Should I Upgrade or Replace.

  Bonyman 15:44 02 Nov 2014


My current set up is as follows:

Intel Duo E8400 3.0ghz 2GB RAM Radeon HD4870 1GB Graphics Card Windows XP Home 500GB SATA hard drive

This is about six years old and has grown increasingly slower. Not used for gaming but more so for Photoshop and web browsing. I am wondering if there is any benefit in doubling the RAM (motherboard can only take 4GB), replacing the hard drive with SSD plus new SATA drive and also maybe replacing the Operating System. Or should I be thinking starting with scratch with a new system (around £500)? All advice gratefully received. Thanks!

  spuds 16:40 02 Nov 2014

By the time the various new items are purchased and installed (if compatible), then its probably not going to be worthwhile, and a new specification computer might be the wiser buy.

I have not long purchased a Lenovo G700 laptop and an Acer Aspire XC-603 desktop with monitor from Argos, and I would think both would perhaps suite your requirements. Suggest you read the reviews for the Acer desktop with monitor click here

  matt2000 16:48 02 Nov 2014
  Batch 16:52 02 Nov 2014

Simple upgrades that MAY help:

Increase the RAM. The maximum that XP can address (assuming it is the 32bit version, which XP overwhelmingly is) is 4GB.

For general browsing and office work your 2GB should suffice. Your photoshoping may well benefit from the extra RAM. Memory is inexpensive and dead easy to fit anyhow, so may be worth a try.

Replacing the HDD with a hybrid (SSD and HDD combined where the SSD acts as as super cache) might be easier than a separate SSD (but not quite as fast). SSD and XP don't always go together well, whereas hybrids should be fine. Again, not too expensive and relatively easy.

Only you can decide whether you'd be better off putting the dosh towards a new PC instead.

But you say "has grown increasingly slower", which suggests investigating / tidying-up your existing set-up might reap some benefits. Plenty of other advice on this forum about getting your PC working better. For example: click here

  matt2000 16:53 02 Nov 2014

In reference to the earlier post add another 4GB chip to the desktop if you choose the AIO

  rdave13 18:16 02 Nov 2014

As the machine is 6 years old I would be tempted to go new. list of desktops from Chillblast , tower only if you have all the peripherals.

  wee eddie 18:35 02 Nov 2014

You could upgrade to W7, as I have. Mine's a couple of years older. I also added some RAM.

However, in the back of your mind, will be the thought, "How much faster would a new model be? "

I shall delay the purchase of a new model until W9!!! Anyway

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 18:41 02 Nov 2014

Do some cleaning up first! before spending any cash.

Slow PC / Laptop

1. Software

a) Clear out all temporary files and folders -- use CCleaner

b) Scan for malware spyware and viruses --Free Anti Spyware :- Malwarebytes Superantispyware Free Antivirus software Avast

c) Clean the registry -- Use the tool in CCleaner its very safe and also allows you to back up the registry first.

d) Pagefile (Virtual Memory) -- Right click MY Computer - select properties - Advanced tab - Performance - advanced tab - Virtual memory click change, you can put the page file on a different drive (if you have one), click custom size and set Initial size to one and a half times the amount of memory you have fitted i.e. 512MB memory = set to 768MB, set maximum to double your memory amount i.e. 512MB memory = 1024MB click ok. If your hard drive is full and there is not enough room for the pagefile this can slow down, freeze or even cause the PC to crash (restart).

e) Cut down on the programs that load at start up -- Start - Run type msconfig - start up tab- untick everything except for firewall, antivirus and antispyware

and the services that run in the background. see

2. Hardware

a) Hard drives /

i) IDE Channels: (Not required if you have SATA drives) Check the transfer rate, you need to have the transfer mode set to DMA not PIO. Right click My Computer - Properties - Hardware - Device Manager - Expand (click the +) IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers right click Primary Channel - Advanced Settings Tab. If transfer Mode is PIO then follow the instructions at 7">[click here to change.

ii) Check for errors and defrag your hard drives (DO NOT DEFRAGG A SOLID STAE DRIVE) -- My Computer - select drive - properties - tool tab - Error checking / Defragmentation.

ii) If you are using Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 / 8 / 8.1 convert your system drive to the NTFS file system, if you have not already. In addition to providing numerous security and data recovery improvements over FAT32 (the file system of choice for Windows 9x/ME and XP Home) it can also speed up your system slightly.

In fact, the only real reason for sticking with the FAT32 file system for any of your data is if you have more than one operating system on your PC and the other OS's can only see FAT32 partitions (as would be the case with Windows 98, for example, which is incapable of reading NTFS data).

To convert your drives to NTFS: Right click on 'my computer' and select 'manage' From the computer management window, expand storage and select 'disk management.' Using the 'file system' column of the upper pane of this window, you can easily check what file system each of your logical drives is using. Make a note of this information. Now open a command prompt window by going to 'start\run' and typing 'cmd' To convert a disk to NTFS, type 'convert (drive letter): /fs:ntfs' So for example, if you were going to convert your C: drive, you would type 'Convert c: /fs:ntfs' at the prompt.

b) Drivers Obtain the newest drivers for your hardware This may seem a bit obvious, but keeping your system's drivers up to date can give both your performance and stability a boost. Video card manufacturers release updates especially often, and these can often give "significant boosts" to gaming performance as video card in question is "optimized."

Don't neglect the other components of your system either. Your motherboard manufacturer may have released newer versions of its Input/output drivers for your board, and sound cards and other peripherals can also benefit from newer software.

c) Memory Your memory could be failing try memtest

Add more physical memory, this of course means opening the "box" and fitting a memory module, make sure you buy one that is suitable for your PC. 7">Crucial will guide you through the process of selecting the correct memory. click here for a guide to fitting memory.

  SparkyJack 13:33 03 Nov 2014

As with most others,if the cash so burning a hole in the wallet,gofor new.

Fiddling with bold stuff is seldom worthwhile,unless you are a hobbyist and enjoy unscrewing stuff.

  Bonyman 16:46 03 Nov 2014

Thanks for all the advice. Went along the cleaning route a few months ago but haven't noticed any great benefits. Might be time to check the bank balance. As I won't be using the machine for gaming at all but mainly Photoshop, is there a minimum Processor type I should be going for and any advantage of intel over AMD? Sorry for the additional questions but looks like buying new system for around £500 and don't need a monitor.

  wee eddie 17:22 03 Nov 2014

My tame Geek says AMD.

He says that because Intel are technically faster, all the manufacturers use them, but that with AMD you get better value, better on-board graphics and sufficient speed for human brain to barely notice.

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