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  1. #1
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Computer Question

    My mom's computer is in serious need of upgrading. I've never seen a computer that runs slower. It's an Acer, with only 512MB of RAM and running on Vista.

    I want to get her an upgrade. I'm tossed between just upgrading the existing computer with more memory or buying her a new processor.

    She only uses the computer for email, web, and the occasion Word or PDF doc. Is there a reason that I should be considering one option over the other? If I went with a new processor I'd probably just buy her a refurb.

    I'm not much of a computer person, so any advice on how to improve her computer for the least amount of cost and hassle would be appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Add as much ram as the pc will handle. 512 isnt even enough to run XP properly.

  3. #3
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    It would depend on the other parameters. What's the processor? HD all full up yet? Does it have a decent sound card? How about the video?

    If the monitor is in decent shape then you could get a bare-bones kit cheap and add her HD into it.
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    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Truthfully FA, for the easiest option, hit a refurb shop. For under $200 you can get her a stellar comp which will do more than she needs it to. If she doesn't care about a fancy monitor, even less still.

    If you aren't up to upgrading it (and who is?!?), I'm sure your mom won't be going inside the comp either.

    Start fresh.

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    What is the exact PC model? I may have a few sticks of the older ram laying around and if it matches it's yours for shipping cost.

  6. #6
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi
    What is the exact PC model? I may have a few sticks of the older ram laying around and if it matches it's yours for shipping cost.
    Wow Hyfi, that's really generous of you! I just called her and here's the info that's on the front of her computer...

    Acer AST180-EA351B
    Processor: 3500+ AMD Athion 64
    512 MB DDR2
    160GB
    9 in 1 card reader.

    I hope that helps.

    She has a decent monitor, keyboard and mouse. So all she needs is the HD or more memory. She doesn't need the full package.

  7. #7
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn
    Wow Hyfi, that's really generous of you! I just called her and here's the info that's on the front of her computer...

    Acer AST180-EA351B
    Processor: 3500+ AMD Athion 64
    512 MB DDR2
    160GB
    9 in 1 card reader.

    I hope that helps.

    She has a decent monitor, keyboard and mouse. So all she needs is the HD or more memory. She doesn't need the full package.

    That's still a decent computer. Depending on the mother board you could go to 4GB.ram.


    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...6&Sku=C13-6084

    For $59 more you could also add a 1TB HD while you got the box open.


    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...ku=TSD-1000AS4
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn
    Wow Hyfi, that's really generous of you! I just called her and here's the info that's on the front of her computer...

    Acer AST180-EA351B
    Processor: 3500+ AMD Athion 64
    512 MB DDR2
    160GB
    9 in 1 card reader.

    I hope that helps.

    She has a decent monitor, keyboard and mouse. So all she needs is the HD or more memory. She doesn't need the full package.
    FA, this pc is way newer than I thought at first. It's hard to believe it only came with 512MB. I would say that that is all that is wrong, it just needs more ram.

    Aside from full hard drive causing slowness, the next big thing is lack of ram. You should get it up to at least 2GB but the full 4GB would make this box a nice keeper.

    I have a box I built a few years ago using the same CPU. I run 4GB RAM in mine and it's just fine with XP. Vista is a bigger memory hog too.

    Unfortunately I don't have any of the newer ram for this box but have stacks of older ram.

    Geoffcin's link is a great deal and I would do that before anything else.

  9. #9
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Thanks guys! The 160GB that my mom has is plenty for her use. I can't imagine that she's used more than a fraction of it. She's 74-yrs-old, so she's hardly bogging it down with games and downloads. LOL. But I will check the HD just to make sure.

    There's a TigerDirect store up the street from me. If I buy more ram, it is easy to install myself?

    Our own home computer can probably use an upgrade too. Maybe I'll experiment on my Mom and if it all works out then I'll do the same to our own. If I screw it up, its much easier to replace my Mom's PC than ours as she has a lot less stuff on hers.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn
    Thanks guys! The 160GB that my mom has is plenty for her use. I can't imagine that she's used more than a fraction of it. She's 74-yrs-old, so she's hardly bogging it down with games and downloads. LOL. But I will check the HD just to make sure.

    There's a TigerDirect store up the street from me. If I buy more ram, it is easy to install myself?

    Our own home computer can probably use an upgrade too. Maybe I'll experiment on my Mom and if it all works out then I'll do the same to our own. If I screw it up, its much easier to replace my Mom's PC than ours as she has a lot less stuff on hers.
    RAM is simple to install. Open the case and you will see the sticks of ram in their slots. At each end of the slots there is a little flippy thing that holds them in which you will push down at each end. That will unseat the old ones. When putting in the new ones, make sure they ar in the correct direction and the littls slot in socket lines up with slot in stick of ram. Push stick down at both ends until the clips flip back up and lock it in place.

    When you reboot, PC will want to go into setup because it knows the amount of ram changed. Go in and exit out saving changes.

    That is it.

  11. #11
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn
    Thanks guys! The 160GB that my mom has is plenty for her use. I can't imagine that she's used more than a fraction of it. She's 74-yrs-old, so she's hardly bogging it down with games and downloads. LOL. But I will check the HD just to make sure.

    There's a TigerDirect store up the street from me. If I buy more ram, it is easy to install myself?

    Our own home computer can probably use an upgrade too. Maybe I'll experiment on my Mom and if it all works out then I'll do the same to our own. If I screw it up, its much easier to replace my Mom's PC than ours as she has a lot less stuff on hers.
    There's almost nothing easier to install than RAM. Like the song says; "just a little push and you'll be smiling"
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  12. #12
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Seriously? That's it?

