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Windows 7: My new computer is slower than expected.

18 Mar 2011   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
My new computer is slower than expected.

Hello all,

I recently built my own workstation. I am a web/software developer and I wanted something that would have plenty of gusto for my work. After putting it all together though, I am not impressed with the performance. It doesn't seem to be any faster at startup or in loading applications than my previous tower (hp s5123w).

It also will not resume from sleep. The hdd light blinks and everything looks like its on but the desktop does not ever show up again.

I am hoping that someone familiar with windows and hardware can tell me about some some diagnostics or tweaks that I need to make in order to get things up to speed.

Thank you all for your responses.

System Specs:

OS - Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
CPU - AMD Phenom II X4 955
Motherboard - MSI 890FXA-GD70
Memory - 6GB PC3-12800 Patriot Viper II Sector 7
Graphics Card(s) - ATI Radeon HD 5830 1GB GDDR5
Hard Drives - 2X WD Scorpio Blue 500GB RAID 2+0
PSU - Thermaltake 500W
Cooling - Air

All drivers are installed and up to date.

Processor - 7.3
Memory - 7.3
Graphics - 7.6
Gaming Graphics - 7.6
Primary HDD - 5.9

My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Mar 2011   #2

Windows 7 x64 Ultimate

Loading apps and startup speed is about 80% a function of the HD acess time and 19% the tranfer rate and 1% everything else. If you want faster startup times and blistering app launch speeeds you NEED to go SSD... In fact an SSD boot drive can make a 5 year old computer seem almost new, and it makes new computers run like they SHOULD
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Mar 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit

fseal gave some excellent info, but I thought I'd add some more;

Your WD Scorpio Blue 500GB run at 5400 rpm. With Serial-ATA kinds I've seen 3 speeds;

As you can probably see/guess, you haven't quite got the fastest ones If you want to increase speed, I suggest a 10000rpm one, a good one is the Seagate ST9500530NS. I've seen them priced around 150 euros (use XE - The World's Favorite Currency and Foreign Exchange Site to convert to another currency if you prefer).

Of course you could also get a solid state drive like fseal mentioned, but they are way more expensive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

18 Mar 2011   #4
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

I absolutely agree. Your bottleneck is the HDD. Get an OCZ 60 or 90GB Vertex2 (watch for sales) and you will see an amazing difference. Leave or move your user data to the HDDs, that won't hurt.

More details here: SSD - Install and Transfer the Operating System

One thing you have to understand: Raid does not really help the OS. It increases the data transfer rate but not the access time which is the only important factor for the OS. Measure your HDDs with HD Tune and you will probably see an access time around 15ms. The SSD has an access time of 0.1ms - that is 150 times faster and that is how you get the blazing performance.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Mar 2011   #5

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit

I'd definitely recommend an SSD. I have both a Vertex in my Laptop and a Vertex 2 in my desktop. It's simply the best upgrade possible for overall responsiveness. Just make sure you do all the tweaks necessary to getting it running top notch. I'd recommend an OCZ Vertex 2, but maybe I'm just biased. SSDs are going down in price more than before, so it's definitely an affordable upgrade as strictly a boot drive.

As for the sleep issue, I'm unsure of that. Something is definitely wrong, because your system sounds plenty powerful..
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Mar 2011   #6
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64

Can I just confirm : you are using RAID2? I didn't think that was even available these days....

My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Mar 2011   #7

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

Thank you all for your replies.

It seems pretty much unanimous that an SSD is the solution.

Just to be more clear about my HW, I bought 2 WD Scorpio Blue 500GB 7200RPM HDDs available here. I have them set up in RAID 0 (typo in my original post) via the on board RAID controller(AMD SB850). It was my understanding that I would see better performance from my HDDs if I had them setup with striping.

I am comparing my speed with the tower that I started working on. The specs of my old system were AMD Sempron 2.6GHz single-core processor, 4GB RAM, 1TB WD 5400rpm HDD, Geforce 8800GS 256MB Video Card. This machine worked well enough for what I was doing but I wanted something that would last through some future projects that I have.

The issue is that I am not seeing a whole lot better performance from my new machine in comparison. The new one is waaaaaaay better with multi-tasking but, the graphical capabilities are not (yet) worth the money that I paid for the upgrade.

That is my dilemma. I mostly run the adobe CS5 suite (Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Illustrator, Bridge). The OpenGL animations in Photoshop are choppy even though I have a graphics card that exceeds the requirements.

What I am looking for for help is whether or not there are some adjustments that I can make to windows, drivers, bios, etc that will make my system run smoother.

Again, I thank everyone for their comments and advice. Criticism is also welcome.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Mar 2011   #8
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

The Raid setup can speed up data transfer. So if you copy a large file, Raid is an advantage. But the OS lives on access time - and that is 150 times faster on an SSD than any Raid. The OS also reads only short records (mainly 4K) where the Raid advantage will not come to bear - it may even work against you because it may have to activate both disk's arms in order to get to the required (striped) data. Thus your expectation level for OS performance improvements with Raid cannot be met - the spinning disks are just too slow.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Mar 2011   #9

Windows 7 x64 Ultimate

How does openeing photoshop in 1.5 seconds on a SSD sound? Well before you load it up with fonts and plugins anyway... Mine is up to about 5 seconds from double click to being able to paint.

Well about the 3D in Photoshop. I've had only limited experiences with it and I was /seriously/ underwhelmed The hardware acellerated compositing works well for me though. Do you have anything else like Blender maybe? Just to test that your card has all the proper OGL drivers installed? Blender works like a dream for me (on Nvidia) but PhotoShop (extended) is a bit clunky with the 3d support It's first gen and sort of barely useable IMHO, I really don't use it at all. I would maybe ask on the adobe forums about slow 3d in Photoshop. You may need some specific driver to actually get it fully HW acellerated.

Bridge is always slow, it is always searching your entire machine and network all the time, it's just plain slow to open (though should be generally ok afterwards)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Mar 2011   #10

Window's 7 Ultimate 64bit

You might also want to set your power scheme to performance if you have it set to balanced to have the processor run at 100% of advertised speed might help somewhat, plus the black versions of the WD have better specs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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