Re: NVDA running on a budget laptop



As Enes may have pointed out in a later message, it would have been considered low usage as old as late 2000’s; not much these days:

  • In late 1990’s, CPU speed (clock frequency) was measured in hundreds of megahertz (MHz; hertz = cycles per second, so a CPU can theoretically run hundreds of millions of instructions per second; I’ll explain the actual hardware side of things in a second). This was the days of 32-bit single-core Pentiums.
  • By about 2005, Intel realized that Pentium 4 was power-hungry and wasn’t productive anymore. Folks may recall the “4 gigahertz barrier” – trying to switch transistors on and off up to 4 billion times a second caused processors to eat up power. Meanwhile, AMD convinced the jury (PC makers and enthusiasts) that their dual-core, low-power 64-bit processors were better than top of the line Intel chips.
  • By early 2010’s, computer manufacturers and operating system vendors (along with Intel, AMD, and ARM Holdings) proved that it was somewhat possible to lower the power requirements of processors by bundling many slower processors inside a single chip. This means you can’t simply state that 6 to 10 percent CPU usage is low usage anymore – usage now depends on how many processor cores a program is using, as well as how many instructions from a given program a processor can consume and execute at a given time (in theory, we are talking about up to 16 processor hardware, each performing up to 4 billion or more instructions per second, or in hardware terms, turning on and off many billions of switches in one second).

In early 2000’s, what was considered low CPU usage was sort of equivalent to hundreds of thousands of instructions per second (at the hardware level, this theoretical limit was not really achieved because many hardware-level operations are performed to run just one CPU instruction). In 2021, low CPU usage usually translates to millions of instructions per second that are performed by at least one processor core (and even more hardware operations such as connecting circuits, turning on transistors, applying voltage to parts of the CPU, turning off unused memory banks (CPU cache), checking power draw amongst cores and so on). At least this is the case for computer programs that can run on bare silicon; processor usage overhead increases when a program must go through an intermediary such as an interpreter, which in turn must follow rules set by an operating system, which in turn must be smart enough to regulate how long a program (operating system code itself, the interpreter, any program that runs on top of an interpreter, all these combined inside a single executable) can run at any given time.

Hope this helps.




From: <> On Behalf Of Gene
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 5:11 PM
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA running on a budget laptop


I’ll rephrase my answer.  I’m not a tech but I have always considered such figures to be low usage.  I just ran MP3 Direct Cut and it uses about two percent of computer resources and its just a small simple Mp3 recording program. 


We’ll see what those with far more technical knowledge than I have say but I doubt they will say that that is particularly high useage.



-----Original Message-----

From: Gene

Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 7:03 PM

Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA running on a budget laptop


Six to ten percent out of one-hundred?  Hardly.



-----Orignal Message-----

Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 6:57 PM

Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA running on a budget laptop


I'm sorry. 6-10% CPU power is alot of system resources.

On 5/16/2021 11:50 AM, Gene wrote:

Nothing I’ve seen convinces me that NVDA itself uses a lot of computing power.  nor have I seen this with screen-readers in general to the small extent I’ve checked.  Its using the newer synthesizers that uses a lot of computing ;power.  If you want to use the newer voices, I can’t comment on the minimum specifications to get good performance but in the old days, I had machines that today would be laughably underpowered, running Windows 95 and Windows 3.1 and Via Voice, very similar to Eloquence, ran well.  This was in a 166MHZ, not GHZ, Pentium machine and in an even older and less powerful machine running Windows 3.1. 


As for NVDA using a lot of computing power, if I monitor use when I’m typing text with carachter echo on in the Windows Task manager, I get low numbers.  I just checked and while moving up and down the list in task manager, then pressing f5 to refresh the screen, I get a 6 percent CPU reading.  When typing in this e-mail message, alt tabbing immediately to the task manager and refreshing the screen, I get a 10 percent usage reading.


I’m not saying there won’t be variations, but those figures are close to what I generally get when I test doing these things.


And I haven’t seen complaints about the performance of NVDA from people using tablets. 



-----Original Message-----

Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 7:20 AM

Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA running on a budget laptop


I would do a minimum of 8gb of ram, and a current gen i5/r5. That is as low as you should go. Even with those specs, NVDA is heavy on CPU usage.

On 5/15/2021 7:36 PM, Brian Vogel wrote:

Personally, I would not even consider running Windows 10 with less than 8 GB of RAM.  Nor would I consider a Celeron processor, for anything, these days.

I'd invest a bit more for additional memory and a better processor.  You might also consider a refurbished business-class laptop, which can be had at very reasonable prices (or at least could prior to the pandemic - everything's getting more expensive as supply is constrained).

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

Always remember others may hate you but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them.  And then you destroy yourself.

       ~ Richard M. Nixon


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