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  1. #11
    Senior Member TechnoMage's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help getting the most from your PC

    But, I can take that eMachine, from Wal-Mart and make it sing like an opera star. (usually)
    That is, till the user loads so much junk in there, that the cpu and ram are overtaxed and the HD is full.
    Finally the underpowered PSU will shoot craps and the game is over.

    I, or any tech, can do just so much with inadequate or mismatched hardware.
    So if you want a really Great running PC, start with a good platform.

    We all trust, when we buy a Name Brand PC, that someone did their homework and that all the hardware is perfectly matched for the best performance. But (sniff), that's not always the case.
    My own PC, that I built myself, several years ago now, is probably not perfect, but it's as close to perfect as I could get it, for the money I could afford to spend. It still runs faster than many of the new PC's that I've installed for my customers just recently.
    For instance, I had to work on one HP desktop today, that is about two years old, with windows 7, Home Premium on it and it's a DOG!

    Yesterday, I had to do a RE-Install on an HP desktop that was installed initially by another local technician.
    It still had all the Spyware on it that came from HP and it had a six core CPU, but windows was still set to use only one core. If a new PC is never set up correctly, it will never run right.

    Sometimes you actually get what you pay for, and sometimes you don't!
    That's life, I guess.

    TechnoMage
    A man with experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument.
    Backup! Backup! Backup! Ghost rocks!

  2. #12
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    Default Re: Help getting the most from your PC

    That's the problem with those dirt cheap computers, you or any highly skilled technician can tune it up, as you've described in this & other places. Then the owner carries it back home, & one by one, places their favorite apps back on there, then it's the same old $299 computer again. Nothing that any technician can do about that, when one won't listen, oh well...

    You do bring up another point, that any technician can only do so much with inadequate or mismatched hardware, & that's 100% true. It's always better to have more PSU, CPU, GPU, RAM & HDD (size & speed) that one actually uses (which is almost or near 100% on cheap eMachines & some other brands). Why? Because these components won't be under strain all of the time, a computer that cruises through whatever one throws it's way is a happy one. And will serve the owner longer.

    Paying less for inferior components is NOT a way to save on a build (or a replacement part). In the end, it proves to be more costly, as it'll need replacement again, & the company that sold it to you as a "Lifetime Warranty" one, often has long gone. Don't deal with off the wall (no name) part distributors, Google search the company if in doubt. And read reviews closely. Not just the 5 Star (or egg) ones, but some of the lesser reviews also.

    These lesser reviews can provide some in depth info about the company (or part) that's being considered for purchase. Look for consistencies in these, such as "PC BSOD's in 30 to 40 minutes since installing" or anything that several reviewers are pointing out. This is evidence of a batch of second rate parts pushed off to the supplier, & most all gets "bad batches" from time to time, as with medicine, food & many other items that are recalled. Look for these type of reviews, those are the ones I want to read, is the worst ones.

    It is unfortunate, but what TM is stating about HP is true. Even their "Premium" line of PC's often have mismatched parts, & even if it has a six core (or quad) CPU, the Crapware installed drops many to their knees. It's not that HP is lacking for cash, they have been at the #1 position several times in the last ten years as the top sold brand. Unfortunately, their service doesn't receive the same rankings, certainly not from me. Another HP will never sit on my desk again (as me being the owner), & I mean never, regardless of cost or features. If I'm unlucky enough to win one, I'll sell it to someone else to worry with, I don't want another, period.

    Many good points have been made in this thread, & hope to see them coming. These may be very helpful to new users who has no clue about these things, & if there are any questions, please ask on the Forum. We are happy to assist others in any way we can, as long as it's legit.

    Cat

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  4. #13
    Senior Member TechnoMage's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help getting the most from your PC

    It will be interesting, to see what kind of hardware Windows 8 is going to come out on.
    Right now, we're testing W8 on hardware that was built for Windows XP in many cases or maybe even Vista or W7.

