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# Department of Science, Math, & Technology

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Issues with my PC
Posted: Posted December 15th, 2019 by Dark Knowings
 HP Pavilion Desktopp PC 570-P054 I have been using this PC for over a year now and I have noticed many issues with it. It can't really handle Google Chrome very well with Narrator (screen reader). Been dealing with a lot of crashing and lagging when both are active. I've tried wiping the PC clean and that doesn't fix the problem. Chrome has had it's fair share of lagging without Narrator is active, though it doesn't act remotely as bad when the screen reader is active. I am guessing that the problem is more so based on the specs of my computer. So I have a question here. Is it worth spending the money on upgrading this PC or would it be better to get a new one entirely? Apologies for not listing the specs of the PC in the post, I'm not sure how exactly I can do that with a screen reader; still learning how to use it. Any and all input would be greatly appreciated.
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Best thing I can recommend right off the bat is to switch to Firefox. The problem with Chrome is that it treats each tab as a separate process, so once you get too many open, it can throttle your computer.

Other than that, I'd say try out other program combinations with Narrator to see if Narrator itself is at fault, or if it is, in fact, Chrome. If it's Chrome, switch to Firefox as I've said; if not, then I'm out of options, but there are plenty of people here who can help.

Edited December 17th, 2019 by Black Yoshi
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CTRL + Alt + Esc - Open the performance tab in task manager when your computer's running slow and see what's running hot:

• Max CPU usage
• Overall memory usage
• Disk usage

If CPU is maxed out, that means your computer is having trouble actually calculating things. If this is a new occurrence, you're probably having too many programs running at once. You can disable some of the high startup impact items that don't have a big improvement on your overall workflow (i.e. a service that opens iTunes when you plug in your iPod). You CAN buy a new CPU and upgrade it, but it is a bit of a process if you're not familiar. It's not as easy as updating memory/RAM.

If your memory is maxed out, you need more! If you have empty slots, you can check the memory speed. Otherwise, you're free to choose whatever memory speed you want (recommend 3200 Mhz for best bang-for-buck). 16 GB, typically 2 x 8 RAM modules is great for Chrome. Release the flap on the edge of the RAM and pull them out. It may take a bit more force applied evenly to get them in and out. As long as you're putting them in the right way, don't be afraid to push.

If your disk usage is high, that means a lot of things are running to the hard drive/ssd at once. This is OK in short bursts, but if disk usage and memory are both high that means your computer is using your hard drive/ssd for temporary memory. Those parts weren't designed to do this and it only works as a last-ditch option before crashing outright. It'll wear down your hard drive considerably, slowing it over time, to the point of collapse. It sounds like you might be on the verge of collapse.

Intel i3 7100 (Ugh)
4 GB RAM @ 2400 Mhz (OOF)
1 TB HDD 7200 RPM (EEGH)
180W PSU at 68% efficiency (OUCH)

The big problem I'm seeing outright is your PC is just TERRIBLE. The cheapest processor you can buy right now is not even that slow. You can't even find individual memory modules that small. And HDDs for main storage has gone away for the past 7 years. And not even the cheapest power supply on Newegg has efficiency that low. 80% efficiency is considered too low for a desktop build nowadays, and you're running at 68%. It draws a lot of excess power and generates a lot of heat. You can build much a better barebones system with Windows for $527: ASRock Deskmini Barebones System (motherboard, case, PSU) -$150
500 GB Internal SSD (WD Blue) - $59 16GB 2x8 RAM @ 2400 Mhz (Corsair Vengeance) -$58
Ryzen 5 3400g - $150 Windows 10 64 bit Home OEM-$110

A system like this will get you much better workstation performance, a better GPU for gaming, 4x more RAM for web browsing, and an SSD for speedy startups and more stable, quieter, and cooler performance overall. This is the lowest I'd recommend anyone nowadays.

• Posted December 16th, 2019 by mariomguy
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As mariomguy’s very terse replay stated, the problem is your system doesn’t have a lot of resources. Chrome eats a lot of ram. Windows itself uses between 1-2gb by itself on average and that’s before you add in other services like antivirus.

It’s up to you if you want to spring for a new computer but you can try upgrading the ram on it first to see if that helps. According to the support page mguy linked, your motherboard supports up to 8 gb ram. I’m guessing that your current configuration is 2x2 (2gb sticks in 2 slots) so your best bet is to replace it with a 4x2 setup to get you to 8gb. Here is a link to amazon that gives you that for $35: https://www.amazon.com/Crucial-4GBx2-PC4-19200-288-Pin-Memory/dp/B019FRCY2U/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?keywords=4gb+pc4-19200+%28ddr4-2400%29+udimm&qid=1576507757&sr=8-3 If that doesn’t work Atleast you are only out$35 and then you could always return it to amazon to get your money back before taking the plunge on a \$500+ machine just to use chrome faster.

