Author Topic: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?  (Read 8938 times)

prodarwin

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PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« on: February 01, 2014, 02:47:18 PM »
If you had a 6 year old PC and a ram-stick just took a dump on you, would you consider fixing it?  Note that even by current standards this computer isn't slow (probably still faster than a large chunk of consumer laptops), but it is no longer up to the task of gaming... even behind the curve.  If you replaced it, where do you think the best value is to ensure the next machine lasts as long?  My workhorse computer is now down to 4 gigs of ram.  I've been thinking about upgrading for quite a while, but not sure what the best option is. 

Current Rig:
E8400 @ 3.6 GHz
GTX 275 Video Card
8GB of DDR3 (same replacement cost as DDR2) - $75

CPU Score, adjusted for O/C:  2594
Single thread score, adjusted: 1508
GPU score: 1208

Total cost: $75

CPU+GPU/$ = 50.04

Low-end budget build:
Pentium G3420 $87
Geforce 650ti $125
Mobo $57
8GB DDR3 $75

CPU Score:  3386
Single thread score: 1836
GPU score: 2701

Total $344
CPU+GPU/$ = 17.65

Low-Mid-range budget build:
AMD FX-6300 $120
Radeon 7850 $140
Mobo $85
8GB DDR3 1866 $85

CPU Score:  6385
Single thread score: 1415
GPU score: 3708

Total $430
CPU+GPU/$ = 23.5

Low-Mid-range budget build:
AMD FX-8320 $160
Radeon R9 270 $180
Mobo $135
8GB DDR3 1866 $85

CPU Score:  8117
Single thread score: 1403
GPU score: 4227

Total $560
CPU+GPU/$ = 22.04

Jags4186

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2014, 04:52:41 PM »
I'm a huge proponent of video gaming on Xbox or play station over PC. You don't get sucked into the latest and greatest upgrade cycle on pcs.

That said, just buy new ram.

jba302

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2014, 05:14:53 PM »
How do you fix a ram stick?

Tyler

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2014, 05:28:41 PM »
RAM is the easiest thing to replace yourself on a PC.  The trick will be making sure you get the correct type for an older motherboard.  But if you're inclined to save a few bucks and can find what you need, I'd say replace it yourself.

I'm a big PC gamer and enjoy building my own rigs. I  like to upgrade individual components over time, and am probably due for a new MB/CPU sometime soon.  Personally, I ignore performance scoring and go for quality mid-range components (based on reviews) when they go on sale.  And I have a personal preference for energy efficient components and passive heatsinks that I can cool with quiet/silent airflow.

If you really want to buy something new, based on what I saw at CES this year I would browse for Steam machines as they'll start rolling out soon.  The Alienware one from Dell looks pretty nice.  Think of them as pre-built consoles designed specifically for PC gaming. 

daverobev

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2014, 05:28:57 PM »
Are you actually finding you're running out of RAM or anything? Not sure whether you still have 4Gb working.. That's what I think you're saying, 8Gb = 2x4Gb sticks, one of which is dead?

1. Try a single replacement stick - ebay?
2. No point going for the Pentium if the increase in performance is that little
3. I have an Athlon X4 640, Radeon 5570.. no.. the replacement for that, 6670 I think.. works fine.. but I *work* on a Celeron 847 laptop with 4Gb and it's fine for what I need it to do.

If you're into gaming, I'd go the mid route. 3700 to 4200 'points' on the GPU.. who cares? Drivers will do stuff, but generally if a game will work on one it'll work on the other. 1200 -> 3000 is a pretty big leap...

MrFancypants

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2014, 06:15:14 PM »
If your PC isn't home built, in which case you'll know exactly what to buy, you can generally look up the model number of your computer to find exactly what replacement parts to buy.  Given that it's six years old replacement memory should be extremely cheap and easy to replace.

So in other words, my vote is to replace the memory.  If you find that the PC is ever starting to feel slow or sluggish on Windows, you can always install Ubuntu or some other free Linux distribution.

daverobev

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2014, 07:48:32 PM »
If your PC isn't home built, in which case you'll know exactly what to buy, you can generally look up the model number of your computer to find exactly what replacement parts to buy.  Given that it's six years old replacement memory should be extremely cheap and easy to replace.

So in other words, my vote is to replace the memory.  If you find that the PC is ever starting to feel slow or sluggish on Windows, you can always install Ubuntu or some other free Linux distribution.

