Why is my PC noticeably slower when downloading a torrent at high speeds?

Stefan Y September 16, 2013
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It took me a while to discover the cause of major system slow-down and glitching of my laptop and it turns out to be torrent downloading at high speeds (1MB/s, if relevant). I’m not sure what happens then, is it a problem of data-transferring between my Internet access and hard drive or just receiving data from my router or whatever. Any solutions?

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  1. Oron J
    September 17, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    I agree with Jan that the most likely scenario is a very high number of concurrent connections. Personally, I never go about 200 or so, but it may well be that 1,000 will be fine as well. The other thing to check is your upload speed limit. If your inbound and outbound connections are utilised heavily, then even if your computer is not actually working hard, any network connection will appear very sluggish.

    • Stefan Y
      September 17, 2013 at 9:18 pm

      Thank you for the reply.

      As I just answered Jan, I just lowered the max number of concurrent connections to 500. I understand that my network quality in, for example, browsing, would be compromised by downloading at maximum speeds, but that's not my concern. The whole systems gets glitchy, moving my cursor is like stop motion, not to mention watching a film. Literally, stop motion.

      So, yeah, question.. still unresolved. (The two dots are just for the drama, of course).

  2. Hovsep A
    September 17, 2013 at 8:34 am

    How to perform a clean boot to troubleshoot a problem in Windows 8, Windows 7, or Windows Vista
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929135
    then try utorrent then start the process one by one until to find which one causing the problem.

    perhaps your antimalware is causing this try to white list torrent.

  3. Jan F
    September 16, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    I suggest to use the Resource Monitor to see in detail where performance is lost. It will give you details about what is using your CPU, memory, hard drive I/O and network.

    Usually Torrent should only have an effect on network related things e.g. browsing, email and whatnot but since I'm not familiar with how Windows 8 handles excessive network connections I wouldn't rule it out that some system network service is getting overloaded, or maybe the torrent application itself?

    One thing you should do is check your Torrent settings. Most of the time issues with Torrent come from having the total maximum connections set way too high. My personal recommendation is to have it no higher than 1500 concurrent connections, better 1000. Depending on the settings available this would translate to e.g. having 5 concurrent downloads with a maximum of 200 peers per Torrent.

    Also are you using a wired connection or WiFi? Because Torrent over WiFi is never really a good idea.

    • Stefan Y
      September 17, 2013 at 9:12 pm

      Thanks for the reply. After taking a look at the Resource Monitor, I found that all systems are normal - CPU levels are optimum (never going above 40%, and BitTorrent is using most of the CPU, if nothing more important is running), around 30% of my laptop's memory is being used when nothing but Google Chrome, Skype and BitTorrent are running (asides Windows' mandatory services) and hard disk I/O is usually maxed at 10MB/s. I believe these are all normal numbers, so I still have no clue why is this happening.

      Concerning the application itself, I just set my connection limit to 500, just to see the difference (it was 999999, for some reason) and there wasn't any.

      So, question still unresolved. Any more guidance would be appreciated.

  4. Matt S
    September 16, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    How old / fast is your laptop? If it's not very quick, you may be experiencing this problem because downloading the file is taking up system resources. We don't notice it as often on modern systems, but there actually is some CPU and hard drive utilization when a file downloads. Maybe open Windows Task Manager and see how much of your processor is being used, and by what.

    • Stefan Y
      September 16, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      I have actually done that, and the machine is pretty strong and not too old (relatively) - one and a half year, to be exact. Here are my specs:
      Time of this report: 9/17/2013, 00:25:35
      Machine name: YAS
      Operating System: Windows 8 Enterprise 64-bit (6.2, Build 9200) (9200.win8_gdr.130531-1504)
      Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
      System Manufacturer: Hewlett-Packard
      System Model: HP Pavilion dv6 Notebook PC
      BIOS: InsydeH2O Version CCB.03.61.09F.21
      Processor: AMD A8-3500M APU with Radeon(tm) HD Graphics (4 CPUs), ~1.5GHz
      Memory: 8192MB RAM
      Available OS Memory: 7658MB RAM
      Page File: 2835MB used, 5974MB available
      Windows Dir: C:Windows
      DirectX Version: DirectX 11
      DX Setup Parameters: Not found
      User DPI Setting: Using System DPI
      System DPI Setting: 96 DPI (100 percent)
      DWM DPI Scaling: Disabled
      DxDiag Version: 6.02.9200.16384 64bit Unicode

      The task manager doesn't tell me anything. Memory is available, as you can see, it's 8 gigs of it, so.. yeah. Anyway, it might problem concerning my motherboard maybe. (?)

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