Impossible pc question

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the home pc is around 6 years old and only used for running photoshop, lightroom, Microsoft office and iTunes. With my wife now working from home it’s so slow that she’s threatening to throw it out of the window. To ensure she’s happy, and feeling less ‘stabby’ what sort of spec should I be looking at that can do what I need with more speed than a tortoise? As you can tell I know nothing about computers.....
 
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Steve France
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To get the inevitable discussions started I will make a stab at a sensible spec, just build this for myself. Intel i5 9400 on ASUS Prime B365M-A motherboard with 32Gb Corsair DDR4 and Western Digital Black M.2 SSD with heatsink (Windows + Software). In an Antec VSK2000 iTX case, Plus 500Gb SSD for working raw files and a 4Tb SATA disk for storage + 2 separate 2Tb external drives for backup. Decided on Windows 10 pro and dual ASUS VP247 23.6" Monitors. All in for less than £1000, built myself.
 
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the home pc is around 6 years old and only used for running photoshop, lightroom, Microsoft office and iTunes. With my wife now working from home it’s so slow that she’s threatening to throw it out of the window. To ensure she’s happy, and feeling less ‘stabby’ what sort of spec should I be looking at that can do what I need with more speed than a tortoise? As you can tell I know nothing about computers.....
What spec is the machine? Could a ssd, extra ram and a clean install improve it?
 
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sworks
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I’ve no idea, it was bought from pc World about 6 years ago for about £500. I’ll see if I can find it online, it‘S a Lenovo H30
 
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What spec is the machine? Could a ssd, extra ram and a clean install improve it?
Plus, with a 6 year old PC (at that age what is the OS, Win 7 or 10?) I surmise the C drive is quite full and perhaps the slowing of performance is shrinking space and the reduced/lack of page file space is mitigating factor.

So as @sep9001 asks ~ what is the OS, what is the drive capacity and how much free space does it report in the properties, is the same drive storing all your data or does the PC have more than one drive.........etc
 
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I’ve no idea, it was bought from pc World about 6 years ago for about £500. I’ll see if I can find it online, it‘S a Lenovo H30
The specs cover some variants of internals https://www.lenovo.com/gb/en/deskto...novo/h-series-/Lenovo-H30-Intel/p/993K93H0185
So you will need to examine using Windows Explorer to answer some of the questions about the HDD capacity and the amount of free space on it?

For the other info you need to find the "System Information" page in the OS?

PS if you are using Windows 8.1 as the specs infer you might be, here is a link https://www.eightforums.com/threads/system-information-view-about-your-windows-8-pc.32371/ to illustrate how to find the info about the amount of RAM etc
 
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Steve France
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To help with possible upgrades try downloading Belarc Advisor it scans your current PC and reports its spec and all the software (including licence details)

 
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Os is Windows 10, 4gb ram with 3.89 usable, C drive is showing 515gb free. We have three external hard drives attached to it so the pc is basically just software
 
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To help with possible upgrades try downloading Belarc Advisor it scans your current PC and reports its spec and all the software (including licence details)

I’ll try that thanks
 
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If you have the win 10 key, I would buy a 240gb ssd and reinstall win 10 and all your apps and see if improves the speed. Obviously if you have the cash to purchase a new one I am sure there will be better option out there.
 
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Also if you run sysinfo in the run dialogue box it will tell you the full spec of your machine. Is it i5, i7 or lower?
 
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Os is Windows 10, 4gb ram with 3.89 usable, C drive is showing 515gb free. We have three external hard drives attached to it so the pc is basically just software
4GB of RAM !

Talk about the bare minimum for the OS let alone under min requirements for PS and/or LR :(

Even less available for programs if your version of the PC is using the Intel onboard graphics....because that shares system RAM
 
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4GB of RAM !

Talk about the bare minimum for the OS let alone under min requirements for PS and/or LR :(

Even less available for programs if your version of the PC is using the Intel onboard graphics....because that shares system RAM
Yeah, we need a new one but don’t know what to look for as they are just numbers :)
 
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rip off4 GB of RAM totally useless and paying top money.

Forget about going to Curry's/PC world give Scan computers or CCL computers a call or if near go see them. Tell them your problem and what you would actually like to get from a computer let them advise you . They won't stitch you up but also build one for you as well and build to your budget
something like a

750w power unit which will handle any computer extras later on
SSD main drive with slots to add more drives to so you can expand withouit replacement
A decent graphics card point out it is for photographic work
16 GB Ram
at least 4xUSB3 ports as well as a few USB2 ports
at decent procesor
windows10 installed
possible CD/DVD drive
quiet fans for the case nothing worse than sitting beside noisy ones

Let them advise and work out the price they are very helpful, we bought components from Scan computers to build ourselves. You will get quality components and actually know what is installedso you can upgrade/expand later

You will get a far better deal believe me. they also do ready built but may not be exactly what your after

I have upgraded mine several times because I know what went into it. these companies will also be able to help as they built it and have
records

True story about my wifes Apple Mac

It was getting noisy and the componant was or would have ben easy to replace I could have done it. NO Sue (wife) insisted it went back to PC world where she got it from. Not only did they keep it for several weeks but worse not only had they lost the hard drive and shoved a crappy one in instead but they failed to fix the noise it went in for. So she lost everything that was on the original hard drive no end of complaints we made and never got the original drive back but totally ignored all complaints

Next issue was the touchpad was failing. This time I insisted on doing the work and got a replacement touchpad and fitted it for a fraction of what PC world wold have charged.

