My computer is a put-together desktop based on an Intel P4 (1ghz) with a 160gb HD, 512mb of RAM and running XP Pro. It was mostly put together by someone who knew what they were doing, from bits and pieces that were lying around, who gave it to me when he moved. One of the odd components was something called a "CoolDrive", a sort of aluminum heat-sink housing for the HD, with a built-in fan. When I got the computer, the HD in there was a 60gb Seagate.
A few months after I got it, I got a SMART failure on that drive, and had to buy a new (160gb) Seagate, and hired a tech to swap out the HD, install the OS and migrate my files (most of which were able to be salvaged). Then, a couple of months ago, I started getting what I called the "red stripe of death": a 60-pixel (or so) red stripe across the top of the screen, and the computer locking up. Nothing would restore it except being rebooted. Sometimes it would just spontaneously reboot without the stripe.
Admittedly, I tend to run a lot of apps at the same time, or use Firefox with 20 or more tabs open. Anyway, last week, I got a "disk failure error" at boot, and I've been unable to get past that. I came to the conclusion that the "CoolDrive" device must not be working properly, thus causing both HDs to fatally overheat. And so today I bought a new Maxtor 120gb HD.
But while I was talking to the salesman, he asked how much RAM I had. He seemed quite sure that the problem was not the HD or the CoolDrive, but that I had insufficient RAM. He said that the shortage of RAM was causing my system files to become corrupted, and that I might be able to install the OS on the new drive and get it to work for a while before it also started getting corrupted by too-little RAM, but that inevitably, it too would go bad.
1. Does any of this make sense? Insufficient RAM causing HDs to go bad?
2. How much RAM does a 1ghz CPU and 120gb HD need?
3. The two sticks of RAM that I have in there are Kingston "KVR800X16/256" that are marked with stickers that say "evaluation". According to my Googling, these are 184-pin RAMBUS memory, RIMM, with a 800mhz memory bus speed. Are these 16 or 32-bit, single or dual-channel modules? The tech who fixed my system last time seemed to think that they were appropriate for my system.
4. I'm not in a position to spend a lot on another 1.5gb of RAM right now. Until I am, I would dearly love to be able to get my computer to work again (going easy on stressing it now!). How could I go about installing the new HD, installing the OS and migrating the files? (Yes, I'm kicking myself for not taking notes from the last time it was done by the tech.)
5. When I am able to buy more RAM, what are the variables I need to keep in mind? For example, the RAM I already have is "PC800", which I presume is the bus speed. If the additional sticks I buy are faster (such as 1066mhz), will that cause incompatibility problems?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Edited by rch427, 25 November 2006 - 08:41 PM.