How to actually have a powerful computer

Have a new i7 and been disappointed? See the causes and what can be done to actually use all the processing power.

You decided to change your computer to a new model and acquired that new fifth generation i7 and paid a fable and suddenly you call and your expectation was a but .... did it take the same time as your old computer or did it slow down?

Okay, welcome to the new computing reality, where processors are so fast where almost no other equipment can keep up with their speed. As well?

Gone are the days when the processor was the bottleneck of all computer processing. Today we have several new factors that really are bottlenecks in the overall performance of your equipment.

Until Core 2 Quad times, with DDR2 technology, the technologies were aligned, however Intel managed to make a big leap in terms of processor performance with the new technologies that even AMD years ago in this matter.

We can measure the processing power of a CPU (Central Process Unit) using benchmark software, and there are some that share the data for each processor in a global ranking such as the site

A good processor has an overall score of 4000 points. This is equivalent to a Core 2 Quad Q9550 with 4 Gb of DDR2 RAM and a traditional 500 Gb SATA 2 hard drive (operating at 3 Gbps or 300MB / s [2 bytes for error correction, then 10 bytes for 1 kbyte]) .

In this configuration, there are bottlenecks, however the processor still naively starts to wait for devices, that is, there are no processing bottlenecks. In this configuration, the processor will hardly reach 100% usage (except with specific programs for this).

Realize that despite having 5th generation i7 processors today, that some of them reach 3x more power than a Core 2 Quad, most of the time you will not be able to notice the difference, because who is slowing down your machine is the processor by far.

A processor above this capacity, can wait much longer than you think, that is, if you want to use all processing resources, you need to identify the bottlenecks that really exist.

Identify bottlenecks

Before identifying the bottlenecks on your new computer, you need to know what your computer is for. If you need your computer to play games, you can start with the bus bottlenecks or if it is disk access to store and retrieve large amounts of data (several open applications or even speed up the use of the software) or RAM.

1. Computer slow, but CPU does not arrive nor is there 5% of use. What can it be?

Let's go to two situations:

You use your computer with several programs open but still don't consume all the RAM and have enough free space.

- In this case, the disk operation (I / O Input / Output) should probably be at 100% of activity. This is because your hard drive delivers a maximum of 70 to 80 MB / s.

- Another situation is that the programs are swapping a lot inside the RAM memory, and this is not noticeable. If there is a large amount of data being moved, you can see by the Windows resource monitor if there are many bytes read / written in these moments.

Your RAM memory can vary from 2 GB / s to up to 20 GB / s, the data transfer rate of memory and processor affect and a lot of machine performance, and choosing the right technology will make all the difference.

You use your computer for games and realize that games are slow, and that your old computer with your video card operates in much the same way.

- Yes, your video card will probably work well on your Core 2 Duo, almost like your new computer if you have a motherboard that is not working with the correct data bus.

Core 2 Duo processors, all access to PCI-e version 1.0 and 1.1 data are performed at speeds of up to 250MB / s per lane, and 500MB / s in the PCI-e 2.0 version.

Check if the video card is actually using the latest version and if the motherboard supports it, and if they are using all possible lanes for the connection. You can use this using the video card's control panel or if you lack information, programs like CPU-z can help you.

Like SATA, PCI-e version 1.0 to 2.0, they use 8b / 10b encoding (8 bits + 2 bits of error correction for each byte). So that is why the correlation to the transmission rate to the transferred data, but in fact, technically, 20% speed is lost.

If your video card supports PCI-e 3.0, you are losing a lot of data being transferred, and not all new motherboards support the new technology, because manufacturers expected a small change, and found that with a simple upgrade of BIOS could solve, however it was not so.

The new technology uses a very specific encoding: 128b / 130b (128 bits + 2 bits of error correction), so the data transmission correlation is over and a single PCI-e 3.0 lane that transfers 8 Gbps, now it actually succeeds deliver 985MB / s.

Double the PCI-e 2.0 specification practically, despite not being visually understood since the double of 5 would be 10, but before 20% of the band was spent with error correction, now only 1.54%.

A video card properly configured in PCI-e 3.0 à 16x must transfer: 15.760 MB / s or 15.7 GB / s. If you are in the PCI-e 2.0 configuration, only 8 GB / s, losing 7.7 GB / s in a bottleneck. A lot isn't it?

Tips for overall performance improvements on the latest processors:

1. Check that your motherboard does support PCI-e 3.0 and that your video card uses 16x. In many cases it is useless to add a second video card as both would work at 8x and only in specific cases could this junction be efficient (such as rendering videos or CUDA programming). A good graphics card for any situation from Nvidia has at least 1500 color cuda (See the GTX 660, has a good price and supports PCI-e 3.0).

2. Use SSD to increase your machine's disk I / O. This will actually make your computer faster because the less you wait for the HD, the more data you can process. Look for Extreme version discs to really feel a big difference in speed and discs starting at 128 GB of storage. Small discs are slower. A 64 Gb disk transfers an average of 250 GB / s, while 128 or 256 GB versions transfer 550 MB / s for reading and 510 MB / s for writing.

3. If you have money, you can invest in purchasing a motherboard with integrated RAID solution and use 2 SSD disks of the same size in RAID 0. Make sure to use SATA 3 (which transfers up to 6 Gbps or 600 MB / s of data per connection) and then can reach speeds of up to 1100 MB / s (each SSD is usually limited to a maximum of 550MB / s currently). Say goodbye to the mechanical hard drive that transfers a mere 80 MB / s.

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