CPU bogging down for no apparent reason - Vista Home Premium

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Thetooz

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I've had my Dell Inspiron 9400 laptop with Vista Home Premium for a couple years and it's worked great, until a few days ago. All of a sudden the CPU fan turns on and I look to see 80-100% CPU usage, with no programs running. A while into troubleshooting the problem my hard drive crashes ... After putting in a brand new HD the original problem persists, even with a clean install of Vista, and no startup programs running. The startup diagnostic shows no failures, Windows is up to date, and the vents are clean/free of dust. This CPU bog down seems to happen randomly, sometimes before the windows load screen is even done, sometimes a few minutes into operation, and -always- when I try to load any kind of memory intensive program such as a game, and it is always accompanied by the fan going at full speed. Process explorer shows System Idle Process at about 70% CPU, and nothing else substantial. Being a brand new hard drive it couldn't be a virus, right? After countless hours of troubleshooting I'm at wit's end, please help!

*Inspiron Core 2 Duo 1.73GHz 2G RAM
*ATI Mobility Radeon X1400
 

Lexluethar

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Use the Vista tools to see what is bogging down the CPU. Vista comes with performance monitoring software which would identify and critical errors your system incountered as well as determining what the issue is (cpu, gpu, ram, hd, etc).

Since you said you reinstalled and the problem persists even at a FRESH install I would aim at hardware. Probably the CPU since you should be able to notice in task manager (or performance monitoring) any RAM usage.
 

Thetooz

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Found a couple things in Event Viewer;

The COM+ Event System detected a bad return code during its internal processing. HRESULT was 8007043c from line 45 of d:\longhorn\com\complus\src\events\tier1\eventsystemobj.cpp. Please contact Microsoft Support Services to report this error.

Kernel-Processor-Power: The speed of processor 0 is being limited by system firmware. This processor has been in this reduced performance state for 71 seconds since the last report.
 

dinoboy

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I'm using Dell E6400 and I'm having exactly the same problem. Same behavior and events in event log. And when using some CPU intensive application (some developer programs, watching video/webcast, listening music/podcast) then it's guaranteed that process slows down. And it never restores it's speed - only when doing SOFT shut down. And also the fan is going most of the time in full speed.
I've also tried all kinds of different drivers (currently using the latest ones) but with no help.

Firstly I thought it is some buggy cooling system, but temperatures seems to be fine (according to SpeedFan). Although, time to time the bottom of the laptop is quite hot, I haven't noticed it before.
But now I'm more convinced it is some CPU/GPU problem.
 

Thilly

Baseband Member
Check to see if there is an update for your motherboard's BIOS.

If possible, also check to make sure your internal fans are all functioning properly. Your CPU fan's sleeve may be damaged and although the motherboard tried to spin the motor as frantically as possible, the fins may not move very well, causing your system to heat up and your bios to limit performance.


Download CPUZ ID if you can, and check to see what your processor is actually running at, both during and not during these slowdowns. Your BIOS may simply be underclocking the processor and so programs are loading it higher than normal.
 

dinoboy

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I've updated my bios to the latest version already, this didn't fix the problem.

I think I can't check internal fans myself, I have to go to the dell's service for that. I'm planning to there in near future but meanwhile I'm trying to figure out if this is some driver issue or some hardware/cooling problem.

Thanks for the CPUZ ID tip. I give it a try and check the speeds. Yeah, I'm sure something is underclocking the processer, but question is, why?
 

patonb

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Its heat.....

You should beable to see the fan from he outside of the case.. Or use a tissue to see how well it blows.

My old dell had a fan go out, which i had to replace.
 

dinoboy

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I'm seeing only the side fan which blows air outside, this seems to running fine. My dell is about ~8 months old.

I tried that CPUZ ID and usually clocks are about ~1530x6.0. When doing some intensive calculations then it jumps to ~2300x9.0 for a while (i'm using intel mobile core 2 duo P8600).

I noticed an event in eventlog (The speed of processor 1 in group 0 is being limited by system firmware) but CPUZ didn't show any change and all is running fine.
Moreover, I'm torturing my laptop pretty heavily - doing some processor intensive work, listening music and watching ~5 concurrent webcasts. Usually under these condition, laptop should be very slow already, but all seems running fine so far. Only difference is that CPUZ is running.

I'm doing some more monitoring with CPUZ on daily bases and try to dig out some numbers. I keep you posted.
 

Tom Goossens

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Hello Dinoboy, Thetooz,

I'm on a Dell E6400 (Core2 Duo T9600@2.8Ghz with Vista 64 Ultimate) and I'm experiencing exactly the same problem as you. Each time when it happens, I find the same messages in my event viewer: "The speed of processor 1 is being limited by system firmware. The processor has been in this reduced performance state for 71 seconds since the last report." The only thing I can do is a reboot.

Did you manage to resolve this issue? I have a discussion ongoing with Dell but I'm waiting on their feedback now.
 

dinoboy

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Actually I managed to resolve my problem.

I opened the back lid and took the fan off and removed some heavy dust :) Now it's back to normal again.
 
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