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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> wimpy computer memory question
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10/21/2010 10:10:40 PM · #1
Ok -- I have an old computer.

It's a given that I won't be buying a new computer soon.

It's a 2.66 Ghz computer.

How much memory should I have in this computer?
10/21/2010 10:14:24 PM · #2
I have 6GB, and I am getting 12 or more in my next machine. Lightroom and Photoshop fight for gobbling up all usable memory, not to mention running Nik filters on top of it, or Topaz, or Photomatix, and it becomes a problem. Memory isn't that expensive anymore, and I think it's one of the more significant upgrades.

So if you can afford it, get AT LEAST 6GB; but 8-12 would be better!


10/21/2010 10:17:55 PM · #3
If you have 32 bit Windows, you won't be able to utilize more than 4Gb (Actually the limit is about 3.3, but ram does not come in that increment). One of the major benefits of 64 bit OS's is the ability to access more RAM.

I have a 3.1 Ghz dual core with 4Gb.

Message edited by author 2010-10-21 22:18:24.
10/21/2010 10:18:11 PM · #4
If you're running WinXP 32-bit, any more than about 3GB is a waste.
You don't say how much is in there now, but in general:
- If you have 512MB (0.5GB) WinXP will run like a dog... an old, very tired dog.
- If you have 1GB, WinXP will run pretty well with apps that are not memory-intensive. Even newer versions of MS Office may tax the machine if you multi-task
- If you have 2GB, most apps will run without a hitch, but you will run into slow-downs when performing many simultaneous tasks or with very memory-intensive jobs such as editing a large file in Ps
You will need to determine what the motherboard is capable of handling as well. Larger capacity modules may not be available for an old motherboard
10/21/2010 10:23:39 PM · #5
6 GB is good.
If you're not running any games, 3 or 4 will be fine.
10/21/2010 10:28:54 PM · #6
Also, your motherboard may limit the max you can have.
10/21/2010 10:50:11 PM · #7
I just upgraded from 2 to 8, and photoshop is much happier now. Im running win 7 64 bit, so I can use the full 8GB, if you are funning 32 bit windows it will only see 4GB no matter how many you have.
10/21/2010 11:06:17 PM · #8
is XP always 32 bit? Or is it possible to have a 64 bit XP?

(I am using XP...)
10/21/2010 11:13:30 PM · #9
You've got 32 bit XP. There is a 64 bit XP, but it's not common. If you had 64 bit XP, you would already know it. So that answers that question. Max it out at 4Gb, or upgrade to Win7 64 bit if you want to access to more RAM.
10/21/2010 11:13:33 PM · #10
Originally posted by vawendy:

is XP always 32 bit? Or is it possible to have a 64 bit XP?

(I am using XP...)


I doubt it is even possible to run 64-bit XP on your current hardware. In any case, 64-bit XP is a bit of an abomination, and there is no way your hardware will adequately run Win7, so you are best off sticking with 32-bit XP.
Check your memory configuration, and if you have 1GB or less, price out an upgrade to 2GB. That's as far as I'd go with it.
10/21/2010 11:15:32 PM · #11
Originally posted by kirbic:

there is no way your hardware will adequately run Win7,

Ummm, why not? 2.66 Ghz is plenty for Win7. I have it running on a machine only a little faster and it runs quite nicely.
10/21/2010 11:18:44 PM · #12
Originally posted by Yo_Spiff:

Originally posted by kirbic:

there is no way your hardware will adequately run Win7,

Ummm, why not? 2.66 Ghz is plenty for Win7. I have it running on a machine only a little faster and it runs quite nicely.


Yes, I've heard of folks running Win7 on even older hardware. I wouldn't, however, recommend trying an install on hardware this old to someone without significant tech savvy. There's too much risk of running afoul of unsupported hardware.
10/21/2010 11:22:10 PM · #13
It has 2.99 Gb RAM

We didn't do the windows 7 upgrade because everyone said it sucked so much. XP always was very stable, so we just stuck with that.
10/21/2010 11:26:24 PM · #14
Originally posted by vawendy:

We didn't do the windows 7 upgrade because everyone said it sucked so much.

You are probably thinking of Vista, not 7. 7 is the upgrade that fixed most of the complaints about Vista. It's gotten mostly praise. In fact I'd say to forget Vista ever existed, but apparently you already have :-)
10/21/2010 11:28:31 PM · #15
Originally posted by kirbic:

I wouldn't, however, recommend trying an install on hardware this old to someone without significant tech savvy. There's too much risk of running afoul of unsupported hardware.

