Viewing 29 posts - 1 through 29 (of 29 total)
  • Desktop Hardware Upgrades
  • Premier Icon Mat
    Full Member

    I’ve got a dell windows 10 desktop I bought in 2019 from their refurb outlet (had a slightly scratched casing). I use it for general WFH O365 stuff, Excel, Outlook Powerpoint & Teams as well as remote desktop to my work PC (which I use for the resource hungry software packages I need for my job) so nothing too demanding I thought. In the last year or so though it seems quite slow, I’m not sure what’s causing this, it’s probably due a reformat. When I look at the diagnostic data in task manager the disk is quite often at 100% for a good 10 mins whilst it gets itself settled on a morning, and I sometimes hit memory issues too. I was thinking some hardware upgrades wouldn’t go amiss, currently it’s got…

    Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-8400 (6 Core,2.8 GHz, 9MB Cache, 65W)
    RAM: 8GB (1x8GB) 2666MHz DDR4 UDIMM Non- ECC
    Hardrive: 1 TB SATA3 512E Hard Drive (7200RPM)
    Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 2GB GDDR5 Graphics

    Looking on the dell service centre for my machine I was thinking I could add
    RAM – there’s a slot for another 8GB, dell have this for £76
    SSD – I can get either 256 GB for £83 or 512 GB for £156 (here)

    What do people think? I’d be keen to try and keep this PC usable rather than just dump it and buy something new (from an environmental standpoint). I’m not so bothered if it’s not necessarily the most cost-effective option.

    I’ve no sense of where the current spec sits – am I doing the PC equivalent of strapping some nice 140mm forks onto a an old school 100mm xc geo Carrera? I’ve already got the OS telling me the hardware isn’t good enough for windows 11.

    Is there anything else inherent in the motherboard or other components that will just move the bottle neck without much increase in performance?

    Also in terms of buying bits, is 8GB RAM much of a muchness in terms of what you get from different brands?

    Premier Icon ta11pau1
    Full Member

    Hardrive: 1 TB SATA3 512E Hard Drive (7200RPM)

    That.

    The rest of your specs are more than ample for what you’re doing, but if you’re seeing disk usage at 100% constantly the drive is probably on it’s way out.

    An SSD will be like fitting a new set of carbon super wheels, and a new group set, and new forks and a spanky coil shock, oh and a motor.

    It’ll be the biggest upgrade you’ll do.

    No-one, I repeat, no-one should be running a desktop pc on a mechanical hard drive as the primary drive in 2022…

    You could get a m.2 SSD as you’ve linked (make sure the motherboard has a slot) but tbh I’d just go for a standard 2.5″ 1TB SSD like this:

    https://amzn.eu/d/4riLfQp

    If you wanted to and if the board has a slot free, you could add another 8gb ddr4 udimm, but the SSD should be your priority.

    Premier Icon multi21
    Free Member

    It’s the hard drive, replace with SSD, or add the SSD as the boot/app drive and relegate the HDD to data storage purposes.

    I agree with ta11pau1 about memory being a lower priority and using a SATA drive.
    I’d rather get a big enough SATA SSD drive to completely clone and then entirely eliminate the HDD, than have a marginally faster but smaller NVME drive and still rely on the HDD.

    Premier Icon fossy
    Full Member

    You can use free cloning software to transfer the data over too if you don’t fancy a fresh install. SSD’s make an incredible difference, and they are pretty cheap now.

    Premier Icon sobriety
    Free Member

    Don’t buy any hardware upgrades from dell, they’re insanely overpriced.

    Ram: 16gb kit from CCL/SCan/ebuyer/aria… (ddr4 generally just plugs in)
    like this: https://www.cclonline.com/cmk16gx4m2b3200c16-corsair-vengeance-lpx-16gb-2x8gb-3200mhz-ddr4-memory-kit/

    SSD: Something like a Samsung 870 QVO 1TB 2.5″ SATA III SSD
    like this: https://www.cclonline.com/mz-77q1t0bw-samsung-870-qvo-2-5-1tb-sata-iii-solid-state-drive/

    *Personally I avoid Crucial SSDs, they’re the only ones I’ve ever know to consistantly fail, every single one we bought at work died. The samsung ssds just keep on trucking.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    SSD +1

    If anyone wants one I’ve got a box of old intel ones taken form laptops, mostly only 128-256gb though. Free + postage.

    If you need the RAM, have a look on crucial or even ebay for 2nd hand sticks. Especially as a lot of laptops only have single channel memory so people will have 8gb sticks lying around when they went to 16gb. Hard to say if it will be faster as lots of apps will look at the total available and limit themselves accordingly. e.g. edge will snooze tabs you’re not looking at to minimise its ram use. So more ram will speed up some tasks even if it’s not running close to 100% at the moment. Put 16 or 32gb in and Chrome will find something to fill it with!

    Premier Icon Mat
    Full Member

    Great! Thanks all!

    I noticed a massive difference when I sorted out my laptop to boot from the SSD vs the HDD, I was just worried here that as its a lower spec machine I might just quickly hit the next bottle neck.

