Is the answer More RAM and/or better Graphics?

  buckland 00:52 26 Jan 2007

My PC is a Dell Dimension 4500 (October 2002) Intel Pentium 4 Processor 2.53Ghz, 384 RAM (1 x 256Mb + 1 x 128Mb, 80Gb Hard Drive and 64Mb GeForce 4 MX420 Video Card which I believe runs on 250 Watts PSU, Monitor as supplied (E151PPp). I am compiling on WORD a book now in 4 volumes and about 1250 pages with some 90 images (photo-copies of old documents, Wills, Buildings, etc.). A couple of volumes are 80Mbs or more. When downloading from My Docs or DVD Disc (Backup) the process is very slow for text pages but Images take much longer and often do not stay but repopulate their respective pages when scrolled back and forth. All this makes printing impossible as the Epson Photo RX620 does not wait for the material delays.
Would this improve if my RAM were increased. I have 2 slots (512Mb each for the maximum of 1024Mb is possible) and/or can my Graphics be upgraded (without a new PSU?) I am not a gamer and have little technical knowledge. Is anything possible please without buying a new PC as in all other respects this one is O.K. Many trhanks. Buckland.

  skidzy 07:01 26 Jan 2007

I would certainly agree with more Ram,graphics sound ok for what you are doing.

maybe a spring clean is the best way forward at the moment.

click here
click here

Also make sure your av and antispyware apps are updated and ran.And any old programs that are not used any more,remove them from the system.

  Mr Mistoffelees 07:22 26 Jan 2007

As you are working with very large files, Windows will work with the images in bitmap form, extra ram would certainly help. I know it would make your existng ram redundant but, I would suggest that, if you can, you buy the maximum the motherboard can handle. If you do it should make a big difference.

  Batch 09:20 26 Jan 2007

With your current RAM and the large document sizes, the system will be struggling and will be swapping things from memory backwards and forwards to disk. As others have said, more RAM is the best way forward.

Don't think graphics are the issue and upgrading will make little or no difference.

  skeletal 10:05 26 Jan 2007

Crikey, someone else who uses Word for more than a couple of pages…you even beat me!

To answer your question: more RAM. I agree with Mr Mistoffelees, depending on motherboard, get a couple of matched sticks of 512M.

However, a couple of thoughts on your document:

You may be tempted to utilise the master documents feature. I advise you not to as it can be unreliable. If you are, make frequent backups.

You may be using fast saves. Given your document size, and apparent slow computer speed, this seems very sensible, and it can make saving quicker as you work. However, it does this by adding just the changes at the end of a document (e.g. it ADDS stuff you have deleted to the end of the file), this can make the document bigger than it actually need to be, slowing down the next load/save process. It should do a normal save every 15 fast saves, but meanwhile you may get a bigger file than you think. Try disabling fast saves: Tools/options, click save tab and uncheck “Allow fast saves”.

Just try it, it is a case of swings and roundabouts, it may help, it may not (I never use fast saves BTW).


  Batch 10:29 26 Jan 2007

Following on from Skeletal's points, If you are using Word 2003 or above + WinXP or above, the following may help as well, by removing unnecessary history from the Word files.

click here

Also, make sure that you don't have "Track Changes" turned on (unless you need to use it) as this will also add to the file sizes.

  buckland 16:15 26 Jan 2007

Many thanks to all the respondents. There seemed to be consensus that RAM was the problem and, hopefully, not the Graphics. I have therefore ordered 2 x 512Mb compatible memory upgrades for my Dell 4500 which will put me on the maximum of 1024Mb. I shall look into the other words of advice but first see how the RAM upgrade gets on. Again sincere thanks to Skidzy, Mr Mistoffelees, Batch and Skeletal and I shall report in due course as to the hoped for success. Regards, Buckland.

  Diemmess 17:18 26 Jan 2007

Once your graphics are ready for insertion the most menial graphics card is enough. So as you said in your latest post you need not look for any better.
Like the others have said, go to the maximum RAM.

A watchful eye for anything which is running unnecessarily in the background will free more resources if shut down while working on your documents, including of course internet access.

Linked pictures rather than inserted pictures will help a lot, but personally I hate doing things like that because I have to be sure to keep those same pictures exactly where Word last knew them to be!

When your work is printed.

If it is to be printed professionally with a run of many copies, now is not too soon to be asking a chosen printer how he proposes to handle your complete files. You will save yourself both money and unnecessary grief if the final format and its application is agreed.

  buckland 19:41 26 Jan 2007

Diemmess, Many thanks for that advice and I shll also be consulting a Printer shortly as suggested regarding the final format. As you say now is the time.
Regards, Buckland.

  buckland 16:30 05 Feb 2007

As promised and as a matter of interest I have now up-graded my RAM to 2 X 512 Mbs so now have the limit of 1Gb. Everybody recommended this action. Result is a definite speeding up all round. The "Book" has 4 Volumes of which one Volume alone is about 71 Mb (Volumes are individually down-loaded) so it is fairly big. Down-loading a volume is much better insofar as the 490 pages of Text therein populate much more quickly (about one minute) but the Images still take over 30 minutes or so. I have looked at the Windows Task Manager - Performance Tab and seen the CPU working and it is going at 100% right along the top of the scale occasionally jumping up and down to 94%. It looks as though my CPU simply has not got the necessary speed to cope (Intel Pentium 4 - 2.53GHz.) Although some felt that my 64Mb GeForce 4 MX420 Video Card might just handle the Image demand could it still be a problem? The new RAM is fine but has not provided the answer re the Images but it has narrowed the field. Could the problem be the CPU and am I expecting too much from it. As the "Book" continues to expand I am thinking that a new PC with a really good CPU and a strong Graphics set up (I am not a gamer so need not be ultra ultra but good enough for my demands) and of course a RAM (1Gb or 2GB? whilst I am at it).The usual DVD+-RW, would follow of course and I suppose "Vista" although I am not in a rush in case there are teething troubles. Any comments on the "after-RAM" results and advice on a spec. for a new PC for my requirements would be very welcome and much appreciated. Buckland

  wee eddie 17:02 05 Feb 2007

Is it possible to split each Volume into separate Chapters.

As Folders within Folders.

It would certainly reduce the time each section took to open.

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