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Jack_B
1 Copper

M4400 QX9300 poor performance, slow and occasionally unresponsive

Hello everyone,

I have an M4400 I bought through dell outlet about 6 months ago. The first thing I did when I got was to put win 7 64-bit on it. However, from day 1 the laptop just runs slow, it’s laggy, and hangs often while doing basic things, like opening a browser, word, etc. Occasionally I have to restart because it becomes completely unresponsive and takes forever to completely boot up. The CPU monitor typically reports 1% cpu utilization during these hangs and ram utilization is usually between 40-70% on 4gigs.

I am running Bios A19 and initially used all dell drivers. However, I have disabled most of the Dell software during bootup as it made the system even slower. Other steps that I have taken, reinstalled win7 64-bit, reinstalled win7 32-bit, used all dell drives, then windows drivers only.

 

My D820 work laptop with vista 32-bit feels more responsive than my m4400, is this an inherent issue with the m4400s or is there something else I can do? I called Dell and tried to explain the issue but they just didn’t get it. The laptop is fully usable but it just doesn’t have the performance it should for what it is and what I paid for it.

 

There are no unknown items under the device manager.

I have the OS set to maximum performance. However, tmonitor reports that the cpu is usually operating at around 1.59GHz.

 

Operational temps as reported by hwmonitor at idle:

CPU: 131-135F between cores  qx9300

GPU: 143F   fx1700

THM: 128F

 

Anyone else experiencing these kind of issues and/or have a solution.

 

 

Thanks

Jack

 

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5 Replies
8 Krypton

Re: M4400 QX9300 poor performance, slow and occasionally unresponsive

Get windows out of the equation by installing a free OS (no need to install it on the disk)

If it's responsive there, it's a windows problem only.

 

LaptopNomad
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Extreme Laptop travel in the Middle-East and Asia

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bstraylor
1 Nickel

RE: M4400 QX9300 poor performance, slow and occasionally unresponsive

Assuming you're using Win7 professional or better, but this should work with anything but Home Basic, go to control panel.  In the view selector in the upper right hand corner, select small or large icons (not categories).

In there somewhere is 'Power Options'.  Click on it..  If 'High Performance' is there, click on it.  It it's not, click on the 'Show additional plans' arrow on the right side of the screen.  'High performance' is one of the options that should appear.  Click on it.  At this point you should be able to close the window.

Nobody recommends using high power because it generates A LOT OF HEAT.  I use this plan and if anything intense is going on, the fan blows furiously.  Also, if you are using a 6 cell battery, the monitor software will warn that the battery is failing -- this can happen even if plugged in.  It may or may not be failing, but the 6 cell battery just doesn't put out enough current to keep the box running in high performance mode.  For my m4400, I had to buy a 9 cell battery.  They're not cheap, but they get the job done.  In high performance mode and actually doing work, plan on 30-45 minutes of useful life (that's not a typo).

You will need a power supply with more than 90W.  I use a 130W supply for my M4400s.  (I use a 240W supply for my M6400; it actually will not run on a 130 watt supply.)  Use of an inadequate power supply would also limit your performance.  If you are not sure what it is (and the print on the power supplies is REALLY SMALL), the bios screen will indicate it in the system summary, if I remember correctly.  The bios screen will also tell you what battery you're using, but you may need to dig for it a little.

Usually the 'balanced' option is pretty good if you are plugged in (with an adequate power supply), but on battery, the default mode is to lower processor clock rate rather than raising the fan speed, even with an adequate battery.  There is also an energy saving mode that, if you are not spending a lot of time on battery, is not suggested (by me).


Hope this helps.

barry@manassas

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Toronto cat
1 Nickel

RE: M4400 QX9300 poor performance, slow and occasionally unresponsive

im curious did you try to log on to dell and run their Dell PC Diagnostics ?

 

what were the results you got if you did ? did the diagnostics pickup any issues ?

 

my inspiron (i7 quad core) ran slow since I got it , but Im not as PC knowledgeable as you seem to be, so I didn't really clue in that it was the inspirons software and not me till way after its warranty expired.

was often suspicious about it though,  so I did run the Dell PC Diagnostics and it showed that all things were ok , that's why I thought it was me at fault for the longest time and not the laptop..

its too bad Dell cant invent a pc checkup thing that checks their computers software too before they send them out the door to be bought by dumb PC nuubes like  me... now im actually scared to buy another laptop,, , gonna try to get someone to switch my inspirons hard drive cause I don't wanna put another 1000 bucks down the drain on yet another laptop that ends up being a lemon..I should have kept my old Pentium 4 , it actually ran faster and didn't freeze up like my inspiron does..

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bstraylor
1 Nickel

RE: M4400 QX9300 poor performance, slow and occasionally unresponsive

No diagnostics.  I haven't had any performance issues at all, and I doubt that Dell's software is at the root of your problem.  The procedure I suggested deals with Microsoft system-related software only.

There are many issues that can affect performance.  My M6400, which is at least a generation back from your box, probably does not have the horsepower of the i7 proc you have.  I'd be curious to know the 'windows experience' ratings you're getting (run from the 'performance information and tools' control panel window).  The individual scores are interesting, the summary score is not (it's just the smallest of the numbers).

Another place to look is in the bios settings.  In there are minimum and maximum clock rates and how the box deals with them.  Windows overrides these with settings that can be controlled by 'advanced settings' in the control panel 'power options' window.  You never did say what performance level you were using (energy saving  / balanced / high performance), or what the wattage was on your power supply.

Over time the disk can become checkerboarded (fragmented).  You can de-frag the disk from the advanced section of the 'performance information and tools'  control panel window.  It can also be invoked from a couple of other places; there's a command line utility (not recommended) and the disk management section of the 'computer management' program, available from the 'administrative tools' control panel window.

I can guarantee that your laptop is at least capable of running circles around any Pentium 4 based system you may have, but it will require a little work and experimentation with the available tools, or a better power supply / battery, or a defragmented disk.  I have a micro-ATX Pentium 4 2.53GHz motherboard sitting in front of me that I'm thinking about taking to work as a curiosity.   It's too big for a paperweight and the wrong shape for a door stop, but I'd hate to just throw it in the trash.  I have a Pentium 2 or 4 laptop that's suitable for use to prop up a short leg on a table.

barry@manassas

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bstraylor
1 Nickel

RE: M4400 QX9300 poor performance, slow and occasionally unresponsive

Shoot!  I conflated your entries and came to the conclusion the original post was for an i7.  I'm running 2 M4400s with Q9100s and an M6400 with a QX9300.  No performance problems at all.  The rest of my previous post applies.  4GB may be a little too small for Win7/64.  The M4400 is capable of 8GB, but I'll tell you now that the DDR2 memory has become very expensive.

There's probably not much different between an Inspiron Box and a Latitude or Precision Workstation box.  If the Inspiron is running a quad core (or even dual core / dual thread) proc, it's a pretty fair bet that it will outperform the QX9300.

I buy the commercial grade stuff because it tends to take rough care a little better (and I like the Professional versions of Windows better than the Home versions).

barry@manassas

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