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Windows 7: Slowdown and choppy audio on every graphic intensive program

26 Feb 2014   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Slowdown and choppy audio on every graphic intensive program

I have read through the interwebs the last hours and could not find a real solution to this problem that has actually haunted me for a little more than a month, but only today I recognize it in its full severity. The people I read about, but could not save themselves other than through complete reformating in some cases, all reported the following issues:
Once upon a time everything with their system was alright, but then by usually unknown circumstances one day all of the sudden games, intensive 3d software (such as Maya), and even just high resolution videos would get performance issues to different degrees. The symptoms are that everything starts out fine usually, but at the range of 10 seconds to around 2 minutes into the program, the performance drops, meaning falling fps and even stuttering/scratchy sounding audio issues, all accompanied by the wooshing of a freaked out graphic card fan.

In my case I have a suspect that could have started this, though I cannot really prove it: The new Might and Magic Legacy game which I got. A optically very simple game that nontheless, due to extremly poor programming and zero optimization, still called on so much ressources that it constantly overheated the GPU.(they did some magic faux pas' like not limiting the maximum count of light sources, or letting the most simple and rectangular floor tiles have 5000 polygons and up.... ) So with this majesty ruling my hardware for a while, I actually heard the GPU fan roaring in its failsave freak out overdrive mode for the first time since I got the laptop (which is exactly 2 years ago). I played Skyrim with all kinds of HD, lush environment and rich fauna mods without any problem whatsoever, but this retro look game was the first that did push my system to its limits.
..I should have stopped there and read the warning signs, but I didn't really know what could happen at this point and before all my research.

Whatever, so, this is a strong indicator, since those problems that I have now occured at Might and Magic Legacy for the first time, and it is known to cause these problems due to failure of their 3d artists, and now the exact same issues seem to have migrated over to everything else too. Even 1080p movies, though still watchable, have hints of the audio stutter in them that only occurs at extremly high load otherwise.
However, all the other people I have read about could never name the source of the problem - for them it just appeared from one day to another -, so it might just be incidental.

The reason that only now I saw what has changed -weeks after finishing MnM-, was that I watched aforetime mentioned movie, and then started researching where the problem was. I started some older games and was shocked to discover that every single one has fallen prone to identical problems of MnM. For example in Civ5 (usually not so ressource intensive) I couldn't even handle the game menu anymore. I even rebooted old Skyrim for the first time in who knows how long, and yes, the very same: Perfectly fine for about 10 seconds, then stutter in fps and audio, eventually unplayably crippling lag, shadows in checkerboard pattern etc. . On this opportunity I ran NvideaInspector which I had lying around, and got this cracy temperature spike:

...around 95C at, I don't know, 30 seconds in maybe. Starting from around 70 already btw. . I don't know to much about exact analysis of hardware I must confess, but that seemed overburdened right from the start even in idle mode.
Thinking this I wondered to what levels it would go back to, and got this after around 10 minutes:

..Actually, even now, as I have researched some more, finally registered on the forum and then wrote all this, it still is on the considered maximum save threshold of 85! It just won't cool anymore, besides the fan still going rather fast, and showing GPU load of 0% throughout the whole time.(..yes, ofc. I run no program that requires considerable graphic in the background - only this very browser on this very website {double checked in task manager now})

So I guess that is bad. I have no idea if it could be normal for the clock to be at full 675 throughout periods of idleness, but I think it is a save bet to assume No. Something has slipped inside my system that is causing trouble, and I am can only pray to the machine spirits that it isn't truly ruined hardware from MnM.

Ok, that was it so far. If someone has any clue on what could be the issue, I appreaciate the reading investment to here, and would celebrate another writing investment even more. If more data from me is required, I must warn that I have no knowledge of how to analyze this problem further than this without guidance. I read some people used tools on this problem to produce them logs and such, but I am a newbie to serious trouble (always had a green-red wired thumb with computers so far), so I have no idea about trouble-shooting on this level, which means I would require names and minimum tutelage on the tools used and such.
Thanks in advance.

P.S.: The driver shown in the screenshot is the latest by the way, and I just updated windows from its last state (sometime in september) to date, and it changed nothing.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Feb 2014   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

I can call this problem solved now. After reinstalling the notebooks original graphic drivers and setting up directx anew, it all worked again like normal. I got the advice that maybe a program had updated directx with malicious .dlls, so it was worth a try to make that clean. I guess that was really Might and Magic Legends fault then, since the problems appeared exactly after their directx update. (come to think, maybe the game would actually even be playable normally if you don't install their directx update, and that is why some never had any issues.... oh well, I will not be the one to risk that again)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Slowdown and choppy audio on every graphic intensive program

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