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  1. #1
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    Will more memory help speed up this PC?

    Hey all,

    I have a desktop computer that has:
    Windows XP Home
    Intel 2.2 ghz core duo processor
    Nvidea graphics card
    2 gig RAM
    SSD operating system/programs drive (50% full)
    7200 rpm data drive (25% full)

    I just purchased a new Dell Inspiron laptop that has:
    Windows 8
    Intel 2.2 ghz quad core
    AMD Radeon graphics
    8 gig of RAM
    5400 rpm hard drive (10% full)

    Those are the specs. Here is the question:

    I ran the same 3D CNC toolpathing program file on both machines. It took 8 seconds to process on the 2.2 ghz core duo desktop and 4 seconds to run on the new Dell 2.2 ghz quad core laptop.

    I had been planning on adding 2 gig more RAM to the desktop PC. However since it already has the SSD hard drive I'm wondering if any excess RAM requirements are using the SSD and subsequently adding 2 gig more RAM wouldn't show significant impact on the 8 second time processing.

    I'm also considering replacing the 2.2 ghz core duo Desktop with a machine about equivalent to the new Dell laptop. I would go with SSD for both Windows/ program drive and data drive this time.

    So more RAM or new desktop?

    Any suggestions on which route to go?

    Thanks,
    BH
    Last edited by bhdavis; 2013-04-13 at 15:01. Reason: missing text

  2. #2
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    BH,

    What you fail to state is the % of memory in use while running the program. If your memory isn't 100% utilized adding more isn't going to speed anything up. My guess is that this a processor speed difference you are seeing 4 cores vs 2 cores seems like it should halve the time to me. HTH
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  3. #3
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    You could just upgrade the motherboard or CPU if your socket on your board now will accept a dual or 4 core CPU. This will be cheaper than buying a completely new machine. May even have to upgrade your power supply if it not at least 350w at the moment.
    Clive

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Windows XP shows it's tooth length here imo, processor differences aside.
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    Prehistoric shark, Sabertooth tiger, T-Rex?

    However since it already has the SSD hard drive I'm wondering if any excess RAM requirements are using the SSD and subsequently adding 2 gig more RAM wouldn't show significant impact on the 8 second time processing.
    Doesn't sound like paging is impacting at all and even if it did, the fact you have an SSD mitigates that to a substantial degree. That is if you don't mind the thought that a lot of paging may be wearing the SSD a bit more than normal.

    Like cc, I would go for the cheap processor upgrade if possible first. 2.2 is pretty slow for CPU intensive tasks. My elderly Q6600 quad core (2.4Ghz) gets pummeled by my 2.93 and 3.16 Ghz core two duo systems when the processors work on some lengthy project. Memory limits are never an issue unless I'm multitasking quite heavily.

  6. #6
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    More memory ALWAYS improves performance up to the limit for the OS, in this case 4GB.
    In this case I suspect the limits are hardware and software, so additional memory won't make a lot of difference. Your dual core CPU will always be slower than the quad core because newer CPUs are more efficient. Windows XP is a lot slower than Window 7 on the same hardware - again newer software is generally more efficient than older software.

    cheers, Paul

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    Paul, do you use XP and 7 together on a daily basis? What you state I have not found to be true in any way, using both on dual cores, 6-cores, etc. Take a look at this article if you need more than observed proof. Granted it's four years old, there is no real point anymore in continuing to compare the modern with XP anymore, but trust me, its every bit as good and fast.

    AS to newer software being more efficient than older software; that car just went off a cliff! Maybe the little apps for touch devices are efficient because they have to be but software for desktop systems has gone ever to more bloat and excess as a general rule. Why? Because it can, programmers/engineers can be sloppy because in general, it can be written for more forgiving hardware.

    At least we can mostly agree on the memory part, the lone caveat or question being, by how much? A GTX 690 video card will improve my gaming performance too, but, only if I go from a 1080P screen to 2 Catleap monitors!

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    I our real world environment we have upgraded from XP SP3 to Win7 Enterprise SP1 with the same apps, the difference in performance was astounding. This is over several thousand machines of varying age so it's not a one off.

    cheers, Paul

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    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Enterprise Windows machines on an enterprise network, not surprised you see a big difference there. I doubt if standalone or home users would see anything like those differences; my real world testing showed no discernible differences in speed, benchmarking showed variation of a few %, some in favour of XP, some for W7.

    I haven't tested XP3 against W7 SP1, there may (should?) be a slight improvement.

  10. #10
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    Indeed, I would have abandoned XP long ago if it had actual inferior performance. All my tests, which only account for a couple dozen systems, involve long CPU-intensive tasks and gaming (FRAPS). One might argue that's because Win 7 supports DirectX11 and XP is stuck at 9 or something along those lines, but not in any way, shape or form, that XP is slower on the same hardware with commensurate drivers.

