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wierdscience
07-14-2008, 12:52 AM
Does a computer's speed degrade over time even if it's original amount of stored data decreases?

Reason I ask is my mom's Vista machine began the time honored traditon of crashing repeatedly.After scanning for viruses and malware both of which it had and I removed it still ran slower than it did new out of the box.After cleaning up and deleting some never used software it was essentially back to factory trim.Still ran slow,I finally gave up,saved what I wanted and did a clean reinstall.That created a windows.old file which I scanned over and deleted.

That took care of all the errors and slow page times,but applications were still slower than factory.End result was I added more RAM,obvious fix since it was only running 512mb.Put in 1gb,vast improvement for sure and I am satisfied.

Still wondering though if it was me,Vista,Dell or the memory itself that was dropping off?

Oh BTW,I was going to buy the memory at the local big box,but I decided to try the local scratch and dent store first.Found the last DDR2-PC2-5300 for $6 and a couple or four Intel Desktop Board D946GZIS'S for $40,did I pay too much??:rolleyes:

lazlo
07-14-2008, 01:06 AM
The CPU is definitely not slowing down, if that's what you're asking. If it's a laptop, it will speed-throttle the CPU down if it's unplugged from the wall, but that's not what you're talking about.

When a CPU is at it's end of life, the failure mode is usually trace thinning from electromigration. That exhibits itself as spontaneous blue- and black-screens.

It sounds like you've got an OS configuration issue. Have you turned on some service (like the file search indexing service) that wasn't enabled out of the box? Virus checking software will slow-down the machine too, as will something like Firefox with a ton of windows open. Firefox is a memory pig, so each tab you open consumes a lot of memory.

A couple of things you can do to track the slowness down: open up the task manager, and sort by CPU utilization. Watch it awhile as see what's typically at the top of the stack. Then sort by memory usage and do the same thing.

If that doesn't help, you my try the freeware app "ProcessLasso", which manages the process priorities of all the apps/dlls/services running on your machine, with the purpose of optimizing the interactive GUI response:

http://www.bitsum.com/prolasso.php

ckelloug
07-14-2008, 01:50 AM
Is this a filesystem that needs defragging or optimization? That can make a big difference on program start up times or at least it could on XP.

Also on Vista, if you turn off the fancy GUI stuff in control panel/system performance gets a lot better.

Fasttrack
07-14-2008, 01:59 AM
Hey this is an awsome thread! I'm pretty ignorant on computers, and I've always wondered...


One of the Comp-E's that I was talking to said that processors do slow with age, but not so much do to age as repeated heating and cooling. As the processor heats up, it obviously slows down, but according to this guy, those cycles had long term ill effects. Don't know if its true - he was just a sophmore comp-e ;) :D

I've got a "fat" computer at my parents house I've been working on speeding up. Its faster now, but still horribly slow. I'll follow Lazlo's advice and see what I can figure out. Alot of the issues on this computer was all the crap software that wasn't needed trying to start on start-up. You should have seen the processes tab - it was miles long! :)

wierdscience
07-14-2008, 02:15 AM
It's a Dell Dimension desktop.I automaticaly turn off anything I don't need,with Dell you don't get too much choice about the software package they give you.I wanted XP,but all they would give me was 32bit vista.I was actually pleased that it did not include MSword,I hate it so I don't miss it.

When you double click on a desktop icon it would hesitate for maybe three or four seconds,then open the application.The system config was the same as out of the box.I make sure to keep the browsr settings to dump temp files everytime it's closed and restore is locked out,never had a problem with spyware or cookies since I keep those cleaned out.All the sample pics and crappy music files are gone too.

My only other add on was Adaware SE,I unistalled it thinking maybe it wasn't Vista compatible,but that made no diffrence,I even checked my disc burner drivers.

I keep Norton and AVG on a disc,I know better than to keep those on the machine,they are like dragging an anchor.IE in Vista has some componenet in it that scans webpages and flags anything questionable,other than that it's clean of anti-virus software,come to think of it I guess they all do.

gnm109
07-14-2008, 02:52 AM
It's a Dell Dimension desktop.I automaticaly turn off anything I don't need,with Dell you don't get too much choice about the software package they give you.I wanted XP,but all they would give me was 32bit vista.I was actually pleased that it did not include MSword,I hate it so I don't miss it.

When you double click on a desktop icon it would hesitate for maybe three or four seconds,then open the application.The system config was the same as out of the box.I make sure to keep the browsr settings to dump temp files everytime it's closed and restore is locked out,never had a problem with spyware or cookies since I keep those cleaned out.All the sample pics and crappy music files are gone too.

My only other add on was Adaware SE,I unistalled it thinking maybe it wasn't Vista compatible,but that made no diffrence,I even checked my disc burner drivers.

I keep Norton and AVG on a disc,I know better than to keep those on the machine,they are like dragging an anchor.IE in Vista has some componenet in it that scans webpages and flags anything questionable,other than that it's clean of anti-virus software,come to think of it I guess they all do.


