Why is my high-spec new build so slow?

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  • DocktorJ 29 May 2010 00:14:16 20 posts
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    Hi, I've just built my first PC so forgive any stupid questions I may be about to ask...

    I've put in a strong CPU (AMD Phenom x4, 3.2GHz) and a strong Graphics card (ATI Radeon 5850 (From Powercolor)). These are connected to an Asus M4A785TD-M Evo Motherboard, along with 2Gb of DDR3 RAM, 500Gb Hard Disc, DVD Writer, 750W PSU, running on Vista 32 bit.

    I would expect this system to run pretty fast and smoothly, but everything is ssllloooowwww... programs take an age to load, video is jerky, even typing this text, the screen stops for a couple of seconds at a time. Some games run brillliantly through the graphics card on maximum settings (EVE online, Far Cry 2), However Modern Warfare 2 takes an age to load a level and usually crashes within a couple of minutes, with jerks and pauses throughout. I get occasional crashes outside of gaming.

    What could cause this? The RAM and PSU are generic cheap jobs from Aria.co.uk, I had to get a Molex to PCIe converter to connect the graphics card. Is the PSU underpowering the graphics card? Do I need a new PSU? Could it be I need more RAM? Or is the processor at fault, since EVERYTHING runs slowly? I don't think It's overheating.. The CPU rarely goes much above 40-45 degrees, however for an x4 3.2GHz, surely it should never even break a sweat anyway?! I have gone so far as to take the side panel off my generic case and have a large desk fan blowing cold air in directly.

    Any ideas??

    Thanks
  • Dirtbox 29 May 2010 00:16:51 91,048 posts
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  • Deleted user 29 May 2010 00:17:56
    Sounds like RAM. Are you running a fresh OS install? Could be some software bogging everything down. MS security did this to me recently. Choked my whole system.
  • Deleted user 29 May 2010 00:18:45
    DocktorJ wrote:
    .... Vista 32 bit.

    Oh dear.

    Also your HDD needs to be some kind of SATA, which i presume it is anyway.
  • Deleted user 29 May 2010 00:19:57
    There is nothing wrong with Vista.
  • Deleted user 29 May 2010 00:19:58
    Someone more useful will probably be here soon but your spec shouldn't cause those issues. RAM is always helpful but again I don't think that is the cause of what you're seeing.

    What have you done about drivers? You haven't mentioned anything on them.

    Also check to see what processes/background things are running.

    Edit: wot db said
  • Dirtbox 29 May 2010 00:21:03 91,048 posts
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  • Deleted user 29 May 2010 00:21:54
    :)

    That's just me typing slow.
  • DocktorJ 29 May 2010 00:26:21 20 posts
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    Drivers are up to date according to Device Mgr.

    Just the standard crap in the background, Norton Antivirus and McAfee fighting it out.

    I'm not sure how to tell if all 4 cores are running, however on Speedfan (Which is how i measure CPU temp), there are 4 'activity' bars which all light up.

    The OS install is a Vista recovery disc that I made when I first fired up my previous computer, a shop-bought desktop. I have installed the same programs that I had on my previous PC (iTunes, Audacity, Steam etc.) but the old PC ran faster and it was a much lower spec!

    I am not liking Vista much either, spuds. I plan to get Windows 7 on payday, do you think that would help? The hard drive is SATA.

    Thanks for the prompt replies guys.
  • Deleted user 29 May 2010 00:27:37
    Kill norton and mcafee with fire.
  • mal 29 May 2010 00:33:28 29,326 posts
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    RobJenx wrote:
    Sounds like RAM. Are you running a fresh OS install? Could be some software bogging everything down. MS security did this to me recently. Choked my whole system.
    Funny, I was about to say it sounded like HDD speed, given how some things take an age to load. But then it shouldn't be bogging down for seconds just typing text into a textarea unless either it's run out of RAM and is paging like a bastard or it's paging normally but having so much trouble accessing the disc cache that it's blocking (either way, the HDD light should show you if this is a problem)

    It's just in my experience OSes trust RAM implicitly. If it fucks up the OS just crashes by stages. It can run slow, but since it's needed by every other machine code instruction or so accesses the RAM it won't noticably pause rather just appear to run more slowly than it should. Given a 0.5Ghz CPU can run a web browser quite happily either something software it going bonkers or it's doing some drastic paging.
  • Dirtbox 29 May 2010 00:33:57 91,048 posts
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  • DocktorJ 29 May 2010 00:34:57 20 posts
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    Looking on Task Manager under the performance tab, I can see 4 CPU graphs all with activity. CPU usage is around 4% with just Internet Explorer running. However 'Physical Memory' is at 73%, showing 1.43Gb of 2Gb used. This seems like a lot, would this suggest I need more RAM? What level should physical memory use generally be at?
  • Dirtbox 29 May 2010 00:35:34 91,048 posts
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  • Deleted user 29 May 2010 00:38:36
    Having one is really bad, having both must be like some form of self-punishment.
  • mal 29 May 2010 00:39:51 29,326 posts
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    Physical ram should generally run at a few tens of kilobytes if you're not doing anything. If you're running two antiviruses (wtf?) you'd maybe hit a few megabytes at absolute max. 2GB should be more than enough for most uses these days. Hell, I barely use over 2.5GB on my (admittedly Linux) build machine building a few tens of gigabytes of source code in up to eight parallel build processes across four CPUs. While I'm browsing EG and playing music.
  • DocktorJ 29 May 2010 00:40:26 20 posts
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    @Dirtbox: McAfee came with Vista, Norton with the motherboard. No, I didn't see the problem with this, as I said in my first post I'm new to PC building, and would be surprised if the performance drop was due to a software issue, my initial concern was that I had a faulty / substandard hardware component. I'm uninstalling Norton now, I guess that will fix the problem then.
  • mal 29 May 2010 00:43:16 29,326 posts
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    Antivirus software is a drain on almost any data access. The only reason I can see for running two at the same time is if you like one, but know that a particular virus you're scanning for isn't picked up by one. But I can't imagine running two as a matter of course - that's just asking for trouble IMO.

