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stuttering audio/video - not all though...

First off - I'm an IT guy - I've tried all the obvious and I've searched EE.

New Dell Optiplex 960, 3 GB RAM, tons of HDD space (SATA 7200RPM), cleaned out temp files, defragged drive. Uninstalled Flash and reinstalled. Have Comcast cable connection (did this on Fairpoint DSL too). XP Pro. Using AVG anti-virus only. Win firewall off. tried turning off just about everything with msconfig... ran hijackthis to make sure clean boot. page file is 4096. Tried firefox. Quicktime does it too.

I watched the performance monitor while streaming - only at 1-4%. I had continuous ping to yahoo.com while streaming to see if internet bottlenecking - nothing.

no pattern to stutter - sometimes can go 5 min with nothing on youtube, then a stutter. Other times it's within a minute...

Have stuttering audio on some sites.
cnn.com - no stutter
nbc.com - no stutter (watching SNL)
itunes podcast - no stutter

foxnews.com - stutter (barely)
youtube - stutter
yahoo.com - stutter
comcast.net - stutter

 any ideas???
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2 Solutions
What about playing from a VCD, DVD or DivX from your HDD???
You don't say which version of Windows you are using or how long since it was installed onto a freshly formatted disk.  It sounds to me as if your install is somewhat dirty and your registry is full of accumulated cruft.  Situations like these, I bite the bullet and reinstall Windows from scratch.  

Can I assume that the hardware of your PC is in tip-top health?  It's not overheating at all?  Might be worth running a temp monitor to check that the cpu(s), gpu etc aren't running hot.
dacharronAuthor Commented:
I've just installed DivX and am downloading a movie now to test. And to make sure it's not a bandwidth issue, I played a youtube video while downloading the DivX - it plays fine until it hits the little stutter.
What codecs are being used for youtube or comcast or itunes?
VMSZealot - as I stated in original - NEW Dell Optiplex, XP Pro.
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dacharronAuthor Commented:
DivX from HDD did it too. 2:30 into the movie...
dacharronAuthor Commented:
is there any sort of performance thing going on with a higher end PC - like maybe with the drive?
dacharronAuthor Commented:
this is the HDD spec as ordered: 320GB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s and 16MB DataBurst
Entire system:

OPTIPLEX 960D OptiPlex 960 Desktop Base Standard PSU
Operating System Genuine Windows Vista® Business Bonus-Windows
XP Professional downgrade
Processors Intel® Core" 2 Duo Processor E8400 (3.0GHz, 6M,
1333MHz FSB)
Memory 4GB DDR2 Non-ECC SDRAM,800MHz, (2 DIMM)
Keyboard Dell Quietkey, No Hot Keys, English, Black
Monitors Dell 22 inch UltraSharp" 2208WFP Widescreen,
height adjustable stand,
Video Cards 256MB nVidia GeForce 9300 GE (Dual DVI/ VGA /1
TV-out), low profile
Boot Hard Drives 320GB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s and 16MB DataBurst
Floppy Drive Options No Floppy Drive
Mouse Dell USB Optical Mouse with Scroll, All Black Design
Systems Management
vPro Secure Advanced Hardware Enabled Systems
CD ROM/DVD ROM 16X DVD+/-RW SATA, Roxio Creator"
QuietKit No Quiet Kit
Speakers No Speaker, OptiPlex
Power Supplies OptiPlex 960 Desktop Standard Power Supply
Documentation Documentation, English, with 125V Power Cord
Productivity Software Microsoft® Office 2007 Basic and Adobe Acrobat 9.0
Hard Drive Mode No RAID
My apologies.  I'm rather tired and I didn't spot the 'New Computer' point.  Nevertheless, my point stands.  Check the component temperatures - it could be that something is overheating and dropping the clock speed in order to cool down.  Given that even a low spec PC several years old should be able to handle what you're throwing at it, I don't think that the spec of your PC is part of the equation.  And if Windows is a brand new install then we can rule that out too.

Try doing something intensive that isn't codec based.  Serious benchmarking maybe, Doom III, perhaps.  If that stutters too then I'd say you have definite grounds to return the machine as faulty.
dacharronAuthor Commented:
I believe I got it! In BIOS I changed processor sleep mode setting (C mode) to "faster wake up" from "better power saving". It's working great now.
Thanks to you both for trying - I appreciate it.
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