Questions

PC Upgrade suggestions!

+
0 Votes
Locked

PC Upgrade suggestions!

geopal13
I just installed Win7 64 bit + Outlook 2010 on my work pc and it runs so so so slow. I used to have XP and Office 2003 and it ran smoothly but now cannot identify what i'm missing from hardware My system is as follows:
Hewlett-Packard HP Compaq dx2300 Microtower
3.00 gigahertz Intel Pentium D
ST3160815AS [Hard drive] (160.04 GB) -- drive 0, s/n 6RX11A2V, rev 3.CHF, SMART Status: Healthy - 159.94 Gigabytes Usable Hard Drive Capacity
2816 Megabytes Usable Installed Memory (Slot 'A0' has 2048 MB - Slot 'A1' has 2048 MB)
NVIDIA GeForce 210 [Display adapter]

What shall I replace in order to have a convenient speed on my PC? Is it worth it or shall I go directly for a 100% replacement"?
  • +
    2 Votes
    OH Smeg

    A Pentium D even though it's the best Pentium is still not fast enough to run 7 you need something more like a i5 or i7 CPU as the bare minimum despite what others may say here for reasonable performance with 7.

    Also if you are using a 64 Bit version of 7 8 Gig of RAM is also quite helpful and use a dedicated Video Card.

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    geopal13

    Thanks! how can I find out if my motherboard will support newer CPU and more ram?

    +
    1 Votes
    gdburton

    You are unlikely to be able to upgrade processor beyond a minor speed increase. RAM is also likely to be almosted "maxed out". So you are then into a motherboard, processor & ram replacement. The machine looks generally ATX standard and supports SATA. So that should be as far as you need to go. As long as you keep the graphics card power to a mimimum. In that case you would also want to replace the PSU.
    But as you say it is a works machine, it is probably easier to argue the financial case for complete system repalcement. The price difference between new MB, Proc & RAM and a new new tower are going to be fairly small.

    +
    2 Votes
    gechurch

    That machine won't run super slick, but neither should it be painfully slow. Do you have all drivers installed?

    To my mind suggesting you need an i5 and 8GB RAM to run Windows 7 + Office is insanely over the top (and whether you are using 64-bit makes absolutely no difference to the hardware requirements). As per http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/12668_div/12668_div.HTML your motherboard can take a Core2Duo up to E6700. That's a significant upgrade over a Pentium D (which I agree is too slow to run Windows 7 well). An E6700 will cost about $50 from Ebay. You won't need a power supply upgrade or more RAM (in my opinion). You may need to perform a BIOS upgrade though to support this processor. Allow about two hours of your time to buy the CPU, do the BIOS upgrade and install it when you're deciding which way to go.

    An equivalent new machine would be something like an HP 6300 Pro. A 6300 i5 with 4GB RAM will cost around $600+. You'll also need to allow an hour or so of your time to set up a new PC when you're deciding which way to go. I'm not in a position to say which is a better choice for you. As a rule though I generally tell people to buy new if they can afford it. You'll get better lifetime out of the upgrade, you get a fresh warranty, you get a legitimate copy of Windows and you get a machine that Just Works. In a work environment especially these things are important, as your time is not free.

    +
    1 Votes
    info

    Smeg's response was not incorrect, but definitely over the top. The key here is that your PC was running well with XP. In my experience, any machine that runs fast with XP, even with lesser hardware than yours, will run Win7 at least as well, if not better. I took one of my 'old' whitebox systems home that I'd built for CAD at work. An Athlon X2-5000+ with 4GB RAM and a GeForce 9500GT. It runs more than fast enough to satisfy me, and I've seen similar performance with other systems with slower processors and half as much RAM.

    My guess is that you have a system driver that's not working properly. Another flag is that you have 4GB of RAM installed, but only 3GB are showing as available. You're either allocating 1GB to your video card (way more than what's needed) or there's some sort of problem with a RAM chip or the board itself. This probably wasn't an issue with XP, since it only really addressed 3GB or that RAM anyway.

