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Upgrade memory? or add another hard drive?

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July 3, 2010 3:44:31 PM

hi. i was wondering what could help me speed up my pc for games. actually, i have 1 hard drive which has a space of 80gb, yes, half the space of an ipod video. lol. it was on a partition (am i using the term right?). now, im running out of space. i only have 10gb on my local c and 2gb on my d. i have a 2gb ram ddr2.

i just want to be advised on which one should i upgrade 1st. is it time for me to add another hard drive? or a should just stick on adding another 1gb memory. thanks:) 

btw, my mobo is an ASUS P5KPL-AM SE :D 
a b G Storage
July 3, 2010 4:17:48 PM

If you were at 1GB of ram I would say upgrade the ram, but at 2gb (most games dont utilize above 2gb) you are best served to upgrade your storage space. However this will not speed your computer up. For preformace increases the CPU/Memory are the two places to look first. followed by video. Upgrading the video will improve the gaming experience, but to different degrees with different games, whereas upgrading a CPU or Memory is an overall performace booster.

Depending on what your video configuration is and what "types" of games you play will also be a factor in this consideration. With your motherboard you have several upgrade options available to you. With a budget of say $500, you can probably upgrade to a new video card, new hard drive and more memory. Sounds to me like your really need some more storage (or do a thorough house cleaning). A new hard drive will also provide you with alternative backup solutions. Hopefully you have some form of backup already though.

Assuming that you are using the built in video processor on the motherboard, upgrading to a new video card will have the additional benefit of freeing up memory that was previously reserved for the onboard video.

If you can get by without adding additional storage, then upgrading to a new video card would be advisable. Of course with a new video card comes better performance and ultimately newer games (well, new for you anyway) and they all require additional storage space.
July 3, 2010 4:22:58 PM

right now, i have my palit 9500gt 512mb. i already oced it. but assassins creed 2 demands too much lol. well, i just thought that adding another 1gb or another hard drive would improve the performance of the game.
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a b G Storage
July 3, 2010 4:27:35 PM

In this case going to 4 GB may improve the situation, but it is more likely that the CPU is the bottleneck.
July 3, 2010 4:31:46 PM

so 2gb - 3gb ram doesn't change anything? my processor is an intel dual core e6300 2.8ghz. some says that i can oc it with just my stock cooler. but i think it's too risky that's why i was just planning on adding up a little on my memory sticks to fill in the gaps of my cpu (well, if my cpu was really the issue).

i was also planning on adding another 2gb ram instead of just 1gb. but i according to some forums, 4gb is not merely recognized by windows xp. instead, the excess 1gb was somehow "hidden" which makes my memory to be in 3gb at its max.
a b G Storage
July 3, 2010 4:47:25 PM

Yes that is true, you will probably only show 3.5GB of ram with the 32bit OS, but with the way memory is priced and to be consistent with the existing dual channel setup you would typically just buy another 2GB or even purchase 2 pieces of 2GB new as it is possible that may be the most cost effective option depending on the type of memory you are going to use. Obviously you will want to buy the fastest memory available for your motherboard, which may mean tossing your old memory. You may think you are saving money by trying to match existing memory, but my experience has been compatibility issues and other headaches when doing this, all for very meager savings.

Here is an article that explains the 4GB address space issue.
http://members.cox.net/slatteryt/RAM.html
July 3, 2010 4:52:25 PM

yes. somebody did advised me to get another pair and toss my old one. right now, i have an apacer 2gb memory. can i know the difference of the brands. the dude was tellin me i should get a kingston or a transcend instead.
a b G Storage
July 3, 2010 5:26:32 PM

There are lots of good brands, it looks like your motherboard only has 2 DIMM slots anyway, so you would have to get 2x2GB. I can't find the SE version of your board, but the P5KPL-AM says its supports DDR2 800 and 1066(OC). Either way you are looking at about $100. I like Kingston, OCZ, Corsair or Geil. Since both are the same price, I would try the 1066 and see if it works, seems to need the board to be overclocked or something so I guess you would have to do some reading. Otherwise just get the 800 (PC2 6400)

