Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop With 16GB RAM Launched in India: Price, Specifications

Acer on Monday launched its Nitro 5 gaming laptop with seventh-generation Intel core processors in India at a starting price of Rs. 75,990. The new Acer laptop is already available for purchase in the country from Flipkart as well as Acer Stores. The laptop has been built with the gaming in mind, it features a cooling system that helps keep the laptop’s temperature under control despite providing intense performance, the company said.

The Acer Nitro 5 sports a 15.6-inch full-HD (1920×1080 pixels) IPS display and is available with up to seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor coupled with 16GB of RAM. In terms of graphics, the laptop comes with either Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 or GeForce 1050Ti GPU with 4GB GDDR5 RAM. Users get up to 128GB SSD paired with 1TB HDD storage.

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop With 16GB RAM Launched in India: Price, SpecificationsThe Acer Dolby Audio Premium and Acer TrueHarmony features provide “incredible sound depth, wider bass, surround sound and crystal clear clarity to provide immersive experiences for gaming or watching movies,” the company said in its release.

Commenting on the Nitro 5 launch, Chandrahas Panigrahi, CMO and Consumer Business Head at the company said, “We are extremely excited to launch Acer Nitro 5 in India, the device is an unmatched combination of price and features. We thoroughly believe that every aspiring gamer deserves a great gaming device which lets them play advanced games while still be a great choice to do day-to-day tasks, hence, that’s where we thought to introduce Nitro 5 which is incredibly powerful with an unbeatable price.”

AMD Radeon RX Vega 56, RX Vega 64 GPUs, and Threadripper 1900X Announced

AMD has formally announced a return to the enthusiast-class gaming space with new graphics cards based on its next-generation Vega architecture. The new AMD Radeon RX Vega series takes on Nvidia’shigher-end GeForce GTX 10-series cards, targeting gamers who want 4K quality and variable refresh rates. The new cards will be positioned above the existing Radeon RX 500 series.

There are two primary models, the Radeon RX Vega 56 and Radeon RX Vega 64. As their names suggest, they have 56 or 64 of AMD’s next-gen Vega compute units, for a total of 4,096 or 3,584 execution blocks called “stream processors”. This makes these cards capable of delivering 10.5 Teraflops and 12.66 Teraflops of compute power respectively. Both GPUs have 8GB of HBM2 memory on a 2048-bit bus. Memory bandwidth is 410GBps for the Vega 56 and 483.8GBps for the Vega 64.

There is also a Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooled Edition which has an integrated closed-loop liquid cooler with a 120mm radiator, but is otherwise no different from its namesake. It can push out 13.7 Teraflops because of its clock speed can reach 1677MHz as opposed to 1546MHz for the is the regular Vega 64 and 1471MHz for the Vega 56. Its power consumption is also rated at a massive 345W, rather than 295W and 210W for the two air-cooled cards.

AMD’s own cards use blower-style coolers similar to the ones used on previous reference designs, but third-party manufacturers will be launching their own cards with the same GPUs. Reference cards will have three DisplayPorts and one HDMI output, plus hardware switches to control the colour of the LED accents.

The Vega 56 is priced at $399 (approximately Rs. 25,625) while the standard Vega 64 costs $499 (approximately Rs. 32,045) and its liquid-cooled counterpart costs $699 (approximately Rs. 44,890). They will all go on sale in the US on August 14. Pricing and availability in India are not yet known. The company also teased a small-form-factor Radeon RX Vega Nano card, though no information about its specifications or capabilities is yet known, as well as Project 47, a server product that packs 1 Petaflop of processing power in a single rack.

AMD Radeon RX Vega 56, RX Vega 64 GPUs, and Threadripper 1900X AnnouncedBecause of the likelihood that these cards will be snapped up by cryptocurrency miners just like the Radeon RX 500 series, prices could be driven up and gamers could end up frustrated. AMD is trying to even the playing field by selling a number of each card as part of what it is calling “Radeon Packs”, at least in the US. These cost $100 extra but give users a $200 discount on Samsung’s CF791 34-inch Freesync-enabled curved monitor, a $100 discount on a Ryzen 7 CPU and motherboard bundle, and coupons for Wolfenstein II and Prey, adding up to another $120. AMD hopes that the extra cost will dissuade miners and be helpful to gamers building a new PC.

