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Please help with help with lag likely due to RAM & "100% CPU usage"

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November 9, 2010 8:10:56 PM

Hi, I'm running windows xp and below are the specs I think might be helpful. The most severe cases of lag: often running on 100% "CPU usage" (from task manager-performance section), laggy when typing sometimes, switching between window tabs (while only one internet explorer is open). Please help, it feels like I can't breath because of this lag! Thanks.

2 questions:

1. Is it just an old, slow computer that can't handle Quickbooks and several tabs of internet explorer at once?

2. Will $75 RAM upgrade to dual memory total 2gb be worth it? Not sure where the bottleneck is (likely everything)

Maximum Memory Capacity: 2048MB
Currently Installed Memory: 1.5GB (512mb DDR PC3200 AND 1GB not sure)
Total Memory Slots: 2, max 2gb RAM
Dual Channel Support: Yes
CPU Family: Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU 2.53GHz Model 4, Stepping 9
CPU Speed: 2527 MHz

Used for Quickboos and internet multitasking only.
a b } Memory
a b à CPUs
November 9, 2010 8:41:38 PM

Press CTRL+Shift+Esc. When the task manager pops up, click on the Performance tab. Then open the resource monitor. Find out what the biggest resource hogs are.

Here's a brief explanation of how RAM and CPU work together...

Everything in the computer uses RAM and CPU. The CPU processes commands. RAM stores the temporary info for the CPU to processes. Even running just OS on the system requires RAM and CPU usage.

Bottlenecks occur when the CPU is too fast for the RAM. With 100% CPU usage, this doesn't sound like a bottleneck. This sounds like the CPU can't keep up with the current software.

A lot of software nowadays are multithreaded. This means that they support and benefit from multiple CPU cores; the more there are, the easier the workload is handled, to an extent. Quickbooks is no different.

I wouldn't spend the money on DDR RAM. Even with the tasks you do on your system, an upgrade would be ideal.

Edit: Hyperthreading is supposed to enhance multitasking, but when only one app is multitasking, the effect isn't there. For example, Quickbooks uses multiple tabs to display its contents/data. This type of multitasking isn't supported by Hyperthreading. However, using QB and IE (or another web browser) would be supported by Hyperthreading, as it is multiple apps.
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November 9, 2010 9:59:23 PM

T_T said:
Press CTRL+Shift+Esc. When the task manager pops up, click on the Performance tab. Then open the resource monitor. Find out what the biggest resource hogs are.

Here's a brief explanation of how RAM and CPU work together...

Everything in the computer uses RAM and CPU. The CPU processes commands. RAM stores the temporary info for the CPU to processes. Even running just OS on the system requires RAM and CPU usage.

Bottlenecks occur when the CPU is too fast for the RAM. With 100% CPU usage, this doesn't sound like a bottleneck. This sounds like the CPU can't keep up with the current software.

A lot of software nowadays are multithreaded. This means that they support and benefit from multiple CPU cores; the more there are, the easier the workload is handled, to an extent. Quickbooks is no different.

I wouldn't spend the money on DDR RAM. Even with the tasks you do on your system, an upgrade would be ideal.

Edit: Hyperthreading is supposed to enhance multitasking, but when only one app is multitasking, the effect isn't there. For example, Quickbooks uses multiple tabs to display its contents/data. This type of multitasking isn't supported by Hyperthreading. However, using QB and IE (or another web browser) would be supported by Hyperthreading, as it is multiple apps.


Thanks for the reply. I tried what you mentioned but couldn't find "resource monitor" but (using Windows XP) I selected the processes tab and it showed all of them like explorer iexplorer.exe using 170,000 k. Those are the biggest ones especially when I have several tabs open, then there will be 4-5 of those all around 170,000k. Does that sound right?

One internet explorer open with 5 tabs using almost 1 gb?

I assume its not using 1gb of RAM but refering to the CPU.

I'm actually in the process of building a new one for the first time, but was assuming this was an old computer and could buy the RAM for this cheap. If $70 of RAM was going to make a huge differnce since it will then be dual channel and higher-end/faster Ram I was considering it also.

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a b } Memory
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November 9, 2010 10:23:43 PM

Your problem is not memory. Your problem is you have a slow, single-core cpu.

Do not multi-task, and your PC's performance will be better.

Adding memory will not improve your PCs performance.
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a b } Memory
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November 9, 2010 10:26:20 PM

Sorry, I'm not using XP at the moment. The resource monitor idea was a long shot. Using 5 tabs of IE ( in any of the tab supporting versions) will not use 1GB of RAM. If Task Manager is showing 170,000k, that would equate to ~.162....GB of RAM.

RAM usage is measured in a form of bytes (byte, mega, giga); CPU is measured in hertz (mega/giga). Windows can show you how each hardware is performing, but you'd have to create a Management Console and add in Snap-ins to monitor the performance. This is an advanced method, and takes quite a while to explain.

Try this software from Microsoft, instead. It should give similar results as the Resource Monitor in Vista/7: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb89664...

The reason I suggested you save the money for a new(er) build is because the price of DDR2 2GB stick is about $70-80. You can find motherboard/CPU combos for about $200. If you're ate 1.5GB now, the additional 512 won't make that much of a difference.

Additionally, try loading Windows in Safe Mode. See if the lag still affects you.
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November 10, 2010 3:28:00 AM

T_T said:
Sorry, I'm not using XP at the moment. The resource monitor idea was a long shot. Using 5 tabs of IE ( in any of the tab supporting versions) will not use 1GB of RAM. If Task Manager is showing 170,000k, that would equate to ~.162....GB of RAM.

RAM usage is measured in a form of bytes (byte, mega, giga); CPU is measured in hertz (mega/giga). Windows can show you how each hardware is performing, but you'd have to create a Management Console and add in Snap-ins to monitor the performance. This is an advanced method, and takes quite a while to explain.

Try this software from Microsoft, instead. It should give similar results as the Resource Monitor in Vista/7: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb89664...

The reason I suggested you save the money for a new(er) build is because the price of DDR2 2GB stick is about $70-80. You can find motherboard/CPU combos for about $200. If you're ate 1.5GB now, the additional 512 won't make that much of a difference.

Additionally, try loading Windows in Safe Mode. See if the lag still affects you.


Thanks again for the reply. I think twoboxer is right, its probably the CPU. Like you said I cant see 512 helping much.

But I will try the safe mode.

Also thanks for the link, I'm not at the office but will have to try that.
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