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Windows 7: poor performance on good hardware -- why?


31 Jul 2009   #1

Windows 7 build 7264
 
 
poor performance on good hardware -- why?

Hello guys!

I just bought a new computer the other week:

i7 920
12GB DDR3 RAM
EVGA X58 mobo
EVGA GTX285

I have Windows 7 (x64) build 7264 installed and encrypted on a 32GB SSD.
(I also have a 1TB drive for storage.)

I installed it about a week ago and lately it has been becoming sluggish and unresponsive at times. Mostly when loading webpages with lots of pictures or videos. I've tried 3 different browsers with the same result. When watching streaming video, it freezes randomly for a few seconds at a time when playing (but the video play bar shows that it's loaded way past the point where it freezes). I don't think it's my internet connection, because it's pretty fast (university) and I don't have these problems in ubuntu. Also, iTunes sometimes takes 5-10 seconds to gain window focus when I click on it.

I'm having trouble pinpointing where the problem lies. It's obviously not the memory. The processor does't seem to be under a heavy load (and it has 4 cores). Could it be the SSD somehow? It is one of the cheaper ones. My ubuntu installation is on the regular hd and works fine.

Thoughts/ideas/suggestions appreciated.

Thanks,
hoozey

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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31 Jul 2009   #2

XP Pro & Vista Home Premium (x86); Windows Ultimate 7600 x64 Retail
 
 

How much free space is on that SSD?
Is Hibernation turned on?
Where is the pagefile located? What is its size? Is it a fixed size or system controlled?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Jul 2009   #3

Windows 7 x64 Ultimate
 
 

Encrypted?Did you encrypt the entire boot drive? Bitlocker? Or some other whole drive encryption tool?I would have to think that that would slow things down quite a bit if so... all temp files DLed from web browsers and all virtual memory would slow down.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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01 Aug 2009   #4

Windows 7 build 7264
 
 

Right now there's roughly 3.5 GB of free space. Hibernation and virtual memory are both turned off because they filled up the disk and I don't really need them.

Yes, the entire drive is encrypted with truecrypt. From what I've read, the performance hit is barely noticable.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Aug 2009   #5

XP Pro & Vista Home Premium (x86); Windows Ultimate 7600 x64 Retail
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by hoozey View Post
Right now there's roughly 3.5 GB of free space. Hibernation and virtual memory are both turned off because they filled up the disk and I don't really need them.

Yes, the entire drive is encrypted with truecrypt. From what I've read, the performance hit is barely noticable.
3.5 GB free is a little tight for my tastes. One A/V process could use that up in scratch files.


The Resource Monitor can be used to monitor disk activity (and everyting else)and isolate the processes using the most resources during the slow-downs. That could provide a clue.

Also, have you tried creating a fixed size paging file on the second hard drive just for testing. Say 4GB. Granted it should not be needed but maybe a recent software update does not know that.

Edit: I would also check the configuration settings for all the apps and ensure that any "temporary" or working storage locations are using folders located on the second HDD. This include the browser.

Signing off now. Good luck. Will check back in AM
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Aug 2009   #6

Windows 7 build 7264
 
 

Thanks Muad! I changed firefox's cache location to the other drive and now it's working beautifully!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Aug 2009   #7

XP Pro & Vista Home Premium (x86); Windows Ultimate 7600 x64 Retail
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by hoozey View Post
Thanks Muad! I changed firefox's cache location to the other drive and now it's working beautifully!


You will have to keep an eye on that SSD's free space. When I pondered getting one I came to the conclusion that, IMO, I needed one with 64GB or more just to avoid disk space headaches and any free space requirements for future upgrades.

Watch out for software updates as well. They sometimes reset the configuration settings, including storage locations, back to the defaults.

Happy computing!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Aug 2009   #8

W7 Pro 64
 
 

how do you handle installation of software? I mean 32 GB is enough for all the windows things (and having the page file on the fas SSd makes sense to me). but do you have all the applications installed on the HDD?

I think those needed speed up too. It takes along time to start AutoCAD etc. Or an Adobe suite takes tremendeous amounts of space (but woudl benefit from an SSD for sure). I know that is not your question here, but I think I would almsot need a 128 GB SSD to really speed up all applications (not going to happen any time soon unless I win the lottery)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Aug 2009   #9

XP Pro & Vista Home Premium (x86); Windows Ultimate 7600 x64 Retail
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
how do you handle installation of software? I mean 32 GB is enough for all the windows things (and having the page file on the fas SSd makes sense to me). but do you have all the applications installed on the HDD?

I think those needed speed up too. It takes along time to start AutoCAD etc. Or an Adobe suite takes tremendeous amounts of space (but woudl benefit from an SSD for sure). I know that is not your question here, but I think I would almsot need a 128 GB SSD to really speed up all applications (not going to happen any time soon unless I win the lottery)
If you have enough memory, and in his case - 12GB, Windows 7 will load apps into "Standby memory". The first disk hit, will cost performance-wise, but after that hard page faults (very bad thing) will be minimized. How much this will alleviate disk I/O depends on the app, the size of its scratch files, etc, etc. But having a fast SSD for the OS and a large memory reserve for apps is a nice combo.

On one of the first systems I designed and developed we used a RAMDISK for heavily overlaid apps to cut disk I/O. When the system was booted the initialization sequence included creating the RAMDISK and copying critical apps from the HDD to the RAMDISK. That was on a 16 bit architecture with a 32k WORD address space limitation. So believe me when I say "OVERLAID" applications. Same principle applies to Windows 7 and the prefetch. More memory = less HDD I/O when switching between apps/processes.

As the Moody Blues said in song.... it is a "Question Of Balance".
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Aug 2009   #10

Windows 7 build 7264
 
 

Yeah, I just have windows on the SSD, and install most of my programs on my larger drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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