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I've purchased an Alienware m14x laptop but I am experiencing performance issues - It's slow. Quite slow actually. My other laptop that has a Celeron CPU is going faster than this and that computer is running Windows XP and while the new one is running Windows 7 Home.

I'm not sure if it's just me or the laptop? The specification is as follows;

  • Intel Core i7 -2630m,
  • 6GB RAM,
  • 750GB 7200 rpm,
  • Nvidia 555m

There aren't a load of programs starting up at boot, but there are some and they are small programs. I closed some of them off using msconfig but it's still quite slow. By quite slow I mean, it takes quite a bit of time to log on, or if one user is logged on and nothing is happening within that user, and I switch to another one, its very slow and laggy. It's hard to even browse or stream movies.

For instance, when I first got it out of the box it was fast, I could play Deus Ex almost at cap highest performance. Now I have notch the entire game down to a medium due to lag or frame skipping. I have had an error where I would be playing the game and my graphics card failed and it shut off. It only happened once but it was quite frustrating.

Day 3 of the laptop and I have a line of dead pixels on the right side and I called technical support and they will be replacing my screen.

So my concern is, should I call the company and notify them that this laptop is not preforming to the standards it should be? Or am I mistaken and this is how it's supposed to be?

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Have you tried wiping the thing and installing a clean install of Windows? –  Billy ONeal Sep 11 '11 at 17:39
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No I havn't, by why should I ahve to do that with a brand new machine? thats less than one week old.. –  Robolisk Sep 11 '11 at 17:40
    
and you think this could all be from windows? –  Robolisk Sep 11 '11 at 17:57
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@Robsta: Alienware installs a bunch of garbage to their default installs if I'm not mistaken. It's not the fault of Windows; it's the fault of Alienware. Also note that if you're comparing app load times, that the disk (rather than CPU/RAM/Graphics Card) is going to be the bottleneck. –  Billy ONeal Sep 11 '11 at 18:48
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I'd bet you've got McAfee installed (it's known as the Time Machine because it makes it feel like your computer fell out of the 80s). –  Mokubai Sep 11 '11 at 18:58

5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The lag could also be due to heat. Unlikely, but possible as graphics cards and processors these days downclock themselves to prevent overheating at certain temperatures. Tools like GPUZ and CPUZ will help you determine if they are downclocking due to heat.

Outside of that, without more information, we don't know what is "slow" and what should be "fast."

Your best bet is to post numbers. Fire up Performance Monitor and Open up the Data Collector Sets. Open the System node and select the default System Performance data set. Rightclick it (the cube) on the left hand side and select start.

This data set is configured to run indefinitely and collect a lot of useful data. It will sample every one second and records basically every counter under CPU, DISK, MEMORY, network card, and processes. Run it for a couple of hours and upload it. Don't sleep your computer because it is not set to autostart.

edit

BTW, to get to the reports, just look for the node reports in Perfmon. They are stored under C:\perflogs.

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There is no heat, I have checked the temperatures and they range from 30 - 40, surprisingly cool. Even while gaming, it takes an hour or so to even notice any heat build up. When I get access to my laptop I'll get you some numbers so you can have an idea. –  Robolisk Sep 11 '11 at 18:57
    
I lied about the temperatures, they range from 40 - 55. GPU = 44C HD0 39C Core0 - 51C Core1 - 49C Core2 - 48C Core3 - 50C –  Robolisk Sep 12 '11 at 14:27
    
What about the speed of the GPU? Maybe the whole computer is underclocked for some weird reason? –  Shiki Oct 16 '11 at 13:08
    
Thanks for the post. I did more digging and I showed alienware these preofrmance reports. They understood and replaced my entire machine, it is currently running at whats its suppost to be. (for the specs). –  Robolisk Mar 10 '12 at 21:19
    
Perfmon is hard to argue against. I just wish it was just a a little easier for people to use. –  surfasb Mar 11 '12 at 0:07

Based on your machine's symptoms, specifically slow login/user switch times, I think you're experiencing some bloat. Specifically, I would think the whatever you're starting at boot/login is consuming more resources than you think or is immediately apparent. Look closely at task manager & system resource monitor for things consumer large amounts of RAM, CPU time, or swap space.

