Windows 7 Professional 32bit performs very slowly

Posted on 2011-03-18
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Recently I installed a brand new Dell Precision T5500 for a costumer.
It is installed with Windows 7 Pro 32bit with 4GB ram.
The computer is running in a SBS2003 environment with 20 other PC's mostly Windows XP Pro.

The costumer is complaining about the PC being generally slowly.
Starting up slowly, running programs slowly accessing network + Internet slowly.

The PC is running Trend Micro Antivirus cloud based.

Any suggestions? :-)
Question by:Ohmit
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LVL 10

Accepted Solution

Martin_J_Parker earned 286 total points
ID: 35164099
A T5500 should not be configured with 4GB RAM, particularly if you care about performance.
It is a fast box - or at least it should be!

If it's a T5500 then it will either have Xeon 5500 "Nehalem" or Xeon 5600 "Westmere" series chips.  
If it is a single CPU chip then it should have 3x DIMMs, so 3x 1GB or 3x 2GB DIMMs.
If it is a dual CPU chip box it should have 6x DIMMs, so 6x1GB DIMMs (3 per chip).
The RAM is triple channel and will perform much better with 3 or 6 DIMMs, depending on whether you have 1 or 2 chips on the motherboard.

Depending on which CPU chips you have the RAM should be DDR3 1333MHz or 1066MHz.

The other thing is that machine is probably best suited to 64bit Windows 7, not 32bit.

Do make sure you've got all of the latest drivers from the site and the latest BIOS update as well.

Author Comment

ID: 35164182
Hi Martin

Sure sounds like youre the man to speak with! :-)

It is a T5500 Westmere
One Intel Xeon E5503 2,0 Ghz CPU
4 x 1 GB 1333 MHZ DDR3 ECC-UD
160 GB SATA 10K rpm
1 GB NVIDIA Quadro 2000

It has to be 32bit because of a special LOB application.

Assisted Solution

jarrod_williams earned 143 total points
ID: 35164356
Hi their.

You will find the following article very interesting to read. Its about making Windows 7 faster than it already is.
Migrating Your Company's PCs

To keep pace with competitors, businesses must keep employees productive, and that means providing them with the latest technology. This document provides the tips and tricks you need to help you migrate an outdated PC fleet to new desktops, laptops, and tablets.

LVL 10

Assisted Solution

Martin_J_Parker earned 286 total points
ID: 35164361
I'm not familiar with the E5503 chip.  All of the models I've got have high-performance chips starting with an "X"!  Looking at the Intel specs, that's only a dual core chip.  That's a bit of a shame.  The E5504 would have given you quad core for not much more money.  The T5500 isn't a cheap box and spending a bit more on the processor can make quite a big difference to speed.

Here is the Dell memory configuration guidelines manual - 

As you have 4x 1GB, try removing the one in DIMM socket 4 and see if it helps.  
From that document I linked to above:
"NOTE: If more than one Quad rank DIMM is installed within a channel (DIMM1 & DIMM4, DIMM2 & DIMM5, DIMM3 & DIMM6) then the maximum DDR3 speed is reduced to 800 MHz. Spreading Quad Rank memory modules across multiple channels is recommended."

That implies that not only are you not getting 3 channel throughput, the RAM speed will have dropped from 1333MHz to 800MHz!

So you should have 3 DIMMs one each in DIMM slots 1 2 and 3.  Note that those slots are usually not in order on the motherboard, so they will probably be 2 slots apart (see picture in the doc).

Win 7 32bit isn't going to give you much benefit from that 4th 1GB DIMM anyway, so you won't be losing out much.

The hard drive isn't bad, but a SAS drive would have been quicker.  The graphics should be reasonably good.
LVL 10

Assisted Solution

Martin_J_Parker earned 286 total points
ID: 35164372
That's a useful article Jarrod.  Nice one!
LVL 30

Assisted Solution

ded9 earned 71 total points
ID: 35164553
Download Microsoft tool process explorer to identify which process is slowing down the computer Run it on the client computer.


Assisted Solution

jarrod_williams earned 143 total points
ID: 35164641
I tried it on a PC, followed the steps..

It sped up that Pc by quite alot..
LVL 10

Assisted Solution

Martin_J_Parker earned 286 total points
ID: 35164658
I think that it's the configuration which is at the core of the problem and not just a slow process.  These Xeon chips aren't like previous generations.  If you get the RAM config wrong it can slow the machine down by 50% or more.  Some Core I7 chips have this problem as well.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35188301
still a slow system but a lot of good advices!!
good to keep in mind for future cases

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