For questions concerning computer, or computer-related, performance. Please include metrics in your questions.

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380
votes
8answers
67k views

Why don't websites immediately display their text these days?

I've noticed that recently many websites are slow to display their text. Usually, the background, images and so on are going to be loaded, but no text. After some time the text starts appearing here ...
189
votes
10answers
37k views

Is there still a reason to choose a 10,000 RPM hard drive over an SSD?

For anyone who's serious about storage performance, SSDs are always the fastest solution. However, WD still makes their 10,000 RPM VelociRaptor hard drives, and a few enthusiasts even use ...
164
votes
9answers
19k views

Why does emptying disk space speed up computers?

I have been looking at a bunch of videos and now understand a bit better how computers work. I better understand what RAM is, volatile and non-volatile memory, and the process of swapping. I also ...
86
votes
7answers
7k views

Does a computer use fewer resources when programs are minimized?

When programs are minimized in Windows 7, do they use less memory and CPU than leaving them maximized?
80
votes
5answers
9k views

Why are my games slower on battery power, even with the power plan set to High Performance?

My laptop is capable of running most games on high settings at decent frame rates. However, if the power cable gets unplugged while I'm playing, the game immediately starts slowing down, even if I'm ...
79
votes
10answers
17k views

Are computers with more RAM potentially faster if not all memory is usually in use?

Let's say I have a computer with 16 GB of memory. If my computer is usually only using about 4 GB and never reaches 8 GB, is it any faster than a computer with only 8 GB of (the same type of) memory? ...
73
votes
23answers
6k views

Why does Microsoft Windows' performance appear to degrade over time?

Windows XP/2003 and earlier (can't attest to Windows Vista, but I suspect it's the same) all appear to become more sluggish over time as applications are installed and uninstalled. This is not a ...
61
votes
2answers
19k views

Why did adding memory significantly increase gaming performance on an AMD APU?

To be clear from the beginning, this is not a problem. This is just something that I really want to know the secret behind. System specifications CPU: AMD A10-6790K 4.0 GHz GPU: AMD ...
59
votes
2answers
6k views

Why is piping 'dd' through gzip so much faster than a direct copy?

I wanted to backup a path from a computer in my network to another computer in the same network over a 100 Mbit/s line. For this I did dd if=/local/path ...
56
votes
11answers
17k views

Should I disable swap file if I have lots of RAM or should I move it to a virtual RAM drive?

Imagine I have tons of RAM. Let's say 64GB. That's a lot for even gaming PCs. Now the default location of a pagefile in Windows is on the main OS drive, be it HDD or SSD, which are faster in general, ...
56
votes
5answers
12k views

Why are USB flash drives so much slower than solid-state drives?

From what I understand, USB flash drives and solid-state drives (SSDs) are based on similar technologies, NAND flash memory. But, USB flash drives are usually quite slow, with a read and write speed ...
55
votes
9answers
12k views

Why have CPU manufacturers stopped increasing the clock speeds of their processors? [closed]

I have read that manufacturers stopped concentrating on higher clock speeds and are now working on other things to improve performance. With an old Desktop machine with Intel® Xeon® Processor E3110 ...
54
votes
9answers
75k views

How can I produce high CPU load on a Linux server?

I’m currently in the process of debugging a Cacti installation and want to create CPU load to debug my CPU utilization graphs. I tried to simply run cat /dev/zero > /dev/null, which works great ...
52
votes
6answers
4k views

Why can't old PCs view modern sites? [closed]

The reason for this question is that many times clients, friends and parents ask me why their perfectly working old PC cannot be used online anymore. I am looking for a good answer to those people ...
49
votes
16answers
116k views

How do I troubleshoot a Windows freeze or slowness?

A machine is described as being "really slow" or "freezing". How can I troubleshoot/resolve this issue? What should be the first steps to take?
47
votes
10answers
44k views

Speed of TrueCrypt whole disk encryption

I'm getting a new development laptop soon, and I'm thinking of using TrueCrypt to encrypt the whole disk. What kind of performance drop can I expect? 10%? 30%? More? Also, assuming the workload has ...
46
votes
12answers
57k views

How can I produce high CPU load on Windows?

