JorgeA

What's the Fastest RAM that I Can Add?

106 posts in this topic

Yeah, anything over $200 might be just too many bucks for the bang. :unsure: I'll have to think about that.

Yeah, $275 + taxes + shipping, plus the extra 4GB of DDR2 RAM you wanted to add, plus perhaps a new PSU... You've just spent at least $400 on a system that still has very low end video (and only with a VGA out, no DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort), still doesn't have USB3, etc. For that much money, plus whatever you'd get for selling your old box, you could buy something new and pretty much all-around better.

Other than getting one of those Radio Shack devices that measures your power draw, is there any way (like, from inside Windows) to find out how much power the machine is using, so that one could gauge whether a new PSU would be in order with a new CPU?

Nope. Windows cannot tell. But it's not too hard to guesstimate ;)

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Other than getting one of those Radio Shack devices that measures your power draw, is there any way (like, from inside Windows) to find out how much power the machine is using, so that one could gauge whether a new PSU would be in order with a new CPU?

Nope. Windows cannot tell. But it's not too hard to guesstimate ;)

CoffeeFiend,

Umm... how would one do that? You can safely assume that I'm completely ignorant when it comes to electrical issues. :D (In addition to anything else I might be ignorant about!)

As for the full set of improvements, I think I'll stick to one upgrade, tops -- either new RAM or a new CPU, otherwise it starts getting pretty expensive as you pointed out. If I do anything at all. that is.

--JorgeA

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Umm... how would one do that?

By knowing what CPU the computer has, what video card, how many drives and so on.

As for the full set of improvements, I think I'll stick to one upgrade, tops -- either new RAM or a new CPU, otherwise it starts getting pretty expensive as you pointed out. If I do anything at all. that is

If you multitask a lot, more memory would help (especially since your 2GB is "shared" i.e. used for video so you have even less available), even if it's just a cheap yet decent kit like this one @ $35. A E6800 would make the computer significantly faster too. Such a kit of RAM and a E6800 would be around $150 taxes in and would provide quite a boost. If anything, beyond that I'd look into getting a basic video card (that doesn't use system memory, has better performance, does H.264 decoding in hardware, have a better set out outputs, etc) -- you can get something alright for quite cheap like a Radeon 4650 at $50, which would bring all 3 upgrades (CPU/RAM/Video) at ~$200. That's what I'd call "bang for your buck".

E2200 + less than 2GB (shared) + Intel video -vs- E6800 + 4GB + Radeon 4650, there's simply no contest. That would give you far better overall performance than that $275 CPU alone (reinstalling your OS clean would likely help quite a bit too)

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CoffeeFiend,

We're getting closer to a decision! :yes:

Now, the PC does currently have 4GB of RAM (4 x 1GB modules) installed. According to the System Information Viewer, they're DDR2 PC2-6400 at 800 MHz. Does this info affect the RAM recommendation?

The video card upgrade is also intriguing. The other day I happened to run the Windows Experience Index for the first time in a while, and my video rating had gone down to 3.3 (from the previous 3.4) even though I haven't made any changes at all to the hardware!?!

--JorgeA

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Now, the PC does currently have 4GB of RAM (4 x 1GB modules) installed.

Oh, OK then. No point in upgrading that then.

The video card upgrade is also intriguing. The other day I happened to run the Windows Experience Index for the first time in a while, and my video rating had gone down to 3.3 (from the previous 3.4) even though I haven't made any changes at all to the hardware!?!

That number is pretty much bogus when it comes to Intel 3100 video like your computer has. A lot of the thing it does (like vertex shaders) aren't actually done by the video card itself, but are rather done by your CPU (slowing it down). It's pretty far behind anything else basically. A Radeon 4650 performs several times faster (without needing the CPU's assistance -- it's still not a "gamer's card" though), doesn't use your system's RAM, has far better video decoding features, would give you at least a DVI output, etc. Intel video does the very basic stuff OK, but that's about it.

Anyway. It would help, but the faster CPU is still the main thing.

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That number is pretty much bogus when it comes to Intel 3100 video like your computer has. A lot of the thing it does (like vertex shaders) aren't actually done by the video card itself

CoffeeFiend,

The depth of your computer knowledge is truly impressive. Vertex shaders, whoa! B)

I'm assuming that, as with the CPU, installing a video card is also a straightforward process of inserting the card in the slot, reconnecting the monitor to it, and having the system recognize it automatically.

