Upgrade Cpu or memory?

By vassil3427 ยท 21 replies
Dec 14, 2003
  1. Hello, I dont have a whole lot to spend but I'd like to do some sort of an upgrade. Should i get a new processor or more memory?

    My current specs:
    Athlon XP 1800+
    ECS K7S5a
    384mb PC2100 DDR
    100GB WD SE HDD
    GF4 Ti4600
    Windows XP Home Edition

    Upgrade Options:
    Athlon XP 2400+, price $80
    512mb PC2100 DDR from Crucial, price $69.99

    Which would be better for the money?
  2. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    Neither. My advice would be not to upgrade just yet, because your system is fine. A good upgrade would be one that doubled your clock speed, or one that is free. You might be able to tell a shred of difference between the 1800+ and the 2400+, but I guarantee you you wouldn't be able to tell 512M of DDR266 from 384M of DDR266. Unless of course you would just run both, which you can't if either of those memory packs (your 384M or the Crucial 512M) is 2 DIMMs. The ECS K7S5A is one of those wierd SDRAM - DDR hybrid boards which I don't like. You can only run 2 sticks of either kind in it. But then, if it did, you would have 896M of DDR266, which is both completely useless to you (unless you deal with huge memory hogs like video or audio editing), and completely useless to a future upgrade, because I'm sure you wouldn't want a fancy new P4/XP with an FSB of 200 as opposed to your memory being 133.
    So, to answer your question, it would be the processor, but don't upgrade yet, at least until you have more money to get a true upgrade.
  3. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 640

    Thanks Vehemnti..I'll just wait and save up to get an Athlon 64 or something....
  4. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    Yes! Exactly!

    $80 really won't get you anywhere...unless you wanted to buy another one of those 100G WD SE's and run RAID0 or something like that. But why would you want to do that? ;)
  5. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 640

    Its been awhile since I posted this question...but I really wanna know. I normally only play Star Wars Galaxies, and I use Microsoft Frontpage 2003 alot. If I add a strip of 512mb of DDr to my system(For a total of 768mb..256+512..) Would I notice a large increase in loading times? My specs havent changed from the above...
  6. Scol

    Scol TS Rookie Posts: 88

    I like your verse quote.

    Anyway, yes more RAM makes a difference in your system. Running XP eats up a lot of resources already, so you should notice the difference in performance after adding more.
  7. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    Being generous, but is 5 or even 10 seconds off a loading time worth $80? Now tripling the size of your available memory is a big upgrade, but I don't think you'll notice a large increase in speed in something that doesn't use a massive amount of memory, which I don't think Frontpage or SWG does, to that extent.
  8. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    I'll tell you what it will do, adding that RAM will allow you to take advantage of some registry hacks that can add some noticable speed to the system. First, you can force kernel to RAM instead of paging it, that will eat a bit of RAM but it makes a noticable difference in performance, there are also a couple more memory related hacks that you can take advantage of when you have more than 512MB RAM, and they DO make a noticable difference.

    For the most part though, the hacks I mentioned will speed up Windows operations, adn some applications load times, but it won't make much if any difference inside the apps themselves.
    To really get the most from the extra RAM and the hacks related to it, you'd have to run memory intensive apps, if you don't then there isn't much point, as the bit of increase within Windows isn't really worth making the upgrade in itself.
  9. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 640

    Thanks guys..I'll probably go ahead and get it, and I'll probably get the pc3200 version so I can use it in future upgrades ..I think 10 seconds of increase sounds pretty nice:D ..I would love to get rid of my paging file..

    Scol: Yeah I like the verse too:)

    And actually SWG recommends atleast 512mb, but it requires atleast 256mb....So maybe it'll help..:p
  10. SubKamran

    SubKamran TS Rookie Posts: 166

    In my experience, the answer would be "Holy crap, yes there's a difference".

