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Best upgrade for struggling office pc

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October 1, 2009 3:18:19 PM

I work in an office with some fairly outdated pc's - for example I'm using a 2GHz Pentium 4 with 512mb of DDR RAM. I've been asked to upgrade these (about 5 pc's) as cheaply as possible. My first instinct is to upgrade to 1GB of RAM - or should I spend the extra and put in a 1GB stick with the exisitng 512MB? (Usually have Word, Outlook, Adobe, Zonealarm, Spybot S&D, AVG, Ad-aware & IE running for the majority of the day - my current usage is about 800mb of RAM with only 512MB installed)
a b B Homebuilt system
October 1, 2009 3:34:35 PM

A good option could be 1GB and other 512MB. 2GB in total.
October 1, 2009 3:42:13 PM

Cost is a definite factor here, I find DDR twice the price of DDR2 which is a pain as I've only 1 DDR2 machine.

I use Ebuyer by default - 512 is around £13 & 1gb £23 - Do you think the benefits of 1.5GB over 1GB will be noticeable and do you think 2GB would be used, given my current usage (Task Manager/Performance) of 800MB.

P.S. XP Machine on a network.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 1, 2009 3:58:45 PM

2GB would be necesary, specially if you are using IE7 or IE8. Also, with 2GB you can increase the virtual memory, this help to the performance of the system, and to future, you can add more programs without problems.
October 1, 2009 4:10:03 PM

Excellent, thank you - I'll have to speak with the Boss tomorrow but I'm sure I can reason my way to upgrading to 1.5GB or possibly more. However I think I may have shot myself in the foot by telling them £15-20 per machine before.

Do you stick to any specific brands - OCZ, Kingston & Crucial I'm familier with, I've looked at product reviews and unbranded or extra value products seem to be the only ones that DOA or have significant issues that arn't likely compatibility.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 1, 2009 4:19:12 PM

Just to let you know, I just did something similar with an old Dell machine. It had only 256 amazingly, and so I purchased a 1gb stick to go with it. I don't know if you are working with a manufacturer's or not, but I found that even though I bought a slightly higher speed RAM (for the 1gb) the bios capped it out at the slower speed of the 256, so I ended up using both sticks, for a total of 1.25 gb. That increase was amazing. I would recommend just using the 512 already in there and drop in a 1gb for each. The increased RAM will make a huge difference.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 1, 2009 4:19:51 PM

What brand do you have at this moment?, buy the same brand.

Crucial and OCZ are the best, kingston is the most used for office systems, and the more cheap, but is good too.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 1, 2009 4:22:32 PM

saint19 said:
What brand do you have at this moment?, buy the same brand.

Crucial and OCZ are the best, kingston is the most used for office systems, and the more cheap, but is good too.


I would recommend buying the same brand, but it isn't required, particularly if it is not dual channel - with the one I upgraded it wasn't, so it doesn't really matter, and I wasn't going to spend $65-70 USD for Dell's RAM, so I just went and got the cheapest I could.

There is no requirement for you to get the same brand RAM for the upgrade, and if price is an issue, then I wouldn't fret about it too much.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 1, 2009 4:28:30 PM

^I not recomend the same brand for dual channel, I recomend this 'cause we know that works fine with the PC and the configuration of this.

Obviously, the kingston could be the more cheap of the options.
October 2, 2009 8:59:36 AM

Thanks for the help guys, have actually got two Dell's on the list to upgrade - I don't know what brands are in the pc's already and it would be time consuming to find out as I've got my regular jobs to do aswell; it just so happens I'm into building pc's.

Only one or two pc's are actually Dual Channel compatable, so that's not a huge concern of mine. I was aware that you can only run RAM as fast as the slowest card, I'll probably be buying slightly higher spec cards (PC 3200, rather than PC 2700) and downgrade them if need be - better safe than sorry.

I have one pc which has 512mb DDR PC 2100 installed; so I may just replace this with a faster 1GB card instead of having 1.5GB running at a slower speed, good idea?
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
October 2, 2009 10:01:32 AM

Assuming you are running windows xp then a total of 1 gig is enough , and two gig is a little better . Adding an extra 1 gig stick to each computer seems very reasonable .

BUT

there are potential snags

The motherboard lots may not support large capacity DIMMS . Older motherboards might not be capable of running 1 gig sticks in a slot and you may be hunting for additional 512 mb sticks .You need to check the maximum installed ram [ and divide by slots ]

Id probably pull ram from one machine and add it to another so you can see what it will be like with one gig

And are you absolutely sure is DDR ram ? Early socket 478 pentium 4's used RAMBUS memory that was wickedly fast but absurdly expensive
October 2, 2009 10:36:14 AM

Outlander:

Thanks for the advice - I have 2 machines that have 2 slots with a max of 2GB, 2 Machines with 4 slots with a max of 4GB: However I have one machine that has a max of 2GB with 3 slots - do you think this will accept a one gig stick??

