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Re: [OM] OT: Old PC, New PC

Subject: Re: [OM] OT: Old PC, New PC
From: Wayne Shumaker <om3ti@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 04 Nov 2022 08:47:12 -0700
At 11/3/2022 11:25 PM, Peter wrote:

>OT but relevant:
>My faithful, almost 10 year-old Dell Optiplex 980 is doing two odd things. I 
>do plan to replace it after Christmas, when (if?) unload-the-inventory sales 
>kick in. But in the meantime:
>1. Whenever the power goes out, I have to crawl under my desk, pull the CMOS 
>battery, and put it back. I can't just hit F2 and fix the configuration 
>because the internal error checks kick in before "Press F2 for setup" happens. 
>They display lights on the PC front that Dell does not document meaningfully. 
>Once CMOS is reset, I find that the date and time are forgotten, and more 
>important, the disk configuration forgets that it is a non-RAID AHCI SSD disk. 
>Once I set those two things straight, all's well. No, it's not the battery, 
>which reads slightly over 3v on my multimeter. And I've replaced the battery 
>twice, with the same results.  Everything else in the BIOS is as I set it 
>2. I cloned the original disk to an SSD a couple of years ago. Since then, the 
>PC runs significantly faster in general. But every so often, there is a long 
>hesitation when loading a program, or when switching from one program to 
>Gruesome details: Win10 professional (which was upgraded from Win7, so the 
>registry has all old installation remnants on it).  8 GB RAM, 433 GB Crucial 
>SSD system drive with 268 GB free, 1.81 TB conventional HDD data drive with 
>1.23 TB free. The latter has all my photos on it. The motherboard doesn't have 
>a fast/broad enough path to take full advantage of the SSD, but it still 
>helps. The SSD is trimmed and the HDD data drive is defragged weekly. I back 
>up my data to both an external SSD and a conventional drive regularly.
>1. Anything simple I could do to improve things?
>2. Recommendations for a new PC?  I've not kept up with hardware in the last 
>few years.
>I wouldn't mind something smaller than an under-the-desk tower. I do want 16 
>GB RAM. I don't need a "screamer" gamer's PC, but low end is too low for me. 
>Aside from the usual Web surfing, writing and email, I do three things with 
>the PC:
>* Photo editing, up to 24 GB Raw files.
>* Music composition. Editing is not hugely resource intensive. Playback is 
>comparable to photo editing. I don't do video except to occasionally trim the 
>"dead air" at the beginning and end of a video musical performance.
>* Amateur radio.  Mostly digital signal processing, which is sometimes heavy 
>on the processor, not really taxing the rest of the system much. And my log, 
>which is a SQL light database.
>Thanks for any input.

1) Most newer power supplies in PCs can ride short glitches in the power line, 
and hence also give it a smoother power off signal. I assume you are using a 
new CMOS battery? Older power supplies also start to fail and can have bad 
power off characteristics. If you can snag a cheap one it may solve the power 
glitch CMOS issue. First, though, if you can figure out the specific code, as 
Mike suggested, it might indicate some other issue. Perhaps a bad MB 
(capacitor) instead of bad supply. If bad MB, time to upgrade.

2) Win 10 and 8G is on the short side. Hence likely a swap file occurring. You 
have to limit how many programs are running at the same time. Are all 4 memory 
slots full? You might be able to bump it to 16G, either adding 2 4G sticks of 
the same speed or replacing all 4 2G sticks with 4G sticks. But not worth it if 
the MB is failing.

New PC. Minimum 32G memory these days. For fast speed a PCIE SSD 1G is also 
good. I have yet to try and clone a PCIE SSD though. And don't skimp too much 
on graphics card.



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