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Which Aspect of my Computer is Slowing It Down?

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Anonymous
November 4, 2010 7:06:44 PM

Alright, I'm noticing that sometimes this computer isn't as snappy as I would expect. I'm not talking about my signature rig, but a different one (specs later on).

When it is slow it not raw processing power, such as extracting WinRAR archives and so on, but mainly opening programs and windows. I'll click on Control Panel and the start menu will disappear instantly, I'll wait a bit longer than I would have to on my Core 2 Duo 2.66GHz system, and the window will appear. Sometimes, though, the window will appear completely white and I'll get the busy cursor when my mouse is in the window. This mostly takes a few seconds, whereas on my Intel system (which I would expect to be slower) it is almost instant.

So what I'm trying to ascertain is which aspect of the system is most likely to blame - the RAM or CPU would be the obvious answers, but is it because of the RAM speed, RAM timings, etc?

AMD Athlon II X2 250 3.0GHz 2MB L2 Cache
Kingston ValueRAM 4GB (2x2GB dual channel) DDR3 RAM 1333MHz CL9
MSI 785GM-E51
Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Thanks :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
November 4, 2010 7:10:50 PM

Run some cleaning on it first off, viruscheck,spyware etc,
then defrag and do a disk clean-up
see if this solves your issue :) 
Moto
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Anonymous
November 4, 2010 7:15:25 PM

Thanks for the reply, but the "issue" (I say that because it's not really much of a problem) has been there since I first built the machine and installed Windows on it.
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Related resources
November 4, 2010 7:22:06 PM

What is your graphics card?

Since you didn't list one I imagine that means your using the built in card, which is always crap.
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Anonymous
November 4, 2010 7:29:41 PM

Yeah, I'm using the onboard 4200. Don't try and tell me that this makes a difference to how long it take to load programs though.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 4, 2010 7:36:00 PM

Try disabling the Cool 'n' Quiet feature of the CPU in the BIOS.
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Anonymous
November 4, 2010 7:42:31 PM

Thanks. I will try disabling that and report back ;) 
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Anonymous
November 4, 2010 7:50:06 PM

I disabled it, CPU-Z reports a constant 3.0GHz, still taking ages to load programs.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 4, 2010 7:54:27 PM

What hard drives do you have on both machines? It could just be a slow hard drive.
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November 4, 2010 8:04:13 PM

Ah yeah, Kureme is right, I spaced out on my tech skills.

It's most DEFINITELY a hard drive issue.

"Good" HDD are 7200 RPM's, and high-end ones are 10000 RPM's.

SSD drives are usually used to put your operating system on, because loading programs are all lightning fast.
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Anonymous
November 4, 2010 9:00:06 PM

Hmm... I was actually thinking it seemed like a hard drive issue, but it's using a Western Digital Caviar Blue (7200RPM as I'm sure you know), which I used on this machine (C2D) as my boot drive for a year or so and never had the same problem. (not the exact same drive, but same model)
I'm now using a Spinpoint F3 as boot drive for this, no noticeable difference but I needed more storage and thought I'd install Windows and programs on the fastest drive.

This is odd...
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Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
November 4, 2010 9:20:47 PM

Got another HDD to test on the system to see if its just as slow? Alternately, see how this drive runs on another system.

You can also check to see if your rams are running at the correct timings, speed and voltage. Also, make sure they're in the correct slots for dual channel mode.
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Anonymous
November 4, 2010 10:06:05 PM

Slots for dual channel: check
Speed: check
Timings: CPU-Z reports them correctly, they're on auto in the BIOS
Voltage: um...
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November 5, 2010 4:26:18 AM

The problem you stated looks like a software problem to me.. hardware config may have little to do with it. are you using any antivirus programs?? My kaspersky tends to slow down the windows startup time
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Anonymous
November 5, 2010 1:48:34 PM

McAfee Internet Security is what I'm using.
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November 9, 2010 11:03:38 AM

reinstall or uninstall and check.
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Anonymous
November 9, 2010 3:12:37 PM

I forgot to update this page actually. What I did was tighten the RAM timings from 9-9-9-24 to 7-7-7-20 and this appears to have sorted the problem.

Thanks for your help though :) 
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2010 3:14:14 PM

Glad you got sorted ok man, :) 
bonus is ofc that your rams also running faster hehe
Moto
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Anonymous
November 9, 2010 3:17:16 PM

Yep exactly :) 

I had been thinking about tightening the timings anyway, I had been told that CL9 at 1333MHz is a but rubbishy really :p 
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2010 3:20:52 PM

Its not bad, a lot of ram ships at cl9, but almost always you can tighten them up,
its just a case of getting the confidence to play with the settings
Moto
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Anonymous
November 9, 2010 3:24:51 PM

Yeah, I also tightened my DDR2 in this rig from 6-7-7-18 or something stupid to 5-4-4-12. Not much of a noticeable difference but you can't unlink the FSB:Mem and there are only 2 ratios available, the other of which sets the RAM at 667MHz. I'm planning on getting a new motherboard though, hopefully then I can have it at 1066MHz CL5 or something :D 
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2010 3:53:33 PM

Best of luck, but often dropping it to cl5 or below will slow the overall speed down too, I had some 1333Mhz running at 4-4-4-something but my 'speed' was reduced to 667Mhz so pointless tbh go for the highest Mhz you can and aim for 7-8 or even 9 timings, anything lower is just showing off hehe,
Moto
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Anonymous
November 9, 2010 4:04:38 PM

Mine's still running at 800MHz though...

CPU-Z never lies!

I can't increase the speed though, so I went for the lowest timings instead.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2010 4:07:36 PM

Cool, it may be a cpu-based limitation there, but at least you've gotten the hang of setting timings, it scared the bejaysus out of me for ages lol
Moto
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Anonymous
November 9, 2010 5:13:55 PM

What might be a CPU based limitation?

I know that this CPU can do 3.0GHz on stock volts but my motherboard can't cope with a base clock above 333MHz pretty much, and it couldn't with my old CPU either.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2010 5:29:36 PM

A processor will handle certain memory and memory speeds, it just wont run faster than xxx, my gf has an amd x3 435 that will only run 1333 memory, whereas mine runs 1600, I almost bought her 1600 ram but I'm glad I checked her chips specs out, saved me money and means she doesn't have wasted potential,
if your mobo wont go over 333Mhz thats obv its limit, but what multiplier adjusting options do you have?
Moto
Moto
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Anonymous
November 9, 2010 5:37:41 PM

I can reduce the multiplier but not increase. I thought you could only increase the multiplier on Extreme Edition or "K" Intel CPUs?

Obviously decreasing the multiplier would mean more FSB which isn't going to be helpful :( 

That's odd about the X3, my X2 250 ran 1600MHz CL9 but I tested the performance and it was a tad slower than 1333MHz CL7 so I didn't keep it. Not that I expected it to be better, jumping up 2 CAS levels when AMD CPUs supposedly work better at lower latency and lower speed instead of the opposite.

I couldn't POST at 1600MHz CL8 or lower, even at 1.63v for the DIMMs (default is 1.5v).
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2010 6:39:18 PM

looks like no overclocking for you then :(  at least your rams sorted now though :) 
Moto
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Anonymous
November 9, 2010 7:02:29 PM

Yeah, no OCing on this board.

I'll probably be picking up a P45 or X38/X48 board some time next year though :) 

Everyone says that P31s are rubbishy for overclocking, though.
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Anonymous
November 15, 2010 11:00:37 PM

Best answer selected by dangerman200k.
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