I would never ever ever get a computer from PC World the thought sends shivers down my spine
 
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According to the spec page I found, it seems depending on the exact model variant you have, that it can take up to 16GB of RAM

In general RAM is not a huge price and a quick fix may be to pull the ram in there and put the maximum (16GB) in to improve the PC performance enough to give you some breathing space and harmony in the home ;)
 
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OK, I'd look at something like these:


The second is cheaper because it doesn't have a separate graphics card, less swanky finish and fewer connectors etc (may also have better spec. components inside). Both have 256GB SSD system drive and 1TB data drives. If I bought either then I'd immediately add a second memory stick to boost up to 16GB.

FWIW I'm using a Dell XPS15 laptop that's 6 years old and still performs well (that was £1000 'refurb' through the Dell outlet - good value?).
 
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I've just realised that, of course, your present unit is a laptop. :rolleyes:

Cheapest suggestion £415 - powerful, will eventually need more RAM, budget build.

Bit more expensive £510: 17" screen, fast SSD drive for system, 1TB HDD for storage, budget plasticky build & will need mor eRAM as above.

Bit more expensive still £690: slightly older processor but 6 cores instead of 4, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM, separate graphics chip, decent IPS screen (so potentially OK for photo editing) and slightly better build quality.
 
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I've just realised that, of course, your present unit is a laptop. :rolleyes:

Cheapest suggestion £415 - powerful, will eventually need more RAM, budget build.

Bit more expensive £510: 17" screen, fast SSD drive for system, 1TB HDD for storage, budget plasticky build & will need mor eRAM as above.

Bit more expensive still £690: slightly older processor but 6 cores instead of 4, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM, separate graphics chip, decent IPS screen (so potentially OK for photo editing) and slightly better build quality.
A laptop????

The Lenovo H30, according to the website I linked to in post #6 says otherwise!
 
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A laptop????

The Lenovo H30, according to the website I linked to in post #6 says otherwise!
Thanks - I'm mixing this up with another thread. :p
Oddly, when I had a gander at the Crucial 'finder' I 'found' two H series models that were H30xx (cannot now recall the xx digits) but both were laptops!!!

I surmise the Belarc software will find the exact RAM configuration and allow a specific search of available (maybe even Crucial?) RAM so that @sworks can decide if this possible intermediate step is "worth" it???
 
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Ah! I have done some digging and the model variant is important because the motherboards appear to be one of two types, one uses laptop type SoDIMM and the other more normal desktop DIMM modules

I found this hardware maintenance manual that covers the variant differences ;)


Hopefully the full variant "number" will be on the label or plate somewhere on the back or internally???

The manual covers these versions:-
Machine Types: 90C2 [H30-00]; 90BJ [H30-05]; 90B8 [H30-50 ES]; 90B9 [H30-50 Non-ES]
 
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If you have the win 10 key, I would buy a 240gb ssd and reinstall win 10 and all your apps and see if improves the speed. Obviously if you have the cash to purchase a new one I am sure there will be better option out there.
Don't need the win10 key. Win 10 machines (once activated ) get a digital licence. Just reload it. Win 10 activation server checks the component list mac nos. are virtually the same and just re activates the digital license.
 
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What programs does your wife use for working from home?

You list Photoshop and Lightroom but does she use those or just VPN in and use the firm's Office 365 suite?

If it's the latter then unless she's a heavy duty Excel user pretty much any Win10 box will do. Treat her to a refurb Dell laptop so she can work in the garden when it's nice.

Something like this will be fine for nearly all Office type tasks https://www.refreshedbyus.com/dell-latitude-e7270-2-8-i7-laptop-a - use it indoors with your existing screen, keyboard and mouse.
 

4wd

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Life's too short to be trying to speed up what must have been a budget PC.
Get a tower only deal with at least 16GB RAM a good graphics card and at least 512gb SSD and secondary drive at least 2TB
Consider new monitor later unless you hate what you have..
For around £1500 you could have very nice system will keep you happy for 10 years or more.
 
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With your wife working from home, I presume online, is your broadband speed ok. Could there be a confusion between a slow PC and slow broadband?
 
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If you intend to use your old monitor with laptop or new tower check the new output is supported by your old monitor. Some new ones only have hdmi out. Your old monitor probably wont take hdmi. Adapters are available but another tenner on the budget.
 
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Seems odd that your wife’s work is causing very slow speeds. If she is required to work from home will her employer provide a pc or laptop? If your pc can cope with photoshop, MS Office should be easy. Have you checked your broadband? Try cleaning your pc of rubbish.
 
