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XP SP3: Programs "Warming Up"

MugenmidgetMugenmidget Registered User regular
After updating to SP3 I've seen some weird things happen (SP3 could be totally unrelated, that's just the last biggest thing I did)...

Using memory intensive programs like Firefox or VLC didn't used to be very noticeable, but all of the sudden it seems like my programs have to hang/crawl for a bit before they begin acting like I remember they used to, and even then their performance isn't quite as I remember it being with occasional hiccups here or there.

The computer doesn't really seem slow in general, fairly responsive as far as things opening and boot time and what not, just the big "clunker" programs have a lot more trouble than I remember them ever having. I'm only on 640 MB of RAM so it's not like they have a lot to work with, but that seemed to be plenty in the past.

Any ideas on how I can optimize my memory/check what's up?

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Mugenmidget on

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    AzioAzio Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    More RAM.

    Azio on
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    MugenmidgetMugenmidget Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    If there really are no good ways to optimize memory usage: what would be a good/cheap way to buy RAM? My memory bus supports DDR SDRAM, I'm guessing that's fairly standard but I honestly don't know all that much so if you need some kind of clarification I'll provide it.

    Mugenmidget on
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    FyreWulffFyreWulff YouRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2008
    Sounds like your HDD is a bit slow and is causing XP to take a while to page the programs back into RAM.

    Have you ran a defrag recently?

    Run HDD diagnostics?

    Also just to be sure, have you ran a RAM diagnostic such as Memtest86?

    FyreWulff on
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    MugenmidgetMugenmidget Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I have done both of those fairly recently but I'll try them again just to be sure. For HDD diagnostics I'm using Western Digital's "LifeGuard" diagnostics program, is that good enough?

    Also, about the memory test, I had run one of those when my computer started spontaneously rebooting (which was because I hadn't ticked the box to show a blue screen for serious hardware failures) and ended up having to replace a stick of RAM that had gone bad. If for some reason it has gone bad, is there a reason for that? Does heat bring about this kind of thing more often (my computer isn't super steamy but it doesn't have but a couple of fans in there)?

    Anything else I should be trying/looking for? Maybe something to make sure the paging file is working like it should? If you can't already tell I'm pretty lost here. :lol:

    Mugenmidget on
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    LaCabraLaCabra MelbourneRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    For the paging file, which is probably worth a look, press winkey+pause/break, select advanced, then the uppermost "settings", then advanced again, then Change. Just put everything on System Managed.

    For RAM you should just be able to walk into any good computer shop and ask for DDR (not DDR2 if your board doesn't support it) and it should be pretty cheap. A gig is $79 where I work.

    LaCabra on
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    TofystedethTofystedeth Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    At newegg you can get 1GB sticks of 184 pin DDR for as low as 30 bucks.

    Tofystedeth on
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    El GuacoEl Guaco Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Yeah, I know it might sound snobbish, or even rude to those who don't have a lot of cash, but 640MB of RAM is just...awful. On today's systems, I would recommend at least 2GB. RAM is the best bang for your buck investment in keeping a computer updated. Most start with too little to begin with and you can never have too much. Every time your computer has to hit the page file (the hard drive) to get programs and data because it's out of free RAM it's slowing the entire system exponentially.

    Little RAM on a computer is like putting 13" wheels on a sports car. It will handle so poorly that you'll have to slow to a stop at every turn.

    El Guaco on
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    MugenmidgetMugenmidget Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I completely understand, but I'm thinking there has to be something wrong with it that could be fixed (besides a RAM upgrade) because it simply did not used to act this way. Plus, this machine is very pitiful (AMD Duron 1.6 GHz/GeForce 6200), so it's not exactly a sports car. :P

    Even some really simple programs are getting choked up now, and there isn't any kind of immediate problem obvious to me. No extra processes or foul play that I can find...

    I wish I could blame it on something like Firefox 3, which performs very poorly on this PC. But even if I reboot the PC and intentionally avoid loading it my programs still act the same way, although having Firefox running at the same time definitely does some damage.

    I just really don't think 640 MB of RAM should be acting this crippled, I'm not really using anything new aside from the aforementioned SP3 and Firefox 3. Should I defrag my page file? How do I even go about doing that?

    Mugenmidget on
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    TofystedethTofystedeth Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Well, there are utilities that can do that. I think jkdefrag can. I'm not sure though.
    How much RAM does FF3 use for you? I'm on my work computer with 512MB, and it takes about 160MB with 200MB paged.
    My computer isn't exactly spritely, but it isn't that slow either.

    Tofystedeth on
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    MugenmidgetMugenmidget Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Well, there are utilities that can do that. I think jkdefrag can. I'm not sure though.
    How much RAM does FF3 use for you? I'm on my work computer with 512MB, and it takes about 160MB with 200MB paged.
    My computer isn't exactly spritely, but it isn't that slow either.
    Right now it's only taking like 100MB, but things are still not very responsive. It'll work well enough if it's the only thing I'm doing, but switching between programs is a lot slower than it used to be...

    Mugenmidget on
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    LaCabraLaCabra MelbourneRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    SP3 probably just wants more RAM, man. Just spend the 30 bucks or whatever and upgrade.

