Upgrade or new computer? [Archive] - Glock Talk

PDA

View Full Version : Upgrade or new computer?


sarge
12-05-2010, 23:23
I am running a Dell Dimension 4600, Pentium 4 2.40 ghz, 512 mb RAM, 80GB hdd, about 2/3's full.

This thing over the last few months has just really started to slow down. It just seems to drag when going from web page to web page and opening a program takes maybe 15 seconds or so. It's all original purchased new sometime in 2003 if I remember right. Also the video on some sites just isn't right any more. It stays on 24 hrs a day, never turned off.

I'm trying to decide whether it would be worth it to upgrade the RAM to 2 GB (~$100) and get a new video card with more memory or to just get a new computer. Other than it slowing down I have no complaints. We don't do gaming or anything like that, just web surfing.

I run ccleaner, malware bytes and MS Security Essentials so I'm hoping the drive is fairly clean.

Thoughts on the upgrade? Also, thoughts on keeping it on all the time vs turning it off every night.

Thanks.

IndyGunFreak
12-05-2010, 23:33
If you don't do gaming, then I fail to see what you're gonna get out of a new graphics card.

Max out your Ram, and if you want something after that, get a bigger hard drive. You're probably going to find most of your complaints go away when you max the ram out.

IGF

CitizenOfDreams
12-05-2010, 23:34
RAM is certainly the weakest link in your computer, upgrading it should speed things up. 2GB of RAM will cost you around $50 or so.

A newer (which means faster) hard drive will help too, especially if your motherboard supports SATA.

If you need to go beyond that, you are better off replacing the entire computer.

Also, how old is the operating system installation? Maybe it's time to do a clean reinstall.

sarge
12-05-2010, 23:37
Is that machine running Vista?

IGF

Nope, XP Home SP3.

Maybe RAM is all I need, just figured the vid card being almost 8 years old might help too. That's why I'm asking. :supergrin:

I guess I'm kinda boring, no online gaming, not that much vid or music, 74 GB hdd with still about 20.2GB free is what the properties shows.

srhoades
12-05-2010, 23:37
start > run > eventvwr.msc > system > check for disk errors, that drive is pretty old

If the drive is ok download defraggler and run a defrag (it is better then the Windows one)

You can get a new computer to suit your needs for around $350 now. Hard drive plus RAM is going to put you about halfway there, your call.

sarge
12-05-2010, 23:39
RAM is certainly the weakest link in your computer, upgrading it should speed things up. 2GB of RAM will cost you around $50 or so.

A newer (which means faster) hard drive will help too, especially if your motherboard supports SATA.

If you need to go beyond that, you are better off replacing the entire computer.

Also, how old is the operating system installation? Maybe it's time to do a clean reinstall.

Where can I find it for $50? I looked a crucible and it was $49/1GB stick.

The install is the original, never been reformatted or reinstalled. I still have all the original disks so I could probably do it.

IndyGunFreak
12-05-2010, 23:39
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/products/memory_upgrades/productdetail.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&sku=a0740433

Well, if you look at the reviews, more than one person had complaints about a slow PC and added Ram. It really is the easiest thing to do. According to that, you have PC3200.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820236112

IndyGunFreak
12-05-2010, 23:40
I've always had pretty good luck w/ PNY, Kingston and Crucial.. if you want to save a few bucks, I've read good things about Gskill...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231036

CitizenOfDreams
12-06-2010, 00:11
Where can I find it for $50? I looked a crucible and it was $49/1GB stick.

That's twice as what they cost. CompUSA sells 2GB DDR2 PC5400 (I assume that's what your computer uses) sticks between $40 and $72. Newegg is even cheaper.

CitizenOfDreams
12-06-2010, 00:19
I've always had pretty good luck w/ PNY, Kingston and Crucial.

Same here, although memory brand is not as important as thorough testing. In some hardware configurations even brand name RAM will not work reliably at its defaul timing settings; you may have to slow it down a notch. Memtest86+ is a great testing tool.

mixflip
12-06-2010, 00:22
I just picked up an old Dell optiplex gx520. Its older but it runs fairly quick for daily web surfing and youtube watching. Its got a Pent4 processor, I upgraded to 2gigs of RAM and that really seemed help with the multitasking and page transitions? Or maybe it was just in my head lol?

