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Old 04-17-2014, 11:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Couple quickies

This is a tag-along to my earlier post, found here, about upgrading my parents office computers from windows XP to windows 7 (32-bit).

Details are directly below, and a TL;DR version can be found at the bottom.

The Scoop:
In their two computers (Identical hardware), they have Seagate Barracuda HDDs (320GB). For Windows7, a clean install is needed, so my plan is to add an additional HDD, (since the ones already in there are ~7 years old, and are used heavily, and will probably break sometime soon). Enter, stage right, question number one;
1. Can someone suggest a good HDD (sata2, 3gb/s) that has a capacity between 320 and 400 GBs? Is it a reasonable price, and can you provide a link (Amazon is preferred)?

I went poking around inside their computers earlier today, and found that, aside from them not being cleaned since they were built (easily deduced from the spider webs between the harddrive cage and the PSU motherboard cable. Real WebCrawlers! Who knew?!), the guy who put them together used two sticks of Corsair XMS2 512-MB (800 MHz) per unit. Enter stage left, questions two and three.
2. Why would someone use two sticks of .5GB, instead of a single stick of 1GB, and
3. How careful do I need to be if I'm scrapping the current modules and replacing them with a single stick of 2GB? Will I be okay as long as the timings and speeds are similar?

Thanks for reading the really long and boring version. I want to make sure that there's a 0 chance that I can screw up my parents' livelihood, as I'd be grounded until I'm 40, and I'd probably ruin my dad's law firm.

TL;DR:
--- Question summary ---
1. Decent Sata2, 3GB/s HDD, between 320 and 400 GBs? Link (Amazon preferred)?
2. Why would someone use two sticks of .5 GB instead of one stick of 1GB?
3. How badly can I screw up their computers if I get RAM that's too fast? Too slow?
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Old 04-17-2014, 11:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Couple quickies

1) Any SeaGate Barracuda or Western Digital Blue drive, really. WD has longer warranty, if that matters.
2) To take advantage of dual-channel config
3) Fast RAM will just downclock; as long as you get RAM that's compatible with the board, you should be fine.
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Old 04-17-2014, 11:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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What's the benefit of dual channel config?
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Old 04-18-2014, 01:21 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Couple quickies

1) I doubt those drives will die anytime soon, but in case you may be a bit paranoid.
Amazon.com: Seagate Barracuda 320 GB HDD SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST320DM000: Electronics

2) Dual Channel. Double the memory bandwidth which is needed to help speed up DDR2 machines. Also double check to make sure the motherboard can handle 2GB sticks. I would personally go with 2 1GB sticks at 667 for compatibility and cheapness.

3) Go with 667 and stick to timings of 5s for best compatibility. DDR2 isn't as forgiving as DDR3.
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Old 04-18-2014, 01:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Couple quickies

Quote:
Originally Posted by PP Mguire View Post
--snip--

2) Dual Channel. Double the memory bandwidth which is needed to help speed up DDR2 machines. Also double check to make sure the motherboard can handle 2GB sticks. I would personally go with 2 1GB sticks at 667 for compatibility and cheapness.

--snip--
Exactly how much will dual channeling affect the speed of the two computers?
As I have said before in the previous post, my parents don't need speed-demon computers. Fast enough to access a database or two, but also stable enough to not have issues.

I really don't want to be grounded for eternity for breaking the computers, thank you. xD
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Old 04-18-2014, 01:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Couple quickies

There is no difference between putting in one stick or two sticks. If something will mess up it's going to mess up regardless. Just be careful and put them in properly and you'll be fine.

Like I said, it doubles memory bandwidth. This isn't theoretical or limited like SLI/Crossfire, it literally doubles it. Pretty much a necessity on any machine pre-DDR3. Would they notice the difference right away if you went single channel? Probably not, but if say you went single then back to double over time it would be noticeable. Things would be snappier.

You keep using the phrase speed demon like these things aren't dinosaurs. You need to be doing everything in your power to speed them up, not hold back their potential. They may not say it but I'm sure your parents would appreciate an increased productivity value by having faster machines instead of side stepping their performance. I don't care what anybody says, nobody likes waiting 10 years for a machine to response after you click a program.
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Alright. I'll change up the parts to two 1gb sticks apiece.

Thanks for putting up with me (again).

Edit;

One last question:

How drastic is the increase in speed for dual channeled memory (roughly)?
10%?
20%?
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