    After upping my memory to 512MB, my computer boots up faster than my dad's P4 1.4Ghz (w/ 384MB RDRAM) (twice as fast, CPU wise).

    Yes, it does make a huge-mega-whopping-kick-butt difference ;)

    Also, I'd suggest getting the same brand as different brands sometimes give you conflicts. Also it's recommended to have two of the same sticks or one stick instead of two different sized sticks. ;)

    By the way, when you add more memory you take load off your hard drive, I noticed a huge drop in hard drive usage after the upgrade!
  11. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 640

    Thanks kam ;)
  12. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,978   +15


    I would also hold off for A64 or whatever because your spex should take current games great and furture games ok for awhile.

    This may be the case if you were going from 64MBs or 128MBs to 512 but with Vassil already having 384MBs I dont think hes going to see that much of a benefit. 384 is good, I find 256 a little slim, and when running games I still have 100MBs of RAM free on my 512MB machine.
  13. SubKamran

    SubKamran TS Rookie Posts: 166

    That might be true, I upgraded from 256MB.
  14. WolfPup

    WolfPup TS Rookie

    Agissi Wrote:

    Originally posted by Vehementi
    The ECS K7S5A is one of those wierd SDRAM - DDR hybrid boards which I don't like. You can only run 2 sticks of either kind in it.

    Untrue. "

    Can you really add more than two sticks of one kind? That board only has 2 DDR and 2 SDRAM slots. Can you add more than 2, say 2 DDR and 2 SDRAM or (4 total either DDR or SDRAM?)

    I am only asking because you said it was "untrue" Not suggesting or disagreeing. A friend just gave me one of these boards and I was wondering. I have a bunch of SDRAM sitting around and was curious. All the info I have and seen says no, so am wondering if you have experience or something.


  15. filkertom

    filkertom TS Rookie

    As far as I know, you can only run either DDR or SDRAM in it. When you have sticks in one type of slot, the other type of slot is disabled. That having been said, it is a nice, stable board that gave me absolutely no trouble for two years. I had two DDR 2100 sticks, one 512 MB and one 256, not matching manufacturers, noooo problems. (I recently replaced the mobo and processor, and am using the KS75A to build a computer for my brother.)
  16. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    WolfPup, you can either use the DDR slots, or you can use the SDRAM slots, you can't use both at the same time. This means you can either use two sticks of DDR, or you can use two sticks of SDRAM.
  17. TS | Crazyace

    TS | Crazyace TS Rookie Posts: 275

    I have 768MB RAM (1 512 and 1 256) and still need more. You will ALWAYS notice a RAM upgrade, and once you upgrade you will always want more! As far as gaming, having your game no longer access your hard drive will improve performace substancially. But you will really notice a RAM upgrade if you use win rar alot, or do alot of DVD edit/rip work.
  18. astra

    astra TS Rookie Posts: 20

    Can you recommend any of those memory intensive apps please?
    I have pentium III 733 MHz with 1GB SDRAM and Win XP. So, I would like to tweak it a bit if it is possible at all.

    Thank you in advance.
  19. ak_in_charge

    ak_in_charge TS Rookie Posts: 119

    I would also wait and hold off for the A64, well worth the wait you'll be impressed. I just got one and I can't believe the difference. Just keep saving every penny until you can upgrade a few different things and then you'll be set. Patience is key.
  20. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,978   +15

    Ah miss communication. When Veh wrote that I took it as him saying you had to use 2 sticks of either kind. No, you cannot run both SDR and DDR at the same time. I ment to say, thats untrue, you can also use 1 stick of DDR or SDR. When I read it kinda seem'd like he ment you had to use 2 sticks. Sorry about that.
  21. tripleione

    tripleione TS Rookie Posts: 154

    Read the Windows 2000 memory tweak guide here at TechSpot. It will tell you about the registry entries that will marginally boost performance.
  22. astra

    astra TS Rookie Posts: 20

    OK. Thanks. I will have a look in the guide.
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