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Windows 10 desktop PC Memory upgrade question

This is a discussion on Windows 10 desktop PC Memory upgrade question within the RAM and Power Supply Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I have a Dell Vostro 260 desktop with Intel i5-2400 CPU and 4 GB DD3 RAM (purchased in June, 2012).


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Old 09-16-2019, 11:48 AM   #1
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I have a Dell Vostro 260 desktop with Intel i5-2400 CPU and 4 GB DD3 RAM (purchased in June, 2012).
I am considering two upgrade options to make the pc run faster:
1. Upgrade to 8GB RAM ($50), or
2. Add a 250 GB SSD drive ($50).
Which of the two is the better option?
Thanks

I am running Windows 10 pro Version 1809
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Old 09-16-2019, 12:54 PM   #2
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Personally, I would do both.
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Old 09-16-2019, 04:12 PM   #3
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you can upgrade the cpu if you wanted more speed. also a graphics card 2-4gb memory would make it faster.
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Old 09-16-2019, 04:29 PM   #4
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Personally, I would do both.
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Old 09-16-2019, 04:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve32mids View Post
you can upgrade the cpu if you wanted more speed. also a graphics card 2-4gb memory would make it faster.
One could, but seeing that this is a DELL OEM Retail PC, most of the options to upgrade the CPU are very limited.....and 90% of the time not worth the time and effort.
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Old 09-17-2019, 02:12 AM   #6
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If I couldn't do both at once, I'd start with the SSD. 4GB is sufficient for most office works, but don't even think about opening 4 or more browser tabs/windows. Page file usage will be high, but the faster speeds of the SSD will make it a breeze to switch between them and other tasks compared to HDD speeds.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:03 AM   #7
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Even though I am a HUGE fan of SSDs, I have an opposite opinion here. For sure, if possible, I would upgrade the RAM and add an SSD. But if the budget only allowed for one upgrade, I would definitely go with adding more RAM first. When starting with low amounts, adding RAM almost always provides the most bang for the buck.

For sure, a SSD would also improve over-all performance but it is important to remember once your data is loaded into RAM, the drive's performance matters little, if any at all - except for very disk intensive tasks - which surfing the Internet, using Word, and other Office type tasks are not. Yes, it will take longer to boot, and take longer to load a large Word document, but once loaded, almost everything is happening in RAM. Disk action happens most "in the background". And with double the RAM, you will have considerably more "background" space for the OS and CPU to play in - a very good thing.

The other downside to simply "adding" a SSD is you will not realize anything close to its real potential unless you "replace" the HD and make the SSD your boot drive, or make the SSD your boot drive and turn your current HD into a "secondary" drive. While this is not too difficult, migrating an OS to a different drive is challenging - especially for those who have never done it before. And this task comes with significant risks too so ensuring a good backup first is essential.

Adding RAM, on the other hand, is one of the most simple upgrade tasks one can perform. The biggest risk is potential ESD damage. So just make sure you unplug the power from the wall and touch bare metal of the case interior to discharge any static in your body BEFORE reaching into the heart of your computer and before touching the RAM. Then make sure you have the RAM aligned properly (it can only go in one way) before exerting force. Once properly installed, the added RAM should automatically be recognized. No further action by you is typically necessary. At worse, your BIOS may report a "checksum" error because it now sees a different amount of RAM than expected. But a simple, one-time "Save and Exit" resolves that.

As far as browser's consuming resources, they do but there is a HUGE difference in how much a tab consumes compared to how much browser windows (separate sessions) consume. And different browsers use memory resources differently too.

I use Pale Moon (which is known to be "light" on resources) and currently have 32 tabs open! But Task Manager reports only 414.5MB of RAM is being used. But as soon as I open a new Pale Moon window with a couple more tabs that jumps up 623.2MB.

I agree with bassfisher6522 and would discourage attempting to upgrade the CPU for the reasons he noted. But also I will point out that Dell (and other factory makers) are notorious for including power supplies that are barely adequate to support the hardware they come with. Adding RAM does not place too much extra demand. SSDs don't consume a lot either (and will save some if the SSD replaces the HD). But bigger CPUs may tax that existing (and old and tired) PSU beyond its capabilities.

And that takes me to upgrading the graphics - I definitely would not recommend that as graphics solutions are often the most power hungry devices in our computers. So upgrading the graphics could very well require upgrading the PSU too. And if Dell made that proprietary (as they are known to do) your upgrade options there would be very limited and expensive.
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Old 09-19-2019, 01:41 AM   #8
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I would do 8GB ram 1st. It's likely you have some Dell supplied DDR3 1333 in your system now. Usually Corsair Value select works great in tandem with Dell brand 1333 DDR3. That saves you $25.00 since you would only need a 4GB stick unless you presently have 2x4GB 1333 sticks. Then get yourself a 240-250GB SSD boot drive for $31.00 and relegate your HD for storage.

https://www.newegg.com/kingston-a400...-400-_-Product
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Old 09-19-2019, 07:11 AM   #9
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Should you decide to bump up your RAM, I recommend you check out the Crucial Memory Advisor. You can enter your hardware information manually or download and run a small scanner that determines what hardware you have and provides a list of compatible RAM for you. You can then buy their RAM, or buy a different brand that has the same specs as suggested RAM. But if you buy directly from Crucial, they guarantee it will work.

