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I have a computer based on AMD processor & 512 MB RAM. Lately the computer has gone horribly slow. I did many tricks but was of no avail. So, I reinstalled my Operating system - Win XP SP3, still the the response is very slow. I checked if there are any background applications consuming resources. There was nothing suspicious. I removed all the applications on start, still the computer is slow. I've heard that AMD processor based systems show this behavior when they get aged. Is it true? Should I just buy a new system?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I've heard that AMD processor based systems show this behavior when they get aged.

From who/where? Frankly, I think this is ridiculous.

What does Task Manager show in terms of processor utilization and RAM utilization. Verify the Primary IDE controller is set to use DMA and not PIO (properties of the device in Device Manager).

And, above all, UPGRADE YOUR RAM. 512 was fine... 3 years ago... today, you need more. 1 GB at least for XP.

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XP SP3 does not run comfortable on less than 1GB RAM. Hell, in my opinion SP0 never did. – Shinrai Aug 11 '10 at 14:32
I have a Dell Inspiron 4500 - Celeron 466 CPU with 192 MB of RAM. Haven't used it in years, but I did for about a year running XP and it ran just fine on 192 MB of RAM... back in the SP0 Days. NO WAY it does that today. Well... maybe if I installed Acrobat 4, McAfee VirusScan 4.5 and other 8 year old software products... but today, virtually ALL software expects the machine to a lot of RAM and wants to use more than frankly it probably should. So those minimums have increased. – Multiverse IT Aug 13 '10 at 8:59

I think it's a placebo effect. IMHO a system with 512MB can't run very smooth.

I had a nice system once that had 512 MB RAM, too, and a fairly modern Processor (at that time). Then i worked with a better system for a while. When i got back to my own machine everything seemed so slow, even if nothing had changed.

In the end this is a dupe of

Try the suggestions there. If they don't help (and even if they do!) you should get a new system.

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My work computer has a core 2 duo, and it has a gig of ram and it is amazingly slow. It runs out of physical memory with nothing more than essential processes, a browser, and a few other small programs.

Upgrade your ram, and your computer will be much faster, and run a lot smoother.

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As others have mentioned, 512 MB isn't really enough. However, assuming that you're not just imagining things, and that it really is slowing down, check your hard drive - with just 512MB you're going to be doing a lot of swapping to disk, and if there are problems with the disk - either running out of space, fragmentation, or the possibility of bad sectors - it will slow everything else down.

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Sometimes hardware issues (such as bad capacitors on the motherboard or bad ram) can slow down your computer significantly while still allowing it to run.

You might want to look into doing some hardware diagnostics if windows is running very slowly even after a fresh install.

I'd suggest getting some software to check your hard drive/RAM for errors, and doing a visual inspection of your motherboard's capacitors for any bulging/leaking.

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