Is it worth it?

  Phrixos 11:52 12 Apr 2014

SYSTEM: self-build; c. 4–5 years old; Windows 7 32-bit Intel core2 Quad6600; Asus P5e (DDR2, maxed at 4GB RAM for Windows 7); 2x1TB Samsung F3 Spinpoint hard drives; AMD Radeon 6870; "Windows Performance Experience": 5.9 on 7.9.

Doing (pretty much) only heavy-duty word processing and graphics, mine is a non-gaming machine; and even though only a few seconds are involved, each time, the still time-and-time again interruptions of "click and wait" (and the lengthy auto-saves of my massive Word files) kills the creative flow. Thus, when it comes to computers, I hate wating and want my responses— "now." Accordingly, I'm thinking its time to rebuild. To save on cost I'd be (for the time being) re-using my F-3's and my 6870.

Asus, Asus, and always Asus for me, I'm looking at an i5-4670k on a Z87 Deluxe (of course, max RAM for Win7 = 4GB.) The question is: would it be worth it? Rough guessing and percentage wise, I'm wondering (and not to mention the time involved in a rebuild) what kind of response improvement I might expect for what will probably cost £340 in new components.


Beyond that, I'm open to opinions on whether I should bite the bullet and build a complete new 64-bit system. (That would mean all new peripherials; right? Big money.)

Grateful, as always, for any and all input.

  Ian in Northampton 12:40 12 Apr 2014

I just wonder if you really need to. I'm also a writer, making pretty heavy duty use of Word, and some non-intensive graphics (just cropping, resizing and so on). My main machine is a Core2 Duo with 2GB of memory (and an almost wholly redundant 7770 graphics card that just came with the system...) I run XP, however, rather than W7. Any time in the past that I've started to experience the slowdown that's especially typical of XP over time (it's less of an issue with W7, admittedly) then I've just reinstalled XP - and it works a treat.

Far be it from me to try to dissuade you from getting a shiny new PC - but is a software rebuild something you've thought about and decided against?

The other thing to think about, of course, is an SSD.

I'm with MechKB, btw: that motherboard/CPU combo is IMHO way over the top for what are - should be - fairly non-demanding applications.

  Phrixos 14:33 12 Apr 2014

Thanks, Ian & MechKB. That's rather my point. I'm wondering too; I'm considering the option. The problem is my perennial wonder—why, even with the machine I've got and even though I keep it in every way at the top of its form it is (relatively speaking) so slow at doing the ordinary things. It can take, for instance, thirty seconds or more to autosave a graphics-laden 250MB Word.docx. Every twenty minutes, just as I'm in the middle of an intense train of thought—that drives me nuts. Aren't Spinpoint F3s supposed to be fast drives? That's why I got them.

I'm also paying for superfast broadband--which, most of the time, crawls. Having done also with that everything my provider has suggested to optimize performance, nothing I do speeds IT up, either. Top provider, btw—which insists the problem is in my machine. (Yet another) reload? With XP and Vista I did that twice a year—because I had to. With Windows 7, as long as it is kept squeaky clean—well, quite frankly, I can't see that as the source of the problem. (In short, it hasn't been "telling me" as XP and Vista were only too good at doing, that a reload is called for.)

Everything is as it should be and yet, regular minute-by-minute matters seem no faster to me than they were way back in the days of Windows 95. Like I said and because my mind works so fast, I hate waiting. I've lost too many ideas doing that. Disregard, btw, what I said about new peripherals; I think my head was going too fast there. New drivers, of course.)

It may well be that an upgrade is inappropriate. I just hate to see that little blue-green circle going round and round... and round... and round...

  Ian in Northampton 15:01 12 Apr 2014

First observation: that little green/blue circle going round and round is a damn sight more entertaining than what's on the TV most of the time.

Second observation: had you considered changing the way you work with Word? 250MB is a huuuuge Word file. Can you not break down what you're doing into chapters/sections so that you're not always loading/reloading such a big file?

Third observation: I hope you make a regular backup of your 250MB file(s) - and make backups of your backup. That's a huge amount of work to lose.

Fourth observation: F3s may be fast (I really don't know) but they won't come close to the speed of an SSD. All hard disks are relatively slow - it's only a matter of degree. If disk is really your bottleneck, SSD may be a solution. I'm no expert on SSDs, though: others can advise whether that's an appropriate use for them.

  bumpkin 16:49 12 Apr 2014

A totally different approach which will not speed up your PC but may stop you from losing ideas, when you have a moment of inspiration why not speak it into a voice recorder, has to be quicker than typing and will not be forgotten. Just a suggestion.

  Phrixos 16:57 12 Apr 2014

Thanks again, MechKB. Odd thing: Winows Performance Monitor shows my 4GB of RAM rarely going above 2GB usage, even when given a heavy job to do. I remember this was true even from when I first installed Windows 7. Always puzzled me. If I could get full RAM usage I wouldn't even consider upgrading. (Startup DOS screen records {Corsair} RAM as working properly.)

  Jollyjohn 17:10 12 Apr 2014

What percentage of your RAM is used according to Windows performance monitor? Not all of your 4GB is accessible as you are running 32bit OS.

Are your drives partitioned at all? If not, fast as they may be, there is a lot of drive to access which will take time.

You can change the settings for autosave and / or get into the habit of hitting Save when you pause for thought.

I agree with the comment that a 250MB word doc is big. I would start a new chapter / section as a new doc and the add it to the main document when completed.

  Phrixos 17:21 12 Apr 2014

Hello Jollyjohn,

At the moment, 1.42GB; that's about it.

On a hunch, I went into my system analyser to check the RAM and saw there:

"RAM type: DDR2-SDRAM PC2-6400 (399 MHZ) - [DDR2 - 799]"

Am I wrong in understanding there and that, although I bought a matched pair, I've got mismatched RAM? If so, then that might be the source of all my ills.

  rdave13 17:52 12 Apr 2014

I'd go with MechKB's suggestion. 64-bit OS and minimum 8GB ram. For a simple test of your ram usage, open task manager and under the Options tab, select 'Always on top'. Select performance and memory. Move the task manager to the side. Open IE and open ten tabs. Open another browser and again open ten tabs. Now check the ram usage. I don't think you'll have much left. Mine shows 3 GB in use and 4.9 GB left. My page file is set to 1 GB though as I use an SSD.

  Phrixos 18:51 12 Apr 2014

Hello RDdave13.

Per your suggestion, Result = 1.58 RAM used. (Very poor, it can't be a coincidence that that is more or less exactly half of the 3.2 max under Windows 7.)

If I could figure out why my RAM uptake is so low (and could fix that), I wouldn't have to upgrade or go to 64-bit—although I am partial to the 64-bit idea. (Checked my BIOS, btw. All RAM settings are AUTO.)

  Phrixos 18:57 12 Apr 2014

He, bumpkin. Missed your input. Already have two voice recorders. Can never remember where I put them (Probably hiding beside my glasses.)

Life's too short! (Anyway, the moment I click on a voice recorder, my mind goes blank. Lost a lot of good ideas that way.)

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