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Computer Upgrade Questions


CapeFish

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I have a Dell Dimension 4600C and the 40GB hard drive is just not big enough anymore. I would also like to upgrade the memory from 512MB to at least 1GB.

 

I know how to upgrade memory and have directions from Dell on what to do. The hard drive is a different story though. I don't know exactly how to shop for a hard drive, but I think I can install it given the directions from Dell I see. My machine can do either IDE or serial ATA. I currently have an IDE drive according to the info I see. How would I be able to store my current hard drive on a CD, swap out the drives, and then get the CD copy onto the new hard drive?

 

Any help would greatly be appreciated. Thanks!

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Any help would greatly be appreciated. Thanks!

First - go to crucial.com. There is no reason for a tech newb to purchase their memory anywhere else. It is cheap and you will get the right memory.

 

Second - you don't need to replace your hard drive. If I were you, I'd get an external hard drive instead. I'm a big fan of the Western Digital Passport. You can pick up a 250 GB drive for $130 - so it's a no brainer. They work really well, are plenty fast, and are portable. So, you just move your giant porn collection onto the passport and your 40 GB drive is free for other things. Bonus: portable porn.

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Any help would greatly be appreciated. Thanks!

First - go to crucial.com. There is no reason for a tech newb to purchase their memory anywhere else. It is cheap and you will get the right memory.

 

Second - you don't need to replace your hard drive. If I were you, I'd get an external hard drive instead. I'm a big fan of the Western Digital Passport. You can pick up a 250 GB drive for $130 - so it's a no brainer. They work really well, are plenty fast, and are portable. So, you just move your giant porn collection onto the passport and your 40 GB drive is free for other things. Bonus: portable porn.

If you don't need it to be too portable, the Western Digital MyBook external hard drives are very good, and even cheaper. Best Buy has a sale on the 500 GB MyBook Essential for $130.

 

Regardless, always buy Western Digital hard drives. :mischief

 

Seriously, transferring info from one hard drive to another is not an operation for a newb. If you really need an internal hard drive (you really shouldn't run games from an external), get a geek friend to do it (if they have the software), or find a local computer shop. Don't get service at Best Buy or Circuit City: They will rape you up the ass. :mischief

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I have a Dell Dimension 4600C and the 40GB hard drive is just not big enough anymore. I would also like to upgrade the memory from 512MB to at least 1GB.

 

I know how to upgrade memory and have directions from Dell on what to do. The hard drive is a different story though. I don't know exactly how to shop for a hard drive, but I think I can install it given the directions from Dell I see. My machine can do either IDE or serial ATA. I currently have an IDE drive according to the info I see. How would I be able to store my current hard drive on a CD, swap out the drives, and then get the CD copy onto the new hard drive?

 

Any help would greatly be appreciated. Thanks!

The best/cheapest upgrade for any computer is upgrading the RAM. You will notice a significant difference in performance by going to 1GB. Currently I'm running 4GB and couldn't ask for anything more. Crucial is the best place to find out what kind of RAM you need. They probably offer the best prices as well if your willing to wait for delivery.

 

As far as upgrading the harddrive it really all depends on what your going to use it for. For just storage purposes an external is perfect b/c you do not need to worry about read and write speeds. If your going to be doing alot of encoding for audio or video or just burning from that drive alot, an internal drive would be the better way to go performance wise. You can also get a much cheaper internal drive compared to an external. If you had to choose between drive types I would go with Serial ATA for performance reasons as well. They also hookup much easier and are hot swappable. The cables used with Serial ATA are much better for cooling purposes in the box.

 

If you looking to backup your current hardrive and want to go the CD route, your going to have to use a crapload of DVD's to do so. What I would do is create a Norton Ghost image of the drive and burn it to a few CD's rather then just move uncompressed data from your hardrive to backup discs. Norton Ghost will create a compressed image to fit on a few DVD's and load it back onto your new drive when your ready by using the Norton Ghost utility.

 

This is the way I have operated with my machines. I am constantly reinstalling my OS for performance purposes. Probably about once a year and I am always doing backups with Ghost.

 

Hope that was a little helpful.

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To play off JD's tip, I might actually suggest just copying and backing up whatever files you want and then reinstalling the OS if you can.

 

Fresh installs are a good thing and would save you time and discs in backing and saving only the essentials you need.

 

Since you only have a 40 GB hard drive as is, I doubt there is that much you need to backup.

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The best/cheapest upgrade for any computer is upgrading the RAM. You will notice a significant difference in performance by going to 1GB. Currently I'm running 4GB and couldn't ask for anything more. Crucial is the best place to find out what kind of RAM you need. They probably offer the best prices as well if your willing to wait for delivery.

