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Thread: Do computer components slow down with time?

  1. #1
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    Do computer components slow down with time?

    Hi all,

    A relatively quick (I hope!) question.

    I have a relatively ageing computer now, a Core2Duo e8400 (stock), 4GB RAM, Asus P5K-VM and GTX260/GeForce 6200 graphics (for 3 screens) and a decent PSU (I forget the model number now)

    I've noticed a significant slow down over recent months, which reformatting the hard drives and reinstalling windows (Vista) hasn't really changed. On a fresh install it still takes far too long to load up programs, and things like photo editing take an age. A year or two ago the same software on the same hardware ran quickly and smoothly.

    My question is, is this likely to be a single individual component, which if replaced would bring this back to 'like new', or am I just better off getting a new motherboard/CPU/RAM combination? Looking around the benchmarks of things like the new Intel G3528 don't look much different than the Core2Duo I already have - so I don't want to do a like for like swap unless the newer components will mean it will run smoothly.

    This isn't really a gaming PC, I use it just for office, internet, and quite a lot of image RAW processing and photoshop/GIMP. It's the RAW processing which I've noticed recently is really painfully slow. I have on occasion played Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3, but they run on fairly low spec machines. I don't play games much these days, as I have a 2 year old! Most of the time I do it's on the XBox anyway.

    So, do I replace just one or two parts or buy something like this:

    http://3xs.scan.co.uk/configurator/o...e-bundle-87oc5

    I'll update Windows either way, probably to 7 rather than 8.1.

    Thanks for the advice guys and girls.

    Alex

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    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: Do computer components slow down with time?

    Best bet would be the hard drive, if you've not changed it. I think that's the only component that's likely to genuinely slow down. OS & software bloat might account for some slow down as well, since you're only on 4GB of RAM (I've seen computers get very close to that recently), but assuming you're still using your original hard drive(s) it's quite possible that the OS is now starting to work round bad sectors on the drive. Also the hard drive is the main thing that has mechanical parts that could degrade and actually slow down, and is likely the be the biggest bottleneck.

    I'd be very tempted to shell out on a mid-capacity SSD (probably a ~240GB, plenty big enough for OS and some programs), clone your install on to that and see if things improve. Worst case scenario there is that you have a shiny new SSD all ready to go with your new PC if it doesn't help matters

    Also it might be worth getting an OS upgrade before changing any components - AFAIK Win 7 is actually slightly less resource hungry than Vista anyway (and I have friends who claim Win 8 is even better on older hardware). You might find the combination of Win 7 on an SSD gives you all the performance boost you need...

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    Re: Do computer components slow down with time?

    +1 to scaryjim's suggestions...

    Moving to Win7 or win8 & an SSD will make a world of difference for little money (and both are very re-usable if you decide to upgrade)

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    Re: Do computer components slow down with time?

    Thanks guys.

    My brief bit of googling suggested that may be the case. If I buy Windows 7, and am planning to change the CPU/MoBo/RAM combination if the SSD doesn't do the trick, do I need the retail version? There's a vast difference in price and this is a PC I've built either way. If I install Windows 7 and then want to upgrade the backbone of the PC, will I be able to reinstall the OEM version?

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    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    Re: Do computer components slow down with time?

    Usual reason...

    Turn it off, open the case up, and marvel at the dust build up on the CPU heatsink.

    A thick mat of dust between the fan and the heatsink makes for a very hot CPU, such that built in protection mechanisms throttle the speed so it doesn't get any hotter.

    Vacuum the dust out very carefully. Bashing the fan with the vacuum attachment can damage the bearings so be careful. If the moving air from the vacuum makes the fan spin around, then that can generate electricity which can possibly cause damage so unplug the fan or use a finger to block its path (but don't press on the fan blade, again that strains the bearings leading to failure).

    Don't stand the vacuum cleaner right next to the PC, use the length of the hose to keep it a way back. The body of a vacuum cleaner can be a great source of static electricity, which can damage those delicate ICs with the side of the case off.

    With the heatsink nice and clean, plug everything back in and with the side still off fire up the PC. Simple visual check, is the fan spinning? If not, you need a new one.

    You might want to check the heatsinks on the graphics cards too.

    Edit to add: A can of air duster makes this much easier, but rather messier

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    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: Do computer components slow down with time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
    ... If I install Windows 7 and then want to upgrade the backbone of the PC, will I be able to reinstall the OEM version?
    Hmmmm ... technically, not really. Whether it would work or not is another matter, but certainly the license for the OEM is meant to be tied to the motherboard.