Most other RAM makers have similar tools, such as the Corsair Memory Finder (manual data entry only) or the Kingston Memory Search (also manual data entry only).
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Old 09-21-2019, 04:02 AM   #10
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Some others_

Patriot
Memory Finder | Patriot

Team (this specific link here)
https://www.teamgroupinc.com/en/support/view_device.php

I agree with the above if you truly want a guarantee use the Crucial site and buy directly from them what is what I do if I am building a sever or replacing Dell, Acer , HP memory for an OEM desktop or laptop.
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Old 09-21-2019, 04:25 AM   #11
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For some reason it does not like the pasted link (and I can't edit it) for Patriot it gives a certificate error, just google Patriot Memory finder.
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Old 09-21-2019, 05:34 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by SpareChange View Post
For some reason it does not like the pasted link (and I can't edit it) for Patriot it gives a certificate error, just google Patriot Memory finder.
Firefox warns the link is dangerous.
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Old 09-21-2019, 07:11 AM   #13
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That's because you have https in the url and it is not a secure link. It seems this site, erring on the side of caution, insists on putting the "s" in urls even if you entered only http. If you copy the following into your browser address bar and remove the space after http, you will get to the memory finder. It still is not a secure link, but you don't get the error.
http ://finder.patriotmemory.com/memory-finder
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Old 09-22-2019, 02:25 AM   #14
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I have seen this happen with various links, Realtek, Asrock, usually the website admin gets it sorted sorry gents (and ladies). The site is generally safe just not certified safe.
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Old 09-22-2019, 08:02 AM   #15
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Quote:
...just not certified safe.
"Safe" is not the correct word. It does not have the proper "security" certification. That does not mean it is unsafe. Nor does the proper security cert ensure a site is safe. It just means the site owners did not pay for a secure link - yet.

HTTP and HTTPS are two different methods of communication. HTTPS is "secure" because it uses the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol to move data between your browser and the site, it encrypts the data and it keeps track of where the data is coming from and where it is going. See https://biztechmagazine.com/article/.../http-vs-https

Most sites likely will soon go HTTPS as more and more browsers block sites that don't establish a secure link.

In the meantime, if the site belongs to a reputable and known company, the site is most likely "safe". Whether your data remains "secure" or not is another story.
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Old 09-24-2019, 05:14 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkar View Post
I have a Dell Vostro 260 desktop with Intel i5-2400 CPU and 4 GB DD3 RAM (purchased in June, 2012).
I am considering two upgrade options to make the pc run faster:
1. Upgrade to 8GB RAM ($50), or
2. Add a 250 GB SSD drive ($50).
Which of the two is the better option?
Thanks

I am running Windows 10 pro Version 1809
That's a pretty old system.

You can do either of the upgrade options you seek but you will see the most speed increase with the SSD across everything, especially when first opening a program or starting windows. If you upgrade the RAM you may see a slight increase when running multiple programs or if you have programs running that use a lot of memory.
One thing you may want to take into consideration if you go with upgrading the RAM. DDR3 was well known for having issues if you added RAM of a different type or even of the same type but from a different bin. When it comes to DDR3 (and earlier RAM) you are much safer if you get all new RAM from the same bin. So if you were upgrading to 8gb then you would need to purchase all 8gb together. Now you may get lucky and not have any issues whatsoever but you never know.

FYI, Amazon has a 500 gb Samsung 860 EVO for only $80. That's a pretty decent deal but if you keep an eye out (like Newegg) you can sometimes catch a deal for a 1 tb SSD for less than $100.
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Old 09-25-2019, 06:19 AM   #17
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Now you may get lucky and not have any issues whatsoever but you never know.
There is certainly some truth to this but IMO, it is not as bad as portrayed - especially when adding in pairs of sticks. That is, if you currently have 2 x 2GB and want to add another 4GB, odds are in your favor all will work fine if you add another 2 x 2GB.

And again, if you use the Crucial memory finder and buy suggested RAM from them, they guarantee it will work. That said, if full replacement of the RAM is needed, I would still recommend pulling the current 2 x 2GB and replacing them with 2 x 4GB instead of adding a SSD if the budget only allows for one.

Yes, SSDs do significantly improve speeds over hard drives when starting Windows and opening programs. But how often do you do that each computing session? Once, right? And once those files are loaded into RAM, even the fastest SSD plays little role in over all performance.

More RAM, however (especially when starting with just 4GB) will continue to play a major role throughout your entire computing session. More RAM will even improve your disk performance because the Page File will not be banged on near as much as the OS and CPU will be able to keep much more higher priority data in RAM memory instead of on the slower Page File.

Again, as I have said from the beginning, I am not denying the advantages of an SSD. But to take full advantage of the SSD, you have to replace your hard drive with a SSD and install/migrate your OS to it. And that presents many challenges - fully doable - but a challenge just the same, especially if not done before.

Adding RAM, on the other hand, is probably the most simple hardware upgrade task you can do.
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Old 09-25-2019, 07:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Adding RAM, on the other hand, is probably the most simple hardware upgrade task you can do.
All very true.
I looked up his computer's specs and it seems it only has two slots for RAM so he would have to purchase 2 completely new sticks of RAM to upgrade. It's also originally maxed out at 8gb. There is probably a bios upgrade that allows him to use 2x 8gb strips which will give a better performance boost, but that will be much more costly.
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