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248 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 56554 16-Jan-2010 15:48 Send private message

I'm after some advice please peeps.


I'm currently running an AMD 4200+ Dual Core, with 3GB of DDR2 800 RAM and a 250GB SATAII HDD (about 55% of capacity).


I'm finding that the PC is taking some time to load all the gumpf at the start (I regularly clean up the auto-start entries using TuneUp), when copying multiple large files between different folders the process slows to a crawl, and it chugs a bit when opening more than 1 app at the same time (such as the internet browser and Outlook).


I'm thinking of upgrading the CPU to at least a 5200+, maybe a 5600+ (very tight budget, I'm not looking at changing the mobo, so staying with AM2).


Thoughts? Will it help? Worth the money? 




Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries

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215 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 290549 16-Jan-2010 16:36 Send private message

I doubt it. I think your limiting step at startup is the hard drive access time, I suspect it is churning away like mad during startup. You could get a solid state drive but they are pretty expensive still. e.g.: http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?item=HDDINT2091

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  Reply # 290550 16-Jan-2010 16:38 Send private message

I had a similar set up, but a 3800+.

I did notice some improvement, going to a 6000+.

But, it all depends on how long you want this for, vs the money you spend. For me it was a good idea.

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  Reply # 290558 16-Jan-2010 16:52 Send private message

Some questions...

- What OS, windows xp or Vista or 7?

- Have you checked how fragmented the hard drive is?

- What sort of activity does the task manager (ctrl - shift - esc) show during the copy. is CPU maxed out, is memory maxed out?

Defraggler is a good free defrag program
http://www.piriform.com/defraggler


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Master Geek


  Reply # 290596 16-Jan-2010 19:46 Send private message

Is your HD a 5,400 or 7,200. Newer 7,200 drives with 16 or 32 mb cache do make a difference.
Adding a 2nd drive and shifting the pagefile to it will also help.
What anti virus are you using?. Some older versions of Norton (and others) impacted on performance.

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  Reply # 290602 16-Jan-2010 20:16 Send private message

do you have loads of spyware, malware and junk(harmless but useless)ware (eg hundreds of "toolbars" etc)

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  Reply # 290604 16-Jan-2010 20:25 Send private message

Regarding start-up, for a number of years I've now used XP Pro with hibernation. At work it takes me less than 10 seconds to start working where otherwise it takes almost 2 minutes to boot up and do it's thing. And I load the minimum at startup.

What brand/model hard drive do you have? My PC has become very slow at times. It turns out that my hard drive is failing and I have already lost a few files. Windows will not tell you about low level errors, the hard drive takes care of that and can be why your computer is getting slow.

Check if your anti-virus is set to scan files on every access. Change it to something like when files are created/changed.




You can never have enough Volvos!




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 290606 16-Jan-2010 20:32 Send private message

Okey doke.

I'm using XP pro.
I defrag regularly.
HDD is a Seagate 7,200 with 16mb cache.
I use Avast Antivirus.

I've just tried copying 3 700MB files to another folder (separately) - Task Manager is showing around 5% CPU usage.
Under the "explorer.exe" process the CPU shows as between 1 and 6, with mem usage 51,592. If I cancel 2 of the transfers this drops to 51,432. Not really sure what any of this means.

Starting up both Chrome and Outlook peaks the CPU usage at around 30%.

Toolbars - none to speak of.

No spyware or malware that I am aware of - I use Avast and run SpyBot regularly.

According to TuneUp, I have the following loading at start-up:

CTF Loader
Java Update scheduler
NVIDIA Media Center - Taskleistensymbol (wtf?)
NVIDIA nTune Command
Avast!
NVIDIA graphic card utility program
Realtek Soundmanager (there are two entries - one with a red speaker icon and the other with a blue crab?lobster?). Do I need both?

I'm running a 7900GS video card, BTW.



I have just changed the Avast settings to only scan created/modified files - it was set on scanning all files on opening.


Looking a bit more into it has thrown up the fact that a 6000+ isn't that much more than a 5200 or 5600+. So, I could stretch to that if it would make a difference.
If not, any other suggestions (other than a solid-state drive which looks great but I still have to feed the kids)? 




Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries

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  Reply # 290627 16-Jan-2010 22:30 Send private message

Under processes the CPU field is how much % of CPU time is used by that process. The System Idle Process will be close to 100% when the CPU is doing nothing. You need to go to the performance tab to see a graph of page file usage and total CPU load etc. That will also tell you how much memory is free.

But based upon the info you supplied I would say there is more than enough CPU power free and I think the issue is your hard drive. Do you know which generation it is? For example the latest is 7200.12 which means the 12th generation 7200 RPM drive. Some of the previous generations had issues with premature failure. If you do not know the generation then in explorer right-click on any drive and look at the hardware tab to get a list of all your drive model numbers. Your Seagate drive will have an ST model number. We can figure out the generation from that.

I've just bought a 1TB Seagate 7200.12 with 32MB cache from Computer Lounge. They did a price match for me and I paid $135 delivered. Highly recommended.




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 290629 16-Jan-2010 22:35 Send private message

It is ST3250820AS, which when Googled says is 7200.10. Which I take is a Bad Thing?


I don't really want to have go through the hassle of reinstalling the OS and all my apps unless it's certain it's my HDD that's causing the slowness...but if I have to, I will.


FYI - start-up time (by the time it appears stuff has stopped loading) is around 1 min 30 - 1 min 40. 




Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries

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  Reply # 290658 17-Jan-2010 09:21 Send private message

You had better check what CPUs your motherboard supports as a lot of older AM2 are in short supply. I recently bumped an AM2 board from an X2 3600+ to a X2 5050e which is a low power processor. Huge jump in overall performance, but makes little difference at startup time.




Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat New Zealand as a Solution Architect for all things Linux, Virtual and of course Cloud. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.

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  Reply # 290660 17-Jan-2010 09:28 Send private message

There were definite drive quality issues with the 10 and then there were buggy firmware issues with the first 11 (about 1 in 100 times it can lock-up permanently if you boot off it). Apparently the 12 is good.

Google about the 7200.10 and decide for yourself. My opinion is it is a lemon and there is nothing you can do about it but claim under warranty (first make 100% sure it is the problem).

There are many tools available to diagnose drive issues, but I can't point you to any. Hope someone else can. Don't bother with the Windows tools, you need a low level diagnostic.




You can never have enough Volvos!


xpd

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  Reply # 290663 17-Jan-2010 09:31 Send private message

What motherboard you running also ?
Ive got SATA2 drives but my board only supports the original SATA release......so it does perform poorly when compared to boards with SATA2.

In saying that tho, my machine flies along quite happily, I only notice the SATA limit when copying large files around.




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 290665 17-Jan-2010 09:33 Send private message

If you can, my advice would be to add another harddrive. Setup with all your data on one and the OS and programs on the other. A nice fresh install of XP at the same time is probably the best way to speed load times up. May take a day or two to do though...



248 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 290668 17-Jan-2010 09:53 Send private message

xpd: What motherboard you running also ?
Ive got SATA2 drives but my board only supports the original SATA release......so it does perform poorly when compared to boards with SATA2.

In saying that tho, my machine flies along quite happily, I only notice the SATA limit when copying large files around.



Mobo is Asus M2A-VM - yes it supports SATA2.




Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries

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Geek
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  Reply # 290669 17-Jan-2010 10:02 Send private message

I would recommend downloading and running Seagates Seatools (http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/support/downloads/seatools) Will tell you if there is anything wrong with your drive, may take a while though.

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