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Why is my PC so slow?

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Last response: in CPUs
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November 1, 2005 1:32:03 PM

I'm fairly new at this, so excuse my lack of knowledge. I built my first PC a year or so ago. Now and then my system just gets clogged. If, for example, I am using Lame to compress a 51MB wav file on my G drive into an Mp3 file on the same drive, I use up 100% of my cpu and can do nothing else. Ditto for other math intensive programs. I was expecting better performance from this setup.

Do I need more Ram? Do I need a different CPU? Have I connected my hard drives to the wrong places - I have a PCI IDE controller card and 2 of the drives go in there, one to the mainboard. And I can't remember which goes where. Does it matter? Thanks for the help. Below is a report on my system from CPU-Z. I also have SiSoft Sandra and can run any test therein, just ask.

Onward, RMB

CPU-Z Report
CPU-Z version 1.30.

CPU(s)
Number of CPUs 1
Name AMD Athlon XP
Code Name Barton
Specification AMD Athlon(tm) XP 2500+
Family / Model / Stepping 6 A 0
Extended Family / Model 7 A
Package Socket A
Technology 0.13 µ
Supported Instructions Sets MMX, Extended MMX, 3DNow!, Extended 3DNow!, SSE
CPU Clock Speed 1829.9 MHz
Clock multiplier x 11.0
Front Side Bus Frequency 166.4 MHz
Bus Speed 332.7 MHz
L1 Data Cache 64 KBytes, 2-way set associative, 64 Bytes line size
L1 Instruction Cache 64 KBytes, 2-way set associative, 64 Bytes line size
L2 Cache 512 KBytes, 16-way set associative, 64 Bytes line size
L2 Speed 1829.9 MHz (Full)
L2 Location On Chip
L2 Data Prefetch Logic yes
L2 Bus Width 64 bits

Mainboard and chipset
Motherboard manufacturer ASUSTeK Computer INC.
Motherboard model A7N8X2.0, REV 2.xx
BIOS vendor Phoenix Technologies, LTD
BIOS revision ASUS A7N8X2.0 Deluxe ACPI BIOS Rev 1005
BIOS release date 05/14/2003
Chipset nVidia nForce2 Ultra 400 rev. C1
Southbridge nVidia nForce2 MCP-T rev. A4
Sensor chip Asus ASB100
Graphic Interface AGP
AGP Status enabled, rev. 2.0
AGP Data Transfer Rate 4x
AGP Max Rate 4x
AGP Side Band Addressing supported, enabled
AGP Aperture Size 64 MBytes

Memory
DRAM Type DDR-SDRAM
DRAM Size 512 MBytes
DRAM Frequency 166.4 MHz
FSB:D RAM 1:1
CAS# Latency 2.0 clocks
RAS# to CAS# 3 clocks
RAS# Precharge 3 clocks
Cycle Time (TRAS) 7 clocks
# of memory modules 2
Module 0 Kingston DDR-SDRAM PC3200 - 256 MBytes
Module 1 Kingston DDR-SDRAM PC3200 - 256 MBytes

Software
Windows version Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 2 (Build 2600)
DirectX version 9.0c

System : Chenming 601-A/Asus A7N8X Deluxe/Athlon XP 2500/Volcano 9/Enermax 350 W/ 3 WD/Maxtor 7200 8mb 120 MB/Kingston DDR KVR400X64C25/512/Radeon 9000 64MB/Toshiba DVD SDM1202/Pioneer DVR 106D

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November 1, 2005 1:53:17 PM

Do you have a "clean" system? No viruses/spyware/adware? Regular defrag of the HDDs? How full are the HDDs? Have you checked your processes and made sure that you don't have a lot of extra processes running in the background that are eating up resources? Checked task manager to see CPU/RAM utilization? If yes, then tell us the numbers.

512MB RAM for your system utilization is on the low side - i'd say 1GB would make a signiuficant difference in system performance. If you upgrade the RAM, then try to get the same type of RAM that you have in the system. Your FSB is 333Mhz (PC2700) and you have RAM that is rated as PC3200 (400Mhz). With that RAM you should be able to get a decent OC on that rig by increasing the FSB - that will improve system performance. Wusy can give some great guidance on how to OC that particular rig - that and you can ask the question in the CPU OC forum. I didn't see the Command Rate your RAM is running - check in your BIOS and if it is running at 2T, then change it to 1T.

