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Windows 7: CPU or GPU bottleneck

14 Jun 2013   #1
oreo27

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Service Pack 1
 
 
CPU or GPU bottleneck

Hi Everyone,

My aunt came to me with this small problem:

She uses her desktop mainly for Facebook games and she's experiencing a lot of slowdowns lately. Upon checking it out, the CPU seems maxed out when opening Candy Crush or Pet Saga (Flash based games on Facebook). This is a system that has no video card. It uses the on board graphics (G41) of her Intel E5800.

Will installing a video card help in this case? Also, what's the cheapest you can get that can do just that? She's a bit tight on her budget


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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15 Jun 2013   #2
theveterans

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1
 
 

You mentioned that the CPU is maxed out during Facebook games. Therefore, it's most likely CPU limited. You can get a Nvidia GeForce GT 630 which is a pretty good budget card to assign some processing to the GPU. It should costs about PHP 2400.00 or $60. This GPU should help out with many flash games as well web browser GPU acceleration. However, CPU can still bottleneck the GPU on some flash games.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jun 2013   #3
bobafetthotmail

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601
 
 

you tried updating Flash and java (if already installed)? With that processor it's not normal to lag like that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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15 Jun 2013   #4
jimbo45

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers
 
 

Hi there
I have a different take on this -- these days unless you have something like an Atom processor in a computer lack of CPU power is totally unlikely to occur --even for extreme gaming - which Facebook certainly isn't.

I suspect that the REAL bottleneck is slow and rubbishy HDD's --if you've got old IDE 5400 RPM clunkers with a tiny cache this will KILL any system even if it had an I7 CPU in it.

You should replace with e-sata 7200 RPM with the LARGEST Cache possible - or better an SSD --these are cheap enough now and work wonders even on really OLD and aging systems.

Make sure there's also at least 4GB RAM in the system -- 2GB isn't enough once you start doing those types of applications.

The Video card should be just fine. I wouldn't bother with changing that.

(In my experience about 90% of performance issues on computers that I've ever seen -- excluding Virus / malware / bad AV software problems such as McAfee (aka Mc Aweful) killing the machine - are invariably due to HORRIBLY POOR DISKS - but it's amazing how many people really don't understand this --they often fit expensive CPU's etc and wonder why performance increase is nowhere near what they expected. Users who DO fit an SSD for example are ALWAYS surprised in how the performance of the machine REALLY DOES improve).

(Slow disks are OK for DATA / archive / backup etc - but the OS and applications should be on the FASTEST DEVICE POSSIBLE).

Cheers
jimbo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jun 2013   #5
oreo27

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Service Pack 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by theveterans View Post
You mentioned that the CPU is maxed out during Facebook games. Therefore, it's most likely CPU limited. You can get a Nvidia GeForce GT 630 which is a pretty good budget card to assign some processing to the GPU. It should costs about PHP 2400.00 or $60. This GPU should help out with many flash games as well web browser GPU acceleration. However, CPU can still bottleneck the GPU on some flash games.
Much like you, I'm guessing it will significantly increase the overall performance of her desktop. Thanks for the info on the card. Pretty close on the price. It costs Php 2220.00 from my favorite retail store

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bobafetthotmail View Post
you tried updating Flash and java (if already installed)? With that processor it's not normal to lag like that.
Both are installed but I'm unsure if these are dated. I will certainly do this when I go there later tonight.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
Hi there
I have a different take on this -- these days unless you have something like an Atom processor in a computer lack of CPU power is totally unlikely to occur --even for extreme gaming - which Facebook certainly isn't.

I suspect that the REAL bottleneck is slow and rubbishy HDD's --if you've got old IDE 5400 RPM clunkers with a tiny cache this will KILL any system even if it had an I7 CPU in it.

You should replace with e-sata 7200 RPM with the LARGEST Cache possible - or better an SSD --these are cheap enough now and work wonders even on really OLD and aging systems.

Make sure there's also at least 4GB RAM in the system -- 2GB isn't enough once you start doing those types of applications.

The Video card should be just fine. I wouldn't bother with changing that.

(In my experience about 90% of performance issues on computers that I've ever seen -- excluding Virus / malware / bad AV software problems such as McAfee (aka Mc Aweful) killing the machine - are invariably due to HORRIBLY POOR DISKS - but it's amazing how many people really don't understand this --they often fit expensive CPU's etc and wonder why performance increase is nowhere near what they expected. Users who DO fit an SSD for example are ALWAYS surprised in how the performance of the machine REALLY DOES improve).

(Slow disks are OK for DATA / archive / backup etc - but the OS and applications should be on the FASTEST DEVICE POSSIBLE).

Cheers
jimbo
I didn't really think of this approach as well. I'm quite certain that she does have a SATA 7200 RPM HDD. I will check it out later.

The RAM upgrade seems pretty reasonable as well. I will also look into this.

Are you certain that the GPU won't have any significant effect on the system's performance? I really feel that the bottleneck is coming from that part.

Well, she has Avira installed and from my experience, it is not a huge resource hog. What do you guys think?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jun 2013   #6
jimbo45

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers
 
 

Hi there
If your machine has only 2GB RAM in it the chances are that the built in Video is using reserving a significant portion of that for its operation - this would then cause the OS to start "Thrashing" (not enough RAM) and this in turn would cause excessive read and writes to the HDD. Even if the video card used a small amount of RAM - any reduction of the available 2GB RAM is significant -- whereas on 4GB and more it's much less important.

