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Old 05-17-2019, 03:14 PM   #1
ET2SN
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So, I'm getting ready to do some upkeep on my desktop.
I'm running a "value-based" rig that features a fast i3 cpu with 8 gigs of DDR3 RAM and Win10/64 bit. I have no complaints with this rig. It runs my games (old games) just fine and its a great platform for most on-line use.
I have a 1 Tb HD coming in the mail which I'm going to clone to my current HD then test. If it runs better, I'll swap the drives. If its the same, I'll store it in case I need the back up or the current drive fails.

One thing has me puzzled: should I plan to upgrade the RAM? I like the idea of having a spare stick of DDR3 RAM while I can still buy it but would I see any kind of performance boost by doubling my on-board RAM from 8 Gig to 16 Gig?

I barely use the second core in the CPU as it is. For games, I play stuff like Dangerous Waters and Flight Sim 2002 and CTD's are very rare (something like once a year) and I've played these games for over 12 hours at a time.

So, assuming I can match the specs of my current 8 Gig stick with a second 8 Gig stick, do I see any kind of gains in performance or am I just doubling my access time?
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:08 PM   #2
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First, a 1 TB hard drive? I have a 240 GB SSD just for the OS (Windows 10), and a 500 GB SSD just to hold my games. I have a 4 TB Internal HDD for my main storage, and I just today used some found money for an External 4 TB backup drive. This will replace the 3 TB drive that died a while ago and cover for the older 2 TB drive that is rapidly running out of room. That one will now be used just for music storage.

As to your question: 8 GB is probably all you really need, but 16 is always nice. Some people have 32 or even 64, but 16 will probably keep you covered. One thing I've recently learned though: Check your RAM speed (2133, 3200, 3600...) and make sure the new one matches that number. Having two different frequencies can make things worse, not better. It doesn't have to be the same manufacturer, though buying them in pairs makes it easier. I also used some of that "found money" to buy a pair of 8-Gig sticks (I got suckered by the "RGB" thing) that are a lot faster than the ones I have. And don't forget to check the listing and make sure the new one is DDR3. It is completely different from DDR4, and they don't fit into the same slots. What's even funnier is that modern graphics cards (now upgraded to "GPUs" ("Graphics Processing Units") are using DDR5, and everyone is wondering why RAM sticks haven't got there yet.
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Old 05-25-2019, 09:14 PM   #3
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For Windows 10, 16 GB has become the norm, the standard. Old games developed for older Windows with 4GB limitat of course will not benefit form itlk, however. Video editiing ont he other ahnd wiull benefit, so will new games otpmised for using present hardware ressources on a system.

RAM is a very critical and sensible component (and a very vulnerable part of a computer, so handle it with care when needing to deal with it: static electricity is a real threat) , and producers seem to be not in full control of guaranteeing its quality. I upgraded my RAM from 16 to 32 GB some months ago, in preparation for some extensive video editing. I got 2 16 GB bars, and both were found to have errors when I checked them via memtest86 tool. I then did some research, and found that defect RAM already on delivery is anythign but rare, but a widespread problem most people just do not know about, also it is not just RAM bars, but also USB sticks and SD cards. I got replacment for the two broken bars, of which one again was erratic. The third delivery (they come in sets) finally found both RAM bars okay. Since then I have no more Windows BSOD, btw. I checked my old 2 8 GB bars, and they were both broken. Thnat mans my rerlatvley young systemn, one and a half year old and delivered by a specialised gaming PC shop, got already delivered with broken RAM as well. I meanwhile got them to accept it as a warranty case. And no, they do not test new RAM bars they use to build a new rig for a customer. Csts too much time.

It is an almost unnown, but very widespread problem. When you buy RAM of any kind, test it via a tool like memtest86 or whatever. Its a tool you put on a bootable USB stick, and launch your rig from it with the test objects inserted in your rig. It costs time, yes, and not little, and it is not comfortable to do so, but the rate by whcih I found my old and new RAM bars and stporage cards being erratic, was very high. When I talked to a distant buddy knowing these things a bit, he was not surprised. Insiders estimate that up two 1 in three RAM units leave the factory in a broken state. Most users never become aware of it - but wonder why their devices cause problems or their OS may crash sometimes or their games run instable. Its about a few dozen to a few hundred memory cells broken. A dedicated RAM test finds these by writing to and reading from ALL cells on a stick card or bar. And that costs time, since it is done in many different speeds and combinatiosn and data patterns, for testing purposes.

You do not want to have even just one broken cell on a new device. This works differently than a harddisk or SSD , which can work around with a few erratic cells somehow and use reserve cells in their listings to replace the broken cells.

You buy RAM? You test it even if it takes time. I have learned my lesson.

Three of my 6 SD cards were broken as well, I found. Three of my 8 or 9 USB sticks. I had occasional problems with these, when the devices became full with data. These problems are no more since I replaced the erratic units.

Store salesmen usually will not tell you this, or even admit it - or even knowing it. If its fresh from a blister package,m then it is okay, so is the logic. Well - not in case of RAM. A production error of up to 30-40% is extremely, very extremely high, and thats why I say that industry currently seems not to be in control of reliable RAM production - but that is how things currently seem to be. So - TEST YOUR NEWLY BOUGHT RAM THINGS, always. Bars, SD cards, sticks.
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Old 06-23-2019, 09:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor Steve View Post
First, a 1 TB hard drive?

As to your question: 8 GB is probably all you really need, but 16 is always nice.

I stuck with a 1 TB HD because its what I'm running now. I run a handful of games although I have a lot of versions of RA for Dangerous Waters and my FS 2002 install is getting close to "No Mas". For all of that , the current drive is something like 7/8ths empty after three years.
I considered a 2 TB drive or an SSD/HD combo but I really wanted to back up (clone) the current HD first so I could run the new HD and keep the old HD bolted in the case (unplugged) as an archive. Maybe later?

With the RAM, yeah. I got an extra stick of 8 GB DDR3. I have it installed now and it matches nicely with the old RAM. I guess the machine likes it but I don't see much of an improvement. I paid under $30 (US) and I wanted to buy some DDR3 while I still could. Worst case, I'll unplug the new stick and keep it as a spare in case the old stick gets fried.

As far as cloning a Win10 install, I had no issues at all. The registry knows its running new hardware but it doesn't seem to care. The only issue was finding the Control Panel to format the new HD prior to cloning, but you can search YT for some good step-by-step videos.
If you use Acronis to clone drives, be aware that finding the free download is getting tougher. Acronis wants to charge you 30 bucks a year for their program but you can use the free version if you have a Western Digital or SanDisk storage device.
In my case, I was cloning a Toshiba HD to a blank WD drive and the Acronis software still didn't want to install. I plugged in a SanDisk thumb drive and everything went smoothly.
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Old 06-25-2019, 08:36 AM   #5
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Macrium Reflect.

https://www.macrium.com/reflectfree
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