I found a used Nvidia FX graphics card on craigslist. I figured at the most it might free up some of the Pent4 processing power since the graphics card has its own little little processing chip. I dont know if that is a correct assumption though? I am a tech newb myself.

I also upgraded my hard drive to a 360Gig. (from an 80) The guys here actually guided me through the process of properly swapping in (partition) a new bigger HD. I piggy backed the 80 gig just as slave storage space if ever needed.

srhoades
12-06-2010, 00:25
That's twice as what they cost. CompUSA sells 2GB DDR2 PC5400 (I assume that's what your computer uses) sticks between $40 and $72. Newegg is even cheaper.

He has DDR, $49 is the going rate for a 1GB stick.

CitizenOfDreams
12-06-2010, 00:36
He has DDR, $49 is the going rate for a 1GB stick.

Still a little steep; sets of 2 1024MB DDR sticks start at $61 at NewEgg.

IndyGunFreak
12-06-2010, 09:43
Apparently you get a bit of a deal if you buy them in a 2gig "package"... $65 for 2gigs of ram is a pretty good deal really, and free shipping to boot.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820178101 (note I posted above, they were $36 each)

sarge
12-06-2010, 10:12
Hey, thanks for the info guys.

I hated to leave the party last night but I had to crash. I had been up about 34 hours and was about dead on my feet.

I did a little more looking this morn and the video card shows to be a NVIDIA GeForce4 MX440 w/AGP8X.

Thanks for the link to the newegg too. I'm not up on this stuff enough to know where to look.

For $65 I'll see what happens.

IndyGunFreak
12-06-2010, 10:43
Hey, thanks for the info guys.

I hated to leave the party last night but I had to crash. I had been up about 34 hours and was about dead on my feet.

I did a little more looking this morn and the video card shows to be a NVIDIA GeForce4 MX440 w/AGP8X.

Thanks for the link to the newegg too. I'm not up on this stuff enough to know where to look.

For $65 I'll see what happens.

OK.. regarding your video card... If I'm not mistaken, you have 64mb of Video ram on that card (I've help folks set that card up in Linux lots of times). Again, you're not a gamer, etc.. where you're going to get anything out of a video upgrade. If your graphics were "on board" and were being shared w/ the system memory, then I would encourage you to pick up a cheap graphics card. From the sounds of it though, it's an actual graphics card, so you should be fine w/ that.

If you just want to throw money at the video card(I personally would not)...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125249

I'd look at another hard drive, before I looked at a video card. Do you still have the restore CD's, etc.. that came w/ the system?

sarge
12-06-2010, 15:05
Thanks for the info. I'll leave the vid as is right now.

Since I'm getting ready to spend the $$, will 4GB RAM make that much improvement over 2GB? Or how about leaving the 512 MB (2x256) in and adding the 2gb? Of just go 2GB (2x1GB) and not worry about the rest.

Yes, I still have the restore CD's. As far as I know, they are still in the factory sealed wrap.

IndyGunFreak
12-06-2010, 15:57
Thanks for the info. I'll leave the vid as is right now.

Since I'm getting ready to spend the $$, will 4GB RAM make that much improvement over 2GB? Or how about leaving the 512 MB (2x256) in and adding the 2gb? Of just go 2GB (2x1GB) and not worry about the rest.

Yes, I still have the restore CD's. As far as I know, they are still in the factory sealed wrap.

OK... As for the CD's, the reason I asked that, is if you decide to get a new hard drive, you'll need it to reinstall your OS, etc.

I don't believe your machine will actually handle all 4gigs. It will probably handle about 3.x gigs... but it wouldn't hurt anything to put the full 4gigs in. Personally, I would do exactly what you suggested, leave the 2x256 in one bank, and put the 2x1024mb, in another.

Sgt. Schultz
12-06-2010, 16:03
Thanks for the info. I'll leave the vid as is right now.

