TechSpot

Do I need more RAM?

By theboberon
Oct 28, 2007
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  1. My computer is slow. We have cable internet so I know it's not that. It's not even ridiculously slow, just enough to get on my nerves when web browsing and fooling around with my photo editor. Someone told me I needed more RAM.
    The computer was given to us and the only label on it says, AMD Athlon XP. Is that the brand?
    It's running 480 mb of RAM.
    Help!
    Thanks in advance.
  2. with half a gigabyte of ram, i'm surprised you haven't decided to beat yourself to death with a steel pipe from the painfully slow speed. i certainly agree. more ram would be a pretty good idea. it may also be your graphics chip. some chips aren't able to render graphics terribly well or quickly. so that might also pose a problem in terms of how fast you can process photo editor related things. image and video programs tend to eat up lots of memory, graphics, and processing power. so you'll want to make sure that you're well stocked with all three.

    and as for the label, as far as i can tell, it tells you the type of processor and the operating system. an AMD athlon processor and running windows XP. that's my best guess. but there's a far more detailed list inside the computer. you just have to navigate to it.

    why not have a go at it? here's something to try:

    Click Start. Click Run, and in the space provided, type "dxdiag" without the quotes and hit Enter. It will most likely ask you some question after you do this. It's not life threatening, so just click yes, and it will bring you a list of your computer's specifications.

    more specifically, it should deliver the following:

    Current Date/Time
    Computer Name
    Operating System
    Language
    System Manufacturer
    System Model
    BIOS
    Processor
    Memory
    Page File
    DirectX Version

    Some computers aren't as detailed, but generally you get a list like this. Understanding what it all says is pretty straight forward. Feel free to post it and ask any other questions if you like.
  3. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    Google and get Everest home edition. That will tell you everything you could ever want to know about your pc plus a whole load more.
  4. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,284   +24

    At least 1GB of RAM is needed for a smoothly running PC. So yes, you do need it.
  5. theboberon

    theboberon Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thanks. I'll get right on the RAM situation.
    Now, about this graphics card. Here is my system info. Can you tell if I need a new Graphics card too?
    ------------------
    System Information
    ------------------
    Time of this report: 10/28/2007, 10:28:48
    Machine name: PAETSCH-
    Operating System: Windows XP Home Edition (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 2 (2600.xpsp_sp2_gdr.070227-2254)
    Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
    System Manufacturer: BIOSTA
    System Model: AWRDACPI
    BIOS: Phoenix - AwardBIOS v6.00PG
    Processor: AMD Athlon(tm) XP 2000+, MMX, 3DNow, ~1.7GHz
    Memory: 480MB RAM
    Page File: 493MB used, 628MB available
    Windows Dir: C:\WINDOWS
    DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
    DX Setup Parameters: Not found
    DxDiag Version: 5.03.2600.2180 32bit Unicode




    And here are my Display devices.


    ---------------
    Display Devices
    ---------------
    Card name: S3 Graphics ProSavageDDR
    Manufacturer: S3 Graphics Co., Ltd.
    Chip type: S3 ProSavage DDR
    DAC type: S3 SDAC
    Device Key: Enum\PCI\VEN_5333&DEV_8D04&SUBSYS_8D045333&REV_00
    Display Memory: 32.0 MB
    Current Mode: 1024 x 768 (32 bit) (75Hz)
    Monitor: Plug and Play Monitor
    Monitor Max Res: 1600,1200
    Driver Name: s3gnb.dll
    Driver Version: 6.14.0010.0025 (English)
    DDI Version: 9 (or higher)
    Driver Attributes: Final Retail
    Driver Date/Size: 3/2/2004 14:02:26, 402048 bytes
    WHQL Logo'd: Yes
    WHQL Date Stamp: n/a
    VDD: n/a
    Mini VDD: s3gnbm.sys
    Mini VDD Date: 3/2/2004 14:02:30, 167040 bytes
    Device Identifier: {D7B75DD3-CE44-11CF-9A30-0EADA1C2CB35}
    Vendor ID: 0x5333
    Device ID: 0x8D04
    SubSys ID: 0x8D045333
    Revision ID: 0x0000
    Revision ID: 0x0000
    Video Accel: ModeMPEG2_C ModeMPEG2_A ModeMPEG2_D
    Deinterlace Caps: n/a
    Registry: OK
    DDraw Status: Enabled
    D3D Status: Enabled
    AGP Status: Enabled
    DDraw Test Result: Not run
    D3D7 Test Result: Not run
    D3D8 Test Result: Not run
    D3D9 Test Result: Not run
  6. Daveskater

    Daveskater Banned Posts: 2,031

    it looks as though you have integrated graphics so getting a proper card will improve performance a lot

    also your graphics is using 32mb of your 512mb installed memory, increasing the amount of dedicated graphics ram would be a temporary improvement but it would be best to get a proper card

    also having a faster cpu would improve your performance, you should have a socket A cpu in which case i think the fastest cpu you could get would be an AMD Athlon XP about 2.6GHz, if not 3GHz

    like link590o and Rage_3K_Moiz said, though, upgrading to at least 1gb of ram would help a lot

    go on the crucial website (crucial.com) and see what memory your pc takes and has in it at the moment

    fyi, AMD Athlon XP is a type of processor, the type that you have, as well as me ;)
  7. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,074   +13

  8. spanky

    spanky Newcomer, in training Posts: 41

    I upgraded from 512 to 1gb a few months ago. I'm running windows xp on a middle of the road PC from about 2 years ago. The extra half a gig made a lot of difference. When I do upgrade I'm going for 2 x 1gb dual channel low latency ram.
  9. Blind Dragon

    Blind Dragon TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,048

    Dave is dead on, your system is pulling from your ram for graphics processing. I have a computer that was doing the same. For what you are doing looks like all you need is a video card with 128mb that will free up your ram so that you have 512, then check to see if you have 256 X 2 currently or 512 X 1 if you have 512 X 1 then you can just add another stick of 512 and you will have 1 gig of free ram -

    I found a Radeon 9600 for $50 online and bought a 512 stick of Corsair memory for $26 from outpost.com

    so under $100 and you will even be able to do some gaming if you wish
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