upgrading computer

  fazer 23:20 16 Dec 2008

This is another one of my naive questions, but could someone please advise me on the following (and this is similar to a previous post of mine)....

I have an "emachine 570" -1.99Ghz with memory upgraded to 2Gb memory some months ago. Its fully functional but I want to double the memory. However, by all accounts I am unable to do so because of the limitations of the motherboard.

Now I have read in this forum that its usually cheaper to replace the whole computer as opposed to upgrading an existing one, but when I explored this avenue, I can't seem to find a (worthy) replacement below £600 which seems a lot of money to spend just to increase memory (let alone the wastage of my existing unit which has fully functional dvd drives,big enough hard drive, sound card, card reader etc).

So in summary, I'm asking for advice on what is my best option. I should also add that I don't play games on the computer but need all the memory I can get to run Adobe Photoshop on large TIFF files (which virtually grinds to a halt even after disabling everything possible).

  MAJ 23:32 16 Dec 2008

Have you set Photoshop's scratch file on a different drive to your operating system's drive? That should help.

If you're using a 32-bit OS, 1GB is about as much extra usable physical memory that you could add.

  fazer 23:52 16 Dec 2008


Thanks for the response but I have'nt got another drive!

Regarding your second sentence, may I ask what are my options?

  MAJ 00:26 17 Dec 2008

I'm not sure what the "limitations" of your motherboard are memory wise, fazer, but the limitation of a 32-bit operating system is about 3 to 3.2 GBs of physical RAM. If your motherboard supports that amount of physical RAM, I would upgrade to that amount as well as creating another partition on your drive (if you have enough free space to do so) and move the Photoshop scratch file to that new partition.

  MAJ 00:40 17 Dec 2008

Also, fazer, Photoshop wont be using all your memory at the moment, it wont use 2 GBs of physical memory, but it can use close to that amount if you tell it to do so,(it defaults to using 50% of available physical RAM) leaving your operating system with very little to use, that's maybe why things are slowing down a lot.

  GaT7 01:19 17 Dec 2008

You're right - 2Gb is the max for your motherboard click here.

You could get a motherboard (that's compatible with your CPU) with 4 RAM slots, & increase the amount of RAM. But you'll be looking at secondhand stuff for the former & possibly eBay. You'll have to reinstall Windows afresh.

"I can't seem to find a (worthy) replacement below £600..." - Are you sure? Where are you looking, & does that include a monitor, etc as well? £300-400 should give you a reasonably powerful PC with 4Gb RAM - much better than your present PC anyway. G

  Snec 01:42 17 Dec 2008

I've always found any emachine I've been involved with difficult to do much with, on the upgrade front. They're a good-enough machine so long as you are happy to use it as it comes.

  fazer 17:09 18 Dec 2008

Thanks chaps and sorry for the delay in my reply.

To pick up on what Crossbow7 states regarding CPU compatability (and please bear with me on this - I can use a computer but know very little about how they work!!), is it possible then that the CPU and motherboard can be replaced?

I really am keen to explore every possibility to upgrade what I have but have no idea on the logistics or the cost.

MAJ: have cranked-up Photoshop to use 95% of available RAM. Not ideal admittedly but much lower and I spend all evening waiting for the plugins to do their stuff!

  MAJ 17:44 18 Dec 2008

Yes the motherboard and processor can be upgraded, fazer, but remember you'll probably also to have to buy new memory and a new power supply to suit the new motherboard and processor, I would say the least you want is an Intel core 2 duo processor. Check out sites like Scan, Novatech, Microdirect, CCLComputers and Ebuyer for "motherboard bundles".

!MAJ: have cranked-up Photoshop to use 95% of available RAM. Not ideal admittedly but much lower and I spend all evening waiting for the plugins to do their stuff!"

I know it can be frustrating, fazer. Be aware that Photoshop will use a maximum of 1.5 to 1.75 GBs of physical RAM, it uses the scratch file after that and it's the fact that your large TIFF files are on the same drive as Windows that is probably slowing things down. Placing the scratch file on a new partition or drive will help that. I have upgraded a few emachines in this way, in my time, although it's a few years ago now, it was straightforward enough.

  GaT7 18:29 18 Dec 2008

Well, to keep costs to the minimum, I was thinking of replacing a motherboard ONLY. One with more RAM slots to match your CPU - & consequently all other parts, so no other upgrades apart from more RAM would need upgrading.

MAJ, idea is a good one too. But if you're going so far, you may as well get a new PC.

"I can't seem to find a (worthy) replacement below £600..." - it would be helpful if you could tell us where & which PCs you're looking at. G

  fazer 11:30 20 Dec 2008

Thanks guys - have taken on-board all your advice.

I will in particular explore Crossbow7's suggestion and to answer the question about the £600 issue, I began to look on the bigger company sites (Mesh et al) but found that when I "customised" a particular model to what I think is a decent spec - 4Gb ram, fast processor, dvd drive and graphics (at least 512mb) and audio card plus an operating system and microsoft office - the price soon shot up.

I also explored various sites via Google but such is my dependence on other peoples opinions and advice, I don't feel confident approaching anyone that I have not seen mentioned in PC Advisor and suchlike magazines. I did post a query last week asking for advice upon which companies to approach but had no response - any suggestions then please?

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