AMD also confirmed the existence of a third member of its upcoming Ryzen Threadripper enthusiast CPU lineup. The Ryzen Threadripper 1900X will have 8 cores and 16 threads, joining the 12-core and 16-core Threadripper 1920X and 1950X. It has a base clock speed of 3.8GHz, a boost clock of 4.0GHz and an XFR limit of 4.2GHz. It will have a $549 price tag and use the same X399 platform as its bigger siblings, which sets it apart from the octa-core Ryzen 7 family because it will be able to work with the full complement of 64 PCIe lanes, and has a 180W thermal ceiling for overclocking.

This appears to be a response to Intel’s Core-X family, which includes mainstream Kaby Lake-X CPUs with fewer cores and PCIe lanes. The Ryzen Threadripper 1950X and 1920X will be on store shelves in the US on August 10, while the 1900X will launch on August 31.

Windows 10 Gets ‘Eye Control’ Feature, Command Prompt Console Gets Colour Overhaul

To empower physically-challenged people to operate an on-screen mouse and keyboard, Microsoft has announced beta version of ‘Eye Control’ feature for Windows 10 that lets users control much of the interface with just eye movements. The ‘Eye Control’ feature is now rolling out in the Windows Insider Preview Build 16257 for PC. Separately, Microsoft is also revamping its Microsoft Console aka command prompt with more colours for the first time in more than 20 years.

Microsoft has mentioned in its blog post that the Eye Control feature requires a compatible eye tracker, like the Tobii Eye Tracker 4C. When users turn on Eye Control, a launchpad appears that allows then reads eye movements and gives access to mouse, keyboard, and text-to-speech tool. Users will also be able to reposition the UI to the opposite side of the screen.” There is also an Eye Control interaction model to interact with the Windows UI, where looking at the UI will activate it along with voice guidance. Eye Control only works with the US English language keyboard support initially, with plans to add more keyboard layouts later.

6dcf1a3b362142bb9ecd1c414f474259 Eye Control
Users can control the mouse by simply selecting the mouse from the launchpad, position their eyes on the screen where they want the cursor to be placed. Users can select the keyboard from the launchpad and ‘dwell’ on the characters they want to type. However, the new tool faces challenges in direct sunlight and, therefore, the company said the device might require new calibration when moving to a location with different lighting conditions. Also, the launchpad partially blocks the Tobii UI during device calibration, which can worked around by turning the Eye Control off and turning it back again after calibration is done. The Eye Control feature currently supports only with selected eye trackers of Tobii hardware, however Microsoft plans to bring more devices in future.

Moving to the Microsoft Console aka command prompt that has now been overhauled to include a new colour scheme for the first time in more than 20 years. The same Windows 10 Insider Preview Build (v16257) now brings support for additional default colours on the command prompt, giving users a dramatic change to Windows Console’s legacy blue to improve its legibility. “The default colour values have been changed to improve legibility of darker colours on modern screens, and to give the Console a more modern look & feel,” notes the blog.

Windows 10 testers will only be able to see new colours as the default Console scheme only if they clean-install the build 16257. However, upgrading Windows to this new build will brings new colours but without the new defaults. Microsoft will also be soon releasing a tool that will help testers apply this new colour scheme and a selection of alternative colour schemes to the Windows Console.

HP DeskJet Ink Advantage 3700 ‘World’s Smallest All-in-One Printer’ Launched at Rs. 7,176

HP DeskJet Ink Advantage 3700 'World's Smallest All-in-One Printer' Launched at Rs. 7,176
Company says printer is half the size of other printers in this range
Printer is optimised to be used with social media platforms
Available in colours Electric Blue, Sea Grass Green, and Cardinal Red
HP on Monday launched its DeskJet Ink Advantage 3700 all-in-one inkjet printer in India, which company claims is the smallest of its kind. The printer can be controlled by using a mobile application and has been priced at Rs. 7,176.

