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grammargeek
Posted: Friday, October 9, 2009 4:28:48 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/21/2009
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Location: Arizona, U.S.
My computer was built for me by a now deceased boyfriend so I cannot defer this question to him. Is there a way to have the computer tell me what kind of chip (CPU?) is inside? I can't remember how old it is, but it must be at least five years.

If I got whatever chip is currently THE kind to have (and could find somebody to switch them out), would it be likely to improve the speed of my computer and/or its ability to deal with multiple programs being open at the same time?
early_apex
Posted: Friday, October 9, 2009 4:42:45 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/20/2009
Posts: 2,281
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Location: Spindletop, Texas, United States
grammargeek wrote:
My computer was built for me by a now deceased boyfriend so I cannot defer this question to him. Is there a way to have the computer tell me what kind of chip (CPU?) is inside? I can't remember how old it is, but it must be at least five years.

If I got whatever chip is currently THE kind to have (and could find somebody to switch them out), would it be likely to improve the speed of my computer and/or its ability to deal with multiple programs being open at the same time?


Sorry for your loss, GG.

In Windows, click on My Computer, and View System Information. All the basic information should be right there on the "General" tab. Changing the CPU would be like changing the engine in your car. It could turn out to be a bit of trouble getting all the connections right. The easiest upgrade would be to add more memory. Nowadays you need at least 2Gb of RAM to run Windows, and 3Gb is preferable, according to some - it depends on what you are using the computer for. Installed RAM is on that same window. I like to save that basic information by pressing "Alt"- "Print Scrn" to save to the clipboard and paste into a document or something.

Let me know if any of this helps. If you have a Mac, just do the reverse of everything I just told you.
grammargeek
Posted: Friday, October 9, 2009 5:00:17 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/21/2009
Posts: 11,136
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Location: Arizona, U.S.
Thank you, EA.

I will try what you said when I've got more time to focus on it. Good thing I don't have a Mac!

I just hate not having a go-to person for computer stuff anymore. (Of course, I miss that particular person for a lot more reasons than that.)

Now let me toss this into the equation. I used to have a 112 gig hard drive, but it crashed about a year and half ago. A friend of a friend came over to help out and ended up putting an old 40 gig hard drive of his in so that I wouldn't have to go out and buy one in these very financially scrimpy times. Would that have any bearing on any of this?

doubutsuMother
Posted: Friday, October 9, 2009 5:23:20 PM
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Joined: 7/14/2009
Posts: 363
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No.


As for your original question, I would find out what motherboard your PC has and read the specs in the manual. The kind of CPU you can upgrade to is based on the motherboard's chip set. The motherboard manual should clearly list what type of socket or slot is used to plug in your cpu and what cpu families it will accept. the harddrive also connects to the motherboard but it uses a totally separate interface.

grammargeek
Posted: Friday, October 9, 2009 5:34:27 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/21/2009
Posts: 11,136
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Location: Arizona, U.S.
doubutsuMother wrote:
No.


As for your original question, I would find out what motherboard your PC has and read the specs in the manual. The kind of CPU you can upgrade to is based on the motherboard's chip set. The motherboard manual should clearly list what type of socket or slot is used to plug in your CPU and what CPU families it will accept. the harddrive also connects to the motherboard but it uses a totally separate interface.


Thank you!
doubutsuMother
Posted: Friday, October 9, 2009 5:49:20 PM
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Upgrading the CPU is easy and fun but it is a major upgrade. One complication other than compatibility is cooling. CPU's usually come with their own generic cooling units, a heat-sink with or without a fan. Many people choose to buy after market cooling solutions. If you do have to attach a heat-sink / fan to the cpu you will need some thermal paste to lubricate the transfer surface. Please use the instructed amount, usually the size of a grain of rice, as too much can have a negative effect. You only need enough to cover the microscopic gaps. Most high performance cpus will burn up in minutes without the proper cooling solutions.

Memory has the best price performance ratio when it comes to upgrading your PC. It is also easier to install.

Open up your operating system's performance monitoring software and check out what resources are stressed when your PC slows down. Could be your cpu if your PC slows down doing big jobs like picking the winning lottery numbers using a complex mathematical formula. Or it could be your memory if your PC slows down when you have a lot of programs running or if one program is trying to do a lot of things. Or it could be your graphics card if your PC is slow playing games. The performance monitor will show you which one is bottlenecking. A PC is only as fast as its slowest part.
early_apex
Posted: Friday, October 9, 2009 6:31:38 PM
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Joined: 4/20/2009
Posts: 2,281
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Location: Spindletop, Texas, United States
grammargeek wrote:
Thank you, EA.

I will try what you said when I've got more time to focus on it. Good thing I don't have a Mac!

I just hate not having a go-to person for computer stuff anymore. (Of course, I miss that particular person for a lot more reasons than that.)

Now let me toss this into the equation. I used to have a 112 gig hard drive, but it crashed about a year and half ago. A friend of a friend came over to help out and ended up putting an old 40 gig hard drive of his in so that I wouldn't have to go out and buy one in these very financially scrimpy times. Would that have any bearing on any of this?



Only if it is greatly fragmented or more than 70 or 80 percent full. If your RAM gets "busy" Windows will use empty hard drive space for swap space. If your 'puter runs slow, but you do not notice a great deal of hard drive activity, I would put my money into RAM.

