Question Slow laptop - fix or replace?

Feb 8, 2019
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My wife has an HP Notebook - 15-da0034no (full specs: https://support.hp.com/us-en/product/hp-15-da0000-laptop-pc/20395828/model/23237669/document/c06078192) which she bought just less than a year ago.

For the last few months she's been having problems watching Netflix and sometimes YouTube. It'll stutter, lag, freeze, etc. every now and then. In Firefox, the video would freeze while the audio kept playing, then the video would jump ahead to sync back with the audio. Then she tried Chrome, in which both audio and video will freeze/lag together. The problem has been getting worse, to the point where she can barely watch anything any more.

When I use her laptop, I notice that doing anything on there is quite slow (opening programs, navigating the file system, etc.), at least compared to mine (which is a 7-year-old Dell running Linux). I've suggested she try using Linux on hers, but she likes/wants to keep Windows 10.

So I started researching new laptops for her (which is a bit silly since this one's not even 12 months old yet and still in its two-year warranty), but I really don't know what to look for in a new laptop since I'm not really sure what the issue is with her current one... I'd hate to get a new one only to have the same problem.

I also came across WhySoSlow (https://www.resplendence.com/whysoslow) and ran it on my wife's laptop. It said:
  • The CPU speed was measured at 798 MHz whereas its clock speed is 1497 MHz
  • CPU load/usage ranged between 95% - 100%
  • Memory load/usage was 78% - 82%
  • Highest application responsiveness was 2.7ms
  • Highest kernel responsiveness was 2.5ms
(Note that I ran the test while watching Netflix)

So I'd like to know:
  • Is this something that can be fixed under warranty?
  • Is it Windows 10 (or other software) causing the slowness?
  • Does she need a new laptop or can this one be fixed/made to run better?
I can provide more information as necessary.
Any advice would be much appreciated!
 

Rogue Leader

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That laptop has a low end dual core processor, that said it should still browse and play video fine.

Try Whysoslow with NOTHING running, just on a clean boot

Also, run task Manager (press ctrl-alt-del) and go to processes and sort by what is using your CPU. If you can provide screen shots of what you see on both that would help.
 
Feb 8, 2019
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So I rebooted, then closed the programs that run/open automatically, leaving just the firewall/antivirus (Comodo) running. I ran WhySoSlow and it said:
  • The CPU speed was measured at 1995 MHz
  • CPU load/usage ranged between 11% - 81%
  • Memory load/usage was 45% - 46%
  • Highest application responsiveness was 0.15ms
  • Highest kernel responsiveness was 0.15ms
  • Highest SM BIOS interrupt or other stall was 1126 microseconds
I then ran Task Manager and it shows CPU at around 4% with various processes moving up and down the list, but mainly Task Manager being at the top.
If I open Chrome or Firefox however, the CPU jumps to 100%.

Don't think there's much point showing a screenshot as everything's changing so much, but that's the average of what's showing...
 

Rogue Leader

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Ok that makes more sense. I hate to say it but i'm not surprised she has video problems, with a 1.1 ghz processor and the overhead of Windows. First thing I would do is lower the resolution on the videos (in youtube theres a little gear on the bottom).

If you're not running a virus scan you should, as well as adware, either with such a slow system can really drag performance. Download Malwarebytes antimalware and clean the system. See how that goes. Disable any extensions in chrome or firefox they may slow it down too. You could even wipe the system and reinstall Windows.
 
Feb 8, 2019
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Thanks. I suspected it was the processor, but good to have that more or less confirmed. It runs a virus scan everyday, no issues. I installed and ran a Malwarebytes scan, nothing there either.

Might offer to reinstall Windows for her, otherwise I guess it's time for a new computer.
In that case, any suggestions on what sort of processor I should be looking for (what's the recommended minimum for watching HD videos on Win10)?
 
Feb 8, 2019
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Laptop mainly used for browsing (Netflix/YouTube, shopping, emails, etc.), she could almost get away with just a browser ;-) Need doesn't come into it. She's just more comfortable with Windows and wants to stick with it (and fair enough - I'm a Linux guy, but I appreciate that everyone should use what they're most comfortable with).

I'd appreciate any advice re. processor in case we decide to go down that track in future.
 

Rogue Leader

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Ok I asked because TBH a Chromebook probably fits her needs 100%, is maintenance free, always fast because of low overheard, plays HD videos. I mean for $200 you could buy it and she can use it "forever". Most of those have Celeron processors, but like I said, very lightweight.

If she must use Windows, I wouldn't use anything less than a Pentium (example Pentium Gold 4415U), or AMD Athlon Mobile (Athlon 300U). I wouldn't go nuts because she doesn't need a lot, a Core i3 or a AMD Ryzen 3 would be an upgrade for her and likely last forever.
 
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