    Edit: And of course there's the danger that one scanner will access a file which causes another on-demand scanner to check that file which causes the other on-demand scanner to access that file which causes...

    I would naively expect antivirus software not to trigger DoS attacks like this, but such protections would have to be actively designed in, and it wouldn't massively surprise me if it's not a feature of all antivirus programs (and having suffered at the hands of McAfee myself at times, I'd not be surprised it that failed the test)
  • MrDigital 29 May 2010 00:45:46 1,885 posts
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    DocktorJ wrote:
    Just the standard crap in the background, Norton Antivirus and McAfee fighting it out.

    Hahahahahahahahahah... You have tech knowledge enough to build a PC but not enough to know that having 2 anti-virus programs running at the same time is a very bad idea?
  • Deleted user 29 May 2010 00:49:58
    DocktorJ wrote:
    @ Dirtbox: McAfee came with Vista, Norton with the motherboard. No, I didn't see the problem with this, as I said in my first post I'm new to PC building, and would be surprised if the performance drop was due to a software issue, my initial concern was that I had a faulty / substandard hardware component. I'm uninstalling Norton now, I guess that will fix the problem then.

    Drop mcafee as well and get something like antivir. There's a thread around here that'll give all the detail you need on any of them.
  • Deleted user 29 May 2010 00:55:59
    Geesh wrote:
    DocktorJ wrote:
    Just the standard crap in the background, Norton Antivirus and McAfee fighting it out.

    Hahahahahahahahahah... You have tech knowledge enough to build a PC but not enough to know that having 2 anti-virus programs running at the same time is a very bad idea?

    Perhaps he just likes to double up, you can never be too careful. I bet your parents wish they had in hindsight.
  • MrDigital 29 May 2010 00:58:29 1,885 posts
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    RobJenx wrote:
    Geesh wrote:
    DocktorJ wrote:
    Just the standard crap in the background, Norton Antivirus and McAfee fighting it out.

    Hahahahahahahahahah... You have tech knowledge enough to build a PC but not enough to know that having 2 anti-virus programs running at the same time is a very bad idea?

    Perhaps he just likes to double up, you can never be too careful. I bet your parents wish they had in hindsight.

    Probably.
  • DocktorJ 29 May 2010 01:02:34 20 posts
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    Geesh wrote:
    DocktorJ wrote:
    Just the standard crap in the background, Norton Antivirus and McAfee fighting it out.

    Hahahahahahahahahah... You have tech knowledge enough to build a PC but not enough to know that having 2 anti-virus programs running at the same time is a very bad idea?

    Yep, that's right! Building the PC wasn't hard, it's just plugging bits in, it didn't really take any tech knowledge except for some Youtube research. Like I said, I'm no expert on the subject, two antivirus programmes is something I never really gave any thought to, in the same way I have both Windows Media Player and iTunes. I'm just used to pressing the 'on' switch on a 360 an playing a game, no questions asked!

    Norton's gone now, machines restarted, still quite slow, now to get rid of McAfee...
  • MrDigital 29 May 2010 01:05:16 1,885 posts
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    Fair doos, enjoy your new PC dude. Got some fancy new 3D games lined up?
  • DocktorJ 29 May 2010 01:10:30 20 posts
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    Got Modern Warfare 2 free with the graphics card, I'm planning on using that to see how the PC can stand up to current consoles! Got Crysis on the way for what I understand is still the benchmark test for any system. And I'm hoping to be able to get into some EVE online battles without dropping to 2 FPS!
  • Dirtbox 29 May 2010 01:12:30 91,048 posts
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  • DocktorJ 29 May 2010 01:12:53 20 posts
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    I am now very optimistic about my PC having removed both anti-virus programmes!! I can't believe such massive problems were caused by something so simple. Now to test gaming..
  • Dirtbox 29 May 2010 01:13:26 91,048 posts
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  • Deleted user 29 May 2010 01:15:49
    Have you set up your ram timings in the bios properly?

    Edit: Bit late, glad its working for you now.
  • DocktorJ 29 May 2010 01:38:41 20 posts
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    My system still seems to be using a lot of RAM; around 900MB when idle, up to 1.8GB while Modern Warfare 2 was loading / running.. MW2 froze and jumped a couple of times, usually before a big graphical effect like an explosion... Is there any way I can reduce the memory usage?
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