How know when need more RAM?


G

George

I'm exploring purchasing more RAM for PC, which is running slower and
slower. I have 512MB, and would like to double this to get to 1GB. I'm
using a Dell Dimension 8250 PC, 3 years old,
Pentium 4 , 2.53GHz processor, and 533MHz FSB. Current RAM on is.. 512MB,
PC1066 RDRAM, DIM, 2x256.

Will the new memory really speed up PC a lot? a little? (About everything
seems sluggish, some things really slow.) I do have lots of things running
in background (and like to keep most). Plus, I like to have several things
open at once... Outlook, IE6, sometimes Word, maybe Excel.

Is this pushing the PC too much and a good reason to go to 1GB. Or would
this be a "light load" that the existing 512MB should handle easily, and
maybe I need to just clean up?

Thanks for any suggestions,
George
 
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T

thecreator

Hi George,

What Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware Programs are you running at the same
time? More memory is always good. However, it doesn't always fix the
problem.

When is the last time you clean the computer? Last time, you clean the
\Temp folders of all files not currently in use?
Last time you ran Disk Cleanup? Last time you ran a complete Chkdsk?
Last time you defrag the operating system's partition?

More memory will speed up Maintenance of the computer. Gives it more
memory to play in.
 
P

Patrick Keenan

George said:
I'm exploring purchasing more RAM for PC, which is running slower and
slower. I have 512MB, and would like to double this to get to 1GB. I'm
using a Dell Dimension 8250 PC, 3 years old,
Pentium 4 , 2.53GHz processor, and 533MHz FSB. Current RAM on is.. 512MB,
PC1066 RDRAM, DIM, 2x256.

Will the new memory really speed up PC a lot? a little? (About
everything seems sluggish, some things really slow.) I do have lots of
things running in background (and like to keep most). Plus, I like to
have several things open at once... Outlook, IE6, sometimes Word, maybe
Excel.

Is this pushing the PC too much and a good reason to go to 1GB. Or would
this be a "light load" that the existing 512MB should handle easily, and
maybe I need to just clean up?

Thanks for any suggestions,
George

You may not need to add RAM, and since your system uses RDRAM, which can be
rather more expensive than other types of RAM, you probably want to avoid it
if you can.

You should look at the other processes running more or less in the
background and see what you can reduce there before adding memory.

Adding RAM will not speed up the system except in that it will reduce the
amount of time taken by using the swap files. It won't speed up processing
per se, especially if what's running is distracting the processor's
attention. 512 is plenty for most use.

HTH
-pk
 
G

Gerry Cornell

George

Another angle is to examine the extent to which the system uses
the page file.

Another small utility to monitor pagefile usage:
http://www.dougknox.com/xp/utils/xp_pagefilemon.htm

However, graphics and camera related programmes will bump
up page file usage.

--

Hope this helps.

Gerry
~~~~
FCA
Stourport, England

Enquire, plan and execute
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
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K

Ken Blake, MVP

George said:
I'm exploring purchasing more RAM for PC, which is running slower and
slower. I have 512MB, and would like to double this to get to 1GB. I'm
using a Dell Dimension 8250 PC, 3 years old,
Pentium 4 , 2.53GHz processor, and 533MHz FSB. Current RAM on is..
512MB, PC1066 RDRAM, DIM, 2x256.

Will the new memory really speed up PC a lot? a little?


Nobody can tell you precisely, but my guess is that it won't speed it up at
*all*.

It's an often-repeated misstatement that adding RAM is the best thing you
can do for your computer and the more you have the better. This is *not*
true. It was only true for those people who had very little RAM, like 128MB.
But these days, when larger amounts of RAM is more common (like your 512MB),
it's applicable to fewer and fewer people.

How much RAM you need for good performance is *not* a one-size-fits-all
situation. You get good performance if the amount of RAM you have keeps you
from using the page file, and that depends on what apps you run. Most people
running a typical range of business applications find that somewhere around
256-384MB works well, others need 512MB. Almost anyone will see poor
performance with less than 256MB. Some people, particularly those doing
things like editing large photographic images, can see a performance boost
by adding even more than 512MB--sometimes much more.

If you are currently using the page file significantly, more memory will
decrease or eliminate that usage, and improve your performance. If you are
not using the page file significantly, more memory will do nothing for you.
Go to http://billsway.com/notes_public/winxp_tweaks/ and download
WinXP-2K_Pagefile.zip and monitor your pagefile usage. That should give you
a good idea of whether more memory can help, and if so, how much more.

(About
everything seems sluggish, some things really slow.) I do have lots
of things running in background (and like to keep most). Plus, I
like to have several things open at once... Outlook, IE6, sometimes
Word, maybe Excel.
Is this pushing the PC too much and a good reason to go to 1GB.


Much more important than simply what apps are open is what apps are in
active use. The reason is that an inactive app quickly gets paged out and
stays there in the page file until you use it again. It's not *having* it in
the page file that hurts your performance, it's constantly moving it in and
out of the pagefile (which happens at the relatively-slow mechanical speeds
of the hard drive). I can't tell your usage patterns from what you say, so I
can't say for sure, but I don't see anything in the above that cries out to
me that you need more than 512MB. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if you
saw no degradation in performance if you had only 384MB, or maybe even
256MB.

Or
would this be a "light load" that the existing 512MB should handle
easily,


Again, it's hard to be sure, but that would be my guess.

and maybe I need to just clean up?


Yes. I would certainly do that before adding RAM. You say your computer is
"running slower and slower." That certainly doesn't suggest that you need
more RAM. If you did, it would have been running slowly from the beginning.

The single most common thing these days that accounts for what you're
describing is malware infestation. I recommend that you go to Malke's
Malware Removal site at
http://www.elephantboycomputers.com/page2.html#Removing_Malware and follow
the instructions there.
 

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