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I have a Dell Inspiron 530 running 32-bit Windows Vista Home Premium (SP2) with 2Gb RAM, which is our 'home PC'. It has got noticeably slower since I bought it two years ago and so I've decided it's time to do some upgrading. The max memory is 4x 1Gb modules (it has two 1Gb modules at present), but it says that the 32-bit operating system will only recognise/utilise 3-3.5Gb if I installed the max memory (costing me around £25-30). So in addition to increasing RAM to 4Gb I am thinking of upgrading to Windows 7 64-bit (cost?).

Any comments/suggestions so far? Is there any way to get 32-bit OS to recognise 4Gb RAM? What else will I need to take into account if I switch to 64-bit OS (eg. I understand I will need to change my AV to the 64-bit version, any other program/driver complications, eg. printer?) If I upgraded to the 32-bit Windows 7 (so I can upgrade rather than custom install) would this make any difference to it recognising the max RAM? Could I/should I install both 32-bit and 64-bit OS (whether Vista/W7) and what are the advantages/problems with doing so?

Presumably to increase the RAM capabilites further (getting into uncharted territory here!) I would need to replace the motherboard? Anything else I should know/consider in this respect? How much would we be talking about here? I don't want to spend a huge amount of money on this desktop PC as I am saving up for a couple of laptops (one for me, one for prospective uni student) and...

Some time in the next year, this computer will cease to be the 'home PC' and then I plan to use it as a media PC connected directly to the large screen TV. Anything I should take into account in relation to this? It has a 500Gb internal HD at present and I have a 2Tb external HD to store media on (other ext. drives for backup). I want to be able to watch movies/TV and listen to music from the PC via my TV/sound system.

Any advice/recommendations and general comments would be welcome, thanks. :pray:
 

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I have a Dell Inspiron 530 running 32-bit Windows Vista Home Premium (SP2) with 2Gb RAM, which is our 'home PC'. It has got noticeably slower since I bought it two years ago and so I've decided it's time to do some upgrading. The max memory is 4x 1Gb modules (it has two 1Gb modules at present), but it says that the 32-bit operating system will only recognise/utilise 3-3.5Gb if I installed the max memory (costing me around £25-30). So in addition to increasing RAM to 4Gb I am thinking of upgrading to Windows 7 64-bit (cost?).

Even though the 32 bit Operating system will only utilize 3.2 of the RAM, upgradeing to 4 Gig will be a 50% increase and should noticably improve performance. Very few applications will benefit from more than the 4 Gig of memory, so upgradeing beyond that will not yeild much improvement.

Before going to a 64 bit Operating System, check that 64 bit drivers are available for all your devices.

Any comments/suggestions so far? Is there any way to get 32-bit OS to recognise 4Gb RAM?

No.

What else will I need to take into account if I switch to 64-bit OS (eg. I understand I will need to change my AV to the 64-bit version, any other program/driver complications, eg. printer?)

Check to be sure 64 bit drivers are available before upgradeing

If I upgraded to the 32-bit Windows 7 (so I can upgrade rather than custom install) would this make any difference to it recognising the max RAM?

No . . any 32 bit Operating System will be limited to 3.2 Gig. My experience is that Windows 7 is more nimble than Vista

Could I/should I install both 32-bit and 64-bit OS (whether Vista/W7) and what are the advantages/problems with doing so?

No advantage that I can think of

Presumably to increase the RAM capabilites further (getting into uncharted territory here!) I would need to replace the motherboard? Anything else I should know/consider in this respect? How much would we be talking about here? I don't want to spend a huge amount of money on this desktop PC as I am saving up for a couple of laptops (one for me, one for prospective uni student) and...

It would be almost impossible to replace the motherboard on that Dell. Dell's use BTX form factor and those are not available on the open market.

Some time in the next year, this computer will cease to be the 'home PC' and then I plan to use it as a media PC connected directly to the large screen TV. Anything I should take into account in relation to this? It has a 500Gb internal HD at present and I have a 2Tb external HD to store media on (other ext. drives for backup). I want to be able to watch movies/TV and listen to music from the PC via my TV/sound system.

Using the PC as a Media Center will not require much in the way of memory or processing speed . . You havd more than enough power for that. You may need a better video card if you want to use it for HD TV

External drives are problematic when used constantly. They tend to overheat and fail. I would consider adding a larger internal drive for the movies
Any advice/recommendations and general comments would be welcome, thanks. :pray:
 

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Thanks Rich. What would happen if I just installed a single 1Gb module instead of 2x 1Gb? Crucial says they don't have to be installed in matched pairs but then says that it may not work so well if not. :confused:

Will I get any performance benefits from upgrading to Windows 7? I've got a Canon Pixma printer which doesn't seem to like Windows 7 much - works wirelessly (slowly...! through router and desktop PC) with 1 laptop (W7 32-bit), not with another (W7, probably 64-bit, didn't check). I downloaded the 'appropriate' Canon drivers when I added the printer to these 2 laptops.
 

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2GB is plenty for XP. You won't see any performance increase by installing to 7.
Doing an "upgrade" install of an OS is never recommend. A clean install is always preferable.
There is an app that will let a 32Bit OS see 4GB of RAM but it is not a "proven" app so I wouldn't recommend it yet.
 

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Thanks Rich. What would happen if I just installed a single 1Gb module instead of 2x 1Gb? Crucial says they don't have to be installed in matched pairs but then says that it may not work so well if not. :confused:

You might loose the DDR advantage with just one stick.

Will I get any performance benefits from upgrading to Windows 7? I've got a Canon Pixma printer which doesn't seem to like Windows 7 much - works wirelessly (slowly...! through router and desktop PC) with 1 laptop (W7 32-bit), not with another (W7, probably 64-bit, didn't check). I downloaded the 'appropriate' Canon drivers when I added the printer to these 2 laptops.

Windows 7 is a big improvement over Vista, but performance wise, not so much over XP. You do need 64 bit drivers with a 64 bit O/S
 

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Did you check the Canon website to see if there are Windows 7 drivers as I have a rather old Pixma printer and it has Windows 7 drivers.
I would bet that model can easily run 64 bit Windows 7 but again as suggested you need to be certain there are drivers for the motherboard on Dell website first.
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Hi Old Rich, I wondered where you hung out!!!!
 

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Thanks Rich. Will make sure I install a pair of modules.

PIXMA MP500 seems to have all the drivers I need for Windows 7.

However, upgrading from Vista to Windows 7 on my desktop was only a consideration for improving performance. If there's nothing really to be gained then I may as well stick to adding the 2Gb RAM and save W7 money for another internal HD instead (been looking at the Western Digital Caviar 2Tb, around £60-70, any comments?).
 

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Well drives over 1 Tb scare me as it seems there are so many problems with them but WD is the only way to go these days for hard drives.
 
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