speeding up an existing PC


M

msim

I have a PC with Asus P4R800-V Deluxe MoBo, Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU
2.53GHz, currently PC2700 512MB RAM, Dell 19" LCD 1905FP.

Problem:
My current PC is slow when I switch windows and slow to launch
programs. I must admit that I have a lot of background processes running,
but I want to run those. I have image management software, running alongside
iTunes, alongside Firefox with several windows open and a few more
applications.

Solution I am trying:
Now, I am wondering if I can speed up my machine some by
adding a 1GB PC3200 memory module (single bank or two banks?), may be adding
a SATA HDD if that might help.

My questions:
1. Should I add PC2700 RAM or PC3200 1GM RAM bank? If
you advice PC3200, should I use the existing PC2700 memory bank also or
should I simply stop using the current RAM?
2. Should I add a SATA hard drive? If so, how much speed
benefit might that provide? I am thinking that a SATA drive might help cut
the program load time.
3. Earlier messages here have indicated that upgrading
my video card will not help reduce the window switching speed from one
application to another... So I am not going that path.

Here below is the config of my home machine. Thanks in advance for sharing
your thoughts.

Cheers.



Motherboard Properties:
Motherboard ID
04/07/2004-RS300-SB200-P4R800VC-00
Motherboard Name Asus P4R800-V Deluxe

Front Side Bus Properties:
Bus Type Intel NetBurst
Bus Width 64-bit
Real Clock 133 MHz (QDR)
Effective Clock 533 MHz
Bandwidth 4266 MB/s

Memory Bus Properties:
Bus Type DDR SDRAM
Bus Width 64-bit

Memory Module Properties:
Serial Number None
Module Size 512 MB (2 rows, 4
banks)
Module Type Unbuffered
Memory Type DDR SDRAM
Memory Speed PC2700 (166 MHz)
Module Width 64 bit
Module Voltage SSTL 2.5
Error Detection Method None
Refresh Rate Reduced (7.8 us),
Self-Refresh

Memory Timings:
@ 166 MHz 2.5-3-3-7
(CL-RCD-RP-RAS)
@ 133 MHz 2.0-3-3-6
(CL-RCD-RP-RAS)

CPU Properties:
CPU Type Intel Pentium 4
CPU Alias Northwood, A80532
CPU Stepping C1
Engineering Sample No
CPUID CPU Name Intel(R) Pentium(R)
4 CPU 2.53GHz
CPUID Revision 00000F27h

CPU Speed:
CPU Clock 2539.02 MHz
(original: 2533 MHz)
CPU Multiplier 19.0x
CPU FSB 133.63 MHz
(original: 133 MHz)
Memory Bus 0.00 MHz

CPU Cache:
L1 Trace Cache 12K Instructions
L1 Data Cache 8 KB
L2 Cache 512 KB (On-Die,
ECC, ATC, Full-Speed)

Motherboard Properties:
Motherboard ID
04/07/2004-RS300-SB200-P4R800VC-00
Motherboard Name Asus P4R800-V Deluxe
(5 PCI, 1 AGP, 1 WiFi, 4 DDR DIMM, Audio, Video, Gigabit LAN, IEEE-1394)

Chipset Properties:
Motherboard Chipset ATI Radeon 9100 IGP
CAS Latency (CL) 2T

SPD Memory Modules:
DIMM1 512 MB PC2700 DDR
SDRAM (2.5-3-3-7 @ 166 MHz) (2.0-3-3-6 @ 133 MHz)
DIMM2: Micron Tech. 8VDDT1664AG-335B4 128 MB PC2700 DDR
SDRAM (2.5-3-3-7 @ 166 MHz) (2.0-3-3-6 @ 133 MHz)

BIOS Properties:
System BIOS Date 04/07/04
Video BIOS Date 04/02/11
Award BIOS Type Phoenix - Award BIOS
v6.00PG
Award BIOS Message ASUS P4R800-V DELUXE
ACPI BIOS Rev. 1008
DMI BIOS Version ASUS P4R800-V DELUXE
ACPI BIOS Rev. 1008

