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Re: Video & RAM upgrade?
Old 03-25-2006, 10:48 AM   #21
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Re: Video & RAM upgrade?

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Originally Posted by wab
The easiest way to tell if 512MB is enough is to see if your system is swapping.* *Open up task manager, and take a look at your Peak Commit Charge after a long period of use.* *If the Peak is higher than the Total Physical Memory, then you're swapping, and more RAM will help.* *Otherwise, don't bother.
If you're not playing 3D games, the only reasons to buy a new video card would be hardware acceleration for DVD playback (nVidia has a good codec for their cards) or to drive a higher-resolution display (or multiple displays).* * Otherwise, don't bother.
If you have a couple hundred bucks burning a hole in your pocket, I would invest in a great keyboard, great mouse, and maybe a large fast hard drive.* *Those will give you improvements you'll appreciate every day.
Excellent idea, wish I'd thought of that, so that window actually DOES have a practical application! After five days we show 604 MB peak use out of 478 MB (system doesn't count the RAM used for video emulation) and a "limit" (whatever that means) of 942 MB.

Theoretically another 512 MB RAM chip would do the trick. I guess I'll have to check the price break between that and a couple of 1 MB chips.

It's not just a "new" video card, it's "a" video card. I would hope that video card manufacturers can do the job faster than RAM emulation, and this machine does get a lot of heavy teenage DVD use.

We've enjoyed our Microsoft optical mouse for the last couple years, and the 200 GB HD is only a quarter full with a couple smaller backups that I could throw in if needed. I've been musing about getting a second (external) HD just to automate the "MyDocuments" backups but I haven't done anything about it yet.

I try not to get emotionally attached to keyboards considering our keyboard's operating environment. But I'd buy one that could survive 24 hours' submergence in a bucket of Crystal Lite beverage drink... or 5W30 cooling oil...
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Re: Video & RAM upgrade?
Old 03-25-2006, 10:51 AM   #22
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Re: Video & RAM upgrade?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wab
swapping
Did you mean 'paging'?

I always thought that no paging meant you spent too much money on memory. At $25 a stick, thats not a huge concern here I guess.

A little paging isnt that unhealthy. A lot is bad.
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Re: Video & RAM upgrade?
Old 03-25-2006, 11:26 AM   #23
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Re: Video & RAM upgrade?

Do note that the peak limit you saw might have been for four seconds once.

Two 1GB sticks? Pretty spendy and really too much. You're looking at $100-150. Since you're not running dual channel though, you might be able to use a 1GB and a 512MB. I run a gb in the desktop, mostly because I had a half gig in my wifes old computer and a half gig in mine, and consolidated them when we got married. Other than video work where I'm manipulating multiple gigabyte video files, I dont think i've topped .6-.7GB.

Slightly beware the "a video card" idea...some video cards have a similar or worse video chip than the one you've got although they may not 'share memory'. Also some el cheapo cards have pretty good dvd decoding in hardware, and might beat out a zippy card that doesnt. In any case, the processor you have is far more than capable enough for software decoding video and dvd files, and some afficionado's feel that dvd software decoding with post processing may produce a better visual result than the built in hardware decoding. I'm thinking most people wouldnt notice the difference.
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Re: Video & RAM upgrade?
Old 03-25-2006, 12:13 PM   #24
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Re: Video & RAM upgrade?

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Originally Posted by Cute 'n' Fuzzy Bunny
Since you're not running dual channel though, you might be able to use a 1GB and a 512MB.
I was wondering about that-- thanks.
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Re: Video & RAM upgrade?
Old 03-25-2006, 12:29 PM   #25
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Re: Video & RAM upgrade?

Well, its not always roses and sunshine. Sometimes "One of these things is not like the other..." with memory. Timings can be off a little bit between two sticks even though they have the same 'ratings'. I've even had problems between two sticks of the same makers ram of the same type and speed. System would run with one or the other, with both of them in one config, but if I swapped the slots the two sticks were in, stopped working.
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Re: Project complete.
Old 05-07-2006, 01:51 PM   #26
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Re: Project complete.

Update-- thanks for the advice and the websites, everyone.

512 MB PC3200 RAM-- $19.99 after Circuit City rebate.
Radeon 9550-- $79 from local military exchange (easy return policy).
Optical wireless mouse with Ni-MH batteries-- $30.

Letting the kid do all the work while I sat on my laurels (so to speak) and pontificated about the good ol' DOS days when you plugged those $$$ 64K RAM chips into your memory card... priceless.

We effectively went from ~400 MB RAM (left over after video processing) to 1 GB... amazing difference, especially with the virus & spyware scans. I can't really tell one way or the other if the graphics card is making a difference but I'll know more after a dozen teenagers give it their Sunday-afternoon burn-in.

Dory, I'm sharing half the savings with the server fund. It should be showing up in your PayPal account soon...
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