    I don’t understand the drive standards, is it a given swapping out the HDD SATA with any SATA SSD will fit? or do i have to check the slot and how much physical space is available in the casing?

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    Thrashing the drive would suggest one of:

    1) Resource starvation, you’re running out of RAM and it’s paging excessively to disk (which raises further questions).

    2) An errant software package or some form of malware infection.

    3) A faulty drive.

    Ordinarily I’d suggest addressing software issues before throwing money at hardware that you might not need. However, as above, in your case I’d be giving serious consideration to an SSD and a clean install of W10.

    Step away from Dell’s configurator, that SSD price is absolutely ridiculous.

    Premier Icon sobriety
    Free Member

    Especially as a lot of laptops only have single channel memory

    OP said it was a desktop so I went with desktop RAM. Single 8gb sticks of that are available from £25ish, but you might find your existing stick and whatever you add don’t play well together.

    Premier Icon sobriety
    Free Member

    I don’t understand the drive standards, is it a given swapping out the HDD SATA with any SATA SSD will fit? or do i have to check the slot and how much physical space is available in the casing?

    You should be able to add the SSD alongside your existing HDD, then you can use the HDD for slow stuff/as a backup drive (you do have a backup, don’t you?)

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    I don’t understand the drive standards, is it a given swapping out the HDD SATA with any SATA SSD will fit?

    In a desktop, a full-sized HDD will likely be physically larger than an SSD so you might need an adapter to screw it in. Or do what I do and just leave it flapping about loose in the bay, there are no moving parts and it’s not like I’m going to be taking the PC travelling with me. Electrically they’re identical (for your purposes here anyway).

    The mini card you linked to goes into a specific M.2 slot which may or may not be present on your board. I would hazard that it’s likely if that’s what the Service Center is suggesting for your specific machine, though check for physical length – that’s a half-height card. An NVMe-based drive will potentially be faster than an SSD, if it physically fits.

    Premier Icon thols2
    Free Member

    Just to repeat what everyone else has said, an SSD will make a world of difference. I upgraded an oldish machine earlier in the year, boots in 20 seconds versus a couple of minutes with a HDD. I didn’t have an adapter to fit the SSD, just taped it to the side of the case.

    Premier Icon FuzzyWuzzy
    Full Member

    I’d still go NVMe drive personally, just not that ridiculously over-priced Dell option, you can get a decent 1TB Samsung Evo for less – e.g. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsung-MZ-V7E1T0BW-V-NAND-Express-Solid/dp/B07MBQPQ62?th=1

    What model is the desktop though – to make sure it will fit a full-size M.2 NVMe?

    Premier Icon nicko74
    Full Member

    Ordinarily I’d suggest addressing software issues before throwing money at hardware that you might not need.

    That’s my first thought too – the above are all good recommendations, but what in the living buggery is thrashing your HDD for 10 minutes at startup? Is something trying to install, be it W10 updates, other programs updating etc? I’d definitely be looking to find out what that is, and turning whatever it is off.

    Premier Icon mattyfez
    Free Member

    At the risk of sounding redundant, it’s because you have a spiny disk (HDD) rather than an SSD drive.

    You may also well have a load of crap that you don’t realise that starts up with Windows further compounding the issue, but that’s almost a secondary issue.

    Both issues need to be looked at, but there’s no point if your system drive is basically a record player.

    Premier Icon mattyfez
    Free Member

    buggery is thrashing your HDD for 10 minutes at startup? Is something trying to install, be it W10 updates,

    It could well be simply Windows updates.
    With a machine with an HDD, if it’s not turned on for long enough and shut down whilst an an update is silently going on in the background…

    It will basically stop and start again from the beginning next time you turn the PC on.

    Rinse and repeat and you get stuck with a slow machine that’s constantly trying to update but never completing, and you start from square one next time you turn the machine on.

    You really have to have an SSD drive as your main drive these days.
    Older HDD’s can be relegated to media storage drives and still will be fine, but you don’t want one as a main system drive I.e the drive your operating system is installed on.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    A few folk have said variations on “it’s because you haver a mechanical hard drive.” It likely isn’t, not directly at least, rather the mechanical hard drive is making the symptoms of whatever the issue actually is exponentially worse.

    The problem isn’t that it’s hammering a slow drive, the problem is that it’s hammering the storage at all. A healthy machine with six cores and 8GB of RAM being used for light duties – taking the OP’s explanation at face value here – should not be doing that. Yes I’d expect to see some paging if like me you have so many browser tabs open that the icons no longer display, and yes I’d expect lethargic startup from a cold boot, but if it’s running at 100% for ten minutes straight then something is wrong.

    Premier Icon ta11pau1
    Full Member

    and yes I’d expect lethargic startup from a cold boot, but if it’s running at 100% for ten minutes straight then something is wrong.

    I’m still betting that the disc is on it’s way out, has some bad sectors, or something that’s causing it be constantly seeking. As you say, it shouldn’t be using page file on the disk at start up, and although it’ll be slow to ‘warm up’ it shouldn’t be at 100% for more than a few minutes.

