Friday, May 12, 2006

Stardate 60362.36 - To Upgrade or To Buy New

I have a Dell Dimension 8250 with a 2.66 MHz P4 and 512 MB of RAM that we purchased back in April 2003. I've already upgraded the video card when I discovered that I couldn't play any new games. So I purchased as a Christmas gift to myself a MSI NX6600GT-VTD128 Geforce 6600GT 128MB GDDR3 AGP 4X/8X Video Card.

But now I think the low RAM is finally starting to be an issue. With no applications running (just the OS and the various task bar items like virus protection and spyware blockers) I only have about 120MB of free memory. That number plummets if I open any type of major application (like any Microsoft product). The system also seems to have some lock-up issues ever since I upgraded to Microsoft's Windows Defender from their Anti-virus software and I suspect it is also a memory hog. But it may just be that I finally have too much running at start up. So I decided to take a look at upgrading the memory.

Apparently what I have now is "RAMBUS In-line Memory Module (DRAM) 533MHz 128x16 8C," which is Dell Part OW485. I have two 256M chips for a total of 512M. There are two empty slots where I can expand. And before I continue, I should say that I am by no means a hardware expert on PCs these days. I had to get help from James when I upgraded my video card.

Well, this RAMBUS memory is apparently not really used anymore because it is expensive. Quite expensive. It is going to cost me a little $200 to double the memory in my PC. That is double what DIMM memory costs. Argh! Apparently RAMBUS RAM got killed not long after we purchased our PC. DDR just destroyed it. Dual-channel DDR systems sealed the coffin.

So I'm going ahead and doing the upgrade and we'll limp along for another year and perhaps 2007 will be the year of a new PC. Ours will be 4 years old at that point. It doesn't seem like it is that old...we purchased it after we moved to NYC but I guess we've been here now for 4.5 years.

Amazing. Time does fly.



JamesF said...

Claiming you'll be 'limping' with a 2.66 MHz machine is just nuts. My system is slower than yours (I'm only running a 1.5 GHz Athlon), and with 1 Gig of memory I have no issues. Even Half-Life 2 played well I thought (but that's partly because of the video card). Your current computer is plenty fast, your only issue is the memory it sounds like. Take the hit and get the memory. If you're connected directly, then having the protection software makes sense.

I will say this, at work my machine is 'faster' than my home machine, but because of the virus protection software running, it actually feels much much slower (which is why I don't run virus protection software at home). I feel I can get away with that though since I don't run outlook and I'm going through several routers to access the net, I'm not sure what your situation is though.

-s said...

Does sell the memory? They had good prices for good quality memory for the G5.

For virus protection we use AVG free, which doesn't seem to hog memory too badly.