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Major slowness during gaming and streaming

by Jlagory / January 20, 2013 8:50 AM PST

I run an hp pavilion dm4t-1200 with 4 GB ram and a Radeon HD 6370 with switchable graphics. My processor is a Core i5 (quad core i believe?) Ive made sure my laptop is plugged in, and switchable graphics are set to use the hi performance card.

I bought this laptop about 2 years ago, and put some extra money into upgrades that would keep it relevant for a while.

Despite this, I'm having some major issues with video playback. While streaming on netflix, the video gets choppy and out of sync with audio after about 2 minutes. Same with HBO GO. I used to be able to run video games like starcraft 2, arkham asylum, minecraft, and arkham city without any issues, as these game requirements are well below what my laptop specs claim to be. However, within the past month or so these games run choppy, and the audio is out of sync due to video slowness.

I did try playing videos from my hard drive through vlc and wmp and they worked fine. Additionally, my wii and ipad all stream netflix perfectly, so I'm doubting it's a connection issue.

The only hardware issue I've had recently is a cooling fan malfunction. It makes an awful rattling sound if I tilt my laptop and the fan stopped working for a period of a day or so. It does run now (with the rattling while tilted) and my laptop never feels overheated. Could this possibly contribute?

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All Answers

Best Answer chosen by Jlagory

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At 2 years it's time.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 20, 2013 10:52 AM PST

I don't know if you do your own work but by now you've used CANNED AIR on the vents. The next steps are to reload the factory OS, retest and see if it's OK. If not we open it up to replace all the old heat sink compound. And you bet we clean as we go.

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So cooling could be the problem?
by Jlagory / January 20, 2013 10:17 PM PST
In reply to: At 2 years it's time.

To further complicate things, I noticed that any slowness only occurs while I'm running my high performance gpu. The built in intel graphics can stream just fine (can't run the games, but that's not what it's meant for). It's leads me to believe something is wrong with my ATI gpu, but I guess that could be explained by cooling issues as well, if the processor is limiting the speed and power of the graphics in order to prevent overheating.


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Just one.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 21, 2013 12:01 AM PST

Is the work done yet? At 2 years that's more than long enough for junk to accumulate and for the heat sink compound to dry out and crack. We're talking 2 dollars of compound so if you do your own work this is not a matter of much money.

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Haven't gotten out yet...
by Jlagory / January 21, 2013 12:14 AM PST
In reply to: Just one.

No, I haven't yet gotten out to get what's needed for this work. I imagine dusting it would be simple (just blow the fan without opening?). After that, I'll try to look up how to reinstall the OS without the original discs (i believe it's saved on a separate partition). If it persists, I'll come back with some questions about opening it up and adding more compound, as I'm no expert at hardware.

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So no canned air?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 21, 2013 12:22 AM PST

That should be an every other month task on gaming laptops. Didn't the seller/retailer/anyone tell you about maintenance? My bet is they didn't because they don't want to scare off the buyers.

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Slowness persists. What's next?
by Jlagory / February 3, 2013 8:14 AM PST
In reply to: So no canned air?

It's been a busy couple of weeks but I finally got around to getting the canned air. I sprayed the vents for the fan and every other opening on the laptop. It seems like my video playback has improved. However, since I was still experiencing slowness during gaming and just an overall boginess (slowness is switching graphics, etc) I decided to reinstall the OS.

After this, the same slowness is still there, if not more so. I reinstalled my video driver and bios with newer versions and got all the windows updates.

What's next? Really not sure why I'm having such issues considering I have 4gb ram and a 512 mb video processor.

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Next up is the deep cleaning.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 3, 2013 8:21 AM PST

If the unit was never cleaned over the years then we need to open it to clean and replace the heat sink compound inside. This is not hard work for your every day laptop tech but it is something that we do too often.

I read you found it helped and sadly you didn't come back with, yes, I do that every few months since I owned the PC.

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by Jlagory / February 26, 2013 5:39 AM PST

After reinstalling the OS and clearing the fans, my playback has been back to normal expectations. Wanted to wait to share the good news to make sure it was for sure.

Thanks for all the help.

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(NT) Thanks for the update.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 26, 2013 5:46 AM PST
In reply to: thanks!
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