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🐌 How To Fix A Slow Computer – You Might Not Need To Buy A New PC

Is Your Computer Running Slow?

Today we are going to talk about how to fix a slow computer. We have all suffered with this issue at some point in our modern lives. Computers take care of themselves mostly but with the ever evolving and advancing technology and software, security patches and updates, over time our systems need a little TLC.

Its a bit like not taking your car for a service. Sure it continues to work, but it doesn’t run at its best and eventually it develops a bigger issue. We very commonly get this with our customer’s computers and is the main reason why people come to us for a new computer. But that’s not necessary in every instance. Sometimes your computer just needs an SSD Upgrade and it can then breathe a whole new lease of life. So lets go ahead and address some of the symptoms that this article applies to.

Hamster Wheel
Some PCs start to run like their hamster needs feeding
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Symptoms

Here is why you may need an SSD Upgrade instead of a whole new computer:

  • My computer is running slow
  • It takes 20 minutes to boot into Windows
  • My computer is infected with a virus and I need to wipe it
  • My computer will no longer boot
  • I need more storage space
  • My hard disk has failed

And this one is my favourite:

  • Have you ever waited so long for your system to respond that when it responds you forgot what you were going to do? 🤣

Most people we speak to approach us because they want a new system. This is great, because we sell them! However, we are all about solutions and finding the best solution for our customer. You. In some situations, some people have come to us with a laptop or computer that is only 6 months old, they spent $1000+ on it and already it is running terribly slow. They come to us expecting to have to buy a new computer but when we look at what might be wrong we can clearly see why.

The Problem

SSD Upgrade required - high disk usage in task manager

The first thing we do is take a quick look at Task Manager on their existing system. We do this by right clicking on the task bar and selecting ‘Task Manager’, or pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL and selecting ‘Task Manager’. We can usually spot straight away where it is going wrong.

👈 Take a look at this screenshot – see if you can spot what is wrong.

You guessed it! The disk is constantly at 100% usage. 

This is a problem. 

But if you look down that same column – there is no one thing that is hogging it all to itself. It all seems fairly relaxed in that column yet it is sat at 100% disk usage.

Why?

Well, there are two ways to answer this one. The non-tech mumbo-jumbo way and the bla bla jargon way. Which one are you?

Your computer is using your old clunky hard disk for temporary storage. Windows 10 in particular is bad for this – it punishes older hardware. Installing an SSD is much much faster so it will basically get rid of this issue.

Your RAM is super fast volatile storage but your HDD is slow mass-storage. Windows uses RAM where it can but the mass storage contains all of the long term data so undoubtedly it needs to access the HDD to find the data and place it into memory. This is especially apparent when booting the system. Think of all that code for all those start up applications stored on your mass storage device and Windows is trying to find it, read it and pass it through to the RAM. It basically cannot cope.

If you would like further information on the ‘why’ and the differences between HDD (Hard disk drive & Solid state drive), feel free to watch this video from Techlore:

Windows 10 & SSD drives

Windows 10 is designed for SSD drives. It utilises some neat little tricks when it detects mechanical hard drives using such techniques as the Superfetch service to try and alleviate the issue but at the end of the day, it is like trying to evacuate old people from the crashed bus so they can get into the rescue sports cars. What if the old people were young kids, mid-sugar rush from eating lollies, and the bus was a bullet train? that is what an SSD is in comparison in our (silly) analogy.

SSD drives don’t need to seek data the same as a mechanical hard disk does. As the name suggests, a mechanical is made of magnetic plates and a big magnet to go looking for those tiny bits of data. It spins fast to speed things up but storage is so large these days it is like looking for a needle in a haystack. SSD’s on the other hand doesn’t need to find it with ‘feeling’ its way around, it already knows where it is. Its like it is psychic or something!

Microsoft Windows 10

⏩ The Solution – SSD Upgrade 

We have found time and time again that slow computers are completely revitalised when we swap out their old hard disk for an SSD upgrade. Back in the 90’s and early 00’s it was all about the RAM upgrade that made the difference to a computer. Well these days, times have changed and we have seen a lot of systems struggle because of their mechanical hard disk is holding them back. Sure if you are running with anything less than 4GB RAM then we would be recommending upgrading the RAM also but if you are 4GB or over then it is more likely your hard disk that is the bigger issue.

