Backing up and upgrading for beginners?

  linsxxx 14:38 28 Sep 2007


I have a 2.5 year old Dell Dimension 3000. It has an Intel 4 processor (2.8 I think if I've looked in the right place...), 512 MB Ram and a 160GB hard drive.

I use the computer now for photos and editing home video (not that I do anything too flash with them - just some titles and chopping out the really wobbly bits lol). And internet and all that lark - but not games - don't really have time for that!

Anyway first thing is it's been a bit slow. I've gone through a check list I found online and cleaned up, defragged, increased the size of the virtual memory and removed a bunch of stuff from the startup that seemed unnecessary and that has helped a bit.

I'm wondering if it's worth upgrading the RAM. I've done a Crucial test and it can support up to 2GB - or a pair of 1GB I should say. I can't find anything online to explain how I would know if it's worth doing. I presume at some point your processor will slow things down to make the extra RAM useless? I don't really understand it all I must be honest!

So question is how do I know if it's worth doing and what should I upgrade to?

The second thing is that at the moment I don't backup - I know - I keep my fingers crossed daily while I work out how to do it!

My current hard drive is only 160GB (well actually it says 140 but I bought a 160 - I don't know what happened there...) I use about half of it and could easily use more as I have loads of video to edit - but I don't want to jam up my hard drive too much in case I break it or something.

I'm not sure whether to buy an external hard drive to back up onto or another internal one. And if you use it for backing up I guess that means you can't store stuff on it too?

I've noticed when reading some of the posts that you keep two or more back-ups and delete the old ones - why is that? And does that mean I need to get a backup drive two or three times the size of my existing drive?

So basically my question is what internal / external hard drive combo do I need?

And finally where's the best place to buy this stuff - prices seem to vary wildly - I looked on Dell and they had external hard drives for like £400 which didn't seem right at all but then I'm not sure what I'm doing like I said.


  brundle 17:31 28 Sep 2007

More RAM would be good, going from 512MB to 1GB would make a noticeable improvement, 1GB >2GB less so. Adding memory is usually the most cost effective way of improving a computer's performance.
Drives lose some of their quoted capacity during formatting as it requires some space just to create the file system. An external drive is more flexible,with software like Acronis you can back up an entire image of your main drive to a single file and still use the drive for other backup and storage requirements. V11 of True Image is available, but v10 might be all you need click here

  brundle 17:40 28 Sep 2007

Maplin are doing some 320GB external drives starting at £60. click here

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