    If there are enough slots, should I just leave the old ram alone and add the new ones? This just sounds too easy to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn
    Seriously? That's it?

    If there are enough slots, should I just leave the old ram alone and add the new ones? This just sounds too easy to me.
    I did not look it up but some of the smaller motherboards only have 2 slots so you can put a 2gb chip in each slot. It probably only has a single 512 in there no matter how many slots. For the cost of the 2-2gb sticks, and the fact that 4gb is max, it will be better taking out what is in there and just put the new ones in. Dis-similar ram can cause issues.

    If it has 4 slots and only one is used with the 512 stick, you could get 3-1GB sticks and have 3.5 GB ram.

  14. #14
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn
    Seriously? That's it?

    If there are enough slots, should I just leave the old ram alone and add the new ones? This just sounds too easy to me.
    I agree with Geoff; it's simple to install RAM.

    (I assume he's correct about the DDR2 PC-6400 specification -- seems right so I'm not double checking.)

    I think your mom would be find with 2 GB -- get to 1 GB modules rather than a single 2 GB. I'd advise that you remove the old RAM and install the new chips in the two slots, or if there are fours slots, in the 1st and 3rd.

    Here's a reasonably good YouTube shows you how, (hope you don't get the L'Oreal ad) ...



    And HERE is the TigerDirect.ca link ...

    Or you can get it at BestBuy.ca HERE.

  15. #15
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Thanks. I'll have to buy the ram before heading over to Mom's place, so I'll just buy 4GB. Feanor, why would using two 1GB sticks be better than one 2GB stick?

    I was thinking that I could buy two 2GB sticks and put one in my mom's computer. That would free up the other stick for our computer. We already have 2GB and could use the upgrade to 4.

    Sorry if these sound like dumb questions. But I am pretty clueless when it comes to stuff like this.

  16. #16
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn
    Thanks. I'll have to buy the ram before heading over to Mom's place, so I'll just buy 4GB. Feanor, why would using two 1GB sticks be better than one 2GB stick?

    I was thinking that I could buy two 2GB sticks and put one in my mom's computer. That would free up the other stick for our computer. We already have 2GB and could use the upgrade to 4.

    Sorry if these sound like dumb questions. But I am pretty clueless when it comes to stuff like this.
    One 2 GB stick will probably work fine, however the technical architect of the computer is such that two identical 1 GB sticks are faster than a single chip of 2 GB.

    A computer shop, especially a small local, shop, might very well install the RAM sticks for free if the buy the RAM from them -- call ahead and ask, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn
    Thanks. I'll have to buy the ram before heading over to Mom's place, so I'll just buy 4GB. Feanor, why would using two 1GB sticks be better than one 2GB stick?

    I was thinking that I could buy two 2GB sticks and put one in my mom's computer. That would free up the other stick for our computer. We already have 2GB and could use the upgrade to 4.

    Sorry if these sound like dumb questions. But I am pretty clueless when it comes to stuff like this.
    It is usually best to use 2 slots whether there are 2 or 4.

    The ram coming out of moms PC may not be compatible with yours unless it uses the exact stuff.

    Keep in mind, when the PC is a Dell or Gateway, you always need to buy ram that specifically states it will work.

  18. #18
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Acer uses an open architecture format, so the RAM should work, even if the FSB speed is clocked slower than the 800mHz the RAM is rated for.

    2 sticks of 1GB have double the connections of 1 stick of 2GB. It will be faster using the two. 4GB (2GBx2) would be the optimal amount in this application.
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  19. #19
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Alright. So I may have to open the computer before I buy the ram. How do I know what ram to buy? I went onto the web site mentioned in Feanor video but they didn't list my Mom's model. If I go into BB or Tiger Direct with the info that I gave you guys, will they be able to help me?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn
    Alright. So I may have to open the computer before I buy the ram. How do I know what ram to buy? I went onto the web site mentioned in Feanor video but they didn't list my Mom's model. If I go into BB or Tiger Direct with the info that I gave you guys, will they be able to help me?
    go to this link

    http://www.crucial.com/?gclid=CMuXu-...20100903172656

    choose scan your system

    Also, with product info, Tiger can probably match it up.

  21. #21
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi
    go to this link

    http://www.crucial.com/?gclid=CMuXu-...20100903172656

    choose scan your system

    Also, with product info, Tiger can probably match it up.
    Thanks. I'll have to go to my mom's place to do that.

    You guys have been great! I'll have to get over to my mom's house, do the scan, and then see how many slots her computer has. I'll let you know how it all goes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn
    Thanks. I'll have to go to my mom's place to do that.

    You guys have been great! I'll have to get over to my mom's house, do the scan, and then see how many slots her computer has. I'll let you know how it all goes.
    I just used the info you posted and went thru the other method and the results are.....


    http://www.crucial.com/store/listpar...=Aspire%20T180

  23. #23
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Yes, it appears the computer's chipset can only address 1GB per slot, so don't buy the 2GB sticks. In any case Vista should run OK with only 2GB.
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  24. #24
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    The best and fastest thing you can do for computer performance with Vista is to go to the Performance Information and Tools settings in Control Panel and the link to adjust visual settings and click the button to "adjust for best performance". Of course, RAM is a big help in cases like this, but the relatively new low-end computers can't adequately run the visual effects in Windows Vista and 7.

  25. #25
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I would not put more than 2 gig's of ram in that computer. For email, internet and word processing, any more ram will be a total waste. FA, I'll check and see if I still have my amd 3700 processor which will help a little with the speed but I doubt that you would notice a difference. If I can find it, I would be more than happy to send it to you.

    For under $400 you can buy new lap tops with dual core processors that would run circles around that computer though.
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