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  1. #1
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    Core i7 laptop slower than Core i5?

    I got a refurbished laptop (HP dv7-4183cl) with Windows 7. It was snappy and fast. Unfortunately it had hardware problems and HP very generously replaced it with a bigger, better, faster (I thought) laptop, a dv7-6199us.

    The first laptop had a Core i5-460M processor (2.53GHz) with 2 cores and 6GB of RAM. The new one has a Core i7-2670QM (2.2GHz) with 4 cores and 8GB of RAM.

    I never had them side-by-side so I couldn't do any careful comparisons, but the new Core i7 laptop is noticeably, significantly more sluggish than the Core i5. The first laptop felt snappy and responsive, but the new one feels slow. Boot-up takes longer, starting up processes takes longer, and virtual machines in VMware Workstation are really slow.

    The native speed of the Core i7 is 13% slower, but a) it feels more than 13% slower, and b) I assumed the slower clock rate would be compensated by improved architecture in the i7. Apparently not.

    The i7 has more cores but even though I'm a power user -- I typically have 15-20 apps running including 2-4 VMs running in VMware -- I seldom have 4 cores cranking at more than 10-20%. The CPUs are slackin'. I have no idea why it feels so slow.

    I *do* push things RAM-wise. Right now Task Manager says I'm using 6.85GB out of my 8, and presumably Windows has grabbed the rest of it. But I don't think RAM could be the issue, because e.g. boot-up seems slow too.

    What could cause an i7 quad-core to feel more sluggish than an i5 dual-core?
    Gary

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    Have you used a tool such as Autoruns or WhatInStartup to examine and manage what is starting when you boot the system?

    Have you used a tool such as Process Explorer to examine what is running on your system?

    Are all the drivers on the system up-to-date?

    Do you have Windows 7 SP1 installed? Are all the Windows patches and hotfixes installed?

    Joe

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    even though I'm a power user -- I typically have 15-20 apps running including 2-4 VMs running in VMware
    This is not conducive to speed. Tone it down a bit.

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    Autoruns says there's a ton of stuff -- possibly lots more than the old laptop, but hard to tell. But the CPU usage is very low and the RAM usage is low until I load up my tons of apps. So I wouldn't expect that to be the problem.

    Procexp currently shows 165 processes running. Like Task Manager, it shows only about 10% CPU usage. Resource Monitor shows very little disk or network activity.

    The system is running Win7 SP1, fully patched. I can't guarantee all the drivers are running the latest -- I'd have to chase that somewhere, probably on the HP site.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    This is not conducive to speed. Tone it down a bit.
    Help me understand why? If the CPU is not busy, and there's RAM available, why should multiple apps cause an issue?

    Obviously when I'm pushing the RAM limits, e.g. with my VMs, then I'm going to create swapping. But until I get to that point, I understood there was no significantpenalty for running multiple programs. If I doubled my RAM to 16GB so I was nowhere near running out of RAM, would my performance still suffer from running lots of stuff?

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    You mentioned bootup taking longer. You should refer to the Logon tab in Autoruns. That may give you an idea about what you could disable to improve the boot time. You could also install Soluto if you want a program to help diagnose the boot process.

    Even when your CPU and RAM usage is not heavy you could still have other issues such as a slower disk drive, non or slow responding network devices, faulty RAM, or out-of-date drivers. All of these could contribute to a system being sluggish.

    Joe

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    What Joe said in the last paragraph...would only add that you cannot go the "power user" route on a laptop spec'ed with a 1 TB, 5400 RPM drive...can't even run one VM with any kind of proficiency and still have the host loaded up with active apps, much less 2 or 4. Its not the processor slowing you down...that's why its only 10-20% utilized...everything else is slowing you down; utilization starvation I call it...everything has to balance; one weak link and you get bottlenecked.

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I'd also be willing to bet that your GPU would be an issue in terms of "bottle necking" as well.
    Laptop's should not be run like you are doing.

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    Yeah, I wasn't crazy about the 5400rpm drive. But that should only be an issue if you're *using* it. Obviously that will make a difference during bootup, but not during normal usage unless I'm swapping or running some disk-intensive app, yes?