Ha, doesn't work that way with memory - there is a time where a given generation is *dirt* cheap, then it goes up... and up... and up... to the point where, say, 512Mb PC133 is much more than 4Gb DDR3...

Ah yes indeed: http://www.crucial.com/store/listparts.aspx?model=iBook%20%28G3%20700MHz%29&Cat=RAM
http://www.crucial.com/store/mpartspecs.aspx?mtbpoid=B8AA9328A5CA7304

prodarwin

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2014, 08:33:42 PM »
My PC is home built.  The "new" PC options account for keeping the same case, PSU, HD, and DVD drive (if I bother).

The current PC has 4GB of DDR2 1066.  This is 2x2GB.  It had 4x2gb but a stick died.  I removed the two matching sticks, as you are supposed to match them with dual channel memory.  My motherboard supports both DDR2 and DDR3 (2 slots for 1, 4 for the other), but not simultaneously.  2x2GB of DDR2 1066 is roughly the same price as 2x4GB of DDR3 1600.  So replacing it with the 1600 is the logical choice as it is faster.  With it comes the possibility that I could sell the remaining 2x2 DDR2 sticks.

I'm a huge proponent of video gaming on Xbox or play station over PC. You don't get sucked into the latest and greatest upgrade cycle on pcs.

That said, just buy new ram.

Totally understandable.  I have a PS3.  Its ok, but has a number of issues I don't have to deal with on a PC.  PC gaming is still much more fun to me, not to mention I use it for more than gaming.  As you can see by 1)  my 6 year old computer and 2) my proposed upgrades, I'm hardly stuck on the latest and greatest upgrade cycle.

Are you actually finding you're running out of RAM or anything? Not sure whether you still have 4Gb working.. That's what I think you're saying, 8Gb = 2x4Gb sticks, one of which is dead?

Yeah, I tap the 4GB limit.

If you're into gaming, I'd go the mid route. 3700 to 4200 'points' on the GPU.. who cares? Drivers will do stuff, but generally if a game will work on one it'll work on the other. 1200 -> 3000 is a pretty big leap...

Agreed, its a huge leap.  For now, its more than adequate, but the question is will the extra overhead at a minor cost extend the service life of the machine?  I suppose leaving that $ on the table allows for a GPU upgrade in several years.

I like to think I chose my components well if my current PC was able to last this long and perform as well as it did.  I can only hope that I am able to do the same with the next build should I choose to upgrade.

And I have a personal preference for energy efficient components and passive heatsinks that I can cool with quiet/silent airflow.

I usually lean that way.  I have a big cooler with a large low RPM fan thats pretty quiet.  BUT, the upgrade components I suggested are 95W and 125W TDP processors.  I would love to go with an Intel chip for the MUCH better thermal efficiency, but the performance/$ just isn't there, especially when you consider that the AMD chips are unlocked and you cannot overclock the i5/i7 without buying a $$$$ K series :(.  Its a shame.  Being able to extract 20-30% extra performance for free is pretty nice. 

Part of me is still kicking myself for not getting a 1st or 2nd gen i5 or i7 where overclocking was possible and it would still be competitive from a performance standpoint today.  I wonder if this is still an option.... off to ebay...

If you find that the PC is ever starting to feel slow or sluggish on Windows, you can always install Ubuntu or some other free Linux distribution.

Ehh... sorta.  Linux is definitely lightweight and fast by comparison, but...  I run Ubuntu on my laptop.  Great for web surfing and basic office stuff, not much else.  Lightroom, CAD work, games, etc. are much better supported in the Windows environment.

Jamesqf

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2014, 09:26:02 PM »
My workhorse computer is now down to 4 gigs of ram.

Err... This is a problem how, exactly?  Why do you need more than 640K 4Gb anyway?

Seriously, I'd say the answer is pretty simple.  If the current machine meets your needs, and there's nothing coming up in the next year or so that seems likely to increase the needs, then go with replacing the memory.

Khan

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2014, 10:26:32 PM »
I'm a huge proponent of video gaming on Xbox or play station over PC. You don't get sucked into the latest and greatest upgrade cycle on pcs.

That said, just buy new ram.


You don't have to be in the latest and greatest cycle on PC gaming. I build budget PC's with a 2-3 year upgrade cycle on the video card, buying ~300$ videocards(sweet price/performance point) that allows me to play at max settings for ~2 years(minus some amount of AA). This cycle I may not even upgrade my videocard this year unless something comes out worth upgrading my videocard for... and I don't think that's going to happen.