    Premier Icon sirromj
    Free Member

    With a machine with an HDD, if it’s not turned on for long enough and shut down whilst an an update is silently going on in the background…

    Yes HDDs are farm tractors from the 1920’s causing all sorts of mischiefs because they’re just sooooo slow lol.

    Premier Icon mattyfez
    Free Member

    Yes HDDs are farm tractors from the 1920’s causing all sorts of mischiefs because they’re just sooooo slow lol.

    Well, quite frankly, yes.

    HDD’s are great as media drives to store music and films and such on. Because: news flash: music and films don’t need much bandwidth and are much cheaper per GB than SSD.

    The sane person would repurpose a HDD for this kind of utility, because there’s no point junking reliable storage for no reason.

    The sane person would also replace thier system drive with a SSD, be that SATA or M.2, it matters not, the difference in speed is litteraly a game changer.

    It’s the weakest link in the chain, and as cougar mentioned, or alluded to, there’s no point havin’ a fast CPU and 3 billion gigs of ram, if your system drive is overloaded with reads and writes. It will still bog down.

    SSDs are cheap, there’s really no reason not to run one as your system drive, even if it’s a small one.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    I’m still betting that the disc is on it’s way out

    Could well be, yes. Without seeing it it wouldn’t be my absolute first guess (my experience of modern-day drives failing is predominantly catastrophic failure rather than them groaning on for months, and SMART predictive failure has been a thing since IDE days) but it is wholly plausible of course. However…

    SSDs are cheap, there’s really no reason not to run one as your system drive

    … it’s really rather irrelevant for exactly this reason. Who cares? Toss it or use it as a backup drive.

    Premier Icon mattyfez
    Free Member

    Hell, I’ve even got rid of all my spinny disks over the last few years and have a combination of SATA SSD and M.2 SSD.

    The noise and vibration was annoying me.

    Premier Icon mattyfez
    Free Member

    Who cares? Toss it or use it as a backup drive.

    I agree.. But I’ve ended up with a drawer full of 500gb record players.
    I’ve repurposed what I think are the better ones in terms of how hard a life they’ve had, as cold storage.

    The others I just put a drill through them.

    Premier Icon sirromj
    Free Member

    Because: news flash:

    Yeah I’ve been using an m.2 SSD + HDD combo for the past 7 years thanks 🙂

    Turning your PC off during an update is likely to ^&*() it regardless of HHD or SSD to be fair.

    But anyway, I’d get both the SSD and upgrade RAM to 16gb.

    Premier Icon Mat
    Full Member

    I’m fairly sold on getting an SSD, I’ll get that ordered!

    Any thoughts on diagnostics for what’s causing the high usage though? I do fire up task manager when it seems particularly slow and look at what the big ticket items are in % terms for disk use. It generally seems to be windows processes I think (service host and that sort of thing – not exactly sure what they do). I was initially concerned but each time I’ve googled one it’s turned out to be a legit windows process. Not saying any of that definitively though so keen to hear any better suggestions on how to check! I’d like the peace of mind that I’ve not been compromised somehow even if I do plan on reformatting the drive (or doing a straight up swap with the SSD).

    Also any tips on removing dust from the inside the machine? I had it open tonight to check out the slots and it was pretty dusty! Just hoover it out?

    Thanks again for all your thoughts and advice!

    Premier Icon mattyfez
    Free Member

    But anyway, I’d get both the SSD and upgrade RAM to 16gb.

    I agree. But I’d suggest that the op gets an SSD before worrying about RAM as that is the blindingly obvious bottle neck, before spending money on more RAM.

    Premier Icon chewkw
    Free Member

    Thinking of m.2 SSD but does it get too hot or reliable?

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    Any thoughts on diagnostics for what’s causing the high usage though?

    Honestly, if you’re into the realms of digging inside svchost then you’re beyond what I’d expect of a typical end user. I’d suggest just flattening it (or giving it to me to look at 😁).

    Also any tips on removing dust from the inside the machine?

    Can of compressed air.

    Hoovers aren’t a great idea around electronics.

    I agree. But I’d suggest that the op gets an SSD before worrying about RAM as that is the blindingly obvious bottle neck, before spending money on more RAM.

    100%.

    Thinking of m.2 SSD but does it get too hot or reliable?

    They tend to run warm. Define “too” hot?

    Reliability was an issue with early drives, mostly mitigated today. Put it this way, I’d trust a solid state drive over a spinnydisk any day.

    Premier Icon stumpyjon
    Full Member

    Biggest improvement will be a clean windows install. Dell fill their machines with bloatware. My sons laptop was near useless out of the box. Clean windows install made it usable, SSD followed by RAM upgrade added a bit of zip.

Viewing 29 posts - 1 through 29 (of 29 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Thanks for popping by - why not stay a while?IT'S FREE

Sign up as a Singletrack Member and you can leave comments on stories, use the classified ads, and post in our forums, do quizzes and more.

Join us, join in, it’s free, and fun.