Dell Inspiron Duo Forum for discussion on the netbook/tablet hybrid by Dell, the Inspiron Duo.

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Beauhindman Beauhindman is offline
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Default Some comments about tweaks for the Duo - 11-06-2011, 10:29 PM

Hello all...

I am trying to post a link to my gaming column in which I write about the Duo and using it for MMO gaming, but until I hit 3 posts I cannot post links.

So, until then, here are some comments from someone in my comments section. He is talking about the "Speed up win 7 with 27 tweaks" list in the review area of this forum. Here are his comments: (sorry for the wall of text)

Posted: Nov 6th 2011 2:45PM
TheNetAvenger said

@Beau Hindman

With regard to the entire list, I started to address the issues on the site you linked directly, but just the few items I mentioned became a bit exhastive to correct.

My personal advice, the list is flawed, and misses some of the more important tips that will have an impact on performance.

Here is the short answer, ignore that list, and run from it...

However, I put together a short answer version below, but it is still al long read, so refer to the line above, and DON'T use any of the tips from the linked 26 ways to Speed up Windows 7:

1) Disable Aero - No
It actually hurts performance 99.9999% of the time, more than offseting any gains in overall use.

2) Disabling the Search Indexing - No
Again, this hurts performance, as features in the OS and applications use the Search Index with SQL like syntax, so they don't have to dig through the folders and documents. On this Core2 Duo laptop, with 1.4 million items indexed, the indexers has consume 3.5 minutes of CPU time over the course of 11 days. (It is a bad suggestion, even if it didn't slow down things, just based on the functionality the user loses.)

3) Change the Power Plan To Maximum - Blah
This effectively does nothing except consumes more power, and depending on the laptop/computer will run your GPU and CPU hotter. Balanced scales up to Maximum performance, with the only exception is on a laptop running on battery, some GPUs use a 'reduced' speed setting. (So it would be better to just tell people to modify the Balanced power settings to keep the GPU at Maximum performance even when on battery.)

4) How to Increase Virtual Memory - No
This is a big NO with Vista and Windows 7. They have memory prioritization, and no longer dump 'assumed' old RAM in use to the pagefile. The OS will manage this, and increase it if needed.
(It is even a bigger NO when you see how the author calculates what to allocate, and also 'limits' the maximum. The math is wrong, and a 4GB limit is too small for a user that may open a multi-GB video to edit.)

5) Disabling the Unwanted Visual Effects - No
There are optoins in here that will help, but NOT the ones the articles lists, nor for the reasons listed, and even the technical terminology is incorrect. (Turn off the three that start with the word 'Fade' - it will make things appear faster and feel snappier.)
*Turning some of the others off can cause problems, and reduce performance.

6) Disks Defragmentation - No
Windows 7 reduces fragmentation on HD writes already, but it also will notice if a document/application file is severly fragmented when it is opened/loaded, and when the system is idle, use VSC and defrag it seamlessly. On top of this, every Wednesday, a full Defrag is scheduled at night. The chance a user would ever open the Defrag tool and see anything but 0% fragmentation is rare.

7) Sync Centre Synchronization - No
This is talking about Offline Files, which unless you are using Pro/Ultimate/Enterprise you don't have. The other types of shares like WMPNetwork can reduce performance, and can be turned off. In WMP or Advanced Sharing, turn off media streaming. (This won't make much difference, as it only really runs when new content is added to the computer, and again, you lose the ability to access your media from other computers/XBox/DLNA devices, et.c)

8) Disable the Windows 7 Sidebar - Maybe, probably No
Windows 7 doesn't enable Gadgets/Sidebar by default like Vista did. So if you turned it on, you can turn it off. However, it might be eating 10-30mb of RAM at the most depending on your Gadgets, and this will compact down as RAM is needed.

9) Unwanted System Sounds - No
The sound stack was rewritten in Vista. Windows 7 has the lowest sound latency and distortion rates of ANY audio subystem in an OS. (Besting OS X drastically when up or down sampling, which is why audiophiles that understand digital conversion won't use Macs.) Windows 7 mixes the audio into a predefined stream quality.So if you have 1 or 20 sounds playing at the same time, it isn't take any more computing, as it is already allocating the resampling stream for just one sound.

