Is buying 4GB of RAM (as opposed to 2GB) for Windows XP a waste of money?
That would depend on a few factors.
If you are running 32 bit XP then you would see some system improvement dependant upon what you use your system for.
Some applications (some, but not games, video editing/encoding, graphics etc) would see better performance than others ( video watching, browsing), but in general terms a system would benefit from the extra RAM. Bear in mind that under a 32-bit, the operating system can only utilise (address) approximately 2.5-3.5Gb of the available 4Gb - basically 4Gb minus your video card memory and address space allocated to hardware resources. If you have a 64-bit version of XP then no such limitation applies, at least as 4Gb goes.
If 4Gb is not significantly more expensive than 2Gb then it's a viable upgrade (again dependant upon what app's you run) even though you may not utilize the whole 4Gb.
Thanks DBZ. Im using Windows XP SP3 32bit. Usage will be general web browsing etc... gaming. Im thinking of installing windows vista in the near future and also possibly doing some desighning using a Turbocad programme. Considering these possible future expantions would 4GB be the way to go? Thanks
I don't use much in the way of CAD (just AllyCAD/AutoCAD for chassis modding design mainly) but you will see much smoother/faster loading and use in most applications, especially if you can utilize all 4Gb at some stage -Vista or Win 7 64-bit.
Thanks DBZ. I'll get 4GB of decent RAM. Does heatsinked RAM actually work better or have a longer life?
For DDR2 it can help dissipate heat, especially if you are running RAM at 2.0+ volts and/or overclocking, although in the main it's more of a bling/marketing ploy for standard speed/voltage modules. The main consideration is to have good airflow over the RAM modules and chipset through good case (chassis) fans.
Better performing RAM - lower latency (the C, CL or CAS rating) and/or higher bandwidth (Speed) - usually comes equipped with heatspreaders as standard-Not often you see higher performing modules without them.
Most good brands of RAM carry a lifetime warranty and will often outlast the useful life of the system.
Thanks for your help!
It depends on which version you are running, I am going to assume you have a 32bit os in which case 4GB is indeed overkill. I would stick with 2GB and you will be ok. As 4GB will not be seen by a 32bit Operating System. Only move to 4GB when you run a 64bit Operating System. Hope this helps.