Graphics Processor Properties:
Video Adapter ATI Radeon 9000/9100
IGP Chipset -
GPU Code Name RS300 (AGP 8x 1002
/ 5834, Rev 00)
GPU Clock 301 MHz (original:
300 MHz)
 
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T

Tekmanx

As I suggested earlier. At least 1.5gb if you're going to do photo
editing and run your system with all those applications open. 1gb will
work fine. I'm telling you man, you're running out of memory with all
those stuff open.. you still didn't tell us your peak memory usage,
therefore we still can't fully diagnose the problem. I gave you a
thorough explanation in the other post. The only reason why I wasn't
100% sure of a solution for you yet was because I was thinking that you
had 1gb of memory already, I'm 99% percent sure upgrading that memory
will help man.

As for what exactly to buy memory-wise, I would say since you already
have that pc2700 512mb in place just add a 1gb stick of pc2700. There's
only.. 67mhz difference in speeds between the pc3200 and pc2700. This
difference I guarantee you will not be noticeable.

As for the hard drive upgrade, I do not consider this a must. See if
you get more memory there will be no need to swap stuff in and out of
your page file (Hard drive space). Your system only resorts to a hard
drive as a storage medium after it runs out of memory. Remember the
illustration I gave you at first... your memory is like your work desk.
When you run out of workspace on your desk at work what do you do? Swap
the new item with another off your desktop (A relatively slow process)

Tekmanx
 
M

Michael C

Tekmanx said:
As for what exactly to buy memory-wise, I would say since you already
have that pc2700 512mb in place just add a 1gb stick of pc2700. There's
only.. 67mhz difference in speeds between the pc3200 and pc2700. This
difference I guarantee you will not be noticeable.

I agree with everything you've said except it would be better to get a
pc3200 because they are the same price, will work fine with the PC2700 and
may be of use in the future if upgrading the motherboard. At the very least
it will be worth more if sold on its own.

Michael
 
K

kony

I have a PC with Asus P4R800-V Deluxe MoBo, Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU
2.53GHz, currently PC2700 512MB RAM, Dell 19" LCD 1905FP.

Problem:
My current PC is slow when I switch windows and slow to launch
programs. I must admit that I have a lot of background processes running,
but I want to run those. I have image management software, running alongside
iTunes, alongside Firefox with several windows open and a few more
applications.

Well, if ANY of those are running at an improper priority
level, you're either going to have to stop using them or
nothing will help. Open task manager and see what's using
CPU %. While in Task Manager (after having used system
extensively for a few hours) note the peak memory
utilization.

Solution I am trying:
Now, I am wondering if I can speed up my machine some by
adding a 1GB PC3200 memory module (single bank or two banks?), may be adding
a SATA HDD if that might help.

My questions:
1. Should I add PC2700 RAM or PC3200 1GM RAM bank? If
you advice PC3200, should I use the existing PC2700 memory bank also or
should I simply stop using the current RAM?

Get PC3200, CAS2.5 or CAS2, not CAS3. There is no valid
reason to get PC2700 today, as it's not even any cheaper at
many places.

2. Should I add a SATA hard drive?


Do you need more storage space?
If so, how much speed
benefit might that provide?

Practically none. SATA is no faster in typical uses than
PATA, because the internal transfer speeds are still the
same. In select benchmarks SATA can sometimes look
marginally faster, but that's not a typical system use.

I am thinking that a SATA drive might help cut
the program load time.

