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CPU or HDD Bottleneck

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November 13, 2011 7:46:02 PM

I made this rig a while ago and I just started using it for light gaming. When I am doing a whole bunch of multi-tasking it slows down to a crawl. What is my bottleneck, HDD or CPU?

Windows 7 32 ultimate (im going to upgrade to 64 over winter break, I ment to install 64 and didn't catch my mistake until after I installed all my programs)
4gb DDR3
MSI 6870 1gb
Asus Pro 1156 H55 Micro ATX mobo
Intel corei3 530
WD 1.5tb Green HDD

If its the hard drive I think I'm going to get an SSD. I had one before as a boot drive, but I think this time I would get a 80gb+ so I can have all my programs on it. The problem about getting a faster mechanical drive is that my case only supports one 2.5'' drive and one 3.5''.

I need the large capacity of my current HDD since I have hundreds of videos on it.

Thanks for your help!

More about : cpu hdd bottleneck

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November 13, 2011 7:57:28 PM

it could be your CPU depending on the specific programs (you don't mention them)
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a c 850 à CPUs
November 13, 2011 8:02:58 PM

Your CPU is a dual core with HT so it can handle 4 threads at a time. when you are multitasking you are not always using the HDD so maybe it is just your 32bit system and ram limit that is slowing you down.
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November 14, 2011 7:08:25 AM

It's the HDD. The WD Green is a high efficiency HDD made for storage, not for main drive. It's slower than the Blue and Black.
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a b à CPUs
November 14, 2011 7:11:51 AM

Did you disable your page file by any chance?
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November 15, 2011 3:12:55 AM

gnomio: I have not disabled anything.

jiyung: That's what I was thinking.

dirtyferret: My typical multi-tasking is a combination of the following: Skype, World of Warcraft, vent, chrome (multiple tabs), word, and/or media monkey.


Does anyone know if a standard 2.5" WD Blue HDD would make a difference over the WD green?
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a b à CPUs
November 15, 2011 3:45:42 AM

RAM is super cheap. Any chance you can throw another 2 GB stick in there? For heavy multitasking while gaming, I tend to hit 4.5 GB RAM usage (but I'm a super duper heavy multitasker as well, and photo-editing is included in that). As Jiyung said, the HD wasn't mean for being a main drive.

I would throw 2 more gigs into the system, and get either a SSD like you were wanting, or a WD black drive.
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November 15, 2011 4:27:43 AM

magruder13 said:
I made this rig a while ago and I just started using it for light gaming. When I am doing a whole bunch of multi-tasking it slows down to a crawl. What is my bottleneck, HDD or CPU?

Windows 7 32 ultimate (im going to upgrade to 64 over winter break, I ment to install 64 and didn't catch my mistake until after I installed all my programs)
4gb DDR3
MSI 6870 1gb
Asus Pro 1156 H55 Micro ATX mobo
Intel corei3 530
WD 1.5tb Green HDD

If its the hard drive I think I'm going to get an SSD. I had one before as a boot drive, but I think this time I would get a 80gb+ so I can have all my programs on it. The problem about getting a faster mechanical drive is that my case only supports one 2.5'' drive and one 3.5''.

I need the large capacity of my current HDD since I have hundreds of videos on it.

Thanks for your help!




buy another 4gb ram and upgrade to 64bit. It will not bottleneck. Present why u are getting bottleneck experience is your pc is using 1.7 gb of your ram as shared graphics memory.(EVEN u are having a descrete gpu.) your ram is devided by 1.7 gb for shard video memory, 1 gb for background apps. if you enable antivirus playing games it will use another 512 mb ram so u will get only 900 mb ram. That's why u got bottleneck.

if u not trust my words open run and type dxdiag and check your Video memory it will show you more than 2gb, it will show u 1gb gpu memory and 1.7 gb shared system momery.


if u believe me ,

then re-boot ur pc . select bios option and select 256mb or less shared memory in igp options.

It would not bottleneck your pc.


:sol:  :sol:  :sol: 
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a b à CPUs
November 15, 2011 4:32:59 AM

magruder13 said:
gnomio: I have not disabled anything.

jiyung: That's what I was thinking.

dirtyferret: My typical multi-tasking is a combination of the following: Skype, World of Warcraft, vent, chrome (multiple tabs), word, and/or media monkey.


