Advice really needed from non-noobs about memory

28 Aug 2006
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United Kingdom
Hey folks,

My hard drive's now caput. (Luckily, it's under warranty.) When the new 160 GB replacement comes from the manufacturer, I was thinking of getting 160 GB or 320 GB more added, in the available slot inside the tower drive.

Should I also increase my tower drive's memory, to 1 GB, while I'm at it? Here's what I have at present:

AMD Athlon XP 3000+ Barton V 2167 MHZ
ASUS A7N8X-E Deluxe NForce2 LAN DDR400, sata
Samsung 160 GT S-ata 7200 rpm
Memory: 512 Mt 400 MHz DDR CL 2.5 DIMM
Antec Sonata Piano 380W

Plz let me know what advantage will I get, if any, by increasing my PC's memory to 1 GB if I increase to a hard drive power of 320 GB (or 480 GB if I got with the 320 GB hard drive)?

Or will there be no tangible difference?

In any case, plz advise whether 512 Mt memory is compatible with a 320 GB (or 480 GB) hard drive in total?


PS. Please pardon the noobishness of this, but what exactly is the function of that memory card. (I.e. what memory function does it control?)

PS. One more Q: if I decide to upgrade memory, is it simply a matter of adding it to the motherboard's slot, or would I have to discard the 512 Mt chip, i.e. not an add-on? And what about my OS -- would I have to reload XP again?
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512MB RAM is considered a minimal requirement by todays standards with 1GB being common on entry level machines.

Your PC uses memory to store just about everything it can when running. Operating system, drivers, applications, documents, you name it are loaded into memory when required. By the time you've loaded your operating system, drivers, anti-virus/spyware/firewall apps etc., you will find little change from 512MB. When your operating system is running low on RAM or for less critical files, it uses an area of the hard disk called a swap file or page file. Hard drives are considerably slower than RAM, so it's best to use as much RAM as possible to 'persuade' the operating system to use it instead of the page file.

RAM is cheap, so an upgrade to 2GB would be recommended if it is within your budget and your board will take it. 512MB to 1GB should make the system generally quicker, but that will also depend on other factors such as general housekeeping and how many things you run at one time.

You will need a similar module to the one you have and I always stress that it's best to buy a quality memory such as Crucial. If you are not sure what you need, visit the Crucial website and use the system scanner, which will provide you with a list of compatible memory.

In summary, you don't have to upgrade, but looking at your spec., it can only be a good thing. The new module will plug into a spare slot (assuming you have one) and will work as soon as you switch on. Please take the usual precautions against static charges etc.
Beware - Crucial is not always right. Bought a memory upgrade for our e360 (it was getting old and slow) and it didn't work, replacement didn't work. Got a second hand Infineon strip off e-bay identical to the first (contacts at Infineon could not source a new strip) and it works!

Safest way is to get an identical one to the memory strip that is fitted now.
Thanks Igorian and IJ for your input -- much appreciated and now I'm better informed!

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more ram is allways better there is no such thing as too much ram

make sure u buy more DDR400 PC3200 ram tho
If you get another identical spec stick, preferably from same manufacturer, put it in your mobo, leaving the middle slot blank. The Asus will now operate both sticks in dual channel mode, which will give increased performance.
I got 2gb of ram in each machine lol dual channel as well.
I tried 4gb in 1 machine once winblows didnt like it though.. dam i moved mouse, must reboot
there is no such thing as too much ram
Not sure how you come to that conclusion, of course more ram wont harm, but if you anrt going to use it, surely the money could be better spent elsewhere, for eg high performance ram, new board, new cpu, etc etc
eggplant said:
there is no such thing as too much ram
Not sure how you come to that conclusion, of course more ram wont harm, but if you anrt going to use it, surely the money could be better spent elsewhere, for eg high performance ram, new board, new cpu, etc etc

And, as you approach 4GB (with 32bit O/S), you are likely to run into paging problems, so more is not always good.
If you can afford it, i would say jump to 2GB, with the processor you have theres no point it jumping higher than that, it just wont get used.
Depends on your future plans for the machine. If it'll be upgraded soon, the memory fitted in more recent machines is DDR2 whereas yours is DDR (1), so the RAM would have to stay with the machine. That's not to say it'd be wasted, it's quite easy to set up an old machine as a file server or PVR (like sky+), in which case the more RAM you've got the better. (Up to a point)

Your hard drive doesn't really have any bearing on other parts as such (other than with the swap file as mentioned previously). It's comparable to the garden shed, in that it's a place to dump stuff that isn't immediately required, but makes no difference to the house itself, until it is needed, then the 'stuff' is moved into the house (RAM) where it can be used. (If that makes sense?)

I know this probably a bit late for the original post, but hopefully useful for others?
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