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Hi everyone, I'd like to speed up my computer a bit. I planned on doing this before, but things came up, but now I'm ready to roll.... Anyway, don't have ...
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  1. #1
    Linux Newbie
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Just a general advice question about upgrading cpu/memory


    Hi everyone,

    I'd like to speed up my computer a bit. I planned on doing this before, but things came up, but now I'm ready to roll....

    Anyway, don't have much cash, so I'm choosing between getting either an E8400 Intel Wolfdale processor (Core 2 Duo, 3.0 GHz, 6MB L2) for about $200 or I may just get additional memory instead (4 GB total, comes in a kit of two sticks w/ 2GB 667Mhz).

    My current setup is an HP Pavilion with the E6300 Intel Core 2 Duo (1.87 GHz, 2 MB L2), 2 GB RAM (533 MHz but mobo can support 667 MHz) and 250 GB hard drive (7200 rpm). Also has the craptastic integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3000 as opposed to a dedicated video card. In addition, also have a WD 320 GB external hard drive, so at least storage isn't a problem for me.

    As for how I use the computer....
    I have a Windows XP and Ubuntu server edition dual boot. I use Windows probably about 80% of the time. I use the PC mainly for web development (meaning that I use Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash nonstop), and while doing that I'm usually listening to music/movies and have a couple browsers open also so that I can check on my progress on the website. Also have many other programs running like antivirus, google web accelerator etc. etc. that eats up a lot of processing/memory.

    So all this considered, would I be better upgrading memory or the processor? My goal is to hopefully make all the programs run faster, and maximize performance while multi-tasking, because sometimes the computer really bogs down when I run it hard. By upgrading the processor, I get an additional 1.13 GHz of processing speed (a 70% increase!) and triple the L2 (6 MB verses the current 2 MB) or I can double the amount of memory....which would have the bigger impact in my scenario?

    All advice appreciated, thanks!

  2. #2
    oz
    oz is offline
    forum.guy
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    If you are running lots of memory intensive apps at once and your hard drive has been thrashing because of heavy swap activity, I'd go for the memory.

    Otherwise, I'd go for the cpu upgrade.
    oz

  3. #3
    Linux Newbie
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    See, that's just the thing...I'm not sure how to tell if I need more/better memory, or if it's my processor.

    I've noticed that my memory usage never seems to go above 1.1 GB, no matter how many programs I'm running. Someone suggested that may be because I have an integrated memory card, and not a stand alone unit. If that is true, then obviously my best bet would be to get more memory....but I'm not sure if what he's saying is accurate or not.
    Another thing that may or may not be relevant is when I use Divx or Nero to play movies, the system bogs down a lot, but if I use Windows Media Center or Windows Media player, it's not all that noticeable...

  4. #4
    oz
    oz is offline
    forum.guy
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    If you have 2 GB of ram and no more than 1.1 GB is getting used, I'd go for the cpu upgrade. You can check your memory usage by running free and/or top from the command line:

    Code:
    free -m
    or

    Code:
    top
    oz

  5. #5
    Linux Guru
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    Processing power is hardly a bottleneck for the tasks you describe.

    On the contrary, when you hit swap and your ram is full your system becomes completely unresponsive, it doesn't matter if you have eighteen 10ghz cpus.

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