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Need To Upgrade My Computer!

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September 2, 2009 12:57:46 PM

I currently have a Dell Dimension 9100 with the following specifications:

-Processor: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 3.00GHz (2CPUs)
-Memory: 510MB RAM
-Display: Radeon X600 256MB HyperMemory


I'm having trouble running Dawn of War: II which has the following minimum requirements:

# P4 3.2 GHz (single core) or any Dual Core processor
# 1 GB RAM (XP)
# A 128MB Video Card (Shader Model 3) - Nvidia GeForce 6600 GT / ATI X1600, or equivalent


Could anyone advise me on what I need to purchase in order to run the game fairly smoothly on medium settings? I'm not sure what's compatable with my system and so any help is much appreciated :)  .

More about : upgrade computer

September 2, 2009 2:00:40 PM

what is your budget? It looks like it uses ddr memory....

I think a video card upgrade could help out... there are alot of good single slot cards out like the 4670also, a minimum of 2gb of ram is what i'd recommend for any system in 2009.
September 2, 2009 2:32:07 PM

I don't want to spend much more than £150.00 max.
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September 2, 2009 4:46:36 PM

Go for some RAM and a video card. That's your best bet for better gaming on that system.
September 2, 2009 4:48:15 PM

You really should have at least 1G of RAM for running XP. It can be run with less, but not well.
September 2, 2009 5:05:55 PM

Any suggestions for a good compatable video card?
September 2, 2009 5:29:51 PM

The 4670 is a real good price/performance card.
September 2, 2009 6:31:32 PM

4670? Do you have a link for it?
September 2, 2009 8:10:27 PM

Thanks that looks pretty good :)  , and I'll be ordering from England (U.K.).
September 4, 2009 7:57:31 PM

I agree with what has been said above. You are starting from a point at which the more money you can spend - the better the game will run. What is the resolution of your monitor?
First step is getting a better video card and the 4670 is a good choice in its budget range.
Next step would be to increase memory by at least 512MB. If what you have now is a single stick - see if you can match it with another. What do you have now? As I recall the 9100 has 4 memory slots - is this correct?
Now if you can spend a little more - then get a better graphics card now. Have you seen this THG list?

Best Gaming CPUs For The Money: August '09
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu,239...

Then maybe down the road you can add two more sticks of 512MB memory with the same basic settings as the first.
September 4, 2009 8:16:57 PM

I've bought the Radeon 4670 now and I'm just waiting for delivery. About the R.A.M. I was thinking of purchasing two 1G.B. sticks from http://www.edgetechcorp.com/memory/upgrade.asp?cid=2970... and putting them in the spare memory slots to get 2.5 G.B. Would I need to install some software or do anything in-particular to make the computer utilize the extra R.A.M. after it's been put in?
September 4, 2009 8:24:02 PM

The screen resolution is 1024x768 pixels and I'm fairly sure that the computer has 4 memory slots.
September 4, 2009 11:09:56 PM

Two 1 GB sticks is a good idea. However I don't know if you should run them in tandem with what you have.

What is the speed of your current memory? Is it in two slots or just one?

Regarding speed, the speed of all memory will be throtteled to run at the lowest commone denominator. So if you have 400Mhz memory and add 533 Mz, it will all run at 400MHz - not a problem except that you will have slower memory. So if you can purchase new memory that is significantly faster - best to use it alone then to slow it down by adding the other sticks.

The speed of the compatible memory in your link above is for 533 Mhz. When I go to the Dell website, they show replacement memory at 667 MHz and 800 MHz, with none at 533 MHz. So what do you have now and can you buy from Dell. There charge for the 800 MHz memory is only $22.99 ea. - I don't know what shipping or fees you might have.

http://search.dell.com/results.aspx?s=gen&c=us&l=en&cs=...

I used the memory configurator at newegg to provide a list of 9100 compatible memory. I don't know how good the configurator is - but it provided a long list of memory that supposedly is compatible with prices as low as $16 for a stick of 1 GB 800 MHz memory. It also appears to show that 553, 667, and 800 MHz are all compatible.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?submit=E...