Disclaimer: Don't get more than 2GB of RAM unless you have a 64-bit processor and a 64-bit version of Windows XP or Vista. Memory detection begins to sputter in typical systems beyond 2.5GB.

 

Memory is cheap enough, you ought to be set with 2GB. Get two 1GB chips.

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To play off JD's tip, I might actually suggest just copying and backing up whatever files you want and then reinstalling the OS if you can.

 

Fresh installs are a good thing and would save you time and discs in backing and saving only the essentials you need.

 

Since you only have a 40 GB hard drive as is, I doubt there is that much you need to backup.

Nice addition. I forgot to mention the Ghost application will do an image of your entire drive and not select files. Fox's method is much better for backing up specific files.

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The best/cheapest upgrade for any computer is upgrading the RAM. You will notice a significant difference in performance by going to 1GB. Currently I'm running 4GB and couldn't ask for anything more. Crucial is the best place to find out what kind of RAM you need. They probably offer the best prices as well if your willing to wait for delivery.

Disclaimer: Don't get more than 2GB of RAM unless you have a 64-bit processor and a 64-bit version of Windows XP or Vista. Memory detection begins to sputter in typical systems beyond 2.5GB.

 

Memory is cheap enough, you ought to be set with 2GB. Get two 1GB chips.

Your correct but 32 bit versions will still post a BIOS showing 4Gb but your not going to get "all of it". I've been reading up on this and it's very interested how the two processors handle 2+ GB of RAM. My new system only shows 3GB but there is 4GB physically installed. Regardless 3 or 4 it's still smoking fast.

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Any help would greatly be appreciated. Thanks!

First - go to crucial.com. There is no reason for a tech newb to purchase their memory anywhere else. It is cheap and you will get the right memory.

 

Second - you don't need to replace your hard drive. If I were you, I'd get an external hard drive instead. I'm a big fan of the Western Digital Passport. You can pick up a 250 GB drive for $130 - so it's a no brainer. They work really well, are plenty fast, and are portable. So, you just move your giant porn collection onto the passport and your 40 GB drive is free for other things. Bonus: portable porn.

I was thinking of using Crucial. The FSU Computer Store can get us their memory at a discount, so I'm going to them.

 

As for the hard drive, the reason I need more space is because I have to be able to dual-boot Linux (I'm thinking Ubuntu) for Meteorology purposes. I'm dreading it....but I have to do it. So can I partition this new monster drive like a normal drive and then be able to dual-boot Windows XP from the internal 40GB HD and Ubuntu Linux from the external HD?

 

If you don't need it to be too portable, the Western Digital MyBook external hard drives are very good, and even cheaper. Best Buy has a sale on the 500 GB MyBook Essential for $130.

 

Regardless, always buy Western Digital hard drives. :mischief

 

Seriously, transferring info from one hard drive to another is not an operation for a newb. If you really need an internal hard drive (you really shouldn't run games from an external), get a geek friend to do it (if they have the software), or find a local computer shop. Don't get service at Best Buy or Circuit City: They will rape you up the ass. :mischief

Best Buy/Circuit City are more likely to kill my machine than get anything done. Went to CompUSA for a driver issue long ago (back before the internet) and they weren't too bad. But as long as I can dual-boot from the external drive...all is good.

 

The best/cheapest upgrade for any computer is upgrading the RAM. You will notice a significant difference in performance by going to 1GB. Currently I'm running 4GB and couldn't ask for anything more. Crucial is the best place to find out what kind of RAM you need. They probably offer the best prices as well if your willing to wait for delivery.

 

As far as upgrading the harddrive it really all depends on what your going to use it for. For just storage purposes an external is perfect b/c you do not need to worry about read and write speeds. If your going to be doing alot of encoding for audio or video or just burning from that drive alot, an internal drive would be the better way to go performance wise. You can also get a much cheaper internal drive compared to an external. If you had to choose between drive types I would go with Serial ATA for performance reasons as well. They also hookup much easier and are hot swappable. The cables used with Serial ATA are much better for cooling purposes in the box.

 

If you looking to backup your current hardrive and want to go the CD route, your going to have to use a crapload of DVD's to do so. What I would do is create a Norton Ghost image of the drive and burn it to a few CD's rather then just move uncompressed data from your hardrive to backup discs. Norton Ghost will create a compressed image to fit on a few DVD's and load it back onto your new drive when your ready by using the Norton Ghost utility.

 

This is the way I have operated with my machines. I am constantly reinstalling my OS for performance purposes. Probably about once a year and I am always doing backups with Ghost.

 

Hope that was a little helpful.

