Improve PC or replace with laptop?

  Big Al 1969 21:46 30 Dec 2008

I currently have a Packard Bell PC, which has a Celeron CPU 2.00GHz with 448 MB of RAM. It runs on Windows (2002) XP Home Edition.

This is used as the family PC (mainly e-mail, digital photos, internet, a small amount of music downloading), but I'd like to be able to send work home too (MS Office, including some fairly big files).

The PC is very sluggish, maybe because we've saved loads of digital photos and some camcorder footage. It takes about 10 minutes to get online, despite having broadband!!

I'm not sure whether to invest in a new laptop or try to improve performance of the PC.

Any views on whether I will gain or lose performance / speed, & which would be best suited to my office work? I would have a maximum budget of about £500 for a new laptop.

If you'd recommend cleaning up & upgrading the PC, where would you go?

Also, where's the best deal for MS Office software packages?

Many thanks,

Big Al 1969

  iscanut 21:51 30 Dec 2008

The first thing I would do would be to increase the memory to the max that the pc can take, but at least 2Gb. The number of photo files should not have any bearing on the speed. Also Hard Disk size. What do you have. Any thought of an external USB drive say for the photos. Have a look on Amaxon for the Student/Home version of Office 2007, around £60 or so.

  Strawballs 23:11 30 Dec 2008
  Joe R 10:46 31 Dec 2008

If you don't mind doing a bit of upgrading by yourself, why not buy something like this?, which has a three year warranty, and will speed up your system enormously.

You will still have to add an operating system.

click here

  iscanut 11:09 31 Dec 2008

Office 2007 now £49.60 on Amazon today

  Pineman100 17:35 01 Jan 2009

I really don't think that your heavy load of data files is likely to have any effect on your internet connection time. That needs to be looked at as a separate issue.

And the overall sluggishness of the computer is probably just an accumulation of cr*p due to its age.

The solution depends on your budget, but for minimum expenditure, here's what I would do.

Buy an external USB hard drive, and copy all data that you want to keep on to it. For example: click here

Upgrade the computer's memory. For an easy way to identify the memory modules you'd need, click here. For instructions (depending on your computer's requirements), click here or click here

Run a full reformat of the hard drive and reinstall Windows, plus your software (but only what you really need).

Copy back any data that you want to on to the computer, but try to leave as much as possible of the longer term storage stuff (eg: photos, movie and music) on the external drive.

I bet that would give a real new lease of life to your old computer.

If you want more discussion on your slow internet connection, give us some more details about your setup, your ISP and so on.

  Big Al 1969 22:20 08 Jan 2009

all, many thanks for taking the time to respond. I've bought a portable disk drive & am busy copying things across. I need to prove that I can re-open them from the portable hard disk before I can delete the files from the PC. I'll try that this weekend.

I'm running a trial version of the Office software (Home & Student version) but I don't think it will do the job - it's not really similar enough to what I'm operating at work, so it probably makes sense to get the same version. I'm currently trying to find out if my employer has the licencing to allow me to order the disks from MS.

  ashdav 00:46 09 Jan 2009

The main reason for your computer being sluggish is that there is not enough memory installed.
XP really needs 1GB of RAM to perform properly.
Download SIW from click here
This is a direct link to the download.
When you have it,double click on it (it runs from the file and does not install so your computer will not be altered)then click on memory from the menu on the left.
From this you will see the type of memory installed in your computer.
The things to look for are memory slots,memory type,speed.
Post back when you have these details and I will point you to where you can get new RAM from.

  Diodorus Siculus 08:13 09 Jan 2009

As well as the extra ram as suggested above, it would be good to save all your data and do a clean install of the operating system and your programs. That will make a big difference.

  nosharpe 12:41 09 Jan 2009

The real reason is the CPU and motherboard and possibly a full harddrive.
Celeron CPU's are really slow. But then they are cheap too.
I had a 2ghz P4 running XP on 512mb RAM without any issues. It had a low end Geforce4 64mb Gfx card.
I was able to do just about anything on it including playing FPS games (COD2 & Counterstrike).

  Big Al 1969 20:37 13 Jan 2009

Hi, thanks for the link, but when I try to run it I get an error message - 'not a valid win32 application'. I'm probably being a muppet, but no idea what the problem with this is!

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