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In principle the AVI test is mainly disk intensive. The faster the disk(s), the better the results. But do not forget that the data need to be fed to the disk(s) as well, so CPU and memory also play a role, albeit a lesser one.
Your results should have been around Graham's results, somewhere around 3,5 s while running at the same clock speed with a similar disk setup for the project files (both 2 x raid0). My raid is pretty quick with average read transfers of over 850 MB/s, hence my 2,3s results and even 2.0s when using a RAM disk. You can see that these results show that the test is pretty much about the disks.
If your results are lacking, can you post a screenshot from Process Explorer and a DXDIAG.txt attachment, so that I can have a look.
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As Harm has said the AVI is disk intensive. So the usual troubleshooting is to measure the disk performance to see if that is a problem. Also make sure that you do not have other process hogs running like antivirus, antispyware, etc, even browsing can steal CPU AND disk performance as it caches data especially if you have only moderate disk systems.
Defragmentation is very important and in my opinion the Microsoft defragmenter is lousy, it left a big hole in the middle of the disk and I was writing to the very slow end of the disk at one point. I want to see the disk structure when I defragment.
One other sneaky problem that I found on my system when I upgraded memory is that on either Vista 64 or was it Windows 7 64 RC (I cannot remember which one) is that I found looking the Control Panel/System that while it did say 8 GB was installed it noted that only 3.25 GB was available. So check that your 12 GB is fully available.
I'll make sure antispy&virus protection is turned off.
As far as memory utilization goes, is looks like the system is recognizing and utilizing the full 12gb of ram.
However, i was wondering why the second reference to the cpu speed in the system panel still shows 2.67ghz when i have it currently running at 3.6ghz?
You have 71 processes running. I have 33 with no applications. Take Harm's advise and download these utilities to rid rid of the garbage.
"Download both CCleaner and 1ClickPCFix and run them both."
Technet does have a lot of good utilities!
I have not gone through the system disabling processes. It runs as it was installed with all default processes and services although i did disable a few after installation. I run ccleaner about once a month. Spybot is scheduled to automatically scan the system every day at 3am and i use avast anti virus protection. I also run UltraVNC to provide online systems services to clients and Acronis True Image create backups of the system drive but no tasks are scheduled.
here is the process explorer screen capture. I have also attached the both the process explorer and DirectX Diagnostic Tool .txt files.
A striking difference with my machine is the Windows Experience index, your system has an index of 4.3, mine has an index of 5.9, the max achievable.
Your Pagefile is set to dynamic. Try to set your pagefile to 8 GB min and 8 GB max located on your fastest disk, the E drive. set to No pagefile on the C or D drive. Defragment your disks after rebooting. As Bill said, it may be worthwhile to have a look at PerfectDisk10 or Diskeeper as defragging utilities.
Before running the benchmark, check which processes you do not really need running, like Acronis, Spybot, Avast, Epson, RichVideo, etcetera.
Have a look at the Guide for optimizing Windows Vista and especially the section about services: How to get the best from a PC? Some guides...
Hope this will help to improve your performance.