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I'm a gamer, and when I play games performance degrades over the course of a day. I have no idea what the cause is.

Rebooting instantly solves the problem. I can reboot fairly quickly since I keep my system relatively clean to improve performance, so if I'm playing a game and my performance is low, I can quit out of it, reboot and rejoin it quickly and almost double my performance sometimes. This is very frustrating as I'd like to maintain this high performance at all times and not have to bother with rebooting.

You'd think if it was bad memory management on the part of the application simply closing it and starting a new session would be sufficient with no need for a reboot, right?

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What programs do you allow to run each time the computer starts? –  music2myear Jul 7 '11 at 19:25
    
I suggest you use Fraps or some kind of benchmark to make sure. –  surfasb Jul 7 '11 at 22:32
    
Yes I have indeed verified with Fraps and there's a very clear difference. –  BmB Jul 7 '11 at 22:51
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4 Answers

It sounds like a memory leak. To confirm, use the task manager to check for memory usage right after startup. Then check again when it gets slow. If you do find a process causing a memory leak you can try terminating it. Another possibility is a process gobbling up CPU time. You can also check that in the task manager.

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Be careful here: it "gets slow" for him when he's gaming, and even a well-behaving game can easily use up a ton of memory. When doing the compare, make sure to do it with all programs (including games) closed, and make sure it's still slow after closing the programs. –  Joel Coehoorn Jul 7 '11 at 20:09
    
@Joel Yes, I did forget to mention that it could just be the game. In that case, you could try closing and then rerunning the game to see if that makes any difference. –  firebat Jul 7 '11 at 21:18
    
The game would keep performing poorly until such a time that I reboot. No amount of restarting the game helps, in fact it tends to further degrade perf if that helps. –  BmB Jul 7 '11 at 22:48
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It is likely a memory leak. Rebooting would flush the memory, thus fixing it. Check to see if there is a patch for any software you added recently. If the software's creator is aware of the leak they would eventually create a patch to fix it.

To determine if this is the issue: With the same things running check free memory a few times a day to see if it is decreasing.

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I could try using a "memory flusher" app to confirm if that helps it? –  BmB Jul 7 '11 at 22:50
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Alright, I found the ●●●●●●●●●●●● responsible. Turns out ATI/AMD graphics drivers have a bug that causes the graphics card to spontaneously go into low power mode during gaming in some situations. Probably triggered by a media application overriding the high performance game trigger. I noticed my clocks go down when I feel the slowdown.

It can be solved by using an application that forces the clocks to stay at one level. But you'll have to manually put it back to low power mode to save on power when you're done.

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… and which application would that be? –  slhck Oct 10 '11 at 6:05
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Computers need to be rebooted from time to time. You'll run into situations where applications and even the Operating System will 'free up' memory, but it's still being allocated. I would also make sure that you do not have scheduled tasks running during the middle of your peak usage.

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