Ram speed limited by processor speed?

  Ellie3009 16:52 16 Feb 2003

My query is as follows...

I am looking to speed up my system, and my plan is to add some more RAM.
But at what point is it pointless to add more ram because the other things are limiting the system rather than the lack of Ram?

My current spec is as follows...
Microstar 6167 motherboard with Athlon 600 cpu.
192 Mb PC133 SD ram (and one slot free)
10gb HD, of which 5.75gb still free.
Nvida Riva TNT2 32mb graphics card
Soundblaster live 1028
56k internal modem.
Running win 98 se
System mostly used with Ms office 2000, IE6, outlook express, realjukebox.

If I put another 512mb ram in it, will the system run faster as a whole? Or will I not notice a difference?
Would I see more benefit from upgrading other parts of the system, like processor or adding a second HD?

Answers on a postcard please...

  rct 17:33 16 Feb 2003

If your HDD is 5400rpm, you'll notice a big difference if you change to a 7200rpm one and keep the existing one for docs etc.

  Ellie3009 17:41 16 Feb 2003

How can I find out what speed my HD is?
Preferably without having to un-wire and drag the case out from it's cubbyhole...

If the HD is the same age as your CPU etc then it will undoubtedly be 5,400.

Given the prices of drives now, a decent 7,200 Seagate Barracuda iv should cost you around £50 for a 40 GB depending on where you get it from.

To be honest, you may well be better of going down this road and thinking of a complete upgrade in due course. With Athlon 2400XP chips at just over £100, and 1800XP at £40 you would be able to build up a fairly fast spec machine quite cheaply using most of the components that you already have.

  Djohn 18:01 16 Feb 2003

Ellie3009, I don't think you will gain anything by upgrading your H/drive to a 7200! certainly nothing you will notice.

The speed quoted is the spin speed of the drive and not the seek time, and the seek time is more important when it comes to finding files/programs on your drive.

I would suggest the most cost effective way is to upgrade you memory to a Max of 512, 98se does not like more than this and can cause problems.

Because you are not running any really demanding game programs, then your CPU is fine as it is.

More memory will allow you to have more and larger files open at the same time, without your programs having to look for the info. on the H/drive. Regards. J.

  Ellie3009 18:03 16 Feb 2003

I am a poor student (cue violins...) so I am not really looking at a total upgrade for a few years yet.
The machine is now 3 years old.
I dont really want to go down the HDD route, simply because I don't really have the time at the moment to mess about installing windows, office and everything else on a new HDD.
Plus, I work a lot in French and German, have spent 3 years setting the thing up how I like it, and dont really want to do it all again any sooner than necessary!
And i assume that it would be of no benefit to have a faster HDD as a secondary if I left windows and all the software etc on the old one.

And out of interest, could I put an Athlon XP onto a motherboard this old? Is it not a different socket type?

  Ellie3009 18:05 16 Feb 2003

What will happen to win98 if I put an extra 512mb in it? Does it self destruct? lol...

No seriously, the max for my motherboard it 768, so thats where I was intending to take it eventually. Is it a really bad idea?

  Djohn 18:12 16 Feb 2003

No, no self destruct, :o) but it may cause problems as 512 is the limit that is recommended for 98se.

There are ways round this and programs you can d/load to manage the extra ram over 512, but it is not really worth the bother.

Keeping in mind your first post as to cost etc. then for your money I really do think that going the route of adding extra ram to a total of 512 is the best way. this can always be re-used at later date if you wish to up-grade further. J.

  Djohn 18:20 16 Feb 2003

Just had a look on the Crucial site for you and you can get your type of memory for £32-00 for a 256 stick, if you can afford it, then buy two x 256 of matching ram from crucial.

Guaranteed to work together with no conflicts or your money back. remove existing memory and sell on, if you can. J.

  Ellie3009 18:24 16 Feb 2003

Something I have been wondering about also...
If I was to stick 512mb in it, will it make any difference to have it as:
1 stick of 512 or
as 128 + 128 + 256?

  Djohn 18:33 16 Feb 2003

If you can use one stick it may have slight advantage, but an even greater advantage of having two, is that if one goes wrong, you can remove it and carry on with the other until you replace.

According to the Crucial site, your M/board is not suitable for 1x512 and only offers the choice of 256 up to a maximum of three sticks = 768, but as I said in my earlier post, it is not worth going above 512 with 98se. J.

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