Sudden memory, HDD and overall performance issues

cbCore

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Jun 21, 2015
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If this is the wrong place to post this, I apologize. I've tried searching these forums and various forums, but so far it seems every thread I find is either more for one of my several issues, or is best answered with something that doesn't apply to me (i.e. AMD-related.)

My Computer's Specs:
Dell Inspiron
Windows 8.1 x64 bit
Intel Core i5-4460 CPU @ 3.20GHz (Quad core, I believe) x64 bit
8gb RAM
Some DVD RW+ drive (Unsure of manufacturer or specs)
1tb HDD (Unsure of manufacturer or specs other than size)
Nvidia GTX 750ti w/ 2gb VRAM
Thermaltake 500w PSU

The Issue:
When I first bought the machine maybe two months ago, it ran super smooth, booted quickly, had no problems, and even before installing my Nvidia GTX 750ti and a bigger 500w PSU, it ran plenty of my games perfectly (albeit on lower settings) with the built in GPU in the i5-4460. I installed the new PSU and Nvidia card maybe two-four weeks ago.

About a week and a half ago, as if some switch were flipped from "great" to "crap," my machine is having all sorts of problems now. In the task manager, the memory is almost always above 75% in use, the HDD will jump to 99% usage randomly when hardly anything is being done on the machine (such as only steam open.) When playing many of my games, which previously ran at least at 60 fps with the Nvidia card installed, now many of them will stutter or hang terribly. I can't use fraps to record like I did just a week or two ago, because that only exacerbates the HDD usage problem.

Along with this, the system will once in a while freeze entirely and hang... I'll still hear people in skype, or music from my game, but everything will freeze on the screen, forcing me to force restart the machine by holding the power button on the front. Sometimes, the machine will just restart itself. I'll be minding my own, and everything will go black... then start up again, as if I had just rebooted.

Sometimes, restarting the machine helps these issues. Other times, the issue comes right back. I bought the machine to replace an aging and dying laptop, and had to dip into my tax return to even afford it (that or go without a working computer for however long.) I've invested plenty of my meager income into this box, only for it to suddenly start working nowhere near as good as it had before.

I have no idea how to solve this, or what to do. As I've said, I tried scouring forums all over the net to see what other people have done to solve these issues, but either nothing has worked, or hasn't been relevant to my issues.

What I've Tried:
-Based on what I've seen in some other forums, I've tried disabling Superfetch as some threads had suggested, saw sight improvements, but not much.
-Tried disabling Windows Search and setting Ndu.sys to not launch automatically (setting a value to 4 in regedit?)
-Ran a quick scan with Windows Defender, didn't find any malware or viruses
-Trying a full scan now, will update when that completes
-Tried to update as many of my drivers as I could... As far as I can tell, I think I've upgraded my mother board, bios and network drivers (although for some reason Dell's recommended drivers for the wireless/bluetooth adapters refused to install) Updated any and all Dell software, let Windows 8.1 update itself as it saw fit, updated to the latest Nvidia drivers for my GPU
-Update: Full Windows Defender scan finished and found one threat, promptly removed it. Not sure if this has helped yet, but either way, good to get rid of that.
-Update 2: Read somewhere that it might be Windows Defender running some sort of automated background scan or something? Changed a few things in scheduled tasks (just setting it to only run when the machine has been idle for 10 minutes, and cease when idle is disturbed.) There was a weird freeze about five or ten minutes after this, and I force-reset the machine... So far, can't tell if the problem is gone, or just hasn't struck again yet.
-Update 3: Ran a piece of software to monitor temperatures on the CPU and GPU while playing a game with a friend of mine... Temps seemed okay, so not sure if that's the problem.

I'm running out of ideas and desperate for help. I'll give any info needed to solve the problem... I know how to run a dxdiag, I've looked once or twice at Windows event-log thing... (?) but I'm still relatively new to anything later than XP, and have never had to delve this far into my machine's inner-workings, so be aware of that.
 

digitaldoc

Illustrious
Herald
I won't dwell on another example of "Dell Hell." These Dell computers are not really designed to be user upgradeable, and these are the kinds of issues one encounters.

There are several PSU's from Thermaltake, so see if you can match up which one you have.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-2547993/psu-tier-list.html

Some of them are on the lower tiers.

I would also remove the gpu, and see if the issues get better.

Also, monitor the cpu temps, and see if anything is running too hot.
 

cbCore

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Jun 21, 2015
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I'll give some of that a try, but removing the gpu will limit which games I can play to some of the less intensive ones, so not sure how good of a determining factor it'll be for the hang ups. How can one monitor CPU temps without checking the BIOS at boot? I'm pretty new to that sort of thing.

Also, believe me, I'd not have gone for a dell if it wasn't an easy, affordable option on such short notice. Just wanted something so I didn't have to sit without a computer to use for who know how many months.

As far as the PSU, dug the box out of my closet. Looks like it's untiered on that list, it's a TR2 500w, not sure if that's closer to the TR2 bronze or nowhere near the same. I had a Thermaltake in my old desktop, I think it was also a TR2 but 550w, and it ran nice for a few years before the cpu in that machine finally died (iirc it was like nine or ten year old core 2 duo in that machine.)

UPDATE: Found a good tool, highly recommended for use to monitor temps. Gonna watch my gpu and cpu temps while playing something a bit more on the intensive side. While just sitting here though it looks pretty optimal... 32c on GPU, all CPU cores between 33c and 38c

UPDATE 2: Spent the evening playing Far Cry 4 with a friend, monitored temps the whole time. CPU temps kinda fluttered between 50c and 60c, and GPU stayed around 65c/66c. (High default graphics settings, except that Anti-Aliasing is disabled, as I almost always do. Don't ask...) The game ran nicely the whole time we played, except for a few hangs here and there. Going to try with GW2 tomorrow and see if the issues rear their heads again.
 

digitaldoc

Illustrious
Herald
I use Core Temp to monitor the temps. Your temps sound fine.

Removing the gpu is a diagnostic maneuver, not a permanent fix. If the issues go away, then you have isolated the issue to the gpu, and can focus your efforts there. You can then choose to upgrade the card, or get it fixed under warranty, for example.
 

mrmike_49

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Feb 2, 2010
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sounds more like software issue, temperatures are fine
Bring up TaskManager, looks for running apps and Services, and start killing processes like Adobe Updater, Flash Updater,... any "Updater", set the virus checker to NOT run in background, and just get used to it taking a bit of time to scan.
Check this website to see which Processes you can stop http://www.blackviper.com/service-configurations/black-vipers-windows-8-1-service-configurations/

Have you recently installed any "helper" programs? Driver update programs?
 

cbCore

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Jun 21, 2015
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That's kind of what I figured. I'll give that a try and post the results here, when I have the chance... busy next couple of days and won't get to tinker too much, but will do soon.



I have killed off some of those before, and set plenty of stuff to not autostart with windows. I believe that I did set the antivirus to not check in that background, and that's helped a bit, it seems. Other than the goofy crap that Dell preloaded on the machine, no helper programs or driver update programs... Unless you count HWMonitor (the program I monitored temps with) as a "helper" program.


Overall, the problem seems a bit more manageable with the steps I've already taken, but the system does kinda trip over itself here and there... typically a restart fixes it though. Of course, I don't want to settle 50/50 on it. Will try the other suggested steps when I get the chance, and post back here.
 
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