[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?
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