System Stuttering after 10 minutes of Gameplay

Posted on 2008-11-16
Last Modified: 2013-12-10
Hey there, EE

Let me start from the top. When I was sleeping one night, some drunk idiot took it upon themselves to spill cream soda on my desktop while it was on. It seeped into the case, dripped onto the video card and motherboard, frying them both. I cleaned the video card (BFG GeForce 8800GT 512MB) and RMA'd it, which got approved. I also bought a new motherboard (going from an ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe to an ASUS M3A78 - didn't need alot of the features that came with the M2N-SLI).

After reformatting the system and installing a few games (World of Warcraft, Call of Duty 4, Call of Duty: World at War) I seem to have a bit of an issue. The game will play perfectly for about 10 minutes until it very suddenly goes choppy and drops to 1 or 2 FPS, sound stuttering along with it. I'm able to ALT+Tab to Task Manager to close the game, but that is quite laggy as well.

Here are my specs:

        * 3GB DDR2 RAM
        * AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Black Edition (With a Zalman heatsink)
        * BFG GeForce 8800GT 512MB (latest drivers)
        * ASUS M3A78 Motherboard
        * 250GB Western Digital Hard Drive (Windows XP Pro)

I have tried the following to solve this issue:

        * Reformatted twice (once with stock drivers, once with most recent)
        * Swapped video cards for a brand new one.
        * Memtest'd all RAM - Passed
        * Swapped/alternated RAM modules when reproducing problem
        * Ran full PC Check diagnostics - All passed.
        * Ran Winstress at 90% load for 3 hours. Passed, but crashed about halfway through.
        * Reinstalled DirectX (all latest versions) and did all Windows Updates
        * Monitored all temperatures for all of the above, nothing went outside of normal ranges.

When I had initially removed the motherboard to make the switch, I did notice some cream soda stains along the outside of the CPU socket, but none inside the socket holes themselves. I'm wondering if the problem may be with the CPU, or if anyone else has any other suggestions. I'm tearing my hair out. This seems to be happening with all games and it's driving me nuts.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Question by:kevindelaney
    LVL 47

    Expert Comment


    Overheating?  Intel CPUs throttle back if too hot and that's what this seems like.  Unsure about the AMDs however and I note that's what you have.  You could open the case up and have big desktop fan blowing in and run it like that.  See if that cures the problem.
    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    do you have the same problem when playing a video ?
    LVL 69

    Accepted Solution

    This has all the hallmarks of overheating - either the cpu or the video card or both.  You may have poor contact between the heatsink and the cpu.  Did you completely clean the surface with rubbing alcohol and reapply a small drop of thermal paste?
    LVL 1

    Author Closing Comment

    I reapplied my thermal paste and manually increased my fan duty on my video card. The problem is no longer happening. Thank you!
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    For the record, that did not solve the problem. It ended up being an overheating northbridge on the motherboard and I had to replace it. Just in case we get any archivers looking at this :)

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