New Dell computer....


Extraordinary Member
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No matter how much RAM that I install, the CPU is the bottleneck.

Mabye one day it'll be good for one of those Newegg mid-level kits?


Catilley, you just made a statement here that I have made many, many times in nearly that exact wording and have been flogged by many who claim to be experts but, in my opinion, are not too good at observation. It is generally accepted by the computer repair and configuration community that the best way to speed up a computer is to add memory. I have observed that unless a computer has "tiny" memory, the processor is the bottleneck and going from 2 to 8 GB memory, for instance, will not make a measurable difference. If the processor cannot process the information as fast as the memory accumulates it and feeds it to the processor, your computer ain't gonna run no faster! That is an un-challenged observation of mine regarding adding memory to speed up a computer.

The problem here is that memory is currently so cheap and processors are so expensive that we attempt to blind ourselves of the facts and add a $13 memory module hoping to significantly increase processing speed and convince ourselves that it does. We ain't foolin' nobody but ourselves when we fall into that trap, tho.


Extraordinary Member
Glad that you agree with me on that, john3347. My desktop has only a AMD Athlon X2 3250e CPU (1.5GHz), & shipped with 2GB DDR2 RAM, with a Win 7 x64 Pro OS. Of course, 4GB did improve performance, but it never changed the fact that the CPU oftentimes hits the 100% mark. I've never maxed out on RAM (usually use 2.75 to 3.5GB).

So even if I had the slots for 8GB RAM, it would have been a waste of money.

On the other hand, my MSI notebook has a Intel Core i5 CPU (M480), running at 2.66GHz (2.90GHz w/Turbo Boost) & a NVIDIA GeForce GT 425M (1GB DDR3) It also shipped with 6GB DDR3 (10666) RAM, Newegg had a GSkill 8GB (4GBx2) 10700 RAM for $29.99 around Thanksgiving. Really, I didn't need the kit, but at the price, why not? Has a lifetime warranty also.

Last week, I added a Crucial M4 SSD, which really made it fly.

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But these 2 computers are worlds apart. My CPU hardly ever goes past 20%, except at startup, & my RAM usage tops at around 5.5GB. That's when running XP MCE through VirtualBox.


Just feel like adding my 2 cents...

1stly, fundamentally, I agree. You can not make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Adding heaps of RAM to a slow CPU can only have minimal effect, if, any. Not to mention ppl putting 4Gs or more on a 32-bit machine & wondering why they don't even see it all but, that's a whole nother issue. I have oft sped up clients' machines w/out changing or adding hardware... there are several factors that affect speed & good performance (levels). & finally there is a myth in the minds of many that say going from 512 to a Gig will make a noticeable difference... wrong. From 2G to 4g, then, maybe, a difference will show. But, the components must make sense together. Bit like putting a bigger engine in a car & not changing (beefing up) the rest of the drivetrain, as well, to go w/ it.


Well since my last post, I've upgraded my Sonar X1 program once again to the Producer Expanded level. I've also added Guitar Rig 5, a 64 bit guitar effects and amplifier simulation program, so I'm getting more and more into the 64 bit world. My little Dell 620 with the i3 cpu is designed to hold a maximum of 8 gigs of memory, which I have installed. All I can say is that the computer in general seems to be more than capable of running my programs at less that 10% of cpu usage. I'm not having any computer problems whatsoever. This computer is running like a dream for me. I don't feel the need for a larger computer at all.


Extraordinary Member
For now, you're satisfied, but come a couple of years, you may be singing a different tune. Most of us are satisfied with a new computer purchase. And you shouldn't be having computer problems at this stage. Keep it nice & clean on the inside, for cooler operation, it should last a while.

But for all of the upgrading that you've done, had it been me, I'd have went with an i5 CPU. The "sweet spot" of Intel's CPU's.


I agree with catilley1092 on that. I would hav gone with the i5, also with a modle that could hold more than 8 GB of RAM. As time goes on, patches added, web sites surfed, documents writen, it all add clutter to the system. I would like to be able to run for a few extra months with 12 GB of RAM rather than have to suffer with the 8 giving me hell.

