Getting more HD memory: do I need more RAM?

vbimport

#1

Hi.

I have an IBM Thinkpad (2002) and it has a small HD memory of 40GB, and a RAM of 512. I have been thinking of upgrading the HD to 80GB-160GB. I’m planning to use this extra memory for temporarily storing movies and music, and for more software.

Would I need more RAM to be able to use this more effectively? If so, how much difference would the increase in RAM make, and how much should I ideally have?

Thank-you.


#2

If you are running Windows XP then one gig of RAM seems to be a sweet spot of price verses performance. Having 1.5-2 gigs will also make a further difference. Since you only have 512 mb you will notice a sizable increase in performance with more RAM and it is well worth doing as an upgrade.


#3

You probably don’t want to go the external USB/Firewire/eSATA storage drive route?


#4

Adding more RAM would have no impact on getting a bigger hard disk. More RAM is only visible in some extent when you are running programs. I can’t say that adding 512 MB more memory will be that fast in overall process. The step from 256 to 512 makes bigger difference.


#5

Check your manual and get the maximum amount of RAM that your laptop will use. A larger HD will give you more space for storage, but will not improve speed.


#6

If it’s an old and slow harddisk with not much buffer, a new hard disk could very well improve speed.


#7

[QUOTE=Gummigutta;2060422]Adding more RAM would have no impact on getting a bigger hard disk. More RAM is only visible in some extent when you are running programs. I can’t say that adding 512 MB more memory will be that fast in overall process. The step from 256 to 512 makes bigger difference.[/QUOTE]

He will notice a nice increase in performance going from 512 mb to one gig of RAM. Especially, if he runs multiple programs at once. It will reduce access to the page file on the hard drive a good bit. Excessive reading/writing to the page file kills overall system performance. IMO, between the additional RAM and a faster hard drive he will think he got a new computer.


#8

Hi everyone, and thank-you for the advice.

I have more questions for all of you,(except UTR, but, if you have any more advice to offer, I can always use it :)), if you are willing to help out further.

>>You probably don’t want to go the external USB/Firewire/eSATA storage drive route? --Bob.
I am trying to keep things compact, so I replaced the tower with the laptop. I am not familiar with the things you listed, except I think the USB drive is the same as a removable flash drive, right? I use a couple for storing music files, but would this be too slow to run software off of?

>>Check your manual and get the maximum amount of RAM that your laptop will use. A larger HD will give you more space for storage, but will not improve speed. ----Slytrans69
I bought the laptop refurbished, no manual was included. Do you know of any way/anywhere else that I could find this information?

>>If it’s an old and slow harddisk with not much buffer, a new hard disk could very well improve speed --Gummigutta
I am not sure what a buffer is. The laptop was made in 2002, used by a U.S university English department. I bought it, refurbished, in 2007. I have no idea how extensively it was used, or even if that means anything to the “buffer”. If that’s an integral part of a hard-drive, then are you saying that a new hard-drive would have a new buffer, and that this contributes to speed?

So, it must be clear to everyone that I don’t know much about computers. I hope you don’t mind all the extra questions. I appreciate all of you taking the time to help me out.

Thanks again.


#9

[quote=rme;2061613]>>You probably don’t want to go the external USB/Firewire/eSATA storage drive route? --Bob.
I am trying to keep things compact, so I replaced the tower with the laptop. I am not familiar with the things you listed, except I think the USB drive is the same as a removable flash drive, right? I use a couple for storing music files, but would this be too slow to run software off of?
[/quote]
USB Hard Drives & USB flash drives are different. USB Hard Drives are literally a standard 2.5" or 3.5" HDD in a USB enclosure. They are quite slow compared to an internal HDD, and also quite slow in comparison to a USB flash drive. Generally USB introduces long delays and is pretty cpu intensive.
USB flash drives use flash memory, which operates similarly to real ram, but retains it’s value after the power turns off - access times are quite quick, but sustained rates are quite slow. These would be … ok … to run programs off, but you’d be better off with a bigger internal HDD, and wouldn’t have the problem that you need to carry around pocketfuls of USB drives to run your programs.

There are a few benchmark/system info tools which you can use.
You can also look up the manufacturers website. 2002 was close to the changeover between PC133 SDRam & DDR ram, but being a university, I’d expect them to buy the cheapest, which would have been PC-133 SDram at the time.
2.5" Sata HDD’s are also quite new (2-3 years) so I’d feel confident that you have an IDE (ATA100/ATA133) HDD.

In comparison to memory, mechanical drives are quite slow. For this reason, HDD manufacturers include large 8MB, 16MB, 32MB RAM buffers on HDD’s, and use “read ahead” caching algorithms to predict what parts of files the user will need next and keep reading recently used files into the buffer (even if not requested) - buffer transfers from the HDD buffer to ram can happen at sustained 100MB/s … where reading from the mechanical part of the disk is subject to long “seek” times and approx 25-40MB/s read speeds once it’s found what it wants . Usually the buffer ahead system is a success, and because of this modern HDD’s with large buffers are much faster than older HDD’s with small buffers. New HDD’s also benefit from improvements in bit density (packed closer together) which means that every one time the platter spins, the new HDD reads more information than an old HDD with a lower bit density.

Honestly, the laptop needs at least 1GB of Ram to happily run Windows XP, and a decent 120GB or 160GB HDD will benefit the laptop immensely.

But look at it the other way, Is it perhaps more beneficial to buy a new laptop, rather than upgrade the old one … maybe ebay it :wink:


#10

But look at it the other way, Is it perhaps more beneficial to buy a new laptop, rather than upgrade the old one … maybe ebay it

I go with debro on this thought I just got a sweet acer from Tiger Direct for a little over 600 and here are some nice ones for under 500
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/Category/specsdd.asp

bean55


#11

Well, thank-you all for the information. Debro, I sincerely appreciate your help.
I think I have enough information to make a good decision, now.

Thank-you.