I beleive all but one machine is operating DDR - I used Crucial System Scan to find out what I needed; If it's expensive I doubt I'd have it here tbh.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 2, 2009 12:57:19 PM

Just a note about "downgrading" a faster stick of ram. You won't have to do it, as that bios will configure that automatically. Also, in terms of dropping in a single faster 1 gig stick over a slower 1.5gig combo, you may run into a problem (but not a serious one). When I upgraded the dell, i dropped in only the higher speed 1 gig, just like you were thinking at first, and it still dropped it to the slower speed, which pissed me off. So i ended up using the full 1.25 for my system. I would recommend using the higher single 1 gig at first, but check the bios, and if its a dell and you can't change timings and such in the bios, you may be SOL, and then just drop in the extra .5gig.

Did that make sense?
a b B Homebuilt system
October 2, 2009 1:49:42 PM

deviledeggs said:
Outlander:

Thanks for the advice - I have 2 machines that have 2 slots with a max of 2GB, 2 Machines with 4 slots with a max of 4GB: However I have one machine that has a max of 2GB with 3 slots - do you think this will accept a one gig stick??

I beleive all but one machine is operating DDR - I used Crucial System Scan to find out what I needed; If it's expensive I doubt I'd have it here tbh.



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If you have 2 slot with a max of 2GB, that's mean that a single slot support 1GB, the same for the 4 slots and a max of 4GB.

The other machine that you said with 3 slots and 2GB isn't logic, for do this you need 3 sticks, everyone of 0.66MB ¿? or 2 stick of 512MB and 1 of 1GB. So, if this correct, also support the 1GB stick in the slot, but is better refer to the manual of the mobo to confirm this.

The crucial tool is good, but remember that sometimes crucial is really expensive if your compare with kingston.
October 2, 2009 2:04:16 PM

Yea I got it ta, was kinda aware from building a modern sys of my own - I had to up the speed of RAM after installing faster ones via the BIOS; I've never upgraded a DELL before, but figures they'd lock the BIOS - corporate swine! Untill recently I beleived all the internal connections to be unique to DELL, again for purely comercial reasons.

Either way, it seems DDR is about the same price for the higher speed - I resorted to using Google and found them much cheaper again so it's not a huge concern. I've found OCZ 1GB DDR PC3200 sticks for £11.50 (out of stock) & Kingston Dell Equialent 1GB DDR PC3200 sticks for £15 - I'll just check whether the Boss wants to wait and save a few quid or just get it done (all the pc's in the office are grossly inept and prone to freezing).

Like you say, I can always add/remove the existing 512 sticks to see what works best, so long as they all end up in a machine it's all good.

Just to check tho, SOL = Shoot out of luck?!
a b B Homebuilt system
October 2, 2009 2:07:00 PM

Quote: "Just to check tho, SOL = Shoot out of luck?!"

Yeah, pretty much, but a little more vulgar. Change the "oo" to "i" then you are right there. :D 
a b B Homebuilt system
October 2, 2009 2:11:28 PM

Dell always works with 2700, 3200 or 6400. The kingston is good, and you can put without problems on the Dell, I did in my job.
October 2, 2009 2:14:29 PM

Saint, I thought this was odd to, it was the Crucial scan that told me there were three slots total - I do think it will take a 1GB stick, worst case scenario is that I'll just use some of the other machines 512mb sticks and have one machine 2GB, one machine 1GB and the 3 x 512 sticks in the 3 slot machine. I doubt it will come to this - but I've gotta ensure everything is used and 'no machine is left behind' (haha)
October 2, 2009 2:18:51 PM

I was trying to mind my language lol - this site seems to be taken very seriously (for which I'm eternally grateful!!) didn't wanna be frowned upon.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 2, 2009 2:41:36 PM

deviledeggs said:
I was trying to mind my language lol - this site seems to be taken very seriously (for which I'm eternally grateful!!) didn't wanna be frowned upon.


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I'm gratefull too, and for the langaguage you don't have to worry about, in the forum you not only learn about computers, you can learn english too. jejeje my native language isn't english...is spanish...
October 2, 2009 2:59:09 PM

I did actually have a look, your writing all the way from sunny Bogota arn't you? That's awesome, your english is near perfect - could be forgiven for thinking you just lose focus every now and then!!

I have a Dutch friend who learnt english from video games, near fluent - however he never once learnt how to pronounce 'Continue' as it was never spoken, he just made it up and it was hilarious!!
a b B Homebuilt system
October 2, 2009 4:21:13 PM

^This is a good option to learn, usually the series that I watch have subtitles in english with audio in english too.
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