PC Slow, CPU not being fully used, System Idle Process on overtime

vbimport

#1

OK, I’ve just put a new mobo in my son’s PC.

It’s an AMD 3200 and runs at 2.2GHz, with 512MB of DDR400 RAM.

It’s a clean install so no old-system related shenanigans, but it is so SLOW. His sister’s 1.6 runs faster than it. The problem lies with not using all the CPU juice.

Task Manager shows that the system’s CPU uses at most 8%, normally only 4%, whilst the System Idle Process quite happily chugs away at 90%+ despite trying to run various apps which require some processor activity.

I’ve Google this and people seem to have the same problem but I’ve yet to see a solution - spyware has been suggested, but it can’t be that, as it happened before he even connected top the 'net! And it’s all up to date with all the necessary AVG, Spybot, SpywareBlaster, etc.

Anyone got any ideas, 'cos I’m tearing my hair out here - seems every PC in the house is on strike ATM!


#2

What programs are you running? Try running a stress test such as Prime95.


You should see 100% load from it.


#3

See if you have ‘Indexing Service’ or whatever they call it turned on in Windows Explorer -> Search (it’s usually on by default). That doesn’t use much CPU but really dogs a system down.


#4

There is an AMD CPU patch for Windows XP, released by Microsoft that does impact performance. I do not beleive it would cause anything like this, but it is something you can try.

As said above, run an application designed to max out the CPU. I prefer CPU Burn-In. That will tell you if the machine can run the CPU at full throttle.

If the machine can not, install some sort of temp monitoring application. If the CPU is hitting temp throttle, it could be holding itself back.

-Brian


#5

are all the drivers installed (no yellow ?'s in the device manager)? fresh installs are doggy until you get the video drivers installed. check for dma on the hdd(s), turn off indexing, defrag - fresh installs are notoriously fragmented, my last one was 82% fragged after I got all my software installed.

and system idle process isn’t using any cpu, its just there to tell you how much cpu time is free, fire up p95 or super pi and you should get 100% on the app and 0% on system idle process


#6

Thanks guys.

I didn’t ‘get’ Prime95. CPU-Burn was easy as pie though, and sure enough I got 100% usage. It took a lifetime to stop once I clicked ‘Quit’ though. It’s as if starting and stopping processes is what takes so long.

Can it be symptomatic of a knackered HDD? I’m sure that I read somewhere that it can. It’s a good 5-6 years old and had plenty of use.

olyteddy: Search turned up nothing, but wouldn’t it be visible in Task Manager?

bjd223: Patch downloaded. Works the same as before. Also no temperature problems.

jwill427: Yes, all drivers are installed, no yellow question marks! There’s that much free HDD space that I’d have thought a defrag unnecessary and I’ve done that many installs that nothing’s ever been this slow anyway, but I’ll give it a go.

EDIT: OK, it’s been several minutes and it’s still on 1% progress, the system’s idling at 99%. I’ve just gone to load a browser up on it and everything’s frozen again.

I’ve just remembered something. On installation, I think there was a Windows file that couldn’t be installed first try, so I clicked again and it did it; I do wonder though, could a missing file be causing all of this grief?


#7

OK, several minutes more and it’s not unfrozen. I was able to shut the browser down but Task Manager was stuck, CPU @ 4% - and Defragmenter was still on 1%. Had to reset… again.


#8

it could be a bad drive or even a bad IDE/sata cable, to rule it out dl the free version of hdd tune, http://www.hdtune.com/ and check the health tab for failed smart values and run an error scan, although with the performance you’re describing an error scan may not be feasible… also try running the performance benchmark if possible to see if its just giving you horrible transfer rates

if you can, download cpuz also and post a screenshot of the CPU tab and another of the memory tab


#9

Thanks, I managed to get the results. Oddly enough it didn’t put up much of a fight.

I did the benchmark twice, because I was suspicious of the initial OK performance (saved the results a tad too soon, and didn’t notice until afterwards so no burst rate, sorry) but noticed that any activity dragged it way down, so by the mid 20s I tried Clone DVD to process a disc (at 100%, no compression), and got Windows to install some updates ‘in the background’ by clicking the yellow exclamation in the taskbar. After which, I did a 2nd one with nothing at all, the same as the beginning of the first scan was - except for the 2nd dip in the early 30s which was Task Manager, which I closed straight away.

As well as the attached data that you asked for, I’ve dumped the whole results from CPU-Z in case you want a look in the txt file.






cpuz.txt (38.1 KB)


#10

Your results are good. Its normal for the HDD performance to drop so heavily when doing somthing like copying a disc. Newer HDD’s will definitly show a performance boost over one that is 4+ years old, but I can’t say that’s your problem.


#11

[QUOTE=groovemeister;2004727]

Task Manager shows that the system’s CPU uses at most 8%, normally only 4%, whilst the System Idle Process quite happily chugs away at 90%+ despite trying to run various apps which require some processor activity.

I’ve Google this and people seem to have the same problem but I’ve yet to see a solution -[/QUOTE]

Another stick of ram may also help. You can check to see if your ‘page file’ size is too big, you can manually set it, and a good value is around the size of ram you have now, so I’d say 600MB. Sometimes the page file size can baloon up to several gigs which will definitly hurt performance.


#12

I agree with eric, everything looks good… I’m pretty well stumped at this point :frowning:
It could be hardware conflicts I suppose, what kind of add in cards/accessories do you have on the system?
I hate to say it, but at this point a windows reinstall might be the next step, maybe with a different optical drive and IDE cable since you mentioned a windows file not installing on the first try


#13

I’ve never found Clone DVD particularly taxing on a system - DVD Shrink yeah, but not Clone DVD. It wasn’t even a real disc - just a disc image.

I mean, even Task Manager made it spike to the bottom.

I’ll pop the RAM from my PC in there to see if it makes a difference…


#14

clone dvd may not be taxing on the cpu, but it is taxing on the hdd, x2 if you’re working from an image on the hdd since it has to read from the image, seek the head to a different sector to write then repeat, all whilst trying to benchmark from a completely different sector :wink: and in order to open task man it has to stop what its doing with the benchmark, seek the head to wherever task man is to open it then seek back and continue the benchmark, hence the spike to zero

I say if you have any pci cards or usb/firewire accessories take them all out and start it up as a bare bones system with only the necessary hardware installed to rule out any hardware conflicts


#15

Make a PartBE disc, is it slow using it you have a hardware issue/incompatibility.
You could do the same with a Linux/BSD LiveCD if you know that your video card is supported.
//Danne


#16

[QUOTE=jwill427;2005479]I say if you have any pci cards or usb/firewire accessories take them all out and start it up as a bare bones system with only the necessary hardware installed to rule out any hardware conflicts[/QUOTE]The image was from another HDD. Thanks, but now the PC refuses to turn on. It started up this morning and then stopped a minute later.

Won’t turn on - the optical mouse was flashing on and off at the time, although it’s just on now, but nothing’s happening. Dead as a doornail. Unplugged for the time being.