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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Performance Tweaking / computer spring clean.

    Right I don't think I'm getting the best performance out of my system. I don't really want to spend any money as it's all cost quite enough as is. So I'm thinking of giving the thing the full spring clean and maybe minor upgrades.

    So any advice on things to do or components that turn out not to be upto snuff really etc. There's a few issues to iron out as well:
    • the network interface seems to take 5 minutes to come up after Windows boots which is annoying (probably software, also Windows 7 seems prone to this as my work PC does the same),
    • I get a bunch of BSODs with stuttering audio but only on certain games so I think that is the same as this (http://www.sevenforums.com/bsod-help...mpany-2-a.html) So solution seems to be BIOS disable the onboard sound and install a soundcard.
    • Not sure I'm getting the full performance I could be.


    Specs of the PC:
    Asus P6T Motherboard
    8GB DDR3 1333Mhz in 4 sticks
    Noctua NH-D14 Dual Radiator + a bunch of case fans in a Corsair 550D Obsidian Case so heating should be OK
    Corsair TX 650W V2 PSU
    Intel Core i7 920 2.66Ghz (Nehalem) (Socket LGA1366)
    EGVA 670 GTX
    A blu-ray player
    3 7200rpm HDDs 1TB, 250GB, 80GB(linux on it) (the oldest of which is probably 15 years)

    So my current plan is:
    1) Buy an SSD for Steam and Windows.
    2) Get rid of the 80GB drive
    3) turn the 250GB into the linux drive
    4) Run memtest and HDD checker again, I've done this before and everything seems fine. Still convinced the HDD is wrong somehow.
    5) Clean the case of all dust and check the connections on anything.
    6) Find a cheap soundcard and disable the onboard audio in bios
    7) Carefully update all the BIOS stuff on the Mobo
    8) Format and re-install windows.
    9) Carefully install latest drivers
    10) Work out how the Asus overclocking utilities actually work and utilise them better.

    Does that seem like a fairly sensible list? Anything I'm missing? Any other low hanging fruit to get a performance boost?

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus L_No's Avatar
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    May I ask why you're looking into buying a soundcard? Is there some specific task that the onboard audio is unable to do?
    Want to add me on Steam? Steam name: Mr. Gert

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    The onboard sound seems to cause BSODs in certain games, I mentioned it above.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus L_No's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    The onboard sound seems to cause BSODs in certain games, I mentioned it above.
    Oh sorry, I see. I'm tired and need to learn to read better.
    Want to add me on Steam? Steam name: Mr. Gert

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L_No View Post
    Oh sorry, I see. I'm tired and need to learn to read better.
    Eh no worries. Anyway I'm hoping that's what's up with the BSODs. As it is just certain games there must be something specific in the software to cause it (well to trigger some hardware bug). Rather than it just being overheating.

  6. #6
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    Those problems you have may be broken drivers or a faulty mainboard. Just sayin'

    Also, do the OC in the BIOS, not through the Asus Windows software stuff.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanMan View Post
    Those problems you have may be broken drivers or a faulty mainboard. Just sayin'
    Which bit indicates a faulty mainboard?

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus L_No's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    Eh no worries. Anyway I'm hoping that's what's up with the BSODs. As it is just certain games there must be something specific in the software to cause it (well to trigger some hardware bug). Rather than it just being overheating.
    You could always try disabling the onboard sound first, if that doesn't fix your problem you don't have to waste money on a soundcard that doesn't help with anything.
    Want to add me on Steam? Steam name: Mr. Gert

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    Which bit indicates a faulty mainboard?
    The audio and network bits. Admittedly, software/driver problem are more likely.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanMan View Post
    The audio and network bits. Admittedly, software/driver problem are more likely.
    Yeah the network one seems to be a recent thing, and my Dell PC at work does this. So I think that's just Windows 7 not being formatted/reinstalled for 5 years and developing plaque. All my old versions of Windows used to do this and I don't see why Windows 7 is any different.

    I dug into the audio a bit more. Still weird. It runs fine most the time , Rage, anything Source Engine, Company of Heroes 2, Borderlands 2, Witcher 2. All fine.
    But any Stalker game, Everquest Landmark, Arkham Origins specifically. I'll play for 30 minutes (ish, sometimes doesn't happen at all) and the audio will star to pop and crackle a little which will keep getting worse and the audio goes further and further out of synch before I get a BSOD. With some error about signals not being received.

    To note I'm not actually overclocking anything at the moment, all on stock settings. So only certain games, not even completely taxing games, no overheat as everything is 50-60C.... hence my theory that the error is the on board audio having some glitch or some glitch with a specific audio library. Like some specific DirextX or OpenAL with the driver....

    I'm off to play everquest to see if it crashes again. Anyway it's a connundrum as none of the usual stuff like memtest or hard drive error checks or switching off overclocking or updating drivers seems to do shit.

  11. #11
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    Jumping in on this thread to ask if anyone has any recommendations for identifying bottlenecks in a system?

    My PC is getting on a bit, but it should still be reasonably capable for all except playing modern games. Yet recently I feel like it's kinda slow.. though it's nothing I can put my finger on. There are no specific errors or issues. but it just doesn't seem as speedy as I feel it should be.