    You would have to be much more clear in what you mean by Enterprise performance because I don't think of intra-system performance as much as I do inter-system performance in that case. Good for enterprise inter-system performance if that's so, however, that is not at issue here.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    BH,

    What you fail to state is the % of memory in use while running the program. If your memory isn't 100% utilized adding more isn't going to speed anything up. My guess is that this a processor speed difference you are seeing 4 cores vs 2 cores seems like it should halve the time to me. HTH
    I watched CPU and memory tracking while running a large file today. CPU ran at about 50% and memory ran at about 50% as well. So I'm thinking the comments on CPU processing speed and general more advanced system components in the new laptop are indeed the answer. I put the parts for a nice I-5 3.4 ghz quad core system with my usual Gigabyte brand MB in my cart at New Egg today and will think on it for a day or two before hitting the SUBMIT order button.

    Thanks all for you time and advice,
    BH

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    Seems to me we could keep on pondering over the matter 'til doomsday. And still not even touch the real cause. That is, could. There's no easy way to tell the real, actual reason to the observed results.

    My point here is, it could be also GPU on the culprit. On my tests on the very same machine, using different GPUs tend to show performance differences of magnitudes, depending of course on the software in question. Most notably this will happen in the most demanding tasks - 3-D or video rendering, PhotoShop etc. Not all software are capable of utilizing the full power of modern video cards, but some definitely are.

    So just taking a closer look at your video cards might tell something. Most often desktop ones beat their mobile counterparts. Also take note that on mobile hardware your options to upgrade will always be more limited than on decent desktop systems. Of course there are limits on upgrading set by the motherboard and PSU, too.

  14. #13
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I did not notice if anyone asked if the XP PC is 32 Bit. I suspect it is. The approx. limit for a 32 Bit PC is 3.5 Gb of Ram. In that case the 4 Gb proposed by the OP is the upper limit of the OS. This PC will likely never be as fast as the newer PC unless, as Clive mentions, a major overhaul is performed.

    Ah I see Paul did mention the 4 Gb limit. Sorry to have rehashed that.
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    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhdavis View Post
    Hey all,

    I have a desktop computer that has:
    Windows XP Home
    Intel 2.2 ghz core duo processor
    Nvidea graphics card
    2 gig RAM
    SSD operating system/programs drive (50% full)
    7200 rpm data drive (25% full)

    I just purchased a new Dell Inspiron laptop that has:
    Windows 8
    Intel 2.2 ghz quad core
    AMD Radeon graphics
    8 gig of RAM
    5400 rpm hard drive (10% full)

    Those are the specs. Here is the question:
    I ran the same 3D CNC toolpathing program file on both machines. It took 8 seconds to process on the 2.2 ghz core duo desktop and 4 seconds to run on the new Dell 2.2 ghz quad core laptop.
    I had been planning on adding 2 gig more RAM to the desktop PC. However since it already has the SSD hard drive I'm wondering if any excess RAM requirements are using the SSD and subsequently adding 2 gig more RAM wouldn't show significant impact on the 8 second time processing.
    I'm also considering replacing the 2.2 ghz core duo Desktop with a machine about equivalent to the new Dell laptop. I would go with SSD for both Windows/ program drive and data drive this time.
    So more RAM or new desktop?
    Any suggestions on which route to go?
    Thanks,
    BH
    Hi! I'm sort of jumping from A to Z here, but....
    Two gigs of ram on the desktop, with XP is the sweet spot. XP will only see about 3 gigs anyway, so adding more will gain you very little if anything.
    Sounds like the SSD is doing its thing.
    You have a dual core CPU, but unless you tell Windows how many cores you have, it will, by default, only use one.
    You actually have to go into setup and tell Windows how many cores you want it to use. I'll post that process next.
    I'm hoping that your XP is also upgraded to SP3.

    As for the new laptop, there is actually a whole library of things to do to Win-8 to make it run efficiently, even setting the number of cores you have, mentioned above. OK, here's that tweak.

    Shorten the Boot Time in XP, Vista & Windows 7 & 8

    Go to the start button, choose run, then type msconfig and press Ok.
    On the system configuration window, choose the "Boot.INI" tab.

    Check “No Gui Boot”, then lower the timeout to a more manageable time.
    I choose 3 seconds in stead of 30. (windows won’t accept a lower number than 3)

    Next choose advanced options.
    This is where you can choose how many processors you have.
    Most modern PC's are duo core (2 processors) with some quad core (4 processors)
    then choose OK. The Windows default is only 1 core.

    Now choose apply and OK, reboot and you should see a marked decrease in boot time,
    And Run-Time efficiency.


    To be able to run MSCONFIG and do the above on Win-8, you really do need to install the "Classic Shell" program, which restores the START button and the RUN box.
    After spending about 8 months on the Windows 8 forum, as a moderator, I'm pretty familiar with everything it takes to make Win-8 user friendly. I do have Win-8 installed on a second HD and I have it looking and acting very much like my XP.

    So, in conclusion, Keep XP and fix Win-8 and you should be fine.

    Cheers Mate!
    The Doctor
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  17. #15
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    Just wanted to say THANK YOU to The Doctor for his msconfig tip! I've been struggling with my venerable XP SP3 desktop regarding boot up times, and the msconfig changes should straighten out about half of them! I may post about the XP load times.... we shall see.

    But thank you!!

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