You are probably right about the need for some tech savvy on a machine designed for XP, though I don't consider a 2.66 Ghz box to be terribly old.
10/21/2010 11:30:19 PM · #16
Originally posted by vawendy:

It has 2.99 Gb RAM

We didn't do the windows 7 upgrade because everyone said it sucked so much. XP always was very stable, so we just stuck with that.


As Spiff said, Win7 is a fine OS; I'd add that Vista it much-maligned, and really was not at all bad after SP1, but before SP1, well that was a little different story.

You already have as much memory as a 32-bit OS can use. Stick with it.
10/21/2010 11:57:23 PM · #17
Bridge is just painful. When I switch to another folder, it takes about 10 seconds for the folder to come up. I don't even bother trying to do a search, because that can take up to 5 minutes. When I'm trying to remember when I took a picture, and just clicking on random folders, it takes forever & a day. I just assumed that bridge was an extremely slow program. Bear said his is immediate.
10/22/2010 12:41:17 AM · #18
The only response I ever give for how much memory is to buy as much as it can take and the fastest it can take. There could be a greater cost down the road trying to upgrade if things don't match just right.

It really is the cheapest thing you can do to make sure any PC runs smoothly.

If you ever do buy a new computer, consider one with an AMD chip. You get more processing power per dollar. Though, I'm not sure if packaged computers come with AMD chips.

ETA: That last comment was based on 4 year old data.....

Message edited by author 2010-10-22 00:42:01.
10/22/2010 12:53:40 AM · #19
Originally posted by PGerst:

If you ever do buy a new computer, consider one with an AMD chip. You get more processing power per dollar. Though, I'm not sure if packaged computers come with AMD chips.

I've been building my systems with AMD processors since the 386/40. I tend to stay 18-24 months behind the bleeding edge when I build a new system, and AMD always seems to be the most bang for the buck in that range.
10/22/2010 01:09:25 AM · #20
I see alot of people saying to get 6 or more gig and only a few pointing out the fact that unless you have a 64 bit OS it will only address about 3.12 gig at the max, even Win7 32 bit is this way. So if you are going to stick with WinXP then buy two 2 gig sticks and you'll be as good as you can get. Any more and you are throwing money away.
10/22/2010 02:24:01 AM · #21
go here...

www.crucial.com

Click on Download the Scanner option, and run it.

it will tell you what your mainboard is capable of (usually) and what OS you're running, etc. It'll even tell you what kind of RAM it is. Feel free to post as much information as you can that it tells you. Then we can stop guessing, and confusing you just as much.

PM me if you would like direct help.
10/22/2010 04:48:34 AM · #22
Originally posted by vawendy:

Bridge is just painful. When I switch to another folder, it takes about 10 seconds for the folder to come up.

If you've got 3Gb ram already in there, and you're running WindowsXP, then I'd say disk i/o could be the problem.

Try cleaning up your hard drive a bit; Install and run ccleaner (shareware) this will clean up temporary files and your registry. When that's finished, then defragment your hard drive, which should improve file i/o and swap performance (google will tell you how to defrag your hard drive, it's very straightforward)
10/22/2010 04:58:03 AM · #23
For information, M$ gives the list of "how much RAM can you use on each windows version".
And for example upgrading to win7 64 starter is not a solution : the limit is 2GB.
Here are the details : http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa366778%28VS.85%29.aspx

[troll] Buy linux for free :D [/troll]

Message edited by author 2010-10-22 05:07:40.
10/22/2010 05:39:22 AM · #24
Originally posted by smardaz:

only a few pointing out the fact that unless you have a 64 bit OS it will only address about 3.12 gig at the max, even Win7 32 bit is this way.


And only 64 bit hardware supports 64 bit OSes, so if you think about upgrading to 64 bit, check if your hardware supports it.
10/22/2010 06:41:51 AM · #25
you also need to look at what kind of ram you have, im betting its pc100 or 133, which is really pricey, i think it runs about $100 for a 512mb stick, and i would bet your motherboard only supports up to 2g.

memory will give you the most bang for your buck, but really if you are looking at upgrading ram, you should just get a new pc.

Message edited by author 2010-10-22 06:42:40.
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