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Thread: sluggish PC

  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast qshikuku's Avatar
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    sluggish PC

    I just got an assembled pc with this specs

    P4 1.5Ghz, 256 RAM, 40GB HDD, Windows XP PRO.

    Despite the specs, I find the PC very slow, even when doing simple tasks like copying files from CD to Hard disk.

    When I copy files while the music is playing the music starts dragging.
    The CPU usage gets to 100% even when there isnt much process going on.

    where could the problem be?
    Lisilokuwapo moyoni,halipo machoni-->Out of sight out of mind

    Take a musical Safari

  2. #2
    SitePoint Addict Athorn4941's Avatar
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    The first thing I would do is to upgrade your ram since xp is such a memory hog.
    Clear out your start up of unneeded start up programs.
    Also you could try defraging your hard drive everyonce in awhile to.

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    I'd go with Athorn. 256 for xp pro is just not enough if you want it to be a usable pc. I have 1gb and even that can slow down when using photoshop and other heavydute apps. Invest in memory

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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy redemption's Avatar
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    I've got almost the exact same specs, only actually even worse (It's a P4 1.6GHz Mobile, which usually runs at 1.2GHz).

    It isn't at all sluggish for me. I don't think RAM is your problem, because I also have 256MB RAM.

    Is this a fresh install of WinXP Pro?

  5. #5
    ..back with a vengeance... Ingoal's Avatar
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    Please elaborate on the exact specs (e.g. graphic card, hdd space used/free, size of pagefile !, new install/old install, driver versions, etc.)...

    Cause with those specs, win xp should run just fine...!

    Maybe you should do the following first:

    1.) restart your compi
    2.) login to windows and don't start any additional apps
    3.) enter task-manager and look out for apps using loads of memory and/or cpu-time...-> try to identify what they are (if anything is suspicious there), cause it could be that some weird task is running all the time that is eating up your ram and cpu-time...

    Ingo
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  6. #6
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Also, what type of RAM do you have? I have a friend who does fine with 256MB and XP, but she has RDRAM. I find my system a bit sluggish mainly because of SDRAM (and low hard disk space, but that's my own fault ).

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    No way, 256mb ram on an xp pro system you gotta be nuts. as soon as you get more than one app open your crawling. Anyone building or selling PC's with xp pro and 256 ram should know better( Including Dell who I've seen selling them with 128. Anyone who works with xp pro ( And I manage 250 of the bugers ) knows that this is just impracticle in the real world.

    I remember when win95 came out and Microsoft said it will run happily on 4mb Ram , in your dreams only if you swtiched it on and dident use it...

    3 rules of thumb
    get the biggest hard drive
    the fastest proccessor
    and as much Ram as you can afford
    AndyD

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    SitePoint Wizard Aes's Avatar
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    BS. 256 is enough for average use -- until recently that's the amount I had -- I only bought more because Crucial's prices dropped $70.00. I could run Eclipse, Photoshop, Winamp streaming from our network server drive, all without any slowdown. Ingoal and redemption's methods are the tickets -- you probably have some process sucking up extra CPU processes.

    If your harddrive's badly fragmented, a couple of defragmentations can do wonders -- my drive was at 60% fragmentation last week and IT WAS noticeable, the slow performance.

    -Colin
    Colin Anderson
    Ambition is a poor excuse for those without
    sense enough to be lazy.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy redemption's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD
    No way, 256mb ram on an xp pro system you gotta be nuts. as soon as you get more than one app open your crawling. Anyone building or selling PC's with xp pro and 256 ram should know better( Including Dell who I've seen selling them with 128. Anyone who works with xp pro ( And I manage 250 of the bugers ) knows that this is just impracticle in the real world.
    I'm even more confused - are you speaking from experience (maybe as a builder or seller of PCs)? Because it seems you've had a really unlucky experience. I'd be the first to put MS Operating Systems down because of the bloat and intensive memory requirements, but in no way have I seen that 256MB of RAM (at least DDR RAM, which is what most current P4 and Athlon mobos support) is insufficient for normal uses.

    Like I said before, 128MB is not enough - more than 1 app often leaves the system crawling. But 256MB considerably improves the situation - I haven't had any problems having multiple apps open (like Word, Acrobat, IE, OE, and even CM4 running in the background).

    Maybe you're dealing with slower machines or lower bandwidth mobos?