Thanks for the tips on Ghost. I'm looking at the external now definitely because this Dell is a slim case and it has enough cooling issues as it is. The fan on it can sound like an airplane when I'm home in 80 degrees with the humidity up there.

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To play off JD's tip, I might actually suggest just copying and backing up whatever files you want and then reinstalling the OS if you can.

 

Fresh installs are a good thing and would save you time and discs in backing and saving only the essentials you need.

 

Since you only have a 40 GB hard drive as is, I doubt there is that much you need to backup.

Nice addition. I forgot to mention the Ghost application will do an image of your entire drive and not select files. Fox's method is much better for backing up specific files.

The only problem with this method is that you are guaranteed to forget a couple of files that you will inevitably want later. Honestly, unless you are doing hardcore digital video editing, there's really no reason you need more than 40 GB on your root partition. Just move all your large files off and onto the external. Also, uninstall software [especially games] you haven't used in 3 months b/c it is just taking up space, enlarging your registry, and slowing your system down in general.

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To play off JD's tip, I might actually suggest just copying and backing up whatever files you want and then reinstalling the OS if you can.

 

Fresh installs are a good thing and would save you time and discs in backing and saving only the essentials you need.

 

Since you only have a 40 GB hard drive as is, I doubt there is that much you need to backup.

Nice addition. I forgot to mention the Ghost application will do an image of your entire drive and not select files. Fox's method is much better for backing up specific files.

The only problem with this method is that you are guaranteed to forget a couple of files that you will inevitably want later. Honestly, unless you are doing hardcore digital video editing, there's really no reason you need more than 40 GB on your root partition. Just move all your large files off and onto the external. Also, uninstall software [especially games] you haven't used in 3 months b/c it is just taking up space, enlarging your registry, and slowing your system down in general.

Exactly. Plastic is so cheap these days it doesn't pay not to do an entire image. I try to keep as much stuff off my boot drive except for installed programs. I've had some horror stories of my boot drive dying with 300+ gigs of encoded video on it. Never again!

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To play off JD's tip, I might actually suggest just copying and backing up whatever files you want and then reinstalling the OS if you can.

 

Fresh installs are a good thing and would save you time and discs in backing and saving only the essentials you need.

 

Since you only have a 40 GB hard drive as is, I doubt there is that much you need to backup.

I don't have all my discs with me. I think some are back home....I have to get them this winter break.

 

Disclaimer: Don't get more than 2GB of RAM unless you have a 64-bit processor and a 64-bit version of Windows XP or Vista. Memory detection begins to sputter in typical systems beyond 2.5GB.

 

Memory is cheap enough, you ought to be set with 2GB. Get two 1GB chips.

This machine is from 2003, it has regular XP Home with a Pentium 4 2.8GHz CPU. The two 1GB chips would be nice to get.....I hope my budget stretches that far. I'm on an FSU stipend for this. :(

 

Nice addition. I forgot to mention the Ghost application will do an image of your entire drive and not select files. Fox's method is much better for backing up specific files.

I wouldn't want to mess with specific files. I keep this machine pretty lean, it's just that I use alot of sh*t.

 

Your correct but 32 bit versions will still post a BIOS showing 4Gb but your not going to get "all of it". I've been reading up on this and it's very interested how the two processors handle 2+ GB of RAM. My new system only shows 3GB but there is 4GB physically installed. Regardless 3 or 4 it's still smoking fast.

I can't put in above 2GB, so no worries. :lol

My motherboard and wallet cannot afford it.

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As for the hard drive, the reason I need more space is because I have to be able to dual-boot Linux (I'm thinking Ubuntu) for Meteorology purposes. I'm dreading it....but I have to do it. So can I partition this new monster drive like a normal drive and then be able to dual-boot Windows XP from the internal 40GB HD and Ubuntu Linux from the external HD?

Good luck with that. I would get an internal hard drive if that's your plan. I would also get a friend that is way more computer literate because the solution you propose is not a simple task that any random Joe Guy is going to do.

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So can I partition this new monster drive like a normal drive and then be able to dual-boot Windows XP from the internal 40GB HD and Ubuntu Linux from the external HD?

Yes, you can partition it how you see fit.

 

Plus, its probably a good idea to install Ubuntu from an external drive anyways so you don't mess up XP if something goes wrong and you need to reformat the drive.

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Plus, its probably a good idea to install Ubuntu from an external drive anyways so you don't mess up XP if something goes wrong and you need to reformat the drive.

It'll just run a little slower from an external drive. I've never run a system from an external drive and it is not recommended but do what you need to do. I am 100% in agreement with Fox on the 2nd part of his statement. My recommendation is based on trying to do this the easiest way without forcing you to do a reinstall and keep your current system functional.

