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Is it worth the upgrade (PC1066 RDRAM)

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January 17, 2008 12:20:28 PM

Hi all,

I have an (old I know) Dell Dimension 8250 P4 2.4Ghz desktop with 256Meg of PC1066 RDRAM....I have obviosly had it for some time and it still serves me well, although a bit slower than I would like. Is it worth buying a Gig of RAM on ebay to speed her up and if so will I really see a difference. I just bought my wife a new laptop so it is not imperative for me to get a new computer for myself, however, I would like it to be much more speedy for as little money as possible? Your thoughts and input are greatly appreciated.

-Clayton
January 17, 2008 12:56:48 PM

If the mobo accepts it, yes absolutely, it will speed up your machine, especially if you are running 2000 or above. With 256 the system will be paging a lot more, VERY slow compared to physical memory.
January 17, 2008 12:57:05 PM

I'd recommend building yourself a cheap am2 system
you can get a dual core for about $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

a cheap mobo for about $43
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


and 2x1gb of memory for about $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

as long as your case is a mATX form factor you should be fine with these three items. oh, you'll need an OS also. so if you have the OS already this makes for a really cheap upgrade. otherwise you'll need to buy 1 of those which will set you back another 90 or 100 bucks.
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January 17, 2008 1:01:07 PM

Thanks guys.....would the 1 Gig upgrade to what I have be close in speed to the full upgrade SePayne refers to? From what I understand RDRAM is very fast even compared to what is out today, however, I have been out of the building look forr about 10 years.
January 17, 2008 1:25:53 PM

Upgrading your memory will improve your speed but RDRAM is rather expensive and it will cost you about 500 dollars to upgrade to 1 Gig. For 500 dollars you can build yourself a better computer. The computer SePayne refers to would be faster, however i personally would not get a PC Chips mobo.
January 17, 2008 1:28:50 PM

pshrk said:
Upgrading your memory will improve your speed but RDRAM is rather expensive and it will cost you about 500 dollars to upgrade to 1 Gig. For 500 dollars you can build yourself a better computer. The computer SePayne refers to would be faster, however i personally would not get a PC Chips mobo.


good advise on the PC chips mobo. I'd get a better mobo as well, but this is your cheapest option.
January 17, 2008 5:45:31 PM

Ok...thank you for all of the good feed back....so it sounds like it makes sense to get a new mother board. proc(s), and ram....can someone please suggest the best bang for the buck for around $300
January 17, 2008 5:51:26 PM

If your planning on upgrading your mobo you also have to consider your video card and power supply.

What kind of video card do you have? is it AGP or PCIE? do you play games? and do you think your old video card is worth keeping?

Also older power supplies/motherboards have a 20 pin connector and newer power supplies/motherboards have a 24 pin connector. Although, you can usually use a 20 pin connector with a 24 pin mobo as long as you have enough amps.
January 17, 2008 5:54:18 PM

Old video card (just happen to have the original invoice from Dell in my desk) is a GeForce4 MX Graphics 64MB. I hardly every game....but you never know in the future. Also have a newer case (about a year old) that I could use for a new setup if necessary.
January 17, 2008 6:13:27 PM

Hmmm... well if it was me i would upgrade the ram if i could find 1G for cheap possibly used as suggested above.

Otherwise you'll probably have to upgrade just about everything.

Some other things to think about...

Most mobos today come with only 1 IDE connector. I imagine you have 2 IDE cd/dvd drives and at least 1 IDE HDD. So you would most likely not use one of your IDE drives and possibly buy a new SATA drive.

Will your case fit a standard ATX or mATX motherboard? If not then you'd have to buy a new case too so your pretty much building a whole new computer!

Its expensive and kind of a waste of money to buy RDRAM since the other components are rather obsolete, but at the same time in order to upgrade your mobo you have to buy mostly new components so your really stuck between a rock and a hard place :-/
January 17, 2008 6:20:09 PM

OK...so here is the big dumb question....on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the fastest) how wfast would my current system by with 1.256Gig of RAM and in contrast how fast would a new build be if I spent roughly $250 (assuming I have a case and video card that I can get my hands on for free)
January 17, 2008 6:39:44 PM

Didn't see this mentioned yet... just want to make sure you are aware. RDRAM must be installed in pairs. To add an additional GB of RAM to that machine be sure you are buying a matched pair of 512MBs.