Resolving bottlenecks is not always easy -- but first (and the cheapest) is simply to install more RAM -- if your machine has a 64 bit capable CPU why not install 8GB as a minimum and update the OS to x-64. Your Windows 7 license should allow that swap.

Test that to see if it improves matters. I really don't think that playing a game on a Facebook type of application should cause any video problems at all if the video in the computer is even half way decent. I'm assuming the Internet speed is OK too.

What's the maximum resolution of your Monitor and the maximum video output the computer can provide.

It's also no point getting a top level video card if the maximum resolution on your monitor is a measly 1366 X 768. Check though as the monitor might be CAPABLE of better output than the current video the computer itself can provide.

As I said resolving bottlenecks takes more work than just "Guessing". It should be done logically otherwise you just spend hard earned money with no decent return.

Cheers
jimbo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jun 2013   #7
3D Jed

Windows 7 pro x64 SP1
 
 

I'm going to make a massive generalization here, but when people come to me with pc problems and they are Facebook users invariably they have installed a whole slew of 'helpers', toolbars, add ons, stuff for emoticons etc. Also these type of dudes often have all their favorite stuff like Twitter, various messenger apps, mobile hookups blah blah set to load at start up. Poor old cpu has to do all this AND run Flash. Also toolbars are often a conduit for malware.

When I disable some of this cr*p the machine works again. Of course they eventually re-install all the 'extras'. I suggest the OP may have similar problems.

No offence intended to FB peeps.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jun 2013   #8
bobafetthotmail

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by oreo27 View Post
Are you certain that the GPU won't have any significant effect on the system's performance? I really feel that the bottleneck is coming from that part.
Not for crappy flash games. Afaik, only smartphones have dedicated flash coprocessors, in a PC flash stuff runs on the CPU. In your case the CPU shouldn't get on its knees for flash stuff unless you are running it at an obscenely high resolution.

Track down whatever is eating CPU from resource monitor (task manager, performance tab, button for resource monitor) and startup (msconfig in the Start searchbox), as what 3D Jed said is probably the culprit.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jun 2013   #9
oreo27

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Service Pack 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by 3D Jed View Post
I'm going to make a massive generalization here, but when people come to me with pc problems and they are Facebook users invariably they have installed a whole slew of 'helpers', toolbars, add ons, stuff for emoticons etc. Also these type of dudes often have all their favorite stuff like Twitter, various messenger apps, mobile hookups blah blah set to load at start up. Poor old cpu has to do all this AND run Flash. Also toolbars are often a conduit for malware.

When I disable some of this cr*p the machine works again. Of course they eventually re-install all the 'extras'. I suggest the OP may have similar problems.

No offence intended to FB peeps.
Well, that's actually the first thing I checked, surprisingly, all startup applications are driver related except for Avira.

Also, even more surprising is that they have no extensions installed! That one really baffled me

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bobafetthotmail View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by oreo27 View Post
Are you certain that the GPU won't have any significant effect on the system's performance? I really feel that the bottleneck is coming from that part.
Not for crappy flash games. Afaik, only smartphones have dedicated flash coprocessors, in a PC flash stuff runs on the CPU. In your case the CPU shouldn't get on its knees for flash stuff unless you are running it at an obscenely high resolution.

Track down whatever is eating CPU from resource monitor (task manager, performance tab, button for resource monitor) and startup (msconfig in the Start searchbox), as what 3D Jed said is probably the culprit.
Well, that's really not a good sign. I guess I will really have to look at how all the processes are affecting the processor usage. As discussed in my reply below, I've checked the resource monitor and Chrome was getting a good chunk of the usage (Always above 50% when on those games).

^^Edit - Didn't see your replies

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
Hi there
If your machine has only 2GB RAM in it the chances are that the built in Video is using reserving a significant portion of that for its operation - this would then cause the OS to start "Thrashing" (not enough RAM) and this in turn would cause excessive read and writes to the HDD. Even if the video card used a small amount of RAM - any reduction of the available 2GB RAM is significant -- whereas on 4GB and more it's much less important.

Resolving bottlenecks is not always easy -- but first (and the cheapest) is simply to install more RAM -- if your machine has a 64 bit capable CPU why not install 8GB as a minimum and update the OS to x-64. Your Windows 7 license should allow that swap.

Test that to see if it improves matters. I really don't think that playing a game on a Facebook type of application should cause any video problems at all if the video in the computer is even half way decent. I'm assuming the Internet speed is OK too.

What's the maximum resolution of your Monitor and the maximum video output the computer can provide.

It's also no point getting a top level video card if the maximum resolution on your monitor is a measly 1366 X 768. Check though as the monitor might be CAPABLE of better output than the current video the computer itself can provide.

As I said resolving bottlenecks takes more work than just "Guessing". It should be done logically otherwise you just spend hard earned money with no decent return.

Cheers
jimbo
Hi,

Yet another great insight! I will certainly suggest the RAM upgrade. She's using a 32 bit system from what i recall. I will have to look into tomorrow. My schedule just got really tight today. I just got home and I have to go out again!

Well, I doubt that stutters and performance degradation have anything to do with bandwidth but I AM in the Philippines so it's always an issue here.

By the way, one key factor I ignored to say earlier is that I checked the Resource Monitor. Only the CPU gets to 100% when on games on Facebook. Memory usage, HDD read/write all seem normal with no spikes.

Great points there mate!

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. Hopefully I can squeeze in some time tomorrow to check all these out. I will be reporting back here with the results.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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