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  1. #1
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    For Those Using Windows 7 - Question RAM
    My computer is on the fritz, PC with Vista, had it for like 5 years, so want to get a new Dell/Windows 7.

    For those who have it, how much RAM do you have? I'm doing the configuration now for XPS 8300 and it comes with 8GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 4 DIMM. I can upgrade to 12 or 16 but only if needed.

    Have this so far:
    PROCESSORS Intel® Core™ i7-2600 processor(8MB Cache, 3.4GHz)
    MEMORY 8GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 4 DIMMs edit
    HARD DRIVE 1.5TB - SATA-II, 3Gb/s, 7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache HDD edit
    OPTICAL DRIVE Single Drive: 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/double layer write capability edit
    VIDEO CARD AMD Radeon™ HD 6670 1GB DDR5 edit
    SOUND CARD Soundblaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio edit
    WIRELESS Dell 1501 Wireless-N PCIe Card edit
    USB 3.0 Standard USB 2.0 + 10/100/1000 Ethernet

    Look decent?
    Might upgrade Video Card and Sound Card can be upgraded once more
    Last edited by Trust; July 24th, 2011 at 08:22 AM.

  2. #2
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    I have a HP Pavilion dv7 notebook computer with 6 gigs of ram and everything runs ok on it.

    It has windows 7 and it has a AMD 4 core processor in it.

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  3. #3
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Nice setup you have chosen. Have five dells here. You should be just fine with 8G. MORE IS BETTER, though
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  4. #4
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    I was thinking of bumping the Radeon™ HD 6670 to a 6770 and maybe the RAM.

    I might be able to hold off, thought something was wrong with my computer. My monitor wasn't working but worked on another computer, so brought it back to mine and I guess something was wrong with the DV-I cable or hookup since it stopped working with that hooked up but hooked up the blue VGA and it works fine. Was up all night thinking my computer was dying, copying files onto an external drive, saving my bookmarks etc. Now up 26 hours but now waiting for the pizza boy.

    Hopefully it was just that connection and not my computer but it's time to get a new anyway.

  5. #5
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    Ok, after doing hours of reading on this subject alone, looks like 8GB RAM is more than enough, I was actually surprised. Apparently Windows 7 does a whole lot better than Vista when it comes to RAM. I have 2GB with my Vista and everything runs smooth, even games like COD or Battlefield Bad Company. So 8GB with a better operating system should be good.

    I was Googling, how much RAM for Windows 7 64 Bit and even read some threads in some gaming forums, even posted the specs, they all said 8GB was plenty, even 4-6 was more than enough. I was expecting somebody to post that I needed more but it was pretty consistent. Think I'll just max out the other areas.

  6. #6
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Looks lie 4GB is the limit for 32 bit Windows, the rest would be used as a swap file. Not sure on 64 bit.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador I.M.O.G.'s Avatar
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    8GB is certainly plenty. Likely overkill even, unless you are working with large/multiple photoshop projects, memory intensive media work (HD video), or 3D/CAD related work. If you game, gamers like to have the extra memory also, though in most cases its my opinion that 4GB is still sufficient.

    OS:

    You want 64bit Win7.

    RAM:

    If this were me, I would select the smallest memory configuration they will allow you to buy, and call to confirm that the model you configure utilizes a single memory stick. That means there is an easily accessed second slot to upgrade the memory on the bottom of the laptop - remove 2 screws, stick memory in slot, done. Very simple. Worth noting - the i7-2600 platform supports dual channel memory. 2 sticks which equal a given size will perform considerably better than a single stick at the same total size in memory intensive operations. Bottom line: Whichever capacity of RAM you desire, you WANT to hit that capacity by using 2 sticks of memory to get the dual channel benefits.

    Why get only one stick then with your order? Memory is cheap right now compared to historical values - buying a memory stick from Newegg after your initial purchase to double your capacity could realistically save you over $50 on the upgrade through Dell. Common knowledge says "more memory is good" and "makes the system faster", and the big box companies exploit the uninformed by making generous markups on these upgrades. It's good business practice.

