Upgrade Questions

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by TazMan_Two, Mar 7, 2005.

  1. TazMan_Two

    TazMan_Two Guest

    Hi All,

    I have had very good luck in the past with your collective knowledge,
    and am hoping you can help me once again.

    I have a couple of questions about some upgrades I would like to make
    to my HP MEDIA CENTER PC 873n. I have XP Media Center, 512MB Ram, and
    a GeForce4-MX420 64MB DDR Video Card.

    First, I want to upgrade my memory. The only problem is that when I
    spoke to an HP customer service person they told me I need a 512MB
    PC3200 dimm. Later I found the info on the website which indicates
    that my machine should have a 512MB PC2100 dimm. If I buy one and it
    should really be the other, will they still work? I have 2 slots and a
    1 Gig capacity, so I will be leaving the one in and adding the second.

    Next question, I have the above stated Video Card and would like to
    upgrade. I am willing to spend up to about $250. I spoke with their
    customer service who said I should stay with GeForce, and I don't have
    a problem with that as we have had no problems with the current card.
    He also told me to stay within certain ratings for my power supply
    (which I don't happen to have in front of me right now). The problem
    is that on many boxes and websites I am not finding any info on the
    rating requirements. In one case, I saw on a newsgroup that someone
    with the same computer added a GeForce FX 5700LE, and is having no
    problems. However, this is one of the few that state it requires a
    250W minimum power supply. I believe CS rep told me 150W, but I will
    have to check, I am almost certain it was not as high as 200. So, how
    do I pick a Video Card? I want the best I can get within my range, but
    am really concerned that I end up with something that won't work, or
    worse, will harm my computer.

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

    Cindy
    TazMan_Two, Mar 7, 2005
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. TazMan_Two wrote:

    > Hi All,
    >
    > I have had very good luck in the past with your collective knowledge,
    > and am hoping you can help me once again.
    >
    > I have a couple of questions about some upgrades I would like to make
    > to my HP MEDIA CENTER PC 873n. I have XP Media Center, 512MB Ram, and
    > a GeForce4-MX420 64MB DDR Video Card.
    >
    > First, I want to upgrade my memory. The only problem is that when I
    > spoke to an HP customer service person they told me I need a 512MB
    > PC3200 dimm. Later I found the info on the website which indicates
    > that my machine should have a 512MB PC2100 dimm. If I buy one and it
    > should really be the other, will they still work? I have 2 slots and a
    > 1 Gig capacity, so I will be leaving the one in and adding the second.
    >
    > Next question, I have the above stated Video Card and would like to
    > upgrade. I am willing to spend up to about $250. I spoke with their
    > customer service who said I should stay with GeForce, and I don't have
    > a problem with that as we have had no problems with the current card.
    > He also told me to stay within certain ratings for my power supply
    > (which I don't happen to have in front of me right now). The problem
    > is that on many boxes and websites I am not finding any info on the
    > rating requirements. In one case, I saw on a newsgroup that someone
    > with the same computer added a GeForce FX 5700LE, and is having no
    > problems. However, this is one of the few that state it requires a
    > 250W minimum power supply. I believe CS rep told me 150W, but I will
    > have to check, I am almost certain it was not as high as 200. So, how
    > do I pick a Video Card? I want the best I can get within my range, but
    > am really concerned that I end up with something that won't work, or
    > worse, will harm my computer.



    You can use either memory, the 3200 will automatically run at the 2100
    speed (which is what the specs for your computer call for). The power
    supply I couldn't find hard info on, but I saw some info that indicates
    it may be a 200w. You may be able to open the case and see some labeling
    on it. If that is a standard configuration power supply, I'd probably go
    ahead and replace it with a known good one such as an Antec 400W.
    =?ISO-8859-1?Q?R=F4g=EAr?=, Mar 7, 2005
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. TazMan_Two