    +
    0 Votes
    Velocitydreamer

    Most any Core 2 Duo (64bit does deal with hardware requirements, the cpu has to be 64bit compatible; this also allows for 3.25+-GB limit on 32bit to be exceeded)

    4GB of RAM is fine, too many people **** it out of proportion... I've operated 7 on a core duo (red headed middle child between the pentiums and core 2 architecture) and 1GB of RAM, granted 2 made a big difference, and 4 is fantastic :)

    You don't HAVE TO HAVE a dedicated graphics card, but if you want to run aero and multitask, a very basic dedicated is enough.

    Win7 and Office honestly are NOT that hard to run. Other apps might be, but then, we weren't informed of anything else.

    +
    0 Votes
    Slayer_

    It will make everything load faster. But general processing will still be slow.

    +
    0 Votes
    DomBenson

    An SSD will probably make the single biggest difference. If you can, also replace the Pentium D with a Core2 Duo. Check the BIOS settings; the RAM report suggests that it has been configured with a 32-bit OS in mind - it might just be an excessive reservation for video card mapping, or it might be a toggle/image restriction in its own right. HP are listing the E6000 sequence Core2s as compatible; Intel's own site says that the 946GZ chipset is only compatible up to the E4000 lineup. That may well indicate that you will need a BIOS update from HP to support an E6700. Your current Geforce 210 should be fine for basic use; it does have its own memory and DX10 support so it shouldn't be a drain on the rest.

    I would consider just replacing the whole machine though; it might be cheaper now to upgrade, but reinstalling onto an SSD would be just as disruptive as setting up a new PC, and the amount you increase its lifespan by may not be enough to justify it.

    +
    0 Votes
    PaleRider1861

    Dom, you said "...reinstalling onto an SSD would be just as disruptive as setting up a new PC..."
    Uh, actually not, my friend.
    About a year or so ago I purchased an Intel 320 SSD as a replacement system drive for my Win 7 machine. Lo and behold, this drive came with an Intel utility that made it quick (and painless) to copy the image from the old drive to the new SSD drive.
    And I must say, the increase in the speed of the OS has been substantial, thank you very much!

    +
    0 Votes
    DomBenson

    Skypilott2, thanks for the reference, I'll bear that tool in mind. My experience of disk-cloning tools to migrate onto SSDs hasn't been too positive - although most of the systems in question have been Macs, which may have skewed it.
    Perhaps I should revise my point to the more general comment that it is worth thinking of the bigger picture, and that the cheapest upgrade now may or may not be the best long term value.

  • +
    2 Votes
    OH Smeg

    A Pentium D even though it's the best Pentium is still not fast enough to run 7 you need something more like a i5 or i7 CPU as the bare minimum despite what others may say here for reasonable performance with 7.

    Also if you are using a 64 Bit version of 7 8 Gig of RAM is also quite helpful and use a dedicated Video Card.

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    geopal13

    Thanks! how can I find out if my motherboard will support newer CPU and more ram?

    +
    1 Votes
    gdburton

    You are unlikely to be able to upgrade processor beyond a minor speed increase. RAM is also likely to be almosted "maxed out". So you are then into a motherboard, processor & ram replacement. The machine looks generally ATX standard and supports SATA. So that should be as far as you need to go. As long as you keep the graphics card power to a mimimum. In that case you would also want to replace the PSU.
    But as you say it is a works machine, it is probably easier to argue the financial case for complete system repalcement. The price difference between new MB, Proc & RAM and a new new tower are going to be fairly small.

    +
    2 Votes
    gechurch

    That machine won't run super slick, but neither should it be painfully slow. Do you have all drivers installed?

    To my mind suggesting you need an i5 and 8GB RAM to run Windows 7 + Office is insanely over the top (and whether you are using 64-bit makes absolutely no difference to the hardware requirements). As per http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/12668_div/12668_div.HTML your motherboard can take a Core2Duo up to E6700. That's a significant upgrade over a Pentium D (which I agree is too slow to run Windows 7 well). An E6700 will cost about $50 from Ebay. You won't need a power supply upgrade or more RAM (in my opinion). You may need to perform a BIOS upgrade though to support this processor. Allow about two hours of your time to buy the CPU, do the BIOS upgrade and install it when you're deciding which way to go.

