[help] What Kind Of Computer Problem Do I Have?


I wonder if any Renoiser out there could help me with this. The reason why I post it in the Off Topic, is because the problem occurs even outside Renoise.

The problem: My computer lags and gets generally slow while it works. For instance, if I have WinAmp in the background while I’m loading up another program the problem seems to be even more obvious because the sound crackle, gets distorted/slows down, etc. The same happens in Renoise when the CPU is near 10% or something.

The problem occured while I did a lot of stuff at the same time. One thing I did was rendering a song to .WAV in Renoise - which usually eats a lot of CPU.

I have…

  • … Used programs like AVG (virusprogram), Spybot - Search & Destroy, Crap Cleaner and Ad-Aware to clean up the computer.
  • … Deleted some stuff from the harddrive, even though I doubt this matters.
  • … Tried to figure out any strange/unknown processes in the background that eventually would steal CPU with the program What’s Running, without result. Though, I can see that the “System Awaitingprocess” (or what it’s called in english) usually vary between 60-99 in CPU, but it has been even lower than that sometimes even though I don’t do anything (!)
  • … Defragmented the HD - which took me like 24 h (!!!)
  • … Rebooted the system.

So… What should I do now?
Reformat the HD is my last prioriy. And it won’t help if it’s a hardware-related problem.

I have a Pentium® 4 CPU 2.93GHz with WinXP. Memory is 512 MB, and HD is 147 GB.


Experiencing the same problem with renoise…

Perhaps you could test if other music programs crackle too.

I’m interested in this because I have the same prob with renoise - and have not experienced anything similar without it…

Not sure if it is related to renoise though so it would be great to get this solved.

I’m running renoise now with 5ms latency and that seems to help for the cracling, but I’ve not had a major music session yet so this cannot be confirmed…

You might want to check this topic to see if any of these ideas here correct your bug, so that we can see if this is the same thing we are experiencing…

edit: actually if you want to test if this is the same thing, then just play back a pattern pressing alt… that fixes it for me, but it starts to crackle again when whole song is played bac - even with just samples…

[quote="#<0x0000562855792790>, post:2, topic:20780"]


Experiencing the same problem with renoise…

Perhaps you could test if other music programs crackle too.

I’m interested in this because I have the same prob with renoise - and have not experienced anything similar without it…

Not sure if it is related to renoise though so it would be great to get this solved.

I’m running renoise now with 5ms latency and that seems to help for the cracling, but I’ve not had a major music session yet so this cannot be confirmed…

You might want to check this topic to see if any of these ideas here correct your bug, so that we can see if this is the same thing we are experiencing…

edit: actually if you want to test if this is the same thing, then just play back a pattern pressing alt… that fixes it for me, but it starts to crackle again when whole song is played bac - even with just samples…

Just replied there.

But are you experiencing outside Renoise or not? In an older post at the other topic you stated that you did, but now you don’t?

To readers: I’m still having problems.</0x0000562855792790>

yeah… I experienced this once with a tune on myspace.com, but I’m not sure if that has anything to do with renoise…

Never had such crackling before and I’ve had that kind of crackling only once outside renoise and like 100 times in Rn =)

…still it cannot be said if they are related, but just to clarify no I have not experienced such crackling anymore on any occasion and I think it has something to do with Rn than my setup…

…just a few tips in general:

  1. Get a good uninstaller. Such a program will uninstall every path and registry keys left by the normal uninstaller that comes with the software you’ve installed. A complete uninstall will make sure you don’t leave too much junk behind. http://www.ursoftware.com/

  2. Get a good registry cleaner. This will clean and defrag and compress you registry to optimise your OS without [much] risk. http://www.pctools.com/registry-mechanic/

  3. Get a good defragger. Regular defragmentation keeps your hdd nice and tidy and it will improve hd read-speeds. Some might argue that it even benefits the mechanical health of your hdd. http://www.disktrix.com/

  4. Reïnstall you ASIO drivers, or upgrade them. http://www.asio4all.com/

  5. Reïnstall your mediaplayer, or upgrade it. http://www.foobar2000.org/

  6. Increase your RAM. RAM nowadays costs peanuts. 1 GB of quality RAM sets you back around 20 euro’s, but you gain alot from the increased performance.

  7. Disable all services you don’t need: http://www.blackviper.com/WinXP/servicecfg.htm

  8. Get an external hdd and move all your samples and other audiofiles there. Do not move the sofware, only the audiofiles. A 500 GB hdd will cost around 100 euro’s, but a 100 GB one is perhaps 40 euro’s.

  9. As a last resort: build a new computer. Core2Duo E6600, 2 hdd’s [500 GB each], a silent case and a proper cooler, a nice soundcard and your set. It will cost you less than a 1000 euro’s so you’ll have to save up for it, or wait for christmas. Anyway, try the first 8 and see what happens.

Good luck!