Also, RTS and FPS's on a PC > consoles.

Anyways OP... I would go for upgrading the whole thing if it's well within your budget. It's old, and everything in it is old. Harddrives, PSU, etc. You're probably reaching the outerbounds of the lifetime of all those items, and it's amazing what you can get for todays money.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2014, 07:54:59 AM »
You've still got 2-3 more years of usable life in the CPU based on current trends. Replacing the GPU with something like the 7800 series will net you nice dividends in performance and power usage.

If your computer was DDR2, I'd say go ahead and replace the rest, but if your motherboard can support at least DDR3-1333 (ideally 1600), that RAM can be reused once you do upgrade your CPU/motherboard.

Also, I assume you've tried reseating both RAM sticks just to make sure one actually IS dead? If your motherboard has 4 slots, also try seating them in the other pair of slots.

For what it's worth, I wouldn't touch the FX series CPUs with a ten-foot pole. Way too inefficient compared to Intel's chips.

Daley

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2014, 08:26:15 AM »
Gaming or not, I can't believe the financial frivolity being recommended in this thread. It's embarrassing and shameful.

Prodarwin, if you built the rig yourself, odds are the RAM you purchased has a lifetime warranty. If you're 100% certain it's the RAM and not the motherboard, cash in on that warranty and get it replaced for free. You don't need a beefier system, and you shouldn't be spending any money on this. Even with the reduced amount of RAM, you have a ridiculous system, and I don't mean in the old and busted kind of way. This is the very embodiment of the hedonic adaptation that MMM rails against. Suck it up and be happy with what you have. You don't need another, even more powerful computer... and anyone supporting you doing so needs a swift sock in the nose themselves.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2014, 08:28:14 AM by I.P. Daley »

prodarwin

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2014, 11:18:21 AM »
Prodarwin, if you built the rig yourself, odds are the RAM you purchased has a lifetime warranty. If you're 100% certain it's the RAM and not the motherboard, cash in on that warranty and get it replaced for free.

Well, Im embarrassed I did not check this before.  You are correct, it is under warranty.  I filed an RMA with Corsair and should be able to exchange it in the next week or so for $free. 


Just out of curiosity though, since you appear to be SO against upgrading - at what point does a system become old enough that you would consider upgrading?

Daley

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2014, 11:46:50 AM »
Just out of curiosity though, since you appear to be SO against upgrading - at what point does a system become old enough that you would consider upgrading?

When it can no longer be repaired at a reasonable price.

Great to see you're doing the sensible thing, by the way. :)

Wanderer

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2014, 11:47:16 AM »
That thing must have been a beast when you built it. 

When to upgrade:  Look at the games that will be coming out that you're interested in playing soon after release.  If your computer can't run those without significant upgrades, it's probably time for a new one (I'm assuming you know your finances and know what you can afford).  Otherwise, if it's not broke, don't fix it. 

I don't do consoles.  I don't think they're actually cost-effective.  Historically to play the games I'd like I'd have to buy several different consoles, and they seem to go through upgrade cycles more quickly, so I think I'd end up going through 2-4 consoles in the time it takes me to run through one gaming PC. 

prodarwin

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2014, 12:57:53 PM »
That thing must have been a beast when you built it. 

Hardly... It was actually a "budget" ($600ish vs $1500-2000 that other gamers I knew were spending) build back in the day.  Not slow, but not extreme by any means.

When to upgrade:  Look at the games that will be coming out that you're interested in playing soon after release.  If your computer can't run those without significant upgrades, it's probably time for a new one (I'm assuming you know your finances and know what you can afford).  Otherwise, if it's not broke, don't fix it. 

Well, there are plenty of mainstream bargain-bin games on steam that this machine is just barely above minimum requirements for (and lets face it, if you have the minimum requirements for almost any modern game... it runs like shit).  Lots of new games it won't even touch :(  Luckily many indie games still run quite well.

Oh well, I.P. is right.  I don't NEED it and right now I can fix my current machine for free.  I'll worry about it when I have some more free time on my hands to play some PC games anyway.  Back to installing my wood floor...
« Last Edit: February 02, 2014, 01:07:09 PM by prodarwin »

blackfedora

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2014, 04:52:43 AM »
When you do need to upgrade find a used wireless keyboard/mouse on craigslist and your old computer will be a sweet media box for the living room. I find the web interfaces a lot more polished for services like netflix and having hulu in the living room for free really helped us cut the chord.

