Advice about RAM Please...

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Advice about RAM Please...

Postposted on Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:56 pm

Hello all....I've been learning all I can about RAM and still don't really understand what I need to purchase. I purchased photoshop elements and it is very sluggish on my system. After reading numerouse articles I realized I have 1Gig of RAM. Dinosaur, right! I have multiple designing programs and like to multitask but unfortunately I can't with 1 Gig of RAM. My dilema is I can't afford a new computer so I'm hoping upgrading will help. Will adding more RAM help with multitasking using my photo editing ram hogs? I would like to upgrade the RAM to the max. It appears, not sure, that I can upgrade to 4Gig. Am I right. Most all reviews gave Kingston the highest mark. Any help with this would be wonderful and so appreciated. Thank you in advance for any assistance.

Here are my system specs:
4 sockets (2 Banks of 2)
PC2-4200/5300 DDR2 SDRAM DIMMS
Supports Dual Channel
Intel Pentium D
Model - 800/10066 mhz FSB
Intel 945P chipset
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Re: Advice about RAM Please...

Postposted on Sun Jan 01, 2012 2:23 pm

More RAM will certainly help. Your machine will still be a little slow on account of your old processor and chipset, but it would definitely help with something like Photoshop.

If you're feeling more ambitious, some motherboards with the 945 chipset can be upgraded to early-model Core 2 Duos, which are a lot faster than your old Pentium-D. You'd have to look up the motherboard to see if it's compatible, and you might have to upgrade the BIOS first. There are doubtless many C2Ds on eBay. Upgrading the CPU is more complicated than the RAM, though.
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Re: Advice about RAM Please...

Postposted on Sun Jan 01, 2012 2:26 pm

Welcome to the TR forums!

From your description, any of these 2GB upgrade kits should fit the bill, and they are basically the same price:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820145098

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820134046

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820146526


However, your purchase decision may be influenced by the kind of memory you have and the number of RAM modules you have (for example, if you wish to use your old RAM along with the new RAM). How many memory slots are occupied on your motherboard by your current RAM? Can you get a part number or description off of your RAM? How about a motherboard manufacturer and model number?

Finally, please note that if you are using a 32-bit operating system like Windows XP, you will not be able to use all 4GB of memory in your system. It still may be worth it to go with 4GB of memory, but be aware that there are RAM limitations with a 32-bit OS. See this TR forum thread for more details:

viewtopic.php?f=29&t=51827

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Re: Advice about RAM Please...

Postposted on Sun Jan 01, 2012 3:36 pm

grab CPUZ, and install it and run it. go to the main board tab, and get the :

motherboard maker
model number
chipset details

from that we can be very precise on the ram and possible cpu upgrades.

Also, what programs are you using for engineering? do they support 64bit OS's ? your apps will be able to address more ram in a 64bit environment and will swap space a little less.

after ram, the big limiter will be the cpu. the pentium-d series while decent for its time but now is a really poorly bonded pair of old style p'4s. i know you are not looking at spending alot, but consider that a cheap amd-quad or a slightly more intel quad with integrated grapgics would not run more then 300-400$. but if your looking to keep the cost too 200$ or less then the memory and a possible SSD may be better.

on the SSD, keep in mind a lot of large photo's will be swapped to the drive unless you running 64bit and 6+ gigs of ram. so another method of speeding up photo work would be to drop a 64-80gig SSD in and map the photoshop temp files and work space to the ssd.... i'd also move the windows temp file and your user temp files as well... you would see a huge I/O improvement...

so i guess i should ask this... how much are you spending ? is there a limit?

if you could... i would do both. move to 4 gigs ram, and also add a crucial, corsair or intel SSD.
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Re: Advice about RAM Please...

Postposted on Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:07 pm

Thank you all so much for your help. I had checked into getting a new system at Dell in lieu of upgrading. I've always had a dell and never had any problems. I looked at just purchasing the tower and was amazed at the prices ($1000 and up). It was an XPS and stated it was good for the gamer. I'm not a big gamer, I just like to play the games I purchase through Big Fish. It appears that I would have to do alot of upgrading and since I have no idea what I'm doing I would need to pay someone. I think it would be more feasible to purchase the tower. I could spend up to $400 or $500 max. Maybe I could get something that I could upgrade later on when I can afford it. I would need something that could handle the wacom Bamboo tablet and PSE at the same time. Any suggestions about what I would be able to purchase with the amount I have to spend?
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Re: Advice about RAM Please...