Check out www.newegg.com
July 3, 2010 5:31:04 PM

oh alright. the mobo can be overclocked? i dont know that to be honest. if i would buy a 2gb kingston then replace my other stick later, can i use 2 different brands? i mean , this is just for the meantime. until i have the money to buy another ram.
a b G Storage
July 3, 2010 5:43:55 PM

If you currently have a single DIMM (means you are running single channel and you will want to verify this visually) you can add another DIMM as long as it matches the existing one "in every way". Frequency, voltage, timings, single sided/double sided, number of chips. Its always a crap shoot, but if everything matches it should be ok. The problem will be finding a match. You can download and run an app called Everest that will give you all the memory details. Use this in conjunction with a visual inspection of the DIMM and you should be ok.
a b } Memory
a b G Storage
July 3, 2010 6:44:12 PM

Adding another couple of gigs memory will surely make games feel more smoother.. i.e. if you've space for installing games.. Get another hard drive.. If the current 80 GB hard drive is SATA, you may use it as system drive and install apps and other stuff on the new drive..

P.S. - Memory sticks can be frequency mismatched in which case, they will run at the speed of the lower frequency RAM.. However, you cannot combine different DDR technologies..
July 4, 2010 6:03:37 AM

@canadian: so brands doesn't matter eh? how will i know if my current stick with the other one that i'll buy? is there any app to do some comparing? or i should just google the specs of the sticks that i will buy?

@emperus: what do you mean with i cant combine diff. DDR technologies?

--edited--

ok, i checked my mobo earlier and found 2 SATA slots. i don't know but both of them are already unavailable. if my guess is right, i think the 1st cable was plugged on my hard drive and the other one was plugged on my CD/DVD. does it mean that i should just replace my hard drive instead of adding another?

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a b G Storage
July 4, 2010 7:45:05 PM
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I didn't say brand doesn't matter now did I? You need to re-read my above post.

DDR and DDR2 have different slots. Therefore are incompatible.

If you can move your DVD to the IDE header (PATA) that would free up your second SATA and allow for another hard drive.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_ATA (40 pin ribbon cable)

If you cant do that you can buy an inexpensive PCI-E x1 SATA card (assuming you dont already have something else installed in your motherboards PCI-E X1 slot. Usually around $20 or so.



July 4, 2010 8:56:48 PM

oh. sorry, my bad. i've checked the specs thru pc wizard and googled a kingston 2gb. i guess they fit for each other (i still have to do some re-checking on that). but while i was checkin thru pc wizard, i saw this:

Type : DDR2-SDRAM PC2-6400 (399 MHz) - [DDR2-800]

does this one says that my stick was n Apacer 2gb 800mhz?

about adding an addiditonal hard drive, i saw on google some PCI-E x1 SATA cards. thanks bout that buddy :) . i'm also planning to buy a SATA power cable, coz there were no other power cables available for my new hard drive. does the other end of this cable normally comes with a molex? coz i was browsin pictures of this one and all of them (i think) have a front end for the drive and the other is a molex?

thanks.
a b G Storage
July 4, 2010 9:35:18 PM

If you dont have an available SATA power connnector then you will have to run an adapter off whatever you happen to have available. If nothing is available, you will need a splitter. Hopefully your power supply is beefy enough to handle the upgrades.

PC2-6400 is an I/O Bus of 400Mhz, 800 MT/sec and a peak transfer rate of 6400 MB/sec.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDR2_SDRAM

Download and install Everest, it will give you the timings etc as well. Or check your system BIOS memory config, or look up the specs for your exisiting memory if you know the exact make/model.

Personally, I would just buy a matched pair kit, such as..
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Dont bother with rebates, you'll never see them (very rarely anyway) and for the extra money vs buying a single 2GB module, its worth not having the headaches of possible incompatible dimms. Take my word for it.

Also, one final thing. Test your existing memory module in the other slot on your motherboard. I have had bad DIMM slots ruin memory upgrades before, so make sure they are both working.

