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Old 12-05-2010, 23:23   #1
sarge
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Upgrade or new computer?

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.
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Old 12-05-2010, 23:33   #2
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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.

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Old 12-05-2010, 23:34   #3
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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.

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Old 12-05-2010, 23:37   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyGunFreak View Post
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.

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.
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Old 12-05-2010, 23:37   #5
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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.

Last edited by srhoades; 12-05-2010 at 23:47..
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Old 12-05-2010, 23:39   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitizenOfDreams View Post
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.
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Old 12-05-2010, 23:39   #7
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http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/p...9&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/Produc...82E16820236112
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Old 12-05-2010, 23:40   #8
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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/Produc...82E16820231036
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Old 12-06-2010, 00:11   #9
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Quote:
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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.
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Old 12-06-2010, 00:19   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyGunFreak View Post
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.
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Old 12-06-2010, 00:22   #11
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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.
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Old 12-06-2010, 00:25   #12
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Quote:
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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.
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Old 12-06-2010, 00:36   #13
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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.

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Old 12-06-2010, 09:43   #14
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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/Produc...82E16820178101 (note I posted above, they were $36 each)
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:12   #15
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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.
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:43   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarge View Post
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/Produc...82E16814125249

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?
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Old 12-06-2010, 15:05   #17
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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.
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Old 12-06-2010, 15:57   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarge View Post
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.
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Old 12-06-2010, 16:03   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarge View Post
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."


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Old 12-06-2010, 16:04   #20
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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.
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