Yes and no. SATA has nothing to do with it, but if your
drive is older, OR if you have it pretty full so files are
loading from the slower inner tracks, then a newer larger
drive (and/or partitioning off your present drive to keep
all used files nearer the outer tracks) will help some with
load times and paging. It wouldn't help with the lag you
report when switching between already open windows though,
presuming you are going to upgrade the memory- that is the
first step, do that (assuming Task Manager shows you're near
your physical memory limits) and then determine if there's
any further lag. The lag when switching windows should be
tackled first, as lack of memory can also slow down
launching new programs- especially if you leave the system
on and are RElaunching them, which is multiple times faster
if the files are already cached in memory.
 
T

Tekmanx

The main reason I suggested him stay with pc2700 is because he already
has two other sticks that are pc2700.. would be cheaper to by 1gb of
pc2700 and add to his 512mb pc2700 as apposed to buying 1.5gb of
pc3200...Let him look up the prices, he'll see what I'm talking about.
You can get 1.5gb of pc3200 for no less than $180.. 1gb of pc2700 -$80.
C'mon guys, he doesn't need to spend so much more.. especially after he
posted that he's trying to make his money stretch.

The difference between 1gb of pc3200 and 1gb of pc2700.. 67mhz..
-barely- noticeable. If I was building a fresh new pc.. sure I would go
pc3200 if my budget permits, but if I already have pc2700 memory to
peer up with it.. I'm going pc2700.

By the way, I wouldn't put 512mb in my parent's pc. When the system
boots almost half of your memory is being used from the get go.. check
it out for yourself.

About your CPU? If you aren't pleased after adding, at the least,
another 512mb pc2700 I'll purchase it.

Tekmanx
 
K

kony

The main reason I suggested him stay with pc2700 is because he already
has two other sticks that are pc2700.. would be cheaper to by 1gb of
pc2700 and add to his 512mb pc2700 as apposed to buying 1.5gb of
pc3200...

It is simply a choice to buy 1GB of PC3200. There is no
need to buy 1.5GB, it will work with the existing memory.
Let him look up the prices, he'll see what I'm talking about.
You can get 1.5gb of pc3200 for no less than $180.. 1gb of pc2700 -$80.
C'mon guys, he doesn't need to spend so much more.. especially after he
posted that he's trying to make his money stretch.

You really should learn a bit more about memory before
making suggestions.

The difference between 1gb of pc3200 and 1gb of pc2700.. 67mhz..
-barely- noticeable. If I was building a fresh new pc.. sure I would go
pc3200 if my budget permits, but if I already have pc2700 memory to
peer up with it.. I'm going pc2700.

Then you're be wrong. PC3200 is simply the same thing as
PC2700 but a higher spec, meaning it's guaranteed to also
run at a faster speed, giving a higher margin of stability
and more potential for reuse. It's a win-win situation any
way you look at it.

By the way, I wouldn't put 512mb in my parent's pc. When the system
boots almost half of your memory is being used from the get go.. check
it out for yourself.

You might consider getting the OS optimized then, as it
shouldn't need 256MB memory for the OS on a home PC even
with WinXP. 512MB is quite sufficient for the most common
uses of a system. If someone has more advanced uses, those
specific uses will dictate how much memory to add. It's
pointless to just suggest "add more" without knowing why.
While it's easy for some to exceed 512MB in use, it's easy
for others not to.
 
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G

GT

Michael C said:
I agree with everything you've said except it would be better to get a
pc3200 because they are the same price, will work fine with the PC2700 and
may be of use in the future if upgrading the motherboard. At the very
least it will be worth more if sold on its own.

But note that it will slow down to run at the lowest common speed until you
remove the slower RAM.

Make sure you match the CAS latency timings etc. of different types of RAM
too.
 
T

Tekmanx

Maybe I should go ahead and paste all that I meantioned from another
post by this same guy.

"
I agree with kony. The video card will not help. In reference to your
photo editing/memory usage ordeal, I suggest you opening the max amount
of images you use and checking the memory usage.