If nothing appears as the culprit, shut off everything set to load at login, and check your performance again. If nothing seems to help, a clean install might be the solution as @Billy ONeal suggested in the comments. New laptops can come with preinstalled software that can be a drain on system resources. I don't know if Alienware does this, but a clean install can't hurt (so long as you back up your personal files).

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The laptop did come with a few preinstalled software, but it's nothing harmful and I've pretty much disable every unessary software at boot and it still runs slow. I removed all the crap software was, and there was honestly only one that I didn't need but some other users might of. Uhmm. I'll try a clean install soon, but I'm still a little frustrated thats it's running this slow after paying 1400 for it. :/ but first i'll try turning everything off at startup. –  Robolisk Sep 11 '11 at 18:17
    
Yea, a brand-new machine misbehaving is never a fun experience. So when it is running slowly, is there anything in task manager that seems to be consuming an inordinate amount of resources? Or is there nothing out of the ordinary? –  Drew Christianson Sep 11 '11 at 18:23
    
Nothing out of the ordinary. Strange, very strange. I've had it lock up a few times, so a clean install should fix it, but i'm trying to avoid that due to lazy'ness, but if it does come down to it, I'll do it. I've had a situation like this at work as well, only issue was that even after a clean install it was still faulty and a rma was placed for a brand new machine. –  Robolisk Sep 11 '11 at 18:49
    
You say experiencing come bloat, and I can't edit to fix it because I don't know if you meant com or some. –  Lance Roberts Sep 11 '11 at 22:25

I would use the Windows Performance Monitor to see what is adding load to the systems. I hope this is helpful.

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I'll take a look at that when I have a chance and post what I see. Thank you. –  Robolisk Sep 11 '11 at 18:51

There may be a number of reasons for this:

  1. The Windows install is bad. This is not an uncommon problem with OEM PCs where the OS is imaged in instead of installed. I didn't think Alienware did this but given that they're owned by Dell, who knows. Reinstalling Windows may fix this.

  2. One or more components may be bad. Non-fatal hardware errors can manifest themselves as slow response times.

Here are some tools to check for hardware errors:


Intel Burn-In Test

Note: download link is at the bottom. Beware the fake "download" advertisement.

Basically, this tool will run a stress test on your system and generate a number. It will repeat the test and if there are any hardware problems, the number will change test to test and the tool will warn you of said problems.

Tracking down the specific component that is failing is more difficult, but once you discover that something is failing, then it should be Alienware's responsibility to further diagnose and fix it.


HWMonitor

During the stress test, also run HWMonitor. It will show you the temperatures of the various components that report their temperatures. Don't be alarmed if some of them are pretty high (> 60°C) as this is normal with laptops, but anything higher than 80°C (CPU) and 90°C (GPU) should be concerning.


SpeedFan

In addition to also providing temperature measurements, this tool can read the S.M.A.R.T. status of your hard drive. If you're experiencing bad performance as the result of a bad HDD, then this tool will help you find it.

It will not only read the SMART status of the drive, but is also capable of benchmarking it.

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6GB of ram? There aren't 3 ram slots in the Alienware Laptops. Might be an idea to upgrade to 2x 4gb. I have an M17x and when I bought it, they offered 4gb and get 2gb free, but they're not matched, so this might the reason for your performance issues.

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Maybe he has 2x 3GB? –  Simon Sheehan Oct 16 '11 at 15:36
    
yeah, it's 6GB of ram. 2x 3GB :P and they match. Which is good I guess. –  Robolisk Oct 18 '11 at 17:30

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