AMD 64 - Sorting out the truths and advantages

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Ronald Epstein, Feb 16, 2004.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Where to begin....

    Okay, I am looking at possibly purchasing a
    new computer even though I already have one
    that's 14 months old and still pretty much
    state-of-the-art.

    Let me give you some quick background....

    I own a Dell Inspiron (8250 I think) computer
    that's basically a Pentium 4 3.06 with 512 Ram.
    All I basically do is surf the web, ocassionally
    do graphics work (Photoshop) and burn DVDs and CDs.

    The problem is that I run a lot of programs at
    startup. These programs include: Weatherbug,
    GoBack, Norton AntiVirus, Mail Checker, Smart
    Butler (announces & reads emails & IM), Trillian
    and Rainlendar.

    As you can see a lot of resources are being used
    up. If I could have more programs running, I would.
    However, if I need to burn a DVD, I have to start
    closing down programs to free up resources.

    This is where AMD 64 comes in.....

    If I understand this technology correctly,
    the 64-bit processor allows more information to
    pass through at once. Most importantly, it also
    allows Windows to run more memory thus allowing
    more programs to run at once without resources
    being drained.

    If this is true, this would be my ultimate
    reason to hop on the bandwagon and buy one of
    these AMD 64 computers now.

    The problem?

    Windows XP. It's a 32-bit operating system.
    If I read correctly, I hear there is a free
    limited-trial download of a 64-bits version
    available -- but when will Windows XP 64
    be shipping with new computers?


    Is this the right time to jump onto the 64-bit
    bandwagon? Also, what is the difference between
    the Athlon 64FX and the standard 64 chip?

    Would appreciate some help here getting all the
    facts straight.

    Thanks
     
  2. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    I could be wrong but I believe the difference in the Athlon 64FX is that it uses dual-channel memory instead of single-channel.

    Is this the right time for 64-bit? I don't know if it is now, but it could be soon.

    Intel already has the 64-bit Itanium processor and a 64-bit Windows XP already exists for it. But you don't hear much about it. It is very expensive and nobody buys it. At the desktop level Intel doesn't have anything, and AMD is poised to eat their lunch, especially with the new 64-bit Windows XP that will run on AMD. There is some speculation that this week at the Intel developers conference they're going to announce plans for 64-bit processing on the desktop to follow AMD's lead. If they do, it will be interesting to see how they reconcile these plans with their new Prescott core which is expected to reach speeds as high as 5 GHz.

    Right now the driver situation for the 64-bit Windows XP preview is pretty bad. If you can find a 64-bit driver, it probably isn't optimized for 64-bit and the performance is no better than 32-bit. But with it being a public preview, there is pressure on the vendors to get their 64-bit drivers up to speed.

    My advice: bump your RAM up to 1 gig while you wait for 64-bit Windows XP to mature (by year-end maybe?). Windows XP will be a lot more comfortable with 1 gig, as will Photoshop, and all those programs running in the tray won't be so much of a burden.
     
  3. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Lead Actor

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    Yep, as wayne said- maxing out your board with RAM will make a bigger diff in running application headroom, probably more than you'll see in the early stages of un-optimized 64bit apps.

    -V
     
  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Guys,

    Will I see a significant improvement by
    going from 512 to 1024 Ram?

    Dell wants about $450 for the upgrade.

    What improvements will I notice? Will
    it allow me to run more programs at once?
     
  5. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Lead Actor

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    seems a bit steep, although it might mean replacing your existing chips. i would say if it has 4 channels (even if it's dual channel) you could get a second pair of chips for less than that price.

    Although i dunno how comfortable you are opening a case and installing ram (although if you ever played atari, it's about the same as putting in an atari cartridge.

    -V
     
  6. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    That price is 2x the going price for RAM. Find out the specs on the RAM and buy it elsewhere.
     
  7. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    This is what Dell tells me I need....


    DELL - 512 MB Module for a Dell Dimension 8250 400 MHz FSB System
    512 MB RDRAM, PC800, Non-Parity, Unbuffered
    Dell Part #: A0066475 | Manufacturer Part #: D4T236


    Price $398

    You guys come up with something better? I want
    fast memory.

    I have replaced memory before so I am not concerned
    about this other than being sure I buy the right
    memory the first time.

     
  8. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Lead Actor

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    Oh no, RAMBUS.

    Ok, well, you will spend a fortune upgrading ram.
     
  9. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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  10. Craig Woodhall

    Craig Woodhall Supporting Actor

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    that is why i NEVER buy a brand name computer, proprietary stuff sucks.. i also have an Athlon 64 and love it.. i definately wouldn't spend $450 on a ram upgrade, you can get a whole computer for that price..

