What Component to upgrade ( Slow AMD System )?

  Jimmyh 08:59 15 Feb 2006

Im trying to pin point the reason my system is slow, things like windows explorer slow at loading up, it seems to take ages for the drive list to appear and just general things like that. Hard Drive thrashing to name another.

Here is my system specs:

AMD Athlon 2000+ FSB133 12.5x
Gigabyte - GA-7VAX
Radeon 9700Pro
3x256 DDR-SDRAM PC2100 CL2.5 ( 2 are named, as Hyundai Electronics and the other is unnamed and only have chips on one side of the memory module? )
2x 80gb Hard drives

Here are the details about my hardrives.

Maxtor 6Y080L0
Average Rotational Latency 4.17 ms
Rotational Speed 7200 RPM
Interface Ultra-ATA/133
Buffer-to-Host Data Rate 133 MB/s
Buffer Size 2 MB

Seagate ST380020A
Hard Disk Name U Series 80020
Disks 2
Recording Surfaces 4
Average Rotational Latency 5.55 ms
Rotational Speed 5400 RPM
Max. Internal Data Rate 436 Mbit/s
Average Seek 8.9 ms
Track-To-Track Seek 1.2 ms
Full Seek 22 ms
Interface Ultra-ATA/100
Buffer-to-Host Data Rate 100 MB/s
Buffer Size 2 MB
Spin-Up Time 6.5 sec

Since both have a buffer size of 2mb, would i get much more performance if i get an 8mb buffer size drive?

Im not sure I am using the correct cable.
The cable being used is an 80 one but it is grey and all the connectors are black.
I have another 80 cable i can use which has a green, grey and black connector.

The Seagate ST380020A is my main bootable drive, i take it i should swap those around so the faster drive is the main one.

I dont think my mobo supports SATA so that would be out of the question.

Now should i upgrade to a faster harddrive to replace the 5400rpm one or upgrade my ram, of which i have 3 x 256mb @ PC2100 133/266mhz.

Since I have an Athlon XP 2000+ which is also at 133mhz 133x12.5 = 1662.5, would I benifit from gettin say 1gb @ PC2700, which i think is 166/333Mhz, would it run at that speed or would it downgrade it's self to the speed of the cpu?


  Diemmess 09:49 15 Feb 2006

You have given hardware specs in magnificent detail, but nothing about your operating system and what applications you are trying to run.

On the face of it you have a more than adequate box, but the problem almost certainly lies with the software. A few details please?

  Jimmyh 10:00 15 Feb 2006

I run Windows XP Pro, I use software like VC .Net 2003, Photosphop, Paintshop pro, I play MMORPG games like WOW and Everquest 2.

Another problem i thought might be the cause, is my partition setup.
The bootable drive is split into 4x 20GB partitions, the other drive is split into 2x20gb and 1x40gb partition.
Each partition is FAT32, i once had my main bootable partition on ntfs, but once when i reinstalled windows, i could not see the other hardrive and had to reformat it, so im a little scared of ntfs now.

I Imagine that i dont have a great partition setup, and i have read that the windows swapfile/pagefile would be best on a seperate drive to windows. But if i did that then either windows or the swapfile would be on the slow 5400rpm drive.

  Gongoozler 10:05 15 Feb 2006

Upgrading the hard drive speed won't give a dramatic increase in performance. Your memory should be adequate for anything other than demanding graphics editing programs. Hard drive buffer size only helps with the first burst of data, once the buffer is empty then it's down to how quickly the data is read from the platter. If the hard drives are getting full, this will slow things down, also if you have a lot of applications running in the background that will seriously affect performance. I suggest that you run Ccleaner click here to clear out all the accumulated rubbish a computer tends to acquire. Also run AdAware click here to see if there is spyware using up your computers resources. It is also worth looking at your computer startup list (Start - Run - msconfig - Startup) to see what your computer is loading at startup.

  Jimmyh 10:10 15 Feb 2006

I use Mcafee so have no worries about spyware/virus etc.

I have just reinstalled windows to see if that would help speed things along a bit, but doesnt seem to have made very much difference.

I also run Diskeeper quite often as well.

  Totally-braindead 10:21 15 Feb 2006

Your computer will take a faster processor but I'm sure you realise the memory may need to be replaced as well. There appears to me to be no obvious bottleneck and suspect as Gongoozler has said that software loading at startup and files left behind when older programs were loaded may well be the problem. Try his advice first and see how you get on. Regarding the hard drive, when using an IDE drive I always bought the 8mb cache one, they do tend to be a bit faster but to be honest I too don't think you would see any difference.
If you follow the advice and it still is too slow then I would suggest a format and a clean reinstall of Windows, but before attempting this make sure everything is backed up. A faster processor may help but if the slow up is caused by software related items, as I suspect then that would just be a waste of money as you would see very little difference. click here as you can see if you flash the BIOS to F10 it can support up to a Barton 3000+ but even supposing you decide to do this I think you would be struggling to find one other than second hand, plus of course theres the added cost of memory, if required.

  Gongoozler 10:22 15 Feb 2006

Was that a clean reinstall after a reformat, or did you install over the previous installation?

  Jimmyh 10:29 15 Feb 2006

I always reformat the partition which windows sits on and then reinstall it.

  [email protected] 10:39 15 Feb 2006

Will your mobo support more/faster memory? WinXP requires about 300Mb to run well although the min spec will tell you otherwise, so this could well be your bottleneck.

  Gongoozler 10:44 15 Feb 2006

You appear to be doing most things right. Certainly ther eare some improvements you could make, but I don't think any of them would give a dramatic improvement. I'm not sure of the effect all those partitions have though. You have seven partitions, all of which need to be interrogated by Windows Explorer. I am in favour of separate partitions for programs, data and system backup, but what do you have on the other four?

  Totally-braindead 10:49 15 Feb 2006

[email protected] he already has 3x256mb RAM

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