Finally, if you're going to buy any upgrades, a SSD will provide more performance for your money. I would upgrade to SSD before changing out RAM as when you hit virtual memory on an SSD it's much harder to notice (though you still take a bit of a hit), and disk reads become virtually free in comparison to what you're used to.

aclarridge

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2014, 07:36:21 AM »
I don't do consoles.  I don't think they're actually cost-effective.  Historically to play the games I'd like I'd have to buy several different consoles, and they seem to go through upgrade cycles more quickly, so I think I'd end up going through 2-4 consoles in the time it takes me to run through one gaming PC.

Whaaat? The PS3 came out in early '07. It has been going for 7 years. I've only had mine for 2 years, it still feels brand new, and I know I'll still be playing it for the next several years because it's awesome and only starting to become second-tier. I don't think I'd say the same about any reasonable gaming computer that could be bought in '07.

jasonw223

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2014, 09:57:07 AM »
First time poster here.

I built my first PC back in 2007, and have replaced it and upgraded it over and over to this day.  How much have I spent?  About -$1000, not counting lost returns or skills learned.

Buying a cheap computer and never upgrading is one way to save money - but a better way (in my opinion - and if you do spend any spare time on a PC) is learning how to a) choose proper components (glowing lights are the MOST important part in PC resale) and b) use craigslist.  Not only can you completely eliminate it as an expense, you can include your computer as a small part of your investment portfolio...

Thegoblinchief

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2014, 10:09:33 AM »
Finally, if you're going to buy any upgrades, a SSD will provide more performance for your money. I would upgrade to SSD before changing out RAM as when you hit virtual memory on an SSD it's much harder to notice (though you still take a bit of a hit), and disk reads become virtually free in comparison to what you're used to.

This. Unless you -only- use your PC for gaming, an SSD is the best upgrade you can possibly do. Everything about the OS and day-to-day stuff becomes so much snappier. It's a huge subjective improvement, much more than hardware upgrades.

I also forgot to ask if you've reinstalled Windows lately. Doing a clean install every couple years is well worth the hassle. Windows is a dirty OS, with a dirty file system. Cruft builds up no matter how well you maintain it.

prodarwin

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #20 on: February 04, 2014, 10:32:23 AM »
Finally, if you're going to buy any upgrades, a SSD will provide more performance for your money. I would upgrade to SSD before changing out RAM as when you hit virtual memory on an SSD it's much harder to notice (though you still take a bit of a hit), and disk reads become virtually free in comparison to what you're used to.

This. Unless you -only- use your PC for gaming, an SSD is the best upgrade you can possibly do. Everything about the OS and day-to-day stuff becomes so much snappier. It's a huge subjective improvement, much more than hardware upgrades.

I also forgot to ask if you've reinstalled Windows lately. Doing a clean install every couple years is well worth the hassle. Windows is a dirty OS, with a dirty file system. Cruft builds up no matter how well you maintain it.

Ehh.  I've run an SSD before (Actually a PCI-E SSD that was super fast and theoretically super expensive), but the gains weren't incredible.  Its awesome with Lightroom because images load instantly, but outside of that its difficult to notice in day to day use.  Boot time is faster... but how often does that happen?  Games load a little quicker, but gameplay itself is unchanged.  And lets face it, actual frame-rate in the game is 100x more important than load time.  Same with CAD work - load time improved, but actual performance when using the software is mostly unchanged.

Nords

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2014, 10:44:14 PM »
Ehh.  I've run an SSD before (Actually a PCI-E SSD that was super fast and theoretically super expensive), but the gains weren't incredible.  Its awesome with Lightroom because images load instantly, but outside of that its difficult to notice in day to day use.  Boot time is faster... but how often does that happen?  Games load a little quicker, but gameplay itself is unchanged.  And lets face it, actual frame-rate in the game is 100x more important than load time.  Same with CAD work - load time improved, but actual performance when using the software is mostly unchanged.
You might want to give the Samsung 840 SSD a look.  It's tremendously faster than my 2009-era hard drive, and there's zero thrashing.

Best of all I'm not listening to hard-drive hum or straining cooling fans.  The monitor's electronics actually whine louder than the PC fan.

libertarian4321

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2014, 03:41:16 AM »
With a computer that old, you can probably buy used RAM sticks for very little money, as a lot of people are junking computer that are 6 or more years old.  You could probably get it at a local computer shop or on ebay.

prodarwin

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2014, 03:29:48 PM »
Well, thought I'd update this.