    Is there any kind of simple benchmark that will actually provide useful information (rather than just numbers) about what parts of the system are performing above/below average? I've tried a few benchmark tools over the years, but the results didn't ten to be that useful for anything other than bragging.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus somini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillButNotBen View Post
    Jumping in on this thread to ask if anyone has any recommendations for identifying bottlenecks in a system?

    My PC is getting on a bit, but it should still be reasonably capable for all except playing modern games. Yet recently I feel like it's kinda slow.. though it's nothing I can put my finger on. There are no specific errors or issues. but it just doesn't seem as speedy as I feel it should be.

    Is there any kind of simple benchmark that will actually provide useful information (rather than just numbers) about what parts of the system are performing above/below average? I've tried a few benchmark tools over the years, but the results didn't ten to be that useful for anything other than bragging.
    It's the mid-life crisis that all Operating Systems installations go through. My solution is always the same: take it for a ride, shoot it in the back of the head and install a new one. Optionally, keep the rotting corpses of the old ones in the same disk, to warn them.
    Steam(shots), Imgur, Flickr, Bak'laag, why do you forsake me?

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by somini View Post
    It's the mid-life crisis that all Operating Systems installations go through. My solution is always the same: take it for a ride, shoot it in the back of the head and install a new one. Optionally, keep the rotting corpses of the old ones in the same disk, to warn them.
    That is basically my conclusion as well. I'm also going to get an SSD to help that process.

  14. #14
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    That would be great... or even with win8 you can just do a refresh.

    But...
    you do not want to know what a massive amount of hassle it was to get Adobe CS2 installed and working on windows 8!! It took frickin days! And I can't remember the exact steps for how I achieved it.
    I really do not want to go through that again, and I can't afford a newer version of Adobe CS, and I need it. :-(

    I got an SSHD (note the H) and it speeded things up somewhat, but not as much as i was promised/expecting.
    I can't say that my pc is super slow, it just seems to be slower than it should be in some situations.
    It didn't use to be, so I think it might be a mid life crisis. I wish i could work out what triggered it though...

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Well minor update. Disabling the onboard sound, in the BIOS, has fixed the stability in the games mentioned. However the old Audigy card I had knocking around does not have Windows 7 drivers. So I'm going to get a cheap 5.1 PCIe card. I assume the ASUS ones are basically fine? I am decidedly grumpy with Creative support these days. I don't imagine soundcards have changed all that much really.

    EDIT: Follow up question. Triple channel DDR3 do you need to install 2 lots of 3 matched sticks? Or can you do 3 lots of 2 pairs?

    I have 4 x 2GB in there now with 2 spare slots and noone seems to do 2x2GB 1333Mhz DDR3 anymore. So is getting a stick or two of 4GB fine or do I really need to get 3 sticks of 4 GB?
    Last edited by Zephro; 02-08-2014 at 12:44 AM.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Three pairs should still work, there's just a slightly higher incompatibility risk.

    Here's a 2x2GB kit of 1333. Otherwise you can just get a 2x2GB kit at 1600, it'll run fine at 1333 (in fact almost all memory rated above 1333 will still default to 1333).

  17. #17
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    (not sure if i should start a new thread)

    Does anyone have any experience with external USB sound cards?
    My laptop's audio jack seems to be dying rapidly, and I don't want to buy a new laptop because of a minor component that's worth a few pence.
    Looking rapidly on amazon UK, they have 7,1 usb sound cards from under 2 quid.. so I'm thinking I could just turn off the onboard sound and stick in something like that.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/b?ie=UTF8&node=430548031

    Laptop makers do seem to skimp on the cheap connectors - I've seen loads of decent laptops undone by broken power sockets or audio jacks.

  18. #18
    Obscure Node DEagleson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillButNotBen View Post
    (not sure if i should start a new thread)

    Does anyone have any experience with external USB sound cards?
    My laptop's audio jack seems to be dying rapidly, and I don't want to buy a new laptop because of a minor component that's worth a few pence.
    Looking rapidly on amazon UK, they have 7,1 usb sound cards from under 2 quid.. so I'm thinking I could just turn off the onboard sound and stick in something like that.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/b?ie=UTF8&node=430548031

    Laptop makers do seem to skimp on the cheap connectors - I've seen loads of decent laptops undone by broken power sockets or audio jacks.
    They should be okay i guess. Had to invest in a slightly more powerful audio solution myself due to my headset performing sloppy with the notebooks Realtek audio chipset.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Creative-Sou...dp/B00GMDWNJK/
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  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    As a quick update I disabled onboard sound and installed an Asus Xonar, bit of a pain clearing out all the old drivers with driver fusion but worked in the end. Landmark is now totally stable and no BSODs. Also I got 2 sticks of 2GB 1600Mhz DDR3 and after underclocking them I've got 12GB and it seems to be paying dividends on memory hungry games.

    So huzzah! Thanks for the help and suggestions.

  20. #20
    Obscure Node DEagleson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    As a quick update I disabled onboard sound and installed an Asus Xonar, bit of a pain clearing out all the old drivers with driver fusion but worked in the end. Landmark is now totally stable and no BSODs. Also I got 2 sticks of 2GB 1600Mhz DDR3 and after underclocking them I've got 12GB and it seems to be paying dividends on memory hungry games.

    So huzzah! Thanks for the help and suggestions.
    Glad everything worked out fine. :D Shame to throw away a computer that technically still got the grunt to play games due to a faulty sound card.
    Norwegian Gamer Extraordinaire!
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