Should I increase my PC's memory, too?

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Hey folks,

I'm thinking of getting an upgrade to my hard drive. I now have 160
GB. Was thinking of getting 160 GB more added.

Should I also increase my tower drive's memory, to 1
GB, while I'm at it?

Here's what I have at present:

AMD Athlon XP 3000+ Barton V 2167 MHZ
ASUS A7N8X-E Deluxe NForce2 LAN DDR400, sata
Samsung 160 GT S-ata 7200 rpm
Memory: 512 Mt 400 MHz DDR CL 2.5 DIMM
Antec Sonata Piano 380W

Plz let me know what advantage will I get,  if any, by increasing my
PC's memory to 1 GB if I increase to a hard drive power of 320 GB?

Or will there be no tangible difference?

In any case, plz advise whether 512 Mt memory is compatible with a 320
GB hard drive in total?

RS  ;)

PS. Please pardon the noobishness of this, but what exactly is the
function of that memory card. (I.e. what memory function does it

PS. One more Q: if I decide to upgrade memory, is it simply a matter
of adding it to the motherboard's slot, or would I have to discard
the 512 Mt chip, i.e. not an add-on? And what about my OS -- would I
have to reload XP again?

Re: Should I increase my PC's memory, too?

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The size of your harddrive has nothing to do with how much memory you
If you run memory intensive apps such as Photoshop...
adding more memory is a good idea...
Adding more memory will certain never hurt anything...
but if all is running fine right now...then you won;t need to add more
by just adding a larger HD

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Re: Should I increase my PC's memory, too?

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Better value to replace the existing 160G drive with a 400G drive.

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Depends on what you do on the PC. Probably worth doing for most PC use.

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The two are independant. You need more hard drive
space if you dont have much free hard drive space.

You need more memory if the system uses the swap file much. You can
see how much memory it currently uses in the Task Manager with XP,
after you have been using the system for a while with the bigger tasks.

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There will obviously be more free hard drive space with more hard drive space.

Whether the difference in memory is tangible depends on what you do on
the PC. You wont notice any difference if you say just browse the web etc.

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Yes, they are completely independant.

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Its where the PC keeps what its running when the PC is running programs.

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You can add another 512M module fine.

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Re: Should I increase my PC's memory, too?

Rollingstone06 wrote:
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The disk is for long term storage, for when the computer is turned
off and unplugged. You buy a new disk, if you run out of space on the
old one, and you need more room to store more files. Generally, you
want to keep a small percentage of hard drive space available (like
say 10% of the total), as a computer might not behave very well with
extremely low remaining space on it. (Windows needs room for temporary
files, for one thing and another. The other day, when I was printing,
it needed a whole gigabyte of space on the hard drive, for the print file.)

Memory is used for temporary storage. Memory is a very fast form of
storage, and is needed because the processor is very fast. If the
processor worked with the disk as the only storage medium, the
processor would be slow as molasses. The memory is a fast, intermediate
point, for storing things.

To make a concrete example, let's work with your 512MB of memory.
When the computer boots, maybe 180MB of the 512MB of space, is taken
up by the OS and its needs. Part of that space might be holding the
binary code for the OS. Part of the space is used for buffers, to
hold Ethernet packets, or to hold chunks of stuff to be written to
the hard drive.

Now, we open Excel and a few spreadsheets. While that program is
running, it needs a fast place to live. Maybe that takes up another 100MB
of your memory DIMM.

Eventually, by the time you open a few big programs, maybe the memory
is full. What the OS can do then, is take the least used memory locations
and "swap" them onto the disk. The "swapping" is laborious, and if you
run a computer low on memory, the swapping can slow things down for you.

So what a user would do, is use the Task Manager (the thing that pops
up when you press control-alt-delete just once). There is a performance
chart in the interface, and it can show you the memory being used, and
the tasks or programs running on the computer. If you find that your
usage pattern, consistently keeps the memory full, then buying a second
512MB stick, to double your memory, might help.

I run a computer with 1GB of memory in it. My favorite 3D game, when
running, brings the used memory up to 600MB of the 1GB total. (I can
press alt-tab while the game is running, and return to the Windows
desktop, where I can use the Task Manager to see what is going on.)
I don't feel any compelling need to upgrade the memory, because I seldom
go higher than 600MB out of the 1GB total.

The hard drive, is for permanent storage. If you were a web surfer,
who never kept anything from the surfing sessions, you might never
need to add a disk drive, or replace the current disk drive with a
larger one. Some people are packrats (that's me), and everything
they download is still on the disk. But since the stuff I download
is generally small (no movies for example, or music files), I haven't
needed a hard drive upgrade in ages. I replace hard drives more as
preventive maintenance (replace them before they fail) than anything

If you want to free up some space, if you look in the "My Computer"
window at the drives, right click on one of your disk icons, select
"Properties", then click "Disk Cleanup", you can empty some of the
temporary storage locations on the hard drive. That is handy if
space on the disk is at a premium.

With your motherboard, there is room for three sticks of memory.
If you have one 512MB stick, the best choice would be a second 512MB
stick for a total of 1GB (a 512MB stick, with the same speed as the
one you've got, won't be too expensive). If you wish to have a total
of 2GB of memory, then with that computer, the best choice would be
2x512MB plus a 1GB stick of memory. I selected that set of memory,
so you could continue to use the 512MB stick you already own. Using
2x1GB would also make sense, but the computer would work best with
just the 2 sticks, rather than use 2x1GB + 1x512MB.

This is what the computer should look like with 2x512MB

           ------- <empty>
           ------- 512MB

           ------- 512MB

This is what the computer should look like with 2x512MB + 1x1GB

           ------- 512MB
           ------- 512MB

           ------- 1GB

The fill pattern I am using here, is the total memory in the
top two slots, equals the size of memory in the "lonely" slot.
That fill pattern is called "Dual Channel", and gives a tiny
(5%) improvement in memory bandwidth.

If you add memory, don't forget to test the memory immediately
with memtest86+ from . That is a standalone memory
test program, which you download, and then use to prepare a
boot disk. There is no Windows OS on the floppy or CD you make,
it is just a single program which boots and runs the computer.
In a couple of hours of testing, it will tell you whether the
computer likes your new memory or not. You can also use that
program right now if you like, to see if your current memory
is a good one or not. You have to set the boot order in the
BIOS, so that the computer will see the memtest86+ boot
disk when it is inserted in the computer.


Re: Should I increase my PC's memory, too?

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Don' t fully agree with the suggestions of REPLACING your old drive by a
bigger one. Keep your existing one (if not too old and having normal
performance) for windows and programs and add a new one for your data, swap
file and eventually back-ups. Doing so, you will avoid a lot of problems if
you have to reinstall windows or if your older drive crashes. Of course, the
new drive might be as large as your budget allows.
And as you understand from other messages, adding 512 MB will never hurt and
could increase system performance depending of your applications.
Apply Paul's advice and check regularly your memory usage in the Task
Manager before making a decision.

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