I bought my laptop in late 2013 with the following configuration:

  • Motherboard / model: NP-530U3C
  • Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-3217U CPU @ 1.80GHz
  • RAM: 4GB DDR3
  • Hard drive: 500 GB 5400 RPM + 24GB SSD
  • OS: Windows 8.1 (Was 8.0)

I was told that this should be enough for my needs (various browser tabs open - I use chrome, photoshop, dreamweaver, excel). At first it was pretty good, but overtime it has become increasingly slower and slower, and now sometimes even opening a folder or pressing the right button on a file is insanely laggy.

I checked for viruses several months ago and didn't found anything. I also went through my enabled processes, msconfig, and startup and disabled everything unnecessary (Including antivirus, Apple processes, etc.), and yet still slow.

I've attached a screenshot of my current pc status with only about 10 chrome tabs open and photoshop opened with one file.

Is the 4GB of RAM the main cause? If so, is it possible to add more memory to my specific model? How much and which type is recommended? If it's only a low RAM problem, why in its first months of use did the computer do much better?

  • 1
    Does the HDD report as being healthy? Unexplained latency between I/O requests is often explain by a HDD that is in the process of failing. You are also using a large majority of your memory. It could also be a memory leaked cause by a driver, if that's the case, boot into a minimal boot configuration to see if it still happens. If it doesn't then load each additional drive one by one until it does happen. Once you do that you have determined the problem device driver. – Ramhound Apr 14 '15 at 13:57
  • I've booted with minimal and it was much faster, but then I simply booted again as usual and it's still pretty fast, with about 60-70% RAM in use (even with few more open apps), as opposed to the situation in the screenshot. it seems like the 89% used RAM situation usually evolves after a few hours of use, I don't know what is triggering it exactly. What could it be? and how to check HDD health? – rockyraw Apr 14 '15 at 15:34
  • I listed several possible reasons. – Ramhound Apr 14 '15 at 15:39
  • is there a way though to recognize in real time which driver it could be? as I mentioned, sometimes the laptop is doing ok, even though, as far as I know, all drivers are running. Could it be that a driver that is usually dormant is the one that is causing the memory leak? If so how can I monitor such driver? – rockyraw Apr 14 '15 at 15:43
  • I told you how to determine which driver. The real-time method requires additional technical skills. The method I describe if done right is guaranteed to find the driver, if its a driver, you have to eliminate the other option first though. – Ramhound Apr 14 '15 at 15:56

Yes the 4GB could very well be the problem. It's clearly being topped out in your picture. All the Windows 8 computers I've worked on (literally thousands) have had 1 open DIMM slot. So the upgrade is up to you. 2GB/4GB/Etc... The speeds don't usually have to match up in today's day and age so that also if for you to decide. Obviously the more the merrier.

However, if it were me I would upgrade to a full SSD. Your going to see a WAY better boost in performance than simply upgrading the RAM. Performance has probably gotten worse over time because you've added more programs, content, changes, etc... and are utilizing more of the SSD. So now there's a higher demand from the RAM.

  • would it be a good combination to have an SSD with an i3 processor? also, I guess that would mean I would have to re-install all my programs on that drive? what about my windows installation? basically it came embedded with the original hard drive... – rockyraw Apr 14 '15 at 15:40
  • Yes. An SSD is a good combination regardless of the CPU. The only thing that might have an effect is if your drive is a HybridDrive or 2 separate drives. Either way a full fledged SSD is the way to go in terms of cost:performance. Yes you would have to reinstall the OS. Windows 8 product codes are baked into the BIOS/Firmware of your computer. So when you reinstall Win8, it will automatically be detected. However as a safety precaution I recommend: nirsoft.net/utils/product_cd_key_viewer.html or github.com/christian-korneck/get_win8key – BiTinerary Apr 14 '15 at 15:55

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