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Performance Issues after Clean Windows 7 Install

Last response: in Windows 7
December 7, 2012 2:42:09 PM

Alright mighty Tom's Hardware community. I have a very, very frustrating and perplexing issue. If anyone can figure this one out, it's you. I also have no idea if this is a hardware or software issue, so we'll try here first. So here we go:

I have been running Windows 7 Home Premium (64) since the completion of my custom build at the beginning of the summer with no issues and no complaints. However, when I first put it together I only installed 8 GB (4x2 GB) of memory with the intention of upgrading it down the road. So Cyber Monday rolls around this year and I picked up some brand new G.SKILL Ripjaws 32 GB (4 x 8 GB) modules. Receive them in the mail, install them, and fire it up only to discover that Windows 7 Home Premium only supports 16 GB of memory. Grrrrrrr.

Now i know what you are thinking. "There is no way you are going to really be able to tell the difference between 16 and 32 GB so just cut your losses and call it a day." Yes, I know. But it's the principle of the matter that's really getting to me.

OK so I download the Windows 7 Pro ISO file, acquire a valid product key, and do a complete clean install. Except after installation I am experiencing SIGNIFICANT performance issues. (And this is after complete updating of Windows and all drivers) The system takes between 3 - 6 minutes to boot past the "Starting Windows" screen (where it took mere seconds before), windows update downloads and installs take about twice as long as before, there is a 1 second delay between double clicking on a folder and the audible "clicking" noise that the computer make (which, in of itself is obviously not a big issue but is indicative of performance issues.)

OK so maybe something got screwed up during installation. Performed a complete clean install again -> Same problems

OK so maybe I have a bad ISO file. Picked up a Windows 7 Pro install CD from my office and used my product key -> Same problems.

So now I'm thinking maybe I screwed up some hardware during this whole process. To test this theory, I go back and do a complete clean install of Windows 7 Home Premium and everything works GREAT!!.

So it seams that my computer just hates Windows 7 Pro for some reason, and I am just stumped.

Hardware specs:
Intel I5-2500K 3.3GHz
Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3
G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (4 x 8 GB) DDR3-1600
Saphire Radeon HD 7870 2 GB
Corsair 750W PSU
Windows 7 Home Premium/Pro OEM
WD Caviar Black 500 GB HD

Thanks in advance!

Since upgraded to Windows 7 professional, thereby enabling the ability to utilize all 32 GB of memory installed, it hangs upon start up at the "Starting Windows" screen for a pretty consistent average time of 3:30.

To determine if this was a hardware issue I have tried different combinations of the ram modules and slots on the mobo. When only two modules are plugged to either the 1/3 or 2/4 slots on the mobo, the boot time is only 0:25.

Once all four modules are plugged in the boot times shoot up again. For some reason this setup just does not like running with 32 GB of memory.
a c 230 $ Windows 7
December 7, 2012 2:46:09 PM

After the clean install, are all of your drivers installed (have you made it that far), including those for the chipset, etc?

Also, in your BIOS, what speed is your memory set to (1333, 1600, etc)?
December 7, 2012 2:54:39 PM

Yeah, I installed all drivers before concluding this was an issue and clean installing again. Also installed all drivers during one of the subsequent re-installs before reaching that conclusion as well.

I'll have to check the BIOS setting when I get home from work today. However, the Windows 7 Home Premium is running without an issue so not sure if that's the problem.
Related resources
a c 230 $ Windows 7
December 7, 2012 2:57:15 PM

Adding 4 banks of memory puts additional stress on the motherboard (vice using 2 banks). Some systems require you to slow your memory down (to say 1333) or to manually adjust the voltage of the memory to operate at 1600.
December 7, 2012 3:03:16 PM

Hmmmmmm. Alright I'll give it a try later this evening and update with the results. Thanks for the input!
a c 230 $ Windows 7
December 7, 2012 3:06:12 PM

When you get home, check you memory settings in the BIOS to see if you have the option to load your memory's XMP profile. That can help to optimally configure your memory as well.

