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Upgrading RAM

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by jazzbo, Jul 17, 2005.

  1. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    This site proves itself, time and again, to be the best source for computer advice. So, a huge thank you to all.

    I would like to update my RAM, and would like to know, within reason, what to buy. I guess I should buy 512MB, but advice is always welcome. Here's my system specs:

    Gateway / Intel
    Intel 82810e 810e Chipset Host Bridge and Memory Control Hub
    128MB SDRAM
    Intel Pentium III EB / 731 Mhz
    Cache 1: 32Kb
    Cache 2: 256 Kb
    Windows XP OS

    I'm not sure which of that information is irrelevant, but I thought I'd include as much as possible. As you can tell, I'm running on 128MB Ram right now. Which, is fine for some things, but I like to operate iTunes while I have a browser or two open, and an Office application or two as well, (for school).

    What should I buy that would work well with my system?

    Thank you.
  2. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    First off, call it an upgrade. You don't update RAM. Not pickin' on ya, just so you know what to ask for when you call around.

    The easiest way to reference the exact RAM you will need is to get the make and model number of your Gateway. You can visit Gateway's website to find the RAM specs out, or let a sales rep do it for you over the phone(whoever you buy it from).

    Installing RAM isn't hard but if you are intimidated by that then get someone else to do it(like the shop you buy it from).

    If you can, goto 1Gb of RAM for your PC. However, you are beginning to cross the line as to whether it is worth the investment on an older PC.

    I prefer the independent, yet established shops over the big corporate stores myself. If you go to a big store, try Best Buy.

    Hope this helps,
  3. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I should probably include this information:

    Just to be thorough.

    The update vs. upgrade thing was me essentially "misspeaking."

    Since it seems that each slot can only hold a 256 MB chip, (or whatever you might call it), and the max the system can handle is 512 MB, should I buy two 256 MB chips, replacing the current 128MB???

    Thank you again.
  4. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    Yeah I assumed so. It's all good.

    That spec sheet won't be required for this. Gateway make and model should suffice. Adept sales people will have reference materials to cross-reference the RAM you need.

    Hope this helps,
  5. Go to www.crucial.com they will tell you what memory modules are suitable for your make and model motherboard by entering it in a wizard-type-thingy. Their own brand is super-lightening quick, and cheaper because there's no middleman. Very reliable, top quality.
    And 128MB is officialy below minimum spec to be running Windows XP. You really will notice the difference after the upgrade. I'd suggest buying 2x256 modules, if you can afford it.
  6. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    Basically you need PC133 SDRAM which will come in DIMM modules (Dual Inline Memory Modules) which have the advantage over older memory (if you know or remember) that had to be dealth with in pairs. DIMMs are basically a pair put together in one piece, so you can add 1, 2, 3, etc, however you want to and even add different sizes like a 512MB and a 1GB piece at the same time.

    I'm not positive about the folliwing, but it's what it sounds like your spec sheet is saying:

    It looks like your motherboard cannot recognize individual modules larger that 256MB. If that is right, you cannot buy a DIMM larger than that. (this sounds VERY small by today' standards, how old is this PC?)

    This seems to say that you have 2 RAM sockets, so the most you can put in would be 2 pieces (at 256MB each that makes the max memory size of 512MB, again this sounds VERY small by today' standards, how old is this PC?)

    This is the SPEED of the RAM and all pieces MUST match. So if you already have a piece that is 60ns, and want to keep that piece while adding more, you will HAVE to buy 60ns RAM (I'd suggest if you decide to upgrade, based on my assumption that your MB only has 2 RAM slots, do not keep your old RAM, buy 2 new pieces.

    This I believe is what is in the computer now. If I understand it correctly it is 1 128MB module. It doesn't mention the speed (like the 60ns mentioned above) which will make it difficult to be sure you are buying something that matches.

    One of the main issues you may find is since this RAM is a rather old model, it may actually cost significantly more than newer, better RAM modules, because fewer people are looking for them and their volume of sales will be much lower, so MANY suppliers may no longer have any in stock and those that do will be charging a premium.
  7. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Thank you LaJoieT,

    Just to answer your question quickly, this PC is approximately 5-6 years old. Save for the rather poor RAM, it runs quite well and can see myself squeezing many more years out of it. She's a trooper!
  8. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    I would say get a gig. If you play games, you DEFINATELY need a gig.