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As for the hard drive, the reason I need more space is because I have to be able to dual-boot Linux (I'm thinking Ubuntu) for Meteorology purposes. I'm dreading it....but I have to do it. So can I partition this new monster drive like a normal drive and then be able to dual-boot Windows XP from the internal 40GB HD and Ubuntu Linux from the external HD?

Good luck with that. I would get an internal hard drive if that's your plan. I would also get a friend that is way more computer literate because the solution you propose is not a simple task that any random Joe Guy is going to do.

I disagree.

 

There are plenty of tutorials online and a quick Googling showed its not that difficult if you have a decent amount of computer knowledge.

 

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WindowsDualBoot

 

http://www.hezardastan.org/breezy_xp_dualboot/en/ (This link is made of win.)

 

Plus if it is school, I'm sure he will be able to get help with it if he needs it.

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Plus, its probably a good idea to install Ubuntu from an external drive anyways so you don't mess up XP if something goes wrong and you need to reformat the drive.

It'll just run a little slower from an external drive. I've never run a system from an external drive and it is not recommended but do what you need to do. I am 100% in agreement with Fox on the 2nd part of his statement. My recommendation is based on trying to do this the easiest way without forcing you to do a reinstall and keep your current system functional.

Yeah, that is something to consider. Speed and the stress you would be putting on the external drive. I only use my several drives for backup and media storage so the drives are not constantly spinning.

 

I'll admit my ignorance on how much stress running an OS from the drive would actually cause though. Maybe someone could shed some light on that. I'm curious myself.

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As for the hard drive, the reason I need more space is because I have to be able to dual-boot Linux (I'm thinking Ubuntu) for Meteorology purposes. I'm dreading it....but I have to do it. So can I partition this new monster drive like a normal drive and then be able to dual-boot Windows XP from the internal 40GB HD and Ubuntu Linux from the external HD?

Good luck with that. I would get an internal hard drive if that's your plan. I would also get a friend that is way more computer literate because the solution you propose is not a simple task that any random Joe Guy is going to do.

:lol I can always call our Help Desk or Met Comp Support and see if they have any tips for me.

 

So can I partition this new monster drive like a normal drive and then be able to dual-boot Windows XP from the internal 40GB HD and Ubuntu Linux from the external HD?

Yes, you can partition it how you see fit.

 

Plus, its probably a good idea to install Ubuntu from an external drive anyways so you don't mess up XP if something goes wrong and you need to reformat the drive.

That's what I was thinking. I could make a partition just for Ubuntu to keep it isolated. I really don't want it mixing with my Windows XP stuff. It would be for Meteorological Programming and the such only.

 

Plus, its probably a good idea to install Ubuntu from an external drive anyways so you don't mess up XP if something goes wrong and you need to reformat the drive.

It'll just run a little slower from an external drive. I've never run a system from an external drive and it is not recommended but do what you need to do. I am 100% in agreement with Fox on the 2nd part of his statement. My recommendation is based on trying to do this the easiest way without forcing you to do a reinstall and keep your current system functional.

I don't mind slower, I have booted from the Ubuntu Live CD and it is plenty fast for me. I just need it on a hard drive to be able to save projects and download upgrades.

 

I disagree.

 

There are plenty of tutorials online and a quick Googling showed its not that difficult if you have a decent amount of computer knowledge.

 

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WindowsDualBoot

 

http://www.hezardastan.org/breezy_xp_dualboot/en/ (This link is made of win.)

 

Plus if it is school, I'm sure he will be able to get help with it if he needs it.

*takes notes on links*

 

Yeah, that is something to consider. Speed and the stress you would be putting on the external drive. I only use my several drives for backup and media storage so the drives are not constantly spinning.

 

I'll admit my ignorance on how much stress running an OS from the drive would actually cause though. Maybe someone could shed some light on that. I'm curious myself.

I'm not that computer illiterate, but I have just fallen out of the curve. I last bought computers in 2005 and I did it for others in the house so I used their specs as they are far more demanding than I. They have yet to make a computer fast enough for my parents and siblings.

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I was looking a bit more and I may have found a solution that doesn't require a hard drive.

 

I could request a Live CD with the latest Ubuntu (I have 2 older versions on Live CD and the speed is fine for me) on it and then use a Thumb Drive to save my work. That way I can take projects back and forth between computers.

 

I'm gonna definitely use Crucial for memory because I like their warranty and they are pretty easy to deal with.

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Coincidentally, I just bought memory from Crucial-couldnt be happier. Got 2 1GBs for my Dell Dimension and its like I have a new computer. The price at Crucial was a lot cheaper than anywhere else and I ordered it Tuesday, it was shipped from Idaho yesterday, and I got it this afternoon (and that was with the standard free shipping).

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