10) Disable the User account control (UAC) - NO!!!
Ok, this is now just getting insane, there is no performance gain in turning this off, and since it is just the password broker for NTFS security, it isn't doing anything. The only suggestion is to turn down the UAC setting one notch, so it doesn't gray out the screen, when presenting a prompt.

11) Turn OFF Windows 7 Password Protection - No
Stop turning off your computer, and use Hiberante instead. In Power Settings, turn off 'Ask for password' on resume. (Having no password prevents Windows from storing credentials and other key features used onlinie and for encryption, etc.)

12) Remove IPv6 - No
This has no bearing on performance, as the Network Stack in Windows 7 was rewritten, so it inherently uses and understand IPv6 - it has no performance affect.

13) Turn OFF Windows 7 Screen Saver and Wallpaper - No
The Screensaver doesn't matter unless you are running some weird 3D screensaver. The Wallpaper consumes 4MB of RAM if you have Aero disabled. With Aero enabled, it only uses about 250KB of RAM.

14) Disable the Thumbnail Preview - Maybe
Again if Aero is disabled (like I say not to do), pulling thumbnails are CPU bound and can slow down Explorer a lot. However, either way, once the thumbnail is acquired, it is cached, so it is only the first time you open a folder of pictures/videos that you take this hit. Also for gaming, this has no relevance.

15) Turn off Unused Windows 7 Features - No
Windows NT is NOT Linux or OS X. It can dynamically load kernel level services as needed. So the only thing you gain by removing features is a few MB of HD space. This is why Windows 7 Enterprise or Ultimate is the same speed as Windows 7 Home Premium, and they have a lot more fatures enabled and available. Comments like this are from people that are still stuck in *nix kernel models like Linux that MUST load kernel level services 'just in case' an Application may need the feature. Windows NT doesn't and never has worked like this. So if you aren't running something, it is using 0 RAM and 0 CPU.
*However, 'bloatware' 3rd party software, should be removed, as they often have their own goofy schedulers and other processes loaded and running all the time. Again, they are coding like it is Linux or OS X, which is a bit crazy as most of them were Windows developers frist, and should know better.

16) Disable Unwanted Start Up Items - Yes

17) Disable the Aero Peek and Aero Snap - No
Why even? Unless they annoy you, they gain nothing in turning them off.

18) SetUp the Windows 7 Ready Boost Service - Maybe
With newer HDs, this often won't help much. The reason it works is the Flash/USB Drive offers concurrency, so it can be providing information while the HD is also providing information, and on Random seeks Flash can be significantly faster.

19) Disabling the Unwanted Services - No
In Vista this was a good tip, in Windows 7, not so much, as even the 'enabled' services suspend themsevles for you.

20) Remove RDC to improve Network - No
This only helps if you are using an really old NIC running on Vista. There were issues with Vista and NIC drivers that made this slower. However, in Windows 7, this issue doesn't truly happen, unless someone is silly enough to load the old NIC drivers that had this problem.
*Turning this off can reduce performance, as Windows 7 copying a Movie over the network that you edited a couple of frames, only has to send the couple of frames that changed instead of a 2GB file for example.

21) Virus check with Microsoft Security Essential - YES!
Finally a Yes... However, a tip for power users, is to adjust real-time monitoring, so it only checks incoming Files, and odd behavior, turn off All file activity and Network inspection.

22) Most Essential Softwares To Speed - NO!
All of the programs listed are dangerous on Windows 7 and Vista as well. Registry cleaners have no way to understand if file locations have been virtualized, so it will see the Registry entry and not find the file in the place Windows 'pretends' it is, when it is really stored in C:\ProgramData or C:\Users\UserName\AppData
If you used one of these, do a System Restore to the point before you ran it to fix things, as they will at 'best' slow down Applications, and at worest break Applications and delete data.

