P4M900-M4 based PC incredibly slow. Please help!!!

Hi guys,

A while ago I was given a dead emachines desktop pc. The mobo was dead so I bought a cheap replacement which happened to be Biostar P4M900-M4 board.

The PC has a Celeron 2.7ghz cpu, 1GB ram and I am using a 40GB IDE hard disk with a brand new install of XP.

My problem is this thing is so slow. I mean it is almost unusable. To give you an idea, I have an old ThinkPad laptop with a 400mhz celeron cpu and 196mb ram (i think) and it runs XP better than the desktop.

I have also tried various Linux distros including lightweight versions but it still crawls along. Unless I can fix this it will be going in the bin. I have reset the bios to default values.

I am really stumped by this. Launching IE takes about 25 seconds! I haven't bothered installing firefox or chrome yet as it would still be unusable.

I really hope someone out there can point me in the right direction. By the way, I have tried a P4 2.8ghz CPU and it is just as bad.

11 answers Last reply
More about p4m900 based incredibly slow help
  1. try changing the IDE cable , and if that doesnt work then change the hard drive
  2. Hi, thanks for the reply.

    I have tried 3 different hard disk, each with a different OS to test performance. I have also tried more than 1 IDE cable.

    Any other ideas?
  3. the think pad is 10 years newer isn't it ? why wouldn't it be faster ? i just worked on a machine with newer hardware than yours and it was slow by today's means. i used to own the hardware you described. real good stuff for target practice. junk it.
  4. Probably because your running service pack 3 and using a celeron cough cough(Worse than a slow P4.) Service pack three requires more headroom to thrive. If you think its slow junk it and buy a newer computer, why you would even waste money buying a crappy mobo beats the heck out of me. The only reason i would even invest money into something like that is for a windows 98se dedicated dos game build, but i wouldnt dare spend more than 10$ on it.
  5. The ThinkPad is an i1400 model from about 2001. I bought the desktop mobo about 2 years ago I think so the laptop is much older and less powerful (400mhz celeron in ThinkPad).

    I bought this mobo because it was cheap and money is tight and it is not running service pack 3, just service pack 2 from my old XP disc.
  6. (1) there are many free benchmarks you can download that let you compare your processor, video, memory, disk speeds to a reference version of your hardware. If you are going roughly the same speed they measured then that's all you've got. If you are at 1/2 speed then post what components are running slowly. As an example if you dropped out of DMA mode into one of the older PIO modes for your hard drive performance of both the disk and CPU will be terrible.

    (2) get on XP SP3. Get maintenance current. Reload the chipset drivers for your MB after your are maintenance current. Reset the bios to default after that.

    (3) vista and win7 have a nifty performance monitor. XP has task manager. Use it. Go into the performance tab. Click view. Click select columns. Include page fault delta, io bytes read rate, io byte write rate. save. leave task manager open to performance tab. When "Launching IE takes about 25 seconds!" see what total CPU usage is. See page fault delta. See disk IO. Look at disk drive activity light. POST what is going on. If disk is idle for 20 secs that's a problem. If CPU is 10% and disk is flat out then and there is no page fault delta then disk is a problem. If page fault delta goes crazy then see how much memory you have and who is using it.

    POST what you see if you want help.
  7. Thank you Tsnor, I shall do as you suggest and then post the results. Probably wont be for a couple of days.

  8. OK, I made sure all updates were installed. I downloaded Passmark and also PCmark but of the two only Passmark installed and ran ok.

    I ran the test and the final score was 178.8

    I found a comparison score from a generic celeron 2.7 machine was 135.8

    When I looked at each element individually, most scores were slightly higher than the comparison system.

    So I suppose that suggests that this is running normally. I am stunned at just how crap this is.

    Thanks for your assistance.
  9. Well you do know that the internet and videos and such have been upgraded in the last 10 years? A computer able to browse the web and watch videos from that era will not perform the same now because of how much the internet has changed graphically and backbone wise.
  10. Your problem doesnt sound like applications or software , and even your hardware should work much faster than it is .
    The load times are due to data transfer speeds from the hard drive. If you are sure you dont havr a damaged IDE cable can you confirm you are using an 80 wire rather than 40 wire IDE cable .
    The 40 wire cable will force the controller speed to drop to a third of the data speed.
    Try a brand new un-used cable . They are prone to damage
  11. Outlander, thank you for your post. I didn't even know IDE cables came in 40 wire and 80 wire versions.

    Anyway, I gathered up all the IDE cables I could find (5 in total). I used each cable in turn and ran the same benchmark tests each time.

    The first 4 cables all gave the same results (actually most of the values altered by a couple of points either way but roughly the same.

    I tried the fifth cable the the overall score went from 178.8 to 243.9

    When I looked at each item in turn they were:

    CPU 322.5 (was 228.6)
    2D graphics 174 (was 108.6)
    3D graphics 65.7 (was 47.6)
    Memory 339.5 (was 229)
    Disk 315.1 (was 156.6)

    So a big improvement all round.

    The cables all look the same to me. How do I tell the difference visually?

    Thanks again. It's still slow but much more usable :-)
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