Postposted on Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:15 pm

When computer specs mention gaming/gamers, they mean games that require a high end CPU and/or GPU. The sort of games you buy on Big Fish require neither.

Bumping your RAM to 2 or 4 GB would likely help things quite a bit. As others have noted, you won't be able to take full advantage of 4 GB though, due to running a 32-bit system (most likely you'll effectively have closer to 3 GB usable if you install 4).
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Re: Advice about RAM Please...

Postposted on Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:44 pm

Yeah, it looks like any cheap computer should have no trouble running Big Fish games. Even something really cheap like $300.

Something that cheap should even do OK for Photoshop Elements, provided you don't completely skimp and go with an Atom processor. Here's the system requirements for Photoshop Elements 10:

1.6GHz or faster processor (including single-core support)
Microsoft® Windows® XP with Service Pack 3, Windows Vista®, or Windows 7
1GB of RAM (2GB for HD video functions)
4GB of available hard-disk space (additional free space required during installation)
Color monitor with 16-bit color video card
1024x576 display resolution
Microsoft DirectX 9 compatible display driver
DVD-ROM drive
Internet connection required for Internet-based services
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Re: Advice about RAM Please...

Postposted on Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:20 pm

The biggest thing to note is you do NOT need high performance ram.

Any value ram will do you just fine.
Pretty much if it has any kind whizz-bang heat spreader or heat sink on it, its not for you and a waste of money.
Exposed chips will be just fine. This is an older machine after all.

Considering the age of this machine I bet you are running XP so do not bother with any more than 4 gig of ram installed total.
If the current one gig installed is a single dimm then just add in three more. More likely it will be a pair of 512mb's.
This leave you with the choice of either buying 2 x 1gig dimms or 4 x 1gig dimms and shelving the 512mb's.

You COULD consider upgrading to Win7 after installing more ram. You will get a smoother operating machine because this is a dual core machine and win7 was built with that more in mind than xp. Boot up and shutdown may be a little better as well.

If you are willing to do a wipe and reinstall of windows xp then this is certainly an option as well. Doing a wipe and re-install of just windows, drivers, and the software you want or need will get you a more stable, faster machine especially if this is name brand machine such as Dell or HP who like to load a bunch a crap trial ware on your machine.

Another cheap upgrade would be to get a faster hd. If this machine has sata ports then getting a 640gb or 1tb caviar black or similar performance drive will be a huge help. A computer is only as fast as its slowest part and 99.9% of machine that's the hard drive. Personally at this point I would not worry about ssd's. You would want a whole new machine first.
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Re: Advice about RAM Please...

Postposted on Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:35 pm

I wouldn't bother upgrading this thing to Win7. I've got several machines of approx this spec with Win7 (more RAM, though) and the performance is a little slower than XP on the same hardware. A Win7 license would be a significant cost (~$90) compared to simply buying a new basic computer. Same deal for a hard drive since the prices on those have spiked.

An operating system wipe/reinstall, while it might speed things up a bit, is probably more trouble than it's worth versus upgrading the RAM unless you've got other problems.
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Re: Advice about RAM Please...

Postposted on Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:50 pm

Aranarth wrote:Another cheap upgrade would be to get a faster hd.

This actually isn't a particularly cheap upgrade these days, due to the current hard drive shortage. Wait a few weeks for prices to come back down if you opt to go this route.
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Re: Advice about RAM Please...

Postposted on Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:24 pm

Here is the computer specs for the Dell that I am looking at purchasing. What do you think? Thanks again for your help!

Dell Inspiron 620

Processor Intel® Core™ i5-2320 processor(6MB Cache, 3.0GHz)
Operating System Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64Bit, English
Memory3 6GB3 DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz
Hard Drive 500GB4 SATA hard drive (7200RPM)
Video Card Intel® HD Graphics
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Re: Advice about RAM Please...

Postposted on Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:27 pm

Spec-wise, that should be quite sufficient for Photoshop and your games.
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