I own a Dell Dimension 4500S. I’ve been trying to tweak it and change parts to make it preform better. I got it for free off of some woman my father works with. She didn’t want/need it, so it came to me.
This is how it was shipped to her: WinXP Home Edition, 128mb RAM, 1.78GHz processor (single core), some USB2.0 ports, a 20gb hard drive, 8mb of emulated on-board video RAM.
First things first… the RAM. I can’t run the computer without actually watching it redraw the windows on the left and then on the right of existing windows. Forget gaming, recording music, video editing, or even listing to music or surfing something like YouTube.
RAM is getting cheaper these days, so I wanted a lot, but I needed to check how much RAM the machine could handle. The old home computer that my family owns maxes out at 512mb… that’s a whopper of a total, weighing in at only 256mb per RAM slot. The max is important, because the slot won’t recognize / can’t utilize more RAM than its max.
RAM max for a single Dell Dimension 4500S slot: 1024 (1gb)
RAM slots on the standard 4500S motherboard: 2
Total: 1024mb x 2 = 2048mb (2gb)
So, http://www.tigerdirect.com is one of my preffered sources for such computer parts. Problem is, I need to know what kind of RAM my computer can make use of. The motherboard is what decides what I’m cabable of using. Skip over the terms section if you don’t care about it.
So, the 4500S can only handle DDR SDRAM. Not DDR2, not Dual Channel. Just DDR. And since the slot max is 1gb, I have to buy two 1gb sticks of DDR SDRAM.
Now, the other variable here is the speed of the RAM. RAM comes in varying speeds. In fact, the speed of the RAM is most usually the actual bottleneck of speed. The processors of our computers are blazing fast, but the RAM can’t so easily match that speed. (That’s why we keep trying to double the speed of our RAM these days through varying techniques.) Check out this chart (taken from http://www.buildorbuy.org/ramchart.html):
|DDR SDRAM DIMMs||Data Rate||FSB||Peak Bandwidth|
|PC1600||= DDR200||200MHz||100MHz||1.6 GBps|
|PC2100||= DDR266||266MHz||133MHz||2.1 GBps|
|PC2700||= DDR333||333MHz||166MHz||2.7 GBps|
|PC3200||= DDR400||400MHz||200MHz||3.2 GBps|
|PC3500||= DDR400||433MHz||217MHz||3.5 GBps|
|PC3700||= DDR466||466MHz||233MHz||3.7 GBps|
|PC4000||= DDR500||500MHz||250MHz||4.0 GBps|
|PC4200||= DDR533||533MHz||266MHz||4.2 GBps|
As you can see, the number postfixing “PC” in the left column corresponds to the data transfer rate. The secret is that the speed of the RAM is bolstered by all of this DDR and Dual Channel nonsense. The middle column is how fast the RAM can go, after applying all of the doubling factors like DDR or Dual Channel. The fourth column is the speed of the broken-down parts of the RAM. For instance, PC3200 RAM can operate at 400MHz total, but if you break it out of its DDR context (which allows the RAM to work on both the beginning and end of a clock cycle), then the RAM is really only running at 200MHz per clock cycle. DDR capabilities (be it DDR or DDR2) allow the processor to interface with the RAM twice as much.
Anyway. My motherboard documentation says that I needed PC3200-type RAM. I only bought one stick for now, since that’s plenty for an old XP Home edition installation.
Perhaps my music recording will push that limit though… *shrug*
(Awesome list of terms and brief definitions: http://www.satech.com/glosofmemter.html)
Amateur at everything, coder, UI designer, musician, and writer. I break things apart and re-program them from scratch to learn exactly which problems people have solved in the past. I write for NaNoWriMo, and I'm nearing the self publication of a short story called Highway.
Python is my passion. Alastair Reynolds writes great science fiction, but has a really ugly website. My Mac is my Linux without all the driver failures. I hate working directly for salesmen. Huge scented candles are surprisingly nice when you work from home all day. I play AP Mid lane for my League of Legends team, but love a good run at Top.
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