  10. #10
    googlicious graymatter bvarvel's Avatar
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    I'd have to second the fact that 256MB on those kind of specs should run fine. i've got that in one of my machines that serves up web,ftp, AND mail - meanwhile i regularly use Photoshop 7, Outlook 2003 beta, macromedia homesite 5, topstyle 2.5, trillian, and several instances of IE 6 open and it runs just fine. with those kind of specs yours should run just fine.... if not - you've got some config issues somewhere.

  11. #11
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    I am speaking from experince of building them and managing them. Your lucky I'm not employing you .If I aksd you for a spec for a workable pc in the workplace and you came up with 256 ram on an xp pro PC you'de be out the door pronto.

    Enough said on this subject

    AndyD

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy redemption's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD
    I am speaking from experince of building them and managing them. Your lucky I'm not employing you .If I aksd you for a spec for a workable pc in the workplace and you came up with 256 ram on an xp pro PC you'de be out the door pronto.
    I agree, we are lucky you're not employing us

    Not intending to be sarcastic or anything (the above statement was ), I think it depends on what you expect in a PC for the workplace. I suppose if people run resource-intensive apps all the time, 256MB would not be enough for those apps. But for general applications like word processors, spreadsheets, and even ERP programs, I honestly think it would be sufficient.

    In any case, we'll let qshikuku get back to us.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    sarcastic?Moi!
    How you feel at any given time depends on how you perceive whats going on around, not the events themselves.

  14. #14
    googlicious graymatter bvarvel's Avatar
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    You're not doing anything that the thousands of other people on this board do every day. I've been in this industry for 14 years, and one constant I've learned is that the people that tout those 'three rules of thumb' are, in general, not listening to their customers needs... but rather to their own pocketbooks.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Addict naveed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redemption
    I agree, we are lucky you're not employing us

    Not intending to be sarcastic or anything (the above statement was ), I think it depends on what you expect in a PC for the workplace. I suppose if people run resource-intensive apps all the time, 256MB would not be enough for those apps. But for general applications like word processors, spreadsheets, and even ERP programs, I honestly think it would be sufficient.

    In any case, we'll let qshikuku get back to us.
    I'm using XP Pro with only 256 megs of SDRAM, and most of the time it's more than enough, since I rarely run resource-extensive programs (such as Photoshop).
    A professional graphics artist would definitely need more RAM.


    qshikuku: I defrag my harddrive on a regular basis, and I also run JV16PowerTools (http://www.vtoy.fi/jv16/shtml/jv16powertools.shtml) to keep the Registry free of clutter. It definitely helps.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Make sure DMA is enabled on those drives.

  17. #17
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    I am going to have to agree with the others that 256 MB of RAM should be sufficient. All three of my computers run Windows XP and all three have 256 MB of RAM.

    With them, we run Word, Outlook, and many other programs. On two of them there is at least one web browser (I use Mozilla and my wife uses Internet Explorer), Outlook 2000, Trillian and a myriad of other applications open at all times. We also use Paintshop Pro (7 and 8), Homesite 4.01, Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 and other applications on a regular basis.

    My wife's computer was last rebooted 3 months ago. My current computer has been up and down all weekend but I only got it on Friday.

    Now, both my current PC and my previous one had the following in common: AMD Athlon 1700 XP+ and 256 MB of RAM. However my current computer is twice as fast as my previous one. And here is why:

    Code:
    		New Computer	    	Old Computer
    		------------        	------------
    Processor	1700XP+ 13m	    	1700XP+ 18m
    Memory          256 MB 333 DDR      	256 MB 133 SDRAM
    Hard Drive      30 GB 7200 RPM      	40 GB 5400 RPM
    Video           GEFORCE 4 MX 32 MB  	ATI RAGE XL 8 MB
    AGP             3.0 (8x)                2.0 (4x) 
    FSB		133 MHZ			100 MHZ
    IDE             ATA-133                 ATA-100

    Sure, I can "speed" the older computer up with more RAM. However, it is limited to 133 SDRAM and that is its crutch. It will never truly get faster. If your computer is sluggish, more than a lack of RAM, look at your other components and make sure they are working up to par. If you can't upgrade components, look at what you are loading. Turn off those applications and features that you don't need.

    Some things that can save you processor power include:
    • Switch on the Classic Interface or disable some of the eye candy if you want to keep Luna.
    • Remove startup applications such as ICQ's Netdetect, MS-Office Quicklaunch, Corel's Dad, Norton System Doctor.
    • Utilize built in taskbars instead of a third party utility.
    • Eliminate unneeded services from starting.
    • Turn of Disk Indexing.
    Wayne Luke
    ------------


  18. #18
    SitePoint Enthusiast qshikuku's Avatar
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    A close friend has P4 1.7GHZ, 256RAM which is doing very fine on XP pro.

