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Old 11-29-2007, 05:36 PM   #1
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Arrow Remember Memory?

I have a question for the PC gurus in this forum. I'm running an HP Compaq Presario (which, as I understand it, is lacking to begin with). I'm a designer and design websites, graphics, etc. for my clients and have a professional knowledge of my software and applications. However, the inner-workings of a PC are not in my wheelhouse, so to speak. So here's the issue:

I'm continuously running three to five programs from the Adobe Professional Suite (Dreamweaver, Illustrator, Flash, InDesign, Fireworks, Photoshop, etc.), ftp programs, XAMPP, a word processing program, Firefox and perhaps a small app or two at the same time. The PC is slower than I would like it, especially when I'm dealing with large graphics. It doesn't typically freeze, but sometimes individual programs do. In any case, I'm definitely lacking in performance and it's costing me money waiting on the PC to play catch-up.

So I took a look at several things: I ran the disk clean up and defraggers, naturally, and eliminated unnecessary start-up programs. I also downloaded MaxMem at the suggestion of a colleague. When I look at the MaxMem stats, it tells me that I have, on average, about 50% of my memory free. My hard drive isn't even close to being filled because I keep all of my files on an external HD anyway; and back up to another HD.

When I take a look at my properties under 'My Computer,' I get: AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 3500+ 991 MHz, 960 MB of RAM Physical Address Extension. I'm not sure what all of that means, but I'm assuming that with 960 MB of RAM, coupled with what MaxMem says, I always have 480 MB of RAM free. From what I've scoured online, that should be plenty to keep things speedy.

I've also checked for and eliminated any viruses, rootkits, spyware, adware, etc. so I'm fairly certain none of these things are causing the problem.

So, I ask: Do I simply need more memory? If so, what would you suggest? If that's not the case, what should be my next step to speed things up around here?

Thanks! B
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Old 11-29-2007, 05:48 PM   #2
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Default Re: Remember Memory?

The thing that jumps out at me is here:

Quote:
AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 3500+ 991 MHz
That processor is rated at 2.2GHz, so if that reading is correct, it's going at less than half it's normal operating speed. It would seem as if Cool'n'Quiet is enabled, in which case it would be a good idea to disable it.

This is on XP, correct? Check this for me: Go to Control Panel->Power Options, and make sure it says "Home/Office Desk" (or "Always On") under "Power schemes". If it doesn't say that, change it to do so and see if that helps any.

Your amount of RAM sounds fine to me. Some others may recommend getting a dual-core processor to help with multitasking, which probably wouldn't be a bad idea. But let's see what we can do first before spending any money. Something's wrong with that frequency.
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Old 11-29-2007, 05:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: Remember Memory?

could u plz go here and tell us what kind of memory ur computer uses... its either DDR or DDR2

http://www.lavalys.com/products/down...?ps=UE&lang=en

heres a link to some good RAM memory if u happen to have DDR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231046

then heres a link if u have DDR2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231099

thats if u need more RAM.. but it might not be a RAM problem...

Dual cores are GREAT for multitasking.. i thikn its called hyper threading
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Old 11-29-2007, 08:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: Remember Memory?

thePIguy -- you were absolutely right! There was some stupid 'energy star' setting in there that was conserving power. I changed it to 'home/desktop' so I'm hoping that will solve the problem (and yes, XP). There was also the 'always on' option -- which is better, 'always on' or 'home/desktop'? It shows 2.2 Ghz now!

As far as RAM goes, I'd like to look into the dual aspect of things - I can use all the juice I can get. I know I'm getting a bunch of Tiger Direct gift cards this Christmas and I'd like to spend it on memory. I'm going to check what I need an report back.

zkillah and thePIguy -- I did some checking and my PC model takes DDR2 memory. Is there a specific amount I should look for? I'll take as much as I can get! Also, is there a difference between the memory and the dual core processor you're talking about? If so, can you make any suggestions on the processor?

thanks for all your help guys!
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Old 11-29-2007, 09:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: Remember Memory?

Get CPU-z and check your speed now.
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Old 11-29-2007, 10:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: Remember Memory?

Alright, that's good to hear, hopefully that'll speed things up a little. As for which option is better (Home/Always on), it's really up to personal preference; either will really do you fine. And I do recommend you downloading CPU-z if possible, just to double-check the frequency, but it should be fine.

Given what you've told us so far about your memory, it really sounds like you have enough. A dual-core processor seems to better suit your needs, in my opinion, but I don't want to be spending your money. For memory, an extra 1GB should be sufficient for anything you can throw at it under XP. For a processor, I'd recommend for sub-$100 something like this (assuming you want it from TD): http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...696&CatId=2328

Here's a list of dual cores compatible with your system: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...asp?CatId=2328

Of course, the higher the frequency the better, so if you have more money to spend you could get a 2.8-3.2GHz processor. Hope this helps, let me know if anything is unclear, and sorry for the long post.
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Old 11-29-2007, 11:42 PM   #7
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Default Re: Remember Memory?

It says core speed is 2204.7 MHZ. Is this the right number? Again, thanks for all your help guys!

THEpiGUY: I really appreciate the long post -- you've been a big help in this matter. I think I understand everything. I'm going to take a look and I'll be back on soon to ask your opinion about the set up I'll try to get going. I don't mind spending money -- the PC I have isn't exactly high-end but other than this issue it has suited my purposes well. Right now would be an ideal time for me to upgrade my memory/processor if possible because, like I said, I'm losing money every time I have to sit and wait for it to play catch up. I can say this though: I've already notice an improvement!

Thanks!

B
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Old 11-29-2007, 11:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: Remember Memory?

A good investment after you get the RAM may be a dual-core CPU, since it will make multi-tasking faster.
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Old 11-30-2007, 12:03 AM   #9
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Default Re: Remember Memory?

Okay, so I'm thinking maybe this Processor: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...661&CatId=2328

It looks like I can add a ton of RAM with this; but as THEpiGUY aptly pointed out there's no use in paying for memory that my system won't use. So I don't want to go overboard on the memory but I also don't mind paying $50 or better to make sure I have all the memory I could possibly need. I've seen some 2GB DDR2 memory kits for around $45 and that'd be fine with me. What do you guys think?
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Old 11-30-2007, 12:21 AM   #10
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Default Re: Remember Memory?

That CPU should be just fine if your motherboard is AM2.

2GB should be fine. I'm not familiar with the programs you use so I don't know how much RAM they consume. Just try to keep the RAM in dual-channel mode. Just make sure you have matching RAM size in each slot and in the right slots. Usually you put each stick in the same color slot.
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