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Windows 7: Stuttering and high CPU usage while downloading at high speeds

12 May 2015   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Stuttering and high CPU usage while downloading at high speeds

I've been having this problem now for an year or so now. It started when I upgraded my connection from 8/1 ADSL to 100/10 cable (so the problem wasn't noticeable even if it was there before) and when I download at high speeds (in steam, for example) my CPU usage jumps to 80% and higher, and my pc starts to stutter (mouse, audio, everything).

What makes it harder for me to track down, is that it does not happen right after I start my PC. For a good 1 to 3 hours after starting my PC I can download fine at full speed (~12MB/s) without any problems. But after my PC has been on for few hours the problem starts. When ever I download above 5MB/s (sometimes even above 3MB/s) my CPU usage goes to around 75% to 99% and everything stutters, mouse, video, audio etc.

Using Task Manager, it shows that NT Kernel & System is what is using the CPU.
Process Explorer shows Hardware Interrupts and DPCs as the cause for high CPU usage.

I've tried updating my drivers (mouse, keyboard audio, video and network drivers are up to date), but I cannot seem to find USB or hard drive drivers in case it's those that are causing it. If it's even drivers causing it.

I'm using AVG Free and ZoneAlarm.
My HDD is 7200rpm so it should be able to handle 100mb cable connection. (not 100% sure about that)

I've also noticed that my windows has set pagefile at 8190MB, even though it says 12285MB is recommended. But that might not have anything to do with the problem.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 May 2015   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

Hey, some thoughts,

- Is your BIOS up-to-date?
- Are you sure AVG Free and ZoneAlarm work nicely together? They used to be fine couple years ago when they were AV/Firewall but recent versions tend to cross-over. Try uninstalling one? I can't say why would the problem start after sometime though.
- Are you using Ethernet or wireless?
- How is your power options set in control panel? Try High Performance if it is not set that way already.

I guess these drivers are good for you too Latest AMD Chipset Drivers Released
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 May 2015   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

My BIOS version is 2105 which is the latest that Asus has on their site.

Not sure how much AVG and ZA like each other these days. Both are the free version so they don't have their extra features enabled that might cause issues (firewall for AVG and AV for ZoneAlarm). But I guess I could try and uninstall AVG and try something like Avast! instead.

Power is set to high performance and Cool 'n Quiet is disabled (have tried it enabled and it didn't make a difference, neither did different power setting). It's also just a normal Thomson Ethernet modem, it does have wireless on it, but I don't use it with my PC.

Thanks I will try if those chipset drivers make a difference. Don't actually remember which version is installed or if I even have updated those. Will report back after I've tried different AV and those drivers :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

12 May 2015   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

Couple more things :)

Where did you get the network driver from? ASUS support page is outdated.


The second in list "Win7 and Server 2008 R2 Auto Installation Program (SID:1719463)" dated 2015/4/9 should be compatible with yours.

Also, any reason you have C'n'Q disabled, got any overclock? You can try with default settings if so.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 May 2015   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Yeah it's from Realtek's site. I got version so it should be that same one.

No overclock. I disabled it for better gaming performance and to see if it changes anything. As well as I didn't think the constant voltage and clock speed changing would do any good in a long term.

So far it seems that I got the problem solved yesterday. I did couple things so I'm not sure which was the possible fix. But will have to see and wait if it still happens.

Uninstalled ZoneAlarm and enabled Windows Firewall
Enabled hardware video decoding from Steam Interface settings
Ran AdwCleaner and let it do its thing
Ran SuperAntiSpyware and let it do its things (removed 20 tracking cookies)

My bet is that ZoneAlarm was causing the issue, but it's still not 100% sure if the problem is gone. Will update if the problem comes back.

Thanks for all the help! :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Stuttering and high CPU usage while downloading at high speeds

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