    SgtMinor Guest

    TazMan_Two wrote:
    > Hi All,
    >
    > I have had very good luck in the past with your collective knowledge,
    > and am hoping you can help me once again.
    >
    > I have a couple of questions about some upgrades I would like to make
    > to my HP MEDIA CENTER PC 873n. I have XP Media Center, 512MB Ram, and
    > a GeForce4-MX420 64MB DDR Video Card.
    >
    > First, I want to upgrade my memory. The only problem is that when I
    > spoke to an HP customer service person they told me I need a 512MB
    > PC3200 dimm. Later I found the info on the website which indicates
    > that my machine should have a 512MB PC2100 dimm. If I buy one and it
    > should really be the other, will they still work? I have 2 slots and a
    > 1 Gig capacity, so I will be leaving the one in and adding the second.
    >
    > Next question, I have the above stated Video Card and would like to
    > upgrade. I am willing to spend up to about $250. I spoke with their
    > customer service who said I should stay with GeForce, and I don't have
    > a problem with that as we have had no problems with the current card.
    > He also told me to stay within certain ratings for my power supply
    > (which I don't happen to have in front of me right now). The problem
    > is that on many boxes and websites I am not finding any info on the
    > rating requirements. In one case, I saw on a newsgroup that someone
    > with the same computer added a GeForce FX 5700LE, and is having no
    > problems. However, this is one of the few that state it requires a
    > 250W minimum power supply. I believe CS rep told me 150W, but I will
    > have to check, I am almost certain it was not as high as 200. So, how
    > do I pick a Video Card? I want the best I can get within my range, but
    > am really concerned that I end up with something that won't work, or
    > worse, will harm my computer.
    >
    > Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
    >
    > Cindy
    >


    It's not at all clear *why* you want to "upgrade." The only comment you
    made was to state that you had no problems with the current video card.

    Additional memory will be easy to install; you may want to try crucial:
    http://www.crucial.com/store/listpa...&cat=RAM&model=Media Center PC 873n&submit=Go
    or
    http://makeashorterlink.com/?K2AD51E9A

    If it were mine, I would leave this system pretty much alone. You will
    not notice much improvement with more RAM, and the Power Supply is
    probably something proprietary (read "expensive"). Save your money.

    --
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." -- Red Green
    SgtMinor, Mar 7, 2005
    #3
  4. TazMan_Two

    TazMan_Two Guest

    Some of the games we are playing are running a bit slow, so I figured
    the ram and video card would be the easiest fixes.

    I know the memory is easy to install, as I have done this previously on
    another computer, and thought the video card would be similarly easy.
    I just didn't want to put in anything that won't work.

    So, if I'm not going to see much difference with the ram, what other
    options do I have to allow my games to run more smoothly?

    Thanks for the help!

    Cindy
    TazMan_Two, Mar 7, 2005
    #4
  5. TazMan_Two

    TazMan_Two Guest

    I had actually considered a new power supply. Is there anything I need
    to know about compatability issues? If I buy a 400W power supply do I
    have to worry about it burning up some other part of my computer?

    Thanks for the help!

    Cindy
    TazMan_Two, Mar 7, 2005
    #5
  6. TazMan_Two

    owldo @ PAX Guest

    Best way to make sure is to shut PC down, open the box, pull the memory
    stick out and check it. The memory type is usually marked right on the
    stick. While you are in there check your power supply. Power supplies are
    always marked. From everything I have seen your computer takes PC2100 DDR226
    184pin memory, but when in doubt pull the stick out and check it. Power
    supplies are not that exspensive, have you thought about upgrading?

    --
    owldo@(trash)hotmail.com
    Take out the trash to reply!
    "TazMan_Two" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Hi All,
    >
    > I have had very good luck in the past with your collective knowledge,
    > and am hoping you can help me once again.
    >
    > I have a couple of questions about some upgrades I would like to make
    > to my HP MEDIA CENTER PC 873n. I have XP Media Center, 512MB Ram, and
    > a GeForce4-MX420 64MB DDR Video Card.
    >
    > First, I want to upgrade my memory. The only problem is that when I
    > spoke to an HP customer service person they told me I need a 512MB
    > PC3200 dimm. Later I found the info on the website which indicates
    > that my machine should have a 512MB PC2100 dimm. If I buy one and it
    > should really be the other, will they still work? I have 2 slots and a
    > 1 Gig capacity, so I will be leaving the one in and adding the second.
    >
    > Next question, I have the above stated Video Card and would like to
    > upgrade. I am willing to spend up to about $250. I spoke with their
    > customer service who said I should stay with GeForce, and I don't have
    > a problem with that as we have had no problems with the current card.
    > He also told me to stay within certain ratings for my power supply
    > (which I don't happen to have in front of me right now). The problem
    > is that on many boxes and websites I am not finding any info on the
    > rating requirements. In one case, I saw on a newsgroup that someone
    > with the same computer added a GeForce FX 5700LE, and is having no
    > problems. However, this is one of the few that state it requires a
    > 250W minimum power supply. I believe CS rep told me 150W, but I will
    > have to check, I am almost certain it was not as high as 200. So, how
    > do I pick a Video Card? I want the best I can get within my range, but
    > am really concerned that I end up with something that won't work, or
    > worse, will harm my computer.
    >
    > Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
    >
    > Cindy
    >
    owldo @ PAX, Mar 7, 2005
    #6
  7. TazMan_Two wrote:

