k at 11:14 AM on March 25, 2006

Response by poster: No P2P software is on this machine. It is a fairly clean install of Windows MCE.
posted by benjh at 11:18 AM on March 25, 2006

If it's not spyware, it's likely a device driver. Make sure to update ALL drivers with the latest (preferably "signed") versions. Especially that tuner card.

Your machine is plenty capable of running XP MCE; you could easily handle dual tuners and an ATSC tuner, if you wanted to. It's not that dissimilar to the MCE machine I was running before my current one, and it ran like a charm.
posted by Merdryn at 12:51 PM on March 25, 2006

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