Windows – What could cause Vista machines to degrade in performance

3d graphicsperformancewindows-vista

We have installed several machines running Windows Vista at a client site. These machines run the same set of applications each day and are not operated with by any user.
They mainly run a 3D application for digital signage purposes.

After a few months I noticed that several machines suffer from really bad stuttering. The performance is unacceptable.

At first I figured it was faulty hardware. But after putting a fresh image on them, they run perfectly fine again.

These are Core i7 machines with GTX 280 graphics adapters. They should be able to handle the workload without any trouble (and they do, at least for a while).

I really have no idea how to track down the source of this issue. Especially since not all of the machines display the same issue.

A little more information about the setup: The 3d application we are running has internal meters that show cpu/gpu load and system/graphics memory usage. All meters are well below critical thresholds. Which just adds to the confusion.

All machines are on a network separate from the other user desktops used at that location. That network has it's own Windows Update Service server and all updates are reviewed before they are applied. Because the machines have no internet access and user interaction is not possible, they don't run any virus scanners.

The poor performance is permanent. The 3d application starts right after the system has booted and will show low frame rates right from the start and never recovers.

The machines are Shuttle SX58H7 barebones with the following hardware installed:
CPU: Intel Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz
RAM: 3x2GB Kingston ValueRAM DDR3 @ 1066MHz
HDD: Western Digital WD3202ABYS HDD
GFX: BFG Nvidia GTX 280
OS: Windows Vista Business x64

Best Answer

There was a recent bug in a MS patch. Open Task manager and enable showing all processes. Then look to see if svchost is eating up lots of CPU. If so, then you are being effected by the Audio Driver bug. You can Google for some suggested fixes (they didn't work for me, but might work for you).

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