I tried to download the Dell 9100 manual but Dell did not have it available. Can you go online to Dell support and enter your system number and see what it tells you about the memory that was sold with your system - amount and speed - and what upgrades they allow?

Regarding the number of chips you now have - is it one or two? It takes two to have two channel which is prefereable. If you only have one - it might be best to leave it out of the system once you purchase the other new memory.

With the 4670 and more memory - you should see a HUGE difference in game play.
September 4, 2009 11:54:25 PM

SIW will be ideal to help you ID your current RAM install.

However it is only helpful with current hardware and gives no upgrade advice.

Good little utility to have and can be run from a USB drive.

SIW (freeware standalone version):
http://www.gtopala.com/siw-download.html
September 7, 2009 9:32:46 AM

The current speed of the memory seems rather low at 266Mhz and is in 1 slot. From the manual I got this information:

Your Dell™ computer provides the following slots for PCI and PCI Express cards:

•Three 33-MHz PCI card slots

•One PCI Express x1 card slot

•One PCI Express x16 card slot

•One PCI Express x4 card slot



I also found this which might be helpful:

Type: dual-channel 400-, 533-, and 667-MHz DDR2

Memory connectors: four

Memory capacities: 256 MB, 512 MB, or 1 GB

Minimum memory: 512 MB

Maximum memory: 4 GB

BIOS address: F0000h


And about the number of chips I have, I'm not quite sure all I could find on that was this:

Chipset: Intel 945P

DMA channels: eight

Interrupt levels: 24

BIOS chip (NVRAM): 4 Mb

NIC: integrated-network interface capable of 10/100 communication

System clock: 800- or 1066-MHz data rate

September 7, 2009 5:05:02 PM

That was helpful info about system specs. Now we need to know what memory you have installed. The easiest way to do this is to download a small program - PC Wizard 2009 - that will provide you info about your system.

Please go to:

http://www.cpuid.com/pcwizard.php

Find the download "PC Wizard 2009.1.90" in the upper left corner and download it to a place you remember - desktop is fine.

Click on the setup program icon to run. Just follow the standard prompts. Only one to watch for is the page titled "PC Wizard Presents the free Ask Toolbar Recommended". You probably want to unclick the lines near the bottom to unselect the bottom two items which otherwise would make Ask your default search engine and home page.

When you finish the installation - it will launch the program (otherwise you can click on the desktop icon that was installed).

On the application window, click the "Mainboard" icon in the left menu. It is in the top row - middle. Now in the large window to the right of the icons, click on "Physical memory". Now simply copy and paste to the forum page, all the information about your memory appearing in the lower window.

This will help see what you have so we can better recommend what to add.

Also - just for fun you might play with the app to learn a little more about what is on your pc.

September 7, 2009 5:39:13 PM

This is the information that I gathered from the software:

General Information :
DIMM_1 ( ) : 256 MB - DIMM
DIMM_2 ( ) : 256 MB - DIMM

Information SPD EEPROM (DIMM_1) :
Manufacturer : Samsung
Part Number : M3 78T3253FZ3-CD5
Serial Number : 0303C9A1
Type : DDR2-SDRAM PC2-4300 (266 MHz) - [DDR2-533]
Format : Regular UDIMM (133.35 x 3)
Size : 256 MB (1 ranks, 4 banks)
Module Buffered : No

Hope this helps.
September 7, 2009 7:39:08 PM

OK - so you have the DDR2-533.

It appears that you best bet may be to keep what you have and add the 2 x 1 GB - that should leave you in good shape. So the memory you found in your link above does appear to be the right speed and a good match.

The key is making sure they are installled in the correct slots to form matching pairs for the dual channel memory. I assume that the original memory was correctly installed so you should be able to just put the new memory in the open slots. But you should check the old memory to make sure. See your manual for instructions.

Also, when searching I found an online 9100 manual at Dell - here is the page on the memory:

http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim9100/e...

I still never saw a PDF file on the manual that was easy to download. However , I encourage you to download part or all of the online manual even if you have your paper manual, as manuals can get lost. Also I find it sometimes more convenient just to look something up on my computer instead of hunting for the paper manual.