The company claims that the DeskJet Ink Advantage 3700 is half the size of other inkjet all-in-one printers in its class. Apart from its compact factor, the printer is also said to be optimised for use with social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, with the company’s HP Social Media Snapshots application.

Users can print and share pictures from Facebook, Flickr, or even their smartphone’s camera roll with the mobile application. The DeskJet Ink Advantage 3700 printer is available in Electric Blue, Sea Grass Green, and Cardinal Red colours.

The HP All-in-One Printer Remote mobile application for the printer is available for Android, iOS, and Windows devices. It allows users features like scanning, printing, and copying wirelessly from their smartphones or tablets.
“The needs of today’s consumers are fast evolving, they crave for tiny, wireless devices that fit into their lifestyle and enable them to stay connected, social and productive wherever they may be. HP’s new DeskJet Ink Advantage printers are designed inside out to turn the traditional consumer printing experience on its head with its innovative, fun design and intuitive mobile connectivity from virtually any device or social network,” company’s Printing Systems Director Parikshet Singh Tomar was quoted as saying in the release.

The company seems to be targeting a wide range of age groups with the printers as it says that the compactness and aesthetics of the printers have been designed to match the needs of the millennials, students, and parents.

EaseUS Todo Backup will easily Backup your Windows server

There is often a huge problem in storing your data on the server for backup. You often face various problems in restoring the data and information. These problems are solved with the use of EaseUSTodo Backup Server. It has cloud backup storage facilities, which aids in easy data backup in the Google drive, dropbox and other server storage facilities. Storing your information in the server is no more that problematic. It has got simpler and convenient. With the use of this facility, you can have time saving and reliable storage format.aaaaa

Reasons for being exclusive

There are many features, which makes the user comfortable in using this new product. It is the server backup software, which comes with excellent features. It helps in efficient storage facilities. Some of the features, which make it so special, are:

  • It has cost effective solution for full protection your window servers, which ensures easy data recovery facilities after the loss in any disasters.
  • It has complete system protection, which allows you to backup and restore the whole operating system.
  • It has file level backup facilities, which allows you to selective backup folders and files.
  • The disk imaging facility helps in the backup of theentire disk system. This ensures your entire storage facility.
  • The HDD clonefacility helps in converting the files conveniently.
  • Flexible backup storage is done with schedule backup facility. It has asystematic way of storing your data.
  • Another facility which it comes with is that it has can function without interrupting your current application.

Adieu to problems

Various features such as these make it an exclusive product for using. Another interesting fact is that it which supports windows 10. Windows 10 backupis easier with the use of EaseUS. The storage problem is no more a problem now. It is very easy and affordable process of storing your data. Those days of trouble are over. Storing your files for backup is very easy and user-friendly. You can store a large amount of data through this process. There is nofear of losing your files, data, and information. You can restore your files at any time after any major loss. Storing your files on the server often gives you trouble. But with this latest version the storing facilities have got modified and convenient. You do not have to worry anymore. Storing data is a child’s play now.

 

1980s computer controls GRPS heat and AC

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A 30-year-old computer that has run day and night for decades is what controls the heat and air conditioning at 19 Grand Rapids Public Schools.

The Commodore Amiga was new to GRPS in the early 1980s and it has been working tirelessly ever since. GRPS Maintenance Supervisor Tim Hopkins said that the computer was purchased with money from an energy bond in the 1980s. It replaced a computer that was “about the size of a refrigerator.”

The computer is responsible for turning the heat and the air conditioners on and off for 19 school buildings.

“The system controls the start/stop of boilers, the start/stop of fans, pumps, [it] monitors space temperatures, and so on,” Hopkins explained.

A Kentwood High School student programmed it when it was installed in the 1980s. Whenever the district has a problem with it, they go back to the original programmer who still lives in the area.

