Sunday, April 15, 2007

Windows Vista after 2 months

Now that I have had windows vista for almost 2 months, my assessment is that I like it, but it is much more of a resource hog than Windows XP was. For example, prior to upgrading to Windows Vista, I used to have one Gigabyte of ram on my machine and World of Warcraft used to play very smoothly (60 frames/second). After upgrading to Windows Vista, my frame rate went down to 30 frames per second.

I did a lot of research on the Internet regarding this issue and read things about video drivers being slower in Windows Vista than in Windows XP, but nothing that I read seemed to indicate that I should have seen such a significant drop in my frame rate. Especially considering that I have an Nvidia GForce 7800 GS. I was puzzled.

Then, one night, while playing World of Warcraft, I realized that in addition to the drop in frame rate, I found that when I would hot-key out of World of Warcraft to look up information on a quest for the game on Google, I noticed that Internet explorer or Mozilla Firefox would take much longer to start than they used to on Windows XP. This got me to thinking that perhaps 1 Gigabyte of RAM might not be enough for the way that I was using my system. So off to the local Best Buy I went.

Initially I was thinking about purchasing only 512M of ram and using it to fill in the last available RAM slot on my motherboard (ASUS K8N-E Deluxe), but when I read the manual, I found out that this would slow down the RAM access from 333 Mhz to 200 Mhz . But, I found out that if I purchased 1 Gigabyte of RAM, I would be able to swap out one of the 512 Megabyte modules for the 1 Gigabyte module, resulting in a 512 Megabyte RAM increase while at the same time being able to retain the 333 Mhz speed.

When I got home with the RAM, I decided to experiment a little. Prior to inserting the RAM into the system, I booted the system and checked the Windows Experience Index. 4.1 was the measurement. I then shut the system down and added the 1 Gigabyte module to the remaining slot and re-booted. Just like the manual said, the ram would only run at 200Mhz. I even tried moving the module around to see if I could find a configuration that would result in a higher clock rate. I was unable to do so. So, I let the system boot with this configuration and then checked the Windows Experience Index. I was surprised by what I found, the experience index had gone from 4.1 to 2.0 even though I added 1 Gigabyte of ram. In addition, World of Warcraft had become almost unplayable. So, I shut the system down once more, removed one of the 512 Megabyte modules, and re-booted. The result was that the system was back to 333 Mhz. Here is one instance where adding RAM could slow down your system.

After the system rebooted, I checked the Windows Experience Index and found that it had returned to 4.1. The big difference being that now, when I hot-keyed out of World of Warcraft, Mozilla Firefox and Internet explorer, and just about anything else that I ran was much more responsive. In addition, the World of Warcraft frame rates returned to 60 frames per second.

Should you decide to upgrade your computer system from Windows XP to Windows Vista, I would recommend that you increase your system RAM by a minimum of 512 Megabytes in order to achieve performance similar to what you are used to on Windows XP. In addition, whenever you are thinking about adding RAM to your system, always check your system manual or contact support for your system to make sure that you will get the increase that you expect by adding the ram you intend to add.

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