    LaCabra on
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    ginguskahnginguskahn Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I presume you have done a spyware/virus check?

    Do you have plenty of free space on your hard drive?

    What programs do you have starting up with your computer? Maybe you need to remove some. More ram is defiantly advisable in any machine with todays prices, but all the machines (including some oldies) I have put SP3 on have seen slight performance increases, not decreases.

    ginguskahn on
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    MugenmidgetMugenmidget Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Everything looks really clean unless there's some kind of clever rootkit lurking around...

    The system hard-drive has 128 GB free, so it should be fine. Maybe it's too much space? Or slower somehow? I recently swapped out my old 30 GB one and just used Clone HD on a bigger one.

    Practically nothing is going at start-up. Only the nVidia display service as far as I can see (through HijackThis). Process list doesn't look suspicious, either.

    It's great to hear that you've seen performance increases, I didn't wanna have to rollback. I actually should have ruled it out already since the performance hit is pretty bad and we have a few other machines that have upgraded just fine (one with lesser specs, even).

    I just have to find out where I fucked up, but I can't think of anything I've done to cripple it. :-/

    Mugenmidget on
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    ginguskahnginguskahn Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Strange! I guess it is possible that the bigger hdd is 5,200 rpm and the old one was 7,200 rpm.

    Might be worth a roll back or even a format and reinstall if you really don't want to have to spend any money on it, windows can do funny things.

    ginguskahn on
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    MugenmidgetMugenmidget Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    That's pretty much all I can do at this point, but before I do I wanna ask if this sounds plausible:

    Since I realized just now by relating it to you that I actually do have 128 GB free on the "system" drive, perhaps I could partition it and install XP SP2 (that's what my CD has on it) again? It might give me a better idea if it's a hardware fault before I get rid of the old install.

    Would a 30 GB partition be too cramped to make a good judgment call? As I've stated before that's what I used to work on so I figure it should be a good test.

    Mugenmidget on
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    ginguskahnginguskahn Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I cant think why that wouldn't work, give it a go. A fresh install is always going to feel nice and fast compared to anything with a few months of use though.

    ginguskahn on
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    AzioAzio Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I wish I could blame it on something like Firefox 3, which performs very poorly on this PC.
    I use a 3GHz P3 with a gig of ram for email at work and it frequently seizes up on FF3. The simple fact is Firefox 3 is not nearly as lightweight as the previous two versions, and it is still very slow with Javascript. The skyrocketing popularity of hardware-accelerated Flash plugins on websites is not helping.

    Who knows though, a clean install may just be what the doctor ordered. Service Pack 3 should have improved your performance but you might have something installed (or not properly uninstalled) that's fucking with it.

    I would suggest formatting (or repartitioning) and installing whatever version of XP you have on hand, then all the updates including SP3, then all your drivers. If it still seems sluggish, a bit more RAM will probably fix it. XP had a minimum spec of 128 megs when it came out, I always found 512 is the minimum if you want it to feel even remotely quick. With this new service pack I would probably put the minimum for good performance at about a gig. You can get a gig of DDR for like $30, which would bring your total to over 1.5GB, and I guarantee it will make your machine run faster.

    It's also worth mentioning that computers themselves are dirt cheap; I just built a 2GHz dual core machine with 2 gigs of RAM for my dad and it cost like $400. You might want to think about replacing the whole thing as it's getting pretty long in the tooth.

    Azio on
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    NandajiNandaji Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    if you go the fresh install route and have a proper xp installation cd, i suggest u use nlite to create a stripped down xp install.. i have xp sp2 running on my dads office comp... pentium 3, 256 mb of ram.

    it runs suprisingly fast once i used nlite to tweak my xp install; after booting it only uses 93 megs of ram, which leaves tons free for basic web browsing and office 03.

    heres the link..
    http://www.nliteos.com/

    Nandaji on
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    MugenmidgetMugenmidget Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Nandaji wrote: »
    if you go the fresh install route and have a proper xp installation cd, i suggest u use nlite to create a stripped down xp install.. i have xp sp2 running on my dads office comp... pentium 3, 256 mb of ram.

    it runs suprisingly fast once i used nlite to tweak my xp install; after booting it only uses 93 megs of ram, which leaves tons free for basic web browsing and office 03.

    heres the link..
    http://www.nliteos.com/
    I'll definitely check it out, thanks! I used it once to slipstream an XP install on my brother's Aspire laptop and it seemed really cool.
    I would suggest formatting (or repartitioning) and installing whatever version of XP you have on hand, then all the updates including SP3, then all your drivers. If it still seems sluggish, a bit more RAM will probably fix it. XP had a minimum spec of 128 megs when it came out, I always found 512 is the minimum if you want it to feel even remotely quick. With this new service pack I would probably put the minimum for good performance at about a gig. You can get a gig of DDR for like $30, which would bring your total to over 1.5GB, and I guarantee it will make your machine run faster.
    Definitely sounds like the way to go, I might drop by Fry's for fun and if they have something around that price then I sure as hell don't see why I shouldn't. Thanks!

    Mugenmidget on
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