A complete upgrade would be a better move, instead of more RAM on that aging machine. It would be hard to do on only $250 though. If possible, bump your upgrade budget to $400-500 and you can do something worthwhile.

-TyShoe
January 17, 2008 6:45:22 PM

Yes, I am aware of the pairs....can grab them on ebay for around $300.....OK....so lets say the budget becomes $400-$500...assuming I have a case and apower supply what would be a suggested system.....I was on top of things when I built my last system but that was 10 years ago.
January 17, 2008 6:51:35 PM

ok honestly i never trust 200bucks computers...i built many of those and most of them fail in a year or so. or at least one part fails.
if you want my advice, spend 800-1000bucks and get a really good pc that will last for some good years...if not then just upgrade the RDRAM, ofcourse assuming u got it for a good price off ebay or so.
but building a $250 pc wont cut it trust me...you will end up changing one part every month..at least.
January 17, 2008 7:00:06 PM

cpu E8400...about $170...excellent cpu, will be released in few days
mobo Asus P5K-E...about $140
Ram corsair 2x1gig PC6400...$50
HDD 250gig...$65
DVD-burner...$30

thats about $450...choose the vidcard u want...maximum $50 since ur not a gamer..and u will have a seriously good pc for $500 only
January 17, 2008 7:18:09 PM

neocortex said:
ok honestly i never trust 200bucks computers...i built many of those and most of them fail in a year or so. or at least one part fails.
if you want my advice, spend 800-1000bucks and get a really good pc that will last for some good years...if not then just upgrade the RDRAM, ofcourse assuming u got it for a good price off ebay or so.
but building a $250 pc wont cut it trust me...you will end up changing one part every month..at least.


I've built two 200 dollar computers and they have been running strong for several years with no problems. It's just alot harder to pick out parts that are both inexpensive and good quality at the same time.

Also i think a $140 mobo and a $170 cpu might be overkill.
January 17, 2008 8:25:38 PM

why overkill? i dont see any cheaper CPUs...well i do but what? 10-20 bucks cheaper? about the mobo i think its a very good one with excellent chipset...sure u could get slower parts but the difference would be $50 or so. dont u think?
January 17, 2008 9:02:35 PM

neocortex said:
why overkill? i dont see any cheaper CPUs...well i do but what? 10-20 bucks cheaper? about the mobo i think its a very good one with excellent chipset...sure u could get slower parts but the difference would be $50 or so. dont u think?



I see an amd CPU for $120 cheaper ($50 total), sure its not as fast as the 8400 but its still a heck of alot better than a 2.4 Pentium 4. The 8400 is a great cpu for the money too, just depends how much power he needs.
January 17, 2008 9:28:16 PM

Biostar AM2+ Mobo - $82

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
AM2+ so it can be upgraded to Phenom and possibly AM3 CPUs as well

2G A-Data memory - $38

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4800+ Brisbane Retail - $85

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair Power Supply - $80

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Zotac 8500GT - $67

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooler Master Centurion Case - $40

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seagate 250GB SATA Hard drive - $70

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Samsung DVD RW - $31

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $493 for a complete system

Thats the same price as two new 512MB sticks (1G) of RDRAM

So unless you can find some used RDRAM for cheap ($100 or less?) i would definitely put my money towards a new much faster more upgradeable computer



January 17, 2008 9:32:46 PM

not trying to start an amd/intel war. If he's not a gamer, and on a budget, he won't see much difference (if any) in athlon64 x2 and core 2 for office apps. I think he needs to just get an inexpensive (great quality) athlon64 x2 setup. it'll be the cheapest solution, and it'll be like 4x faster than his current setup.

He could get by with $300 ($400 with an OS) to upgrade his entire sys new case/power supply and all.

