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Memory upgrade question...

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May 6, 2007 4:10:09 PM

Hey all... here are my specs:

Dell Dimension 8400
P4 3.2GHz (stock mobo)
1GB RAM
stock PSU (450-watt, I believe)
Sapphire ATI X1950XT 256MB graphics card
Power Express dedicated gfx PSU (installed in a drive bay)
Hauppauge PCI WinTV Tuner card
60 GB internal HDD (again stock)
2 external LaCie HDDs - 500GB USB2 and 150GB firewire

I want to rip out the two 512MB RAM chips that shipped with the PC and replace them with 4 1GB chips to max out my memory. This mobo uses 240-pin DDR2 533MHz chips.

What I don't know is what this will do for me. Will I see a significant difference in overall performance between a 2GB upgrade and 4GB upgrade. I do a good amount of gaming with my computer (currently playing Supreme Commander and Company of Heroes; can't run S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and would like to eventually run Crysis) and I also use the TV tuner card as a DVR (through Media Center). Plus the usual productivity and Internet browsing.

If I've been reading around in the FAQs and other forums correctly, it seems my CPU is old enough to be a problem. Will I be able to play games at higher video settings/run previously unplayable games with the added memory, or will the bottleneck caused by my CPU prevent that? I'd also like to see my PC run a bit more smoothly in general. Is 4GB overkill? Thanks in advance for any advice.
May 6, 2007 7:02:45 PM

You're NOT going to see a difference between 2GB and 4GB.

If u already have 2 x 512MB and have only 2 slots, consider not buying anything else because ur not going to see a huge difference between 1GB and 2GB either and it would be a waste of money.
May 6, 2007 7:29:02 PM

Thanks for the quick response! I'm pretty sure my mobo has 4 DIMM slots, not two. Is it worth it to toss a pair of 512MB chips in the empty two slots? Improved game performance would be great, but an overall speed improvement would be nice as well. Thanks agian.
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May 6, 2007 7:40:01 PM

1 GB should be plenty for most current games. Also, due to limitations with 32-bit Windows XP/Vista, the maximum amount of memory usable in your system under those OSs is probably somewhere around 3GB.

However, having 2GB *will* make Windows XP more responsive and is pretty much a necessity if you upgrade to Vista.

I'm afraid you'll need a more substantial upgrade to a decent dual-core CPU and 8800 or better graphics card to see any meaningful boost in game performance.
May 6, 2007 8:23:18 PM

Quote:
Thanks for the quick response! I'm pretty sure my mobo has 4 DIMM slots, not two. Is it worth it to toss a pair of 512MB chips in the empty two slots? Improved game performance would be great, but an overall speed improvement would be nice as well. Thanks agian.


You have an X1950XT and u want a speed improvement?

Maybe u should spend some time with my FX 5200 and appriciate what u have :wink:

But yeh, if u want, get another 2 sticks of 512MB.. thats the only thing that u CAN do.
May 6, 2007 8:24:23 PM

Quote:

However, having 2GB *will* make Windows XP more responsive


Actually thats not true.

I see no difference at all between 512MB and 1024MB in Windows XP when not gaming. Even when using Photoshop or video editing software.
May 6, 2007 9:02:38 PM

Quote:
Thanks for the quick response! I'm pretty sure my mobo has 4 DIMM slots, not two. Is it worth it to toss a pair of 512MB chips in the empty two slots? Improved game performance would be great, but an overall speed improvement would be nice as well. Thanks agian.


You have an X1950XT and u want a speed improvement?

Maybe u should spend some time with my FX 5200 and appriciate what u have :wink:

But yeh, if u want, get another 2 sticks of 512MB.. thats the only thing that u CAN do.

heheheh... don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I upgraded to the X1950XT a few months ago from a Radeon X300 (not even SE!) which I'd had since getting the computer in early '06; the difference was astounding. And you don't want to know what I had before that. It's all about the never-ending search for better hardware, faster performance and cooler eye candy. Thanks again for the advice... it's much appreciated.
May 6, 2007 10:14:29 PM

I have a Dell 8400 with 3 GB of memory (2x512MB and 2x1GB)

Since memory is so cheap, and if you plan to keep system for another year, I would suggest adding another GB of RAM - I think you will see some improvement in speed on memory intensive applications and when multi-tasking. I am not sure I get any added advantage from the last gig.

BTW - the stock PSU on the 8400 is 350w
May 6, 2007 10:25:44 PM

Quote:
...
I see no difference at all between 512MB and 1024MB in Windows XP when not gaming. ....

Yes, I didn't phrase that as clearly as I might have. The difference isn't so much *within* a given app, but rather shows up as faster switching between multiple apps, especially when dealing with large data sets. That's what I was trying to get at when I said that *Windows XP* would be more responsive.
May 7, 2007 8:09:16 AM

Quote:
...
I see no difference at all between 512MB and 1024MB in Windows XP when not gaming. ....

Yes, I didn't phrase that as clearly as I might have. The difference isn't so much *within* a given app, but rather shows up as faster switching between multiple apps, especially when dealing with large data sets. That's what I was trying to get at when I said that *Windows XP* would be more responsive.

Fair enough.

But i must add that i dont see the need for anything above 512MB even when using multiple apps at the same time.
Infact, i see absolutely no difference whatsoever between 512MB and 1024MB.. its actually quite wierd.
May 7, 2007 11:40:04 PM

You're being too easy on your computer! :wink:
!