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Old 01-08-2011, 05:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default getting a new PC, not sure about RAM or video card

My family surprised me by letting me order a refurbished one from the Dell Outlet today and it'll be here by Friday.

AMD Athlon II X2 240 (2.8GHz, 2MB L2 Cache)
2 GB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz (2 DIMMs)
320 GB SATA II Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
16X DVD +/- RW w/dbl layer write capability
Windows 7 Home Premium
I was wondering if you guys thought 2GB of RAM at these speeds would be enough for multitasking or do I need to get another 2GB stick? I'm not familiar with how much memory Windows 7 demands. I've been using XP for the last 4 years so I am far behind in knowing how much resources the latest Windows OS takes up.

I tend to have Firefox, Notepad2, instant messaging, Media Player Classic, and an antivirus running at most times. Then occasionally I will need to use Photoshop or FTP software, as well as other such odds and ends.

As for the video card, the computer is coming with integrated graphics. I don't know how much memory the onboard system has, or if it will be using any of the RAM. I would really like to get a dedicated video card but I'm not sure how to go about doing that.

If I get one, will I have problems disabling the integrated graphics system? How do I know which one to get, in terms of hardware compatibility? I'd probably want a 1GB card, and I'm not partial about whether I get Nvidia or ATI.

I'd like to note that this system is a 1.6 GHZ Celeron with 1GB of DDR2 memory so I am in for a huge step forward.

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Old 01-08-2011, 06:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: getting a new PC, not sure about RAM or video card

I think the minimum requirements for windows 7 is 2GB of RAM. I would suggest poking around for some more RAM, try and shoot for around 3-4GB's @ 1333(speed). The processor seems a little too low to handle anything too graphics intensive without the use of a video card. So I would look into one of those as well. Of course you'll need to know what kind of power supply your running with/for these upgrades.

If you're worried about compatibility, you may need to inquire as to what MOBO/PCI slots you're running for a graphics card.

As is... Looks like a regular home pc you'd find in stores.

Then again, I'm just a junior techie here... Perhaps someone else could lend a hand.

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Old 01-08-2011, 04:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: getting a new PC, not sure about RAM or video card

I depends on what you want to do - watch movies, then a video card (with HDMI) would be the upgrade. If your going to use your monitor and mult-task then RAM would be the way to go.
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Old 01-08-2011, 07:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: getting a new PC, not sure about RAM or video card

I'll be able to run a systems analysis to find out the motherboard and power supply information when I get it.

What should the power supply rating be for the addition of a nvidia/ati 1GB card? I might just skip the video card as I won't really be running anything heavy on that end if the power supply isn't adequate. I'm not really comfortable with the thought of changing the power supply as that involves wires to other components. I don't have a problem with opening it up and snapping in RAM sticks or sliding a video card into the PCI slot though.

While the RAM is a concern I'm also worried about voiding the warranty. It's a refurbished PC with a 1 year warranty, which made me feel safer about buying it and I'd hate to void it by opening the case for a RAM upgrade then have it break a week later. Any suggestions on that one?

And I'd think that this is a bit cheaper than the computers you'd find at a retail store? It was $295 after my 15% discount (got a code in email) and free 3-5 day shipping ($30 worth).

I don't usually see anything for under 400 at the store.
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: getting a new PC, not sure about RAM or video card

I didn't see anything in the rules about 'bumping' or double posting so I hope I'm not breaking any rules but any responses to my questions?

I just got more information after I checked my order status (shipped today!! yea!) and it says it comes with "Cord,Power,125V." Does that mean I have a 125V power supply?
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: getting a new PC, not sure about RAM or video card

just so you know, performance of gfx cards is not determined by how much vram it has. with that said, what we need to know is the wattage of the psu. you could check the spec page of the pc to see if they have it listed (sometimes they do, sometimes they don't) or post a link to the page and we'll try to find it. other than that you'll just have to wait for it to arrive and you can open it up and read the sticker on the side of psu itself.

about the warranty, i'm not sure. i took a look here to see if i could find anything on that, in the faq's.
Dell Outlet Info Center | Dell

the only thing that seemed relevant to your question was:

Can I customize a Dell Outlet system? Can I make changes to the configuration?

At this time system configurations cannot be modified or customized. You can, however, upgrade systems by adding hardware, software, monitors and printers, and many other electronics and accessories....
so it sounds like you cannot customize the way the pc's come configured already but you can add more hardware on your own if you want. well that's what it sounds like to me anyway, but you could call and ask if you wanna be sure, they have an # there.
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Old 01-14-2011, 05:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: getting a new PC, not sure about RAM or video card

Well, after seeing how the graphics perform on this, I have decided that the onboard video card will be sufficient for my needs. I'm very pleased with the PC and Windows 7 overall. I'm glad I got what I got, but y'all were right about the IGP using some of the system RAM. I have 2GB but only 1.75 are available for usage.

I've downloaded the SIW utility to see how much memory the IGP comes with on its own but couldn't find the information on first glance. I'll have to look more thoroughly when I have a moment, unless one of you can tell me where to look?

I can tell that Photoshop is going to strain the RAM since Windows needs about a gig for itself and that doesn't leave too much for the rest. I'll have to contact Dell and see if opening it up to pop in a stick will void the warranty. Perhaps I can take it to an authorized retailer and have them do it for me at extra cost if that turns out to be the case.

I appreciate all the advice so far. I'm not going to look for the wattage since I'm not switching the video card. The only improvement I want to make is extra RAM so there won't be any need to upgrade the PSU or anything else. This computer should do me good for a few years after I add more RAM.

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