I really think a minor tweak will get you up and running smoothly.
a b $ Windows 7
December 7, 2012 3:47:58 PM

also see if there been any bios updates for ram or cpu code. a lot of times when vendor switch ram modules over time the mb vendors have to send new code out so that the mb can read the newer ram without any issues. also on your ram kit see if the dimsm are 1.5 or 1.65 volts. you may have gotten a kit of older 1.65 ram and not the newer 1.5v ram.
December 7, 2012 4:15:49 PM

COLGeek said:
When you get home, check you memory settings in the BIOS to see if you have the option to load your memory's XMP profile. That can help to optimally configure your memory as well.

@COLGeek - Quick question as I am not familiar with messing with XMP settings - Should I just make sure that all the settings there are correct and, if not, change them manually?
a c 230 $ Windows 7
December 7, 2012 4:43:52 PM

The XMP settings are "coded" into the memory itself. You should be able to accept as-is and they should be stable. Of course, you can set the XMP profile and then tweak them afterward (manually configure) but you may inject some stability issues as a result.

Just something to keep in mind.
December 7, 2012 4:47:00 PM

Oh ok I get it. So see if there is a "Load XMP Settings" function in the BIOS. Right?

Thanks a lot for the help. Pardon my naivete. Will update with results later on.
a c 230 $ Windows 7
December 7, 2012 4:51:15 PM

There are no bad questions. That is why we are here. Yep. You got it.
December 8, 2012 12:51:18 PM

Alright, I am cautiously optimistic. I went into the BIOS and the memory speed setting was set to 1333 instead of 1600. I loaded the XMP profile and that got it up to 1600. Performed (another) clean install and it seems to be working much better. Haven't had the opportunity to complete all the Windows and driver updates so will know more later (have to work today. Bummer.)
a c 230 $ Windows 7
December 8, 2012 1:38:58 PM

Sounds promising! Good luck!!
December 8, 2012 10:37:50 PM

Alright, unfortunately I am in the same position again. The start up times had decreased to about a minute hang on the Starting Windows screen. However, after updating to SP1, it now hangs between 3:44 - 4:30 (I timed it) on the Starting Windows Screen. While I am still in the process of updating all the drivers, I am pretty doubtful it's going to be working properly.

Any other suggestions or thoughts?
December 9, 2012 12:00:08 AM

OK time for an update with some new information:

Through the process of updating the OS and drivers, I have been resetting a lot and have been timing the boot times for my reference. They have averaged a pretty consistent boot up time of 3:30. While this has given me the opportunity to complete David Thorne's hilarious The Internet is a Playground, these boot times are simply not acceptable. So I decided to systematically test the RAM modules themselves to see if this was a hardware issue related to the memory or mobo and got the following results:

Will refer to the RAM modules as A,B,C,D and mobo slots as 1,2,3,4

Modules A & B into 1 & 3 (16 GB total) -> system boots in 0:20 = Module A & B and slots 1 & 3 work.

Modules C & D into 1 & 3 (16 GB total) -> system boots in 0:25 = Modules C & D work

Modules C & D into 2 & 4 (16 GB total) -> system boots in 0:20 = slots 2 & 4 work.

Plug all four modules into to all slots (32 GB total) -> system boots in 1:50 (while still much slower than before, still pretty bad.)

So what all this tells me is that this is not a software issue with Windows but there is some reason why my computer is not liking running at 32 GB of memory for some reason.......

The search continues. Whoever can help me figure this out first will become the recipient of a virtual high-five!
a b $ Windows 7
December 9, 2012 8:47:11 AM

check your mb bios make sure it up to the last rev. also check to see if that ram kit on the mb vendor qal list. also email the ram and mb vendor see if with that amount of ram you have to bump up the ram voltage.
December 10, 2012 7:46:43 PM

Well after scouring the internet and posting on multiple other forums, it seems that this issue is not a problem with the Windows install or the memory, its an issue with the Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3 motherboard. Apparently the thing has issues with 4 memory sticks installed. I have no idea why or if there is any solution to the problem. Perhaps just waiting for a BIOS update....
December 11, 2012 5:31:44 AM

good job,thanks.