Windows XP to Vista

By jupistrahan ·
Having a bit of an issue with our new Vista system. I bought myself a new Windows XP Media Center system a few months ago, with the following specs:

Compaq Presario:
AMD Athlon 64 3800+ Processor
986 MHz, 448MB RAM (officially 512MB, but you know how that is)
140GB on Drive C
20GB on Drive D (backup drive)

I use it to for all the regular day to day things, which give me no issues. I also use it to play World of Warcraft, which requires a lot of my system. It lags at the regular settings, but if I turn the graphics all the way down, it runs smoothly.

My husband bought a new Windows Vista Computer last month, with very similar specs, listed below.

Compaq Presario:
Intel Pentium 4, 3.0Ghz (2.99GHz)
447MB of RAM (officially 512MB)
150GB on Drive C
10GB on Drive D (backup drive)

The Vista Computer takes several seconds longer to load web pages and programs, taking nearly 2 minutes to open WinAmp with only Internet Explorer open. It locks up doing simple low-memory tasks, sometimes taking minutes before it unlocks again.

To play the same game, his settings are turned all the way down, just like my system, and all background programs are shut off to free up more memory, but his still lags and glitches, taking several seconds up to 20-30 seconds to catch up from time to time. It is extremely frustrating for both of us.

Why is it so tough for Vista to keep up? Are there settings that can be changed for better performance? Would buying more RAM solve this issue? What can we do to make this computer not suck? We spent too much money on it for it to be inferior to my XP system.

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All Answers

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Bottleneck Might Be Video Card

by billbohlen@hallmarkchannl In reply to Windows XP to Vista

I would recommend getting at least another 512MB RAM regardless. As a general rule for good Vista performance you will want 1GB or more of RAM.
As for World of Warcraft, its performance depends a lot on your graphics card, which you don't mention. If you do not have a good graphics card, game perfomance will suffer.
If you are using the new Aero interface in Windows Vista, this could also explain why it is slower in general. If Vista functions properly without Aero enabled, you can be reasonably certain that your video card is the bottleneck.

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Decent Video Cards?

by jupistrahan In reply to Bottleneck Might Be Video ...

The Vista graphics card is an ATI RADEON XPRESS 1100 Series.

The card in the XP system is an NVIDIA GeForce 6150 LE.

To be honest, I don't know how good either of those cards are, though if there is a siginificant difference between them, a new video card may be in order as well. What do you think?

And he isn't using the Aero interface - just the straight OS, and he keeps backgroup programs to a minimum to keep it from running any slower than necessary.

Regardless, I was already thinking more RAM was in order, I noticed the minimum requirement was 512MB, which tips you off to how much it will be using up at any time. His monitor tells him he's only got about 200MB of RAM unused at any given time.

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AHA! There's where your extra memory went, too.

by billbohlen@hallmarkchannl In reply to Decent Video Cards?

The ATI RADEON XPRESS 1100 Series is a graphics chip integrated into your motherboard. See http://ati.amd.com/products/radeonxpress1100dskintel/specs.html for the specs and details.
Obviously it's not an elite gamer card.

What is interesting is that the graphics memory is taken from system memory. This may explain why you are not seeing your entire 512MB RAM available to Windows. it looks like 64MB is being used by your graphics processor!!

A little Googling shows me the GeForce 6150 LE is the same deal.

64MB is not a lot of graphics memory. You want your video card to have at least 128MB, preferably 256MB for gaming.

Yes upgrade your total RAM...but also purchase and install a separate PCI-E video card for both systems, you can find one like an ATI RADEON X800 under $100. Then disable the onboard graphics in your system BIOS. That will reclaim the 64MB system memory for Windows.

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Those sneaky devils!

by jupistrahan In reply to AHA! There's where your ...

Thanks for the help - gives me a good idea of just what I need to be looking for when I upgrade these things. Now I just need to figure out just how much I can afford to spend on gaming upgrades. Obviously more RAM is a must, but at least my XP doesn't give me so much grief.

Seems like OS's are getting more and more demanding, and not giving us much in return.

I'm sure with it won't be too difficult to get them both running up to par, once I get the new chips. Thanks again!

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by Pringles86 In reply to Those sneaky devils!

If you don't want to go out and buy a gig and a half for that Vista machine you could always put XP on it, put another 512 MB RAM on, and a new graphics card. Vista is definitely not a good gaming OS, or a good OS at all for that matter. It should not take 512 MB of RAM to run the basic OS slowly.

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I agree but also blame the PC manufacturer

by billbohlen@hallmarkchannl In reply to Vista...

Unfortunately we are all going to have to get used to Vista as the next gaming OS.... As we all know, you don't get the same quality & quantity of games with Mac or Linux.

I blame the PC manufacturer for selling a PC that is pre-loaded and "certified" as Vista-capable, with only 512MB of RAM and an onboard GPU. 448MB RAM (the amount usable by the OS) is below the minimum system requirement for Vista!

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6150le Graphics Card

by alv7722 In reply to AHA! There's where your ...

HP sells systems with the 6150le as having 256mb of onboard video memory. Since "express" upgrade to Vista, the system only shows 64mb of dedicated video ram. There has been a lot of word that nVidia has been having a hard time coming up with good drivers? On MS's hardware compatability site, the 6150le is currently shown as being certified for Vista, but not that it works for Vista. I am very interested to see what happens with this.

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Get more memory

by fwang In reply to Windows XP to Vista

512MB is not good enough for XP. For Vista, you need at least 1GB, recommend 2GB memory.

It's true that on M$'s website Vista Home Basic's requirement is 512MB, just keep in mind, this means that your system can run Vista, but if you want to run fast, get 1GB or 2GB memory.

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