Parts for the computer are difficult to find, Hopkins said. It is on its second mouse and third monitor.

“It’s a very unique product. It operates on a 1200-bit modem,” said Hopkins. “How it runs, the software that it’s running, is unique to Commodore.”

Hopkins said the system runs on a radio frequency that sends a signal to school buildings, which reply within a matter of seconds with the status of each building. The only problem is that the computer operates on the same frequency as some of the walkie-talkies used by the maintenance department.

“Because they share the same frequency as our maintenance communications radios and operations maintenance radios — it depends on what we’re doing — yes, they do interfere,” Hopkins said.

If that happens, “we have to clear the radio and get everyone off of it for up to 15 minutes.”

If the computer stopped working tomorrow, a staff person would have to turn each building’s climate control systems on and off by hand.

A new, more current system would cost between $1.5 and 2 million. If voters pass a $175 million bond proposal in November, the computer is on the list of things to be replaced.

It wasn’t replaced with money from the 2011 Warm Safe and Dry bond because it just didn’t rise to the top of the list.

“There’s a lot of projects, a lot of needs in the district, so there’s other priorities we have to put in place ahead of this,” Hopkins said. “This system is still running.”

Bringing Stocking Elementary out of moth balls, replacing boilers and roofs, and removing asbestos were just some of the projects GRPS put on the Warm, Safe and Dry list before the Commodore computer.

More about GRPS’s bond proposal via YouTube:

Nintendo 64s and Vintage PlayStations as Home Décor

In Noah Baumbach’s recent movie, “While We’re Young,” Josh and Cornelia, aging Generation X Brooklynites (played by Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts) who are desperately trying to reclaim their youth, are struck by what passes for home décor in the Bushwick loft of their new, painfully on-trend young friends Jamie and Darby (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried).

Along with the familiar hipster household clichés (the electric typewriter, the wall of vinyl records), the young couple proudly displays a Reagan-era library of movies on VHS tapes, along with a shelf of music cassettes.

“It’s like their apartment is full of everything we once threw out,” Cornelia says with an air of wonder.

The tech detritus of the 1980s and ’90s is finding a second life as a new generation of artists, designers and geek-nostalgists is repurposing the early-digital-era flotsam of its youth as art, home décor and jewelry, along with plenty of irony-laced kitsch.

Think of it as the next evolution of retro-chic style. Self-conscious analog style may have owned the last decade, at least among tastemakers in shuttle-loomed denim with their vintage phonograph players, typewriters and mechanical watches.

Photo

A desk lamp assembled from an obsolete Sony PlayStation by Jeff Farber.

But as the children weaned on Nintendo and Napster mature to the point that they suffer occasional fits of cultural nostalgia, the disposable plastic junk of their youth may finally be ready to have its due.

“We’re just to the point where we can look back at the VHS tape and realize how cool it was,” said Erika Iris Simmons, a 31-year-old Chicago artist who works under the name Iri5, fashioning portraits of luminaries like Jimi Hendrix and Marilyn Monroe not with a brush, but with swirls of tape from old audio and VHS cassettes.

To Ms. Simmons, cassette tape recalls a more physical, tactile association that children of the ’80s and ’90s once had with their gadgets; she remembers knowing how to blow into her Nintendo game cartridge just so, to get it working when it would not load. “We all have that shared experience of interacting with the technology that you don’t get to know with MP3s,” she said.

In a similar vein, Chris McCullough, 40, a Los Angeles architectural designer who creates art for his spaces, renders portraits of cultural icons like James Brown using audiocassettes like mosaic tiles. Not only are discarded cassettes inexpensive and abundant, he said, but they resonate with audiences his age.

“Cassettes represented the first popular portable music medium you could share and personalize yourself,” Mr. McCullough said, before services like Spotify made music “ever disposable.”

(While cassette tapes are technically analog, they reached their cultural zenith in the early digital era of the ’80s, just as PCs were entering the mainstream.)