September 8, 2009 10:03:13 AM

Could you provide me with a link for the 1G.B. stick of compatable R.A.M.?
September 8, 2009 4:04:37 PM

Phoenixlight said:
Does newegg.com deliver to England?


I don't believe so. Dabs is the only UK site that I'm familiar with, and their selection of that type of RAM isn't very good. You may be better off with the dell upgrade RAM that rocky suggested.
September 8, 2009 4:21:42 PM

rockyjohn said:
I was refering to the link that you posted above:

http://www.edgetechcorp.com/memory/upgrade.asp?cid=2970...

The vendor guaranteeing its compatibility is a major benefit.


Ah ok, sorry I misread what you put; I'll order 2 sticks of that R.A.M. then. The Gigabyte 4670 was delivered today, so I'm just waiting for the R.A.M. delivery now then :)  .
September 8, 2009 9:16:35 PM

They are the same speed. On the Edgetech one - the PC2-4200 means that it is 533 Mz.

FYI - on those PC2 numbers - just divide by 8 to get the speed, e.g.
PC2-3200 = 400 MHz
PC2-4200 = 533 MHz
PC2-6400 = 800 MHz

While those two sticks of memory - the Edgetech and Ebay - are the same size and speed. the eBay one may or may not work in your computer. There are voltages and other specifications that affect compatibility and some memory just does not work well with some machines. I did not see any specific information on returns if it does not work in your machine in the eBay ad - but I am not sure they will take it back. You might check with them first - ask if it is compatible with your Dell - and give them your specs - and if they will refund if it does not work.

I hope you are going to go ahead and put in the video card while waiting on the memory - no need to wait and I bet you get s substantial boost in play just with the card. Besides it might be interesting to see the difference - card only and card with memory.
September 9, 2009 11:46:51 AM

:(  Hmm well I hope it's compatable because I went ahead and bought it because I couldn't find any other alternatives for a similar price which would ship to the U.K. I don't have much experience in installing/removing harware from computers and don't have anything like an anti-static wristband to prevent damage to the internal components so I'll just pay for someone to come and install the items altogether when the R.A.M. arrives.

If the R.A.M. is compatable should I have the old R.A.M. (512MB) removed or left in with new R.A.M.?
September 9, 2009 1:27:15 PM

It's not real tough. Touch the case before you touch the hardware. It'll disperse the static. The RAM chips only fit in one way. Look at the notch on the bottom of the chip and line it up with the slot.

Try them together at first. If it doesn't boot, remove the old chips, and try booting. You just have to push back on the latches at the end of the slots and the RAM chip will pop out.
September 10, 2009 12:29:15 AM

Changing RAM and video cards is pretty easy - its even covered in the manual - and most likely the video card willl also have instructions. But if you don't feel comfortable with it- you shoiuild not have to pay someoen - just ask a tech savy friend. It will only take about 3 minutes to install both.
September 11, 2009 7:18:26 PM

The video card and the new R.A.M. have been installed successfully, and the old R.A.M. was taken out because it wasn't working properly. But I've experienced my computer spontaneously shutting down randomly in the middle of a game then instantly restarting, does anyone know what might be causing this?
September 11, 2009 7:26:44 PM

Download speedfan to check your temps.

Make sure you have the newest video card drivers from the manufacturer's site.

Download memtest to test the new RAM.
September 12, 2009 6:10:21 PM

Hmm after doing a bit of testing it seems that I need a new power supply unit, my current one isn't proving enough voltage.
September 13, 2009 12:48:36 AM

^ also very possible. Your old PSU isn't beefy enough for the new video card when hitting load. Corsair, seasonic, pc power & cooling, and OCZ all make good PSUs. Look for something in the 450w range and you should be fine.
September 13, 2009 6:59:42 PM

What testing did you do to determine your PSU was not providing enough voltage?
How much voltage was it providing?

Your 300w PSU should be enough for the 4670 unless you have a lot of other special installed components or it is suffering from premature aging.

I suggest using this site to review the size of PSU required

http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.js...
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