More RAM or SSD

I have a HP Pro Desk 400 GT Mini with a 2.5 GHz Intel Core I3-6500T processor with 4GB RAM running Windows 7 Professional SP1. It has a convention 500GB hard drive. Periodically I find the computer runs slowly with the small circle going around as it processes commands. I was considering increasing the RAM to 8GB (there is space) but have been told by a couple of sources that switching to a SSD would be a better option. I could do both, of course, but would like some comments from you experts.

Discussion is locked
Reply to: More RAM or SSD
PLEASE NOTE: Do not post advertisements, offensive materials, profanity, or personal attacks. Please remember to be considerate of other members. If you are new to the CNET Forums, please read our CNET Forums FAQ. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Reporting: More RAM or SSD
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
- Collapse -
Both really.

I find that the SSD pays off all over and RAM may not be the real bottleneck.

- Collapse -
Thanks Bob

I think I will take your advice (and that from my other 2 sources) and go the SSD route.

- Collapse -
Few things

Are you sure you have an I3-6500t?

Make your startup group skinny.

Uninstall unneeded stuff.

Disable unneeded services.

Defrag the hdd.

That's not going to cost you a nickle other than some time.

A ssd or more ram may solve your problem but it's just masking the root cause of poor house cleaning.

- Collapse -
Thanks for Suggestions

Why do you question the type of processor I quoted?. I think I am reasonably competent to understand the specs of the computer I bought. Initially from HP's paperwork and confirmed by Belarc Advisor. And yes, I do action the other suggestions regularly.

- Collapse -

That was a typo in my original post. It is an i5-6500T

- Collapse -

So you have a low to medium quad core.

Do you have a 32 bit or 64 bit OS?

Do you have the ram setup to use dual channel?

We all run our machines different so things that I would stop you might think are must have items.

Now's when you get friendly with task manager and perfmon.

If your seeing the ram uasge at 80+% and the page file being hit then you need to add ram or run less stuff.

It's just a matter of using the tools and watching for areas that need help.

I doubt you would hurt anything by a hdd>ssd swap.

- Collapse -
I can't seem to find a

" HP Pro Desk 400 GT Mini " listed in any of my searches ,
Some Searches

- Collapse -
Another Typo/RAM Usage

You should have scrolled down the page where the correct model name is shown - it's G2 not GT. I must have been thinking of performance motor cars.
In answer to Bob, I do know how to use the Task Manger. and the Performance Menu. You don't really know when CPU usage is being stretched but while preparing this response (not really a test) the usage was fluctuating between 9 - 12% with a Page File use pf 320 MB. I will try it again later when working with some spreadsheets. Also, it's a 64 bit OS.

- Collapse -

Cpu and ram usage bounces all over the map.

So your just looking for an average.

You don't want either to be constantly high.

Do you have the proper ram and is it setup for dual channel?

If not that's a perf hit.

- Collapse -
Both are helpful upgrades.

Firstly HP list the i3 as 6100T. The 6500T is listed as an i5.!

Looking at the motherboard it has 2 Ram bays & HP specs are for a single 4 gig stick so putting in another 4 gig will give you plenty of RAM which is great for multi tasking or large files.

Secondly an SSD will give you faster bootups and opening programs etc.

Both will give you the best computing experience available.

Video below shows you how to upgrade RAM & HD

- Collapse -
Very Informative

As I corrected in an earlier post it is a i5 6500 400 G2. The video certainly makes the SSD switch and the RAM upgrade look straight forward but I think I may leave any changes to my computer nerd. I do not do much multi-tasking or work with large files so in order to keep the cost of the improvement down I think I will go with the switch to a SSD.
Many thanks to all of you with your comments and apologies again for messing up the actual model designation of the computer. I will use the excuse of being a senior citizen.

- Collapse -
Regarding RAM Usage

You probably already know this, but i will mention it just in case. Your internet browser may use a whole lot of RAM if you have a bunch of pages open. In my Chrome browser there may be a dozen tabs/pages open simply because i right-clicked on a variety of news headlines and other stories and selected "open in new tab". This could use a lot of RAM even if there are no other programs running except the internet browser. Of course, you can use Task Manager to see just how much RAM is in use when all those tabs are open.

- Collapse -
SSD then RAM

I think you would get the best improvement from switching to an SSD, the improvement in boot time and application loading or reading in your data files, is quite staggering. So I would do that first.

Then check on your memory usage. Use Task manager and performance monitor to do this. From a running system, press ctrl-alt-delete and click on task manager at the bottom of the list. Click on the Performance tab. This will bring up an overall performance view, CPU, Memory, Disk. That should give you a general idea whether the mempry is stresses. Click on the Performance Monitor button and this will bring up the more detailed performance data.

Again look at the memory but don't worry too much if it looks a bit higher than you expected - Windows uses a least recently used algorithm to free pages when the memory is stressed. If it sits consistently high, then extra RAM would help in two ways. More memory means you can hold more programs and data in memory and not have to keep going out to the disk for them and secondly, if you have the standard configuration on your machine, you have a 4 GB SODIMM and an empty slot. By putting a matching SODIMM into that empty slot, you will get dual memory paths which will speed up the memory access too.

If your memory usage is consistently low, then extra RAM won't buy you very much.

- Collapse -
Thanks Again for All the Suggestions

I thought I had put this one to bed but thanks for the additional comments which I will take on board. I think the comment about having a lot of Chrome browser pages open is a good one because I can do that.

- Collapse -
Both, but...

4 GB of RAM isn't much and, with modern applications and multitasking, may result in a lot of paging, which will slow a system down significantly. I strongly suggest that you increase your RAM to at least 8 GB. RAM is pretty cheap. Just make sure that the RAM you get is compatible with your motherboard -- not all of those available will be.

But NOTHING speeds up a computer as much as replacing an HDD with an SSD. The difference in performance is truly startling to those who are experiencing it for the first time.

While SSDs are not all that cheap, they have gotten a LOT cheaper and a decent 500 GB SSD can now be found for less than $100. Make sure you use a disk cloning program (Samsung, and most other, SSDs come with one) rather than trying simply to copy files, which WILL NOT WORK.

- Collapse -
Update of SSD vs Added RAM

Following all the suggestions I today had my computer guru replace my drive with a 250GB Samsung SSD. I went to my man because I had him clone the old drive to the new one and I didn't feel competent enough to try it myself. The change has resulted in a significant improvement in the speed of opening programs and performing taks so thanks again to everyone for their suggestions whhich pointed me in this direction

CNET Forums