    CPU:

    i7-2600 is what you want if you are buying now. If you wait until Q1 2011, I believe thats Intel's roadmap for releasing Ivy Bridge. Ivy is their performance product line, Sandy is their mainstream product line. Bulldozer is coming from AMD Q4 2011, if not sooner. No one really knows what the performance will be, but its hopeful in the hardware scene that it competes well or surpasses Sandy Bridge. Strong competition is good for the industry. It is not targeted to compete directly against Ivy, as AMD hasn't competed directly in the top end for quite some time - their consumer flagship processors typically retail no higher than $400, Intel's consumer flagship surpasses $1K.

    Video Card:

    This is more of a personal choice, depending on what you really want. The benchmarks are out there and they are very useful. Look at the games you play, see what sort of FPS you should expect and if that suits your desired gaming experience.

    Worth noting here: the 6700 radeon line is essentially the 5700 radeon line, rebranded. It confuses consumers, and its the way the hardware game works with all these model numbers. If you want the latest generation product line GPU, you probably want to look at the 6800 or 6900 lines. Personally, considering you had your last system for 5 years, I would take a step up as you'll likely have this system for that long also. Like I said though, video card is very much a personal decision.

    Sound Card:

    Does it tell you what sound chip is on the motherboard? Many motherboards have high quality onboard sound now, even supporting 5.1 or 7.1 surround. Soundblaster and the external soundcard market has taken a beating in the past 5 years as a result, so you may be paying for a sound card that doesn't get you anything tangible - lots of people still do this because they were used to 5+ years ago when a decent sound card was loads better than onboard sound. That is often no longer the case as onboard sound chipsets through the motherboard have evolved. Especially if you are not an audiophile, I would look into the onboard sound features - if you can tell me the onboard sound chipset, I could tell you if its any good.

    If you use the soundcard for capture or you need connections it offers, all bets off the table and get what you need for those purposes.

    Final Word of Advice:

    An SSD is the new memory upgrade. An SSD literally makes your computing experience loads better, I'd compare it to going from 512MB ram on Windows XP to 2GB of ram - its that sort of improvement to daily usage and responsiveness. I usually go with a reasonably sized SSD 64-128GB for the OS and main applications/games, then use a TB drive for data storage or other application installs which you use less frequently.
    Matt Bidinger
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  8. #8
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    Alright good info.

    "8GB is certainly plenty."

    That's good. Going thru the Dell configuration, that was the minimum and it was - 8GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 4 DIMMs

    "i7-2600 is what you want if you are buying now."

    That's what I have in the configuration - PROCESSORS Intel® Core™ i7-2600 processor(8MB Cache, 3.4GHz)

    Video cards, they had these to choose from:

    Nvidia® Geforce® GT530 [Included in Price]
    AMD Radeon™ HD 6670 1GB DDR5 [Add $20.00 or $1.00/month1]
    AMD Radeon™ HD 6770 [Add $80.00 or $2.00/month1]
    Single AMD Radeon™ HD 6870 [Add $280.00 or $8.00/month1]

    Was thinking the bold should be good enough? I only play games every now and then. I could go up to the next one but that's another $200, not sure it's worth it if I only game every now and then?

    For the Sound Card they have:

    THX® TruStudio PC™ [Included in Price] Integrated 7.1 channel audio
    Soundblaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio [Add $60.00 or $2.00/month1]
    Sound Blaster® X-Fi™ Titanium [Add $100.00 or $3.00/month1]

    And Sound Blaster Audio vs. Titanium they have:

    Audio - If you want: A high-resolution, low-latency, feature-rich recording tool for audio enthusiasts and professionals

    Titanium - If you want: Hardware acceleration

    That's one I'm still trying to figure out. I have SoundBlaster X-Fi now with my Vista. Just whichever is best for music, since I have a lot on my computer.
    Last edited by Trust; July 26th, 2011 at 12:38 PM.

