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  1. #1
    Linux Newbie
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Dayton, OH

    Stupid Hardware Question

    Alright Gents and Gentesses,
    I have a real dumb question about computer hardware. I've been looking into maybe upgrading my box to something faster, or buying a new one if i could find a cheap price for one. but my question is this, if i wanted to optimize speed at which things run and uptimes and things like that, wouldn't i want to add more RAM? or try to find a faster processor? cause right now i have like a 733MHz processor. I guess it would be great if someone could tell me what the difference were between the two and how they affected preformance.
    Here are my rough specs on my home comp that i can remember

    AMD something or other processor @ 733MHz
    128MB of RAM
    20GB + 10GB Harddrives
    56k modem [that only connects at 28.8]
    NIC card ... well i guess that is all you cats really want to know.

    Any and all help would be greatfully appreciated. If anyone could give me a good, reliable source for a decent new box, i would just use this old one as a toy to play with different distros and things of that nature. Thanks again.

    Quickdraw returns ... more news at 11!

    I like to try all flavors of the rainbow. Running SuSE 10.1 on my laptop, Windows XP on my desktop, and an Mac OS X on my Mac powerbook.

  2. #2
    What kind of sockect/slot is the processer? what kind of ram is it and what's it's speed? Front side bus speed? It's quite possible that you could stick in a processer that faster than a ghz for not that much, and ram shouldn't be too expensive, especially if it's sd...

  3. #3
    Linux Engineer Nerderello's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    North East England
    the advantage of a faster processor is that information and program instructions are acted upon more rapidly. The down side to JUST having a quicker processor is that you may find that the things that it is doing faster is simply swapping stuff from RAM to the disk and back again (to the swap partition).

    So it's a balancing act. You have to decide if your PC has a processing bottleneck (ie. you wait long whiles with little or no disc accessing) or an I/O bottleneck (in which case the processor is doing very little but waiting on data from disk).

    IF (a very big word) I had your setup, I'd increase the RAM to at least 256mb , before thinking about processor upgrades. But then, it's your PC, not mine.

    have fun


    Use Suse 10.1 and occasionally play with Kubuntu
    Also have Windows 98SE and BeOS

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  5. #4
    Linux User
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Calgary, AB CANADA
    Since RAM is cheaper (and easier to upgrade) than a proc, I'd recommened beefing that up first. If you don't notice much of a difference by doubling your RAM to 256, then a new CPU is in order.

    Just keep in mind that your mobo will restrict you on how much of an upgrade you can do to your processor...
    \"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.\"
    Albert Einstein

  6. #5
    eh, old AMD cpu's are dirt cheap. My brother just built a computer to use as a NFS. He put in an Athlon XP 2000+. That CPU cost $66. I just checked at (one of my favorite computer part sites) and they're selling 1.1ghz Athlons for $33. At that price I'd say upgrade both your ram and cpu since they're both cheap.

  7. #6
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    My suggestion is to upgrade in following order
    1) Motherboard - any with ATA 133 standard support
    2) hard disk drive ATA 133
    3) Processor of course - any Athlon XP+
    4) Put 256 or 512 Mb of RAM

    and machine would simply start flying.

    Best of all this want cost you more than $150 and for that money you get a new computer rated almost as P IV

  8. #7
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    You should also check your nic.
    What colour is it ? One of those green ones with little silver lines on the back ?
    They're dirt cheap, but one of the most important yet overlooked components of any system. Does yours run at least a few ounces ?

    Ahem. Clears away the smoke haze.

  9. #8
    Linux Engineer
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    As CopperTop mentioned RAM is alway the cheapest bang for the buck. Even if you leave everythig as it is, there will be less read/write cycle between RAM/CPU/Swap file. The less you use the swap file the faster any computer can run since th Hard drive is the slowest of the three items by far.

    This also raises the next issue of jacking up the overall speed by increasing RAM (alot) and decreasing the swap file size, thus forcing more into all that RAM you just bought. A 733 process has plenty of power unless you are using it as a network server that is heavily hit by users.

    I have done this in windex on several machines, two of which have been running for over a year. They have 512 RAM w/swap of 128 to 192 Megs. There is no set rule for the ratio of RAM to swap file size for reduction because it depends on how the machine is used. So you have to start with a smal swap file and increase only when if it crashes during normal use. I usually use 32 meg increments, starting with 128.

    This can be dangerous to your data until you have it set properly for how you use your machine so you have been warned !

    \"Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer\" from The Art of War by Sun Tzu\"

  10. #9
    Hi QD,

    I think 733MHz Proc is not slow. But it would be better if u check the BUS Speed generally it will be 66 or 100 . And inthe case of ram also check the speed. I think rather than buying new one selecting the correct match of ram and bus for ur processor is better. like bus speed > 200 speed and ram(256MB) also 'compatible' for that.

    If u r decided for a new then compatible board along with above said config will work.


  11. #10
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    A 733 is hardly obsolete, but check if it is a Socket A or Slot A. I would bet it is Slot A- because the Socket A didnt have much on the odd speeds- most were in increments of 50 MHz (IE 700, 750, etc). If it is slot, finding an upgrade is likely to be difficult (spelled E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E). You can open it up and have a look- it should be obvious where the CPU is- look for a big heat sink and fan assembly. If it is ON the motherboard, it is probably a Socket. If it is on a separate board mounted to the motherboard, it is probably a Slot processor. Either way, your RAM is a quicker and easier upgrade.

    128MB RAM is too small. Go up to 256MB or more. I am speaking from my Windows knowledge and hope it translates to this world, but 128 is simply inadequate in todays world and RAM is cheap- this upgrade should be easy for $25.00.

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