adding RAM

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I planned to buy a PC from HP's site (they were the cheapest) and after
days of customizing:-P ... the deals ended. So in my price budget I'm
stuck with 256 mb ram.
even keeping everything else, i'm still paying more for it than i would
have three days ago. (the printer is free, and i'm getting a better
monitor from newegg... saving 60 bucks in the process)

i'm not going to have time to figure out every aspect of putting
together my own box (leaving for school soon)... so my first thought
was buying more ram separately. does it need to be the exact same speed
as that provided with the computer? (DDR2 SDRAM at 400 mhz... pc 3200)
or can i get any faster?

or, are there any other sites i can buy a pc for under $900 including
preferred specs are:
XP professional
512mb ram (maybe up to 1gb?)
160gb HD (80 isn't going to cut it)
pentium 4 (preferably not under 3 ghz) or comparable
any printer
any video
any sound

if any of this stuff sounds weak, i don't want to experiment too
much... i need a PC that'll work when i'm done setting it up with just
enough balls to watch movies, store music, and play a few games. any
help is appreciated. ~J

Re: adding RAM

On 8 Aug 2005 12:38:38 -0700, wrote:

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If you weren't in a hurry I'd suggest waiting a little while
since sales come and go - while you missed out on the
tail-end of one there will probably be another, from Compaq
or Dell if not HP.

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It needs be at least rated for same speed.  You could get
faster memory but the motherboard will run it at same speed
as the current memory.

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Sure, $900 is a pretty wide budget, you should be able to
get more than 256MB memory in a box for $900, yet still it
may be less expensive to buy memory from 3rd party.

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IMO, for those modest requirements you dont need a $900
system- except for modern gaming and in that case be sure
you get one with a (known decent) video card, or at least
with available PCI Express or AGP slot so you can add your
own (again this may be cheaper than buying it with the
same/similar card from an OEM).

Presumably your "store music" also means listening to it, in
which case I'd suggest at least a median grade sound card
instead of integrated sound, and some sound cards have
hardware acceleration benefits in gaming (Creative Labs).
Even so, if the system has sufficient empty PCI slots you
can add such parts later, possibly, depending on whether you
have any other additional needs to add other cards.

I'm not going to make any specific suggestions though, as I
can't really assume what you need and what's it's worth to
you beyond what's been mentioned so far.

Frankly I'd consider an Athon64, as they have good gaming
performance (and so far you have no other described uses
that benefit significantly from a P4 architecture) and
produce significantly less heat, meaning lower fan noise,
lower service interval on average, and less heating up the
room too.

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