    At least on a W7 computer, we're not seeing them come out with 256megs of ram on them, like Dell and eMachine loved to do on the XP machines. Of course, ram costs are down by quantum leaps, compared to ten years ago.
    Taking a glance back down memory lane, (maybe 30 years ago) I remember when ram was a dollar a meg. A 30 meg Seagate ST4038 hard drive was $699. It's definitely a different world now. It's easier for someone with limited resources, to have a really decent PC, nowadays.

    But with all the SAFE DEFAULTS built into Windows (all versions) even a Super Computer will run like crap till something is done to Tweak Windows to run best with the hardware it's installed on. For this old tech, that's an absolute MUST. For instance, having six cores in the CPU, ain't worth nuttin' if Windows is only using one of them.

    To assist tech's around the world, set up Win-7, I put all my W7 setup tweaks in one single RAR file, on my web page, for easy download.

    Y'all have a great weekend now, Y'hear? Happy Labor Day!

    TechnoMage
    A man with experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument.
    Backup! Backup! Backup! Ghost rocks!

  5. #14
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    Default Re: Help getting the most from your PC

    I agree TM, and am looking forward to see what kind of hardware Windows 8 will be installed on. Hopefully, it won't be a step in reverse, as Windows 8 CP & RP runs quite well on cheap Windows 7 computers, many that runs poorly. The single trick that you showed us, how to load all cores at boot helps noticeably.

    That trick, along with many others that you've shared with us (I thank you for this), does help to make the most of what we have. One doesn't have to have a supercomputer to efficiently run Windows on for general use, but gamers/power users likes more under the hood. Still, as you point out, even these computers needs some tuning to bring the real beast out of them.

    Seems that hardware is moving forward at a fast pace these days, just 2 years ago, 1GB was tops for discrete video cards in notebooks (many didn't/still doesn't have them), now 3GB DDR5 ones are appearing in notebooks, 12GB RAM, as well as true quad core i7 CPU's. At a price, of course. $1,400 for one that I just described. It's a heavyweight one also, at 11 pounds.

    With desktops, the sky (or the user's wallet) is the limit. Many choices are available, economy, mid-range (good balance between economy & performance), business, gaming/high performance & bleeding edge at all costs. The last group is never satisfied, many home builders can find high quality second hand parts from these users at reasonable prices, to build a very stout computer at a fraction of the cost. Many of these parts are installed a couple of months & are swapped.

    Also, 5GHz is soon going to become reality for those with Intel CPU's, probably within the next year or so. As well as 5GB DDR5 GPU's, there are, as I've mentioned, 3GB DDR5 GPU's in notebooks, as well as in desktops, certainly there will be 5GB ones for desktops. With these improvements, 8GB RAM will no longer be the "sweet spot" for dual channel RAM any longer (4GB was in 2009), 12GB is a reasonable amount to take over this position.

    The good thing is, we can stay a little below these really high specs, & build a Quality PC for $1,200 to $1,500. Just a little sacrifice in CPU & GPU will be required. There's not that much difference in a $1,500 & $2,000 homebrew PC, it'll live a longer life due to cooler temps (with proper airflow & fan placement). It takes a lot more heat to get to 5GHz than 4GHz on a CPU, as well as more to reach 5GB over 3GB on the GPU. There will also be savings on the electric bill, in two ways, the computer itself, & the A/C. Of course, in the winter, place it near the thermostat, & it'll fool it, saving money on heat also.

    But many Windows 8 computers will never see these specs. I'm looking for a repeat of the cheap Windows 7 computers, with boxes reworded to make them look like performance computers. After all, Windows 8 runs great on them, & the OEM's makes a fortune on them (because they sell huge volumes). In fact, there's more profit, as a percentage, on sub $500 computers than $1,500 ones, for this very reason. If the $1,500 ones parts were marked up as high as the $500 ones, they would never sell.

    There will be more performance options on the table, but don't expect a huge change from the last three years. Cheap, cookie cutter computers shoved to the masses. Business as usual.

