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RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy

by Guy... / October 5, 2004 11:10 PM PDT

I've got 2 questions:

1. What's better for making the PC softwares (not games) run faster and making the PC stuck less?
Increasing the RAM from 256 to 512 OR upgrading the processor [details in here - http://tinyurl.com/4ww3l ] to a new one? (let's say- P3 933MHz?)

2. I want to add a fan to my PC's case, but when I connect it the screen starts flickering hysterically, and it won't stop.
What can be the problem?

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 5, 2004 11:20 PM PDT

1. What's better for making the PC softwares (not games) run faster and making the PC stuck less?
Increasing the RAM from 256 to 512 OR upgrading the processor [details in here - http://tinyurl.com/4ww3l ] to a new one? (let's say- P3 933MHz?)

This is not possible. Here's why. I'll use the game DOOM 3 as my example that no system today can play that game at it's top settings without "stuck" or a pause now and then. The game was designed to push the envelope and to take advantage of hardware yet to be.


2. I want to add a fan to my PC's case, but when I connect it the screen starts flickering hysterically, and it won't stop.
What can be the problem?

I'd say the cause can be either a poor installation or a power supply that is on the edges of the maximum that it can supply.

Bob

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by Guy... / October 6, 2004 1:02 AM PDT

1. I don't play games in my PC.
I want to make my PC more stable and that I'll be able to run programs in the background with a smaller chance that the PC would stuck.

2. Should I buy a better power supply?


Thanks

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by Willy / October 6, 2004 1:10 AM PDT

Get a larger power supply, its the unsung hero of your system. It has to be stable in order to support all those goodies that get stuffed in the system. Another cause for a jittery display is either the fan you got is just plain lousy(RFI cause) or too close to the monitor itself. The other causes mentioned by Robert are just as valid. Next, having 512 is about as good as it gets for basic win9x/Me systems. Get the ram first than add a faster processor, you benefit more from ram. The faster processor is good but overall unless you increase its ability at 25% performance, you probably won't notice and/or appreciate it "affectionly". Wink

good luck -----Willy Happy

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 6, 2004 1:14 AM PDT

I'm typing from my old laptop which is some Compaq i266mmx with 64M RAM and Windows 2000. It never gets "stuck". I'd find out what causes that issue and work on it. Increasing RAM is fine, but 256 will do for most work except games, video editing, some Photoshop and other items. I'd not change that.

As to the power supply, with so little information supplied, it's only a likely guess the PSU is stressed or just big enough. You should fill in some details to see if you need more Watts.

I have to take care with just 64M RAM, but with Firefox running with 10 tabs open it just works fine.

Bob

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by Guy... / October 6, 2004 1:38 AM PDT

Thanks you two.

How can I check if I need more Watts and how many?
What is less expensive? Increasing RAM to 512 or buying a P3 933MHz processor?

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by Willy / October 7, 2004 10:58 PM PDT

Use this website or another to calulate your needs and then add 100W to it. That way you have room to grow on and usually covers all bases. It's brute force, but just buy a 400W+ p/s unit and you're there.

http://www.jscustompcs.com/power_supply/

As for the ram vs. cpu, get the ram, it always a rule of thumb to increase ram first to improve system. You can add the cpu later on top of the ram. But a PIII is becoming a dated system, so you want to consider mit practical or not. Ram has the *chance* of being used in a newer system should you decide to move on(but not always).

good luck -----Willy Happy

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by FoxHokage / October 11, 2004 5:06 PM PDT

I played DOOM3 perfectly smooth. It's just a system thing. I saw some tips on optimizing your computer to be game ready this link it on for Half Life 2 but I am sure it also applys to everything else. I think it has some really good tips. you can check it out here

http://gear.ign.com/articles/554/554744p1.html

about the DOOM3 I believe it's the video card mainly.. I use a x800Pro from ATI.

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Dude...
by Jake M.D. / March 18, 2005 3:02 AM PST

He wants to know what he should upgrade to run regular programs. Not games. And you video card costs more than his system is worth. If he had that kind of sqrill he would have probably just bought a new rig a long time ago. I mean, he isn't even running 933mhz. You vid card runs at atleast 550MHz if you got the good one.

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Why wait 5 months to reply?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 18, 2005 3:55 AM PST
In reply to: Dude...

Check those posting dates....

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by billzhills / October 6, 2004 3:44 AM PDT
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Re: RAM vs Processor
by symbiosis72 / October 7, 2004 6:00 PM PDT

Upgrading is reasonably cheap these days, so if you can afford it do both at the same time. I found multi-tasking a huge problem with 256RAM even when I got my machine updated (only 256 came with the new motherboard). So when I could afford it, I brought an extra 512RAM. I have now got both 256 + 512 in my machine. This runs both programs (and games) great and simultaneously.Processor speed doesn't help if you don't have the memory for the programs to go there (and the processor to use that space - they are all interconnected like your body).
If you were to keep your old machine without updating the processor, get an extra 512 (not 256) and if will help tremendously.
If you go the other option, and go through someone who does upgrades make sure you can either keep you old equipment in your PC or trade it in on the price of the upgrade. Also see if they can do a deal for higher memory (RAM) packages. Most newer computers take DDR RAM and you won't be able to use your old RAM in them once you upgrade.