  9. #9
    Speechless OTProf's Avatar
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    I'd recommend an SSD drive (or at least a combo SSD drive). My SSD drive has easily been one of the most awesome features I've had. Is Dell the best bet? Since you are a loaded webpreneur why not go Mac and load up Boot Camp or Parallels? Once you go Mac....

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador I.M.O.G.'s Avatar
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    Cool. I was agreeing with your choice of CPU, assuming that you are looking to buy now.

    The GT530 is fine for websurfing. All the other cards would play COD or Battlefield fine. The 6670 will struggle with newer games, especially if you are playing at resolutions of 1680x1050 or higher, and you would want to avoid enabling antialiasing or anisotropic filtering on the newer titles, which improve image quality. The 6770 will do well, but frame rates could still be hitting rough spots in some newer games in tough scenes with all quality settings on high. The 6870 will take anything you throw at it well.

    If you game now and then on the titles you mentioned, the 6770 would be fine, and you are doing well for the performance level at the price point. You will want to upgrade your graphics card in a year or two if you move to newer games. The 6870 would get you more longevity, without you feeling compelled to upgrade due to mediocre performance in newer games.

    The question of worth is a tough one though, is it worth it? To me, I'm not a desktop gamer really at all and I would be fine with the GT530. If I wanted to use the computer to game for the next few years without having to crack the side off the case and replace anything, I'd get the 6870. If I wasn't that worried about it, and just wanted good performance at a reasonable price for now, I'd get the 6770... A video card upgrade is a drop in replacement, doesn't get any easier.

    Sound, you want to go with the THX TruStudio. Since you are primarily interested in listening to music, even if you are listening to lossless audio formats (wave/flac), the basics will give you what you need. Most people are listening to MP3 or equivalent, and the difference in sound quality for listening to music is greater going between MP3 to a lossless format like flac than it is going from a basic sound card to an advanced super duper sound card. If you have decent headphones or monitors, you'll be fine... If you have premium headphones or monitors, then I'd say maybe the xfi xtreme is worthwhile. For most people, the limitations for sound quality are the format of their music (MP3) and the quality of their computer headphones/speakers. The sound card is the least important for consuming audio, though it becomes more important if you are capturing/recording it.

    You could even pull the sound card out of your old system and drop it into the new one, its also a drop in component easily switched out.
    Matt Bidinger
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  12. #11
    ABW Ambassador
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    Thanks. Will probably get something next few months.

    "Since you are a loaded webpreneur why not go Mac and load up Boot Camp or Parallels? Once you go Mac...."

    I just got into a debate on that with Daniel on Twitter a couple of days ago, also my brother who has both a Mac and a PC. Not getting a Mac. To me it's paying more for ?? I can't think of anything you can do on a Mac that I can't do on a PPC. And when going thru the configuration on the Apple site, to get decent storage space, you have to go external or choose a more pricier model. The Apple folks are also anti Bluray, so if you wanted that, can't do it thru the configuration. It just costs a lot more for I don't know what. People usually say security but I haven't had any issues in a long time in that department.

  13. #12
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I had a MacBook Pro for 2 years until last August when I left my day job. Have been on PCs since 1989 and had far less trouble with the Mac than the PCs. If you are primarily web based then OS doesn't make a big difference. I had a high end multi media notebook prior to the MacBook Pro, it was loud and bogged down a lot. My MacBook was a 15" screen and extremely light and quiet, half the time I thought something was broke. Its a personal opinion but when I upgraded on the Mac is worked. Pricing is 20-50% higher which is a concern.

    Spent two hours Sunday night fixing my wife's Toshiba laptop with Vista. She is a bookkeeper and uses Quickbooks extensively. It d the ability to read XML which is what the registration.dat file is written in. Was a royal pain to finally find the right combination to make it work. I still can't get her Epson multi copier, printer scanner to work, the program won't recognize the device.

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