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I have a Dell Dimension 2400, with Windows XP. It had 512MB of RAM installed, and I have just upped to 2GB (2x1GB sticks) of RAM. I checked before I bought them to make sure the PC would take them, every thing was okay, but it has not made my PC any quicker. Can anyone tell me why?

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First of all, go to windows + break and check to see that your computer actually recognizes the 2gig ram. But you have to remember that the speed at which your computer runs depends on more than just the RAM. –  Jay Dec 6 '11 at 16:16
    
God only knows what the heck is "slow" and what is "quicker." –  surfasb Dec 7 '11 at 2:22
    
The cost of upgrading an individual component of this machine that would actually make a difference speed-wise is only slightly less than the cost of purchasing a new computer that would be more capable overall. That said, please provide details as to what is running slow, or how slow the system is actually running so that we may more effectively diagnose possible issues and provide you with more accurate answers. –  music2myear Dec 8 '11 at 22:14

5 Answers 5

As noted in the comment by @Jay:

But you have to remember that the speed at which your computer runs depends on more than just the RAM.

RAM is only one part of the performace equation.
A quick check is to open the Task Manager and see whow much RAM you are using and what processor use is.
You can also monitor Disk I/O with something like PerfMon Processor, ARM and Disk/IO will be three key vectors of performance.
If 3D apps/games, then the video subsystem will have a big impact.

Basically, if your system is using 400MB of RAM, having 2GB will not make much of a difference. If it was always disk swapping with 512MB, them you would get some benefit.

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RAM is a very small part of the equation, frankly. Unless you're running at capacity, adding more on the top will make only small improvement. (Obviously if you're filling up the volatile memory in your system adding more will probably help) –  Shinrai Dec 6 '11 at 16:35
    
Pagefile settings aswell... (not got time for a complete answer!) :) –  HaydnWVN Dec 6 '11 at 17:10

Your computer is slow because its CPU is based on technology that's 8 years old. A CPU that costs $40 today would be about 7 times faster. You basically have a $5 CPU in there.

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True but..Keep in mind that speed is a relative term. Yes, much slower than today but without knowing the apps, the old system may be fine and just need a tweak to do the job. However, it is old and that won't change. –  Dave M Dec 6 '11 at 16:49
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I find that's rarely the case. Even doing the "same job", old hardware just isn't up to the task because the job is not really the same. For example, typical web browsing today takes about four times the CPU and three times the memory it did eight years ago. –  David Schwartz Dec 6 '11 at 16:52

Define "Quicker" we need specifics.

Dimension 2400 is not a fast system and never will be. Best bet is to upgrade the processor to the fastest P4 it will allow which is a Northwood P4 3.06GHz 533MHz FSB processor.

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The limiting factor must not have been the RAM.

What I've found people to notice on basic systems the most is when it needs to page (needs more RAM), the main hard drive is nearly full and fragmented (defragment/reformat drive), or background processes are hogging all resources (viruses, Windows baloney, new programs on old equipment, etc.).

The next variable I would tackle is the file system. Is your windows installation and data on the drive fairly old -- a year or more? The NTFS filesystem fragments with time, increasing random access seek times. Defragment or just reformat the drive and reinstall everything.

After that, read @David Schwartz' answer.

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I guess Linux must use the PAL filesystem then ;). –  Bigbio2002 Dec 8 '11 at 20:34
    
Good catch @Bigbio2002! More evidence supporting sleep. Note that you can edit answers directly in the future, using the edit link at the bottom of each answer. –  tyblu Dec 8 '11 at 22:05

Try running CCleaner or a similar program. It will clear up temporary files on your computer, and old, unused registry entries, both of which can slow your computer down. You may want to tell it not to remove cookies. Removing cookies will speed up your computer a bit, but it will also make it so you have to type in your password again on most sites that you've set to remember it.

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What does this have to do with RAM? It's good advice, and it might help speed up OP's machine (so I won't downvote on that basis), but it doesn't actually address the question. –  Shinrai Dec 6 '11 at 16:36
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There is no evidence that clearing temporary files or removing unused registry entries has any affect on performance. –  David Schwartz Dec 6 '11 at 16:38
    
Clearing out temporary files and reducing the size of the registry hive files will help performance on slow disks for what I hope are obvious reasons. You won't see any significant boosts or anything like that (especially with the registry because the reductions are likely to be trivial...really registry cleanup is basically placebo), and probably nothing at all on a fast enough setup, but it's not ENTIRELY placebo. –  Shinrai Dec 6 '11 at 16:43
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Removing temporary files won't reduce hard drive search times. In any event, it always feels faster after you do something. I'm talking about evidence. –  David Schwartz Dec 6 '11 at 16:55
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@SaintWacko: I believe because it reduces hard drive search times I you want to prevent hard drive search times I would suggest to do a defrag of the disk. Or get a faster disk (or even a SSD) –  PeeHaa Dec 6 '11 at 17:01

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