Advice appreciated

  jessej 18:00 14 Nov 2003

This, I think, is one for the techies. Its really been something thats been niggling me ever since I got the computer 2 1/2 years ago. Certain operations are painfully slow, I can cick on some programmes and they are on the scren in seconds, others can take up to 1 1/2 minutes. Of particular annoyance is Windows Updates that take a few mins. to download then take hours to install. Example, earlier today I download a 293KB update, it took 50 mins. to install. I should say that this is nothing new, its been like that from the start. So what have I done since new? The hard drive had to be replaced after a major crash, the new on is 40GB, only approx 1/4 is used, the rest is free. RAM has been increased to 512MB, following which, because of a few minor problems that I couldn't be bothered with at the time, a computer engineer set the machine up afterwards, doing a reinstall of XP Home at the same time. (there were good reasons for doing this which I won't go into to save space) The engineer told me the onlu other thing I could do would be to upgrade the processor from a Via Cyrix III, 533 MHz to a Pentium III 866 MHz. Though he would not commit himself as to whether it would improve matters, he said, to save money, fit a 2nd hand one, he strips old computers from time to time for the good bits which he then uses to repair other old computers, thereby keeping the cost down. Now for the big question, would a new processor be likely to cure the problem/s or should I just save the money towards a new computer? would be very grateful for any advice.

  SGT BARNES 18:03 14 Nov 2003

no offence but what is a Cyrix III

  Pesala 18:09 14 Nov 2003

Windows updates can be big, so 50 mins is not exceptional. It would depend much more on your Internet connection than the processor though.

Two and half years old is not so old, but a Cyrix 533 Mhz process is very slow by today's standards. The PIII would be better, but not a lot.

I would advise making do until the new year, and take advantage of the cut-price deals available then. Maybe worth spending up to £50 on the upgrade (if he does it for you) to keep you going.

  hugh-265156 18:11 14 Nov 2003

yeah your specs processor wise seem borderline for xp.upgrading will improve things no doubt.

click here

  citadel 18:15 14 Nov 2003

Using a dial-up the latest microsoft update took 9 mins to download and less than a minute to install on my computer. There must be something wrong with your system. If you are going to upgade a new motherboard and processor would be the best bet.

  hugh-265156 18:28 14 Nov 2003

make sure all other programs running are shut down when installing ms updates.

might speed the install up a bit.

  R4 18:39 14 Nov 2003

If you want fast downloads you need broadband, downloading 296Kbs takes seconds... but if the web site you are loading is being heavily used it will be slow anyway.

I would upgrade the motherboard and CPU at least but this will not alter your slow download much.

  bfoc 19:13 14 Nov 2003

You are not worried about how long the file took to download, but how long it took to install.

Now I am only guessing but I believe that the Cyrix III has no level 2 cache memory (fast memory used to store repeated instructions) and is very, very poor in maths floating point calculations. This could explain why installing a 'packed' file takes so long and might explain why some programs, files take longer to open. I also wonder whether it is truly MMX compatible, if not that might slow things up as well.

You should notice a difference by installing another chip. Just check that the motherboard can handle it! There is also, bizzarely, the possibility that the chip, motherboard or some other part of the system does not recognise all the new memory. I have a dim recollection of people with certain configurations saying that more memory caused slowing! Mind you I believe your problems were there from the beginning!

I hope this may help!

  jessej 10:54 15 Nov 2003

As always, many thanks to all who replied, I knew you could be relied on.
A few personal replies,
Sgt Barnes: Please read the other replies where, hopefully, all will be revealed.
R4: Where I live Broadband is not an option and won't be for the foreseeable future.
bfoc: Special thanks for you very informative reply. Funny you should pick on that, a computer running slow after fitting more RAM. That was exactly why I had to call on an engineer for help. According to the motherboard manual; PC Chips web site (for an M758LMR board) and Crucial, 1GB was supported. So I went mad and bunged in 2 x 512MB. Result: the computer slowed to a fraction above 'stop'. Incidentally, it was the engineer who said I could go to 866MHz with a Pentium III, after me experience with the RAM I'm inclined to believe him rather than take the manual/PC Chips advice as gospel.
Top marks to Crucial who accepted one of tha cards back for a full refund, no questions asked.

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