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Adding RAM slows computer down!?

by WebDragon8 / January 31, 2007 1:32 AM PST

Hi all! I'm using a Dell Dimension 8100 which originally came with 256mb of non-ECC RDRAM. I've been running XP for years with no problems, and decided to double my RAM to speed it up a little recently. I installed 2 sticks of 128mb ECC RDRAM in the 'top' two slots (the bottom two were filled with the original RAM) and the computer seemed to love it... at first! In the course of three days I saw a serious downturn in performance, and I'm curious as to why.

The second time I started the computer after the install, it lagged seriously in the XP screen with the scroll bar to indicate the loading of the OS. Once that got started though, no problems.

Starting yesterday, once the system did load and Windows started, it took a while to be able to access files at first. I tried altering startup settings with MSCONFIG, no dice. Ran spyware, adware, and virus programs, also no change in performance.

Today, the problem was so bad that I couldn't open a simple picture file without the computer completely bogging down. Even moving the mouse resulted in jerky cursor movements. I tried removing the new RAM and running it with the original settings, but no change. Trying to access large files/load webpages has resulted in a system freeze several times. On the upside, the Windows loading screen no longer lags, heh.

Looking at my CPU usage shows me that the system is going at nearly 100% whenever I'm opening a file or loading a webpage. During these operations, I get the same jerky cursor movement and slow performance, but once things load, the CPU usage drops down to nearly nothing and all's well. Every time I click on something, it gives me three mouse click sounds. Anything that seems to take any processing power shoots the system up to 100% again. I honestly have no idea what's going on, and would greatly appreciate some advice. Is it the mixing of non-ECC and ECC RAM? If so, why wouldn't removing the new RAM fix the problem?

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One more thing...
by WebDragon8 / January 31, 2007 1:36 AM PST

Forgot to add that I've put the new RAM back in. It was impossible to do anything as simple as staring up Iexplorer without it. So the problem is worse when I use the original system configuration. Eeek!

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What I would test next.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 31, 2007 1:37 AM PST

I would run a drive fitness test.

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by WebDragon8 / January 31, 2007 1:42 AM PST

I'm far more of a dunce than I should be when it comes to this system. How would I go about that? Thanks a lot!

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Find the make of the drive. Visit the hard disk maker's
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 31, 2007 1:47 AM PST
In reply to: How?

Web site. Almost all of them have a test program. Given the age of the machine and your story that's what I would test next.


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Passes fine...
by WebDragon8 / January 31, 2007 2:06 AM PST

I have a Western Digital 80G HD which passes under a quick test done by their latest diagnostic software. I can access all the attributes if that's important. I have a second drive with nothing on it that's dead, but still in the computer. I've been running the computer with the dead drive hooked up for half a year now, no problems. I'll try running a more complete scan later on my good HD if I can't figure anything else out...

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Something I wouldn't do.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 31, 2007 2:13 AM PST
In reply to: Passes fine...

Hey, your choice but a visit to dad last year found a dead CDRW that was causing performance issues. Why leave it in?

Also, once that's out of there, explore the XP DMA issue in What's that? XP may lie about the DMA MODE. Fix? Set it to PIO, ok your way out and then go back to DMA.



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Curious about options...
by WebDragon8 / January 31, 2007 2:23 AM PST

I have a primary and secondary IDE channel, each with a device 0 and device 1. Should I switch both devices on both channels over to PIO and back?

Sorry about dumb questions, I really appreciate your help.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 31, 2007 2:30 AM PST

I don't want to duplicate ready web content. XP DMA in finds what to do.


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No change...
by WebDragon8 / January 31, 2007 2:49 AM PST
In reply to: Sorry.

Alright well I tried switching both devices over and back, no change. I didn't go into the registry or restart the computer though. It took me five or six restarts to be able to use the internet, so I'm not too willing to shut it down again, haha.

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What's busted?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 31, 2007 3:25 AM PST
In reply to: No change...

Those restarts are telling. Is that bad drive in the system? What's broken?


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Bad drive is out...
by WebDragon8 / January 31, 2007 4:13 AM PST
In reply to: What's busted?

Hi again! The busted drive was unplugged from the system. If there's anything else broken, I'm not aware of it. CDROM and DVD drives are working just fine, don't have a floppy on hand to test that drive but I don't know if that would matter any.

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I think the booting problem is a clue.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 31, 2007 4:32 AM PST
In reply to: Bad drive is out...

It was just mentioned but a good system wouldn't be "hard starting." I would if you have one of those "BAD CAP" systems. How to tell? Type BAD CAPS into, compare pictures.


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No bad caps
by WebDragon8 / January 31, 2007 7:47 AM PST

Checked them all, and they look to be in fine working order. I've talked around to some friends who are far more computer-savvy than me, and they've proposed the following:
Overclocking the CPU
Virus on the new RAM(?!)
Switching the new RAM's position with the old RAM.

Any ideas or thoughts?

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Mixing error checking and no9n-error checking...
by Edward ODaniel / January 31, 2007 4:03 AM PST

memory is not a good idea.

That would not cause continues slowness AFTER removing the new memory however UNLESS you actually removed the wrond memory.

How is memory set up in your BIOS?

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So I've read...
by WebDragon8 / January 31, 2007 4:17 AM PST

I read as much, but heard that mixing ECC/nonECC RAM would revert all RAM to nonECC, which my machine came with originally anyways. When I removed the new (ECC) RAM, the machine was the same or worse with every reboot, so that's why I put it back in. BIOS recognizes that I have 518MB of memory (that's all of it installed), but I'm not sure what you mean beyond that with your question.

Another thing I've noted: All sounds, aside from the Windows startup sound, are choppy or repeated multiple times. The whole computer doesn't seem to slow down after booting Windows until programs start up.

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How about a classic?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 31, 2007 9:44 AM PST

How long since Disk Cleanup and a Defrag? What do you see when you type Start Run, TEMP

If the system can't be System Restored to a working date try turning off and back on System Restore to give SR a fresh start.


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Problem solved!
by WebDragon8 / January 31, 2007 10:48 AM PST
In reply to: How about a classic?

Thanks for your suggestions, I defrag regularly. Turns out that my TV card's remote detection .exe file was the culprit for the whole thing. I've had it installed for years, who would have known?! Deleting it cleared my problem up instantly. Thanks again for your help!

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Hard to tell if it's hardware related. Maybe a parallel
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 31, 2007 9:36 PM PST

XP has a Parallel Install feature. I used to slip in a new drive to install the OS to sniff out if the issue was a corrupted OS or not but today I skip that and perform the Parallel Install (google that.) If that's it I then note how to migrate to the new install and how we can dump the old install.


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