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BN Editor
BookClubEditor
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Improving the Performance of Your PC

[ Edited ]

Everyone wants their PC to run just a little bit faster. One of the easiest ways to get a performance boost is to carry out an upgrade on your PC.

Reasons for Upgrading

There are many reasons a PC owner should consider upgrading over buying a new PC. Here are three of the most common reasons for upgrading:

Upgrading a PC is generally cheaper than replacing. Upgrading an otherwise stable system means a better system. You just want more power!

There are hundreds of other more minor reasons why you should consider upgrading before replacing, but let's start with the financial one. The final cost, of course, depends largely on what you choose to upgrade or improve upon. If you choose to replace most of the major components, the associated costs will naturally be higher than if you just replace one or two. Weigh up the cost. How much did the system cost you new, and how much does the upgrade cost compared to a new system? If the system cost you thousands and a new computer would cost you, say, $1000, then an upgrade costing $50-$100 is worthwhile. If you already have a good system, throwing it away and getting another is a poor choice when the upgrade you want might cost far less.

Second, upgrading an otherwise stable system means the only thing you will notice will be improvements! Things will be faster or programs will work better or you will have more space to save files and data. Upgrading is also far less hassle than replacing a system, especially if you aren't upgrading hard drives. And even if you are upgrading the hard drive(s), there are programs available that enable you to easily move all the data, files and programs from one hard drive to another.

The Best Upgrade

Contrary to what you might think, the best way to achieve a speed upgrade is not by replacing the processor. This might seem like it goes against common sense since the speed of new PCs is determined by the speed of the processor; but when it comes to upgrading a system for more speed, the commonest way to achieve this is by adding more RAM. The more speed you want, the more RAM you should add. The more RAM you add, the faster the system will go.

There are only two limits to the amount of RAM you can add.

Your PC already has the maximum amount of RAM the motherboard will support. Consult your system manual for information on that. Your PC already has the maximum amount of RAM that your operating system will support.

Usually, you hit the hardware limitation on the motherboard long before you get to the limitation imposed by the operating system.

Consider 128MB to be a good starting point for memory in a Windows 95, 98, 98 SE, ME, and OX 9.x machine, with 512MB being a good amount for Windows NT, 2000, XP (both Home and Pro), OS X, and Linux. RAM amounts beyond this are useful if you use very demanding software (image manipulation or 3D), but benefits to the average user decrease after this.

If your PC currently houses 64-128MB of RAM, it would certainly benefit from more RAM. Taking this to 256MB will give you enormous speed gains. Applications will appear to open and run faster, and animation and video will play far more smoothly.

In fact, a PC that has had a "speed" upgrade will feel and act like a new PC. Fresh and powerful. Crashes, application lockups, and hangs will be fewer, and waiting times will dramatically decrease.

Trouble-Free Upgrades

Besides making sure you can physically perform the upgrade and actually have all the fittings you need for the job, you can take several steps to make sure that your upgrade goes as smoothly as possible.

Make sure you have all the documentation you need to carry out the upgrade.

Check for newer/updated drivers. The drivers you get with the hardware are unlikely to be the latest and best.

Before carrying out the upgrade, check and then check again that the hardware you've got is the right thing. Check the specification again, and make sure that what is in the box matches the specification (not always possible, but it's worth looking). If you ordered a 512MB DDR PC2700 184-pin DIMM module, check that the sticker on the module matches and that you haven't received something different, such as 256MB.

Before you start removing parts, give the system a quick clean inside with compressed air. (If you have a regular maintenance routine, it won't be that dusty inside anyway.) Doing this reduces the risk that dirt or dust will get into the electrical contacts, causing problems.

Uninstall old hardware first (unless it's core to the running of the system) and uninstall the drivers too. Uninstallation of drivers is carried out either from the Add/Remove Control Panel applet or Device Manager in Windows.

Handle components with care, and take all the necessary ESD protection measures.

If you are in any doubt as to the original placement of wires or cables, make a note or draw a diagram.

Work carefully and methodically. Take your time and don't rush things.

Check all connections afterwards. Make sure the connections are sound and firmly pushed into the connector.

Test carefully afterwards. Make sure everything works.

Discussion

  1. Would you like to upgrade your PC? What kind of upgrade would you like to carry out?

Message Edited by BookClubEditor on 12-26-2006 02:00 PM

Frequent Contributor
Bulova
Posts: 35
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Improving Performance

Hello, It would be nice upgrading my computer though I'm working with a laptop and do not know if upgrades are available for PC's only. More RAM would be nice as well as more GB space (I currently only have 40 GB).
Caroline
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AdrianKH
Posts: 88
Registered: ‎10-21-2006
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Re: Improving Performance

Hi there!

Upgrading the RAM on your laptop should be pretty easy - what make and model is it? Usually you access the RAM from underneath and it's jsut a matter of unclipping the old module and refitting a new one.

Let me know what your laptop is and I'll help more.
Adrian
Barnes and Noble Book Club Moderator
Frequent Contributor
Bulova
Posts: 35
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Improving Performance of Laptop

Hi, your help is very appreciated. After a stay abroad I could afford a small scale laptop which as I mentioned slows down a lot while processing datas or photo albums.
It's an Acer TravelMate 2310 having a Celeron processor of 1.4GHz, 400 MHz FSB, 40GBHDD and 512 MB DDR. I might have to pass on my laptop to my son or use it as a DVD-Player? and buy as suggested a PC where future upgrades will be more easily accomplished. Anyway, planning the next steps will be necessary.
Thanks in advance, Caroline





AdrianKH wrote:
Hi there!

Upgrading the RAM on your laptop should be pretty easy - what make and model is it? Usually you access the RAM from underneath and it's jsut a matter of unclipping the old module and refitting a new one.

Let me know what your laptop is and I'll help more.


Frequent Contributor
AdrianKH
Posts: 88
Registered: ‎10-21-2006
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Re: Improving Performance of Laptop

[ Edited ]

Bulova wrote:
Hi, your help is very appreciated. After a stay abroad I could afford a small scale laptop which as I mentioned slows down a lot while processing datas or photo albums.
It's an Acer TravelMate 2310 having a Celeron processor of 1.4GHz, 400 MHz FSB, 40GBHDD and 512 MB DDR. I might have to pass on my laptop to my son or use it as a DVD-Player? and buy as suggested a PC where future upgrades will be more easily accomplished. Anyway, planning the next steps will be necessary.
Thanks in advance, Caroline





AdrianKH wrote:
Hi there!

Upgrading the RAM on your laptop should be pretty easy - what make and model is it? Usually you access the RAM from underneath and it's jsut a matter of unclipping the old module and refitting a new one.

Let me know what your laptop is and I'll help more.





You can add RAM up to 1GB on that model: http://www.crucial.com/store/listparts.aspx?model=TravelMate+2300+Series

Hope that helps!

Message Edited by AdrianKH on 12-22-200612:23 PM

Adrian
Barnes and Noble Book Club Moderator
Frequent Contributor
Bulova
Posts: 35
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Improving Performance of Laptop

Hi, The website you indicated is very valuable and I'll continue my search for performance improving there. Thanks a lot - happy holiday, Caroline
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