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Windows 7: What Hardware Affects Performance On A Windows 7 PC?

21 May 2017   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium
What Hardware Affects Performance On A Windows 7 PC?

I have an older system. I have about $500 to spend right now and was thinking of replacing the motherboard, cpu, and ram. Everything else is still up to snuff. I built a cutting edge gaming PC about 8 years ago so I still have all the other stuff I can use for now. I figure I'll build another cutting edge one in another year or two.

Gaming is no longer what I use my computer for. I use it to work and need to have several resource heavy programs open. I don't need a PC specialized for a specific task, but rather a general high performance experience when working with various types of software. MS Word, Firefox with lots of open tabs, sometimes Photoshop or video/audio editing, watching videos, etc.. Just general use. I need to use it for my new job and the current build isn't cutting it.

So I'm curious, as I'm about to start researching hardware, what hardware features are important for high performance in Windows 7 64-bit? What will give me the best bang for my buck in terms of responsiveness and overall performance with what I have described?

I'm curious about things like CPU Cache, number of cores, specific CPU architectures, etc... What features matter when selecting these new components? Thanks so much!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 May 2017   #2

Windows 7 Professional x64

Disk I/O has always been a traditional bottleneck in any OS. SSD offers a way to alleviate that bottleneck to a large extent. (both SATA and especially M2 over the PCI/e bus). When you think of OS latency that you notice, you are talking about boot and application load times. Once in memory, much of the "it feels slow to me" is gone. From all the software you describe the graphics/video editing will place the largest demand on your system (especially editing raw uncompressed video which can require up to 31 M/sec of video). Gaming of course places higher demand on your video subsystem for adequate frame-rates of high-res video. All current generations of middle of the road hardware provide ample on chip cache capability and system, data, address and control bus bandwidth.

If I had $500 to throw at a motherboard, processor and ram (and even a 128G SSD to hold the OS and applications), and I wanted to insure that the graphics/video editing was covered (and with plenty get-up-and-go if I decided to open a game) I'd probably look at a skylake processor (the i5-6600K at 3.5 GHz can be a bargain at about $200), I'd look at 16G of DDR4 3200 RAM which can be had for less than $80, and I like the Z170-A 1151 boards that you can also find for about $80. With the $140 I had left, I'd look into a 128-256G SSD drive, use a spare drive to backup the original OS and then restore the OS and applications to SSD and use the remaining platter drive for general storage. You will be surprised at just how much of the perception of "that's fast" can come from opening disk I/O bottleneck by replacing a platter boot/OS/application drive with a reasonably priced SSD. (note: the skylake has the xhci usb interface, so check with whatever motherboard manufacturer you buy from to make sure they provide an easy way to load the ehci drivers required for Win7 install)

As with all things computer related to storage, speed and RAM - more is better, it all depends on how much you want to spend.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 May 2017   #3
Layback Bear

Windows 10 Pro. 64/ version 1709 Windows 7 Pro/64

In my opinion you should start with the basic root of the system.
A 8 year old power supply should be replaced.

A quality, proper size SSD would also be in any build that I do.

To answer your question. All hardware effects a computers performance. Some more than others.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

22 May 2017   #4
Mellon Head

Win 7 Pro x64/Win 10 Pro x64 dual boot

I would suggest that if you are using resource heavy programs that you increase the system RAM to at least 8 to 16 GB, if your motherboard will hold it.

That, along with an SSD will definitely improve your performance experience.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 May 2017   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Some of these suggestions might help:

Optimize Windows 7 - Windows 7 Help Forums
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 May 2017   #6

Windows 7 x64, Vista x64, 8.1 smartphone

You can experiment with performance on your current rig by using ReadyBoost - Setup and Use.

Ready boost is a Windows 7 feature that allows you to use a suitable USB memory stick to act as a disk I/O cache, on hard disk drives.

If you were to change the HDD's to SSD's then Ready Boost would have next to no effect, as SSD's are already that much faster.

Try experimenting with Ready Boost enabled and see if you notice any different responsiveness to the desktop performance.

You could double the amount of RAM and see significant improvement in performance on the current rig, in Internet Browsing and Photoediting.

More performance generally means needs more power, until you change the chipset, then you see that the chipset affects performance, so complex question.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 May 2017   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium

I remember experimenting with ReadyBoost when I first setup my computer. I could never really tell whether it was affecting anything, because the return was so small. Unfortunately, I have a 32-bit OS and I really need to increase my RAM beyond the 4GB limit. So I have to reinstall, no matter what. I figured that while I was doing that, I might as well upgrade some of the hardware.

But you guys are pretty darn sure that an SSD HD for Windows and more RAM should provide me with the kick that I need? Wouldn't upgrading to 4 or 6 cores and upping the ram by 5-ish times (I have 3GB currently) provide a superior performance boost? I find the logic you guys are exhibiting to be quite perplexing. I hear it, but it doesn't make sense =P. Then again, that is why I came here to learn :).

Just so you guys know what I'm working with, here are my specs:

OS: Windows 7 HP 32-bit
CPU: Core 2 Duo E4300 @ 3.15GH
Motherboard: XFX nForce 750i
RAM: 3GB GeIL DDR2-800Mhz
Video Card: NVIDIA Geforce GTX 260
Sound Card: X-Fi XtremeGamer
Hard Drives: All 7200 RPM drives.
Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower 750
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 May 2017   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-BIT

ReadyBoost is only helpful on systems with only 512mb or 1GB of ram. And it's not of really a help because it is slower.

I could've suggested for the Core 2 Quad Q9650, 8GB DDR2, a GTX 1050, SSD but you have $500 to spend :P
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 May 2017   #9
Bat 1

8.1 home x64

The 800 RAM is the main obstacle on what is otherwise a fairly capable Rig. PC2-9600 RAM was made of unobtainium, but with 4 slots available, perhaps two sets of would be a consideration. Add in a Core 2 Quad as mentioned above along with an aftermarket cooler like a Hyper 212, then invest in a high quality and capacity SSD that can be used on the Future Build.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 May 2017   #10

Windows 7 Home

You should upgrade the RAM or even the GPU for some serious intense of Photoshop or rendering video.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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