For testing purposes I need to generate high CPU load on a Windows Server 2003. I cannot install any software but have to make do with what Windows provides. What would be the best way to achieve ...
46
votes
3answers
90k views

Linux: find out what process is using all the RAM?

Before actually asking, just to be clear: yes, I know about disk cache, and no, it is not my case :) Sorry, for this preamble :) I'm using CentOS 5. Every application in the system is swapping ...
41
votes
10answers
5k views

Which malfunctions cause old computers to slow down and crash?

I've had a few computers of my own break after a few years of use, and I've seen computers owned by friends and family do the same thing. They either slow down (even running the original software ...
41
votes
10answers
38k views

Top causes of slow ssh logins

I'd love for one of you smart and helpful folks to post a list of common causes of delays during an ssh login. Specifically, there are 2 spots where I see a range from instantaneous to multi-second ...
41
votes
5answers
13k views

What is the proper way of debugging a slow Windows installation?

You know the drill - you've been asked to check why your cousin's computer is running slow. I was right there yesterday. Being a Mac user since 2007 I haven't really dug deep in Windows internals in ...
40
votes
4answers
18k views

How does NTFS compression affect performance?

I've heard that NTFS compression can reduce performance due to extra CPU usage, but I've read reports that it may actually increase performance because of reduced disk reads. How exactly does NTFS ...
38
votes
4answers
19k views

How badly do SSDs degrade without TRIM?

SSDs have been out for a few years, and have seen all kinds of usage patterns. Windows and Linux support the TRIM command, with Mac OS still trailing behind here. Update (2011): It appears OSX Snow ...
36
votes
8answers
39k views

Does Windows ReadyBoost have a meaningful impact on performance?

Does Windows ReadyBoost technology, available in Windows since Vista, have a meaningful impact on performance? Are there well-known benchmarks that compare systems with, and without? Does the speed ...
34
votes
12answers
20k views

Any reason not to disable the Windows pagefile given enough physical RAM? [closed]

The question of disabling the Windows pagefile has already been discussed quite a bit, for example here and here and here. People continue to upvote answers that say "you should not disable your ...
33
votes
7answers
21k views

Why is my computer really slow despite having a considerable amount of free memory?

I have a Lenovo g560 3-4 years old, Intel i5, with 2GB ram and with a Geforce 310M. It always had some issues during startup or when starting a new program, but recently it just went crazy. From the ...
32
votes
8answers
6k views

Why does my computer run fast after a clean install?

I recently formatted and reinstalled Windows on my laptop. It now runs much faster. I have been doing this about once a year for the past decade. Why is this needed? I always figured this had to do ...
29
votes
3answers
57k views

How to diagnose slow booting or logon in Windows?

When I start my PC, it boots into Windows (Windows 7 32-bit) quite happily, I login and the main Windows screen appears. At that point, however, the system is extremely unresponsive for up to 5 ...
29
votes
3answers
1k views

Do disabled Firefox extensions make Firefox slower?

Do disabled Firefox extensions make Firefox slower? I know that extensions make browsing slower, but what about extensions that are disabled and not in use?
28
votes
10answers
8k views

Why does hardware get slower with time?

Why does hardware get slower with time? I have been a PC owner since 1990 and every computer I have had in my life became really, really slow after 3-4 years (even with a full system-reinstall). It is ...
28
votes
6answers
24k views

How can I log my hard drive activity by program?

I am using Windows XP and am looking for a utility that can tell me the percentage of hard drive activity a program is using. Basically, I'm looking for something like Task Manager and its ability ...
27
votes
8answers
3k views

Can a massive MySQL data import on an SSD damage it?

I have to import quite a lot of data (~100 million rows, ~100 times) into a MySQL database. Currently, it is stored on my hard disk drive, and the bottleneck of my import seems to be the hard disk ...
27
votes
2answers
2k views

Why are start-up times faster on Windows 8? [closed]

A few people have done benchmarks comparing Windows 8 to Windows 7. Many features don't improve, but consistently, startup time is better. Why does Windows 8 start up faster compared to Windows 7? ...
26
votes
12answers
9k views

Reclaiming disk space on Windows [closed]

A lot of disk space is taken up by a default Windows installation in various temporary and backup data that may never get cleaned up on its own. Eventually you realize that the large multi hundred ...
26
votes
7answers
7k views

How important is having 64-bit programs on 64-bit OS?