Case and Point
--------------------------
I use photoshop (Photoshop Cs2) here myself and notice that it uses, to
be exact 63.7mb of memory without any images loaded. Next I open a
1.2mb file. Quickly I notice the peak usage goes up to 90.7mb. Run a
quick mosaic filter and already I have 108.4mb in use. Now think about
this.. I'm not a professional photo editor, but I picture one to have
at least 3-5 images open at peak while editing one main image in the
foreground with tons of effect/adjustments in use. Photoshop holds all
of the different states in the history bar. I'm not too sure but I
think if you create a snapshot in the history bar after a lot of
editing and have the old edit points removed you will free up some
memory at the expense of losing those old history checkpoints. Now,
Windows Xp Pro, in my case, on idle boot uses 190mb-220mb. This is all
assuming you are using the same OS version and photo editing program
that I am. You would have.. I'm guessing 500mb-700mb in use at peak?
Let's add to the dish, say you have three browser open surfing your
favorite royalty free image site. I've seen pages use up to 100mb.. as
a matter of fact this very page (Without images!) uses about 50mb of
memory. What do we have now? I'm guessing 800mb-1024mb(Which is your
memory limit!).

Ok I didn't mean to scare you there, but this is not an every day
scenario. It just may be exactly what's going on when you take long to
swap between windows, your system is taking something off your
desk(Memory) and putting it in the drawer(HD). This I might add is too
slow for me as a geek!

End note - 'I' would upgrade to at least 1.5gb of memory.
"

Tekmanx
 
T

Tekmanx

I'm not going to argue with you kony, yes his pc will "work" with his
existing 512mb, but look at the little bench mark I posted above. He
didn't ask for a "working pc", he asked if he can get it faster. I mean
If you object to me again, I'd say it's just an opional difference. Let
him see for himself by using task manager jus thow much photoshop uses
with three images opened along with three web browsers at a site with
images. Let's not get into the maintenance that will be needed to keep
the spyware level down. Remember, not every user is a power user like
you kony, he wants room to move around..he's not gonna hack the space
he already has to make room.

Don't forget to post that memory usage info msim.

Tekmanx
 
M

msim

Thank you folks! You have been extremely helpful.

I will go ahead and purchase a 1GB RAM bank. And as per what you have
advised I may as well purchase a PC3200 because it is backward
compatible and no more expensive in most cases.

I saw a Corsair 1GB RAM bank at newegg.

Two more quick questions before I hit the submit button :).

1. I am inclined to buy a single 1GB RAM bank. Any pros and cons when
compared to two 512MB RAM banks? Also, is it likely that I will not be
able to put my existing 512MB RAM bank on the second RAM slot when the
first slot has the 1GB module?
2. What is the difference between 3 CAS and 2.5 CAS?
 
M

msim

Hey thanks guys for investing the time! I am wondering now as to where
I post the memory usage info from. I can see it in the task manager,
but posting it is going to be complex. I think you both might be saying
the same thing. i.e. buy 1GB of RAM, use the existing 512 MB as well
and that makes for 1.5GB. The other thing that I gleaned is that I buy
1GB of PC3200 RAM and pair it with PC2700. Yes it will work slower but
then I can either spend more and get 1.5GB of PC3200 or make the 1GB of
PC3200 that I buy, work slower.

Unfortunately, I think my current memory modules are working at 166MHZ
as opposed to what I had expected to be 333MHZ. I think I saw this in
the CPUz software readout. Wondering if I can fix that!?

I have two RAM choices to decide between. Oh these complexities!!

Capacity 1GB (2 x 512MB)
Speed DDR 400 (PC 3200)
Cas Latency 2.5
Voltage 2.5V
ECC No
Registered/Unbuffered Unbuffered

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145440

OR

Capacity 1GB
Speed DDR 400 (PC 3200)
Cas Latency 3
ECC No
Registered/Unbuffered Unbuffered
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145505
 
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G

GT

msim said:
Thank you folks! You have been extremely helpful.

I will go ahead and purchase a 1GB RAM bank. And as per what you have
advised I may as well purchase a PC3200 because it is backward
compatible and no more expensive in most cases.

