Question A slowdown after dusting

Nov 19, 2019
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Hey all, first time posting here. Always appreciate the advice I find on these forums.

TL,DR: The project PC I just acquired was running OK, I took it apart to clean it and get the dust out, put it back together, and now it seems a little slower than it was.

Specs:

CPU: AMD FX-8320
MOBO: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 6.0
RAM: ADATA DDR3 1600MHz, 8 GB single-channel
GPU: MSI NVIDIA GTX 950 OVC1 2GB GDDR5
HDD: WD Blue 1TB 7200RPM
PSU: EVGA 400W 80+ Br non-modular
Additional Info: has an optical drive (DVD-RW), is running SATA 2 from HDD to MOBO, Win 10 64-bit was cleanly installed 5 days ago.

I picked this desktop up as a project PC, got it cheap and figured with a GPU only a couple generations out, I should be able to slowly upgrade as I found parts at good prices and had some spare dollars.*

I opened the case up and disassembled everything yesterday, because it was a little dusty when I got it. Removed about a hamster's worth of dust and dirt from the various components; lots of compressed air and vacuuming (of the front panel of the case only, no PCB components or anything) later, the parts were pretty clean. I even took the cover off the PSU and got the grunge out from in there. Didn't get in there with a q-tip on the corners, mind you - just got the loose stuff off.

Prior to cleaning everything, I ran a Steam benchmark for Total War: Rome II and was pleasantly surprised at the frame rate I got - started at 134 FPS, and averaged around the high 60's. I was expecting things to run equally well, if not better, after cleaning everything out.

After cleaning the components, I removed the old thermal paste on the CPU and heatsink with rubbing alcohol, let it all dry, and applied some (admittedly very generic) thermal paste in the single-dot method.** I then hooked everything back up the way it was before, including the 6-pin power connector to the GPU. It started back up with no problems - hallelujah.

My issue now is, it seems to be running slightly slower than it did before I cleaned the components. I ran the same benchmark from TW, and got low 60's, although it started out relatively high. The GPU temps were in the 80's, with Afterburner telling me that the fan was at 100% speed. A Kompressor stress-test got the GPU temps into the low 90's, but probably would have gone higher had I not intervened. Core Temp is telling me right now that my CPU is idling between 12 and 30, so I think probably the cheap nature of the thermal paste is not a lethal issue.

All precautions were taken with the hardware. I did not remove the plastic hood from the GPU. I have NOT attempted any overclocking on this CPU or board. I have also not done anything with the BIOS since the Windows install. Until I can get a decent monitor, I'm using an older HDTV as my display, with the associated overscan issues (I know, I know...)

Admitting that it has been a long while since I was in the PC building scene, and knowing that the hardware I'm working with is a little out of date, does anyone know of a reason this machine would simply slow down after being disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled?

*Impending upgrades: PSU-> EVGA 600W 80+ Br, CPU cooler-> GameMax Gamma 500 RGB tower cooler. Purchased an MSI B360 Gaming Plus mobo, now on the lookout for a Coffee Lake I5 or I7. Eventually will upgrade to >=16GB RAM. When the new mobo and CPU happen, will install an M.2 system drive and switch over to a SATA-3 SSD.

**the new CPU cooler will be arriving with better thermal paste shortly - I live in a small town that hates technology and this was the only stuff I could find.
 
Last edited:
Hey all, first time posting here. Always appreciate the advice I find on these forums.

TL,DR: The project PC I just acquired was running OK, I took it apart to clean it and get the dust out, put it back together, and now it seems a little slower than it was.

Specs:

CPU: AMD FX-8320
MOBO: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 6.0
RAM: ADATA DDR3 1600MHz, 8 GB single-channel
GPU: MSI NVIDIA GTX 950 OVC1 2GB GDDR5
HDD: WD Blue 1TB 7200RPM
PSU: EVGA 400W 80+ Br non-modular
Additional Info: has an optical drive (DVD-RW), is running SATA 2 from HDD to MOBO, Win 10 64-bit was cleanly installed 5 days ago.

I picked this desktop up as a project PC, got it cheap and figured with a GPU only a couple generations out, I should be able to slowly upgrade as I found parts at good prices and had some spare dollars.*

I opened the case up and disassembled everything yesterday, because it was a little dusty when I got it. Removed about a hamster's worth of dust and dirt from the various components; lots of compressed air and vacuuming (of the front panel of the case only, no PCB components or anything) later, the parts were pretty clean. I even took the cover off the PSU and got the grunge out from in there. Didn't get in there with a q-tip on the corners, mind you - just got the loose stuff off.

Prior to cleaning everything, I ran a Steam benchmark for Total War: Rome II and was pleasantly surprised at the frame rate I got - started at 134 FPS, and averaged around the high 60's. I was expecting things to run equally well, if not better, after cleaning everything out.

After cleaning the components, I removed the old thermal paste on the CPU and heatsink with rubbing alcohol, let it all dry, and applied some (admittedly very generic) thermal paste in the single-dot method.** I then hooked everything back up the way it was before, including the 6-pin power connector to the GPU. It started back up with no problems - hallelujah.

My issue now is, it seems to be running slightly slower than it did before I cleaned the components. I ran the same benchmark from TW, and got low 60's, although it started out relatively high. The GPU temps were in the 80's, with Afterburner telling me that the fan was at 100% speed. A Kompressor stress-test got the GPU temps into the low 90's, but probably would have gone higher had I not intervened. Core Temp is telling me right now that my CPU is idling between 12 and 30, so I think probably the cheap nature of the thermal paste is not a lethal issue.

All precautions were taken with the hardware. I did not remove the plastic hood from the GPU. I have NOT attempted any overclocking on this CPU or board. I have also not done anything with the BIOS since the Windows install. Until I can get a decent monitor, I'm using an older HDTV as my display, with the associated overscan issues (I know, I know...)

Admitting that it has been a long while since I was in the PC building scene, and knowing that the hardware I'm working with is a little out of date, does anyone know of a reason this machine would simply slow down after being disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled?

*Impending upgrades: PSU-> EVGA 600W 80+ Br, CPU cooler-> GameMax Gamma 500 RGB tower cooler. Purchased an MSI B360 Gaming Plus mobo, now on the lookout for a Coffee Lake I5 or I7. Eventually will upgrade to >=16GB RAM. When the new mobo and CPU happen, will install an M.2 system drive and switch over to a SATA-3 SSD.

**the new CPU cooler will be arriving with better thermal paste shortly - I live in a small town that hates technology and this was the only stuff I could find.
With all that work, your CMOS/BIOS was most probably reset to factory or safe defaults, see if you can set Enhanced or performance defaults in BIOS.
 
Reactions: TM1172
Nov 19, 2019
6
0
10
0
With all that work, your CMOS/BIOS was most probably reset to factory or safe defaults, see if you can set Enhanced or performance defaults in BIOS.
I checked the BIOS, it looks like the MIB has CPU performance mode enabled. This may be a case of “I didn’t get a good enough benchmark from before, and my mind is playing tricks.” Thanks for the response!
 
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