Whats the most important component to upgrade?

  Mr Anderson 15:30 14 Aug 2003

After some clarification from you good folk......... My firms office currently have a mixture of computers ranging from 800mhz P3s with 64mb or 128mb ram to computers which have P1 with 32mb ram etc. We are a firm of accountants so you can probably guess what kind of crap they are using.
As we are running on a network disk space is not a big issue but we do run Sage accounts and tax software.

I put to the directors a proposal for some new Dell machines but they dont wish to make that kind of committment.

One director has it in his mind that all that needs to be done is "put more ram in it".

Whilst I am sure you will all say "Buy new machines" would you agree that its not just the ram that needss improving but the processor as well?

I am fighting a losing battle but want to make sure I make the best case I can.

  Jester2K II 15:34 14 Aug 2003

Doubling or Quadrupling the RAM is one of the best and cheapest upgrade you can make. Esp if the machines are doing basic work. I have an 800Mhz PIII with 512 Mb RAM - runs much better than when it only have 128 mb.

Double the RAM on some of the machines and see how much better they run.

Maybe the P1 needs binning but the PIII 800 are fine. Just need more RAM.

  The Transporter 15:39 14 Aug 2003

i would also have to say the motherboard. Simply because everything connects to it! it is the heart of the pc.

  Stuartli 16:03 14 Aug 2003

Upgrading the CPU will make little difference to the speed of these type of programs' use, but additional RAM - as much as possible for each machine - certainly will...:-)

I have a 400MHz Celerton overclocked slightly to 45oMHz but even doubling that speed would be barely noticeable for the type of work I do; even dialup on-line access speed is perfectly adequate.

  alcudia 16:07 14 Aug 2003

This head in the sand attitude is I think typical of the professions (I am the IT administrator with a firm of solicitors) I took over the post about eighteen months ago when the previous incumbant left, and inherited a network full of junk running win95 on a NT4 server. Nothing had been changed for years. Six months later we had 35 new computers with XP Pro and Office XP, and a new Win 2000 server, 3 new printers and 2 scanners. A new 2mb broadband connection was installed, dumping the dialup. Oh, and two new hubs. The cost, about £28000. It just needs pursuasion, and probably an ultimatum or two.
Perhaps on a more realistic note the P3's are good for a bit yet, but 64mb is not enough these days. At least double it (if the motherboard will take it). Give the P1 to a museum.

  BillEmm 16:26 14 Aug 2003

Old PCs break down and in most cases are beyond repair. Data Recovery is a horrendous and time consuming task which at best is only 50 percent successful.

You have to estimate the cost of losing whatever system you currently have due to failure, including the cost of recovery and assess what effect losing customer or tax data would do to the reputation, and indeed, the survival of the company.

Yup, I've been there, but happily on the side of the solution providers! Easy money!!


  alcudia 16:50 14 Aug 2003

BillEmm (I like the name) is perfectly correct.
This was the pursuasion I used to replace virtually evrything we had. Try it, you never know.

  Simsy 18:58 14 Aug 2003

is how many machines are we talking about?

If it's just a handfull, half a dozen or so, then the cost of new machines is, I suspect, insignificant in the scheme of things.

I'm not an expert on how demanding the progs you use are, but I suspect that they are not terribly so, in which case the RAM option would seem to suffice....

however, if the machines are several years old then thre may be an issue with HDD size and reliability... lost data etc. I suspect that cannot be afforded?

New machines will probably mean new software and other new hardware, (compatibility), which may mean more training.... more "cost", (or should that be investment?!)

I would suggest that if you get more RAM added and the performance does not improve suitably the there is empirical evidence for you that more needs to be done.... but try that first.

Heavens above... I do ramble on sometimes don't I!

good luck,



  alcudia 08:33 15 Aug 2003

Following on from Simsy, the reason why we had to lay out such a large sum was years of lack of investment. It doesn't matter really how many machines are involved, if they are old and in a critical business environment, they have to be replaced. If you are not careful you will be in the same situation we were in. We now have a strategy whereby we transfer £750 to a separate account each month. After three years the whole lot will be changed again, without having to find the money. Also make sure you have reliable back up software, and hardware, such as Tandberg, just in case.

  Bodi 09:48 15 Aug 2003

One new machine which can be used as a back-up device and has 120GB hard drive(at least!) You never know, when the efficiency of the new machine is actually seen - more might follow.

Don't "bin" the older machines, there is always someone who can make use of them.


  Mr Anderson 13:52 15 Aug 2003

I think they will go with the ram upgrades which would of course provide a short term solution but these computers are getting old and who knows when they may pack up.

Thanks for all your comments

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