Hope thats been helpful.

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Had the same problem
by KAVN / March 21, 2005 5:50 AM PST
In reply to: Re: RAM vs Processor

Hi!
I had the same problem: although complete clean of spyware, regularly defragmenting etc, my pc with 256 MB RAM became intolerably slow. I changed to 2

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by Mr. Chan / October 7, 2004 9:39 PM PDT

My PC has the AMD Athlon XP 2500+ CPU which is 1.82 GHz. I have more than 70 icons on my screen which means I have lots of software. Therefore, having more ram means more strength. I usually have four or five programs running and therefore I have 1 GB ram. The Intel had a new 775 CPU which mated to the new 915 motherboard and PCI display card. These days, minimum ram will be 512 as they are the muscle. Try to imagine a 2.8GHz with 256 ram. The PC will be down all the time. People are willing to go for ram, CPU, display card then motherboard. I learned from one PC magazine that the former and the new CEO of Dell have in their PC.
CPU-3.0GHz
RAM- 2 GB
Harddrive- 160 GB
Display card- ATI Radeon 9800 Pro
DVD-ROM- 8xDVD+

So speed is not the main issue as there are many servers are still running 2.4GHz. Go for the ram!

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by Themisive / October 7, 2004 10:20 PM PDT

Dear Mr Chan

I've found from experience that the more icons you have on your desktop, the more RAM you use. The best way is to delete all that are absolutely inessential and use the Start Menu. What I've done is to organise my Start menu into a series of sections, each devoted one topic - thus games are in the games section, Office programmes int he Office section and so on.

Also, the wattage output from the PSU is critical, I have used 350 W output, but 400 or 450 is about the best. Because I'm running XP I can get away with a large RAM, and with a 2GHz prcessor I'm using 1Gb RAM, so far no problems.

As far as the screen is concerned, I DON'T use a CRT screen, instead I use an LCD screen and use an ATI Radeon 9600XT graphics card, so stray magnetism is not a real problem with me (the LCD is a flat panel screen so makes for desk use)

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by jimglewis / October 7, 2004 10:26 PM PDT

1. CPU vs RAM: I do software testing on three 'identical' computers I've been running for 3 years now. I'm testing a Windows filtering program so it's doing some low level stuff. They're all 500MHz with 128meg RAM. One was upgraded to 386. It usually finishes my basic test in 1hr30min versus the others which finish around 2hr15min. Go with the RAM first.

2. Power supplies need to be rock solid - don't purchase one for less than $40. I don't see how anyone can manufacture a case and PS that's worth using and sell it for $40. At home I also have a power conditioner right after the surge protector and that's made a difference for me here in lightening plagued Central Florida.

- - -Jim

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by actingmark / October 7, 2004 10:44 PM PDT

Based on my experience of using and building computers for over twenty years, I always recommend upgrading to as much RAM as you can afford or that your computer will allow. It is relatively inexpensive and will provide the biggest noticeable improvement. You didn't give to many specifics, but I have seen users of Windows XP who are on a dial-up--say AOL--and have McAfee virus scan and firewall who's resources drop too low for AOL to operate correctly. Many (not all) of the OS's as well as virus scans and firewalls are huge resource eaters. In today's computing world, I would not have less than 512Ram and you can buy am additional 256Ram memory stick for as little as $30.00.

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by Daniel / October 7, 2004 11:46 PM PDT

1) I recommend upgrading both RAM and CPU, but if cash is short, do the CPU upgrade first. Personally, I have a Duron 1.3 GHz CPU, and 640 MB RAM (128 + 512) and i still need more RAM and processor speed. However, until you do upgrade your hardware, you can boost your RAM by adjusting Windows's paging file. Sure, it consumes some of your HDD, but it will work, until the upgrade is done.

2) My guess is that your power source does not produce enough Watts to satisfy all the needs of your system. sure, it is OK without fan, but the moment you plug it in, you add another power consumer and it can't take it. so, it cuts down on the power supplied to the monitor, to keep the fan, motherboard, CPU, and HDD running. My advice ? get a newer motherboard and power source. a 400W power source should do the trick.

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by kwkid / October 8, 2004 3:03 AM PDT

Lets see if we can clear up some serious misconceptions about the power supply.
1.) The monitor does not draw power or plug into the computer power supply.
2.) It is the responsibility of the graphics card to drive the image on the monitor.
Therefore, it is the graphics card that is being affected by the power supply/extra fan, not the monitor.

As for the ram/processor debate, I vote for the ram first as the price vs. performance boost is much better. That being said, I don't believe we really have enough information to make the "best" decision. With P4 2.66GHz systems selling for as little as $350.00 it might actually be more cost effective to go this route.