OK, so we have come to some solid ideas on a video card and the CPU (although I'm still tempted to shell out for a fast Core 2 Quad...). How about increasing the RAM from 4GB to 8GB -- no real point in it, right?

Thanks for the scoop on the Windows Experience Index, BTW.

--JorgeA

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Jorge, not to be negative or so, but upgrading your CPU won't help for loading your MS Word 2007 files that much faster and I thought you wanted it for that ;). Sorry to respond so late but I had problems posting and a post got lost with that too; I wanted to point to a Celeron E3500 that should be in the 45USD range but I see that companies over there have gone up with their prices (their gain looks now like 35% if not more!), also wanted to point you to a E6700/6800 CPU as well, but like I said it's not going to speed up the thing you want to speed up. A new system you already pointed out is not going to happen and also not a new install (and that was needed if you changed that motherboard to an AMD based one), just... please consider a image and/or backup of your current information on that HDD and go for a clean install, really, no other way ;).

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puntoMX,

Glad to have you back!

Yes, I came up with the idea of a new CPU in this interim period while dencorso is busy and can't help with the diagnostics, as I looked for other ways that one might speed up the file loading,. The thinking is that whatever may be going on in the background is something that's being processed by the CPU, so if I have a faster processor, then whatever processing that may turn out to be, it will be done faster.

Maybe when dencorso returns and guides BlouBul and me through the disk imaging process, then I'll have a better idea of how it works and feel more comfortable with the notion of an OS reinstall. Although, to think of it, it really doesn't help to do an image of the system and then put it back over the newly reinstalled disk -- that would bring back all the problems that convinced us to reinstall the OS in the first place, no? So it would have to be a laborious process of cataloguing every program on the PC and then reinstalling each one manually, one by one, finding product license numbers, entering them. Just thinking about it, I can hardly believe that some people, as they claim, actually reinstall their OS twice a year.

--JorgeA

Edited by JorgeA
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Although, to think of it, it really doesn't help to do an image of the system and then put it back over the newly reinstalled disk -- that would bring back all the problems that convinced us to reinstall the OS in the first place, no?

Hi JorgeA,

I think what dencorso wanted to do with the image, was to try some drastic measures to see what is wrong on your system. (Like running Norton's best program - their removal tool ;) ) Then if you do not like any of the changes, or it is too drastic and your system crashes, you can just restore your system to the way it was before, and then try some other things.

So it would have to be a laborious process of cataloguing every program on the PC and then reinstalling each one manually, one by one, finding product license numbers, entering them. Just thinking about it, I can hardly believe that some people, as they claim, actually reinstall their OS twice a year.

It is actually quite easy if you keep your licence numbers (it takes me under 2 hours to install everything from scratch). I actually think now, after our previous discussion, that it might be a better idea to do an image immediately after a clean install with all your favorite programs, and then, instead of doing a fresh install each time, just put the image back. That way you would not have to re-input all your serials each time (but you will have to the first time, though). And also, you do not really want to put ALL your programs back, only the ones you regularly uses. Sometimes you install programs that you use only once or twice and the never again, but it stay on your system (and uses its memory) for years thereafter. Even if you uninstall some programs, remnants still remains sometimes that slows down your PC. A fresh install will get rid of all that.

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Hey BlouBul,

Long time no see! :hello:

I think what dencorso wanted to do with the image, was to try some drastic measures to see what is wrong on your system.

Yes, that's what I, too, understood his idea to be. Hopefully, though, doing it will take some of the mystery and terror :ph34r: out of the process for me.

That said, we'll have to consult some with dencorso on this, as I remember he was cautioning that at least some types of images may not be all that reliable when it comes to putting them back. Which could mean that my desire to shave a couple of minutes off a file loading time would leave me without a working PC. :ph34r:

some drastic measures to see what is wrong on your system. (Like running Norton's best program - their removal tool ;) )

:lol:

It is actually quite easy if you keep your licence numbers (it takes me under 2 hours to install everything from scratch).

I'm not organized enough to have all that information at hand. (Probably a reflection of the scattered way in which my mind works...) I do have everything somewhere, but it's that "somewhere" that's the key. And of course, in many cases that "somewhere" is inside the PC as the program was downloaded and there never was a separate box or label with the number printed on it. I'm getting a headache just thinking about collecting all this info!!

I actually think now, after our previous discussion, that it might be a better idea to do an image immediately after a clean install with all your favorite programs, and then, instead of doing a fresh install each time, just put the image back. That way you would not have to re-input all your serials each time (but you will have to the first time, though).

