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Thread: Stuttery PC

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    Stuttery PC

    Let me begin by saying that I love my computer. I've given it a name, I eat dinner with it at least twice a week, I buy it expensive gifts, I pamper it with frequent defrags.

    Despite all these lavish attentions it remains "stuttery". Much of the time it's fairly speedy, but several times a day for no particular reason it gets all stuttery and slow (webpages take forever to render, the mouse gets frozen, video files get caught in a loop, Yahoo Messenger freezes, it stops responding entirely, etc) even if I'm not doing anything particularly intensive. Sometimes in the midst of stutteriness it makes a "beep", which is pretty much exactly the same as the regular healthy beep on POST, except that it's not posting and is just in the middle of me writing a word document or something. The stutterry slowness can last anywhere from 30-40 seconds to 3-5 minutes and afterwards it seems to hum along fine. If I didn't know better I would say that it's like the computer is having a minor stroke and then recovers (or perhaps an epileptic fit).

    This is my setup:

    Processor: Intel Core2Duo E6600 w/ Arctic Silver Freezer 7 Pro
    Memory: 4x1GB PC2-5300 Corsair Value Select DDR2 RAM
    Motherboard: ASUS P5N32-SLI-SE-Deluxe Motherboard
    Graphics Card: ATI Radeon HD4850 "Toxic" by Sapphire
    Hard Disk I: SATA OCZ CORE SSD 60 GB
    Hard Disk II: SATA Western Digital 2500KS 250MB
    Power Supply: AKASA 460w Ultra Quiet
    Operating System: Windows XP Pro

    Nothing is overclocked, nor has it ever been. All of this stuff except for the OCZ SSD and 3 of the 1GB RAM sticks was setup in late August/September of 2006.

    I know that the OCZ SSD is a likely culprit for stutteriness because of issues with SSD Drives, but I've followed pretty much all of the instructions found in various places (disabling prefetch, moving virtual memory to other drive, etc) but this has not yielded any improvement.

    In an attempt to see whether it was a heat related problem I ran SmartFan and noticed something strange in the voltage readings, see screenshot:



    I don't know anything about voltages and things of this nature, but it seems odd to me that the +3.3V reading is 0.00V, the +5V reading is 4.95V and the +12V reading is +11.78V, etc. Could these be the sources of the problems I'm having?

    I also ran CPU-Z, see screenshot:



    Again I am wholly ignorant of what much of this means, but it struck me as odd that the DRAM Frequency is 266.7 MHz, when the memory I have is 667 MHz (or so it says on the box).

    Are the voltages or the memory speed the root of my problems? If so, any ideas how I can fix them? If not, any suggestions what I can do to figure out what is?

    Many thanks in advance.

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    Re: Stuttery PC

    Change the memory in the BIOS do normal timings and speed, that should be 333.3Mhz (as double data rate, 333.3 x 2 = 666.6Mhz) I don't think that is the problem, more likely to be the SSD. Got any IDE/Sata Hard drive to test?

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    Re: Stuttery PC

    Quote Originally Posted by iftiq View Post
    Let me begin by saying that I love my computer. I've given it a name, I eat dinner with it at least twice a week, I buy it expensive gifts, I pamper it with frequent defrags.
    Sigged

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    Re: Stuttery PC

    I believe you arent supposed to defrag SSD because it makes it slower or something.

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    Re: Stuttery PC

    don't defrag ssd's, wears them out.
    they fragment just like a normal drive but seeing as the access time is around 0.1ms all over the capacity of the disk then fragmenting does nothing to the performance as its just as quick to access files at different parts of the disk as it is if they were all 'in a row'

    EDIT: as yeh nothing in your set up would even hint at stuttering, try a normal hdd and see how it goes

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    Re: Stuttery PC

    Worth pointing out the memory is well below spec as it is, and when you're pushing more data through it i.e. from an SSD, you'll notice the difference between, for instance PC5300 and PC6400/8000 very notably.
    Moo.

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    Re: Stuttery PC

    maybe worth trying a clean install

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    Re: Stuttery PC

    Sure his memory is slow, but really shouldn't be stuttering that bad. See what he comes up with when he has sorted out the ram settings

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    Re: Stuttery PC

    I'm sure this probably isn't it, as you say it happens several times a day, but I certainly notice a difference when a virus scan kicks in, particularly on the low spec pc at work.