Old Nintendo peripherals themselves can also function as art, or at least eye-catching home décor. Jeff Farber of Oshkosh, Wis., sells pop-art-style desk and floor lamps fashioned from vintage PlayStations and Nintendo 64s and the like on his Etsy shop Woody6Switch, which are intended to celebrate an era when gadgets, even cheap plastic ones, had a certain staying power.

“When I was a kid, technology advanced much more slowly than it does today,” Mr. Farber, 36, said. “Like a beloved pet, you took care of it and it gave you joy and entertainment for many, many years.”

By contrast, he added, “today’s technology advances and upgrades are so fast that a device you buy today can become virtually obsolete in a matter of months, so there is no real time to fall in love with it the way you could in those golden years of video game infancy.”

Photo

The artist Erika Iris Simmons, who creates portraits using audiocassette tape. Credit Emily Berl for The New York Times

There is certainly no shortage of the stuff. As the life cycle of the average electronic gadget shrinks to a virtual eye blink, the mountains of electronic trash continue to rise, expected to surpass 70 million metric tons this year, from about 19 million in 1990, according to a 2014 report by Step, a United Nations-affiliated sustainability initiative. Except in unusual cases — like the story last month about a Bay Area woman dumping a rare Apple I computer from the 1970s worth $200,000, apparently by accident, at a recycling facility in Milpitas, Calif. — few look at that trash heap and see treasure.

But that has started to change. While some regard the so-called upcycling of old gadgets into picture frames or planters as an ecological gesture, others see it as a celebration of shared technological heritage.

Jake Harms, 31, who lives in Hildreth, Neb., started a business recycling old iMacs into aquariums and desk lamps in 2007 after a boss directed him to toss an outmoded iMac G3.

The candy-colored, egg-shaped desktop computer, introduced in 1998 as one of Steve Jobs’s first iconic pieces during Apple’s late-’90s comeback, seemed too lovely to toss, Mr. Harms reasoned. So after some online research, he decided to turn it into a computer fish tank (a longstanding hobby for some techies), and has since sold more than 1,000, he said.

To Mr. Harms, the iMac is functional art, like a classic car. And just as a 1960s Ford Mustang may not make an ideal daily drive but is great for a weekend cruises, “an old computer may not run current software, but make some modifications and it makes a pretty sweet aquarium or lamp,” he said.

Apple products created early in the reign of Jonathan Ive, the company’s design guru since 1996, are a natural for reuse as household objects since many were hailed as classics from the outset. For example, Lonnie Mimms, a Georgia real estate executive who owns a collection of vintage computers he values at more than $1 million, recently staged an Apple Pop Up Museum in a former CompUSA store near Atlanta.

Other die-hards have fashioned discarded eMacs into pet beds, G4 towers into mailboxes, G5 towers into outdoor benches and G4 Cube computers into tissue boxes.

The customer base for these upcycled products tends to be narrow and self-selective.

“They’re geeks, they’re nerds,” said Rob Connolly, a retired Floridian who, with his partner, Rita Balcom, makes intricate wall clocks and desk clocks out of old hard drives and motherboards. A few years ago, for example, their company, Tecoart, which sells on Etsy and Amazon, filled an order for 2,400 such pieces from Google, which passed them out as employee incentive awards, he said.

Photo

The artist Love Hulten and his arcade-game cabinet piece.

Not surprisingly, these techie hobbyists share their passion in online communities. One of the more popular forums is a D.I.Y. tech blog run by Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, a family company in Sunnyvale, Calif., that produces open-source hardware. The site features tutorials on making earrings out of linear regulator chips, wine charms from capacitors and a wooden footstool in the shape of a classic 555 integrated circuit chip from the ’70s.

“Most of us are deep in the maker communities,” said Lenore Edman, a founder, “so these items are symbols of both our history and our knowledge.”

Repurposed tech peripherals are also finding a higher-brow, arty audience.

Retro ironists who wish to express their tech nostalgia may consider the Pixelkabinett 42, a sleek handmade reinterpretation of the classic ’80s arcade game cabinet by the Swedish artist Love Hulten. The limited-edition console contains a vintage computer board and costs about $4,200.

