[UK users] Worth getting 1GB memory or new PC?


P

Paulle

I am in the UK. Is it worth upgrading the memory on my old Packard Bell
desktop or is it wiser to save the money for a new PC?

The PC runs WinXP on AMD 64 3400+, MS-7168 motherboard with ATI XPRESS).
It has two sticks of 512MB memory (DDR PC3200). It's not fast but
generally does the what I want it, which is surfing the web at home.

The motherboard had 4 memory slots so I was thinking of getting a bit of
extra speed from the system by adding 1GB of PC3200 for about £25.

However I just saw the price of a basic PC. Is it worth upgrading my
system or should I put the £25 to a new one like this one for £229 (inc
VAT).

AMD Athlon X2 Dual Core 4850B
2GB DDR2 800Mhz
NVIDIA GeForce 6100 motherboard
250GB 3.5" 7200rpm SATA hard drive
PC is a Novatech Icon (ref: PC-1439)

http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/pc/home/
 
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C

Chris Whelan

I am in the UK. Is it worth upgrading the memory on my old Packard Bell
desktop or is it wiser to save the money for a new PC?

The PC runs WinXP on AMD 64 3400+, MS-7168 motherboard with ATI XPRESS).
It has two sticks of 512MB memory (DDR PC3200). It's not fast but
generally does the what I want it, which is surfing the web at home.

The motherboard had 4 memory slots so I was thinking of getting a bit of
extra speed from the system by adding 1GB of PC3200 for about £25.

However I just saw the price of a basic PC. Is it worth upgrading my
system or should I put the £25 to a new one like this one for £229 (inc
VAT).

AMD Athlon X2 Dual Core 4850B
2GB DDR2 800Mhz
NVIDIA GeForce 6100 motherboard
250GB 3.5" 7200rpm SATA hard drive
PC is a Novatech Icon (ref: PC-1439)

http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/pc/home/

What OS would you be using? Do you have a full install disc for your
existing XP install?

If not, you need to factor in the price of Windows 7, unless you are
intending to run Linux.

IME, unless you are working with very large graphics files, increasing
memory above 1GB will not see a significant improvement in XP.

If the installation is "mature" (ie over a year old!), you would get a
greater performance gain by reinstalling your OS.

Chris
 
M

Man-wai Chang

The PC runs WinXP on AMD 64 3400+, MS-7168 motherboard with ATI XPRESS).
It has two sticks of 512MB memory (DDR PC3200). It's not fast but
generally does the what I want it, which is surfing the web at home.

The motherboard had 4 memory slots so I was thinking of getting a bit of
extra speed from the system by adding 1GB of PC3200 for about £25.

However I just saw the price of a basic PC. Is it worth upgrading my
system or should I put the £25 to a new one like this one for £229 (inc
VAT).

If you have the money, then just spend it. ;)

--
@[email protected] Might, Courage, Vision, SINCERITY.
/ v \ Simplicity is Beauty! May the Force and Farce be with you!
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M

Mike Scott

On 01/10/10 12:46, Chris Whelan wrote:
.....
What OS would you be using? Do you have a full install disc for your
existing XP install?

And does your licence allow it to be transferred anyway?
If not, you need to factor in the price of Windows 7, unless you are
intending to run Linux.

IME, unless you are working with very large graphics files, increasing
memory above 1GB will not see a significant improvement in XP.

If the installation is "mature" (ie over a year old!), you would get a
greater performance gain by reinstalling your OS.

Maybe. The machine my wife uses seemed to have got very sluggish a year
or three back. So I did a full reinstall. Much faster bootup with a
fresh XP - 'great', I thought. And as I installed the various necessary
applications, boot speed dropped, and dropped..... right back to where I
started before the reinstall.

So I'd suggest having a close look at what's running, and scrub
everything you don't need. It's surprising what can be installed and
forgotten, or be installed as part of a package but not be needed. ymmv
of course.

The machine I'm writing this on is an Athlon 2500+. It's a bit short on
memory (all of 750Mb) and the graphics are a bit dated - but otherwise
its fine for audio and photo work. Remember most machines spend most of
their cpu time doing nothing, and a fast cpu won't speed up that slow
web site :-}
 
P

Paul

Paulle said:
I am in the UK. Is it worth upgrading the memory on my old Packard Bell
desktop or is it wiser to save the money for a new PC?

The PC runs WinXP on AMD 64 3400+, MS-7168 motherboard with ATI XPRESS).
It has two sticks of 512MB memory (DDR PC3200). It's not fast but
generally does the what I want it, which is surfing the web at home.