*Steam rising*
|<font color=red>(\__/)</font color=red>|
|<font color=red>(='.'=)</font color=red>|
|<font color=red>(")_(")</font color=red>|
~~~~~
BUNNY STEW FOR DINNER!!
November 1, 2005 2:02:31 PM

<pre><font color=orange> ∩_∩
Ω Ω
(=¥=)</font color=orange> - Cedrik wonders if you've ever used CTRL + SHIFT + ESC<font color=orange>
_Ū˘Ū_</font color=orange>   to set a lower priority for these apps...</pre><p>
:evil:  یί∫υєг ρђœŋίχ :evil: 
The <b><font color=red>Devil</font color=red></b> is in my <b><font color=red>'98 Mercury Sable</font color=red></b>!
<b>@ 201K miles!</b>
Related resources
November 1, 2005 3:03:02 PM

It's your hard drive that's jamming up your system.
Processing the data takes a lot of CPU time, but most of the time goes to moving data from HDD and back.

And always listen what Cedrik says. Well not always, but this time.
Try it out and see what happens.
November 2, 2005 1:28:53 AM

Just to be clear....you are using an encoding program that uses 100% of your CPU and you are wondering why your system is slow?

Because that seems fairly simple...

When you arn't compressing anything....like when your computer first boots up before you activly start stuff up is the computer slow? If thats what your talking about there are some things you need to check.

Spyware/adware
Defrag
Startup folder
or maybe just as simple as you are trying to do too much at once on a simple system.

You can't encode something using LAME and then play BF2 or something else like that on just about any system without problems.

I would say your Hard Drives arn't a huge issue for general speed of your system. It might take a while to transfer things, or retreive things. but it shouldn't slow down solitare or anything that doesn't involve file acess(like reading or writing massive files.)

_____________________________
Chaintech VNF3-250/A64 2800+/1GB(512x2) OCZ VX GOLD 2-2-2-5/BFG 6800GT/Thermaltake 420W/WD 200GB/Maxtor 300GB/Soon to include Z-5500...any ideas on which SC??
November 2, 2005 5:37:00 AM

When your system starts, does it say "dual channel enabled"? If not, try putting the ram in the outside slots, with the center slot empty.
Reading and writing to the same drive will slow you down a bit. Try putting the mp3 on a different drive. You could do with another 512 of ram. Your board will still do dual channel, so long as the 512 stick is in the right slot.
"cedric" is very right. If you want to do a second task, go to taskmanager and right click the task that is using the most cpu. You can then set it's priority. Otherwise, windows thinks the high priority task must be finished in the order started.
November 2, 2005 6:07:15 AM

Sorry Cedrik.
November 2, 2005 11:43:09 AM

ROFL @ wusy and endyen

Sometimes I wonder if my lack of sanity has competition. :o 


:evil:  یί∫υєг ρђœŋίχ :evil: 
The <b><font color=red>Devil</font color=red></b> is in my <b><font color=red>'98 Mercury Sable</font color=red></b>!
<b>@ 201K miles!</b>
November 2, 2005 11:57:01 AM

Quote:
Just to be clear....you are using an encoding program that uses 100% of your CPU and you are wondering why your system is slow?

I kinda had the same thought too, but maybe there's more to it. Besides (and god strike me down for this) were it a P4 with HT it wouldn't be much of a problem. I do crap like that on my home system all the time. That's one of the reasons why I went with my NWC over OCing a Barton2500+ when I built the system ... years ago. Of course a nice dualcore CPU today would help that even more.

But I also have to support everyone else in, well, pretty much everything. I mean that system could be loaded down badly with spyware, virii, etc. Or not. It probably should have more RAM for what it's being used for. (Hell, just to run WinXP...) The RAM that is there may or may not be ideally configured. The hard drive access is probably worse than most people think as even today IDE (and even SATA) still can tie up a CPU much worse than SCSI can, in my experience anyway. (I think the problem may be that the Windows kernel handles the drive access differently. It's even worse yet for USB drives. Not sure on Firewire though, since I haven't used that yet.) The CPU seems a little ... simplistic for the usage involved. But mostly I think Cedrik is right, and just proper management of process priorities would make a huge difference. (At least assuming that no malware or broken hardware is screwing the system.)<pre><font color=orange> ∩_∩
Ω Ω
(=¥=)</font color=orange> - Cedrik says any idiot can use a computer, but it takes<font color=orange>
_Ū˘Ū_</font color=orange>   an educated power-user to get the most out of it.</pre><p>
:evil:  یί∫υєг ρђœŋίχ :evil: 
The <b><font color=red>Devil</font color=red></b> is in my <b><font color=red>'98 Mercury Sable</font color=red></b>!
<b>@ 201K miles!</b>
November 2, 2005 1:19:29 PM

*strikes down slvr_phoenix*

INFIDEL!

<font color=red><b>Long live Dhanity and the minions scouring the depths of Wingdingium!</b>

XxxxX
(='.'=)
(")_(") Bow down before King Bunny
November 2, 2005 2:40:51 PM

Quote:
*strikes down slvr_phoenix*

INFIDEL!

That reminds me of an old AD&D Al-Quadim campaign. :o 

I miss my old gaming group. :( <pre><font color=orange> ∩_∩
Ω Ω
(=¥=)</font color=orange> - Cedrik says that books, pencils, and dice beat computers for fun any day.<font color=orange>
_Ū˘Ū_</font color=orange></pre><p>
:evil:  یί∫υєг ρђœŋίχ :evil: 
The <b><font color=red>Devil</font color=red></b> is in my <b><font color=red>'98 Mercury Sable</font color=red></b>!
<b>@ 201K miles!</b>
!