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Tech Helproom

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Upgrade advice please.


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Hi there. I've just been given a desktop PC. I know very little about PCs and need a little help.

Spec: intel pentium 4 processor 515. 512MB DDR. 160GB hard drive. running XP home edition.

It's slow as hell and makes all sorts of clunking chirping noises as it's "thinking". I've been through and deleted all unwanted/needed programmes and data. It's been defragged and all that. But still its slow. I have some second hand RAM on the way from a mate, 2x1GB. Can I put this in with the existing 512 or do I need to replace the 512? There are two spare slots. If I stick it in with the 512 does it matter which slots they go in? Currently slots 1,2,3,4. Memory is plugged in to slots 1 and 3. Stupid questions I know but you never find out unless you ask! Will this new memory speed up the pc or do I need to do something more?

Is this system worth upgrading or should it be consigned to the tip? Am I just gonna be throwing good money away?

I'm not looking to play games I just want to be able to use the net and do standard word/excel type stuff and play music. It just seems to lock up if you try and do more than one thing at once.

A mate suggested upgrading the processor. The chipset is an Intel 82915G/GV/910GL EXPRESS. I've been told that it's a 775 socket and that an Intel D950 or 960 would work and make it much quicker. Is this right?

Lots of questions I know.

Looking forward to any advice you could give me.


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Providing the RAM is DDR (not DDR2 or DDR3) then adding it will do no harm, and should help speed things up a little. It can go in with the existing RAM, which should remain in their existing slots.

I would think that the D950 / D960 CPUs would work, and again, will provide a bit of a performance boost (the D950/60 CPUs are dual core, rather than single core). A quick search on Google shopping showed a couple of second hand examples for not much money. My only question would be if the motherboard can support 800MHz front side bus (FSB) speed. Your existing CPU is 533MHz. If your motherboard can't support the higher FSB then the new CPU should still work, you just won't get the full speed benefit from it.

Noises from computers only usually come from two things: fans and hard drives. In your case, I'd guess the hard drive. It may well have many hundreds of hours of life left in it.....or it may not!

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