    I wonder how much difference a 1TB 7200rpm drive would make? They're only $70-80. I could do an image backup of this 1TB drive, swap in the new one, and restore the image. Of course that would invalidate my warranty so maybe I'll wait a while before I seriously consider that.

    I don't think the GPU is an issue. procexp says it's running at about 2-3% most of the time.

    So if the CPU and disk aren't busy, and the GPU is basically unused, and there's enough RAM to avoid swapping... whereinheck IS the bottleneck? My disk activity light doesn't seem to work -- says it's always parked -- but the Resource Monitor says it's not terribly busy most of the time.

    The only indicator of a problem I can find is the page fault rate. System Monitor says it runs around 5000/sec with the system just sitting here not doing much. That seems excessive. And Task Manager says the PF delta is generally running under 1000. !?

    I'm a bit dismayed to hear "a laptop can't/shouldn't be used like that." I did all this with a smaller/slower Vista laptop for years. I always had severe RAM limitations (4GB, 32bit) but other than that it worked great. As the install got a few years old it got "Windows bit rot" and slowed down a lot, but as I recall the last re-install pepped it up again just fine. So if that 2.0GHz Turion 64x2 with 4GB and Vista could do it, why can't a bigger/faster box with Win7?

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    I don't think anyone is saying the performance you are getting is normal, something definitely seems wrong, my guess would be one or more very poorly performing drivers, thinking chipset maybe or if the pagefile is not set to system managed, sometimes I've fixed a slow system by merely allowing Windows to manage it. Hard to say for sure, I think we're all guessing a bit (lot?).

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    I got a refurbished laptop (HP dv7-4183cl) with Windows 7. It was snappy and fast. Unfortunately it had hardware problems and HP very generously replaced it with a bigger, better, faster (I thought) laptop, a dv7-6199us.
    Is this a clean install to the newer laptop, or was the HD cloned from the 1st one to the new laptop's HD?
    Better hardware doesn't necessarily equate to better performance if the drivers are corrupt or the os install shoddy.

    I would also be curious to know what is showing up in the event veiwer.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2011-12-09 at 09:11.

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    The OS install is the factory install from HP, plus my updates/patches and installed applications.

    I haven't done anything with the pagefile so I assume it's still system managed.

    Nothing significant in the Event Log. Prior to the past week there were a bunch of SmartCard errors and WudfUsbccidDrv errors, which I think are also related to the smartcard. Until last week I had a login-token smartcard plugged in, and apparently that caused errors. I plugged it in again this morning and so far no errors.

    I guess the next step is to go through the list of drivers at the HP support site and see if any are out of date. I tried their automatic scanner and it couldn't find any HP products...

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    Be sure to check for BIOS and motherboard updates too.

    Joe

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    It looks like MOST of my drivers are out of date. HP has released drivers for most devices in the last 3 months. I've got the BIOS update but I don't think there's a chipset driver update.

    I'm a little unclear which drivers to install on some of these. Apparently HP used several different vendors' components in this specific laptop, and they provide drivers for all of them. It's up to you to figure out which one your laptop needs. E.g. they have Intel and Ralink Bluetooth drivers; currently the system has Microsoft generic Bluetooth drivers installed so I don't know which one is appropriate. They also have Intel and Ralink wifi drivers, but currently the system has an Intel Centrino Wireless-N 1030 driver so I assume the Intel one is right. Will it hurt anything if I install the wrong one?

    There's an Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver. Not sure if this is needed. Device Manager says I have a Toshiba drive but this Intel driver isn't just a disk driver.

    Is there a better way to see what's currently installed, other than Device Manager?

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    Is there any reference to TurboCache or HyperMemory, which 'steal memory' from RAM to use for graphics, in the specifications? Maybe I have the wrong kind of 'Turbo' - I was looking over machines in a store today and 'Turbo' seemed to figure prominently in their advertised specs.

    As for having all those cores, Ashampoo has an application called Core Tuner (now at 2) which you can get a free trial for if you are feeling adventurous or are just curious. I'm curious: I have it on one computer and can't figure out what's going on with it, much less whether or not it's doing me any good, but I have fewer cores than you.

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