    Craig
     
  11. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    I mean....is the Rambus Ram worth the price over
    regular Ram?

    Thanks for the links, guys. The sticks look like
    they'll cost $100 each. I need two. Is the
    SAMSUNG good ram?

    Also, getting back to my original question, will
    I see a significant difference in the performance
    of my computer and the amount of programs I can run
    at once? I know upgrading from 256 to 512 is a big
    improvement, but is it just as big going from 512
    to 1024?



    Chris, what did you buy and where did you buy it?


     
  12. Chun Lam

    Chun Lam Agent

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    Ron,

    I definitely think you'll see an improved performance jumping from 512 to 1026 MBs of Ram. Going by what you've told us, your computer seems to take time starting up. Many of the programs you listed, anti-virus, etc, are memory resident programs which utilize memory. But the program you'll notice the most performance increase on is Adobe Photoshop.

    It's been years since I've used it, but back in the 4.0 days, it was a memory hog - and I presume - still is. For about $250, I don't think you can go wrong with upgrading ram. Whether you see significant performance increases depends on your definition of significant. That's like asking if a certain set of speakers would sound "good."

    Hope this helps.
     
  13. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    You know what?

    For piece of mind, I'll pay double the price
    for the RAM from Dell.
     
  14. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Hey guys....

    Interesting question.

    Dell has this offering....


    DELL - 256 MB Module for a Dell Dimension 8250 (400MHz FSB) System
    256 MB RDRAM, PC800, Non-Parity, Unbuffered
    Dell Part #: A0066474 | Manufacturer Part #: D4T235


    Price $155


    DELL - 512 MB Module for a Dell Dimension 8250 400 MHz FSB System
    512 MB RDRAM, PC800, Non-Parity, Unbuffered
    Dell Part #: A0066475 | Manufacturer Part #: D4T236


    Price $398


    Now....

    Couldn't I just order 2x256 modules at $155 each
    and save money over buying the 512 module? Or, do
    I have to buy the 512 module?
     
  15. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    The first option will probably give you two 128MB RDRAM sticks.
     
  16. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Tell you what.

    I'll make it easy on all of us.

    Kindly look here:

    Click Here

    Which one do I need?

    (Remember I am going from 512 to 1024)

     
  17. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    The more I look at it, I think the 256MB module is probably what you want (just order 2 of them, as required since you need pairs for the additional RAM). So that'll be $310 for 2 sticks of 256MB RDRAM.
     
  18. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    Ron, since your system uses Rambus RAM, you definitely have to add memory in pairs. To add 512MB, you'd want two of the 256MB modules at $155 each. One 512MB module isn't going to work unless you buy two for $796!

    But you need to check something first. Your Dell Dimension 8250 has four slots grouped as two banks with two slots each. Does your system have four 128MB modules occupying both banks, or two 256MB modules occupying only one bank and the other bank is empty?

    You can either open the case and take a peek, or check the manifest of components that Dell should have provided with the system. When you ordered the system from Dell, you might have been given the choice. If so then you probably remember it because a system configured with four 128MB modules filling both banks probably cost a little less than a system with two 256MB modules filling only one bank.

    If you peek inside, note that even if only one bank is filled, the second bank will have blank modules installed. These modules have no actual memory chips, they just have some resistors to terminate the bus. You should see a notable difference between them and the actual RAM modules. The RAM modules probably have a metal heat spreader plate, while the resistor modules are practically barren.

    If only one bank has RAM and the second bank has resistor modules, then you can just replace the resistor modules with a new pair of 256MB modules.

    But if both banks have RAM, then you can't simply add more RAM. You have to replace one or both banks. You can replace one pair of 128MB modules with a pair of 256MB modules. This won't get you to 1 gigabyte, but it will get you to 256 + 512 = 768MB. That's still better than 512MB but it's a harder decision to spend $310 on an upgrade that replaces half of what you already have instead of doubling it.
     
  19. Bob_Bo

    Bob_Bo Agent

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    Ron, If you're up to a little tweaking, you can probably free up a few more resources by managing some of Windows bloated services that run in the background.

    Blackviper. com has put up a decent guide that explains what many of these services and processes do and how to manage them.

    Just be sure to document what you do and back-up anything important first.
     
  20. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Wayne,

    Thought the best thing to do was to open my
    computer and snap a photo.

    [​IMG]

    So, what do you think, Doc?

    It appears the second set of banks is empty.
    I gather I should order the 2x256 modules for these
    banks, yes?


    Bob_Bo,

    I will look into your suggestion. Thanks.
     

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