Some trouble

#1 Posted by mikey87144 (1808 posts) -

My friend is having a bit of PC trouble and I am hoping for some advice. He had bought an alienware PC, (I know, his first mistake), a year ago and it's been giving him a lot of trouble lately. One of the first problems was his GPU. His PC came with an ATI Radeon HD 5700 series that wouldn't display windows properly on his monitor. At the highest resolution it was letter boxed. After fumbling around in Cataylst Control center I finally got to the menu option that would fix this and it wouldn't work. I think I have to reinstall CCC for his PC to get it to work properly but any advice for that would be great.

His next problem is the most severe. His PC is suffering from massive slowdowns. He uses it primarily for video editing and rendering animations which are GPU intensive but apparently his CPU is the one causing his PC to slow down. While it is an alienware I believe his PC was built with the latest and greatest stuff at the time so I don't understand why it would slow down so severly. I have a couple of questions before I attempt to fix it.

1. Do you know of any free programs I can use to properly stress test the CPU and GPU to see if either is the problem?

2. Do you think reinstalling Windows can help. He reinstalled windows a couple of months ago and I'm wondering if that might do the trick. Any advice would be helpful

#2 Posted by composite (135 posts) -

The only way to be sure is to nuke it from orbit (format and reinstall win 7 with latest drivers). The other big thing, is check the BIOS (making sure its the latest version, all settings are default, etc). I was working on an older PC the other day, and the BIOS had a CPU setting (compatible, I think) that had the consequence of making the CPU run at 100% all the time, crazy...

#3 Posted by mikey87144 (1808 posts) -

@composite: Thanks for the advice. His computer needed a ton of driver updates and a BIOS update at that.

#4 Posted by composite (135 posts) -

Hey, I'm glad to have helped! Computers can be finicky little buggers sometimes.

#5 Edited by GnomeonFire (811 posts) -

Just a side note. If he's video editing/capturing footage it can be quite intensive on the HDD as well. So if some of the slowdowns are during that, it could be because his HDD isn't 7200 rpm +.

#6 Posted by Bio2hazard (143 posts) -

I would say that 7200 RPM is the minimum for any sort of editing. More recommended would be a (Veloci)Raptor or a SSD.

That being said; Reformatting sounds like a good idea. If you don't want to do that, I would recommend 2 free programs.

One is called Starter - it checks for all and any programs that start alongside of windows when your computer starts. You can easilly check and uncheck certain programs. The advantage of this program is that it combines your computer's autostart and registry in one easy to use list. You want as few programs as possible to start with your computer, and many companies think their software is important enough to start alongside windows - which is really terrible. ( Is it really worth sacrificing some of your computer's CPU cycles 24/7 just so that adobe reader can load PDF files 10% faster ? Adobe seems to think so... )

The second one is called HiJackThis. Now, great care must be taken with this tool as it is very powerful and can really mess up your computer if you are not careful, but it is by far the most useful tool I have used to repair computers. It performs a thorough scan of your computer, listing just about anything that could adversly affect the computer. The reason it is so powerful though is because it does not use any preset rules to determine whether a entry is bad or not - that part is up to the user. You are presented with a list of entries and their categories, you can hit a info button to get general information about the category, but not the entry itself. It takes a while to clean a computer with this tool as you will have to google almost every entry to determine whether it is good or bad, but once you get done with a thorough cleanup using this tool, your computer will almost always be fixed from all sorts of bad things.

Of course, those measures should only be taken AFTER you have already done the standard things:

Update all your drivers.

Update BIOS if a update is available.

Double-Check the BIOS settings.

One thing that sometimes gets missed that can have tremendous impact on your computer: power saving settings. Make sure it's not set to some extreme power saving mode. :)

Report back with your findings and I might be able to offer more advice.

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