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Thread: Upgrade or Junk?

  1. #1
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    Default Upgrade or Junk?

    Hello all. I need advice as to what I should do with my desktop. I'm not a complete novice but I'm no expert either.

    This is what I've got:
    A tower-based desktop that is over six years old that was originally bought as a gaming computer
    Windows XP Home Edition
    Pentium 4 CPU 1.80GHz
    512MB of RAM

    I don't really need it to do anything more robust than surf the internet, do some Photoshopping and run iTunes. It's been fine all these years but I think the newer versions of iTunes (version 8), firewalls and security software are more than it can handle with ease. It's running noticeably slower than in the past and it's starting to get pretty frustrating. It also freezes for several seconds EVERY TIME iTunes moves onto a new song.

    Is there hope for it? Would it be possible to just add RAM or upgrade something without having to just junk it and get a new machine? I really don't want to have to deal with upgrading software and/or Vista or Windows 7.

    Thanks for your time.

  2. #2
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    Code:
    just add RAM
    This is one of the easiest and least expensive 'upgrades' to do that should improve over all performance. Make sure you know your boards capacity, Type of RAM (DDR, DDR2) and support for the speed (PC2700 etc).

    http://www.kingston.com/tools/umg/default.asp
    http://www.crucial.com/
    http://www.kingston.com/
    http://www.mushkin.com/

    A good tool for info about your installed memory:
    http://www.cpuid.com/cpuz.php
    Your vendors website should also have info about what memory is installed and even info about upgrading the memory.

    since it was a gaming computer, i assume it has a dedicated video card and not on board shared memory.
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  3. #3
    Esteemed Member
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    Default

    Though I'd normally agree with Shelf Life, I fully understand your issue as I have already upgraded an old Sony w/1.5GHz P4, 512MB RAM to Vista Basic for my nephews. iTunes is also installed and it's an absolute pig!

    Here are the current requirements for iTunes, which closely match those for Vista Basic which is why it barely works for us.

    • A PC with a 1GHz Intel or AMD processor
    • Intel Pentium D or faster processor is required to play Standard Definition video from the iTunes Store
    • 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or faster processor is required to play HD video, an iTunes LP, or iTunes Extras from the iTunes Store
    • 512MB of RAM; 1GB is required to play HD video, an iTunes LP, or iTunes Extras
    • Screen resolution of 1024x768 or greater; 1280x800 or greater is required to play an iTunes LP or iTunes Extras
    • DirectX 9.0-compatible video card with 32MB of video RAM; 64MB recommended
    • QuickTime-compatible audio card

    Though your PC probably supports most of these, all of the components are nearing the limits of reasonable operation, especially while running the required complement of security software as you noted. Note that if your video card isn't DirectX 9.0-compatible as mentioned, I wouldn't bother replacing both it and the RAM.

    It's also sometimes premium expense for some of the older RAM required for such systems, so research this carefully before assuming you can get it cheaply, since it's often getting rare which drives up the cost.

    I upgraded both the RAM and video over a year ago to install Vista, but I wouldn't bother now since the minimum RAM for Windows 7 will be 1GB and you can get a new system today with a dual-core processor, 2GB RAM, 500GB disk and Vista Home Premium for under $500. So wasting money on an old system is pointless if you think you'll be buying a new PC within a year anyway.

    I'm going to keep the old system as is for use with pictures (camera) and email for my sister and buy a separate laptop in the next year for the nephew who likes to game and browse the social networks popular with teens.

    Bitman

  4. #4
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    Sounds like the only logical thing to do is junk iTunes!

    But seriously, thanks for the advice. Looks like I have some more research to do.

    Have a good weekend!

  5. #5
    Junior Member JohnTagnor's Avatar
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    Hello, I would upgrade RAM yes, but let me ask you something else, when was the last time you formatted your hard drive? This is good to do every so often, maybe once every 6 months to a year, I keep my PC running smooth 24/7 but even mine gets sluggish after awhile and I format my PC myself about every 6 to 12 months.

  6. #6
    Member of Team Spybot tashi's Avatar
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    Hi there,
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnTagnor View Post
    I format my PC myself about every 6 to 12 months.
    Six months seems a bit excessive.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member honda12's Avatar
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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by srewolf View Post
    Sounds like the only logical thing to do is junk iTunes!
    I've been living happily for 9 months now without iTunes. Just saying, it is possible to ditch the bloat, ya know . Have you considered trying an alternative desktop music player like Songbird or if you are a fan of customisation like I am, foobar2000?

    Of course, a long term solution would be to save up for a newer system, especially if you are using your computer to play around in Photoshop.
    -honda12

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