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Ok I have a Dell Dimension 4500S, just over 3 years old, which consists of:
2.0 P4
256MB DDR RAM – upgradeable to 1Gb (1 free slot)
40Gb IDE Hard Drive

Its been having a hard time recently having connected to a wireless network and dealing with internet & anti-virus software (is AVG particularly power-consuming?). I normally use this computer for Browsing/email etc., Messenger, playing music and downloading tunes, and usually playing the old Football Manager 2006 (min-recommended spec: 0.8-2.0 GHz, 128-256MB RAM). All of these often simultaneously if possible, which it cant manage anymore. I don’t do anything graphics intensive, but I’m also very low on disk space.

So my question is: is it worth upgrading the RAM and adding an extra hard drive (if poss) or will the benefit be lost on the 2.0 P4?

If I have to buy new I will, but I found this 256K RAM at £23.49 http://www.orca.co.uk/asp/prodtype.asp?prodtype=1927&ft=m&st=3
…which I thought was nice.

Any thoughts?
Thank you

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Last Post by chrisbliss18
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You're the only one that can determine whether the cost and trouble of upgrading is worth it. If you really don't want a newer machine because your current machine is almost doing everything you want, then by all means, save yourself a lot of money and upgrade the RAM.

As for the harddrive, I can never see buying additional storage as a bad thing. If you buy an additional harddrive and then end up getting a new system later on, that harddrive isn't wasted since you can just throw it in the new machine. This can't be said about RAM since adding older memory to a newer system will slow most likely slow the machine down.

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Yeah the only reason I wouldn't buy more hard disk is if I had to buy a new system. I just can't tell whether its the RAM or processor that are capping the performance. I don't really know how good a 2.0 P4 is or 256Mb RAM, or how much the age of the processor matters. Is buying the RAM likely to solve my problems?

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The most likely cause of your slowdown and connectivity issues is a lack of maintenance. Do you ever run antivirus and antispyware scans? Do you clean out your old files to make sure you have some spare room on your harddrive? Do you run programs to clean out your Registry and optimize system settings? Assuming that you run Windows XP, follow the steps in this guide to start cleaning up your machine. This will help you get back to that "new machine" feel.

Keep in mind that a system is only capable of running so much without getting sluggish. If your machine feels slow, you could be demading a lot more out of it than you used to. The type of programs you decide to run in the background can take up a lot of processor time and memory. What programs do you run to play your music and do your downloads?

Since you multitask, having sufficient RAM is crucial. The bare minimum amount of RAM most people should have now is 512MB and at least 1GB is recommended. So, if you are looking for a starting point to tweak your system, start with your RAM.

You have a 40GB harddrive and say that you are low on space? What does low mean to you? 5GB free? 1GB free? 100MB free? 0MB free? You say that you wouldn't buy a new harddrive unless you bought a new machine. Why is that? You can get harddrives very innexpensively. You can get 80GB of additional storage for less than $60. That would effectively triple the amount of storage space you have on your machine. You can put all your music and other media files on the additional storage so you wouldn't lose it if you had to format your drive and reinstall Windows. The benefits of having a secondary drive are numerous and the cost is low.

As for your processor, since you say that you don't run processor-heavy games, you should be fine with 2GHz for a while. Keep in mind though that minimum specs to run programs refers to running just that program, not that program in addition to ten other things in the background. I really have no idea why that Football game (that doesn't even have you actually play Football) would require so many resources. It sounds like a bit of a resource hog to me.

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Thanks for the pointer to the guide. I use ad-aware and AVG anti-virus and I've just downlaoded CCleaner so that should help things a bit, as well as changing XP performance settings. I definitely think I'm asking more of it than I used to so more RAM seems right.

I'll get another hard drive too - I said I wouldnt get one if I was gonna buy a new pc as that would come with plenty. I have 5.69G free of 37.2 capacity (I've been storing music on here) but I heard you're not meant to let it fill up. I use WM player and limewire.

Yes the game I mentioned is absolutely massive for one without fancy graphics (data on 270,000 real people!) but it must be the combination of programs. So I'll get some RAM and a hard disk.

Cheers!

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