I have two Dells, both about a year old. One Vosro 1000 laptop and a Dimension 3100. I asked for and received WIN XP with each of them. Both are very quick.

Do you have IE7 with the phishing filter enabled? That will cause the three or four second wait when you change screens and websites. Other than that, I understand that Vista and IE7 are inherently slower due to their numerous security issues.

I know that there are lots of Vista OS's running but I've yet to hear many people rave about them. To date, it would be fair to say that Vista hasn't been well-received.

The other things mentioned are good to do - optimazation, defragging, removing excess files and programs all help.

I don't believe that CPU's slow down with age but the other issues mentioned can slow the computer.

Good luck.

Oldguy
07-14-2008, 03:45 AM
Might help to run Decrapifier and see if there are things install by Dell that you don't use or want.

Here's a link - http://pcdecrapifier.com/

Glenn

J Tiers
07-14-2008, 09:09 AM
Some issues that can slow the machine are things that are NOT there.....

I once had a machine that was lean and mean, as far as CPU speed and configuration, except that it was really really slow.

What I finally noticed was that it was set, apparently a default, to expect a network. Every time it did ANYTHING it was looking for that network, and waiting for the network to respond, or in that case, NOT respond.

When I set the thing to NOT expect a network, it magically got really fast.

Some of those things may be set in CMOS, so you might need to look there also.

And, malware may set things that are not good. The settings may persist through a complete re-load. Some malware is apparently almost non-removable.

And, of course, Vista is a complete pig. The very worst ever. I have a relative with a Vista machine, and it is really obnoxious to deal with.

Oh, yeah, memory problems can make the machine slow.... The wrong amount of virtual memory, a memory bank with bad locations, those can slow it down.

wierdscience
07-14-2008, 09:11 AM
I have two Dells, both about a year old. One Vosro 1000 laptop and a Dimension 3100. I asked for and received WIN XP with each of them. Both are very quick.

Do you have IE7 with the phishing filter enabled? That will cause the three or four second wait when you change screens and websites. Other than that, I understand that Vista and IE7 are inherently slower due to their numerous security issues.

I know that there are lots of Vista OS's running but I've yet to hear many people rave about them. To date, it would be fair to say that Vista hasn't been well-received.

The other things mentioned are good to do - optimazation, defragging, removing excess files and programs all help.

I don't believe that CPU's slow down with age but the other issues mentioned can slow the computer.

Good luck.

I don't remember anyone raving about any windows OS when if first came out:D

Vista is more complicated,not better that's one problem.The other is I believe it was rushed to market before it was ready.It wasn't compatible with anything when I first got it,Installing the printer software was a nightmare,though it seems to have gotten much better.

It seems to have 4 times the file load of my old WinMe system just in the OS,dunno what all that stuff is for.

So far though it looks like I have it whipped(knocking on wood)speed in general is much better and the delay is much less than 1 second now.

lazlo
07-14-2008, 12:49 PM
One of the Comp-E's that I was talking to said that processors do slow with age, but not so much do to age as repeated heating and cooling. As the processor heats up, it obviously slows down, but according to this guy, those cycles had long term ill effects.

A CPU can't slow down -- there's a precision internal clock, called the "PLL" that drives a very precise clock signal to all the components of the CPU. That clock signal is synchronized with the external bus and the chipset, so your DRAM's are synchronized with the CPU.

When a CPU thermal-throttles, or slows down for power management on a laptop, there's a complicated process where the CPU pauses all activity, resets and re-locks the PLL with the lower clock frequency, and then changes the gear ratio of the external to internal clocks so that the CPU remains synchronized with the chipset and DRAM.

It sounds like your friend is talking about electromigration -- the failure mode I mentioned in my first post. With increasingly smaller optical dimensions in photolithography, the electrical traces connecting the various components of the CPU are getting unbelievably thin. In a 45nm device (Penryn et al), the wire thicknesses range from 5 to 50 Angstroms. So the actual flow of electrons through the wire drags the copper molecules down the wire in the direction of the current flow. So the wire thins at the source, and eventually it just can't reliably transport a signal anymore. That's when you start getting random blue- and black-screen crashes.

By the way, overclocking greatly exaggerates the effects of electromigration. When the CPU chips are "bin-sorted" at the Fab for clock frequency, they're sorted by what frequency they'll run at for 7 years. If you overclock the CPU faster than that, you'll get a much shorter lifespan of the CPU.

lazlo
07-14-2008, 12:52 PM
Might help to run Decrapifier and see if there are things install by Dell that you don't use or want.

Here's a link - http://pcdecrapifier.com/

Decrapifier works great -- highly recommended. By the way, Decrapifier gets very conservative if you tell it that the machine is not fresh out of the box -- i.e., that you've been running it for awhile.

It works much better on a fresh install, where it's not afraid of deleting your stuff.