Since I'm getting ready to spend the $$, will 4GB RAM make that much improvement over 2GB? Or how about leaving the 512 MB (2x256) in and adding the 2gb? Of just go 2GB (2x1GB) and not worry about the rest.

Yes, I still have the restore CD's. As far as I know, they are still in the factory sealed wrap. Go here to find out ...

http://www.grc.com/securable.htm

... download and run the app SecurAble, if it shows you have x64 then yes you can run 4 GB of RAM ... however you need a 64 bit OS to utilize the full 4GB.

I agree with IGF ... "leave the 2x256 in one bank, and put the 2x1024mb, in another."


.

Patrick Graham
12-06-2010, 16:04
Add another 512 meg, bringing the total to 1gb.

Back up your data, find the OEM disks for your key and do a fresh install of XP.

You'll be surprised how fast that system is without any of the original crapware.

IndyGunFreak
12-06-2010, 19:21
Go here to find out ...

http://www.grc.com/securable.htm

... download and run the app SecurAble, if it shows you have x64 then yes you can run 4 GB of RAM ... however you need a 64 bit OS to utilize the full 4GB.

I agree with IGF ... "leave the 2x256 in one bank, and put the 2x1024mb, in another."


.

Yup... Looking at his system specs though, I'm pretty sure though, *most* Pentium IV's were 32bit... I know some were 64bit, but I don't think any of the 2.4ghz were.

http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim4600/en/4600/sm/specs.htm#1084976

Also.. isn't there something by right clicking my computer/properties... One of the Tabs will show if you're using a 32 or 64bit OS.

Drjones
12-06-2010, 19:25
I am running a Dell Dimension 4600, Pentium 4 2.40 ghz, 512 mb RAM, 80GB hdd, about 2/3's full.

This thing over the last few months has just really started to slow down. It just seems to drag when going from web page to web page and opening a program takes maybe 15 seconds or so. It's all original purchased new sometime in 2003 if I remember right. Also the video on some sites just isn't right any more. It stays on 24 hrs a day, never turned off.

I'm trying to decide whether it would be worth it to upgrade the RAM to 2 GB (~$100) and get a new video card with more memory or to just get a new computer. Other than it slowing down I have no complaints. We don't do gaming or anything like that, just web surfing.

I run ccleaner, malware bytes and MS Security Essentials so I'm hoping the drive is fairly clean.

Thoughts on the upgrade? Also, thoughts on keeping it on all the time vs turning it off every night.

Thanks.


A new computer is certainly going to be WAY faster than your current rig could ever be, no matter what parts you put into it.

I just looked up the specs online: http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim4600/en/4600/sm/specs.htm

and I'd certainly say it's time for a new system. Yours can't even support SATA drives, and that's one of the keys I look for, in addition to whether or not you have at least a dual-core processor, in recommending whether to upgrade or buy new.

Your money is much better spent on a new system, especially this time of year with all the deals out there.

If all you really do is email & internet, have you considered the iPad? It's pretty darn cool and useful.

Pierre!
12-06-2010, 19:41
A new computer is certainly going to be WAY faster than your current rig could ever be, no matter what parts you put into it.

I just looked up the specs online: http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim4600/en/4600/sm/specs.htm

and I'd certainly say it's time for a new system. Yours can't even support SATA drives, and that's one of the keys I look for, in addition to whether or not you have at least a dual-core processor, in recommending whether to upgrade or buy new.

Your money is much better spent on a new system, especially this time of year with all the deals out there.

If all you really do is email & internet, have you considered the iPad? It's pretty darn cool and useful.

Keep your existing system and use it for Linux...

But get a new one and it will run circles around your current system.

You will be sinking good money into a very old system. Sure, it's okay now... but all the components are 'tired' and ... you spend $50 for new ram, a power bump comes by, toasts your power supply after whacking your hard drive... and it's $50 out the door!

Computers have *never* been this inexpensive. Go and test drive some at a computer store, then you can kind of compare against your old system.

Good luck with the decision, but I have been advising to purchase new and donate old for a tax receipt for years and have always had very happy clients as a result...

Hope that helps!

IndyGunFreak
12-06-2010, 19:41
A new computer is certainly going to be WAY faster than your current rig could ever be, no matter what parts you put into it.

