How much memory should i buy?

I’ve currently got an Optiplex GX520 3ghz for my home machine, not really bothered about gaming at present, it’s got 512mb memory in it and is running Windows XP SP2 & Office 2007. Noticed a remarked slowdown since installing Office2007 so was wondering how much memory would make a difference?

PC is mainly used for browsing the internet and for me to access webmail from work and also some Office Groove sessions for document sharing, along with the usual home Excel and Word document writing.

Is it worth going for 2gb or 4gb, would i see a difference with 4gb and Windows Xp, or would i need to get something like Vista to see and use all that memory?

for XP, I’d say 2Gb is enough - at least that’s what I have in my machine and it’s nice enough with a little spare overhead.

Do I recall that there is a 3Gb WinXP limit anyway?


I saw something about 3gb in XP, but supposedly there is a switch you can use on the boot.ini file /3gb that will open out the rest of the memory for use for certain applications, though what those apps are is anyones guess i suppose.

Thinking about it, i may upgrade the memory to 2gb as thats only £35 for 2 x 1gb sticks, then use another £50 or so to get a bigger/faster HDD for the machine too.

Unless someone tells me that 4gb memory is the better option.

If i do go for an SATA HDD upgrade are there any makes models to be recommended or avoided?

Right, on DT’s recommendation (and the fact that 2gb memory was £30 and 4gb was £120 ;)) i bit the bullet and ordered 2gb from crucial today. On the hard drive front, i was thinkg about either of the following:

320GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10


320GB Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200KS

Any recommendations on the above? Don’t need masses of storage space as i’ll be upgrading from a 40gb drive and not really got the need for any pron anymore (well, at least that is what the girlfriend tells me! :))

Got 2gb in my rig but TBH it really goes over 800Meg with all sorts of tat loaded up at boot.

Not sure how more current games reserve memory but for games I’ve had I’ve explicitedly had to tell it in the config files to use more than normal for texture buffers /data buffers before it would use more.

So TBH I feel 1GB is more than enough but considering current prices no harm as you have done in plumting for 2 gb.

i’ve just upped from a gig to 2 gigs, and it does not seem to ever all get used.

i cant say if its faster due to memory cos the barton2500 was replaced with a 4200 dual core at the same time. and it really does move now.

vista… hmmm, im not touching it yet!! not even with a long shitty stick!

Apparently Samsung Spinpoint HDs are pretty darn good according to some reviews I’ve read. Good bang for buck price too.

2 GB has done me fine for years on my main box. Normally (outside games) I don’t go above 512MB used, but the excess turns into a nice disk cache and can help makes things load much faster after the 1st time used.

HD wise I’ve gone off Seagates as all the ones I’ve bought in recent past have had high vibration leading to case noises. Currently I favour WD.

Harddrives are a bit of a mixed kettle of fish at the mo…

WD Raptors are still king of the bootup speed but their is a point now again where unless they introduce a new raptor other drive are not far off offer more capacity and come at a cheaper price.

I think its best TBH to say This is what I’m prepared to pay Max… whats best for the price.

For about £100 to £105 a Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD7500AAKS is a good buy
does not have the low access times like a raptor but has a relatively good transfer speed on par / better than a raptor upto 97Mb/sec has a 750GB capacity and if you partition say the 1st 32meg of the drive for you boot drive you going to have a good decent bootup speed + decent capacity.

Its a pretty decent buy at the moment TBH

2gb is definitely a sweet spot at the moment. Though I did by 4Gb when I upgraded to a c2d for the fun of it.

As for the XP memory limit, XP32bit will only let you use up to about 3.2Gb because of the limits of a 32bit OS. XP64 or Vista 64 on the other hand will let you use every last bite.

Think the program that has used most ram for me is photoshop where I’ve had 2 or 3 7megapixel images open. Was just over a gig in use for only photoshop. :eek:

Personally all my machines have 2Gb in them. Do I notice the difference? No, not really, not until I take 1gb out, then it seems to crawl, especially at bootup.

On my main, I also notice the biggest difference in Photoshop’s performance. Although I do have it limited to 80% mem usage.

On the HDD front, I can confirm the Samsung Spinpoint are by far the quietest drives I have ever used. And they run pretty cool too. Had far too many WD drives fail after a couple of years. No amount of reformatting at any level will cure their ‘corrupting data’ traits once it has gone wrong the first time.

if size isn’t an issue and your on the pc waiting for it to boot when you should/could be spending time with g/f then a raptor for sure.

My rig is 2Gb ram, 74Gb raptor for os and games and I use a USB drive for photos and other normal boring stuff (inc work).


as DT says raptors are the best , use them in a raid stripe and its great

I had 4 now they are the property of somerset trading standards :sigh:

Raptors have a 5yr warranty …

Wasn’t really looking for speed etc, just a bit more space as i’m off on sick at the moment and downloading films from Sky is hogging a lot of space on the old HDD. Ended up plumping for some of PMM’s advice and went for the model a few below, mainly due to cash and the fact i could never see me filling 350gb let alone 750gb. Plus with the PC only having space for 1 HDD meant i couldn’t do any fancy raid stuff either. May end up getting an external HDD in the future though, i like the thought of having a backup of the main system and my work laptop.

320GB Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS