Thankfully I found this awesome step by step guide:
Worked like a charm!]]>
1) Any time I opened an application (any application) the PC would free for about 4-5 seconds
2) After any reboot my Internet connection would not work unless I went into device manager and uninstalled and reinstalled my NIC
I attempted to troubleshoot the isssue to no avail. In the end I wiped the thing and did a clean install of Windows 7 and now everything runs beautiful.
So to answer the question of upgrade vs clean install, always do clean install. Really, I should have known better.]]>