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Improving a basic Dell desktop

by interactbiz / March 27, 2007 3:53 PM PDT

Because money is short, I acquired a Dell E521 AMD Semperon 3400+ (1.8 GHz) mini tower, 1x512MB DDR2 533MHz, 80 GB drive, on board graphics and sound, Windows Vista Premium.
I am on Internet fairly continuously and like to have an accounting program and MS Office 2003 open as I work. For SOHO business, this machine works OK but I have large photo collection and use Adobe Photoshop Elements for editing.
Obviously, more memory and a good graphics card would be helpful. I'm thinking of adding 512MB memory first, then a graphics card, then bump memory to 2 GB by filling memory slots with 2 additional 512MB modules. I'll do this over a few months.
Questions for people smarter than me:
Have I prioritized additions correctly? What choices in graphics cards should I consider? Any other suggestions?

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Looks good to me. . .
by Coryphaeus / March 27, 2007 10:58 PM PDT

Adding RAM will increase performance up front. I would recommend two 1 Gig RAM sticks instead of four 512. Just my opinion on this. But in reality, more than one Gig for general "stuff" is over-kill. Get two 1 Gig sticks if you can afford it.

I used to have a 64 Meg graphics card and for grins I upgraded to a 256 Meg card. I've seen no difference. It might make a difference in hard core graphics intensive games, but just regular surfing and "stuff" I don't see a difference.

For photo storage you might consider an external USB-2 Hard Drive.


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add ram first, then add cpu
by ramarc / March 27, 2007 11:52 PM PDT

if money's tight, get 1gb (2x512) first and add a 2gb usb flash stick for readyboost.
$70, 1gb ddr2-533: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145526
$25, 2gb CF card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820211046

a new video card will only enable aero glass... if its already enabled there's probably no need to upgrade.

a dual core cpu should also be high on your list since it will speed up photo editting greatly.
$98, athlon x2 3800+ (2x2.0ghz): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103735

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