Solved: Summary of General Performance Issues with Hardware.

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RAM-PAGE

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Summary of General Performance Issues

How much RAM does the system have? 512Mb is good and more might be better, depending on what you are using the computer for.

How big is the drive, is it partitioned, how big are the partitions, have they been FULL formatted, (rather than quick formatting, which is pretty much useless), are they employing the FAT32 or the NTFS file system? If on NTFS did the format achieve 4096 bytes in each allocation unit? (If only 512 bytes in each allocation unit it is better to re-format to 4096)

Has the drive been properly defragmented, have the Master File Tables(s) and Paging file(s) been properly defragmented? Are the MFT(s) big enough? They can sometimes be too small and severely affect performance. What is the drive speed, (5,400/7,200/10,000 rev/min) and how big is the drive-cache, 2Mb, 8Mb, or bigger? Defrag will run four times faster if the drive-cache is four times bigger.

If partitioned is there enough free-space? You need a minimum of 15% free-space, per partition, to run properly and to be able to run defrag.

All of these considerations affect performance. A badly prepared drive will not run well, and may have all manner of problems starting up. See links below. It is also a good idea to have the paging file cleared on shutdown so that you get a clean one on start up. (There is a program, called Eraser 5·7, which erases the paging file on shutdown.)(Takes a bit longer, but is worthwhile.)

What was the problem beforehand?

Do the RAM modules need to be re-seated, are all other cards properly in place, is the power supply big enough, are all fans running properly, what are the CPU temperatures like, what is the ambient temperature (and humidity)? (Very important this one, as the ambient (surrounding) temperature affects the running temperature, and the computer needs to be kept in a cool place free from air-borne moisture and dust.)

(Many computers are kept in carefully controlled ambient surroundings in industry.)

Read this PDF file before handling electronics. Avoid electric shock and component damage due to static electricity.

INSTALL.PDF
 

Kenny94

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Ram-Page,
Should the custom size of your virtual memory settings be of the following: The minimum should be 1.5 times your memory size? The maximum should be three times your memory? Or the initial size of virtual memory should be three times your system memory size. Maximum should be double the initial size?

One other thing: I am often asked about memory optimizers and other
such utilities. I don't mess with them. What your opinion on these advertised products?
 

RAM-PAGE

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The best way to manage memory is to have more than sufficient physical memory. Something which is a lot easier to do with XP as it will take up to 4 x 1024Mb modules (4·0Gb in total), if the mainboard will. See: RAM Virtual Memory, PageFile & All That Stuff

I don't like memory optimisers as they often cause the system to hang.

There is no real subsitute for adding more RAM as the system grows, unless you want to use a faster processor and drive as well.

"Windows slows as it grows." is as true now as it has always been, and it is well known that the most efficient, and cost effective, way to improve overall performance, is to add more physical memory.

With sufficient RAM you can let the virtual memory manage itself BUT, this will use Processor time and may slow the system down, so I prefer to use a fixed paging file and have it cleared on shutdown.

There are two ways to do this. You can use Eraser 5·7 if you may have sensitive data held in the paging file, or you can set the registry to clear the paging file.

There is a program called XP Antispy which will make that change for you.

Use with caution!
 

RAM-PAGE

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Thank you. It is my pleasure Kenny. You are very welcome. :)
 
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Generally you will also get better performance with:

1. More memory - up to a point
2. Faster hard drives - 7200 or 10,000 rpm drives are going to access data much faster ther 5400 rpm drives
3. Faster processor - Think it would be obvious.
4. Cleaning the temp directory
5. Scanning for spyware
6. Being careful of how many fonts you install
 
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Before you go through the expense of putting in 4 gigs of memory, or even recommending it, you might want to see what your current memory usage is. For example, if you seldom utilize 256 megs, there would be little gained by added that much, and spending that much money on wasted resources.
 
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I have a question. How do you find out much you are utilzing? Please answer in plain English as I am pretty much a beginner at this stuff :eek:
Thanks
Carolyn :)
 
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Good question and relative easy to answer.

Open up the task manager. One way is control-shift-esc. Click on the Performance tab. At least look at your physical memory items.

For example, mine shows 523756 with 164300 available. And that is with a few applications running. Since I typically don't have that many more open at a time, it would be waste to go up to 4 gigs or anything close to that.

In general, XP works well with at least 384 megs. Under that and it gets pretty sluggish. But depending on your needs, it also doesn't mean you need to waste money on memory you won't likely use.
 
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Thank you, Bob
You answered that in a very clear and easy-for-me-to-understand way, plus you flattered me by saying it was a good question (y)
10 points for Bob :D
Have a wonderful day

Carolyn :)
 
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Right now, I have WMP playing tunes; another browser open while I am doing a search on google and another open here at TSG (my usual) :

Physical memory 523760
Available memory 257688
System Cache 312460

CPU usage fluctuates between 4 and 13%
PF usage 242 mg

Carolyn
 
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Bob Cerelli said:
Sounds like at least memory wise, you are doing quite well.
That's really good news :)
I just got bounced off the server and it took a few tries to get back on:rolleyes:
I have to get back to work, but thanks for your help (y)

Carolyn
 

RAM-PAGE

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Bob Cerelli said:
Good question and relative easy to answer.

Open up the task manager. One way is control-shift-esc. Click on the Performance tab. At least look at your physical memory items.

For example, mine shows 523756 with 164300 available. And that is with a few applications running. Since I typically don't have that many more open at a time, it would be waste to go up to 4 gigs or anything close to that.

In general, XP works well with at least 384 megs. Under that and it gets pretty sluggish. But depending on your needs, it also doesn't mean you need to waste money on memory you won't likely use.
Nobody needs to go up to four Gigabytes of RAM if they aren't using a program that needs that much.

That figure of 384Mb is a good average for the modest home user. But there are other practical considerations to take into account. If your system started life with a single 256Mb module and your motherboard will only take matched modules then your next step up is to add another 256Mb.

That way if one module should fail you still have the other one to work with.

If you put a 256Mb module together with a 128Mb one to get up to 384Mb and the 256Mb module fails, then you are down to 128Mb, which might be alright for a home computer but not for a business computer or one used to do work and not just used for play.

Now this mainboard has table free memory slots so it doesn't matter which slot you put the single module in, which is also a good thing, as it means that if you ever get a faulty slot you can just use another one.

Now I didn't want to ever go down to 256Mb again so I put 3 x 256Mb of RAM in.

Just to demonstrate the board's capabilities to those who may not have a mainboard handbook, I show that it can use 3 x 512Mb for those who really need to use that much RAM.

But then if you can get RAM direct from the manufacturer, it is that much cheaper than buying from a wholesaler or a retailer, and you would probably not be surprised at what people throw out.
 
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