The 3.30 GHz cpu, 8 gig DDR3 memory, was a major upgrade from my old system and was priced within my budget. The i5 was an extra $100 which wasn't in my budget. The specs of the i3 were plenty enough for me and my programs. I'm not trying to compete with mission control at NASA. A nice affordable simple dependable computer is all I needed and what I got. Believe me, knowing my situation, I was lucky to get what I got...I am blessed with a nice computer that does what I need it to

In a few years if I need a better computer, I'll get one, but for now, this one is fine.

If $100 is going to break your budget for production equipment, you need to get a bigger budget. Small time buisnisses that do work for that run out of a basement or trailer house have wiggle room of over $5000.

NASA has some prety advanced hardware...though it probly wouldnt be able to play Doom 3. LoL They work alot on terminals and super main frames. The terminals are so out of date, doing 2+2 would require server time and that could take hours or days to get. LMAO That system you replaced in all reality cant do as much in one minute, but will do more tasks in one hour.

The goal in buying equipment is to make it last a long time to return the investment. So if you are buying a new computer every two or three years, that would not be a great return in investment. Though if you could get the time like to be like 3 years for minor terminals, 5 years for major terminals, 10 years for servers and networking equipment...that would be a great return.

But like I said before I'm just giveing you freindly advice from some one that has been dealing and playing with computers and technology for years and years.


Extraordinary Member
It's always best to buy more computer than you currently need, as technology is moving forward at a very fast speed these days. Back when Windows 7 was released (less than 3 years ago) 4GB was considered the "sweet spot" for RAM selection. No longer does this hold water. That standard has doubled to 8GB being the "sweet spot", on a dual channel MB.

More than likely, by the time that Windows 9 is out, SSD's will be the norm, & mechanical drives will be for storage only. Why is that? The rapid dip in SSD prices, along with still high mechanical HDD prices (though they are slowly falling). And the sheer performance also. I never checked out my mechanical, 5400rpm with 8MB cache HDD on my MSI notebook, but after a recent SSD upgrade to a Crucial M4, the evidence shows why.

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It would be even faster if I had a SATA 3 MB. Boots into a usable OS in less than 15 seconds, I can open my web browser before my AV updates. The other HDD, it was well over a minute.

This is exactly why when I buy another (after the release of Windows 9 in 2015), I'll buy a fully loaded one. Just like when I buy a car. Because in a year it's going to be considered to be "over the hill" anyway.


SSD's are already the norm for me. I have two already, remember ?? My old computer would only work with 1 gig of memory, so bumping up to 8 gigs is quite a jump for me. The old processor was a Core Two Duo 6750 which was 2.66 GHz, and now that's bumped up to 3.30 GHz. That's another nice jump. The new computer came with a new power supply, motherboard, 64 bit Windows OS, 500gig hard drive...I feel I got a nice little computer for the price. I then went ahead and upgraded my software which also cost a few hundreds of total result is a smokin' hot little computer that can do many, many things related to music production. For my needs it's perfect and within my hoped for budget. Anything more would be overkill. I can't imagine what you guys do with your computers that requires 12 gigs of memory.....most people don't need that just to surf the web ...

I personaly leave my computer running 24/7 for weeks at a time. I can get up to 7 or 8 gigs of use not running any games or production software. That is just web browser and messengers. So yea any one that uses a 64 bit OS can benifet from having more than 8 GB of RAM. Windows 7 is one of the best Microsoft OSes to date, though it still has many issues and holes in it. The more resources you can throw at it the better. It is true that processor speed is a big deal, but with so many compines following suite to Adobe and multi threading it that is becoming less and less of an issue. What once took a 3 Ghz minium to run now only takes a 2.1 and across two or three threads. This is going to start getting really huge and manditory soon. Now that Intel is getting close and AMD has already droped out octicores and decacores, software compines are getting with the picture and making things multicore friendly.

I don't think I need 12 gigs of RAM just to surf the web...I think you've been oversold a bill of goods. You don't need a monster computer to do simple tasks.

Correct, dj

And, if, one has 64, can benefit from 4G or more, not 8G


My music sample programs eat up memory for breakfast...the more the merrier. 8 gigs seems to work just fine for my needs. If I wasn't doing the music, 1 or 2 gigs of RAM would be plenty for me just to surf the web. I got by with 1 gig for many years. 2 would be a luxury, 4 seems to be the standard on new computers now days, 8 well that's just great for the music programs, some guys do have 12 but for surfing the web ?? I don't think so.