Of course if you don't mind buying dell (shutter) they occasionally have some great deals for their vostro when advertised with a "free" monitor but you have to watch for them (usually a 19in lcd with a pentium dual core for $450 or so). Just make sure to have them configure it with windows xp and upgrade the memory through newegg DO NOT UPGRADE THROUGH DELL B/C THEY WILL RIP YOU OFF.
January 18, 2008 2:47:04 PM

No too add fuel to this fire, but what are the pros and cons between Intel and AMD? Last time I built a system AMD was the slow step child (granted that was 10 years ago).
January 18, 2008 3:37:16 PM

neocortex said:
cpu E8400...about $170...excellent cpu, will be released in few days
mobo Asus P5K-E...about $140
Ram corsair 2x1gig PC6400...$50
HDD 250gig...$65
DVD-burner...$30

thats about $450...choose the vidcard u want...maximum $50 since ur not a gamer..and u will have a seriously good pc for $500 only


I would build this machine.

also.. pshrk's system looks pretty decent, for what you need.
January 18, 2008 4:12:32 PM

sepayne21 said:
I'd recommend building yourself a cheap am2 system
you can get a dual core for about $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

a cheap mobo for about $43
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


and 2x1gb of memory for about $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

as long as your case is a mATX form factor you should be fine with these three items. oh, you'll need an OS also. so if you have the OS already this makes for a really cheap upgrade. otherwise you'll need to buy 1 of those which will set you back another 90 or 100 bucks.


BTW, that "cheap" kingston ram will indeed run at ddr800 very easily too.
I have a stick of that to boot up my system for when I run in to RAM troubles, and it is pretty good stuff for the price.
January 18, 2008 5:02:13 PM

Cabt said:
No too add fuel to this fire, but what are the pros and cons between Intel and AMD? Last time I built a system AMD was the slow step child (granted that was 10 years ago).


LOL! I keep saying that history has repeated itself.

I'll give you a quick brief while you were away.

10 years ago that was true. AMD's cpu's got better and better over the years catching up with Intel. Then at the release of the Athlon 64 series, AMD took the performance lead (~2001) . Intel had nothing that could touch it including your cpu. As a company AMD grew much larger. They held the performance crown untill Intel made a comeback with its Core cpu's (~2006). The role was once again reversed and AMD's cpu's are struggling to keep up with the performance of Intel's cpu's. However especially in the budget area you will see little or no performance difference between them. The Intel cpu being recommemnded to you is a great overclocker that has great performance potential when overclocked. But if overclocking isn't your thing the AMD choice is cheaper and might offer better performance.

As for the question of upgrading your system. Don't! RDRAM is rediculously expensive. Like you said $300 thats insane. I say this everyday on these forums. Don't upgrade unless you feel your computer is slow not because someone else said it is. The second thing I say to the same people is if you are going to upgrade a system running on an absolete platform only upgrade components that can be reused. i.e HDD, PSU, GPU etc.

RAM can normally be reused but not in your case. In 6 months time you will wish you never bought it because that system will still be slow and it has $300 ram in it.

My advice is a full system upgrade. You have the choice to build yourself. People on this forum will help you with the components.
OR
Everyone will hate me for this. But unless your budget increases buying a prebuilt system is cheap. It won't have all the bells and whisltes but who cares you don't play games.

This system uses the Intel cpu which is based on the Core architecture.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883108123

This system has an AMD cpu. It also has 2gb ddr2 and a 320gb harddrive.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

January 18, 2008 5:15:07 PM

gpippas nailed it...

full system upgrade is really the only way to go in your situation...wheather you build or buy a pre cast machine.

January 18, 2008 5:26:55 PM

I was in this situation before with my dimension 8200. I decided to go with the memory upgrade and the increased performance was most certainly noticeable. However, upgrading my ram revealed an obvious bottleneck of my processor. In gaming situations, I would usually use about 60% of my ram before my processor maxed out.

If you hardly ever do any gaming (which is really obvious with that 64mb video card), it might be wiser to just go with 512mb more ram. Assuming your motherboard has 4 slots for ram like mine did, that would put you at 768mb, which should allow you to reach the extent of your processor capability. Easy to check going rates on ebay. 1gb of pc1066 will cost around $250-$300. 512mb will cost around $100-$125.

In the end, upgrading the ram from ebay is not a complete loss, its easy to resell the ram on ebay if you upgrade to a new computer in the near future. Its what I did, and I recouped roughly 90% of what I spent on the ram, with which I paid for half of the cost of the new system I built.
January 18, 2008 5:31:34 PM

That was extremely helpful, thank you. OK...now, although teh prebuilt systems are enticing I would prefer to build something myself if I can stretch teh money for better use. What is recommended to read so that I can quickly get up to speed on what teh different processor names and types are. I appreciate all of the advice thus far but beyond product recommendations I want to know why (ie why is this better than that and will $10, $20, or $50 here or there really make a noticaeble diffrence or not due to teh fact that I am not a gamer). The goal is to build a cheap XP OS based unit that will not put me in a coma while trying to get back up to speed.