“I want to push gaming into a new context, making the arcade cabinet an artistic equivalent to the painting on your wall,” Mr. Hulten, 31, said.

Video games from the “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” era can also be found at major museums. Starting July 10, the Brooklyn Museum will present Deluxx Fluxx Arcade, an electric Kool-Aid urban-art reinterpretation of a “Missile Command”-period video arcade by Faile, a Brooklyn-based art duo formed by Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller, and Bäst, another New York artist.

This latest iteration of the installation, which has also been shown in London and Miami, is part of a larger Faile show at the museum, and comprises 14 vintage game cabinets painted in collaged imagery and Day-Glo patterns, and reprogrammed with smirky, interactive games that satirize gentrification, pollution and parking in Brooklyn.

In the past, the artists have described the piece, which was shown at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2013, as a reflection of “the art world’s fixation on ideas of relational aesthetics and democratization.”

But there is an undeniable element of Gen X nostalgia at work, too.

“It celebrates and builds on the loss of these somewhat sacred spaces we found growing up going to arcades at the mall,” Mr. Miller, 39, said. “You could be a hero or a villain in these spaces and be transformed in the games before walking back out into the normal, and sometimes boring teenage, world.”

HP’s Sprout PC Adds Affordable 3D Scanning

HP's Sprout PC Adds Affordable 3D Scanning

The Sprout by HP, billed as “the world’s first immersive computer,” is delivering a breakthrough — 3D scanning capability to provide users a simple, quick and affordable way to create 3D content, according to HP.

According to HP, it’s the first integrated desktop 3D scanning solution to hit the consumer market. The secret sauce relies on Intel Relevant Products/Services Real Sense 3D cameras, HP’s proprietary 3D Capture Stage and 3D capture software Relevant Products/Services.

Manipulating the Image

Eric Monsef, a vice president at HP who works in the Highly Immersive Systems group, called Sprout, launched last year, the company’s “onramp” to its “blended reality” strategy. In other words, HP is using Sprout as the foundation for future immersive technologies as computing races toward a 3D future.

The 3D Capture solution lets users capture objects in 3D that they can then further modify, share, and print, Monsef said. The 3D Capture Stage accessory is essentially a turntable that acts as a platform for scanned objects. This turntable automatically tilts 15 degrees while turning to make sure every angle of the object is captured.

Practically speaking, here’s how it works: A user taps the appropriate buttons and the 3D Capture app aligns with Sprout’s technology to create a 3D digital model. The user can manipulate that model, rotating or resizing any object to see it from various viewpoints. HP is rolling out 3D Capture as a free upgrade to its current 3D Snapshot software that only captures a single side of the object.

A Huge Market

HP is tapping into opportunity. According to research firm MarketsandMarkets, the 3D scanning market will be worth $4.08 million by 2018. The firm said 3D Scanning is continually improving. There has been an accelerated growth in the adoption of 3D Scanning because conversion of point clouds to computer aided design data Relevant Products/Services is becoming easier, prices are lower and hardware and software used are more efficient, the company said.

Sprout users can do more than scan 3D objects. Users can also share them with others via e-mail and social media — and even allow them to manipulate the scans. Users can also print scanned 3D objects with connected 3D printers. HP is working with Dremel to provide an end-to-end, scan-to-print solution with the Dremel 3D Idea Builder printer.

You can purchase Sprout now from retailers and resellers in the U.S. The scanning software upgrade is free and will be part of the automated system software update starting in July. The 3D Capture Stage accessory will hit the market starting in July for $299.

Why is my Windows PC running out of memory?

Hands at a computer keyboard

I have a four-year-old Windows desktop that frequently runs really slowly with Task Manager showing that 80-90% of the physical memory is being used even when I’m not running any applications. Svchost.exe seems to be the culprit, and sometimes RapportService.exe *32. I did a software spring clean as your column suggested but it didn’t help.

