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Best OS For Basic Needs?

Last response: in Windows 7
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April 13, 2010 7:32:57 PM

Hello!

So I am running Windows 7 x64 on an Athlon XP 3500+ with 1GB of PC3200 DDR RAM and a 200GB Seagate 7200.7(I think) HDD.

One issue that I am noticing is that starting applications sometimes takes forever and multi-tasking is often pretty slow. This PC is only being used for very basic tasks such as e-mail, browsing, word processing and image viewing. It has been scanned for malware with Avast! and nothing was found. I also have trouble with data corruption or the likes (not really sure what it is). Often chkdsk needs to be run in order to fix entries. I used SeaTools and ran all the tests which showed no errors on the drive.

I noticed that the official requirements for Win7 x64 include 2GB of RAM while the x86 version only needs 1GB of RAM. Would I notice a significant performance increase by "downgrading" to x86 or should I perhaps even install WinXP?

Note that the price of the OS is not a problem as I have access to MSDNAA.

Thanks in advance for any replies!

More about : basic

April 13, 2010 9:22:20 PM

if chkdsk keeps having to run because of errors, something is wrong. Bad memory, bad CPU, bad something.
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April 13, 2010 9:33:51 PM

It doesn't run very often, but it does happen once in a while, perhaps a few times each month. I have noticed that certain parts of the OS also seem to have become faulty, such as the MMC not functioning properly. For instance when I attempt to open Event Viewer, the MMC crashes right away. Applications like Microsoft Security Essentials are also unable to be installed, crashing during the installation process.

I suppose I could try running memtest86 and/or Prime95 overnight.

I should note that I did run chkdsk with both the /f, /r and /b switches. No bad sectors were found.
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April 14, 2010 9:15:38 AM

I ran Prime95 with the Small FFTs option overnight. It ran just shy of 9 hours and no errors were reported, so for very basic tasks that definitely seems stable enough.

However, what I did notice was that it was not practical to run the blend test. There simply wasn't enough RAM. It just keep page faulting like mad and as a result CPU usage was nowhere near saturated.
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April 14, 2010 12:25:47 PM

My X64 Win7 system takes 1.4 GB just to run the OS, you are forcing your system to use the hard drive as swap file space for any thing over 1 GB... Put AT LEAST one more GB of RAM in your system, you should really have 4 GB as a minimum, it's not that expensive.
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April 14, 2010 2:46:05 PM

Considering the fact that the PC is only used for very basic tasks, the price of RAM at the moment and that I have free and legal access to different versions of Windows, I am reluctant to put more RAM in this system.

I really feel that upgrading a system that is over five years old is a little pointless when it will most likely be abandoned in less than a year from now.

I might try installing Windows 7 x86 and see how that goes.

EDIT: Okay, perhaps the prices weren't as high as I expected. My concern now is that I have a matched pair of Corsair Value Select 2 x 512 MB DIMMs, but would adding another pair be without issues? This is the kit that is currently installed http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E168...
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April 16, 2010 9:01:24 AM

Add memtest86 to the list of successfully passed stress test programs. It did 18 passes in 8h45m without errors.

I just don't get why Windows seems to keep breaking when the box passes all stress tests without a hitch.

Could it have something to do with my sleep / hibernate settings? I have the box setup to sleep after 15 mins since it is very noisy and only used for brief periods, although it is used many times throughout a day.
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Best solution

April 16, 2010 12:06:04 PM

The reason why the stress tests pass without a hitch is because there is nothing wrong with the hardware on it's own. The problem is that the OS you are using for it is too heavy for the system specs that you are using.

Windows 7 x64 is a baaaaaaaad idea if you don't have at least 2GB of RAM. Either upgrade the RAM or go to Windows 7 x86. In my opinion I'd just use x86 for now because you have free access to it, so it will cost you nothing, and using x86 will not cause your system to decrease in performance - if anything it should increase, because it will not be as strained.

Make do on x86 for a bit and then get a new PC.
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April 16, 2010 2:17:51 PM

Thanks for that opinion. It is what I more or less concluded myself after discovering that Windows 7 x64 actually needs 2GB of RAM or more.
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a b $ Windows 7
April 16, 2010 3:33:23 PM

This isn't XP. Windows Vista and Windows 7 really need at least 2 gigs to run efficiently. I guess if you're not willing to shell out around another $30-$40 for 1 gig of RAM to boost up to 2 gigs, then I guess you'll just have to live with what you have because that is your problem - not enough memory so you're swapping out to the hard drive.
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April 16, 2010 3:52:43 PM

isamuelson said:
This isn't XP. Windows Vista and Windows 7 really need at least 2 gigs to run efficiently. I guess if you're not willing to shell out around another $30-$40 for 1 gig of RAM to boost up to 2 gigs, then I guess you'll just have to live with what you have because that is your problem - not enough memory so you're swapping out to the hard drive.


I'm willing to try the x86 version first at least since I have free access to it. If that doesn't work out, I'll consider purchasing another GB, but it is probably going to cost at least $55.

That leads me back to my previous question. Could I safely add another 2x 512 MB DIMMs as the ones I listed above? My motherboard is an Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe.
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a b $ Windows 7
April 16, 2010 4:01:53 PM

I really suggest 2 gigs regardless of whether it's 32-bit or 64-bit.

As for adding 2x 512 DIMMs, as long as the other ones are the same then you should be good. You should never mix different sized DIMMs because it can cause your system to perform slower than it should. As long as the current 1gb you have is made up of 2x 512 DIMMs, then you should be good to add another set. You should see a better improvement once you do that.
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April 16, 2010 4:03:53 PM

Kralnor said:
I'm willing to try the x86 version first at least since I have free access to it. If that doesn't work out, I'll consider purchasing another GB, but it is probably going to cost at least $55.

That leads me back to my previous question. Could I safely add another 2x 512 MB DIMMs as the ones I listed above? My motherboard is an Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe.


Yes you can, mobo supports up to 4gb, but make sure the new sticks are of the same speed + timings.
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April 17, 2010 9:29:13 AM

Thanks for all the feedback!

In the end, I decided to do a clean install of the x86 version and the whole system is much more responsive now.
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April 17, 2010 9:29:30 AM

Best answer selected by Kralnor.
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