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CPU usage hiking without cause - Win XP SP2 Intel 925XCV Chipset

I have a new computer with the following specs: Intel P4, 3.4GHz 925XCV chipset, 2GB DDR2 RAM, 500GB HD (RAID 0 and one backup - 3 total), dual monitor, Win XP SP2.

I installed the ATI TV Wonder Pro tv tuner PCI card and was experiencing high CPU usage. I discovered some other programs running using way too much CPU power, so i stopped them from starting up. now the CPU hovers around 5% give or take when i'm not doing anything but watching the CPU usage graph in windows task manager - where it should be.

HOWEVER, i'm still doing nothing and the CPU has a spike to 80% or so about every minute or two, I have no idea why. I had problems with the ATI card (still do - but i think it's becuase of the CPU spike) and updated the drivers on my realtek audio card and all the ATI software.

i've looked at all the processes and nothing is taking much CPU power. why would this happen? i have no idea what to do or where to start to look for the issue, but i'm pretty sure it shouldn't be doing that.  

Please help. Thanks.
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chuckp27
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chuckp27
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1 Solution
 
CallandorCommented:
You probably have a background task scheduled to run periodically, or you have a network where an application is doing a scan or a search.  Check your startup programs (msconfig) and try running with the network cable disconnected.
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chuckp27Author Commented:
my network is wireless, so i guess i can just turn it off? i can also pull out the cable connection for the TV card as well.

I did check the startup applications through msconfig and by watching the CPU column under programs that are running in windows task manager. not sure how to figure out if something has been scheduled to run periodically - but it might be that, becuase i noticed i had a lot of things (like quickbooks update, quicken update, etc.) in startup.

also, i did run spybot and i don't have a virus program like norton or mcafee, if that matters.
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CallandorCommented:
Wireless networks in particular look around periodically to detect what networks are available, so turn that off.  Take a look at things in your desktop toolbar to see if they are waiting to be activated.  When you get the cpu spike, it should be evident in taskmanager what process is causing it - can you see which one jumps to the top?
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chuckp27Author Commented:
ok, will do tonight. is it bad to get periodic spikes like that? if a wireless card does that, then i guess this is normal and maybe i shouldn't even worry about it?
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CallandorCommented:
If it's the wireless card, it's nothing to worry about - the spikes are brief, though hitting 80% seems excessive for that to be the sole cause.
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chuckp27Author Commented:
it's not the wireless card. i'm out of ideas. maybe it's my intel board?
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CallandorCommented:
What about identifying the process that jumps to the top?
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chuckp27Author Commented:
i have tried that. nothing is jumping to the top, that i can see. really, i'm at a loss. it's weird.
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CallandorCommented:
Did you sort by highest cpu in task manager?  By definition, the highest cpu process should jump to the top (or bottom, if you're got it sorted the other way).
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chuckp27Author Commented:
yes, i'll try watching again
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