I saw a Corsair 1GB RAM bank at newegg.

Two more quick questions before I hit the submit button :).

1. I am inclined to buy a single 1GB RAM bank. Any pros and cons when
compared to two 512MB RAM banks? Also, is it likely that I will not be
able to put my existing 512MB RAM bank on the second RAM slot when the
first slot has the 1GB module?
2. What is the difference between 3 CAS and 2.5 CAS?

I currently have 2GB of pc2700 in my PX. 1GB in slot 1 and a pair of 512MB
sticks in slot 2 and 3. So you can mix and match sizes and speeds (512MB
pc2700 + 1GB pc3200 would run as 1.5GB of pc2700), but you have to make sure
that the CAS timings on all your RAM modules are the same. Normal is CAS
2.5, fast is CAS 2 and slow is CAS 3. So check what timings you have now and
choose matching modules. Hopefully someone else will reply to confirm this??
 
T

Tekmanx

If you're asking about the possibility of running both pc3200 and
pc2700. I dunno man, in my experience it's a low chance. It has worked
before, the overall speed being that of the slowest stick. But it's
unlikely that it will work. I haven't tried "mix matching" much. Maybe
someone else can help here more.

As for how to buy your memory 2x512mb or just 1x1gb. If you have a dual
channel motherboard go for the 2x512mb. They say dual channel suppose
to help a lot, but I haven't exactly seen a big difference, but hey..
doesn't it sound good to be dual channel? Same price as one stick
right? Go dual channel if your board offers it.

How to give us your peak memory usage? Open up a few programs, that
which you normally use when you notice the slowdown. Then in task
manager, under your performance tab it will say how much memory is
being used at the bottom where it says "Physical Memory" You should get
three readouts..

Tekmanx
 
G

GT

msim said:
Hey thanks guys for investing the time! I am wondering now as to where
I post the memory usage info from. I can see it in the task manager,
but posting it is going to be complex. I think you both might be saying
the same thing. i.e. buy 1GB of RAM, use the existing 512 MB as well
and that makes for 1.5GB. The other thing that I gleaned is that I buy
1GB of PC3200 RAM and pair it with PC2700. Yes it will work slower but
then I can either spend more and get 1.5GB of PC3200 or make the 1GB of
PC3200 that I buy, work slower.

Unfortunately, I think my current memory modules are working at 166MHZ
as opposed to what I had expected to be 333MHZ. I think I saw this in
the CPUz software readout. Wondering if I can fix that!?

I have two RAM choices to decide between. Oh these complexities!!

Capacity 1GB (2 x 512MB)
Speed DDR 400 (PC 3200)
Cas Latency 2.5
Voltage 2.5V
ECC No
Registered/Unbuffered Unbuffered

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145440

OR

Capacity 1GB
Speed DDR 400 (PC 3200)
Cas Latency 3
ECC No
Registered/Unbuffered Unbuffered
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145505

DDR memory means Double Data Rate (ie 2x clock speed) so if the bus is
running at 166MHz, there will be 2 memory cycles per clock tick, so it is
effectively running at 333MHz. I would personally try to get a single 1GB
module of the fastest (PC3200 etc) memory you can find that matches your
existing module's CAS timing. There is nothing wrong with 2x 512, other than
future expansion.
 
G

GT

Tekmanx said:
If you're asking about the possibility of running both pc3200 and
pc2700. I dunno man, in my experience it's a low chance. It has worked
before, the overall speed being that of the slowest stick. But it's
unlikely that it will work. I haven't tried "mix matching" much. Maybe
someone else can help here more.

Mixing speeds is fine - all will just run at the lowest speed. The PC rating
is the fastest speed at which it will run stably - view it as a maximim, but
watch those CAS timings. You don't want to be mixing those!
As for how to buy your memory 2x512mb or just 1x1gb. If you have a dual
channel motherboard go for the 2x512mb. They say dual channel suppose
to help a lot, but I haven't exactly seen a big difference, but hey..
doesn't it sound good to be dual channel? Same price as one stick
right? Go dual channel if your board offers it.

