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Memory & Hard Drive

My most used applications are Accounting, Spread Sheets & Graphics. Within a week or two I plan to purchase a PIII 550 with a 250 Zip Drive and CD-RW. Would it be a better plan to install a 512 MB 100MHz SDRAM rather than a 384 MB 100MHz SDram (3 DIMMS)as this would be approximately $600 cheaper. I do intend to go with a 25.5 GB1 Ultra ATA Hard Drive.
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EljerAuthor Commented:
Edited text of question.
Unless you're running 5 programs all at the same time, 512 megs of RAM is overkill. Heck, even 384 megs is overkill.
I agree with Kschang, hell, get a 128mb module for memory, and buy some other goodies with the extra cash.

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S ConnellyTechnical WriterCommented:
The Accounting and Spreadsheet components are not too memory hungry.  

The graphics part is a different matter.  What type of graphics?  

I can tell you honesty, the more, the better.  Within hours I will be re-upgrading my primary workstation from 128mb to 256mb because I cannot work effectively with all the disk swapping (what happens when you don't have enough RAM) going on.  If you do any sort of hires photo editing (images 40mb and up), you need more than 128mb!

Memory is fairly inexpensive so the more the better.  I recommend 128mb as a basic minimum.
I agree with sconnell.  The more the better.  Although we would have to know the exact spects on programs, types, and if you plan to network or not, and even what type of network you are creating.  This will be the only way to really tell.  But if you have the money, invest in the memory now and save yourself the trouble of having to upgrade later.  Like the old saying goes... it's better to have to much than to little.
Well when they have finished adding all the bug fixes and patches to win 2000 you will probably be needing that 512 Mb :-)
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Actually, I just installed Win2000 on a Pentium 233 with 48 MB, and it's running faster than NT4 SP4.  That said, I agree with both perspectives offered.  512MB (or 384 MB) is overkill.  But the more memory you have, the better.   I think it depends on A) how important that $600 is to you, and B) how long you figure on keeping the machine.  If you figure you'll be upgrading it again in two or three years, than you should probably go with the 384.  If you intend on keeping it for years to come, then get the single DIMM or you'll be tossing the others when you upgrade the memory.

Of course, if you are using very large graphics files or video editing, than get the 512 anyway.

  There is one important factor the other comments do not touch upon. I work as a technology research analyst for an investment firm. Have you ever checked out the price for EDO.  It was as low as $26 dollars during the Asian financial crisis. There are several major companies getting out of the memory chip buisness such as Fujitsu. Right now,
I can buy 128 MB for $87 at Fry's Electronics. The next generation of memory is in the pipeline ; when that generation is ushered in and there are less manufactures worldwide, I belive the price per MB will rise. So if you have the money, I'd get 4 128's ; it might be a little much but that depends on what your doing. You will definitely see a performance improvement ; and , if you ever buy a second PC100 motherboard when the price drops so low you can't afford not to buy it, then you can use 1 or 2 of the 128 MB on that board.

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Defcon - I think your misreading the question - he's asking if he should buy A (1) 512MB DIMM with the system vs. 3 - 128 MB DIMMs.  If Fujitsu is getting out of the business, than I would be surprised if they are selling memory chips with that capacity - unless they JUST announced this...
S ConnellyTechnical WriterCommented:
Darn!  I missed that question.  
Eljer, I'd recommend purchasing three 128mb for several reasons.  You'll probably be paying a lot more for the 512mb DIMM (because it's new on the market) and 128mb are very inexpensive now.  If the 512mb DIMM failed (although I've never encountered a bad DIMM), you would be stuck with an unusable computer.

The disadvantage in purchasing 3-128mb DIMMs is that you'll not be able to expand your memory further.  Still, even if you wanted to in the future, you could sell off the 128mb DIMMs (not much of a loss - considering what you will pay) and place a 512mb in it's place.  Further, you may want to replace your entire computer before you run out of 384mb of memory.
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