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Poor system performance; bottlenecked??

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October 15, 2012 8:36:03 PM

Hi All

I have a home built PC that I expected to be quite good but is underwhelming in its performance. Browsers take several seconds to load, CD-ROM response is very slow, and the system doesn't seem very good at running multiple applications simultaneously. Is it bottle-necked or just misconfigured? (Or both?)

Here are some system specs:

Chip: AMD FX-4170 Quad-Core @ 4.2 GHz Black Edition
Mobo: Gigabyte 970A-D3
RAM: 8GB Corsair Vengeance @ 1600 MHz (CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9)
GPU: AMD Radeon HD 6770
HDD: Seagate ST3250824AS SATA Drive @ 7200rpm, 3 Gb/s
PSU: Cooler Master Extreme PowerPlus 500W
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate Edition x64
Case: Antec P280
Display: Samsung SyncMaster S27B350 via HDMI

So my first instinct is that the hard drive has just GOT to go. I had such a difficult time installing Windows and drivers the first time that I'm hesitant to do so. I have a ton of drives laying around the house... would throwing a faster optical drive in make a dramatic difference? This one appears to be SATA1 running into a SATA3 port... what a disgrace. I know SSD is the way to go, but no money right now for that. (Sidenote: Will cloning the current drive work if the drives aren't identical?)

The RAM concerns me. I'm looking at the tuning GUI that came with the mobo and it says the Max Bandwidth of the module is "PC3-10700H(667MHz)". Should it not be 1600 MHz? Maybe the BIOS settings are incorrect? The website says these modules are 9-9-9-24... perhaps I need to make sure thats the case in the BIOS. Also, I haven't been able to find anything in the BIOS regarding dual-channeling. The manual shows you where to put the modules for dual-channel configs, but nowhere does it say how to enable it, and I've gone through every menu in the BIOS a dozen times trying to find anything about it to no avail. (I'm 99% sure these modules are compatible with this mobo, btw.)

I've noticed that the specs for the GPU online state that it should be in the PCIeX16 slot. I think I just put it in the PCIeX2 slot. Relevant?

Would the fact that I'm running the dynamic Aero desktop in Windows be eating up memory and causing it to be slower?

Does it need more power?

Anything is helpful. I feel like this thing could be very good with these parts and I've just failed as a builder and human being.

Thanks for taking the time :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
October 15, 2012 8:42:49 PM

PC3-10700H is DDR3-1333



the GPU slot is probly the most critical.

Was your hard drive new when you started with it? (hard drives do wear out with use)
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October 15, 2012 9:04:26 PM

According to the website though, this RAM is DDR3-1600. Is my mobo capping it at 1333MHz because that's all it's capable of? I checked the timing in the BIOS, and the Auto function was setting the timings to 11-11-11-11-29. Weird????

I'll rip 'er open and swithc the GPU slot now.

The drive wasn't new at all. My roommate and I run two Drobos in the house as servers and the drive was retired from there. It's probably been to hell and back. Could the drive alone be causing these sorts of problems with performance?
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October 16, 2012 2:20:11 AM

1333 ram is still great my brother got 1600 but it runs at 1333(not sure why) he never cared to check why and his pc runs great

remember with gpus to put them in the closest slot to the cpu im not sure if this really does anything but why question it

im gonna go ahead and blame the HDD cause really its the only one that makes sense it could be failing try doing a system defrag i have a failing hdd (still use it :D )
but i have to defrag it every 2-4 weeks cause once it gets 1000 fragments (not alot) it goes super slow and is really unusable then i defrag and its fine
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 16, 2012 4:37:03 AM

yeah, that drive is probably worn completely out. probly just a few hundred hours from total failure. replace it.
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October 16, 2012 7:05:19 AM

Attempted the defrag, but the system claimed it wasn't necessary. I could try another defrag program, but I think I'd have to agree with you that replacing it is just the best thing. My roomate said we have a 250GB Sata2 drive lying around somewhere, so maybe ill give it a shot and see if hteres any improvement. I dont think the situation warrants investing in an SSD as I'm not a hardcore gamer.

Switched the GPU to the correct slot and made a few tweaks to the CPU and RAM and Im actually noticing a significant improvement. I wonder what the difference is with the GPU? Guess I'll Google it.

Thanks everyone :) 
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a c 106 B Homebuilt system
October 16, 2012 7:19:48 AM

If the Hard Drive is new and hasn't been under long and heavy usage, the HDD being fragmented isnt really a concern. Windows defrags the thing on a schedule as well, so it likely wont become an issue either.

SSD's have no benefits for gaming other than shorter load times, which is what you expect an SSD to do. Dont have to be a gamer to justify an SSD, even office computers would benefit greatly from one.

If web-browsing and generally using the computer is slow, the GPU isnt a factor. I would look more to the CPU and HDD. Remember, that CPU is just a dual core (I know its advertised as a Quad, but Bulldozer modules are different to Cores. By the traditional definition its a Dual Core.)

Windows Aero may be a factor, but I doubt its due to using up your RAM. 8GB is plenty, and any non-important things in the RAM are swapped to the Page-file (A bit of the HDD that acts like RAM) so you wont run out of it.

I think quite simply its the HDD. Getting an SSD boot drive I bet will clear up most of your problems.

Also, why Ultimate Windows? Thats a lot of money you could have easily spent elsewhere for better effect (or an effect at all, Ultimate doesn't perform better than Home Premium).
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October 16, 2012 7:52:59 AM

strongflower said:
According to the website though, this RAM is DDR3-1600. Is my mobo capping it at 1333MHz because that's all it's capable of? I checked the timing in the BIOS, and the Auto function was setting the timings to 11-11-11-11-29. Weird????

I'll rip 'er open and swithc the GPU slot now.

The drive wasn't new at all. My roommate and I run two Drobos in the house as servers and the drive was retired from there. It's probably been to hell and back. Could the drive alone be causing these sorts of problems with performance?


1333 is the default ram speed for most newer motherboards, you'll have to manually set it to 1600. On my Sabertooth I just disable ECC and turn up the clock speed to 1600 in the BIOS. According to Newegg your motherboard supports up to 1866 clock speed, and that's only what it "supports".

Also you have two pci express 2.0 slots, you can refer to your motherboard manual for this, but your gpu should be in whichever one is rated x16.

And as for your harddrive, if it's been to hell and back as you say, it could definitely be the center-piece of you current performance woes.

When funds become available, you should definitely grab a 120GB ssd. They really do make a world of difference.
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