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Should I upgrade CPU or RAM?? Help

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October 17, 2006 5:17:00 PM

I built my parents a system roughly a year ago and heres the specs.

MSI k8n Neo4(7125)
AMD Athlon 3800 @ 2.4ghz
2x512 Kingston HyperX 2-3-2-7
Samsung 160gig sata
ATI x1300 256mb
Samsung dvd/cd-rw
Ultra X-connect 500w psu
Gigabyte 8-bl hsf

OK so my parents were starting to complain that the system seems to be getting slow when multitasking. So I did the basic maintenance stuff, virus/spyware scans. reg. disk cleanup and defrag...etc. That seemed to help a little bit but they still want something a bit faster. I think they want the computer to do things instantly:)  I keep telling them that its not a super computer! SO they asked abotu upgrading and what would make the biggest differance for thier money...etc.

So I have a few questions. I have descided either a ram upgrade for a total of 2gig or a cpu upgrade to a dual core is the best way to go. So what is the best bang for the buck?? What cpu is the best deal right now for socket 939? If i add another 2x512mb or ram should it match the current ram(Kingstion HyperX) or can it be anything?? Any opinions or ideas would be greAt
thanks

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October 17, 2006 5:32:04 PM

What do they use the computer for? Games? Email and web?
Unless they play games they dont need to upgrade. They are just expecting too much. 2 gigs of ram running internet, email, office apps is overkill. Graphics card doesnt even come into play with these.
Now if they play high end graphic games then a new video card would help.

If not then tell them to save their money or just give it to you. :D 
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October 17, 2006 5:51:42 PM

Quote:
What do they use the computer for? Games? Email and web?
Unless they play games they dont need to upgrade. They are just expecting too much. 2 gigs of ram running internet, email, office apps is overkill. Graphics card doesnt even come into play with these.
Now if they play high end graphic games then a new video card would help.

If not then tell them to save their money or just give it to you. :D 


I would have to agree. It could be tat your parents are expecting too much. If anything I would say having more RAM would be the best solution because that should decrease the amount of time swapping data between the physical RAM and the page file.
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October 17, 2006 6:23:56 PM

dude that is a nice pc.. and for your parents unless they are gamers its perfect... just upgrade the ram to 2gbs and tell them that its a pc and it normal to have these types of problems
October 17, 2006 6:42:59 PM

the 4400+ would be the only processor upgrade you should consider if you do processor at all. it has dedicated 1mb L2 cache per core so it will multitask well. here is a newegg link for that: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

with the hardware that is there though you could easily get another gig of ram and overclock, in which case try to get the same ram (usualy the best idea to keep identical ram in the machine), so your lookin at $40-$50 for a nice heatsink such as: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683...
and some more ram at $125: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...
if they still have a problem after overclocking a lil bit and increasing the ram, then send me that box and build them a new one. :-P
October 17, 2006 7:59:38 PM

It's a lot more time consuming than buying a processor but if you have all the installation media and can safely backup their data, you might want to consider reinstalling the OS. If the PC seemed faster in the past, it could be due to all that has happened to it over the year. (installation/uninstallation of apps, especially poorly written ones, things that run in memory all the time like IE toolbars or taskbar programs, etc.) This is especially true if you found anything in your virus/spyware sweep. Even after you clean an infected system it often isn't quite the same afterward. If you don't want to go that far, at least see if there's anything running that they don't need.

1 GB should be plenty of RAM unless they are opening a ton of applications at once. You didn't say what they use if for though so it's hard to say...

Does it seem slow to you? If it doesn't seem that bad, I'd say go with "it's normal". :) 
October 17, 2006 10:06:35 PM

Even the fastest PC on land tends to drag it's feet if the system is heavily affected by viruses and spyware and I bet this is the case with the PC in question. Otherwise, I don't see any other reason why it should seem to be slow. I've got the cheapest possible 939 system; cheap board, RAM and CPU and never regret it except when I have to render, so:
1-give it a thorough checkup for virusware.
2-unistall all the unnecessary, taskbar programs as they use a lot of RAM (typically you can see only the antivirus icon on mine)
3-defragment the harddrive
and yur parents' PC will be like new
October 17, 2006 10:52:48 PM

AMD X2 prices are way down - I just went from 3800 Newcastle to X2 4800 Toledo and it is much faster.
October 17, 2006 11:09:53 PM

The computer doesnt feel that slow to me, I think they may be expecting to much. But a dual core and 2gigs will speed things up and I dont believe it is over kill. The mostly just do basic computer tasks but tend to do a few things at once, MS office, photos, music, web browsing...etc but no games. There was no virus or syware on the computer I checked it with a few differant programs and nothing came up. I can try swapping in my 4200x2 and 2gigs of ram and see how they like that. If that not fast enough for them then I think they are out of luck, your not gonna get much faster that. I have a feeling they will like the computer with the dual core, it definitly makes a big differance in responsiveness when u have lots of programs open at once IMO. Thanks guys/gals
October 17, 2006 11:18:22 PM

They dont have any extra toolbars or anything like that imnstalled on the computer. The only have the programs I installed when I built it for them. Just the basics.
XP pro
MS Office
AVG free
Spycatcher + Adaware
Zone ALarm free
CCleaner
Opera9
Google earth

Thats pretty much it there is barely anything on the computer. They are only using like 10gigs of hard drive space for programs!! The more I think about it the more I think they just expect to much they think since its a nice new computer it should do stuff instantly. To me the computer seems pretty quick and responsive, although my system is a bit faster but not by much. Thanks
October 18, 2006 12:10:34 AM

What Sunder said is correct that is usually the easiest way to get a computer to run faster. I would not buy more RAM unless you are going to replace all of it because the nForce 4 Chipsets are only designed for 3 DDR slots, as strange as it sounds it is true and if you try to run 4 sicks of RAM most likely the RAM will be clocked down to 333 instead of 400. If you do get more RAM you cna try to force it to stay at 400 but you will probably have to relax the timings to get it to work correctly. Anyways the computer as it is should be fine for at least another 2-4 years from what you are saying (assuming nothing goes bad). The only thing in that time might be to change the RAM to 2x 1GB if they want to run Vista.
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