Extraordinary Member
8GB is quite plenty for most users, but some apps can easily soak up 10 or more GB of RAM. Like having open your OS & 2 VM's at the same time (yes, some users does this, but I haven't). I like to lend those 3GB RAM so that they act as real installs, & perform as such.

Like I stated in my earlier post, 4GB is no longer the standard (or "sweet spot"), although many computers ships with that amount, a lot of them will hold 8GB. Even many lower-end models will hold that amount. However, it's correct that those users who does nothing but web browse, shop & pay bills online, socialize, just basic stuff, 4GB will be fine. But I can't say that it will be that way 3 years from now.

Technology doesn't stand still, like time, it's constantly changing. One good thing on the horizon though, beginning with Windows 8, resource usage (in particular CPU usage) will be lowered. This may include some of the things that you like, read on.

Building a rich and extensible media platform - Building Windows 8 - Site Home - MSDN Blogs


Specific usage is something 'special'.

But, certainly, the accepted (take em for granted) norms have changed.

Then, again, we know most Folks have more computer than they will ever use.

The point I was trying to make, and I can see that I didn't do it very well, is that you never want to "bare minimum" any production machines. If you have more than you need that is good, not bad.


Extraordinary Member
I know that quite well, Naiya. Even on a consumer computer, "bare minimum" doesn't cut it. That's only what the OS needs to run on. It doesn't count a lot of programs, especially resource intensive ones. These are the minimums for Windows 7. "Minimums" aren't to be confused with "Optimal", which are much more.

1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

This won't cut it for a home computer, let alone a production one. Yes, it'll boot up & run, but very few programs can be installed & performance will be like crap with these specs. These are netbook specs. Even my 8 year old ThinkPad T42 running XP Pro SP3 has higher specs than this, except the last. It does have DirectX 9 graphics, but not the required driver for Windows 7. Anyway, both of my Windows 7 computers have DirectX 11.

I have learned over the past few years what to look for in a computer, and when buying my last, my MSI notebook, it was not an impulse purchase. I wanted a few things that were performance related pre-installed. First, a 1GB DDR3 dedicated GPU, as one cannot add a card after purchase (well, that's not entirely true, but it would be very expensive), an i5 CPU, 6GB or more RAM & USB3 ports, at a cost below $800. After a week of searching notebooks & it's specs (not just the OEM's word) on performance related sites, I found the one for me, at a cost of $749. Many notebooks of similar specs w/o a dedicated GPU cost over $1,000. I know how to shop for computers, it does all it needs for me, the CPU hardly ever goes past 30%, except briefly at startup.

I did upgrade the RAM to 8GB & recently installed a M4 SSD. - MSI FX603-064US Notebook Intel Core i5 480M(2.66GHz) 15.6" 6GB Memory 500GB HDD DVD Super Multi NVIDIA GeForce GT 425M

Note that I was one of the reviewers of this notebook, the same username that I have here.

My next desktop will be twice as powerful as my notebook is, possibly 3x more so. I don't know what the Intel CPU selection will be at that time, but I do know that I want 24GB of performance RAM installed & a 5GB NVIDIA GPU installed (I expect these to be available by then). I may initially accept one that has less RAM, as long as it will hold 24GB. My budget will be in the $1,500 to $2,000 range for everything, may add a bit more for the monitor if necessary.


We (IT Pros) have long known Microsoft's minimums & realistic, in practice values do not jibe, @ all. "running" an OS & using an OS are a long way apart... increase the (demand) scenario, such as CAD, games, music & or video production or just 'personal' wants & the gap increases several-fold.


My point is that I got a nice little computer for $399 that's far from bare minimum, but not too pricey.


12 gig RAM

500 Gig Hard drive

2nd 500 Gig Hard drive for back up

2- 64 gig SSD's

Yes I paid extra for the back up drive, memory upgrade, and SSD's, but it's a great computer that'll do the job for me within my budget. The 2nd generation i3 cpu does a fine job with my programs.

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