What is an SSD drive?

SSD is an acronym for Solid State Disk. It is essentially like a large USB Flash drive in that there are no moving parts inside. It is made up of chips and a small circuit board. None of which need to move at all. This makes it great for laptops as mechanical disks (old disks that do have moving parts inside) are notorious for failing in laptops. Laptops get dropped, knocked etc. so having your storage on something that is moving whilst you bash it around is not a healthy practice. Try telling that to your kids though!

Just like a flash drive you can store all of your files on it and it stays there for as long as you need it. And because there are no moving parts, there is virtually no ‘seek’ time when the system looks for data. It doesn’t need a motor to spin up to its optimum speed, move the mechanical arm across all the metal platters and then go looking for the data it needs (a bit like a high tech vinyl record player).

The result is a hugely improved user experience as data flies to and from where it is going. The disk usage goes down to 0% within seconds of booting up Windows instead of minutes.

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Featured Build: Intel Core i7 8700K Custom Build PC, NVIDIA GTX 1070 Ti

8700k Custom Build PC

Our featured build this month is an Intel Core i7 8700K Custom Build PC, multi-tasking jack of all trades king of all trades.

This week we built a nice versatile and powerful spec that struck a chord with the community so we thought we’d share it. The customer Ed initially approached us over 2 months ago with a desire of an 8700K PC Custom Build for the purpose of experimenting with computers, overclocking and upgrading. At that point, the 8th gen Intel processors were not quite here yet so he decided to hold off until the 8th Gen desktop processors arrived. When they did arrive, they were in short supply so this delayed him somewhat also.

The customer aimed to purchase an 8700K custom build pc so he could learn how to overclock, and have the maximum amount of upgrade options available to him on the latest generation of Intel processors.

When the time was right, Ed got back in touch and he came to our premises to go through his desired specs. At an absolute credit to him, he had been conducting his own research on various products, technologies and performance differences between manufacturers and notified us that he wanted a motherboard we don’t stock:- the ASRock Z370 Taichi motherboard. ASRock is a popular brand and the Taichi motherboard has some interesting features such as tri-M.2 slots. Most boards have 2x M.2 sockets so that is quite impressive. We typically stock the big 3 brands for motherboards; Gigabyte, ASUS and MSI but we don’t currently stock ASRock motherboards. Nevertheless, aiming to fulfil the customer’s needs, we worked with the customer to design a PC spec that has everything except the board. We were able to source the motherboard from an interstate supplier and placed the special order in.

Once the board arrived, we got to work on the 8700K custom build PC.

Specifications of the 8700K Custom Build PC:

December 2017 Featured Build Quick Specs for the 8700K Custom Build PC

Corsair 570X RGB Crystal Series. 3x 120mm RGB LED Fan ASRock Z370 Taichi Motherboard     MZ-N5E120BW    Standard 3 Year Warranty

Products in this 8700K Custom Build PC
Intel 8th Gen Coffee Lake PC
Case Corsair 570X RGB Crystal Series. 3x 120mm RGB LED Fan, ATX Gaming Case, White Trim
Processor Intel Core i7-8700K 3.7Ghz No Fan Unlocked s1151 Coffee Lake 8th Generation
Motherboard ASRock Z370 Taichi LGA1151-CL DDR4 Motherboard
Memory Corsair Vengeance RGB 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3000MHz (White Heat spreader)
Graphics Gigabyte NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Gaming 8GB GDDR5
Boot Device Samsung 960 EVO 250GB V-NAND, M.2 (2280), NVMe, R/W(Max) 3,200MB/s/1500MB/s
Additional Storage
Crucial MX300 525GB 2.5″ SATA SSD 530/510MB/s
Power Supply Corsair 650W TXM 80+ Gold Semi-Modular 120mm FAN ATX PSU
Sound On-board 7.1 High Definition Audio
Network DUAL 10/100/1000 Gigabit LAN Ports (with Wi-Fi Included)
Cooling Corsair H60 120mm Liquid CPU Cooler
Operating System  Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit License with USB Flash Drive
Warranty  3 Year Standard Warranty

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Delivery of components for the 8700K Custom Build PCOverview of this Intel 8th Gen Coffee Lake 8700K Custom Build PC

The hardware, in a pile. As the ASRock Z370 Taichi motherboard had to be ordered in from interstate, we thought this may have held up the order for a few days. All credit to PLE Computers and Star Track Express, the motherboard arrived next day from Melbourne to Adelaide. Not bad at all.