The motherboard had 4 memory slots so I was thinking of getting a bit of
extra speed from the system by adding 1GB of PC3200 for about £25.

However I just saw the price of a basic PC. Is it worth upgrading my
system or should I put the £25 to a new one like this one for £229 (inc
VAT).

AMD Athlon X2 Dual Core 4850B
2GB DDR2 800Mhz
NVIDIA GeForce 6100 motherboard
250GB 3.5" 7200rpm SATA hard drive
PC is a Novatech Icon (ref: PC-1439)

http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/pc/home/

If you use Task Manager, the Commit Charge "Peak" value, is
an estimate of your peak memory usage during a session.

http://www.microsoft.com/library/me...g/moviemaker/expert/jasondunn-ram-figure1.gif

For example, that user, at some time during the working day,
used 613,260 KB. Such a usage, would fit within the confines
of 1GB of physical memory installed. If the "peak" was
larger than 1GB (indicating a lot of swap activity was
needed to achieve that usage), then the user would be
better off to buy a bit more memory.

My peak so far today on my computer, since boot, is
1,334,868 KB and I have 2GB installed. If I'd only
had 1GB of memory installed, there would have been a
bit of "disk grinding", to swap out one program and
make room for the next. My machine would have been
pretty slow, if that had happened.

*******

You can test the hard drive in the computer with HDTune.
This test is read-only, on the free version, so is safe.

http://www.hdtune.com/files/hdtune_255.exe

Run the "benchmark". A modern drive should give a curved
graph, 60MB/sec near the beginning of the disk and 40MB/sec
near the end of the disk. Seeing such a result, indicates
DMA transfer is being used for the data, which is the most
efficient method. Modern disk drives can manage 130MB/sec
near the beginning of the disk, and I have drives here at
60MB/sec, 95MB/sec, and 130MB/sec. This is an example of
a slower one. This is acceptable and indicates DMA is being
used.

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y9/esi-slowboy/HDTune_Benchmark_ST3160812AS.png

What you don't want, is to see a graph, which is a flat line
and about 4-7MB/sec. That indicates you've slipped into PIO
mode, and everything seems slow then. There is a way to
fix that.

*******

The HDTune test, doesn't tell you the fragmentation state of the
file system on each partition on your hard drive. You can
use the built-in defragmenter, to estimate how fragmented
the OS partition is.

Start : Run : dfrg.msc

Select your C: drive, then click "Analyse". The colored
line that results, shows graphically what the fragmentation
looks like. Of more importance, is the "Report". When it's
finished (and it could take a couple minutes), click the Report
button and read out the fragmentation level.

Right now, mine says for C:

Total fragmentation = 4%
File fragmentation = 9$

and most of that fragmentation is in one large file.

I find the built-in defragmenter to be pretty useless, so
I can't really promote its usage. It is slow, and only moves
data around the disk at roughly 1MB/sec. If you have a large
disk, it will take an eternity to move the data around.

Still, if you've never defragmented, and the report shows
high percentages, give it a run overnight. It might not
be finished the next day though. You can stop it at any
time. (I wait until the light stops flashing for the disk
drive, before concluding it has really stopped. Sometimes
it takes ten minutes to come to a full stop.)

I have a recipe to move the data off C:, using another OS,
reformat the C: partition, then put the data back, then do
a "fixboot" with the Recovery console. That way, I get a
nice fresh file system layout, in a fraction of the time
that it takes the defragmenter. But to do that, notice
I mentioned "a second OS". I have both WinXP and Win2K here,
and use Win2K to do maintenance on the WinXP partition.
Still, I like my recipe better than using the built-in
defragmenter. I can "clean house" manually, in about one hour.
On one occasion, the defragmenter took more than eight hours.

*******

There are a number of ways to do an hardware upgrade.

1) Replace S939 3400+ single core, with a S939 dual core.
You might be able to locate one on Ebay for example.
There is some research required, regarding BIOS support,
Vcore power limitations of motherboard and so on.

2) Do a motherboard level upgrade. That changes motherboard, CPU,
and RAM. (Only in limited cases, can the RAM type remain the same.)

The last time I did that, it cost me about $300 CDN. I get to reuse
the computer case, hard drives, CD/DVD, mouse, keyboard, monitor.
This option is most practical if you have a retail Windows installer
CD, so there will be no problem installing the OS on new hardware
(or doing a "Repair Install" if available).

