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Can off-board video card speed up low-RAM system?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 29, 2010 2:29:41 PM

Hello,

I want to speed up my wife's old Win XP box a bit.

It's an older Dell Optiplex GX270 slimline. She uses it solely for web browsing and office apps; no gaming. The RAM is Maxed Out at 512MB RAM, and it uses onboard video.

Am I correct in thinking that the onboard video "borrows" some of the system RAM in order to function? (If so, then she's actually operating with LESS than 512MB of RAM. Yikes.)

And if THAT'S the case, then isn't lack of RAM (and resultant over-reliance on the swapfile) the performance bottleneck?

And if lack of RAM is the bottleneck, then could I improve her performance by installing a separate display adapter card (with its own RAM, thus no longer relying on system RAM?).

Or is the bottleneck really just processor & bus speed (it's a 2.6 GHz Pentium 4)...in which case, even giving it "back" some of the system RAM by using a display adapter won't make much difference?
June 2, 2010 8:51:48 PM

Onboard video cards don't "borrow ram" from the existing ram, it has its own. For example I know that the onboard video on my Mobo has 96mb of dedicated Vram. There is a big difference between the two.
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June 2, 2010 9:38:42 PM

It should be cheaper to get new RAM, even just double it to 1gb would see a pretty significant performance boost. A video card would make an impercetpible performance change for general web browsing type stuff.
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