Upgrade my RAM or Buy a new computer?

After Vista made its appearance I noticed that my computer became slower and slower after I updated my third-party programs  (those not from Microsoft).  I determined that the third party software developers were including new code in the updates so their programs would be compatible with Vista. This caused my computing to slow and the fans located inside the case of my computer to run much more often to cool the hardware inside. This often occurs when the processor and hard drive are being forced to do more work.  

 

My desktop computer is a 3 year old  HP a510n with a 120gig hard drive and 512 K of RAM.   To reduce the memory drain when using third-party programs, upgrading the RAM is the easiest, cheapest and most effective solution.  Before upgrading it is best to find out if I can use Vista on this machine without having to upgrade other components. Running the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor will determine if I can run Vista on this computer. It appears that with a RAM (memory) upgrade to 1 gigabyte I can upgrade to Vista Home Basic or Vista Home Premium. For Vista business or Vista Ultimate I will need 2 gigabytes of RAM.   However, I will also need to upgrade my graphics card with any installation of Vista.  I am quite happy with XPsp2 Pro at this time. Therefore, to increase speed and make more memory available for running programs, upgrading the RAM is the cheapest and easiest to do.  To determine if you can run Vista on your PC, you can use the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor from Microsoft.

 

RAM upgrades can be done by the home user, or at a computer store. I will assume that my reader will be upgrading the RAM themselves.  To go through this process I will need to find the following information.

 

  • ·        Manufacturer and model number of the PC
  • ·        Type of motherboard
  • ·        Model number of motherboard
  • ·        How many RAM slots on the motherboard
  • ·        Brand, speed, size and type of RAM installed before upgrade
  • ·        Capacity of each RAM slot in Gigabytes (maximum each will hold)
  • ·        Whether to use Buffered or Unbuffered RAM
  • ·        Motherboard uses ECC or non-ECC RAM
  • ·        Maximum speed the motherboard can utilize.(PC2100,PC2700 etc)
  • ·        Brand names of RAM that is compatible with motherboard


Now to find the type of RAM that can be installed. First, I need the name of the motherboard. System Information, (msinfo32) should give you this information or in the BIOS (F2 on bootup for mine, not all PC’s use F2) when you turn it on. I find an ASUS motherboard  model number A7V8X-LA.  So off to the ASUS website!  Search using the model number of the motherboard.  Specifically what speed,  type of RAM, number of  slots are installed on the motherboard.



 



On the ASUSTek website, I find that a maximum of 2 Gigabytes of RAM, from PC2700, PC3200 or PC4000 group, DDR SDRAM that is unbuffered and non-ECC can be installed or the motherboard will not be able to use it.  I  now have 1 slot in use with 512K in it, therefore I could add 256K, 512 K or 1 Gig of RAM to the empty slot, but the motherboard won’t get the use of all features in the new stick. In fact the motherboard may not even recognize it if the new brand is not compatible with the 512k Hyundai original.  All new sticks of RAM now run faster at 333/400MHz than the one you already have that operates at 166MHz, even though both sticks are PC2700.  So question to myself : do I add the compatible stick I found, 512k of PC2700 333MHz DDR unbuffered non-ECC SDRAM costing $80, which is the easiest and cheapest way, but not the best.  Or do I replace the RAM you have and add another stick? Another question follows, do I increase your memory to 2 gigabytes of RAM to get relief from the struggle against bloated software updates? If I go to 2 Gigs of RAM, I would buy 2 sticks that are 1 gigabyte each of PC3200 333MHz DDR, unbuffered, non-ECC RAM.

 



But wait..I’ve seen something while looking for the RAM… an ad for a new laptop computer for $599! (the lowest price I had seen when I looked before was over $1200).   I decide to take a chance and install 512K at 333 mHz of RAM from a different manufacturer and start checking out available laptops.



The new RAM seems compatible with the original 512K of PC2700 and the computer no longer is struggling after Software Updates.

 

added note on November 18th : the desktop is functioning well after installing the extra stick of 512 K @ 333mHz RAM from a different manufacturer.  Testing of the two sticks indicates that the original stick of 512K @ 166 mHz is running at a speed of 166/133mHz and the new stick of 512K @ 333mHz is running at 200/166 mHz. It is adequate for my needs and saved me a small amount of money to put into more RAM in my new laptop. 



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