    > I had actually considered a new power supply. Is there anything I need
    > to know about compatability issues? If I buy a 400W power supply do I
    > have to worry about it burning up some other part of my computer?
    >
    > Thanks for the help!
    >
    > Cindy


    The only worries are the physical size and shape are standard on most
    machines, but some companies use proprietary power supplies from time to
    time. I can't tell from the specs that HP gives what yours is. If you
    have a propellerhead neighbor to look at it they can probably tell you
    if a replacement is easy to do. Other than that, look at the plugs
    available on the new power supply, match them up to what's in use now.
    If it's P4 rated you should be okay.
    http://makeashorterlink.com/?K6DF21E9A
    =?ISO-8859-1?Q?R=F4g=EAr?=, Mar 7, 2005
    #7
  8. TazMan_Two

    SgtMinor Guest

    TazMan_Two wrote:

    > Some of the games we are playing are running a bit slow, so I figured
    > the ram and video card would be the easiest fixes.
    >
    > I know the memory is easy to install, as I have done this previously on
    > another computer, and thought the video card would be similarly easy.
    > I just didn't want to put in anything that won't work.
    >
    > So, if I'm not going to see much difference with the ram, what other
    > options do I have to allow my games to run more smoothly?
    >
    > Thanks for the help!
    >
    > Cindy
    >


    To speed up a system, in general terms, means controlling what loads at
    startup, and keeping it clean of malware. Some people have benefitted
    from ┬░Mike┬░'s maintenance tips, available here:
    http://uk.geocities.com/personel44/maintenance.html
    SgtMinor, Mar 7, 2005
    #8
  9. TazMan_Two

    Ron Martell Guest

    "TazMan_Two" <> wrote:

    >Some of the games we are playing are running a bit slow, so I figured
    >the ram and video card would be the easiest fixes.
    >
    >I know the memory is easy to install, as I have done this previously on
    >another computer, and thought the video card would be similarly easy.
    >I just didn't want to put in anything that won't work.
    >
    >So, if I'm not going to see much difference with the ram, what other
    >options do I have to allow my games to run more smoothly?
    >
    >Thanks for the help!
    >
    >Cindy



    Adding more memory can noticeably improve performance only if the
    added memory results in reduced usage of the virtual memory paging
    file. Therefore if the paging file is not currently being used to any
    significant extent then adding more memory will not provide a
    significant improvement.

    Unfortunately there is no ready way of determing actual paging file
    usage provided with Windows XP - it does not have an equivalent to the
    'Memory Manager - Swap File In Use" reporting provided by the System
    Monitor utility in Windows 95/98/Me.

    There is a free utility that you can download and run which will
    provide this information for you. It was written by MVP Bill James and
    you can get if from
    http://www.dougknox.com/xp/utils/xp_pagefilemon.htm or from
    http://billsway.com/notes_public/WinXP_Tweaks/

    If that utility shows actual page file usage of 50 mb or more on a
    regular basis then that is indicative of fairly significant paging
    file activity. Adding more RAM will reduce or even eliminate entirely
    this activity thereby improving performance.

    This apples regardless of how much or how little RAM is currently
    installed in the computer, at least up to the 4 gb RAM maximum for
    Windows XP.

