Acer laptop - very choppy performance


Not sure if this is quite the right sub-forum, but none of the others quite fit the bill either. Anyway, I had great success with this forum (and Elmer in particular) in diagnosing and helping to fix the problem with my desktop. I'm now going for the double whammy and hoping for similar help with my laptop.

It's an Acer Aspire 5536G. I've had it for about 2 years or so, and it was fine for the first 8-10 months, but then started displaying some very choppy performance.

Basically it runs fine for about 15 seconds, then get very slow and choppy for the next 15-20 seconds. THen it's fine again for 15 seconds... and so on.

It came with Vista pre-installed, which I upgraded to Windows 7 (32-bit) a couple of months ago hoping to resolve the problem. It has made no difference.

I also had a HD problem with it (it corrupted and failed to boot). I was told by several different people that a faulty HD could be the cause of the choppiness. I've now replaced the HD with a spanking new one, reinstalled everything, and I've got the same issue.

It happens principally whilst gaming, and sometimes while watching video. For a while I thoguht it was an overheating issue, but I bought a cooling base with a fan in it which certainly cools the laptop right down to touch (I assume it's much cooler inside too), but makes no difference to its performance.

I'm wondering if it's a graphics or sound issue, but if I was any kind of expert I wouldn't be here begging for help.

Please let me know what information I can provide to help with any diagnosis. Many thanks in advance!

Here are some more details:

Windows 7 SP1
AMD Turion 2.2GHz dual core processor
AMD 4500 HD Mobility Gfx card

I've installed various temp checkers and found that The core temp is around 50 degrees when I use the cooling pad, it's about 10 degrees more without it. The HDD stays around 40 degrees or a tad below.

However the temperatures zoom up to high 80s and early 90s during gaming. I'm guessing that's most likely the issue. Although it was fine for the first almost year of use. I'm assuming a good clean out and perhaps extra dose of thermal paste on the CPU might be the answer.

I've tried to remove the case in the past to do this, but it's utterly impossible even with all the screws removed, which means I'll have to pay someone to do it. Quite reluctant to do that if it's not going to solve it and then leave me with the same problem but less money. Judgement call I guess.

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