I just looked up the specs online: http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim4600/en/4600/sm/specs.htm

and I'd certainly say it's time for a new system. Yours can't even support SATA drives, and that's one of the keys I look for, in addition to whether or not you have at least a dual-core processor, in recommending whether to upgrade or buy new.

Your money is much better spent on a new system, especially this time of year with all the deals out there.

If all you really do is email & internet, have you considered the iPad? It's pretty darn cool and useful.

His specs show's he has two SATA connectors...

Internally accessible:

Primary IDE channel 40-pin connector on PCI local bus
Secondary IDE channel 40-pin connector on PCI local bus
Floppy drive 34-pin connector
Serial ATA two 7-pin connectors

IGF

Drjones
12-06-2010, 19:46
His specs show's he has two SATA connectors...

Internally accessible:

Primary IDE channel 40-pin connector on PCI local bus
Secondary IDE channel 40-pin connector on PCI local bus
Floppy drive 34-pin connector
Serial ATA two 7-pin connectors

IGF


I guess.....but I was looking at this:


Drives

Internally accessible

two bays for 1-inch–high IDE hard drive

wrenrj1
12-06-2010, 19:59
How much longer do you want to get out of this computer. I'd say if you want another two-years, max out your ram, forget the video card, and clean out your HD of what you don't need.

What really matters is, does the PC do what you need it to do? If so, max it out for a couple years. By that time you'll be ready to by a MAC!

Drjones
12-06-2010, 20:07
What really matters is, does the PC do what you need it to do? If so, max it out for a couple years. By that time you'll be ready to by a MAC!


The real questions are;

1) How much is your time worth to you?

and

2) How much are you willing to spend to not have to sit in front of your computer and wait for it to do what you want?

CitizenOfDreams
12-06-2010, 20:13
two bays for 1-inch–high IDE hard drive

SATA drives mount in the same space as IDE drives, so that's not an issue. They do use a different power connector, so you will most likely need an adapter:

http://images.highspeedbackbone.net/SkuImages/gallery/large/ULT40395-b1.jpg
http://images.highspeedbackbone.net/SkuImages/gallery/large/ULT40395-a1.jpg
http://images.highspeedbackbone.net/SkuImages/gallery/large/ULT40395-c1.jpg

Drjones
12-06-2010, 20:16
SATA drives mount in the same space as IDE drives, so that's not an issue. They do use a different power connector, so you will most likely need an adapter:



Right, but I'll bet you the thing currently has IDE drives - would it actually support SATA drives? If so, why didn't it come with them from the factory?

IndyGunFreak
12-06-2010, 20:33
Right, but I'll bet you the thing currently has IDE drives - would it actually support SATA drives? If so, why didn't it come with them from the factory?

Well, it has SATA slots, I don't know why it wouldn't support a SATA drive. The size of the drives are the same, so it should mount in the same bay an IDE drive would.

Also, if that had an 80gig IDE drive... it's likely SATA was just reaching mainstream, and was expensive, so IDE was used as opposed to SATA, as a cost maneuver.

A lot of computers come w/ PCI-e slots, but ship from the factory using onboard graphics.... Same principle.

IGF

Sgt. Schultz
12-06-2010, 21:37
isn't there something by right clicking my computer/properties... One of the Tabs will show if you're using a 32 or 64bit OS.

Yes, it will show you whether the current OS is a 32 bit or 64bit but if the installed OS is 32 bit it doesn't tell you if the system is 64 bit capable.


it's likely SATA was just reaching mainstream, and was expensive, so IDE was used as opposed to SATA, as a cost maneuver. Good point ... I've seen quite a few older systems with SATA ports but they came with IDE drives.

.

IndyGunFreak
12-06-2010, 22:00
Yes, it will show you whether the current OS is a 32 bit or 64bit but if the installed OS is 32 bit it doesn't tell you if the system is 64 bit capable.


Ah, gotcha... that makes a lot of sense.

CitizenOfDreams
12-06-2010, 22:00
Right, but I'll bet you the thing currently has IDE drives - would it actually support SATA drives?