My PC is an HP CQ5307UK desktop, with a 2.90GHz AMD Athlon II X3 435 processor and 3GB of memory running Microsoft Windows 7 and Norton Internet Security. I use Microsoft Office Pro and Mailwasher. Judith

Modern versions of Windows – the ones that followed Windows XP – are designed to use all your PC’s physical memory: that’s what it’s there for. Either way, 3GB of memory plus a 4GB swapfile (a hidden file called pagefile.sys) is more than enough for the software you’re running.

Windows could be running slowly because a program or device driver is leaking memory, because you don’t have enough disk space, because a rogue process is running your processor at close to 100%, because your PC is overheating, or because of a virus or other malware.

Since you’ve asked about memory use, I’ll concentrate on that. However, make sure you have at least 5GB of free hard disk space, in case Windows needs to expand its swapfile. Also, run a quick scan with the free Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) as a one-off check to make sure nothing has got past Norton.
Free memory

Windows Task Manager is not a reliable guide to how much memory is free. Happily, Windows 7 has Performance Monitor. You can find PerfMon by typing pe or perf into the run box at the bottom of the Start menu. After you run it, click “Resource monitor” to get the readout below.

An even better guide is Mark Russinovich’s free RAMMap, which you can download from the Windows Sysinternals section of Microsoft’s website. (Russinovich’s tools were so good that Microsoft bought the company.)

As mentioned, recent versions of Windows try to fill your PC’s memory: a program called SuperFetch looks for any free memory, and loads something into it. SuperFetch knows which programs you use, and silently preloads them. It’s much quicker to run things from memory than to fetch them from the hard drive.

This makes it hard to answer the question about how much “free” memory you have at any given time. However, PerfMon and RAMMap do give you a reasonable answer in the form of “Available memory”.
Resource Monitor
Photograph: Screen grab

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In the example shown here, I have about 2GB in use and more than 800MB available. This PC is running Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer as well as Microsoft Word, PerfMon, RAMMap and the Freecell card game.

Reboot your PC and see how much memory is available. Don’t run anything else for 15-30 minutes to see if that changes: you may have a “memory leak” (ie a program keeps taking more memory and not giving it back).

After that, load your programs one at a time to see how much memory each one takes, and whether your PC slows down. If a program creates the problem, uninstall it. If you can’t manage without it, re-install it and hope it behaves itself in future.
Memory by the page

PerfMon shows that Windows uses pages of memory in many different ways. The main ones are Active (ie running programs), Modified, Standby, and Free memory. RAMMap provides a fuller picture by including Zeroed memory, and by showing how much memory is used for different purposes.

Basically, most memory is free unless it’s in active use. If Windows needs more memory, it can instantly use Zeroed pages: these are blank. After that it can instantly use Standby pages, which may have been loaded by SuperFetch or left behind after you’ve closed a program. (These pages are not zeroed so if you restart the program, it will load very quickly. But they don’t need to be saved.) Next, Windows can use Modified pages, after saving them. Having to write data to disk slows the process, so this is not listed as available memory. However, it is still available if you need it.

Need more? Windows can start “trimming” pages that programs have reserved for active use. It can decide to use that memory for more urgent purposes.

Some memory isn’t available. There are the Page Tables (Windows’ index of pages of memory), a “Nonpaged Pool” (pages that can’t be saved to disk and must stay in RAM), Driver Locked memory (probably locked by a virtual machine, such as Hyper-V or VMware), and AWE (usually, memory being managed by SQL Server).

On my five-year-old laptop running Windows 7, the Page Table is 37MB, the Nonpaged Pool is 180MB, and Driver Locked is 42MB. PCs obviously vary. However, large values could indicate problems that hurt Windows’ performance.

You can use RAMMap to save and compare snapshots. For example, you can take a snapshot of memory when your PC is running well, and compare it with one where it is running slowly.
Problem software

You mention Svchost.exe and RapportService.exe *32 as programs that consume a lot of resources. Svchost.exe is short for “service host”, and your PC is running multiple instances of svchost to host different services. If you download and run Sysinternals’ Process Explorer– another of Russinovich’s tools, and a good replacement for Task Manager – this should show lots of svchosts (perhaps eight or 10) and the various Windows services they are running.

