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Memory Upgrade on Old PC's


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#1
wagjag

wagjag

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Hi all. I actually had a thread several months ago with some of the same questions I have now. I received some great answers and lots of help but was unprepared to make the upgrades at that time. I expected the thread to still be here under "My Topics", so that I could review, but alas, it's gone. I hope it's okay to ask again and to add a few more questions now.

So, I am neither very tech. nor mechanically savvy. My primary needs for my system are for surfing/research/email and most importantly, playing internet poker ( many tables at one time). I don't really do much with music, videos or movies, file sharing, or any graphics intensive gaming. Yeah, I'm boring, I know.

I have a very old system that neither I nor the scanner at Crucial.com are able to determine the particular manufacture/model of. I would say that this hand me down is at least 9 years old, maybe more. The crucial scanner read it by it's motherboard, Intel Sea Breeze D845GVSR,3 PCI, 2 DIMM....Intel Pentium 4 CPU, 2.0 GHz, 256 MB RAM. I think the HD is like 87 GB if that could be possible. I'm looking to purchase memory to upgrade as currently the system is very slow, despite doing a massive malware removal/cleaning with the help of Geekstogo.com which really did speed it up. I frequently get " Low on virtual memory....increasing the size of the virtual memory page" messages, along with hesitation/freezing/ general sluggishness, especially when trying to play just a few tables of internet poker at the same time. I'm really unable to multitask much at all.

So, there's the background, now, Crucial.com's scanner did tell me what kind of memory I need. However, when I go to other sites to compare prices, I notice that all of the other sites ( bestbuy.com, newegg.com, amazon) include the number of MHz in the description of the memory.....for example: Crucial 1 GB 184 Pin DDR 333 MHz (PC 2700)....or Kingston Hyper X 1GB 184 Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400MHz (PC3200). However the scan results do not mention the number of MHz, and neither do the descriptions of the memory sticks suggested for me by that scan. Again, all other sites seem to include this info. I do know that my system can use either the PC 2700 or the PC 3200, at least that's what the scan seems to indicate, but how do I know how many MHz??? Is it as simple as buy the highest one ( 400MHz seems to be the highest for the PC2700 and PC3200 sticks I've found)?

Also, does manufacturer or name brand of the memory really make a difference? It seems that Kingston is more expensive and PNY-Optima seems to be the cheaper option. Obviously, I'd like to get the best deal, should I factor in the maker?? In my original post, the person helping me said something along the lines that for my particular computer needs, I might not need to add too much RAM...that at some point the excess would likely never be called upon. Any idea how much I should add to an old system with only 256 MB? How much of a difference should I expect to see?

Sorry for so many questions here, but another issue. I also have a Dell Dimension 4600 with 2.66GHz, 512 MB RAM and , I think only like a 37GB HD....isn't this a small HD? From looking it up, apparently I can use the same memory for the Dell as for the older system...does this sound right? So, considering my computer habits, would I be better off just upgrading the Dell and using that for my primary system ( internet poker) DESPITE, what seems like a very small HD??? The Dell is much faster than the old unit, I'm guessing because of the faster processor and having double the RAM...but what exactly would it mean to me to make this my primary unit with the small HD? In other words, am I better off upgrading the older unit's memory just because it has such a larger HD or going with the Dell because it's newer, double the memory, faster processor...etc??? I would like to purchase the memory in the next few days so I'll hold off until you reply...thanks so much for your time, and again, sorry for piling all of these questions into one post. Have a great night.

Edited by wagjag, 01 February 2009 - 05:13 PM.

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#2
kamille316

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I do know that my system can use either the PC 2700 or the PC 3200, at least that's what the scan seems to indicate, but how do I know how many MHz??? Is it as simple as buy the highest one ( 400MHz seems to be the highest for the PC2700 and PC3200 sticks I've found)?

The MHz are standard, all PC2700 runs on a 333MHz bus speed and likewise all PC3200 runs on a 400MHz, I don't know how to overclock but I believe this MHz will only change if you overclock (increase MHz).
Since your computer is old, I do not see any reason for getting the highest one as it will probably not use it up to its potential. Getting the cheaper one would be better and considering that DDR RAM are obsolete, you will be paying quite some money for these RAM.

Also, does manufacturer or name brand of the memory really make a difference? It seems that Kingston is more expensive and PNY-Optima seems to be the cheaper option. Obviously, I'd like to get the best deal, should I factor in the maker??

I usually recommend good brand named products as usually, they make good brands of product. I don't really know how good PNY's are so you might have to look at reviews of the particular product you want to get first before buying.

In my original post, the person helping me said something along the lines that for my particular computer needs, I might not need to add too much RAM...that at some point the excess would likely never be called upon. Any idea how much I should add to an old system with only 256 MB? How much of a difference should I expect to see?

Are you using Windows XP? If you are, a little bit more RAM would help because in my opinion, 256MB for XP is too low. Just make sure that you pay attention to the max amount of RAM each RAM slots can handle.

I also have a Dell Dimension 4600 with 2.66GHz, 512 MB RAM and , I think only like a 37GB HD....isn't this a small HD? From looking it up, apparently I can use the same memory for the Dell as for the older system...does this sound right? So, considering my computer habits, would I be better off just upgrading the Dell and using that for my primary system ( internet poker) DESPITE, what seems like a very small HD??? The Dell is much faster than the old unit, I'm guessing because of the faster processor and having double the RAM...but what exactly would it mean to me to make this my primary unit with the small HD? In other words, am I better off upgrading the older unit's memory just because it has such a larger HD or going with the Dell because it's newer, double the memory, faster processor...etc???

If the DELL is faster, I'd say make it your primary computer. Even if the hard drive is too small, if you're not going to fill up the hard drive with files then it doesn't make much difference. You can also use your hard drive for virtual memory but it doesn't use up much space.

Kamille
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