Posted December 16th, 2019 by Q
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I've been keeping an eye on the usage stats while having Chrome, Discord and Task Manager up to gauge the overall average with little interaction outside using Narrator to read the percentages.
CPU ranges between 5% and 12%, it's usually sits between 5-8.
Memory ranges between 3.2GB and 3.6GB. It sits normally between 3.2 and 3.4.
Disc normally sits at 0% while sometimes jumping up to 5% but can sometimes skyrocket up to 50%-60%.
With the stats mentioned, the higher ends happen every now and then, but on a bit less common occurence, reach those high points. When I switched to Chrome to list the info, the CPU jumped up to 19% and the Disc maxed out. Not quite sure if it's a Narrator thing there or if it was Chrome b/c I used the screen reader to switch between them.

Posted December 17th, 2019 by Dark Knowings
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With the screen reader, I couldn't gauge which programs were causing the spikes, it usually took too long for me to get to the item before it calmed down again. I believe that I noticed OneDrive, Skype, System and Chrome were the main ones that had the spike possibly.
The PC came with a single 4GB RAM thing, so there is room for one more. My sister salvaged a 4GB RAM from a previous PC, haven't tested to see if that would help out.
This is the first time I've properly tried to look into this stuff on a PC, so I'm not super familiar with it or the tech, so yeah.
In regards to the browser; I never realized that Chrome worked like that. Does explain a lot, though. I have had issues with Firefox as well. Though instead of it freezing like with Chrome, FF just crashes outright. Definitely need to look into it.
Gaming though, not sure on that. If it wasn't made evident, I am blind. Haven't looked into possible games that I could play off of sound or with a screen reader.

Posted December 17th, 2019 by Dark Knowings
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I had no idea you were blind. Are you legally blind or utterly and completely blind or somewhere in the middle?

Posted December 17th, 2019 by Black Yoshi
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Sorry you had to read my post with a screen reader... It's perfectly normal for CPU and disk to burst when opening or closing something. CPUs can run high for a while when rendering stuff, too. But if it runs high for too long and you're just idling, that usually means there's a problem.

I think two things that would help you the most are a faster SSD, rather than a traditional hard drive, and more RAM. 8 GB minimum for Chrome, 16 GB recommended. As upgrading to an SSD, that's literally the hardest thing to do. I did it once and despised the experience. If you can get a professional to do it, you will be very happy with the results.

Posted December 18th, 2019 by mariomguy
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I've been legally blind since >5 or so. Things kinda came up back in 2016, which lead to the loss of my remaining sight. Long story short.
It's cool, screen readers work a lot better than I first thought it would on a site like this. Would the SSD you recommended before be conpatible with my current PC? One of my concerns is how small the case is. I'll definitely take a look at both RAM options mentioned in both posts.
Yeah, I've noticed that it takes a bit for it to respond in a timely matter after it idling or if an app isn't in focus for a little bit. With some help, apparently the basic anti-virus and defender programs that came with the PC also caused some problems as well. Hopefully better RAM and an SSD can fix the problems.

Posted December 20th, 2019 by Dark Knowings
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Here's how I upgrade old computers:

1. Upgrade the RAM as much as possible (8gb will give you basically everything you need -- I've had 16gb since 2013 and *still* don't need it for anything).

2. Use an SSD instead of an HDD. These have less space but they're waaaaay faster.

3. Switch to linux. If you have a newer computer (you've got an i3 so that's good enough) just get ubuntu and use the unity WM that's bundled with it. If you have an older computer, get ubuntu but then install xfce.

As far as browsers go, pale moon seems to be the fastest since it uses the pre-australis firefox engine with modern enhancements.

If you really need to optimize things, you can compile something like funtoo yourself -- that's a lot of work though and not really necessary unless you're trying to do crazy things with an x86 processor.

I have some very very old computers that are very usable with this strategy -- one of them is from 2003.

Posted December 20th, 2019 by Xhin
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As upgrading to an SSD, that's literally the hardest thing to do. I did it once and despised the experience.

Depends on the computer -- some laptops have a very convenient hard drive panel. My dell convertible is definitely a pain in the ass because the hard drive sleeve is underneath the power input and inside the computer body so I have to detach multiple things to access it.

Also as someone who's actually done a lot of hardware work, the hardest is by far replacing a laptop screen, particularly if it's a touch screen. Replacing the motherboard is definitely worse, but if your motherboard is fried it usually makes more sense to get a new computer.

If you're working with desktops instead of laptops, then hardware work is pretty fun because of how much room you have. God help you if you're working with phones.

Edited December 21st, 2019 by Xhin
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