    Good luck


    Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
    --
    Microsoft MVP
    On-Line Help Computer Service
    http://onlinehelp.bc.ca

    "The reason computer chips are so small is computers don't eat much."
    Ron Martell, Mar 7, 2005
    #9
  10. TazMan_Two

    Tom & Cindy Guest

    "Ron Martell" <> wrote in message
    news:...

    > Adding more memory can noticeably improve performance only if the
    > added memory results in reduced usage of the virtual memory paging
    > file. Therefore if the paging file is not currently being used to any
    > significant extent then adding more memory will not provide a
    > significant improvement.


    > If that utility shows actual page file usage of 50 mb or more on a
    > regular basis then that is indicative of fairly significant paging
    > file activity. Adding more RAM will reduce or even eliminate entirely
    > this activity thereby improving performance.
    >
    > This apples regardless of how much or how little RAM is currently
    > installed in the computer, at least up to the 4 gb RAM maximum for
    > Windows XP.
    >
    > Good luck
    >
    >
    > Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
    > --
    > Microsoft MVP
    > On-Line Help Computer Service
    > http://onlinehelp.bc.ca
    >
    > "The reason computer chips are so small is computers don't eat much."



    OK, I think I see what you are talking about. Below I am attaching the log
    from this ap.

    This is just after installing paging file ap:
    3/7/2005 3:58:16 PM

    Pagefile Physical Location: C:\pagefile.sys
    Current Pagefile Usage: 24 MB
    Session Peak Usage: 31 MB
    Current Pagefile Size: 768 MB

    This is after starting game:
    3/7/2005 4:08:17 PM

    Pagefile Physical Location: C:\pagefile.sys
    Current Pagefile Usage: 67 MB
    Session Peak Usage: 67 MB
    Current Pagefile Size: 768 MB

    This is after running game for only 6 min:
    3/7/2005 4:14:01 PM

    Pagefile Physical Location: C:\pagefile.sys
    Current Pagefile Usage: 94 MB
    Session Peak Usage: 104 MB
    Current Pagefile Size: 768 MB

    And this is after rebooting computer:
    3/7/2005 4:18:18 PM

    Pagefile Physical Location: C:\pagefile.sys
    Current Pagefile Usage: 12 MB
    Session Peak Usage: 12 MB
    Current Pagefile Size: 768 MB

    So, if I am understanding you correctly, while I'm running a game (I play
    this one fairly often) the paging file is working more and more. This game
    quickly pushed it well over the 50 MB mark, and I assume would continue to
    increase as I play? And this indicates that I need more RAM.

    Now, is this also where applications running in the background come into
    play? Are those applications, such as antivirus, firewalls, etc, also
    increasing the paging file? This would be why we turn off some applications
    before playing a game and rebooting afterward? I am just trying to make
    sure I understand.

    Thanks again for your help.

    Cindy
    Tom & Cindy, Mar 7, 2005
    #10
  11. TazMan_Two

    Ron Martell Guest

    "Tom & Cindy" <> wrote:

    >So, if I am understanding you correctly, while I'm running a game (I play
    >this one fairly often) the paging file is working more and more. This game
    >quickly pushed it well over the 50 MB mark, and I assume would continue to
    >increase as I play? And this indicates that I need more RAM.


    More RAM would reduce the paging activity, thereby improving
    performance.

    >
    >Now, is this also where applications running in the background come into
    >play? Are those applications, such as antivirus, firewalls, etc, also
    >increasing the paging file? This would be why we turn off some applications
    >before playing a game and rebooting afterward? I am just trying to make
    >sure I understand.


    These other programs are using RAM when they are loaded, and therefore
    are adding to the cumulative total of RAM used which results in the
    use of the paging file. If they were not running then the RAM they
    use would be available for other purposes, and that would reduce the
    need to use the paging file, thereyby improving performance.

    But not having these programs in RAM might also result in risks,
    especially if you have a full time internet connection (Cable, DSL)
    with no hardware firewall in place.

    If I was experiencing the results that you posted I would consider
    adding more RAM.

    Good luck.


    Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
    --
    Microsoft MVP
    On-Line Help Computer Service
    http://onlinehelp.bc.ca

    "The reason computer chips are so small is computers don't eat much."
    Ron Martell, Mar 8, 2005
    #11
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