The Gigabyte NVIDIA GTX 1070 Ti was a new card in November and they were selling fast. This was actually one of the last of the variations we had in stock. The price point of the 1070 Ti places this card at the top end of the cost vs. performance scale. The ’70 series of cards has always been good value but this offering pushes the performance up that bit extra. We had more expensive and faster-clocked versions of the 1070 Ti the week before but this one certainly was no slouch.

Corsair Crystal Series RGB 570X White Case

The Corsair Crystal Series RGB 570X case with white trim is a great looking case with its tempered glass panels on the front, sides and top, leaving only the rear without glass.

Building into it was easy. Apart from all sides are visible to everyone so we needed to be on it with the cable management! Thankfully Corsair provided a very handy cable management system on the board-side of the case in the form of a metal tray to hide everything. We managed to hide practically all cables in this track, completing the finish very well.

RGB controller included cases are typically a bit of a cable nightmare with all the wires for all the LED’s running around in there but the Corsair Crystal Series RGB 570X case was fairly light on cables to manage. There is no HDD LED cable or reset switch cable to the front of the case, only Power LED, USB3, HD Audio and then the RGB Controller cables. A synch compared to some. Corsair also included some Corsair branded velcro ties which were nice to have in there to help cure the spaghetti.

RGB Negative

Ed stated that despite the case and many components having RGB, he is not really a fan of LEDs. Too flashy, Christmas tree lighty. He asked if we could keep all of his LED’s to white to match the white case. Thankfully the Corsair Link software was very obliging of them, as we were able to set the case LEDs with the case buttons, whilst the Link software controlled the Corsair Vengeance RGB White DDR4 RAM Modules.

ASRock provided some motherboard utility software so we could set the motherboard ‘ASRock’ cog heat spreader to glow white also. And Finally, Gigabyte gave us the AORUS / Fusion software so we could make the ‘Gigabyte’ wording on the GPU set to white to boot. Unfortunately, this meant that we now had 3 bits of software on the system to control all LED options. Not ideal but we’ve had worse.

ASRock Z370 Taichi MotherboardASRock Z370 Taichi motherboard

The ASRock Z370 Taichi motherboard was a pleasant surprise. The board overall looked not quite as good as the marketing made it look but in terms of build quality, it was very good. Re-enforced PCI slots, dual Intel LAN sockets, Built-In AC-WiFi, Post LED’s, 7 channel surround sound, 8x SATA 6G ports and no less than 3x Ultra M.2 sockets. We inserted a Samsung 960 EVO 250GB M.2 V-NAND SSD module in the first socket and used it for the system’s operating system due to its impressive read/write speeds. 3,200MB/s Seq. Read and 1,500MB/s Seq. Write and it’s price point of around $229 RRP, It’s simply the best money can buy for value. Samsung’s reliability is amongst the best also.

Intel Core i7 8700K

Intel’s newest CPU offering, the 8th Generation Intel Core i7 8700K is in hot demand also at the moment. We keep seeing small deliveries of stock coming in but immediately selling out again. For this 8700K custom build PC, we were lucky as although the order was placed on backorder for the CPU, the next shipment arrived the next day by coincidence. I believe at the time of writing this article the supply chain has now started to fully stock these CPUs ahead of Christmas which is good for any prospective customers wishing to buy before the big day.

ASRock Z370 Taichi Motherboard with Corsair Vengeance RGB Ram

Corsair Vengeance RGB 16GB DDR4 RAM

The Corsair Vengeance RGB 16GB DDR4 RAM came in white and it looks amazing. I’ve never really been a fan of the look of the Vengeance memory heat sinks, preferring the look of the G.Skill Trident when it comes to RGB but in white these look actually more fitting, especially when you consider you have a Corsair case, PSU, cooler and now Memory modules. I’m a fan of consistency and would buy all Corsair or other brand if I could to make it all super-standard.

As mentioned previously, the memory LEDs are controlled by the Corsair Link software and white was the order of the day. We also looked at the diagram of the system in the Link software and found that it did not have an image of the 570X case, so we took a photo of the inside of the actual build, quickly photoshopped out the surrounding background and placed it inside the software. Now the Link software shows the correct image of the PC it is controlling. It is the little touches that count!

