Upgrade Dell desktop for better performance

Dell desk top / Dimension 4400
October 6, 2010 at 02:59:27
Specs: Windows XP home Edition, Pentium 4, 1.7GHZ/768GB RAM
I am running windows XP home addition my desktop Dell Computer with following SPEC:
Pentium 4 1.7 GH Processor
768 GM RAM ( I believe both RAM slots are occupied, so I would have to take out one module to make a Room for new one, if i was to buy additional RAM)

The machine is to be used only for browsing the web, and burning occasional movie DVDs.
Currently not only the browsing in very slow, I am also finding it impossible to burn DVDs using my Visual studio/movie maker software.
My question is shall I dump the machine , and get a new machine with an up-to-date processor /RAM (2 GB?) or can I try to update my PC with Additional RAM (say buy an additional 1 GB RAM module , and also keep my 512K Module; thus givingm me around 1.5 GB RAM - actaually as I am typing this I have just realised, will this config be supported in a DEll PC (i.e. 1 GB+512 K?)

Any replies will be greatly appreciated.

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October 6, 2010 at 03:56:43
"browsing internet and burning dvd's" then a stick of ram and cheap v-card would help a lot.
Max mem supported 1gb ddr 266mhz, so add another 512mb stick. Look for nvidia 6200 (it's better than intel xtreme graphics).
Try to use light software (google chrome, ms essential, foxit reader etc.) and disable un-neccessary start up items and use ccleaner everyday.

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October 6, 2010 at 03:58:21
If your machine is slow at web browsing additional ram won't help much.
You need to look at what software is running and what processes are running as well as doing some basic housekeeping including disk cleanup & defrag.
To check what ram you might be able to install visit :

Goin' Fishin' (Some day)

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October 6, 2010 at 04:58:59
The question is this. Did the computer previously perform the same tasks adequately? If so, then Richard is probably spot on.

Try downloading Ccleaner slim and malwarebytes and running both. Get them at teh links below.


A general rule of thumb is if you don't use a program daily, don't have it run at start up. Many programs install up daters that search for updates every time the computer is started. That is totally unnecessary. Remove all of those for sure.

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October 6, 2010 at 10:07:15
"My question is shall I dump the machine , and get a new machine with an up-to-date processor /RAM (2 GB?) or can I try to update my PC with Additional RAM "

I think you should build a new Socket AM3 processor based machine. Those old first-gen P4s are pathetic. I recently found a 1.8GHz P4 machine w/ 512MB of RAM by my house. Even with a clean install of XP it's quite sluggish on the Internet with AV software installed. My old Pentium III @ 1.8GHz is a much faster machine, even with a heavier OS installed (Win7).

You could try the Opera browser if you're currently using IE or Firefox, but it probably won't give you much of a speed boost.

I kid you not--assuming that your internet connection isn't the bottleneck, replacing that crusty old P4 with $350 dual core computer will feel like the switch from dial-up to cable all over again.

As for the DVD burning: Make sure that DMA mode is enabled for your DVD drive in the BIOS and in Device Manager. Older Dell machines sometimes shipped with DMA disabled for the optical drives.

Socket 939 | Dual-core Opteron 185 @ 3.2GHz | 4GB | 1.0TB | Win7 x64
GeForce GTX 460 1GB | X-Fi Ti Pro | A8N32-SLI Deluxe | Antec P182

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October 6, 2010 at 10:57:16
Dell Dimension 4400's? ROOF roof...yea, they're dogs. Good points by ppl above, also note:

- Speed of HDD (do you have a 7200 RPM drive?).

- Health of HDD: Run the Mfr HDD utility (like SeaTools for Seagate, DataLifeGuard for Western Digitial, DFT for Hitachi, Hutil for Samsung etc), to thoroughly test the drives surface and mechanics.

- I like Google Chrome Web browser for everday browsing. It occasionally hiccups with plug-ins though. Opera isn't too bad either. IE7 is an all around browser that works the best for me. FF 3.6x and IE8 are slow.

- Having stronger video (more VRAM) will help.

- 1 GB RAM will help somewhat.

- Check for excessive programs running in the background like background anti-malware or anti-spyware scanners - they can be a drag on performance for older PCs. If you have a 3rd party software firewall (McAfee, Kerio, ZoneAlarm, Comodo etc) running too, this will slow the system down a bit too.

- Make sure your sys is clean! AV alone is NEVER, ever enough! Scan with:
1. AV.

2. Anti-Malware like Emsisoft Anti-Malware (frmly A2, a.k.a. A-Squared Free], MalwareBytes, SpyBot S&D 1.6.2.

3. Anti-root kits: GMER, Radix, ComboFix. There is a lot of rootkit activity in malware these days.

- Run Defrag (I like free Auslogics Disk Defrag), run CHKDSK and Windows Disk Cleanup.

- Also note that if your HDD is full, it will run slower.

- Blow out PC case, fans and heat sinks of all dust.

Just another stupid saying...

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