I recently upgraded, but had to tell the store clerk what kind of memory I had. This necessitated opening up the case and noting the motherboard name and model, then zipping everything up and Googling that part number. That answer was easy to find, and the exercise gave me good practice at disconnecting and reconnecting all my peripherals. Whoo! that stuff gets dusty.

Having said all this and having read Mom's technically sound but useless-to-you information, you just need to find somebody to fill that PC-guru slot in your life without trying to fill the other open positions.
doubutsuMother
Posted: Friday, October 9, 2009 6:34:21 PM
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Joined: 7/14/2009
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Quote:
Mom's technically sound but useless-to-you information.



Well, there you have it. I could have told you to look on your motherboard to find the make and model. I'm glad he agrees that the motherboard is the determining factor in what cpu and memory upgrades are available.



Depending on how your operating system implements memory swapping, disproportionately large harddrive swap file to memory size is not always good for performance let alone the fact that it is a waste of storage space. Swap files 1.5 times your memory is a good rule of thumb, check with your operating system.


If you don't have sufficient memory in the first place, buying a bigger harddrive to increase the swap file size will not be the best performance upgrade.

Memory is a lot faster than your harddrive but costs a lot more. Definitely buy more memory if the Performance Monitor shows above 70-80% memory usage for an extended period of time. That amount of memory usage probably means the operating system is forced to fall back on the hardrive's swap file to load the programs you are trying to run. Your PC will be a lot faster if it has enough memory to completely load the programs you want to run without having to resort to using the slower harddrive storage.


If i want to get technical I would explain what a death roll is when memory usage goes beyond a certain level.
MissMary
Posted: Saturday, October 10, 2009 12:21:43 AM
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Location: United States
In a death roll, would Windows jump in there and shut down everything, giving a brief, scary warning about possible system damage? Something like this happened to me last night when all I was doing was reading news and listening to Pandora. I turned the computer back on and pressed F8 as instructed to do by Windows, and all seems well, but I don't know what was ill.
early_apex
Posted: Saturday, October 10, 2009 10:45:01 AM
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Joined: 4/20/2009
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Location: Spindletop, Texas, United States
doubutsuMother wrote:
Quote:
Mom's technically sound but useless-to-you information.



Well, there you have it. I could have told you to look on your motherboard to find the make and model. I'm glad he agrees that the motherboard is the determining factor in what cpu and memory upgrades are available.



My experience with the memory upgrade was that of walking into a big-box store and asking for a 2 Gig stick. The questions to me were: Do you have DDR or SDRAM? What is the clock speed? It's not that I was over my depth, but more of a sudden confrontation with the detailed information you must have before you simply make a purchase at a store. It reminded me of the first (and last) time I went to a tailor to have a suit made. There are more options in suit design than there are in buying a car. I had no idea what kind of lapels I wanted or where the vent should be, to say nothing of the jacket pockets. At least with the PC I was able to research what I had.

In my opinion, Grammargeek is at a point in life where if she wanted to know about such things, she already would. That is the reason I am suggesting she find someone local who knows what they are doing and will look at it. Over-the-internet help is not much use once you have the case open.
doubutsuMother
Posted: Saturday, October 10, 2009 1:58:31 PM
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Joined: 7/14/2009
Posts: 363
Neurons: 1,059
It's simple.

Determine if you need upgrades.

Figure out what upgrades your motherboard will accept and install them.

If you need more harddrive storage space to save your shit buy more.


Early Apex, we can work together to help people on the Internet. If you would like to move from general to specific advice, you need to know what operating system and hardware Grammargreek currently has.

If her PC is custom built she might still have the motherboard manual or box. IF not, just open up the case and read the labels and stickers on the motherboard. However, she can use software if her motherboard is not easily labeled.

P.S. Sensitive PC internals can be damaged with static electricity. Make sure you are grounded before touching anything inside the PC case.
early_apex
Posted: Saturday, October 10, 2009 10:14:56 PM
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Joined: 4/20/2009
Posts: 2,281
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Location: Spindletop, Texas, United States
Dobie said:
Why bring all this emotional baggage?

early said:
Hahahahaha
doubutsuMother
Posted: Thursday, October 15, 2009 2:47:44 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/14/2009
Posts: 363
Neurons: 1,059
MissMary wrote:
In a death roll, would Windows jump in there and shut down everything, giving a brief, scary warning about possible system damage? Something like this happened to me last night when all I was doing was reading news and listening to Pandora. I turned the computer back on and pressed F8 as instructed to do by Windows, and all seems well, but I don't know what was ill.


A deathroll happens when your computer spends all of its time and power swapping memory for more than one program. As soon as it loads up the memory for one program, that program's time is up and the computer must unload the program and load up the memory for the other waiting program. The cycle will just continue in what is called a deathroll as your computer works very hard to do nothing. Computers that run a lot of programs at the same time (like servers with many clients) should never use more than 60-80% (depending on how much memory the client programs need) or it will do nothing but swap and enter deathroll.


You could have a hardware resource problem like a death roll but it seems more likely that it was a software error. Make sure your computer is virus and malware free.

One of the first things you should do when troubleshooting a problem like this is to try and reproduce the same incident.

If it never happens again I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about it.


countioshi
Posted: Monday, December 21, 2009 8:50:28 AM
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Joined: 12/20/2009
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Location: Philippines
Try this go to RUN> type this "msinfo32" information of your computer will pop up. hope this helps.
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