That sure would make the process a heck of a lot easier and less painful each time we did it. If we go ahead with this project, that's what I would like to do.

And also, you do not really want to put ALL your programs back, only the ones you regularly uses. Sometimes you install programs that you use only once or twice and the never again, but it stay on your system (and uses its memory) for years thereafter. Even if you uninstall some programs, remnants still remains sometimes that slows down your PC. A fresh install will get rid of all that.

How about a program like CCleaner? I've been using it regularly on two of my PCs, including this one, and it seems to get rid of a lot of registry garbage (its most useful feature IMHO). But is that, plus regular maintenance (deleting temporary files, etc.), enough to keep the system in tip-top shape?

--JorgeA

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How about a program like CCleaner? I've been using it regularly on two of my PCs, including this one, and it seems to get rid of a lot of registry garbage (its most useful feature IMHO). But is that, plus regular maintenance (deleting temporary files, etc.), enough to keep the system in tip-top shape?

Just to clean the trash and leftovers on the harddisk, NOT to mess up... err... clean up your registry ;).
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I'm not organized enough to have all that information at hand. (Probably a reflection of the scattered way in which my mind works...) I do have everything somewhere, but it's that "somewhere" that's the key. And of course, in many cases that "somewhere" is inside the PC as the program was downloaded and there never was a separate box or label with the number printed on it. I'm getting a headache just thinking about collecting all this info!!

It might be a good idea to first evaluate the potential problems by first make a list of the programs you actually use (like Windows and Office and maybe one or two others). See if you still have the install disks and/or serials. Some programs you can get the serial from the program itself (if you are specific, we might be able to help you retrieve some of them). I normally like to keep a soft copy of all my installation files (with their serials) in a folder on my hdd. Then it is very easy to install it again (since I would also not like trying to find all the original cd/serials again :ph34r: ).

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I think what dencorso wanted to do with the image, was to try some drastic measures to see what is wrong on your system. (Like running Norton's best program - their removal tool ;) ) Then if you do not like any of the changes, or it is too drastic and your system crashes, you can just restore your system to the way it was before, and then try some other things

Precisely:

0) Create a known-good image (in the external USB HDD). Burn it onto a DVD set if possible, once we're sure it's good.

1) Remove Norton. If it doesn't solve the issue, then redeploy the image and we're back to square 1, no harm done!

2) Remove and reinstall Office. If it doesn't solve the issue, then redeploy the image and we're back to square 1, no harm done!

3) Remove Norton, then remove and reinstall Office. If it doesn't solve the issue, then redeploy the image and we're back to square 1, no harm done!

4) [...]. If it doesn't solve the issue, then redeploy the image and we're back to square 1, no harm done!

n) Format the partition. Zero it out with sdelete. Reinstall Windows, plain vanilla. Reinstall Office, plain vanilla. If not even this solves the issue, then redeploy the image once more and we're still back to square 1, no harm done! :)

It may be a long and frustrating process, which may or may not solve the issue, but it ensures nothing is lost in the process, except time and oftentimes patience! :D

I'm still too busy to follow such a process step-by-step, as I'd like to. But this interim might be useful for JorgeA and you to get familiar with the imaging tool selected, which was the Acronis version offered by Seagate, IIRR.

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It might be a good idea to first evaluate the potential problems by first make a list of the programs you actually use (like Windows and Office and maybe one or two others). See if you still have the install disks and/or serials. Some programs you can get the serial from the program itself (if you are specific, we might be able to help you retrieve some of them). I normally like to keep a soft copy of all my installation files (with their serials) in a folder on my hdd. Then it is very easy to install it again (since I would also not like trying to find all the original cd/serials again :ph34r: ).

BlouBul,

Interesting strategy! Let me see if I understand correctly what you do.

So, let's say that you have downloaded the program "Infectmypc.zip". :whistle: At some point, either before or after unzipping and installing the program, you copy it to this special folder where you store it for future reference. Then you also create a text file with the serial number for the program, and put it in that special folder.

Did I get it right?

--JorgeA

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Hey there, stranger! :)

Thank you very much for the rundown of the process.

When you get a chance, I'd like to revisit the part of our discussion where you warned that some kinds of disk images are not so reliable. If we go ahead with this, I want to make sure that we're using the most trustworthy method for restoring the HDD.

--JorgeA

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