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Internet speed is good, My wife generally uses Microsoft office for work. She’s looking at iMacs at the moment
Microsoft Office for the Mac is a pile of steaming poo compared to the PC version, unless she's happy working with the web app versions through a browser.
 
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Seems odd that your wife’s work is causing very slow speeds. If she is required to work from home will her employer provide a pc or laptop? If your pc can cope with photoshop, MS Office should be easy. Have you checked your broadband? Try cleaning your pc of rubbish.
It’s just an old slow pc. She is awaiting a laptop from work but not sure when it will appear, lots of red tape and a large company so lots of staff to sort. Just seems a good time to update the home pc as it needs doing anyway. Even burning a cd from iTunes takes an eternity
 
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Internet speed is good, My wife generally uses Microsoft office for work. She’s looking at iMacs at the moment
Yeah - talk to the IT department before you do that. Although OSX *should* authenticate to Microsoft, lots of companies just don't allow it. If she can't get on to the VPN, it doesn't matter how good/bad the Apple version of Office 365 is (it's fine BTW unless you use Excel a lot - or need stuff like Teams)
 
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Microsoft Office for the Mac is a pile of steaming poo compared to the PC version, unless she's happy working with the web app versions through a browser.
I find even the web apps are pretty limited, particularly Excel. I'm a long time mac user and would recommend them to most people. But not if you are Microsoft Office user that needs a lot of the Office functionality.

You could create a VM or VNC into a Windows machine, but you may find your fan spinning all the time with a VM, or your speed limited by your internet connection if you use a VNC.

To speed up your current machine, run through the following:-
- first check what applications are loading on startup and remove as many as you can.
- Check your power settings, check you are not using a low power setting (this may only be applicable to laptops)
- Update the OS to the latest version
- Check what visual effect you may have enabled in the OS, such as transparency, shadows, animations etc. Disable as many as possible.
- Years ago you used to have registry check programs. Not sure if these are needed in modern OS's, but this may be an avenue worth checking.
- Check if you have multiple virus programs installed. These can really slow down machines. Windows Defender ,ay be all you need
- On that topic, run Windows Defender or whatever AV you have to check for malware.
- Defrag your hard disk.
- If your wife routinely sleeps or hibernates the computer, try a restart.

I'd consider a ram and SSD upgrade. You could do both for less than a £100 and they are quite easy to fit (make sure you are earthed!) Though if you have an itch a new machine, take a look at hotukdeals and be patient, good deals come up quite often
 
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People are now beginning to throw out of their windows the type of spec that you need.

You would need something like:
- 500GB - 1TB Hard Drive (you say you have 500GB free, so you already have that sorted). Some have said get an SSD. If it makes you feel better then do it, but l don't see any need for it. I'm guessing your computer will be always on, and so you're "already there" into your OS, without needing an SSD to get you in fast.
- 8GB RAM minimum seeing as you are running a creative production suite. Some say get the best, fastest RAM, well, l don't know, l don't think it really matters.
- THIS MATTERS MOST Processor / CPU? I would Google CPU benchmark scores but as a rule of thumb: Core i5 is better than Core i3. However, if you are running a creative production suite and your wife needs serious computing power too, l would wonder if you should go even higher, to a Core i7? Always check the benchmark scores.
- THIS MATTERS MOST Graphics card / GPU: you definitely need a good graphics card, as it could be slowing your PC down if it can't handle the graphics you task it with
- THIS MATTERS MOST Motherboard: you need one that is compatible with everything else on your PC (RAM, CPU, GPU)
- PSU: This is one of the most expensive elements. You need one that can power your setup but doesn't overheat so easy, so it starts to get pricey. Some reviewers will scare you off a brand by talking about sudden fires. It works to scare me away but with hindsights it's probably just F.U.D. but seriously do you want to risk it?
- Cooling: 3 cheap fans with good reputation on Amazon should do. They do for me. Water-cooled setups are for gamers and assorted maniacs.
- Monitor: if you're happy with what you got, then fine.

- Assembly: Do NOT do it yourself. You will go insane, and it will take you about 6 weeks to finish, including returning stuff to newegg. You may end up on forums like BeepingComputer and the irony will not be lost on you that your computer don't even beep. Something very wrong is wrong with your budding self build setup and nobody can help you. All you can think of doing is making yet more returns which generates a lot of bad karma in the end.


Personally, l would go for a ready made setup, e.g. a secondhand PC, so that you know it worked from day 1. Example: eBay --> "Desktop PC" --> specify max. price £200 --> specify RAM @ 8GB, 12GB and 16GB --> specify HDD @ 1TB --> then see what CPU you get for that price with those other specs included.
Then swap out 1 or 2 basic parts only, as per your needs (e.g. GPU, RAM, HDD). Make sure you know the whole deal about antistatic wristbands.

Alternatively, start with a bespoke PC manufacturer like Zoostorm and add your own GPU, RAM or HDD from another source.
 
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