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    Re: Stuttery PC

    Quote Originally Posted by Badbonji View Post
    Sure his memory is slow, but really shouldn't be stuttering that bad. See what he comes up with when he has sorted out the ram settings
    Definitely something to do with the SSD. I have similar problem with my Dell Mini9, would freeze briefly if I close MSN conversation for example when it write logs.

    The tweaks you did was just to minimize the problems, you can't get rid of those lags, it is the nature of that OCZ SSD, or any other low-cost MLC SSD.
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    Re: Stuttery PC

    I would check your Voltages from within the bios or using a multimeter. Your -12v and -5v rails are showing as very low.

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    Re: Stuttery PC

    The OCZ SSD is prob causing the problems, try aligning your partition(s), both OCZ and Microsoft recommend it to get the most performance out of a ssd
    http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/fo...ad.php?t=48309
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    Re: Stuttery PC

    RAm is running at 266mhz as you've set it to memory to cpu ratio 1:1 in the bios (ie the memory is running at the same FSB as the cpu (266mhz)
    Setting it to run at it's correct speed of 333mhz should help speed it up a bit.

    As has been said you shouldn't defrag SSD's as it reduces the life span and doesn't effect the speed, this is because it's direct access, unlike a hard drive where it has to physically move the reading head about and fragmented files means the head has to be moved around more.
    So defraging the Western Digital 2500KS is fine and good

    It could be the SSD as others have said or it could be software or the combination of the two.
    What antivirus do you use? it could be set up to do periodic scans and updates which could be the route of your problem.
    Also check for other bits of auto-updateing software as they could be doing peridic scans & checks for updates which can cause latency problems.
    (Do you really need adobe acrobat to check for updates every hour even if you're not using it?)

    More and more issues I've been coming across atm are down to software and software related latency

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    Re: Stuttery PC

    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    Worth pointing out the memory is well below spec as it is, and when you're pushing more data through it i.e. from an SSD, you'll notice the difference between, for instance PC5300 and PC6400/8000 very notably.
    Of course it isn't 'well below spec'.
    Its not the fastest but its more than enough for the rig in question.

    As far as your issues go, i agree with Pob.
    If its not the SSD, take a look at all of the scheduled scans/updates for OS and your AV.
    There have been ALOT of windows updates recently and this wont help the stuttering.

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    Re: Stuttery PC

    Misunderstanding only, perhaps it would've been better for me just to say it's not the fastest or the most ideal speed for use with an SSD - it's something I've seen plenty of times before hence offering that as a suggestion - SSD's soon bottleneck quickly if there's something like that in the way.
    Moo.

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    Re: Stuttery PC

    Thanks all for the most helpful responses.

    Seems the first suggestion was that I try to set the memory to the correct speed in the BIOS. I think I've managed to do this, but am not sure. The first time I tried to do it I went into the BIOS, found the various settings for the memory, set it to manual and then to 666 MHz. Saved BIOS settings, rebooted.... and got:

    "NTLDR not found [please smack hand to forehead in anguish and despair]". Very confused at this, I went back into the BIOS and it seems that for some reason the OCZ SSD wasn't showing up as connected. Now I have no idea why changing the BIOS would cause the SSD to dissapear. But in a spark of inspiration I realised that I have four sata ports and only two drives, so I opened up the case and unplugged the SSD from SATA_01 and moved it to SATA_03, my regular HD occupies SATA_02. And then reboot.... Success (sort of).

    The boot up into Windows was hideously slow and then windows convinced itself that it need to be reactivated and also in CPU Z there was no change in the memory speeds. Undettered, I rebooted again and found that the BIOS had reset itself to automatically manage the memory, so I went back and tweaked the settings again and rebooted. Now it seems to have worked. So this is what I have now in the BIOS:



    Sorry for the picture quality, I only had my wackleberry camera at hand.

    And in CPU-Z it says:



    So I'm thinking I've done this right. But overall I've not really noticed much of a change.

    In response to some of the other queries:

    I use Kaspersky Internet Security and have it set to do it's scans and updates at weekly intervals when I'm not using the computer, so I'm pretty sure that this isn't it.

    I have extensively culled all the various bits of extraneous software.

    The consensus seems to be that the culprit is the SSD. Oh how I wished it were not so. I guess I could always use it as a bookend.

    I guess there's no chance of returning it to OCZ? What a waste of time and money.

    I'm still perturbed by the voltages I looked in the BIOS as suggested and this is what it says:



    I can't find anywhere, in the BIOS, that shows the negative voltages, but those are still well off in speedfan. Is this something I should worry about? What does it mean?

    Thanks again,

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