Installing RAM/Upgrades

  Shamrock Holmes 19:30 02 Feb 10

I recently acquired a base unit with rhe following specification:

Brand: E-System (no available model number)

Foxconn 45GM/CM mobo
Intel Celeron 430
2x512MB DDR2-667 RAM
Windows Vista Basic

As it runs fairly well as is and only cost me £60 I'm not overly worried if I can't upgrade it, but if it is possible then I'd like to do so.

The Foxconn website lists the 45GM/Cm as being capable of taking up to 4GB of RAM in 2GB sticks (Crucial concurs), my questions are: 1) Is it possible to use the DDR2-800 sticks that I'm planning to have available (ie would they slow down to 667) or do I have to buy new slower RAM? 2) Given that I'm not planning on doing any gaming or heavy-duty image/video editing is 4GB of RAM (on either Vista or 7) likely to make much difference over 2GB given the weak CPU?

As finances permit, I intend to upgrade to Win 7 and install a larger/faster HDD, but that's not critical at the moment. I also need to check out the PSU and see if it will run an add-in GPU (for Blu-Ray & dual-monitor configuration) - I'm thinking 350W if I'm lucky an it's a good PSU, at least 400-450W for generic?

Thanks for any advice you can give,

Shamrock Holmes

  gourmand 20:08 02 Feb 10

I think all the sticks would run at the lower speed, and I am sure you wouldn,t notice, why not try them it won't hurt.
Have you tried downloading the crucial scanner from their site, it will not only tell you what is compatible but from the drop-down advice answer most of your questions.

  ashdav 20:16 02 Feb 10

2GB is enough for that computer.
You won't notice any difference if you went beyond that.
If you put faster RAM in, it will default to a lower speed if the motherboard won't support the RAMs native speed.
All RAM is downwards compatible.
Only proviso is not to mix different types.

  robin_x 22:27 02 Feb 10

You seem fairly switched on, so you must know about and its self check?

Just an idea

  Shamrock Holmes 22:41 02 Feb 10

I do, yeah. Had problems with them and replacement RAM for a Packard Bell once tho, that's why I wanted to double check whether I could use my existing RAM (It's currently in a gaming rig which I'm hoping to demote to another general use base within 6-12 months so won't need both sticks)

  DieSse 00:18 03 Feb 10

"All RAM is downwards compatible."

Oh no it isn't. Though the advice not to mix different spec RAMS is very sound. Mixing even slightly different speeds may cause strange intermittent problems if you're unlucky. The only really safe bet is all matching RAM modules.

But anyway, Windows 32-bit versions will almost always only see a maximum of 3-3.5GB RAM - and some motherboards may be limited even on 64-bit versions.

However you don't mention the graphics card - this might be a much better upgrade, depending on what's in it now.

  Shamrock Holmes 08:32 03 Feb 10

Won't be mixing the RAM, when I upgrade I'll be removing the existing 667MHz RAM and using the spare 800MHz RAM (@ 667MHz obviously). As far as the current GPU goes, it's running on the board IGP - which according to CPU-Z is a 82945G/GMA950 - adequate for the moment. That said, one of the reasons for upgrading the RAM is to allow for a graphics upgrade. From what I've heard, trying to run Vista or Win 7 on less than 1GB of RAM is very unwise, but 1-2GB is adequate for general use. I want dual analogue or analogue/digital outputs (so I can reuse a couple of old Dell VGA monitors I've got lying around and as cheap an upgrade as possible, currently looking at the Nvidia 8400GS-256 but i'd appreciate recommendations (£25-40, likely to be using a 350-400W PSU tho I haven't checked that yet)


  Shamrock Holmes 16:23 06 Feb 10

Managed to get the case open today:

The case itself is a Foxconn TLM-397, the PSU is a generic branded one called a Colorsit U500 and claims to run at 500W, the +12V rail is rated at 20A (which IIRC translates as 240W of power).

Is that going to be enough to run a GeForce 8400GS/G210 or a Radeon HD4350 or 5450? (And does anybody have any advice on which to go for?)


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