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  • 2 computers, same speed problems

    I have a desktop and a laptop and both are having speed issues.

    My desktop is three years old, has a 2.4GHz Pent 4 processor, with a 80GB hard drive and 512MB of RAM, running XP Prof. My laptop is at least five or six years old (I am not certain since I bought it from eBay), has a 1.52GHz AMD Athlon 1800 processor, with a 40GB hard drive and 448MB of RAM, running XP Home.

    I am not sure if I am simply expecting too much out of my systems, but they both bog down relatively easy. I find myself running Dreamweaver, Photoshop and Flash, plus several folder windows, a browser and media player, all at the same time on the desktop. Everything will be fine until I try to open anything else, like WinZip or something small, when it seems to take full minutes just for something like Photoshop to change from the text tool to the lasso tool.
    I usually play games on my laptop, but half of the time, they look kind of choppy and if gameplay gets too complicated, it has the tendency to freeze and just shut down completely. Running anything like Dreamweaver or Photoshop on the laptop is almost a complete waste of time.

    I am thinking of upgrading the desktop, but I am not sure to what I should upgrade. Should I add 1GB of RAM or should I up my hard drive or am I just expecting too much out of my computer and should just learn to be patient? Is there a way for me to increase my processor speed? I am also at a complete loss with my laptop, because I know it is not nearly as easy to upgrade.

    Any suggestions?

  • #2
    That is a lot of apps to be running at the same time. They all take up a lot of memory. Photoshop has a scratch disk under preferences. You may want to increase the size. Increasing your HD space on your PC isn't going to do much. Its the ram you want to increase. Most laptop ram is accessible through the bottom of the laptop making it easy to upgrade. Windows has a thing called a page file which basically like a temporary memory file. Once all of your memory is used up it creates this file and uses it for temporary memory. You should read this article is it might improve performance. http://www.theeldergeek.com/paging_file.htm
    Flash takes up probably the most memory especially if you have flash player open. Security software like firewalls and antivirus also take up memory. Which security software do you have?
    ||||If you are getting paid to do a job, don't ask for help on it!||||

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    • #3
      I have Norton Corporate Edition on both the desktop and laptop. I try not to have Flash open all the time since I am still very much the beginner with it. Do you have any suggestions as far as RAM size goes? I have been told previously that 512 is "fine," but clearly for me it is not. If I purchased, say 256MB of RAM, would that add to my existing RAM or would it just be the RAM I have? I know buying memory can get pricey, but I have just had a birthday and my window for parental gifts is still open...

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      • #4
        Norton has been known to be a memory hog and may very well be the root of all of your problems. If you purchased that you might be able to add to what you have but you have to know how many slots you have. I suggest you take it your laptop or pc to someone who knows how to work with them. I don't recommend doing it yourself if you don't know what you are doing.
        ||||If you are getting paid to do a job, don't ask for help on it!||||

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        • #5
          I would personally upgrade the ram on the desktop system to 1GB and see how that goes. Windows XP requires 128 ram, but if you run it with only 128, your crazy. I personally never run XP without at least 512 ram for basic use, as it can take a while to load and do basic tasks even with 256 ram. For what you are doing, especially doing it all at once I would reccommend 1GB. I think you would see a drastic improvement with this.

          I suggest the desktop first mainly because I dont know where the available memory slots are in your laptop, and desktops are usually easy to expand memory in and going from 512 to 1 GB can be relatively inexpensive.

          Also if your motherboard supports dual channel memory then make sure you have 2 chips of 512 instead of 1 chip for 1 GB total, this can also help your performance out.

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          • #6
            Definitely upgrade to 1Gb of memory. M$ Windows XP will easily use up 200-300Mb's of memory just for itself. That's not much left over for other apps if you only have 512.
            Spookster
            CodingForum Supreme Overlord
            All Hail Spookster

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            • #7
              I'd personally upgrade to one or two gigs of RAM on the desktop depending on budget. I'd also remove Norton Antivirus and install something which is known to be a little less resource hogging.

              Another thing is aside from hardware is XP itself. From what I've found, copies of XP which have been installed for a few years slowly choke on bits of old programs, no longer needed device drivers etc etc..While these aren't exactly performance delimiting sometimes, you don't need them. I personally reinstall XP every 8 months to a year where I can. You might get some performance increase from using a fresh install but I don't think it'd be that great. The biggest performance increase in your case would come from adding more RAM.
              Last edited by JamieR; Oct 3, 2006, 02:04 PM.
              -Jamie

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              • #8
                Originally posted by weazel View Post
                I'd also remove Norton Antivirus and install something which is known to be a little less resource hogging.
                I agree with that. I used to use NAV for many years. It just keeps getting to be more resource hogging as each year passes. That along with zone alarm. Between the two my pcs would come to a crawling speed. I got rid of NAV and switched to another called AVG. It runs much faster. It has a free version and so far seems to work better at catching viruses than NAV. It immediately caught a few viruses that norton never did. I even decided to test things out on a laptop and have both norton and AVG installed. AVG has detected several viruses/trojans during the that time but norton detected nothing.
                Spookster
                CodingForum Supreme Overlord
                All Hail Spookster

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                • #9
                  I've been using installations of AVG free edition / file server edition for all my boxes for the last two years. Again, previously I used NAV but it just didn't cut it any longer.
                  -Jamie

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                  • #10
                    Thanks everybody! I think I will try to upgrade to 1GB this weekend and see what happens. If my desktop just melts down, at least I have the other one. I will have to look into antivirus options, though. The plus side for me is that I am using the Corporate Edition from my job and it does not require a yearly subscription or anything.

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                    • #11
                      To me, NAV is like the windows of anti-virus programs. It's big and bulky, and rather or not it does its job well is up for much debate.

                      Big fan of AVG here as well

                      Good luck on the upgrades.

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