23) Windows 7 Disk Clean up - Yes
It usually offers deleting the 'Thumbnail Cache' I mentioned above, uncheck this option. This is more about reclaiming HD space than actual peformance though, as it would take 50,000 files in a Temp folder to start to see a performance drop, and this number is unlikely.

24) Run Error-Checking on disks - No
NTFS is not as fragile as FAT/FAT32, and Windows 7 requires NTFS on the boot volume and HOPEFULLY everyone is using NTFS on all their other hard drives and volumes. If an error is 'possible' Windows 7 will let you know and schedule error checking on the next reboot.

25) Disable Windows Defender - See #21 - No
If you are using MSE, Defender is replaced/augmented with MSE, so you don't have to touch it or turn it off. If you are using Norton or McAfee, uninstall them and install MSE instead. (Norton and McAfee can mess with applications and hardware working properly, let alone they are a major drain on system performance.

26) Compatibility of drivers and programs - Yes
But Windows 7 already warns you if you try to do this. The better tip is to check monthly for Video driver updates from NVidia and AMD/ATI, as newer drivers from them for your Video card. (They are also released through Windows Update, but not as often and may be lacking features that you get from NVida or ATI/AMD"

Anyway, curious what you thought about his thoughts. Seems to check out, and I have re-tweaked and still get the same 0% idle and high 600s for ram when idle. But, I have more available ram.

Thoughts? I will post links to my column after a few posts.


---------- Post added at 09:50 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:47 PM ----------

Anyway, here is a quick review of the Duo, also so I can get to three posts to link to my video and article:

I love the feel of it, and besides being weighty, it is perfect for holding on my lap in bed or leaning over on a breakfast bar. The screen does have its issues with darks, but otherwise is fine. I have great performance after removing bloatware, and am thinking of switching to an SSD eventually. lol Not so soon. The battery life isn't great, but it would be very rare for me to be away from a plug in for more than a few hours! I go to conventions and stuff for games, and they are everywhere!

I am questioning getting the dock, though. Is it worth it? I think it would great to have on my bedstand to plug in at night. Right now I am just laying it there and plugging it into a cord.


---------- Post added at 10:24 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:50 PM ----------

OK, sorry don't mean to spam, but I wanted this all in one post. lol This is my third post and so the next one will allow me to post links to my article. Feel free to suggest any other MMOs that you feel might be good for the Duo!


---------- Post added at 10:29 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:24 PM ----------

Here is my article (and column) called MMObility. This particular one showed off 10 MMOs that work great with the Duo and touchscreen. Might be interesting for some of you who might be looking for some great games for it.

MMObility: Ten terrific titles for this nifty new netbook | Massively

And here is a short clip showing how mine starts up and looks while playing a couple MMOs: (these are real MMOs, with real time interactions with potentially thousands of people. My job is to show people small, indie or lo-tech MMOs...they're not ALL WoW! lol)

Beau Hindman

Twitter: @Beau_Hindman
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lord_simon3 lord_simon3 is offline
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Default 11-08-2011, 08:18 PM

You're right, most of those tweaks are garbage and I hope people listen. The best way to speed your new Duo up is to do a clean install of Window 7. If you are not comfortable with that then clean the bloatware off the best you can.

Regarding the dock. Don't bother unless you can see a specific need for it. I didn't realize I got it until I opened the box. I bought one off the Dell Outlet labeled as new for some reason and was only $20 more than the refurbished ones. I got it for $350 after tax when they had a 25% off coupon. When I opened the box it was indeed brand new and came with the dock. I have not used the dock other than to install the drivers after my clean install of Windows. Perhaps if someone wanted to use it as a giant alarm clock or maybe put it in the kitchen for use with cooking. Admittedly the sound is decent and allows easy access for using the touchscreen when sitting at a desk.

Nice article and perfect timing too. I'm a regular Massively reader and just bought my Duo about the same time as you. There are a number of non-MMO games I plan on trying like Diablo 2 and the original NWN and other older RPG's of that style.
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