    Cat

  6. #15
    Senior Member TechnoMage's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help getting the most from your PC

    If this has been mentioned, I apologize, but maybe it's worth mentioning again anyway.

    Let me give you a little analogy. You buy a brand new pickup truck and it runs like a scalded dog.
    Every day you put 100# of sand in the bed of the truck. After a month or so that beautiful new truck you were so proud of, is running like a dog with one broken leg.

    Now come back to your new computer. When you first got it and set it up, it ran great, but over time it's gotten slower and slower. So what's changed?

    In most cases, it's the garbage files that Windows saves every day. Not only Windows, but your AV programs, Media Player, your browsers, etc. Almost every program in your computer, wants to save something to your hard drive.

    When I clean out a computer that's maybe two or three years old (or even older) it's nothing to clean out over 100,000 junk files. A half million, is not that unheard of. Even a Zero ( 0 ) sized file, takes up one K of space on the hard drive, just to put its name in the Directory.

    Microsoft has given us most of what we need to keep our hard drives clean and running at tip-top shape.
    "Disk Cleanup" as it comes out of the box (so to speak) is very limited on what it will clean out.
    But, run the same program in "Extended Mode" and it's a whole different ball game. It will clean out MANY more junk files.

    Here's the story, as I shared it recently with an IT Manager friend of mine, who works for a large California Bank:

    Then, there's "Disk Cleanup", from MS. Here's the desktop shortcut to run that:
    %SystemRoot%\System32\Cmd.exe /c Cleanmgr /sageset:65535 & Cleanmgr /sagerun:65535

    On your desktop, create a NEW Shortcut and copy and paste the line above into the command line.
    The first time you run it, you have to check off all the things you want it to remove.
    DO NOT put a check mark next to Setup Log Files.

    Then, after you run it the first time, open up the shortcut with a right click, and then click "Properties".
    Edit the command line to remove the text I've painted RED in the above example.
    You've already SET how you want Disk Cleanup to run, so you don't need to do that again.
    So the next time you run the program, it will just open up a small window, do its thing and then close the window. No other user intervention is required.
    And the user cannot change how the program runs, so it will always run the way you set it up.

    For those who will never do anything for themselves, you can put that shortcut in the Startup folder, so it runs automatically on every boot-up.
    I've even put it at the end of my XPCleanup.bat program, so it runs from there.

    Then do a Defrag once a week and you will have a very good running PC. You'll be the envy of all your friends!

    Good Luck and Happy computing!

    TechnoMage

    PS: I also run a program that I've been using for years, called "Easy Cleaner 2".
    It has one app for finding and removing "Unnecessary Files".
    Watching it do its thing, I find the hiding places for many files that will build up forever, if I don't remove them.
    Three that I found today, I added to my own Cleanup.bat program (batch file), so I can delete them on a daily basis.

    deltree /y "C:\Documents and Settings\%Username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\rwbywqqy.default\Cac he\*.*"
    deltree /y "C:\Documents and Settings\%Username%\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\rwbywqqy.default\coo kies.sqlite"
    deltree /y "C:\Documents and Settings\%Username%\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\rwbywqqy.default\*.s qlite"


    So look at your own hard drive, if you use Firefox, and see if you can find these locations on your own drive.
    Last edited by TechnoMage; 09-01-2012 at 05:11 PM.
    A man with experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument.
    Backup! Backup! Backup! Ghost rocks!

  7. #16
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    Default Re: Help getting the most from your PC

    Haven't seen that one before, TM. Glad that you repeated it for us!

    I created the shortcut & placed it on my taskbar for easy access. That deal works fast, it cleaned while in the mist of typing this post & remembers it, like you said it would. Now, I have to correct it as typed (remove the red lettering) & all should be good. Did remove a lot, took longer than a "normal" disk cleanup also, went through all partitions, even the dual booted one.

    A quick peek with CCleaner shows that it works also, there's very little there to clean.

    Thanks again, another one in the bookmarks!

    Cat

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