Yeah..... the HelpDesk will simply re-image the laptop. I'll do that if I get desperate, but I have put a fair number of hours getting it ready for use transitioning from my old laptop (and yes, it was slow before I changed a single thing). The latest nVidia drivers seemed to have helped, but not very much. The XP system was still snappier. What also helped is toning down UAC from the top selection to the next-one-down. Now it has stopped asking me for a password every time I change a system parameter. My Windows Experience is measuring 5.9, which seems quite good but that still doesn't account for the hourglass coming up all the time. Even doing something simple like launching Control Panel brings it up. The system is definitely usable, but I am simply not seeing any improvement over my past system despite the markedly better specs.
Originally Posted by dogberry
I'll keep plugging away. I have even tried turning off 4 of the 8 cores to see if that made a difference (via the msconfig boot options tab). That appeared to make zero difference at all, which tells me that the 8 cores are not really being used efficiently. Am on to network issues now, trying to see if different MTUs improve things, wireless vs. wired, etc. I am convinced there must be some contention surrounding the 8 cores, some delay when the OS decides to which core it assigns a thread. Just a guess, but something along those lines. Any other suggestions appreciated.
Ah, I hate this new laptop! It is a complete slug. I can type faster than it puts up the characters in most applications! The hourglass comes up all the time. I have since learned that a corei7 is actually comprised of 4 physical cores and 4 virtual. Is there any way to turn off the 4 virtual cores? Maybe it is some sort of weird contention problem between cores. I am out of ideas, I can't help thinking I should have ordered a Corei5 instead.
OK, looks like I have it working much better now. It was a long combination of things, but I am willing to bet disabling all the Bluetooth elements removed some interrupt contention. Fortunately, I don't need bluetooth on this laptop. Changes made :
1). Moved UAC down a notch from the company-preset highest setting to second setting.
2). Turned off a long list of services (Adobe Acrobat Update Service, Nvidia 3D, Superfetch, Remote Desktop config, Fax, Wireless Bluetooth (2 services), ActiveX Installer, BES Client, Bluetooth support services, and Parental Controls.
3). Removed all USB devices prior to boot (apparently there is a known loop with USB devices plugged in at boot which may cause perf issues).
4). Disabled Bluetooth Software pre-load
5). Upgraded to latest Nvidia drivers, disabled 3D Vision.
6). Upgraded BIOS.
7). Upgraded all drivers via Lenovo tool.
8). Upgraded Win7 via Windows Update including all Optional Updates.
9). Ran CCleaner.
10). Turned off Aero, went to a basic Win7 theme.
- I also tried a few things I reverted. I originally set to "Adjust for Best Performance" in Performance Options dialog box (Control Panel - System - Adjust Performance...) but Win7 ended up looking unacceptably ugly so switched back to "Adjust for Best Appearance". There was a slight increase in perceived performance, but not enough to justify the ugliness.
- Turning off 4 of the cores via msconfig - boot - advanced, but that had no discernible impact. Went back to 8.
System is much snappier now, about what I had with XP. With the additional cores and RAM, I expect it will be quite a bit more stable. After I test this new config for a few days, I'll turn Superfetch back on since in theory that should improve application loading performance and boot over time.
To drop down to 4 cores from 8, you need to adjust the BIOS. The CPU runs HyperThreading - similar to the good old days of the Pentium 4 HT CPU's. The number of cores referred to in msconfig is a debug setting for boot up.
Drop down into the BIOS at boot up disable HT: the machine should show 4 cores, but might trip an activation request as it may appear to be a significant hardware change. No real issue - if it does trip the activation request, simply phone the number and re-activate.
It may make a difference in some specialised circumstances, but in most cases will probably make little discernable difference - no harm in trying though!
Ahhhhhhhhhhh! It's all my fault!
I finally figured it out, and it was entirely my fault. All of the changes above did improve things, but the laptop seemed no faster than my previous XP laptop, so I was resigned to that being the best it could do despite the drastically upgraded hardware and much newer OS. I have a docking station for the old T61p laptop (XP machine) on a stand in my office. When I received the new laptop, I also replaced the docking station with a new one which fits a W510 Thinkpad, but I just used the same power adapter since the connector was identical. The cord was passed up behind my desk against the wall, so I just plugged in the old one since it was a pain to crawl under my desk to exchange them. After days of making changes, tweaks, etc., and yet another reboot, I needed to cold start the laptop. This time, a nice big message appeared on the screen "A power adapter with a lower wattage has been detected. Please use the power adapter which shipped with your laptop. Your laptop battery will charge at a slower rate and your computer will automatically lower the performance of your computer to adjust for the lower wattage."
Learn something new every day. The new brick is rated 135W 20V, the old one only 90W 20V. I switched bricks, and presto, snappy performance after my next boot. Doh!
wow this was very educative.
Thanks for sharing
"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."
"Procexp currently shows 165 processes running."
Holy moley - you outta controley!!!
Typical factory install OS always has too much crap running. You don't need ALL of it all the time. Think "clean & lean = fast machine". The most processes I get running on a strong laptop are 85 (I do LOTS of installs/reloads for people). Get the free version of REVO uninstaller and go to work with it. Forget tuners and tweakers, there are many that will just make things worse. Even with the good ones you have to be a good judge of when and where to use them.
Because you don't want to uninstall everything, just stop the useless 24/7 background processes. Use Anvir Task Manager Pro (free trial that lasts forever) and shut off as many 'startups' as you safely can.
Wanna be a power user? You need a powerhouse of a computer. Best choices are among the desktops, laptops are marginal by comparison. You can't move an 18 wheeler load very fast with a 4 wheeler sedan.
Last edited by mr.wire; 2012-05-17 at 07:19.
There is not that much crapware running on this laptop. There's some, but not a lot. Trouble is that a lot of legitimate apps install stuff that runs in the background. E.g. I'm not running VMware Workstation right now, but there are FIVE VMware processes running. Adobe Acrobat, Skype, Snagit, Roboform, iTunes, printer, touchpad, all of them run a background process at all times. There are plenty of others. Add that to the heavy load I put on the system -- I'm currently running 21 separate apps, including 7 Excel worksheets, 6 Word documents, 6 Powerpoint documents, Firefox with 17 open tabs, Thunderbird, several large applications, .... and the processes add up.
Currently I'm using 6 of my 8 GB of RAM and 10% of CPU. But I never max out the CPUs -- the cores are always loafing. RAM is a much bigger problem.