I recently upgraded to 64-bit OS(Windows 7) from my old 32-bit version. I noticed that while several applications are available in 64-bit(e.g. DC client, Tortoise SVN, Graphics driver), many are still ...
25
votes
10answers
28k views

Computer slow after installing 32GB RAM

I'm currently running very large network simulations for my PhD research, for which I need lots of RAM. I have a Core i7 2600K processor with a Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3 motherboard, running Windows 7 ...
25
votes
3answers
24k views

How to change I/O priority of a process or thread in Win7?

Process Explorer is able to show the effective IO priority of a given thread, but not change it. Seeing as IO priority support is a comparatively new feature, most programs don't set their own IO ...
25
votes
7answers
8k views

How can I simulate a slow machine in a VM?

I'm testing an AJAX-heavy web-application. I develop on a new Mac, but I use VmWare Fusion (currently 3.1.2) to test in Windows XP, using IETester to simulate older versions of IE. This lets me see ...
24
votes
5answers
63k views

Windows 8 hard disk usage 100%

This is a problem I've seen described in many places: Super User (here, here, here and so on) Microsoft support forums (here, here...) The Lenovo forums have some users complaining about this too ...
23
votes
5answers
4k views

Is it possible to format a hard-drive too often?

Every couple of months I find my computer becomes sluggish, so I format the hard drive then reinstall Windows to keep it running fast. I've been doing this for about a year without any adverse ...
23
votes
3answers
8k views

Confirming that Windows 7 is using SSD optimizations

Took the plunge and installed Windows 7 on my computer. Even better, I installed it on my new Intel x25m (got to love that SSD goodness.) Vista was known to thrash, throttle, and otherwise wear out ...
23
votes
5answers
789 views

The Inevitable Windows Slow Down

So my mum brought her laptop over last night and asked if I can do anything about the fact it runs noticably slower than it did when she got it. It's a low end Toshiba running Vista Home Premium. ...
23
votes
2answers
8k views

Is there a way to identify the busy (CPU-consuming) tab in Firefox? [duplicate]

Sometimes there's a nasty, guilty, CPU-hogging tab in Firefox that's maxing one of my CPU cores and making the whole browser sluggish. I'd like to find it and close it. Sometimes I get lucky, but ...
22
votes
2answers
142k views

What is svchost.exe (LocalSystemNetworkRestricted) when I see it in the Resource Monitor in Windows vista and why is it slowing me down?

Sometimes, when my computer is frozen and just about unusable, it seems that the cause is some heavy background processing. Sometimes, I can catch who is using all my disk-bandwidth using Resource ...
22
votes
4answers
83k views

Windows 8 extremely high disk usage and slow IO

Problem After upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8 Professional, there seem to be a few disturbing problems. When I have the Task Manager open, I sometimes notice the disk usage climbing to 50, ...
21
votes
2answers
11k views

How can I identify the culprit of my slow Windows shutdown?

My computer is taking a very long time to shutdown. How can I identify the culprit? I don't want to wait minutes for my computer to shutdown... Is there a program I can use to track how long it ...
20
votes
5answers
16k views

Why is my /dev/random so slow when using dd?

I am trying to semi-securely erase a bunch of hard drives. The following is working at 20-50Mb/s dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda But dd if=/dev/random of=/dev/sda seems not to work. Also when I ...
20
votes
3answers
7k views

Which have better performance Two 2GB RAM sticks or One 4GB RAM stick? [closed]

I am planning to buy a new PC. The mainboard has 4 memory slots, The PC has Windows 7 64-bit installed. Which approach is better regarding the performance buying: Two memory sticks of 2GB? One ...
20
votes
7answers
2k views

What to do with a ton of extra memory?

I have 8gigs of RAM in this machine. I never really use more than say 4gigs (includes my virtual machines I use for dev testing). What can I do with this extra space to best improve system ...
20
votes
4answers
15k views

Quickest way to merge snapshots in VirtualBox?

I have vdi with quite a number of snapshots taken from it - say, 50 or 70 snapshots. I want to have one plain vdi with a current state. These snapshots take way too much disk space and are not needed ...