    However, you should be able to install Win 7 without using your license key, and get a 30 day evaluation period - which is exactly what you're after here (you're evaluating Win 7 to see if your computer performs better with it compared to Vista). If you're still not sure after 30 days there are also ways - entirely legitimately - to extend that evaluation period up to 120 days. After that you'll need to activate your copy of Windows, but 4 months should be enough time to decide you're either going to stick with it on your old machine, or do a full upgrade and install it on your new machine. As long as you haven't activated it up to that point, you should be absolutely fine.

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    Re: Do computer components slow down with time?

    I also would totally back Scaryjim on the suggestion of moving to W7/8 and SSD.

    To elaborate a bit on what he said about 'software bloat', whilst the computers performance itself wont necessarily become worse with time (unless it becomes faulty), if you constantly keep your software up to date, the developers of that software will start to take advantage of the increased performance of newer hardware which can result in seemingly slower performance on older PCs.

    Web content and browsers in particular have become quite heavy on the additional processes and memory usage with all the plug-ins and moving content.

    Have you made sure you are utilising the processing capabilities of your GPU for as much of the image processing as you can?

    edit: I never put a hoover nozzle inside my PC unless there is no components inside it! Not worth the risk IMO. Always unplug everything, take it outside and airblast it!

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    Re: Do computer components slow down with time?

    Thanks for that.

    Dust isn't too much of an issue, I cleaned it out not too long ago and it's got a fairly decent cooler on it anyway. That was my first thought when I noticed a problem - it was caked in dust but cleaning it out didn't seem to help performance. The CPU core is registering at 45 degrees during a performance test (GPU at 70 degrees), which I think is fine?

    I'll probably order Windows 7 HP OEM and a Crucial MX100 256GB SSD, and see how I go. If there's no improvement then a new MoBo/CPU/RAM to go with it.

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    Re: Do computer components slow down with time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Biscuit View Post
    edit: I never put a hoover nozzle inside my PC unless there is no components inside it! Not worth the risk IMO. Always unplug everything, take it outside and airblast it!
    You can't win though, moving air generates static so the slower moving air from a vacuum cleaner can be safer. Just the van de graaf generator of the cleaner's body needs to be considered.

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    Re: Do computer components slow down with time?

    45 degrees for a cpu is absolutely fine

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    Re: Do computer components slow down with time?

    Same as before.Trial Win 7 install for you to test (done loads of old PC lately,there is some performance difference but it will not make the PC fast) but an SSD is a sure welcome addition (240GB maybe not necessary, if you don't pig out,120GB should do you just fine and you can get for around £40).

    Also it is legal to download Win 7 installation ISO so don't bother with moody sites. Just skip over the SN entry during installation.

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    Re: Do computer components slow down with time?

    Actually an OS can lose performance over time because of updates making it more bloated, xp was bad for it by sp3, not sure about vista

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    Re: Do computer components slow down with time?

    Well they can in reviews,as it depends on what results review sites want to fiddle for that particular time!

    Regarding your desktop,OP. Well a few things will happen over time:
    1.)Software updates to Windows and other software you have installed will make them more taxing on more marginal hardware
    2.)If the system is old,its most likely to full of crud which causes the system to run hotter and some parts might throttle or not like the higher temperatures.
    3.)Some parts can actually be going. Usually this can mean fans,capacitors and hard drives. If the CPU fans start wearing out it could cause the CPU to overheat or if the PSU fan starts going it can cause similar problems. Capacitor ageing can cause problems with your PSU,motherboard and graphics card. I remember,that my mate's old desktop was beginning to boot slower and slower - it seems it was his PSU starting to go kaput. A knackered HDD can also cause slowdowns too.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 09-07-2014 at 02:36 AM.


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    The late but legendary peterb - Onward and Upward peterb's Avatar
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    Re: Do computer components slow down with time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    Actually an OS can lose performance over time because of updates making it more bloated, xp was bad for it by sp3, not sure about vista
    No, Vista was bad from the start!
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    Re: Do computer components slow down with time?

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    No, Vista was bad from the start!
    It actually got better with updates - I actually used it for a few years.


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    Re: Do computer components slow down with time?

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    It actually got better with updates - I actually used it for a few years.
    You poor, deluded man!
    Last edited by Bonebreaker777; 09-07-2014 at 10:26 PM.

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