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Where to start with optimizing system performance.

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Wulfenite, Jan 1, 2007.

  1. Wulfenite

    Wulfenite The King

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    My new HDD and OS install is very sluggish. I've got 1.25 gig of ram but still the system doesnt multi task well. Seems like its really slow loading stuff. Anything you ask it to do maxes out the CPO percentage. Any ideas on angles of attack to get it shaped up?
     
  2. Tennessee Slim

    Tennessee Slim Señor Member CLM

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    First, some installations are born bad. That goes for any OS but especially for Windblows. It could be you have problems that nothing short of a reinstall will fix. If it’s now noticeably slower than it was before the reinstall, if it were me, that’s where I’d start (before I get too much time invested in tweaking and customization).

    Beyond that, my next step is page file optimization. If you have only one HDD, you’re options are limited.

    Since you’ve replaced the HDD, I’m presuming the system is fairly old. If it’s old enough to have a DMA66 HDD, make sure you’re not throttled back to DMA33 (which is the default behavior).

    XP installs with several registry settings configured for middling performance. There are any number of sites that offer advice on what and how to “tweak”. Dogpile (I don’t google) for “XP” and “tweak”. Best you back up your installation or at least back up the registry before you begin hacking. And with these sites, the watchword is Caveat Emptor.
     

  3. Patrick Graham

    Patrick Graham Footlong Jr.

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  4. Rabid Rabbit

    Rabid Rabbit

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    Do a search for some benchmarks and run them. Some will tell you where the bottlenecks are and what to do about them. But you at least need an accurate picture of what is going on. At least update the drivers first including those for your motherboard. More memory does not always mean faster, read your MB manual it will tell you which slots the largest memory chip should be. If you have a 1GB and 256MB chips try benchmarking with 1 GB I bet your memory numbers will improve.
     
  5. Wulfenite

    Wulfenite The King

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    Its 2.5 year old Dell Inspirion 600m with 1.25gig of ram. I swapped out the 40 gig drive with a Seagate 100gig model.

    The Device Manager says Primary IDE Channel's Current Transfer Mode is Ultra DMA Mode 5 which I gather is a good thing. I cant find any thing that specifically tells me or allows me to adjust the DMA33 vs 66.

    A big part of the problem was the Automatic Updates. I've killed that and the performance is better, but there's still something very wrong with the CPU performance. Even just sitting here typing this right now I can peg the little Task Manager Tray Icon that shows CPU usage if I type fast...and I don't type that fast.

    I'm seriously being wooed by the siren song of the Mac. If I had an extra 3 grand.....
     
  6. Tennessee Slim

    Tennessee Slim Señor Member CLM

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    UDMA5 accommodates Ultra ATA/100 HDDs so your system is more recent technology than ATA33/66.

    Since you’re already running Task Manager, you can look under the “Processes” tab to find out which process it is sucking up your CPU power. Click on "CPU" at the top of the CPU column and it will bring the worst offender to the top of the list.

    Here’s also the possibility that your HDD, even though brand new, isn’t that healthy. I’ve bought HDDs still sealed in the Mylar that were DOA, and others that died within days. Inexplicably slow system performance is often the harbinger of a slowly dying HDD.
     
  7. Wulfenite

    Wulfenite The King

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    Well, I found two things this afternoon. One was that the Dell 600m, when booted off the power supply defaults to a 600mhz clock speed instead of the 1500 the chip is rated for....secondly, when I switched the drive I took the opportunity to blow out a bunch of dust and stuff with canned air. Apparently in the process I jammed up the fan. I just noticed today that it wasnt running and that was causing the system self protection stuff to clock further down to 230'something. I downloaded a utility that allows me to monitor and manually control if necessary the fan and temperatures. I also rebooted which brought up the setep down.

    I also did a bunch of the system clean up stuff on Patricks links. Yesterday I ran the PCMark04 benchmarking utility and got a score of 210. I just ran it again and got a score of 2300!! Also, I cant max out the processor just by typing fast. Now if I could just recover my outlook contacts I'd be finished with this cursed project.
     
  8. malkore

    malkore

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    1.25gig of ram? do you have 3 slots, of 512, 512, 256?

    does the motherboard support DDR? if so, having that stick of 256 in there might be slowing your ram down because it can't run dual data on all channels.

    some boards can run with odd combos and maintain DDR, others can't.
     
  9. Wulfenite

    Wulfenite The King

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    It came with a quarter gig in each of its 2 slots. I swapped out one of the quarters for a full gig stick. The bios and os recognize the 1.25.

    How would I know if it was having trouble with the ram configuration?
     
  10. lens

    lens

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    Leave the 1GB stick inserted and pull the others out. Try to run and see if it actually is running better. If so, this will answer your question.
     
  11. neeko

    neeko

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  12. Patrick Graham

    Patrick Graham Footlong Jr.

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    Good catch..
     
  13. lens

    lens

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    Only if the OP posts back the results! ;)

    I hope that works. I'm going to try that trick myself when I crack open the carton with a new Compaq Presario in it. I'd much rather buy PNY or Kingston Value Ram than proprietary Compaq-certified sticks for 2-3x as much money.