Help needed with CPU usage Spikes (PC tune up)

  matthyewclarke99 11:26 19 Jan 2010

Hello All

Recently I have been having unusual performance issues with my PC so im hoping someone with some technical knowhow could aid me please.

Firstly let me explain what’s going wrong. In the past my PC, while not being the best PC in the world, has been dead smooth running games (yes I only use it for games music and movies) such as world of warcraft (which is what I spend most of the time on) and even the notorious Crysis (on high settings). This was the case up to about 2-3 months back. The pc slowed right down and began running very slow and the CPU usage would spike randomly from about 50% right up to 98% for no apparent reason. This has now created a stuttering in games which, as you can imagine, ruins the fun. Reducing graphics to low has not resolved this.

So, at this stage I assumed it might be spyware, virus or something similar. A multitude of scanners picked up nothing but windows was running an unusually high amount of process. After scanning failed to produce any results, I decided it was time to reformat completely. I formatted and installed windows 7 (genuine). Naturally, I updated the drivers for all the hardware and they are now windows 7 64bit compatible.

This produced some results. The PC booted far quicker with runs almost 50% less process. But, as soon as I start to put the system under any pressure, I get the same problem that I had before.

The next step was to check temperature and any dust build up. I stripped the PC right down and sure enough it was dusty. I got rid of the dust (there was a lot on the CPU fan), re built it fired up windows and all was smooth until I began gaming (exactly the same problem). Having checked the temperatures the CPU runs at 43-53c and the GPU is running at 50c. Motherboard is also pretty cool and the ram is also not overheating as it has its own cooling unit.

So I have come to a dead end. Its not temp, dust or spyware. Can anyone suggest any more steps to resolve this? Or is it time for the old girl to go in the bin

Spec of the PC is:

Core 2 Duo 2.66 (no over clocking)
4gb corsair ram, cooled. (unsure of speed)
Nvidia GTX 260 gpu (mild over clocking)
OS – Windows 7 ultimate 64bit

A few more points that might help – NIC is running smooth so no probs here, its defiantly the CPU spiking
Windows seems to only pick up 3.2 of my 4gb even on a 64bit os
Paging is set to the recommended 4798mb with a max of 5gb (again the ram runs smooth at about 60% on crysis)
The PC is custom built but the CPU was installed professionally (as mentioned, this is a recent problem, not one I have had since purchase)
Internet Connection is 13gb with a 24ms ping so I don’t think the problem is here.
I use Bullguard Antivirus (not the gaming verions as there is no windows 7 version). Im on a free trial so I could be persuaded to change this.

Many thanks in advance


  matthyewclarke99 12:50 19 Jan 2010

Thanks for the responses.

I haven’t installed Driver max. After the reformat, everything i have installed has been straight from the appropriate companies.

System Idle does run at about 97%. When i say spikes im refereeing to the graph that the task manager displays. It jumps up frequently.

I haven’t noticed any other process other than the game i play use odd amounts of CPU

  matthyewclarke99 14:56 19 Jan 2010

I would also like to mention that temps are taken from everest not the bios

  woodchip 15:11 19 Jan 2010

Check for Muck round CPU and Heating, Remove it

  woodchip 15:12 19 Jan 2010

Also Graphics card fan if it as one

  woodchip 15:17 19 Jan 2010

You are Playing CPU intensive Games the Heat Created as to get out some how, and if don't it pulls it's own plug

  matthyewclarke99 16:16 19 Jan 2010

Hello Woodchip

Thanks for the advise.

I havent removed the CPU itself, but i did remove the deicated fan to check for crap. it was very clean underneath (looked new). The fan was full of muck but this got cleaned out.

The PC's case has roughly 3 'in' fans and 3'out' fans so the cirlce of air is very good inside. I should check the GPU fan but as mentioned before the GPU ambient temp is 50c under high pressure. As well as the fan built onto the GPU, it has an additional one extracting hot air from the middle of it.

Is there a way to run a diagnostics test on the Graphics card (Nvidia GTX 260). It might be the issue. I guess if its failed in some way the CPU will be working ultra hard.

  woodchip 18:05 19 Jan 2010

As you say modern graphics card with plenty of memory take loads of work of the CPU so that should be your next check Ig can test it, and what other way than Games. It tells me its on its knees as you are having to turn Acceleration down for it to work smooth

  woodchip 18:06 19 Jan 2010

Does your BIOS have a Health Page to keep a check on things

  matthyewclarke99 19:38 19 Jan 2010

yeah i guess the card does work the CPU hard, that said this doesnt explain why it was great before and terrible now.

How might i get to a health page on bios (not the best with PC's as im sure you can guess)

  AL47 19:46 19 Jan 2010

i had random spikes like that, i couldnt figure it out so in the end i reformattef, it worked, but i never knew the cause

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