Sincerely,
kwkid

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by percy / October 8, 2004 12:14 AM PDT

Its a toss-up. Upgrading the processor may require a new motherboard and power supply. Adding Ram would be less expensive and may improve performance. If your not looking at gaming, and if your not trying to run memory intensive programs(autocad and such), I would look at other factors. 256MB of ram in most systems is going to perform quite well. (I run a computer lab at a major university, and have 20 of the systems described) Cleaning up the drive , ensuring that there is plenty of virtual memory available, removing SPY-WARE and of course having a good viruscan program and autoscheduling of updates(all) should help.

As for the fan, if it connects to the Motherboard, it may be drawing to much current, or it may be faulty. I would try another fan, and if the same results, have the power supply checked.

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by jimheng / October 8, 2004 1:16 AM PDT

You must know what is the total output of your power supply. If you put too many components into your casing this can cause some problems occur. One is screen starts flickering. Maybe you should check the power first.

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by Earthquake McGoon / October 8, 2004 3:05 AM PDT

My mother's old Acer Aspire had 64Mb of RAM, and uses a 335Mb chip. I replaced one of the RAM "sticks" (32Mb) with a 128Mb stick. The speed-up is awesome! Can't say what changing the chip will do, but I think a new chip is a lot of money compared to buying a new RAM stick (128Mb for $59.95).

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by KDH / October 8, 2004 3:10 AM PDT

If you decide to upgrade your RAM, which I suggest doing, you need to first find out the maximum your system will support. You can contact your system or motherboard manufacturer to find this out. I tried to upgrade my last system to 512 then found out after purchasing the RAM that it would only support 256.

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by dr_jim / October 8, 2004 3:38 AM PDT

Unless you are crunching lot's of numbers or running Doom 27, adding more memory is the cheapest upgrade to your system that will noticably increase performance. All of today's Windows version use a large amount of memory for the operating system, anti-virus packages, and the other useful things that are loaded into the system at start-up. The memory that's left over is all that remains for your software. Add another 256MB if your system can take it. It's inexpensive.
Some other tips. Defragment your hard drive (Help tells you how to do this). If this isn't enough, a faster disk drive or a new video card might help. Both should be around $80 in the stores.

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by litninrod / October 8, 2004 7:12 AM PDT

On the RAM vs. CPU question: before you even GO there, try this -- set up a regular routine to delete *.tmp files, internet cached files and defrag the drive. the disk defragger included in W2K and later is a licensed version which is OK; you can buy the commercial version of DiskKeeper which is even better. If you do a thorough defrag with no applications running once a week, you may find that you don't need a hardware upgrade at all.

If you still want to do a hardware upgrade, there is no single answer to whether the CPU or RAM will be the best answer in your particular case; the best way to approach this is to use the Performance Monitor tools to decide which element is the bottleneck, and decide from that which way will give you the most bang for your buck. There are several white papers discussing the RAM and CPU counters to use, and how to interpret the results.

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by symbiosis72 / October 8, 2004 6:10 PM PDT

I know I didn't answer the second part of your question, but it would be good if people would actually answer the question other than tangent/side issues.

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by billzhills / October 9, 2004 3:38 AM PDT

symbiosis

to sum up

Their is no good answer on what or when to update.
Too many parameters.

The flickering montior only occured when fan was added.
Too small or weak, from age, power supply.

Bill
.

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by viv_glowwe / October 9, 2004 3:48 AM PDT

ans1:
for te software run faster I recomend u to upgrade ur processor, because it is cheaper & many software dont use great graphics [excl photshop etc.] ,also 256 mb ram is enough to take load of memory.

[bcoz ihave 2.8 ht P 4 {256 mb ram} & my pc is smooth to both the game & softwares.]

but if graphics comes in ur software then 512 mb ram will make a difference.

ans2:
ur screen gone unstable most probably by the magnatic field of ur fan or some thing like that.I'm assuming that u connact ur fan to any border of ur moniter's body.

but if not so then it is tough for me ans 2nd one.

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by zoltar100 / October 9, 2004 4:35 AM PDT

If you really want a good answer then you need to supply us with more information. What MotherBoard do you have, video card, type of hard drive etc....

Also what software are you trying to run?

How much can you spend?

What OS are you using?

With this info you will get a much better answer.

Also it would help if you defined what your current power supply is.

You may also want to tell us how you connect to the internet. CNET has some great programs that will tune your system so it works great.

If your unsure how to go about getting the info on your computer I am sure someone with netmeeting can browse your sytem and the tell you or even fix most of your problems remotely.

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by Guy... / October 9, 2004 6:13 AM PDT

Well, I decided to do both things.
First I'll add 256MB RAM to my 256MB that are installed.
I'll upgrade my processor to P4 in an over-all upgrade to my system a couple of mounths from now. I've got time.

My main problem now is that flickering screen.
Tomorrow I'll buy another fan and replace that one that I've bought before.
I'll update with the conclusion.

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Re: RAM vs Processor + A screen gone crazy
by FreddyCoupler / October 9, 2004 7:51 AM PDT

Please let us know if adding more RAM has helped your computer run a little quicker and smoother ??

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