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Office PC Question

By NumberCruncher ยท 32 replies
Sep 15, 2017
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  1. In an office PC that will be used for word processing and internet use (database research), am I correct to assume that what contribute to user perception of speed would be single core speed, memory band width, and data I/O speed? So theoretically, a multicore cpu with high clock speed, fast ram, and a SSD would give the user the best experience. Basic graphics would all that would be needed. So a system with 6 to 16 threads i7 or Ryzen, Nvme SSD, and 8-16gb of fast DDR4 ram would give the best user experience, all things considered. Any thoughts?
     
  2. HardReset

    HardReset TS Maniac Posts: 495   +150

    For basic use, you can manage with basic components. I doubt you'll need 16 thread CPU so something basic like Ryzen 3 + NVME (or SATA, it just needs to be SSD one) drive is good enough. Considering how expensive RAM is right now, I'd take cheap RAM.
     
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,995   +934

    Using whatever you already have, right-click Computer->Properties
    on the lower left ->Performance Info & Tools

    The numbers give some relative values & the interesting part is the relationships between the components.
    Like the weakest link in the chain, the poorest component becomes the overall limiting factor.

    Personally, my integrated video chip really drags my laptop performance.

    The other side of the coin is the mix of tasks being run concurrently. Some programs are heavy in computation and light on I/O while some others are just the inverse.
     
  4. NumberCruncher

    NumberCruncher TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 35   +15

    I will look at that, thank you.
     
  5. NumberCruncher

    NumberCruncher TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 35   +15

    What actually brought this on was I was working on a document in Word 2016 (required). Along with Word, I have two other helper programs running, along with Win10P64, browser (with several tabs), security program, and other misc items. The machine I was using was a i5-6500, 16gb, 256gb nvme ssd(Samsung). When I started reviewing the documents with the helper programs it slowed to a crawl. My main home PC flies through that process, i7k, 16gb, SSD. I am going to start working on my dissertation and do not want it on the "family pc" for obvious reasons, accidentally getting corrupted. So I am building a PC just to do it with. The i5 choking on that really surprised me. That's why, I mentioned the larger number of threads to avoid the slowdown and making sure it would be efficient. Thanks for your reply!
     
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,995   +934

    Threading is not under our control -- the program is/is not built with threads. Threads are marginally effective within an application, but very effective in Server apps, like a web server. Our client machines see benefits when we have several programs running at the same time OR multiple tabs open in the browser.

    So called 'Helper' applications - - I hate'm and try to do w/o as much as possible as THESES frequently create your symptom, slow response times and throughput. IMO, disable as many as possible - - also disable as many plug-ins and addons as possible in your browser. Quit all apps, reboot and try your workload again.

    btw: Which antivirus programs are you running?
     
  7. NumberCruncher

    NumberCruncher TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 35   +15

    Norton Internet Security
     
  8. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,995   +934

    May I suggest you discontinue that and use Avast! Free, as it scans both your Email and browser web links as you click them. I Gave up on Norton Y E A R S ago.
     
    bazz2004 likes this.
  9. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,582   +248

    Just about any Windows PC will handle applications like Microsoft Word effortlessly so building a PC to do a dissertation is overkill. There should be no concerns about your dissertation getting corrupted. That's taken care of by backing up regularly to an external source such as a USB stick from a reputable manufacturer. They are cheap as chips these days - I've got about six of them. Follow up jobeard's suggestion and change your AV software. You've a massive choice of free solutions available to download but Windows Defender is fine with Windows 10. Ensure you only have one such piece of software running or you are likely to have issues.
     
  10. NumberCruncher

    NumberCruncher TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 35   +15

    The problem that I am running into is that with the i5 is that when I run the formatting and reviewing applications in sync with Word it slows to a crawl, but with the i7 it doesn't. That is why I feel the more threads might be the difference.
     
  11. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,582   +248

    I use Office regularly browsing at the same time with really old hardware running Windows 10 and also occasionally with an ancient desktop running XP. The systems really fly with such an easy load so there must be something wrong. You mention formatting and reviewing software that you are running at the same time. I've no idea what you are talking about so post back with details of these programs. You called them "helper" programs but maybe they aren't.
     
  12. NumberCruncher

    NumberCruncher TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 35   +15

    Sure, Grammarly Premium and Prowriting Aid. Like I said on the i7 it flies, just on the i5-6500 it slows to a crawl.
     