    An equivalent new machine would be something like an HP 6300 Pro. A 6300 i5 with 4GB RAM will cost around $600+. You'll also need to allow an hour or so of your time to set up a new PC when you're deciding which way to go. I'm not in a position to say which is a better choice for you. As a rule though I generally tell people to buy new if they can afford it. You'll get better lifetime out of the upgrade, you get a fresh warranty, you get a legitimate copy of Windows and you get a machine that Just Works. In a work environment especially these things are important, as your time is not free.

    +
    1 Votes
    info

    Smeg's response was not incorrect, but definitely over the top. The key here is that your PC was running well with XP. In my experience, any machine that runs fast with XP, even with lesser hardware than yours, will run Win7 at least as well, if not better. I took one of my 'old' whitebox systems home that I'd built for CAD at work. An Athlon X2-5000+ with 4GB RAM and a GeForce 9500GT. It runs more than fast enough to satisfy me, and I've seen similar performance with other systems with slower processors and half as much RAM.

    My guess is that you have a system driver that's not working properly. Another flag is that you have 4GB of RAM installed, but only 3GB are showing as available. You're either allocating 1GB to your video card (way more than what's needed) or there's some sort of problem with a RAM chip or the board itself. This probably wasn't an issue with XP, since it only really addressed 3GB or that RAM anyway.

    +
    0 Votes
    Velocitydreamer

    Most any Core 2 Duo (64bit does deal with hardware requirements, the cpu has to be 64bit compatible; this also allows for 3.25+-GB limit on 32bit to be exceeded)

    4GB of RAM is fine, too many people **** it out of proportion... I've operated 7 on a core duo (red headed middle child between the pentiums and core 2 architecture) and 1GB of RAM, granted 2 made a big difference, and 4 is fantastic :)

    You don't HAVE TO HAVE a dedicated graphics card, but if you want to run aero and multitask, a very basic dedicated is enough.

    Win7 and Office honestly are NOT that hard to run. Other apps might be, but then, we weren't informed of anything else.

    +
    0 Votes
    Slayer_

    It will make everything load faster. But general processing will still be slow.

    +
    0 Votes
    DomBenson

    An SSD will probably make the single biggest difference. If you can, also replace the Pentium D with a Core2 Duo. Check the BIOS settings; the RAM report suggests that it has been configured with a 32-bit OS in mind - it might just be an excessive reservation for video card mapping, or it might be a toggle/image restriction in its own right. HP are listing the E6000 sequence Core2s as compatible; Intel's own site says that the 946GZ chipset is only compatible up to the E4000 lineup. That may well indicate that you will need a BIOS update from HP to support an E6700. Your current Geforce 210 should be fine for basic use; it does have its own memory and DX10 support so it shouldn't be a drain on the rest.

    I would consider just replacing the whole machine though; it might be cheaper now to upgrade, but reinstalling onto an SSD would be just as disruptive as setting up a new PC, and the amount you increase its lifespan by may not be enough to justify it.

    +
    0 Votes
    PaleRider1861

    Dom, you said "...reinstalling onto an SSD would be just as disruptive as setting up a new PC..."
    Uh, actually not, my friend.
    About a year or so ago I purchased an Intel 320 SSD as a replacement system drive for my Win 7 machine. Lo and behold, this drive came with an Intel utility that made it quick (and painless) to copy the image from the old drive to the new SSD drive.
    And I must say, the increase in the speed of the OS has been substantial, thank you very much!

    +
    0 Votes
    DomBenson

    Skypilott2, thanks for the reference, I'll bear that tool in mind. My experience of disk-cloning tools to migrate onto SSDs hasn't been too positive - although most of the systems in question have been Macs, which may have skewed it.
    Perhaps I should revise my point to the more general comment that it is worth thinking of the bigger picture, and that the cheapest upgrade now may or may not be the best long term value.