    When I got my computer about a year ago, the standard seemed to be about 512 for gaming. I got a gig, and now the standard seems to be a gig. Damn BF2!
  9. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    Well, I'm not too much into gaming, and I'd guess that with a 5-6 year old PC, jazzbo isn't either, and his MB doesn't seem able to take 1GB, It's going to max out at 512 and that would be my recommendation, and it will be a significant performance boost over 128. I don't have much experience with under-Ram power with Win XP ( I have 2 GB at home with XP ) but at work I've only got 512 and Win 2K and it runs just fine. It could be faster if I had more, but it's not worth fighting with IS to go beyond their specs.
  10. Joe Turski

    Joe Turski

    Jul 29, 2003
    I may have just the RAM you're looking for. I think I have Corsair 512 DDR PC133 Ram that I'm not using. It's almost brand new. I upgraded my system to an AMD 64 bit and I needed to buy new RAM to fit the new motherboard. I'm not sure if it will work on your system or not, but I don't see why it wouldn't.

    The guy that builds my systems has it at his house. As soon as I get in touch with him, I'll find out if it will work for your system.
  11. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002

    Yeah Jazzbo, go get a gig, stop playing all those games and do something with your life! ;)
  12. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX

    Might as well go ahead and upgrade to 512 since memory is so cheap. I don't know of anyone who ever regretted having too MUCH memory.

    brad cook
  13. check with crucial.com.

    My old pc is a 1999 also, it's a dell, only takes low density memory. More chips of less capacity on the circuit board the memory comes on. So it may make a difference... even if everything else matches (ns, MB, form factor). So mine will actually take certain PC133 60ns 256Mb cards and not others.

    I don't know if trying that other memory would cause problems, burn itself or the computer out, or just not boot.

    I agree, you should see MAJOR improvement moving to 512M from 128M if you're running XP, even W98.

    Something to consider. You can add a 256chip in the 2nd slot, keeping your 128 to end up with 384M total, or throw out the 128 chip, get 2 256 chips, to get 512. For the cost, you may want to consider one 256 chip first, see how it goes with 384M. MUCH cheaper than buying 2 chips, and nearly the same performance boost. You can always get the 2nd 256 chip later if you want.

  14. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Like Joe, I've got a stick of RAM that will work in your system. PM me your address, and I can send it to you. It is one stick of 256MB. You'll need another to maximize it.

    Think of PC RAM like watts in your bass amp......too much is never enough. In this case, max it out, The max appears to be 512MB. Between Joe and I, we should have you covered.

  15. Your PC can only handle 512MB, so only buy 256MB chips. Dont try and put 512MB modules in your PC, it wont recognise it.

    I would do what another poster said, buy one 256MB and put your existing 128MB in the second slot for 384MB. The performance difference will give you a good indication of whther you need to go the whole hog and upgrade to 512MB.

    FYI, I currently run 768MB in my iMac (512 in the user accessable slot, 256MB in the tech only slot) and I can edit video, run iTunes, surf the net, write word docs and send email all simultaneously. The improvement in performance from 512MB was enough to smooth out any issues.
  16. wakizashi


    Dec 5, 2003
    I'm agreeing with the guys on Crucial RAM. Good company with good merch. I have a gig currently and I'm happy with it. I don't know if you're one of those people who'd like to have a second computer but if I were you, build your own masterpiece. Anyway, seeing that you don't want to get rid of your Gateway, use it for basic surfing, typing documents, etc. Then get a faster computer for all your downloading, gaming, highspeed stuff.

    P.S. I never buy computers from brands. I get everything I need from newegg.com. Its kind of like the Musician's Freind of computer stuff. I always seem to find that personally crafted PC's perform better. Getting it all put together really isn't that hard either (if you can't do it, someone you know probably can). I just thought I'd share that info with you. Hope you get your problem fixed. ;)