Thanks a lot Edsche!
Perhaps your suggestions of programs are better, but I doubt that’s the problem. Also, some of those aren’t free. Buying an external HD - yes! Building a new computer… Nah :confused: But I can imagine it would be a great if one would spend the time on it.
Anyway, I’ll probably go back to your post because it was some good stuff there.

When I think of it, the problem has getting worse and worse over time. Before it would only crackle if I had a lot of DSP’s, channels, etc. Today it crackles outside Renoise. For instance when I have Renoise in the background and doing something else I can notice the mouse arrow suddenly stop for a few ms (actually, when I think of it, about the same rhythm as it use to crackle in terms of sounds).

A new strong theory: A friend tells me that it could be the CPU cooler which is out of shape, and the effect of this is that the processor works slower instead of driving on at full speed and burns up (Intel does this). He tells me that it normally has a lifetime of about two years, which is exactly how long I’ve had this computer.

In the program SiSoftware Sandra Lite I can see the temperature of the processor. My friend tells me that if it’s above 60 degrees there’s a problem. But I can see two temperatures, one under “sensors” and one under “advanced settings” (?!) … Anyway, the first one shows 49 and the other one 66.

He also says that it could be something wrong with the RAM memory.

I have some questions out of this:

  1. Could this be the problem?
  2. Anyone who uses SiSoftware Sandra Lite and can tell me which temperature I should look at?
  3. I also need to upgrade my soundcard according to the above-mentioned program. Actually THIS could be the problem. Or a bit of both, perhaps the CPU gets annoyed by the outdated soundcard. It’s called SoundMAX Integrated Digital Audio and I’m having a hard time finding some updated drivers to it.

Hey Chris,

…most commercial software have a freeware counterpart. Most notibly http://www.ccleaner.com/ for your cleaning and registry needs. Just do a search and you’ll find anything that you need and that will do the job…

…it does look like you’re pushing your machine to do things it can’t do with ease, hence the crackling. There are a couple of things you can do to alleviate this: clean the inside of your computer, especially the cooler. Alot of dust gathers there over time and that acts as a cover which heats up your CPU. I can’t help you with the temp readings, but clean the inside first and then look if the temp is any lower…

…normally not alot goes wrong with RAM, but still anything is possible. Again, RAM is the easiest part to upgrade and it’s the cheapest. I don’t know where you live, but if you’re comfortable ordering online, http://www.pixmania.com/ is the cheapest. I bought from them myself, but that’s up to you ofcourse…

…i assume you have an onboard soundcard? Never hear of the brand you mentioned, but getting a reasonably priced soundcard is [almost] a necessity. I got the EMU 1212m and had no problems with it whatsoever. Plenty of OEM software comes with it and good drivers. It costs 150 euro’s. I don’t think you’ll get around this problem without spending money, but in the end it’s worth it…

…i suggest you do all the things you can do by yourself, and then look for a hardware upgrade. Let me know how things progress, will you?

All the best,


I think under sensors is the reading of the sensor and in advanced settings there’s something other like monitoring threshold. Anyway 49 is fine if it’s under full load but idle it’s way too much. Your cpu should be under 50 in all circumstances. Motherboard manufacturers often provide necessary monitoring tools, try running prime95, which also reports possible calculation errors, for a while when monitoring the temperatures and see how high it goes. Remember that if your CPU cooler is at bad shape it might be risky cuz the temps can go too high and break the cpu if you aren’t careful.

You need more memory. 1gb is min you should have. Pay attention of memory and pagefile usage, if your Windows needs to swap a lot it slows your computer down dramatically. Also if your pagefile is really defragmented it does your comp bad. Windows own defragmenter does not touch pagefile.

Also windows does break down eventually no matter how you keep it clean. At least my installations always do that. So sometimes it is really necessary to do fresh install.

Have fun.

Edsche: Many thanks, again! I’ll keep you updated. :)

Kameleontti: Interesting view of the problem. You mean like reformating the HD?

Actually I’m thinking to do that tonight. If the problem remiains afterwards we can confirm a hardware related problem.

Usually when I do new install I really do reformat hd and install everything from scratch. That’s why I have different HD for my system and for my files. It’s some work, but if you use something like nLite and build unattended windows installation cd it’s really no hassle. Just a little bit of puff and couple of cd changes and it’s already done.
1 Windows installation
2 chipset drivers installation
3 all other drivers
4 programs
is the way to go. Make sure you have all the latest drivers downloaded and backed up ready for instalation when you begin along with essential programs like browser, firewall etc etc. Helps a lot.

e:I really recommend checking those temps before beginning to do a new installation. It’s a lot of trouble and if your comp overheats during the installation you might never get it finished or if you do the installation might be corrupted. So before you do any nes system installations check that your computer is fully free from calculation errors’ cuz those will corrupt your files. Also if you defragment your hd with computer that isn’t very stable it might lead to broken files. Handy programs for testing purposes are memtest86 and of course as already said prime95.

