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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 2007-12-15, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
 
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RAM and Hardrive Question

I'm looking at potentially adding a few components to my existing desktop. Its an HP AMD system Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 3800+. I run XP on it.

I would like to add another hard-drive to increase music/video storage but am unsure as to SATA or IDE as to what type should be added.
When I run Sisoft Sandra it says (Type: ATA, Model ST3250823AS).
I would like to add something in the 500GB range and am assuming an internal drive is the way to go.

The second question involves a RAM upgrade. Again, I am unsure as to what type I should be adding. The Sandra scan shows (DIMM DDR-SDRAM 512MB/64 @ 400Mt/s). I know these total 1GB and I have two empty banks to add something--but what. Is it just generic DDR-SDRAM or do I have to be more specific?
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 2007-12-15, 01:06 PM
 
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Do you have the model number of the computer that you have... That will go a long way in finding out what exactly it is that you need

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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 2007-12-15, 01:48 PM
 
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I have a machine with similar sounding specs. Actually, it is the same other than the OS. Interestingly, my specs say 3800+ but Vista says it is 4200+.

I'm not a memory export, but http://www.kingston.com/ has a lookup that takes the model number. For me, it returned memory that wasn't readable available in the usual big box and local computer stores. However, the results page then listed several Canadian online sites where I could obtain said memory.

With Vista, I really noticed a difference after doubling my memory to 2GB.

I think the second hard drive is an IDE as I temporarily put in my PVR's IDE hard drive in order to change the acoustic profile in order to make it quieter.
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 2007-12-15, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
 
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The model number is HP Pavilion a1430n, a boxing day purchase from last year.
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 2007-12-15, 02:31 PM
 
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You need PC-3200 184-pin DDR SDRAM. You could add either 2x512MB or 2x1GB sticks to bring the total to 2GB or 3GB. DDR is still readily available online and from local computer stores. Prices vary greatly so shop around. A quick check shows "value RAM" like this selling for $70/GB online.

The current hard drive is a Seagate Barracuda SATA drive. There should be another connector on the motherboard for a second drive. This can be confirmed by checking the BIOS for connected drives and inspecting the motherboard. You might also want to pull the cover to make sure there is physical space for another drive. Any SATA drive should work. Western digital makes a good 500GB drive for about $100. Avoid Maxtor due to heat problems.
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 2007-12-15, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
 
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Hey, thanks for the replies guys, a great help.
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 2007-12-15, 03:24 PM
 
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I'm glad you got your answers.

My HP has a higher model number and in my case I needed DDR2 memory. I'm not sure why I couldn't find it in a B&M store but in the end I did get it and was happy with the result.

My primary drive is SATA, and based on I_Want_My_HDTV's comments, I probably have a second SATA connector. In any case, I'm putting in my PVR's original IDE hard drive - I haven't decided yet if I'm going to use it for backup or for linux.
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 2007-12-15, 05:14 PM
 
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Can I get the same upgrade suggestions please? My pc is a Gateway, and the model is GM5258H. Am looking to increase the graphics, memory and HDD
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 2007-12-15, 05:28 PM
 
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I found these specs Bullseye:


# Memory Installed: 2048 MB DDR2 533 MHz (PC4200) (two 1024 MB modules)
# Expandable to: 8 GB (four DDR2 slots)

So another gig stick of PC4200 should be good

Hard Drive 250 GB 7200 RPM Serial ATA II hard drive with 8 MB cache)

Slap in another SATA II drive. 500gigs seem to be the best bang for the buck right now.


# Add-In Card Slots One PCI-Express ×16

You should have room for any PCI-E card of your choosing. Might want to consider a new power supply if you get a new grafics card as they tend to be power hungrey.

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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 2007-12-15, 06:04 PM
 
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Thanks for that Cmor. Now what size power supply would you say would be ideal to handle the suggestions you gave me?
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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 2007-12-15, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
 
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I see a 500GB Western Digital model for $125 advertised as SATA2. Is this still compatible in my system? Following up on Bullseye's comment, should I be worried about power issues by adding an extra drive?
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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 2007-12-15, 09:34 PM
 
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Hard drive's draw very little power, so I wouldn't worry if you are just adding a second drive. For a new Video Card I would go with a good 500W minimum.

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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 2007-12-16, 12:34 PM
 
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Quote:
So another gig stick of PC4200 should be good
It is best to add RAM sticks in pairs. Unless the system is 64 bit (which it is) and has a 64bit OS, more than about 3 GB of RAM will not be recognized. 1 GB sticks are by far the best buy right now so it may be cheaper to add 2 GB anyway.

The extra RAM and disk drive should not require a new power supply. Whether a new power supply is required depends on the video card chosen. High end cards (those ending in 800 or higher) tend to draw a lot of power, up to 150 watts under full load. Lower end cards (ending in 650 or lower) typically draw a lot less. A 600 series card should be adequate for media center use.

I didn't find any specs on the power supply in this computer. It should be indicated on the power supply label though. Anything 450w or higher should be good for all but the most powerful video cards. The C2D CPU is low energy so something slightly less than 450w should do with a 600 series video card. If it is under 400w, I would replace it with a 500w or larger high efficiency power supply.
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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 2007-12-17, 12:06 PM
 
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Just to supplement the power supply question, please don't gauge a powersupply (psu) by it's wattage alone. What's WAY more important is the number of amps it can supply on the +12v lines (rails). For mid to high end video cards look for something with more than 30amps total available on the 12v rail. 35 is better and 40 is even better. When you look closely at PSU specs you'll see the expensive brands have much more +12v amperage available/wattage specified. All too often I see people replacing their cheapo PSU because they bought by just looking at the wattage and then finding out it doesn't cut the mustard when demand is high. One other point is many new PSUs have multiple +12v rails. Just add these up to get the total. Is one with multiple rails better than a single rail? The concensus seems to be, it's just a gimmick and doesn't make any difference. My old Enermax 465p has 33amps available and powers my mid+ range computer very well with it's single line. Compare that amperage with the one you're looking to buy.
A quaility PSU is your computer's best friend and will last through a few computer incarnations.

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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 2007-12-17, 12:31 PM
 
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Quote:
SATA2. Is this still compatible in my system?
SATA2 drives are compatible with SATA. They will work at the slower SATA speeds.

All the rails on a PS are important. I've seen cases where just the 5v or 3.3v lines were overloaded as well. Unless you are doing something that has special 12v requirement, like a very high powered video card or SLI, most power supplies will provide adequate 12v current.

Separate 12v rails could be useful to provide extra voltage stability under high or variable loads (i.e. for an SLI video configuration.) Otherwise, it's probably not necessary. It could also be detrimental if one rail is overloaded while others have extra capacity.

Last edited by I_Want_My_HDTV; 2007-12-17 at 12:38 PM.
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