  13. NumberCruncher

    NumberCruncher TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 35   +15

    I will clear up the reason I am building the separate PC is that when I am working on the disseration, I do not want disturbed by other family members wanting to use the PC, this way that is eliminated. Also, have back up plan in place for the files :)
     
  14. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,582   +248

    Thanks for explaining what those helper programs are. I didn't know such software existed. In the olden days you'd concentrate on assembling the content before tidying up the grammar and spelling. It seems you can now do it all at the same time. Good luck with the new computer project.
     
  15. NumberCruncher

    NumberCruncher TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 35   +15

    Yes, but it has it's downsides also. At the graduate level there is no tolerance. An error can ruin your grade on an assignment, because they expect you to use them. I pretty much do it like you describe and then go back and clean it up. That's why I am so finicky about the speed. The price difference compared to the time savings is quite minimized. Thanks for your replies.
     
  16. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,582   +248

    No problem. You've probably done this already but if you reference the Processes tab in Task Manager while you are running those programs you'll see what is going on. The extra programs must be very demanding.
     
  17. Verrm

    Verrm TS Member Posts: 39   +17

    For office use I think I'd get:
    Intel CPU with 4 threads and integrated graphics - a perfect example is intel i3 7100
    120gb nvme ssd just for basic applications and OS
    HDD with capacity I'd expect I'll need (minimum 1TB)
    2x8GB DDR4-2400mhz RAM sticks (8gb is easily eaten by too many browser tabs with youtubes etc)
    Basic H170 motherboard
    Basic CPU cooler
    Basic closed mATX/ATX case + additional fans to have 1x intake and 1x exhaust
    Middle-class 350-450W PSU (for example from EVGA or Corsair)
    Basic TN panel 22"-24" panoramic monitor
    Basic TN panel 19" 4:3 monitor for document editing (or 16:9 but flipped vertically)

    Edit: I just saw you are worried about slowdowns when multitasking - you can always buy a Ryzen 1400 CPU + B320 mobo + used cheap garbage gpu. No need to buy expensive i7 cpus.
     
  18. NumberCruncher

    NumberCruncher TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 35   +15

    Thanks for the reply Vern. I have a i7 machine that has no issue, and access to a i5-6500 system that chokes on the Word 16 w addins. Just looking for ideas why it is choking.
     
  19. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,995   +934

    IMO, it's the add-ins - - never needed them myself and I'm on a laptop !
     
  20. NumberCruncher

    NumberCruncher TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 35   +15

    University required addins.
     
  21. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,995   +934

    OUCH! Parochial to say the least. It's one thing to have a curriculum, syllabus and required work, but to mandate the tools - - at your level? W O W.
     
  22. Verrm

    Verrm TS Member Posts: 39   +17

    Addins to office suite are mostly resource-hungry because they are not optimized and badly coded. It is not your fault nor your cpu's fault. Similar story is with games, for example PUBG is widely popular but astonishingly badly optimized. You'll have to work with tools that you have.

    Coming back to the source question of how to improve - it is hard to answer. If the addins are sensitive to clock speeds of cpu or sensitive to amount of threads... we probably don't know. I think a good choice in your situation would be ryzen 5 1600 overclocked to 3.8 - 3.9ghz. You'll have best of both worlds and this cpu is a beast in price-to-performance ratio. Good luck!
     
  23. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,582   +248

    What about installing extra ram? 32 bit Windows will only work with 3.2Gb out of 4Gb installed but with 64 bit Windows you can stick in unbelievable amounts of ram. I've read that there is no massive difference for most users with i5 versus i7, apart from spending more money, so extra ram might be useful. In the case of my ancient hardware extra ram always gave a big boost to performance.
     
  24. Kevin Schmidt

    Kevin Schmidt TS Member Posts: 39   +8

    I'm having hard time believing an recent i5 is having an issue here. Especially with 16GB. Have you looked at CPU usage while using the PC normally? Maybe 4C/4T isn't enough which would explain why your i7 works. That or the i5 PC has another issue that is hindering it's performance.
     
    bazz2004 likes this.
  25. NumberCruncher

    NumberCruncher TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 35   +15

    Kevin,
    The two extra programs that are running within MS Word are taking up too much of the cpu time when using the i5. With the i7 and the extra threads it isn't an issue. With the i5, I can use Word by itself and everything's fine, then use the editing software individually afterwards and that works ok. The price difference between an i5 and i7 is not worth all of the extra time that is wasted doing it that way. I have a friend that is bringing his Ryzen 7 system over this weekend, so I can see how that works. Thanks or the reply
     

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