    My machine is hadly a week old, so there isnt much to defrag. I have also disabled most of the catchy stuff.

    Currently the loaded software is office 2000 and Norton Anti Virus. I noticed yesterday that its taking almost 30-45 seconds to load winword.

    Even with nothing running in the background the CPU usage is almost 30%. I noticed 4 files called svchost.exe running and using some good mem.

    Here are more specs

    OS XP version is 5.1 build 2600 (NTFS)

    motherboard is Shuttle, model MV42 VERSION 1.3
    Bios AMI 07.001 Release date 4/2/2001

    Total MEM= 256MB (DDR)
    Available physical MEM= 120.65MB
    Total Virtual MEM= 854.41MB
    Available Virtual MEM= 614.38MB
    Page File Space= 606.93MB

    Sound device is VIA AC'97
    Graphics-S3 gRAPHICS Pro SavageDDR with 8MB adapter RAM

    HDD SPACE: dRIVE c: 14GB free space= 8.6GB
    dRIVE E: 13GB free space= 10.9GB
    dRIVE F: 10GB free space= 9 GB
    Lisilokuwapo moyoni,halipo machoni-->Out of sight out of mind

    Take a musical Safari

  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy redemption's Avatar
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    Can't tell anything wrong from the specs. Should be working fine with those kind of specs I think, only Norton Antivirus may cause it to startup slowly (but not so much that's it's THAT noticeable).

    svchost.ext is not the problem -> http://www.ntfaq.com/Articles/Index.cfm?ArticleID=20609 I also have 4 copies running.

    One question: was it like this the moment it came? Or did it deteriorate to this sad state?

  20. #20
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qshikuku
    Currently the loaded software is office 2000 and Norton Anti Virus. I noticed yesterday that its taking almost 30-45 seconds to load winword.
    Turn off Office Startup and Findfast. It will actually increase the performance of the Office applications.
    Wayne Luke
    ------------


  21. #21
    SitePoint Enthusiast qshikuku's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redemption

    One question: was it like this the moment it came? Or did it deteriorate to this sad state?
    From the word go, it has been slow, I did run a Processor Benchmark test on it, using the freshdiagnose
    tool
    one of the tests , DhryStone ALU rated it at only "156 MDIPS", that suprised me, in comparison to the following machines

    1.Intel 700 MHZ = 1943 MDIPS
    2.AMD DURON 800 MHZ = 2248 MDIPS
    3.AMD THUNDERBIRD 850 =2394 MDIPS
    4. INTEL IV 1.6 GHZ = 3083 MDIPS

    However the "Whetstone FPU" rated it at "891 MWIPS"

    1.Intel 700 MHZ = 315 MWIPS
    2.AMD DURON 800 MHZ = 831 MWIPS
    3.AMD THUNDERBIRD 850 =945 MWIPS
    4. INTEL IV 1.6 GHZ = 1059 MDIPS


    While the speed was correct at 1502 MHZ.
    Lisilokuwapo moyoni,halipo machoni-->Out of sight out of mind

    Take a musical Safari

  22. #22
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy redemption's Avatar
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    That's strange.

    Is it possible for you to do a reformat and install everything from scratch? Could be your PC maker not doing the install cleanly, or they could have loaded something extra.

  23. #23
    Mlle. Ledoyen silver trophy seanf's Avatar
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    If it's under warranty give the manufacturer a ring

    Sean
    Harry Potter

    -- You lived inside my world so softly
    -- Protected only by the kindness of your nature

  24. #24
    SitePoint Enthusiast qshikuku's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seanf
    If it's under warranty give the manufacturer a ring

    Sean
    Yes I did that, the dealer equally looked puzzled, so I suggested, we use the elimination process, we zeroed in to the processor first, after swapping with a new one, the PC was up and running like a true P4 1.5GHZ should.

    Somehow the same processor worked well in another PC we tested on, I think it had not been locked firmly in my PC, cant think of a better reason.

    Thanks all for your input
    Lisilokuwapo moyoni,halipo machoni-->Out of sight out of mind

    Take a musical Safari

  25. #25
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy redemption's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qshikuku
    [img]images/smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] Yes I did that, the dealer equally looked puzzled, so I suggested, we use the elimination process, we zeroed in to the processor first, after swapping with a new one, the PC was up and running like a true P4 1.5GHZ should.

    Somehow the same processor worked well in another PC we tested on, I think it had not been locked firmly in my PC, cant think of a better reason.

    Thanks all for your input
    Wow you're fortunate to get it fixed so quickly. Who's the dealer?


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