How to give us your peak memory usage? Open up a few programs, that
which you normally use when you notice the slowdown. Then in task
manager, under your performance tab it will say how much memory is
being used at the bottom where it says "Physical Memory" You should get
three readouts..

A simple test to find out of you don't have enough RAM - if your hard disk
starts thrashing when you open applications / documents, then you have run
out of memory and it is using the swap file for RAM. That's when things get
slooooow.
 
T

Tekmanx

If you're asking about the possibility of running both pc3200 and
pc2700. I dunno man, in my experience it's a low chance. It has worked
before, the overall speed being that of the slowest stick. But it's
unlikely that it will work. I haven't tried "mix matching" much. Maybe
someone else can help here more.

As for how to buy your memory 2x512mb or just 1x1gb. If you have a dual
channel motherboard go for the 2x512mb. They say dual channel suppose
to help a lot, but I haven't exactly seen a big difference, but hey..
doesn't it sound good to be dual channel? Same price as one stick
right? Go dual channel if your board offers it.

Ps. You still haven't posted your peak memory usage!

Tekmanx
 
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K

kony

If you're asking about the possibility of running both pc3200 and
pc2700. I dunno man, in my experience it's a low chance. It has worked
before, the overall speed being that of the slowest stick. But it's
unlikely that it will work. I haven't tried "mix matching" much. Maybe
someone else can help here more.

It's the same memory.
I mean it, literally. PC3200 is simply guaranteed to ALSO
be able to run at the faster speed. It is not "200MHz"
memory per se, that is simply the _upper_ limit of what it's
guaranteed to do. It's a bit like buying racing tires for
your car then thinking you could ONLY drive at 130MPH.
 
M

msim

Will do the peak memory readout. I think I come very close to 80-90%
usage of 512+128MB of RAM that I currently have.

May be I should read about what dual channel means. I think I have a
dual channel capable motherboard. Will confirm. It is an Asus
P4R800V-Deluxe.

So I hear you saying that if I have a dual channel compatible Mobo then
I should go for 512x2. I was prefering a 1GB because then in any future
system if I were to use it, it would consume only 1 slot. No big deal.

Thanks!
 
P

Pen

msim said:
Hey thanks guys for investing the time! I am wondering now
as to where
I post the memory usage info from. I can see it in the
task manager,
but posting it is going to be complex. I think you both
might be saying
the same thing. i.e. buy 1GB of RAM, use the existing 512
MB as well
and that makes for 1.5GB. The other thing that I gleaned
is that I buy
1GB of PC3200 RAM and pair it with PC2700. Yes it will
work slower but
then I can either spend more and get 1.5GB of PC3200 or
make the 1GB of
PC3200 that I buy, work slower.

Unfortunately, I think my current memory modules are
working at 166MHZ
as opposed to what I had expected to be 333MHZ. I think I
saw this in
the CPUz software readout. Wondering if I can fix that!?

I have two RAM choices to decide between. Oh these
complexities!!

Capacity 1GB (2 x 512MB)
Speed DDR 400 (PC 3200)
Cas Latency 2.5
Voltage 2.5V
ECC No
Registered/Unbuffered Unbuffered

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145440

OR

Capacity 1GB
Speed DDR 400 (PC 3200)
Cas Latency 3
ECC No
Registered/Unbuffered Unbuffered
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145505

Your memory is DDR, 166x2=332. DDR has 2 accesses per clock
cycle,
therefore the buss speed is half of the quoted memory speed.
 
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M

msim

Cool. That explains some. So 166 is not a problem.

I am guessing that the PC3200 i.e. 400Mhz can also cruise at 333 i.e.
166 MHz. Is that not confusing!
Sounds like I have straightened this out now. Will report once I get
the memory that I order...
 

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