If a particular instance of svchost is a repeat offender, search for help about the service(s) it is hosting. Sometimes you can repair services via a Windows Update or system refresh, or change the way they work. Type local into the run box and select “View local services” to see which ones your PC is running, and whether they start automatically.

RapportService.exe *32 comes from Trusteer, an IBM company, and is usually installed with banking software. Rapport is a small program and should not have any impact on your CPU or RAM. If you don’t bank online, you can uninstall it.

Both svchost.exe and RapportService.exe are names that could be used by malware to hide their nefarious purposes, so don’t forget to run MBAM.

The Windows Indexing Service – which can be turned off – and Norton can also cause PCs to slow down.
Upgrade or refresh?

It’s always better to have more memory. Unfortunately, your HP/Compaq only allows 4GB, so expanding from 3GB is not an economical option.

According to HP, you could also upgrade the AMD Athlon II X3 435 (Passmark 2,496), but none of the Phenom II alternatives looks fast enough to be worth the cost or the effort.

That leaves you trying to find the errant software, rogue process or leaky driver that is slowing your PC, or trying alternative solutions. One would be to upgrade all your drivers. Another would be to use the PC’s recovery partition (I assume it has one) to refresh or re-install Windows 7. That’s not much fun with an old system, because Windows Update will have to reinstall four years’ worth of patches. Based on my experience, this should go smoothly, but involves about a dozen restarts spread over two or three days.

The drawback is that you will also have to re-install all your applications and restore your backed-up data.

If you do this, take a full back-up of your hard drive first, so that you can restore your PC to its current state if something goes wrong. And when you’ve finished, take another full hard drive backup so that you never have to repeat the whole process.

 

Resource Monitor

Computer Sciences Corp. says breaking up is the thing to do

Claiming to be in the third year of a turnaround, Computer Sciences says it’s time to split its federal from commercial service businesses.

The latest reports were on the money: Technology services vendor Computer Sciences Corp. is going to split itself into two companies.

This news, along with a special $10.50 per share dividend to be paid out by fall, was announced in advance of the company’s fourth quarter financial call on Tuesday.

After the corporate bifurcation, approved by the company’s board, CSC CSC 2.82% Global Commercial will focus on Fortune 1000 companies—consulting with them on information technology infrastructure and their cloud strategies. That entity had $8.1 billion in revenue this fiscal year and more than a thousand employees, the company said in a press release.

Other than consulting, the current CSC offers its own VMware-based cloud computing platform for customers.

CSC U.S. Public Sector would concentrate on federal, state government accounts, and the various defense agencies. That business had $4.1 billion in revenue and 14,000 employees, according to CSC.

Rumors of a break up have circulated for a while, with Reuters breaking this news last week. Some CSC watchers at that time wondered what the benefit of an official split would be given that the commercial and government businesses were run pretty much separately anyway.

Activist investor, Jana Partners, which took a 5.9% stake in CSC early this year, issued a statement in support of the strategy, which it said will “unlock shareholder value.”

In a statement, Mike Lawry, who was named CEO of CSC in 2012, said the company is in year three of a turnaround, adding:

“Our focus now turns to positioning the business for long-term growth and leadership. The best way to accelerate that transformation is by separating the company into two businesses, each uniquely positioned to lead its market by focusing strongly on the needs of its clients.”

But corporate divorces are in the air. HP, which is also in a self-proclaimed turnaround, is in the process of splitting itself into a PC-and-printer company and an enterprise technology and services company. CSC is seen as a savvy provider of tech services which can be a lucrative business—provided costs can be kept in line. Basically, to make money providing services and support to big customers, takes a lot of money.

CSC has also dealt with more than its share of angst of late. Last week, the company said it was suing Eric Pulier, the former CEO of Servicemesh, a company it acquired for its multi-cloud management expertise two years ago for about $260 million. It alleges that Pulier violated its code of conduct.