Very slow computer

I'm working on an Athlon 1600 computer.
Benchmarks make like it's a 386DX.
New hard drive clone doesn't change the result.
Virus scan clean.
Memory tests good.
So processor is running slow.  
Any suggestions as to how to fix?

I don't generally swap out processors so need to know if it seems worth it.  Would have to buy/ship new processor(s), try one out, etc.
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Fred MarshallPrincipalAsked:
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To make a PC faster, you can try START > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Defragment ... This will make your PC arrange the file in your PC to search it much faster ....

Also try click on Start > run > msconfig > startup tab > untick the program you don't want to load during startup automatically ...... this will increase the startup time ....

Reformat the PC will be the best way to go to make your whole PC gets clean and as a new PC ......
You might run an app like Spybot to see if there are non-virus things slowing you down.

And I'm not sure exactly what you mean by hard drive "clone" ... if it is a perfect copy then it could be just as fragmented as the original.  So defragging is worth mentioning.

You also might want to poke around in your bios to see if there are any processor performance settings you can set.

Also, look at your processes list to see if you can identify a hoggy process.  
Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
I'm already quite sure that this is *hardware*.
For example, running Knoppix from a CD is also slow.
Loading DOS-based test programs is also slow.
The benchmarks are DOS-based and show SLOWNESS.
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>>  For example, running Knoppix from a CD is also slow.   <<    that is ALWAYS very slow !
does your processor overheat?
is it shown correct in the bios? how much ram do you have? - and what OS?
Chris BRetiredCommented:
Does the CPU identify itself as a 1600+ at post? If not set the fsb to 266. The CPU actually should run at 1.4GH.

Chris B
Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
>does your processor overheat?
>is it shown correct in the bios? how much ram do you have? - and what OS?

No, it doesn't overheat.  The processor temperature is stable at 45 degrees C.

It's shown correctly in the BIOS.  There's 512M of RAM.

The OS varies according to the test environment:
Windows XP Home normally
Linux / Knoppix running from CD
DOS running from CD
So, the OS has pretty much been eliminated from the picture.

>Does the CPU identify itself as a 1600+ at post? If not set the fsb to 266. The CPU actually should run at 1.4GH.

Yes it does show that it's a 1600+ at POST.

I should note that this was a working computer and then changed its behavior all by itself.  It wasn't a result of any hardware changes, a new builld, etc.
Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
I also note that replacment processors are either over $100 new or around $75 as a pulled working part.  I'm not at all sure that trying a different processor is worth the time and expense.  Comments?

I'm down to it being either the processor or the MB.  Comments on *that*?
then i suggest some testing :                                    PC doctor                        free      TuffTest lite                        Burnin test

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I would give it one last try.
Remove and replace the memory, if still slow, replace system MB.

I also doubt that swapping the processor will make a difference since the machine is not hanging or overheating and i have never seen a processor go slow, normally system just starts crashing.
You will feel much different if you reformat your OS ...... can have a try that, if you still not satisfy with it, adding another 1 GB RAM might be a good choice to go rather than changing the processor .... Good Luck !!!!
Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
This system is benchmarking at 70 to 100 times slower than it should.  I've used at least 2 maybe 3 benchmark programs by now.

The memory tests OK.
I've swapped the existing memory around using each of the two memory sticks alone and in each of the 2 memory slots.  So, unless they are both bad ....
And, how can the memory sticks themselves actually contribute to slowness?

What do y'all think about "sliding a new/different mainboard under the hard drive?"  I've done it successfully on one of my own computers but a friend who is well experienced says "it won't work".  I take this to mean "it *often* doesn't work".  So, I don't like to offer to do it on someone else's computer.
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