Replaced the bad ram for free through Corsair.  Great.

Recently, hard drive took a crap.  Just replaced it with a new WD Blue 1TB.  Got everything up and running again and...

Memory errors.  Awesome!  Except this time, the other set of memory sticks is showing a lot of errors and the nearly-new set of sticks is showing a *medium* amount of errors.  Signs are pointing to the motherboard now... it may be time to throw in the towel and at do some of a new build. 

Bad news is I'm not having any luck snagging some good used parts on Ebay.  Once motherboards get out of date, they seem to go up in price and or become unavailable.  Recent enough MBs with lower prices have used processors that are holding value like crazy and don't have a price/performance ratio any better than new-in box stuff.

Good news is that the builds I posted early in the thread have dropped in price a bit.

m8547

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #24 on: November 01, 2014, 04:18:24 PM »
Are you overclocking? Too much voltage could be killing the RAM, or the new RAM might not be able to OC as well. Get all the RAM replaced for free since it should have a lifetime warranty, and run everything at stock speed and voltage. Also, RAM is extremely sensitive to electrostatic discharge, so be careful when you are installing it.

Quote
RAM is extremely sensitive to static electricity, or electrostatic discharge (ESD). It can be damaged by a charge that you don't even feel. Ideally you would have proper ESD protection equipment, such as a static dissipative mat, wrist strap, and dissipative smock to wear over your clothes. The mat and wrist strap should be properly grounded to earth ground, and everything should be placed on the mat while you work. If you don't have that, the following tips might help:
-Work on a hard, natural surface like wood or stone. Metal is not good because it conducts too well, and plastic (as well as coatings on some surfaces) build up charge easily.
-Don't wear socks or stand on carpet
-Keep everything at the same electrical potential. Touching metal on the computer is a good way to do that. With RAM it's difficult because touching it could damage it. The packaging may dissipate enough static that it's safe once you open it. You can keep all these things grounded by touching grounded metal in your house, such as the screw in a light switch, or a water pipe, or standing on an unfinished concrete floor may be good enough.
-Only handle RAM by the edges, and be very careful no to touch the contacts, the chips, or any of the traces that run between them.
-Avoid movements that may create a charge, like walking around or anything that causes your clothing to rub together.
-Wear natural fibers, not synthetic
-Increase the humidity, or don't work if the humidity is extremely low. You can estimate indoor humidity based on the outdoor dewpoint, since indoor temperature is relatively constant and humidity is a function of dew point and temperature. A dew point below freezing means very low humidity, and below 0F i starts to approach the dryness of an airplane (which is very dry).

prodarwin

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2014, 04:34:44 PM »
Right now I have it back to stock clock to make sure that isn't causing a problem.  Even overclocked though, the memory isn't - I'm running the ram at stock speed everything is at stock voltages.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2014, 11:32:27 PM »

When you do need to upgrade find a used wireless keyboard/mouse on craigslist and your old computer will be a sweet media box for the living room. I find the web interfaces a lot more polished for services like netflix and having hulu in the living room for free really helped us cut the chord.

Finally, if you're going to buy any upgrades, a SSD will provide more performance for your money. I would upgrade to SSD before changing out RAM as when you hit virtual memory on an SSD it's much harder to notice (though you still take a bit of a hit), and disk reads become virtually free in comparison to what you're used to.

Sure, but wouldn't using an SSD for swap trash it quickly due to excess writes?

OP, what's your power supply like?

prodarwin

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Re: PC ram failure: Fix or Replace?
« Reply #27 on: November 02, 2014, 04:48:24 PM »
PS is a "OCZ StealthXStream OCZ600SXS 600W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Active PFC Power Supply".  No signs of being bad, but I'm not sure how to test it.

RE: media box...  I have a PS3 for that (And of course I don't have any cable TV service).  Plus, when I upgrade my computer I try to salvage what I can for the next build.  In this case it would be HD, Case, PS, Fans, CPU cooler (assuming I have the adapter needed for the next processor), power/video cables, etc.  I don't really have a need for another full blown computer around the house.  If I need something without a lot of power, I'll use another Raspberry Pi as they are crazy cheap and have a very low wattage draw.

When you do need to upgrade find a used wireless keyboard/mouse on craigslist and your old computer will be a sweet media box for the living room. I find the web interfaces a lot more polished for services like netflix and having hulu in the living room for free really helped us cut the chord.