A quick look at the motherboard will answer that question. :dunno:


If so, why didn't it come with them from the factory?

Same reason it did not come with 2 gigs of memory. Because it was cheaper at the time.

Pierre!
12-06-2010, 22:08
Suppose those are SATA, or SATAII ports?

Jess thinkin out loud...

Upgrading is just *fraught* with dangers...

W4CNG
12-06-2010, 23:48
This is why I now have an iMAC and MacBook Pro. The windows office program is $79.00 to run on 3 Mac's (my daughter has a MacBook Pro) that will do everything that Office 2007 will do. I also do not have any Virus Protection running to take care of Holes in the MS Operating systems. Yes I have a Windows Laptop and Vista Big box. When they expire, I will buy more MAC Computers. Almost all of the commands and shortcuts are the same, but with less Windows updates every couple of weeks to fix "Security Leaks" My 3 iPhones and 3 iPads also run with no issues.
Nuff Said! I have been Windows and DOS since the early 80's, but not anymore.

CitizenOfDreams
12-07-2010, 09:05
Suppose those are SATA, or SATAII ports?

Jess thinkin out loud...

Upgrading is just *fraught* with dangers...

The only "danger" of SATA ports is Hitachi hard drives. All other brands of SATAII drives work perfectly one with them.

http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1245944

srhoades
12-07-2010, 10:47
This is why I now have an iMAC and MacBook Pro.

What is why? You mean your iMac and MacBook magically don't age and their hard drives will never fail and they will never need more RAM?

This thread is purely about hardware, which nowadays is almost identically in Mac's and PC's.

IndyGunFreak
12-07-2010, 10:50
What is why? You mean your iMac and MacBook magically don't age and their hard drives will never fail and they will never need more RAM?

This thread is purely about hardware, which nowadays is almost identically in Mac's and PC's.

hehe...

And folks think Linux people are bad.. :)

IGF

inthefrey
12-07-2010, 11:38
RAM is certainly the weakest link in your computer, upgrading it should speed things up. 2GB of RAM will cost you around $50 or so.

A newer (which means faster) hard drive will help too, especially if your motherboard supports SATA.

If you need to go beyond that, you are better off replacing the entire computer.

Also, how old is the operating system installation? Maybe it's time to do a clean reinstall.


^^^^this^^^^

MavsX
12-07-2010, 19:28
What is why? You mean your iMac and MacBook magically don't age and their hard drives will never fail and they will never need more RAM?

This thread is purely about hardware, which nowadays is almost identically in Mac's and PC's.


pwned!

Pierre!
12-07-2010, 20:17
Huh... The folks I run with see a major trend - Some say that 2011 is the 'Year Of The Mac Virus' and claim that many are now infected, but don't know they are!

At least Microsoft has free AntiVirus for their users.

Window - Still the MOST highly tested operating system on the planet, BAR NONE. :cool: No other OS can say that, cause they just are not dominant.

Hitachi drives and SATA are not known to play well together??? Hmmm... I have run several Hitachi's with no issues, but Okay! It's pretty much over and done with in my environment.

That's all I got tonight...

CitizenOfDreams
12-07-2010, 20:32
Hitachi drives and SATA are not known to play well together???

Read the post I linked to earlier. Hitachi SATAII (300MBps) drives do not work on older SATA controllers until you switch the drive to SATA (150MBps) mode. Unfortunately, to do that, you need an SATAII controller - a classic catch-22. All other drive brands use a simple jumper instead.

Drjones
12-09-2010, 13:38
What is why? You mean your iMac and MacBook magically don't age and their hard drives will never fail and they will never need more RAM?

This thread is purely about hardware, which nowadays is almost identically in Mac's and PC's.


Except you pay 3-4 times as much for Mac's hardware vs. PC stuff....and that's a fact...

sarge
12-10-2010, 18:41
Hey guys,

Thanks for the info. I had to make an unexpected trip out of town for a few days and that's why I have not replied.

I'd rather upgrade at this time over purchasing a new unit. I have a son in dental school and all the free $$ is going that way at this time.

Looks like I'll get some memory on the way and see what happens.