Thanks!
January 18, 2008 5:56:08 PM

I don't blame you for wanting to build yourself I would.

Its a bit of a tricky one you have asked there. The quickest and easiest way to get up to speed with modern cpu's is to use Tom's cpu chart. It's not a sustitute for a well written article but it does give you an idea. You can compare to different cpu's with various benchmarks. This will give you a general idea of the performance relative to the naming sceme. Then you can search with google, yahoo etc to find articles and prices on the specific models.

Here's the chart.
http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu_2007.html?modelx=33&model1=873&model2=872&chart=426
If the link doesn't work just go to it from the THG home page.

I think you are right to want to do the research yourself rather than just have recommendations thrown at you. That way you can make the descision yourself. Just to give you another push in the right direction here is a review of the new just released Intel Celeron's which are Intels budget cpu's.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/celeron-e1200.html
January 18, 2008 6:01:46 PM

Thanks Gpippas....again correct me if I'm wrong due to my time in the cave, but when I was in teh game Celeron's were garbage and couldn't hold a candle to other contemporary processors. I would like to put together a good wifi board (ASUS or Gigabyte (if they are still reputable) as that was my preference then) and intel or AMD dual processors.....no here is the really stupid question. Is a duo processor actually 2 processors or just the technology name...dual processors were all teh rage right after I built my last system.
January 18, 2008 6:15:14 PM

Core 2 Duo is just the name, it is 1 processor with 2 cores just like AMD X2
a b } Memory
January 18, 2008 6:23:16 PM

pshrk said:
Upgrading your memory will improve your speed but RDRAM is rather expensive and it will cost you about 500 dollars to upgrade to 1 Gig. For 500 dollars you can build yourself a better computer. The computer SePayne refers to would be faster, however i personally would not get a PC Chips mobo.


Agreed.
January 18, 2008 6:25:17 PM

A few of my thoughts on system building... Im sure others will disagree and have different opinions so take it with a grain of salt.

I buy Intel CPUs when looking for more power/overclocking and AMD cpus when looking for a cheaper build (both are great, not like the old days when AMD was awful i.e. K6 and before). I buy motherboards based on the chipset. I like chipsets such as Nvidia 600 and 700 series chipsets AMD 600 and 700 series chipsets Intel P35 and X38/X48. I stay away from via chipsets because of bad experiences in the past. I try to stay away from older chipsets and sockets because of lack of upgradeability. I stick with brands that have worked well for me in the past like Asus, Abit, Gigabyte, Biostar, and i would buy an MSI and EVGA mobo too. I would stay away from ECS, PC Chips, and probably ASROCK even though ASROCK is owned by Asus. Definitly go with DDR2, DDR3 is way too expensive still.
January 18, 2008 6:43:13 PM

The cave drawings were correct Celerons always were/are garbage. This new one is a much better improvment over the old stuff though with the performance gap being less pronounced as you will see if you read the article.

Duo is just part of the Intel naming sceme for dual core. Dual core cpu's are now considered a standard. They are processors that have 2 cpu's on one die (chip if you like). Dual core processors allow for much better multitasking and can lead a 95% performance increase to a single core identically clocked cpu in multithreaded software, which most modern software is.

Just as dual core was all the rage when you last built quad core is all the rage at the moment. As the name suggests these are 4 cpu's in one chip. Currently there isn't much software that can use all 4 cores so these currently just don't get bogged down with anything, but this performance comes at price to match. Just like with dual core before it the software will catch up and this will eventually become the norm. Intel already has plans for (and an apparently already working) 8 core cpu.

You said you just bought your wife a new laptop I would be very surprised if it didn't have a dual core cpu.

Asus and Gigabyte are still reputable and in my opinion the best.

As an AMD fan I should recommend an AMD cpu but I won't. I can't currently recommend any of the AMD line up except a couple of the bottom of the line cpu's. If I were to build a system today I would build it around an Intel cpu. Currently they have better performance, lower power usage, low prices etc they are just better at the moment.
!