July 5, 2010 6:05:26 AM

now i know where to buy those cables and PCI SATA card (whew, at last!).
ok, i have a 500w power supply. would that be enough to support another hard drive?

i'm planning to buy a seagate barracuda 250gb 7200rpm.

yeah, i saw those OCZs on the price list from a store. too bad i can't find a 2x2gb kit here (Philippines). well if i would buy that one, one stick would cost for about $63 (as of today P1.00 = $46.42).
a b } Memory
a b G Storage
July 5, 2010 4:22:27 PM

Current hard drives feature a very low power usage architecture, typically between 8W - 10W at max.. Your PSU should've no problems handling them.. But I'll recommend you to get a 500GB Seagate Baracuda 7200.12.. It is perhaps the fastest mainstream 500GB hard drive..
July 5, 2010 10:01:42 PM

hmm. what's the difference of a 250gb to a 500gb when it comes to speed? do they affect the game's performance?
a b } Memory
a b G Storage
July 5, 2010 10:53:33 PM

ejcelis said:
hmm. what's the difference of a 250gb to a 500gb when it comes to speed? do they affect the game's performance?


No they don't IMO.. If this makes any differrence, my current gaming system with an old Hitachi 250 GB SATA reports a 5.5 on WEI whereas my friends 500 GB Seagate Baracuda 7200.12 reports a 5.9.. We both have Win 7 64 bit installed..
a b G Storage
July 5, 2010 11:12:12 PM

A big performance difference aross drives is the cache size. In the case of the Seagates for example, going with the 500GB drive will get you a drive with a 32MB cache vs 16MB cache on the 250GB.

Newer, and large capacity drives generally have large caches. I have noticed that most of the largest SATA 2 and SATA 3 (6GB/s) drives have huge 64MB caches. \

Performance arguments between SATA2 and SATA3 not withstanding, there is something to be said about the larger caches. Since SATA2 and 3 are cross compatible and the prices are similar, well, who knows. Also the larger capacity (newer) drives tend to use aggressive predictive algorithims to improve performance. So I guess my point is that with larger capacity drives come larger caches and faster technology, but it is a generalization at its root.
July 6, 2010 2:16:17 PM

i got a problem. lol. my VGA fan was too big, it reaches to the PCI SATA card slot. well, not merely that close, maybe they have a distance of 3-5mm. not sure actually.

can i still add a driver there? even though it was close to my GPU fan? if not, how can i put my CD/DVD cable into a IDE slot? i know i'm asking too much, but can you please post some pictures. or uhm, is there any converters from SATA to IDE?
a b G Storage
July 7, 2010 3:12:08 AM

The IDE connector is in the lower left side of the above motherboard picture. If your DVD drive is capable of being connected with an IDE cable then thats where you connect it. Yuo will need a sufficiently long enough cable to reach. If your DVD is SATA only, then you need to add in an extra SATA card in the PCIe 1x slot (little white one in the picture above)

Thats the problem with these budget/compact motherbards, limited expansion. Without seeing pictures of the inside of your PC it impossible to tell what can go where.
July 7, 2010 10:28:05 AM

what will happen if my PCIe SATA card gets close to my GPU fan? does the heat of the SATA card transfers to my GPU? coz i was checkin it a couple of times, and i think the tip of the fan guard reaches the slot. well, to be sure, i can check it through a ruler. lol.

i found a UDMA 66/100 IDE cable on the SRP list of a retailer here. so which one of this two is that? coz i googled it but 2 kinds were appearing.

http://media.ldlc.com/ld/products/00/00/40/97/LD0000409...

http://www.apmfrance.com/upload/photos/510018.jpg

is there any difference between the two of them?

oh and btw, i saw this one n the list:

160gb Seagate SATA (IDE – 2500)

why does the name includes a (IDE – 2500)?
is that one different from the usual SATA hard drive?

thanks:) 
a b G Storage
July 7, 2010 3:22:04 PM

The second link is the more typical cable, some manufacturer bind the ribbon into a cord (as in the first link) to facilitate better airflow and reduce obstructions. Just go into any local computer tech shop and ask for an IDE cable, they will have boxes of them laying around. If you want to bind the cable you can do so yourself with an exacto knife and twist ties. (have to have good hand eye coordination tho ;-)

Most SATA add on card are fairly short, I can't tell you if it will interfere without seeing the inside of your case.

IDE is synonymous with PATA (parallel) and uses a 40 pin ribbon cable and is installed in a Master/Slave relationship on either a Primary or Secondary IDE channel. Each IDE channel will support 2 devices. In your situation, you have one channel (2 device max). IDE device use a 4 pin molex power cable.

