Need help deciding on an upgrade

This isn't a CPU upgrade but I am posting here cause its the most used board.

I have been working on 3d graphics and scenes in 3D Max and I find that I'm getting a lot of slowdown in my viewport and problems with running out of memeory with rendering. I already have 1 gig of ram btw. My current system is...

P4 3ghz HT, ATI 9800 128mb, 1gb COrsair DDR400 Twinx-LL, Abit IC7 MB

I am considering getting another 1gb twinx pack from Corsair but I know that DDR2 is right around the corner. I have heard however that the first stuff won't be faster cause of higher timings. Also, I know that the new video cards are coming out, and I wasn't sure if a new card would improve my 3d max viewport speed or if its only ram that matters here. So should I get another gig of ram now, or is that a bad investment cause of the new tech coming out?

Also, I have heard that winxp has a bit of a problem with 2 gig of ram and runs SLOWER with it. Is there a fix for this or is it a minor loss of overal speed?

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  1. Consider this, you're having problems NOW right ? And DDR2 isn't going to hit the market until the i915/925 launch (or thereabouts) right ? And in order to take advantage of the anticipated (read:HYPED) performance of DDR2 you'll need to upgrade to that same i915/925 platform mobo (if I'm not mistaken, DDR2 will not be backwards compatable in the current DDR DIMM slots). Along with a new LGA775 Prescott core CPU and the BTX case to house it all in.

    Looking at your hardware laundry list, I'd say you have a good rig. Quality components less than 1 year old, that many guys here would be happy to have (including myself).

    Personally, I'd look at your WinXP installation first. I'm assuming you're running XP Pro SP1 as if not you wouldn't be able to take advantage of the Hyperthreading on your 3GHz P4.

    You may want to consider a "Spring Cleaning" (if you haven't already) and do a backup/reformat/clean XP install.

    If that doesn't cure all ills, then you might want to look into getting (or wait for the DDR2 to hit the shelves and take advantage of the drop in current DDR prices) that 2nd. GB of Corsair DDR400 Twinx-LL.

    Personally, I bet the new ATI X800XT would be really sweet in your AGP slot !! But $500 ? Ouch.

    I can't comment on the WinXP performance with 2GB of RAM, but i'm sure someone here may have some experience with it.

    Good Luck.

    "Nuke em till they glow, shoot em after dark"
  2. Forget about DDR2. You don't want it now, nor next year. Ignore it.

    As for your "out of memory" errors, you'd need to find out more specifically what kind of memory. Could be many things:
    - out of physical memory (RAM)
    - out of virtual memory (swap)
    - out of virtual memory address space (32 bit limitation).
    - out of AGP aperture

    The first one is not likely; most apps run just fine with virtual memory and don't even know if they are using ram or disk. Of course things will slow down (dramaticallly), but it shouldnt crash. (btw, i've used 3D studio (R1.1) on a 486 with 4 MB Ram, and it worked just fine but sloooooooooooo).

    The second one is more likely, and might be easy to solve. Just increase your swapfile.

    If you can't increase it any further (ie you already have a 4GB swapfile), you're in trouble, cause your most likely bumping into possibility 3. You'd need a 64 bit CPU and OS to get around it (double the address space), and ideally a 64 bit port of your app as well (get rid of the limitation all together). You could try using the /3GB switch in the boot.ini to get a bit more breathing room, but I'm not sure if 3DS makes use of this. Do some googling on the subject first if you don't know what I'm talking about.

    If your problem is number 4, try increasing your AGP aperture in the BIOS. Don't overdo it though, because if I'm not mistaken, as any memory allocated there will cost you twice that ammount in available address space for the app. (windows maps video memory twice, but I'm not sure if that applies to the video RAM only, or also to the AGP aperture).

    >Also, I have heard that winxp has a bit of a problem with 2
    >gig of ram and runs SLOWER with it.

    Its not true. Its only true that some/many/most motherboards will run your memory at slightly lower speed as you add memory modules. So adding a 1 GB module to a system that already has 2x512 MB for instance will in most cases result in a slight drop in memory performance, but probably not much. If you are using that much memory, it surely will still be leaps and bounds faster than swapping to disk. Of course an app using only 256 MB might run slightly slower, but anyone saying "2 GB is slower than 1 GB" is just a kid running nothing besides a few games and Sisoft Sandra. For him, it might be a few % points slower, but not for someone who actually requires such ammounts of RAM.

    = The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
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