Does anyone know if a standard 2.5" WD Blue HDD would make a difference over the WD green?

Go to the device manager. First Sata controller, the drive your on, right click, properties, last tab and see what mode its running in.
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November 15, 2011 2:41:24 PM

I am currently at school but when I get back home I will try these things. Thanks a lot everyone!
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November 17, 2011 2:10:44 PM

@VDR369 I checked DXDIAG and it told me my gpu is using 2.2gb of ram. Then I went into my bios and found no setting that said anything about igp options.
I don't doubt you, but my logitech keyboard says I am only using 39% of my ram when I am having my huge comp slowdowns.

@gnomio I did exactly what you said and I didnt see anything that said anything about a mode.

If you guys could explain in better detail what you are talking about. I know evey BIOS is totally different from the other, but I couldn't find anything that talked about memory, or graphics.

The ram I originally bought is only $30 for two more 2gb sticks with free shipping. I would buy it today but I don't have the time to upgrade my system to a 64bit version at the moment so the extra ram would be useless.
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November 17, 2011 2:49:54 PM

magruder13 said:
@VDR369 I checked DXDIAG and it told me my gpu is using 2.2gb of ram. Then I went into my bios and found no setting that said anything about igp options.
I don't doubt you, but my logitech keyboard says I am only using 39% of my ram when I am having my huge comp slowdowns.

@gnomio I did exactly what you said and I didnt see anything that said anything about a mode.

If you guys could explain in better detail what you are talking about. I know evey BIOS is totally different from the other, but I couldn't find anything that talked about memory, or graphics.

The ram I originally bought is only $30 for two more 2gb sticks with free shipping. I would buy it today but I don't have the time to upgrade my system to a 64bit version at the moment so the extra ram would be useless.


To me it is obvious that your ram is the issue.
One thing you could do is to open the resource monitor in windows - run(windowsbutton + r) resmon.exe
under disk you will find real time access to the HDD and figure that when the computer slows down the HDD is highly solicited. This would be because of your ram. If you cannot add ram (which mean upgrading to 64bit) the only thing you can do is to enhance HDD speed. SSD will get you faster axs and xfer or RAID 0 if available on your board... but I am not sure how much more you can sqeeze out of this little ram...
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a b à CPUs
November 17, 2011 3:47:51 PM

rolli is right on with the OS and the OP RAM is fine. Installing more RAM on a 32bit OS won't improve anything beyond what he has. If he is gaming + multitasking, the GPU takes up 1GB of his 3.25GB RAM limit. 4GB of RAM in a 64bit OS is plenty of memory unless you are running games, multi-browsers+ video encoding all at the same time which people do all the time, according to most of the noobs who post on this forum :sarcastic: 

you have several options
1. upgrade your OS to a 64bit version, this should give you your best boost
2. your green HDD is fine for storage but runs at laptop speeds, an SSD drive for your OS (40GB+) can give you a nice performance kick
3. you don't go into detail about what "multi-tasking" you are doing but if you are just gaming, having one browser open is fine but limit all your other background programs as they will suck up your limited RAM availability under a 32bit OS with a 1GB GPU.

I would personally start with option 1 and just limit your background programs during gaming (option 3) until you do upgrade.
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November 17, 2011 4:52:12 PM

@Dirtyferret
I plan on upgrading to 64bit since I get a free win7 64 through IEEE. I just cant do it for a few weeks since I'm mid semester and don't wanna take an entire day to reinstall an os. When I do go to reformat how am I supposed to wipe my drive and transfer all 500gb of videos I have? Can I move them to a partition and then format the rest of the drive? I really want to get a SSD, I had a vertex 1 30gb and it was amazing.

When I talk about multitasking I am usually playing WoW, listening to music, on vent, skype, and have chrome open with a few tabs.
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November 17, 2011 4:52:33 PM

Best answer selected by magruder13.
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a b à CPUs
November 17, 2011 4:57:16 PM

streaming music, MMO, and vent, skype, and a browser with multiple tabs could stress your in-game latency rather then just hardware.

when you install win7 64, it will make a folder called "windows.old" you will find all your old files there.
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