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Old 27th December 2008
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Default Is it worth upgrading this laptops RAM

My brother got me a $25 gift card to Best Buy (joy), so since that helps balance it out to a price range that I am willing to pay (newegg), I'm considering upgrading my laptops memory.


Aside from a big ROFL of a moment when looking it up, I found out that her 1x512MB DDR is in a DDR 333/PC-2700 slot and 1 free slot for another SO-DIMM; the system tops out at 2GB max memory. The only thing is, the computer only has a Sempron 3300+ clocked at 2.0 GHz with a 128 KB L2 Cache according to the specs, and an Radeon Xpress 200M using 64mb leached memory. I can easily upgrade her RAM to 1GB or 1.5GB, but is it really worth it on such a low end system? When I ran KDE3, top often showed high levels of memory usage even at idle, and I frequently 'abuse' my system in terms of how much load she can handle, but rarely ever have performance issues; even when digging into SWAP. Really, if anything, I'd rather replace the CPU or graphics card, but with how cheap the laptop is, it they are almost certainly permanently attached, and this laptop is likely to remain my work station until it finally explodes. Heck, a 500Mhz P3 and 384mb of PC100 is still fast enough for me, let along this laptop.


My original specification was any laptop that will run FreeBSD, Vi, and a C compiler; she does that well actually lol. If I upgraded the memory, the stats would be looking like:


2.0Ghz CPU (Sempron Mobile, 3300+)
1024MB or 1536MB DDR 333 - 64MB for graphics card.


Is the extra RAM worth while, or just waste of money?



The only other thing I can think of to spend it on, is to replace the old chess board I am using as a lap-table. I reckon the hard drive could use an upgrading, but my entire installation is 16GB, complete with 6GB of personal files, and two full TexLive 2007 and 2008 installs. $25 doesn't go very far at best buy stores here, where the price is often 2 * higher then what you should be paying for anything, but I very much dislike wasting money that I can't save :-(.
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Old 27th December 2008
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Yes, it is worth upgrading to at least 1Gb of RAM but since I am familiar with the prices on newegg the difference between prices of 512Mb and 1Gb
is so small I would buy another 1Gb of memory for the remaining slot. Try to
buy the same latency memory. Actually you probably can find 2x1Gb for
little bit over $25 and then not worry about latency and position of memory modules.
If you decide to buy 2x1Gb and you can sell on Craigslist 512Mb memory which you will pull out of laptop. You may be able even to get the present to your brother for Eastern Orthodox Christmas (7. of January) from the
money you make of Craigslist

Last edited by Oko; 27th December 2008 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 3rd January 2009
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Just purchased a 1.0GB of PNY PC-2700 memory among otherthings, and have the 512MB sprig of Nanya PC-2700 sitting on a dresser for now.

Now if only the dang CPU wasn't as good as perminately attached... hehe
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Old 16th January 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerryP View Post
When I ran KDE3, top often showed high levels of memory usage even at idle, and I frequently 'abuse' my system in terms of how much load she can handle, but rarely ever have performance issues
The thing to remember is FreeBSD is going to try to use whatever memory you have. E.g., I have 2G RAM in my laptop and it is basically idle right now with KDE4 running and a few other apps. Top says:
Code:
Mem: 476M Active, 1034M Inact, 223M Wired, 85M Cache, 112M Buf, 174M Free
Swap: 2048M Total, 2048M Free
So while only 174M is free, only 476M is active. The only time I would worry about memory usage is when the swap is being used excessively or at all for that matter. That said, my old box only had 512MB RAM and it did pretty well running FreeBSD with KDE 3. I think FreeBSD does a pretty good job of managing memory.
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Old 17th January 2009
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Generally, the only time I worry is when top shows little memory left to pull from, without digging into SWAP or that it is actually sucking up swap space already. I take the output of top as a guideline to figure out 'where we are heading', with a grain of salt, rather then a precise statement ;-)


About the worst top output I ever recorded was: Mem: 298M Active, 18M Inact, 96M Wired, 12M Cache, 53M Buf, 1888K Free
Swap: 860M Total, 100M Used, 760M Free, 11% Inuse; and that was under 512MB of RAM. Under various states of abuse, have seen Swap Free go below 150M on occasions, but that was always rare. Right now with the 1GB, I'm under a common idle load with Opera as the web browser: Mem: 141M Active, 76M Inact, 113M Wired, 1076K Cache, 104M Buf, 597M Free
Swap: 860M Total, 860M Free. Which is actually quite nice IMHO.


From 384MB to 2048MB RAM, single cored Pentium 3@500Mhz to dual cored Pentium D 930@3.0Ghz - I have never had a problem with how FreeBSD manages resources.
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