Since I’m at stressful times now I don’t have the time to do things as you mentioned. But luckily reformating the HD isn’t a complicated thing for me anyway. I got a Restore CD when I bought the computer. I just put it in and restart the computer. :)

Tried Memtest but it required a floppy, which I don’t have on this computer. Also tested Prime95, runned it for 3 minutes and it didn’t find any errors. Though I noticed the beforementioned “bug” when the computer is working.

So I’m gonna reformat the HD now, and I’ve made backups on an external HD so I won’t get sad if it totally burns up or anything.

Thanks for the info anyway and I’ll keep the topic updated.

So I reformatted the HD and the problem is gone now! :yeah:
The computer is like 5 times faster.
I guess computers need to get reformatted from time to time no matter what you do with them.
One thing’s for sure… Crap Cleaner and such programs doesn’t fix the problems.

No they don’t. They only make a life span of an installation a bit longer. My bro uses same installation that he has used for five years or so tho, so who knows. Don’t know how he manages to do that.

And one should not stress about strain on the HD. Regular rewrite of the sectors actually makes the HD live longer. I recommend a program called Diskeeper for hd defragment management purposes. It eats 8mb ram tho, so u really ought to have min 1gb to be running such tasks in the background. So you aren’t short already.

Well all hard drives do. But writing hard drive refreshes the magnetic field in the place where the writ takes place thus lessening the possibility of failure. Or so I’ve read.

e:or maybe I did not use correct phrases in the first post on the subject so we are talking about different things?

I’ve always thought that in the case there’s any physical malfunction in hd it’s as good as dead. HDD regenrator is different thing. According to my knowledge the magnetic field, or whatever that magnetism is called where the data is stored on the hd, weakens slowly with time and when reading the hd, so moving data around constantly like defragmenting hd will keep it in better shape. And since its always moving at 7200rpm no matter what you do and there’s no physical contact with disks and heads the hd has virtually same level of wearing when powered on an spinning regardless of activity. If there’s a scratch on the disk its unusable on that part anyway and if analyzed and treated correctly that part of the disk is of course out of use anyway. If there’s such physical malfunction that causes head crash the disk is really dead afterwards and really should not be even plugged into power before it’s fixed. I don’t think anything will save hd from eventually breaking to unusable if there’s a leak in the filtering system that allows dust particles to enter the sensitive areas. There’s nothing inside the hd that would cause dust (of course) so if there’s a way for dust to get on the disks it will do that anyway no matter how hard you drive them.

Quote from wikipedia:
“A 2007 study published by Google suggested very little correlation between failure rates and either high temperature or activity level.”

So as long as hd works flawlessly there’s no reason to stop any activity. But as soon as it starts to break down it should not be trusted anyway. Or are you saying that actually using the hard disk would cause scratches or dust on the disk? What I’ve thought is that scratch can form on the disk if there’s f.ex.physical shock that causes the head to contact the disk slightly. In that case best way to avoid it is not using your comp during earthquakes etc. Or am I wrong?

I’ve readed the conversation, but I have no clue what it’s about. Don’t know so much about computers as you guys do.

What is HDD? Harddrive?

It’s about how hard disk usage relates to its possibility for failure. Yes HDD = Hard Disk Drive, see Wikipedia for more detailed information if desired.

Ok. So what do I do when I “stress” the disk? Copying/downloading/removing files to/from it? Or doing CPU demanding stuff, such as running Renoise? Or both? The only thing I do with the computer which demands much CPU is using Renoise.

So while the biggest problem disappeared and can work normally, I’m still experiencing the same minor problems (which I’ve experienced for a long time) which COULD have relation to what you’re talking about:

If I’ve left the computer for a while and minimized for instance Renoise, and then come back, and popping up Renoise - the computer will work as hell. And when the computer seems to have calmed down, I play the song and then it’ll work as hell again. Normally it plays the song normally. But when this happens, I can play a single track without effects, it’ll still work as hell. Man, even if I only press the panic button, without doing anything before, it’ll work as hell! However after I’ve made the computer “learn” the song again it’ll play it normally.

I can notice a similiar behaviour while starting up a program for the first time after a reboot. If I close it down and restarting it, it’ll open up faster.

Maybe not a minor problem, it actually drives me nuts!

Huh? I thought startups were more risky than power downs, but they might as well be equal or vice versa.

Yes in case of your Seagates I think it’s really wise to use them as little as possible. I guess they must be really old ones. It is a well known fact that when bad sectors start to appear they have a decent probability to multiply. Doesn’t Seagate provide 5 year warranty these days?

I myself have never had a hard disk failure. Some old disks have gone dead lying on the shelf several years, but they are like decade old ones that have not been treated that kindly. Remember to consider other aspects about your hds too. Are they manufactured in the same era? They are both seagates, so there might have been something tricky in the line or sumthin.

I’m unsure if powering down and startuping up the computer often is better than not to? In my case I’ve left the computer ON for many, many days. Powering down just now and then, and if I’ll be gone for more than a day.