Poor performance after reinstalling WindowsXP
I recently had to use my System Restore disk on my Alienware Area 51. I've had the system for a couple of years now and it has worked flawlessly until I recently tried to upgrade my graphics card. I think that I had a severe driver conflict and ended up having to start from scratch and reinstall Windows; this was most likely due to errors on my part and not the machine. I ended up keeping my original graphics card so my system is exactly the same as it was before the fresh install of Windows. At any rate, I totally reformatted my drive and did the following: clean install of Windows XP Home, updated Windows via online, updated drivers for video card, sound card and processor chip set, did a disk cleanup, disk defrag, and cleaned up my start menu.
Well my problem is this: when running games or even a video, my sytem would "hiccup" and things would turn into a slideshow. I downloaded an Optimizer/Analyzer program and saw something interesting when looking at a little graph that displays processor usage. As the graph would scroll along, the "kernal usage" on my processor would spike up to 100% even when I was running no other programs. My RAM usage would stay low and flat but my processor seemed to be jumping into high gear every 10 seconds or so. The top of the graph would even flatten out like it wanted to go even higher. I ran a little video while watching the graph scroll along and the hiccups in my performance seem to correspond to these spikes. Whats going on here? I have no idea what "kernel usage" even is but it seems to correlate to my problem. I tried turning off System Restore and a couple of other things without results. Any help would be greatly appreciated. My system specs are below; let me know if you need to know anything else.
Pentium 4 2.4GHz
Asus P4-TE motherboard
512 Mb of PC 800 RAM
Geforce Ti 4600 video card
Soundblaster Audigy Gamer soundcard