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Speed Issues - Would appreciate help

By korrupt ยท 9 replies
Jun 19, 2006
  1. Hi everyone,

    I have a pc which is getting kinda slow, and I don't have a lot of money to spend so I am looking for the most effective method of speeding it up, here are some specs to show you:

    Processor : 2.6ghz Celeron
    Graphics: Nvidia GeForce fx 5200 128mb
    RAM: 512mb DDR
    HDD: 10GB Master, 200GB Slave, 80GB external

    What would be the most efficient way of speeding it up? I use it mainly for gaming and browsing the net.

    I would appreciate any help any one can give and look forward to your reply,


  2. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    What is the motherboard? is that 10GB 7200 rpm or 5400rpm? celeron processors are poor choices for gaming.
  3. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    Bumping up your graphics card (as a SINGLE upgrade) would do wonders.

    But as iss said, Celeron is no good, jump to a strait P4 if possible, and bump your RAM to a gig.

    Plus sometimes it is good to just reload your PC, start from scratch, get all the latest drivers up front. If your system has been running 4 years without a reload, it may help as well.
  4. korrupt

    korrupt TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 716

    Thanks for your reply,

    I belief the 10gb is 5400Rpm but am not sure, how could I check?

    I have also already reformatted my pc less than 2 months ago. I realise Celeron is a poor choice, but the gaming is not really the problem - that goes fine, it is just general use. If I use several programs at the same time it really slows it up.

    I can upgrade to 1gb of ram for $40USD but a good p4 processor is around $200USD isnt it? Would another 512mb RAM make any difference?


  5. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    Boot up your PC (a "fresh" start, as they say). Wait for all the programs to finish loading.
    Next open up a couple programs that you have open most of the time. Like IE, E-mail client, etc...

    Once this is done, press CTRL-SHIFT-ESC which brings up Task Manager. Click on the Performance tab. In the 'Physical Memory' box you will have 'Total' which is all the RAM available to Windows. And 'Available' which is what is available NOW. That is, what's left. You will always show as much as 20-50mb here, because Windows HAS to keep some free RAM. So if your number is this low, you are likely out of RAM, and an upgrade will help.
    Look in the 'Commit Charge' box and look at 'Total'. This is how much RAM is being used NOW, with all the open programs. If it is pretty close to your physical memory total, then you need more RAM.
    If you have, say, 150mb to 300mb still free, well you aren't out of RAM yet. Though you probably would be when a game is loaded. A gig is pretty standard these days.

    As for the hard drive, you can look on the phsical drive itself, it usualy says, or look up its model number online. Or to get the model, go into Device Manager under Disk Drives and see what it's called. Then look that up.

    A Celeron is still going to slow you down during multitasking because of the lower cache. General use or games, it just plain isn't going to run as good as a P4. That is if you have a P4 Celeron and not a P3 Celeron. Whatever the case may be, getting the real Pentium would be better. Check www.newegg.com and www.zipzoomfly.com for prices.

    And if your hard drive is 5400rpm, it would be good to reload again onto the faster hard drive, that may be significant.

    Hope that helps.
  6. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    I agree. celeron is a poor choice for gamers and an even worse choice for people that like to multitask.
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    there's just no substitute for I/O performance, especially when there's only one HD --
    both data and paging on the same device is a real bottleneck.

    HD performance factors in order of impact:
    1: seek time (without cache)
    2: latency (ie rotational delay)
    3: data transfer time
    The easiest to improve is (2) - buy higher rpm drives 10,000 > 7200 > 5400.
    Also look for the number of heads; more the better.

    Subtile issue is partitioning. Very useful for all kinds of reasons, but it will
    impact performance by yanking the hd arm long distances to access data
    in another partition. Seek time is 10x or more than latency so this really hurts!
  8. korrupt

    korrupt TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 716

    Thanks for your reply,

    So the best and most efficient way is to reformat and put windows on one of my 7200 rpm hdds? As well as possibly add some RAM if I'm out? I am not planning to upgrade to a p4 processor yet because they are still quite expensive and I CAN live with the slower speed.

    I really appreciate your reply, thanks for your help,


  9. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    I don't think the P4s are going to go down in price any time soon, as with all the new stuff, and not being manufactured anymore, prices may go up as they get more rare. Such as with the regular Athlon series. Now you gotta pay out the ear to get Athlon, we're stuck with Sempron now.

    Anyhoo, I wouldn't expect P4 prices to go down. Limit your upgrades to a decent budget, then just save up for the switch to 64 bit computing.
  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    RAM and HD are the primary factors for good performance. A good BUSS speed
    and architecture are also, but unless you swap the MOBO, you can't effect that
    at this time.
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