3) Buying a new computer.

Regarding your choice, the £229.00 one with Athlon X2 Dual Core 4850B
looks OK. The Nvidia 6100 graphics, are integrated graphics in the
Northbridge. Inspect the screen when the computer comes in, for
any discoloration or blotches. In the past, a very small percentage
of motherboards had a bad Northbridge (due to Nvidia's ability to
test them). I think the 6100 gives you DX-9 graphics, which is the
latest that WinXP supports.

http://www.nvidia.com/page/gpu_mobo_tech_specs.html

Paul
 
P

Paul

Timothy said:
Paul said:
[......]
I have a recipe to move the data off C:, using another OS,
reformat the C: partition, then put the data back, then do
a "fixboot" with the Recovery console. That way, I get a
nice fresh file system layout, in a fraction of the time
that it takes the defragmenter. But to do that, notice
I mentioned "a second OS". I have both WinXP and Win2K here,
and use Win2K to do maintenance on the WinXP partition.
Still, I like my recipe better than using the built-in
defragmenter. I can "clean house" manually, in about one hour.
On one occasion, the defragmenter took more than eight hours.


Doesn't reformatting the C: partition remove the OS? What
puts the OS back on C:?

*TimDaniels*

I boot with Win2K. Do whatever I want to, where WinXP
is located (because WinXP isn't running). After I do
the "fixboot" (because my recipe doesn't preserve the
partition boot sectors), then I can boot back into WinXP.
That's about the only thing I use Win2K for.

I've bounced WinXP off it's partition about four times now.
I use Robocopy to move the files around. And a spare disk for
temporary storage of the contents of WinXP C: .

It's a manual procedure, and it is a dangerous recipe if you make
a mistake :) Robocopy can erase a partition, if you
type in the command wrong.

Paul
 
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F

Flasherly

I am in the UK. Is it worth upgrading the memory on my old Packard Bell
desktop or is it wiser to save the money for a new PC?

The PC runs WinXP on AMD 64 3400+, MS-7168 motherboard with ATI XPRESS).
It has two sticks of 512MB memory (DDR PC3200). It's not fast but
generally does the what I want it, which is surfing the web at home.

The motherboard had 4 memory slots so I was thinking of getting a bit of
extra speed from the system by adding 1GB of PC3200 for about £25.

However I just saw the price of a basic PC. Is it worth upgrading my
system or should I put the £25 to a new one like this one for £229 (inc
VAT).

AMD Athlon X2 Dual Core 4850B
2GB DDR2 800Mhz
NVIDIA GeForce 6100 motherboard
250GB 3.5" 7200rpm SATA hard drive
PC is a Novatech Icon (ref: PC-1439)

My old 3000 64 runs 1Meg fine. It's not slow for what I do, very
little number crunching and info gathering, and mostly video encoding,
which I did, or when watching, as I mostly do now. Full screen
encodes in lesser standard casings can be a little tough on it,
though. Don't really want another Meg, but if I did, doubt I'd pay
more than $20 (£12?). In real world terms, I'd be surprised beyond
expecting nothing much on 5%, if that, percent program efficiency
returns, short of updating the entire OS for a gaming platform. Worst
case scenario is FireFox, which after sitting here forever reports
back with memory leak the size of a hole in its, because it's an old
buggy version, chewing off half my memory in Task Manager, which it
doesn't know what to do with, anyway, going off like it does into
dodgy crashes;- I'd better click send this quick.

But, I'm probably no less half as bad as all of that. My last two
component assemblies on individual parts lovingly crafted for builds I
bought were two new single cores. Which is fine, too, as long as
nobody asks why I'm such a cheap buggerer.
 
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B

Bug Dout

Man-wai Chang said:
If you have the money, then just spend it. ;)

On what option, nimrod. That's what he was asking.

I'd buy the memory. 50 pounds, $75 USD say, you'd spend several times
that for a decent desktop machine and frankly you've already got one.
In addition to the memory and other serious suggestions in this thread,
consider:

1. Switch to Google Chrome or FireFox 4.x for your browser. They are
both faster than IE. Use AdBlock Plus or equivalent; adverts are not
even loaded, further speeding web browsing.

2. After you add the memory your bottleneck will be disk speed. Solid State
Drives are still expensive. But adding a 2nd drive, and making the two
drives RAID 0 (if your BIOS supports it) is a nice way to get extra
permanent capacity AND a very noticable speed increase.
 

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