[kwlug-disc] upgrading hardware/64bit OS

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Mon Aug 30 14:10:16 EDT 2010

It's so easy to stick it on a usb key and test - why guess.

For a machine (don't know Athlon's), go to http://factorydirect.ca/. 
For older, don't do Intel less than about 3.0 (2.8) GHz WITH 
HyperThreading - it's not worth it. For later / new - something with a 
dual core, and, given prior threads, something with the vm instruction 
set in the CPU. (Others can advise specifics better than I.) 
Regardless, you're going to want at least 4GB memory (if 32-bit) and 
running a VM. So you'll be buying memory unless it's a spanking new 

Throwing memory (these days) is no longer a sure fire fix. 'Slow' is 
slow - a moving target, especially as today's OS' are harder on video. 
Widgets take more 'power'.

 From your note, I gather this is a desktop not a laptop. In my 
experience, throwing in a somewhat decent video card brings miles more 
performance. e.g. going from the motherboard video to an AGP Nvidia 
card ($50?) boosted perceived performance amazingly.

If the current machine is at all decent, CPU wise, e.g. hyperthreaded, 
then it will always be useful as a spare box. Upgrading CPU / memory / 
graphics won't go to waste.

Insurance Squared Inc. wrote, On 08/30/2010 1:23 PM:
> Good point, maybe it is the processor.  The processor fan on the machine 
> spins way loud when we open up windows, it's working the CPU like a dog 
> :).  I know that can get complicated though, not enough mem can make the 
> processor work harder.  I normally just assume though that more ram 
> makes my worries go away.  Perhaps just a cpu upgrade (or more 
> specifically an upgrade to a machine with a better CPU) is the way to go.
> What's out there these days for good cpu's?  I don't know even the lingo 
> anymore, buying old XP boxes off kijiji and ebay have worked so well for 
> me over the last 3-5 years.
> On 30/08/10 01:04 PM, unsolicited wrote:
>> You should be able to upgrade to 4GB RAM without any software changes, 
>> and see a difference, if there is a difference to be seen. i.e. If 
>> it's, or the machine, is memory starved, this should get you over a 
>> hump. One vm with 4GB RAM hard, 2GB for VM, should be more than 
>> sufficient no matter how much memory you have. i.e. If not running 
>> multiple more vm's, 4GB would be sufficient - 32/64 bit won't be an 
>> issue, and more RAM isn't going to help.
>> Since it's a vm, you could try it on different machines you have, and 
>> see to what extent you see a performance gain. e.g. More RAM on one 
>> machine vs. a faster CPU on another.
>> FWIW, on a Windows machine, virtualbox was so slow I went back to 
>> vmware player. YMMV. You could try this vm under windows and just peek 
>> if there are any noticeable performance changes.
>> Any 64 bit OS can vm a 32 bit OS, but the reverse is not true. You 
>> could also run the vm against physical disk partitions. (Not 
>> recommended for Windows - it gets very unhappy at the hardware 
>> changes. But if you only ever boot it that way / the vm hardware 
>> doesn't change, you'd be OK.) [hw change as in dual boot AND vm boot.]
>> So, you could copy the vm to a usb key, go to different machines, and 
>> see if you can spot a difference. For that matter, I suspect with a 
>> live cd and this vm on a usb key, you could walk around trying 
>> hardware / speed.
>> Do you have any sense as to the cause of the slowness? Is it lack of 
>> memory, are you CPU bound, is the video slow?
>> Insurance Squared Inc. wrote, On 08/30/2010 10:43 AM:
>>> My wife is running Mandriva(32bit) on her business computer with a 
>>> couple of gigs of ram.  Everything runs fine except her windows 
>>> bookkeeping app.  I've got virtualbox installed to run windows and 
>>> it's just slow -  slow enough that she mentions it.
>>> My thinking is that she needs more RAM.  To get more RAM, she really 
>>> needs a 64 bit OS.  For a 64 bit OS, I need a machine that has a 
>>> processor that will work with that (is that correct?  I've tried to 
>>> install mandriva 64bit before on other machines and it objected 
>>> because the hardware wasn't 64 bit).
>>> Am I on the right track here?  Upgrade her hardware to a new 
>>> processor with lots of RAM, then upgrade the OS to take advantage of 
>>> the RAM, then virtualbox will run faster?  If so, what kind of 
>>> hardware should I be looking at, processor-wise and how much ram 
>>> would you get?

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