SATA is (serial) and each SATA port on a motherboard supports one SATA device and uses a 7 pin SATA data cable and a 15 pin SATA power cable. In you case looks like two SATA ports, therefore 2 devices (unless you install a port multiplier or additional SATA host adapter).

I have no idea what that vendor is implying with IDE-2500, doesn't make any sense, unless they mean the drive is also available in IDE, but who knows what they mean by 2500? SATA and PATA (IDE) are not interchangeable. A simple analogy is like how we used to connect modems to the serial ports (com ports) on the back of our computers and printers to the parallel ports (LPT ports), different connectors altogether. Hopefully that doesn't confuse the issue further, lol.
a b } Memory
a b G Storage
July 7, 2010 10:36:24 PM

ejcelis said:
yeah, the fan guard is really near on that small slot. but i found this another PCI SATA card and this one really confuse me.

http://www.cdrking.com/?mod=products&type=view&sid=2286...

is this one was the PCI SATA card we were talking about?


Yes, its a PCI SATA card using a PCI interface..

ejcelis said:
coz the first one i saw was this type:

http://img.alibaba.com/photo/224866212/PCI_ESATA_Card_P...

if my first link was right, i will really rush on a retailer nearby and buy that one. lol. XD


This one uses a pci express x1 interface..
July 7, 2010 11:43:10 PM

do they differ in terms of speed?
a b } Memory
a b G Storage
July 8, 2010 12:30:12 AM

ejcelis said:
do they differ in terms of speed?


Not really.. The PCI express interface offers a better bandwidth though..
July 8, 2010 3:27:59 AM

uhm what's a bandwidth? does it affect the loading of the programs?
July 8, 2010 1:41:45 PM

ok i bought PCI SATA/IDE card. then i connected my CD/DVD drive there to see if it works fine and to free the SATA slot near the panel of my hard drive.

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s223/xeroblade023/10...

so there, my GPU was the one with a big blue fan, under it was the PCI SATA/IDE card. on the other side of my rig, you can see my hard drive and above it was my CD/DVD drive.

now the other SATA slot on my mobo is free to use. so how was that? did i make everything right? (sorry for my bad english XD)

what about the performance? will my PCI SATA/IDE card affect the speed of my CD/DVD drive? will it run slower? or still the same?

thanks:) 

ps: sorry for my dirty rig. lol

a b G Storage
July 8, 2010 2:59:18 PM

Looks very good. The PCI SATA was a good choice to give the GPU fan required clearance.

Lots of room fo another hard drive and I noticed your single 2GB piece of RAM.

No the PCI SATA card has lots of bandwidth for your CD/DVD drive, dont worry about it. As long as everything works you are in good shape.

Job well done.

July 8, 2010 3:31:13 PM

thank you guys. now all i need is a decent hard drive.

i've read on forums bout the Master Drive and the Slave Drive. so how do i set the Master and the Slave drive?

and i've watched on youtube on how to install the hard drive. after connecting the SATA and the power cable, is there any setup on boot that my hard drive has to undergo? or once i already plugged everything, it's done?
a b G Storage
July 8, 2010 3:51:49 PM

SATA drives don't have Master/Slave settings. Just plug it in.
Once its installed, you will need to format it. You can do this through the disk management plugin.

Start-Run and enter "diskmgmt.msc" (without the quotes). You should see your drives. From there you can partition and format the drive however you wish.
July 8, 2010 8:32:13 PM

after formatting a hard drive, i just have to restart my computer and that's it? or i don't have to do any restarting anymore?
a b } Memory
a b G Storage
July 8, 2010 10:18:56 PM

ejcelis said:
after formatting a hard drive, i just have to restart my computer and that's it? or i don't have to do any restarting anymore?


The OS will prompt you if a restart is required.. Generally, there is no restart requirement..
July 9, 2010 3:54:59 AM

so i just have to plug it, then format using diskmgmt.msc and it's done. i just need a hard drive lol. thanks anyway guys.

thanks alot:) 
July 19, 2010 6:08:11 AM

Best answer selected by ejcelis.
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