In the system BIOS, we updated to the latest revision of firmware and then set the memory profile to XMP as per usual to unlock the full potential of the 3000MHz DDR4 RAM modules.

Gigabyte NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB

Gigabyte NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB box shot

The Gigabyte NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB graphics card is the card of the year in our books, combining performance without all the hype-filled price tag of the 1080 Ti we endured earlier in the year. It is late to the table and it cleverly captures the market of customers that couldn’t quite convince their partners to stretch to a 1080 / 1080 Ti but have saved up enough now to reach the 1070 Ti instead. This particular card model is closest to the reference card spec but it does have the widely respected Windforce fans and RGB fusion. It has 8GB of GDDR5 memory which covers all current gen games with ease and not only is VR Ready but it will also do VR very well.

This is the all-rounder of the NVIDIA line-up for sure. The motherboard is SLI-compatible so at any point, Ed can purchase another 1070 Ti and link the two.

Gigabyte NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB Opening the box

Corsair TX650M 650Watt Power Supply

The Corsair TX650M is a fairly mid-level power supply but it is a good quality, semi-modular offering. This is very important when you:

  • A: have a matching Corsair case, and
  • B: have all of its guts on display

You can cut down on the cable clutter. Over the years we’ve come to love the Corsair power supplies as they very rarely set houses on fire. Their price point is also reasonable so why not?

Corsair H60 cooler

And finally, we installed a Corsair H60 cooler in the system to keep all the temperatures in check. With a few bios tweaks to get the fan & pump running at the right speeds, we were able to get the system cool and quiet, just as intended. It should also allow Ed to tweak the overclock a little here and there without setting off any temp alarms. The case does provide options to ‘go large’ if he chooses to get into serious overclocking, however. This build is a good place to tinker and learn with plenty of upgrade options. Perfect for Ed’s needs.

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Featured Build December 2017 - 8700K Custom Build PC Completed build front
The finished build, front LED shot

Build Complete

The result then is an 8700K custom build PC that looks great and goes better – without completely breaking the bank. I would recommend this build for many applications. It checks all the boxes whether you are:

  • A budding enthusiast like Ed,
  • Gamer,
  • Streamer,
  • Productivity junkie
  • Home Bitcoin miner.
(With its Quad-SLI capable board, bitcoin mining is going to go pretty well with 4x 1070 Ti’s.)

A pleasure to build and a pleasure to place a Dream PC badge on it.

The total build cost of this 8700K custom build PC is around the $3,300 mark, built and ready to use.

For more information on this build or to build your dream pc similar to this 8700K custom build PC please reach out:

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Featured Build December 2017 - 8700K Custom Build PC Completed build inside

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Battlebox SLI Gaming System Vs. Dream PC’s Intel Overclock PC

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Dream PC Intel Overclock PC

(Fully Customisable)

$5078 Inc. GST

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Intel Core i7 7700K processor cooled by the Corsair Hydro Series H100i Liquid CPU Cooler, ASUS ROG Strix Z270F Gaming Motherboard, 2x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB in SLI, 32GB Corsair Vengeance LPX (Black) (4x8GB) DDR4, 3200MHz, Samsung 960 EVO NVMe M.2 500GB SSD, Seagate Barracuda 2TB hard drive, Thermaltake Versa N27 Black Window Mid Tower Gaming Case, Windows 10 and more.

System Specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 7700K Overclocked up to 4.8GHz
  • CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H100i 240mm Liquid CPU Cooler
  • Motherboard: ASUS ROG Strix Z270F Gaming Motherboard
  • Graphics: 2x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB in SLI
  • Memory: 32GB Corsair Vengeance LPX (Black) (4x8GB) DDR4, 3200MHz
  • Solid State Drive: Samsung 960 EVO NVMe M.2 500GB SSD
  • Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7200RPM 64MB Cache
  • Case: Thermaltake Versa N27 Black Window Mid Tower Gaming Case
  • Power Supply: Corsair HX1000i 1000W 80 Plus Platinum Power Supply
  • Additional Lighting: BitFenix 30CM Blue LED Strip 15x 5050 Top SMD 3.6w
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home

$5078 Inc. GST

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