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Brad Fitzpatrick

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WinXP and 256MB RAM [Nov. 25th, 2005|05:29 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick
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I've been using a lot of people's computers over this holiday weekend for various reasons and I'm absolutely offended how many vendors will apparently ship/sell a computer running Windows XP with 128 MB or 256 MB of RAM...

Holy shit! These computers boot up swapping, and that's before the 17 unnecessary, fear-inducing, and competing anti-virus programs start up in the system tray, bogging it all down worse.

They have fast processors, fast wireless, but no goddamn memory. I have to make up lame analogies to everybody I complain to. "It's like having a Ferrari but buying it without oil, and never putting any in." Although I tend to hate analogies involving consumables for non-consumables, lest it give people the mistaken impression that memory "wears out", though it kinda does when their laptop repairman "fixes" their computer problems by upgrading their Win98 to pirated WinXP, without adding the requisite additional memory.

People, if you're running XP without 512 MB of RAM, invest the frickin $65 dollars to upgrade. It's worth it. It's the cheapest upgrade you can make... it'll feel like a new computer. Go to http://www.crucial.com/ and run the memory scanner and buy whatever it recommends.

[User Picture]From: perpetualmotion
2005-11-26 02:16 am (UTC)

Agreed, it makes me actually angry to see ads for Win XP systems with 256 megs of RAM to clueless people. Pretty worthless... The memory in my Thinkpad failed a while back and I had to make do with 256 MB for a month or so. It was a complete nightmare... Even opening Semagic took endlessharddriveswapping minutes. I'm right with you: friends don't let friends (or anyone, and their moms) run XP on anything under 512 MB. Most frustrating thing ever. XP runs fine on old machines with plenty of RAM. I have a laptop with a PIII 750mhz and 1 GB of memory that still runs most of everything smoothly.

RAM is ridiculously cheap these days. Let's keep spreading the good word and shit.
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From: teemus
2005-11-26 02:29 am (UTC)
You said. Windoze XP needs 512 MB to do anything worthwhile on that OS, while FC3/FC4 are decent enough with 256 MB me thinks.
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[User Picture]From: jarodrussell
2005-11-26 02:39 am (UTC)
It's like buying an SUV, with an eight-cylinder engine in there for power, and the manufacturer only sending you four cylinders.
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From: pinterface
2005-11-26 02:52 am (UTC)

As a member of the XP on 256MB of RAM club, I tend to agree. Sadly, RDRAM is absurdly expensive. :'(

To be fair to my current computer, 256MB is usually enough--no doubt my having disabled virtually every non-essential background service has made that possible.

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[User Picture]From: thewalkingman
2005-11-26 02:52 am (UTC)
you could say that it's like buying a sofa that takes up your entire living room and blocks the door. Sure, it's a nice sofa, but just try living with it. Getting more ram is like getting a bigger house to accommodate your nice sofa
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[User Picture]From: bevived
2005-11-26 02:59 am (UTC)
I have 512MB of RAM with XP Pro (SP2) and that's still slow at times with all the programs running in the background. But upgrading a laptop isn't really as easy, is it? :(
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[User Picture]From: byron
2005-11-26 03:38 am (UTC)
Amen brother. I have been preaching that forever. 512 MB of ram is a minimum. At my office we run nothing less then a gig.

I'm working on my wife's bosses machine right now. 1.8ghz Compaq with 128 meg of memory. I dropped in two 128meg sticks just to get it where I could work on it.
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[User Picture]From: grahams
2005-11-26 04:25 pm (UTC)
Except if you have no idea wtf "H rated tires" means the analogy is worthless... =)
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[User Picture]From: da_lj
2005-11-26 04:41 am (UTC)
I wrote this a few years ago for a volunteer organization:

"CPU speed is most like the maximum engine speed. You can do OK with a 400Mhz computer, much like you can do OK with a car that won't go above 80KPH. But being able to go faster (like 800Mhz or even 2500Mhz) will feel better because the computer will seem more responsive and things will get done faster. At the same time, you probably don't need a racecar, even though the sales-person may try to sell you one.

Hard disk size is like trunk space- you use it less frequently, but it carries everything that you're not using at the moment. If you don't have enough, you have to throw stuff out permanently, or store it somewhere else.

Memory (RAM) is like the cabin size in your car. Memory size limits how many things you can do at once, like how many people you can carry comfortably. Computer programs that are running need to fit (mostly) in the memory.

In a modern computer, the most crucial requrement is memory.
Much as obesity is on the rise, computer programs are also getting bigger and bigger. So running a recent Windows XP program may take twice, or ten times, as much memory as running a more memory-efficient older program. And you will always find a reason to have more programs running at once. For that reason, it's a good idea to get at least 256MB of memory, though you might be able to make due with 128MB.

If you don't have enough memory, your computer figuratively has to get out of the car and put stuff in the trunk before it can continue what it was doing. (and then if it needs what it previously put into the trunk, it's got to stop again and get it back).

Every time your disk light turns on, your computer's effectively rummaging in the trunk."

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[User Picture]From: illikaeri
2005-11-26 05:14 am (UTC)
I have the RAM, I just don't have the motherboard for the RAM. I've been tearing my hair out for a week, this computer has 256MB RAM and it's severely screwed up (although I feel like there's something sinister going on) so I am so getting a new motherboard ASAP. And a new CPU. Ooh yeah.
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[User Picture]From: ex_corsiva154
2005-11-26 06:57 am (UTC)
Where can I find the phone number for LJ that deals with overcharging and account errors? I see that this will be screened, so I will state my problem here:

I bought one rename token a few nights ago, or I tried to. However, every time I put in my card info and hit submit, it said 'card security error' and told me to resubmit my info. Which I did six times and still got the same screen. So I left, thinking 'oh, well, I don't get a rename token' only to find out that LJ had charged me all six times for a token. $90 in total. And yet, I have still not received one rename code, nor have I been able to find a phone number in order to speak with someone about getting back the money I was charged when I shouldn't have been charged at all.

Can you tell me what steps I need to take in order to get my money back?
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[User Picture]From: brad
2005-11-27 03:07 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: corsiva
2005-11-27 04:25 am (UTC)
Wow, you think?
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[User Picture]From: brad
2005-11-27 09:26 pm (UTC)
It's nicer than deleting their off-topic interruption in my personal space. My userbio explicitly says not to ask me questions because I don't know the answers.
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[User Picture]From: jc
2005-11-26 01:30 pm (UTC)
Hah, fond memories of that little app.
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[User Picture]From: lakeguy
2005-11-26 09:46 pm (UTC)
hahaha too funny, great idea :P
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[User Picture]From: andrewducker
2005-11-26 08:44 am (UTC)

At least!

512MB is fine for web surfing, but once you start playing any modern games, 1Gig is a good place to be - it made HL2 loading times significantly shorter.
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[User Picture]From: ciphergoth
2005-11-26 02:53 pm (UTC)
spikeylady's computer has 128Mb RAM, and it seems it can't be extended - a friend who knows more about PC hardware than me has tried. So I use it as an X terminal now...
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[User Picture]From: dossy
2005-11-26 03:35 pm (UTC)
"Running a PC without adequate memory is like putting kiddie tricycle wheels on your car."
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From: mwabad22
2005-11-26 05:03 pm (UTC)
Eh, it's a lame excuse by the OEMs to get people to upgrade since Western (esp. American) culture is all about commodity anyway. People want to treat their high-tech gadgets as a plain-ol TV. What? It doesn't got a remote?! Being the techy guy in my family sucks too -- it's always a constant war trying to save them a few bucks. If only they would have better online habits, defragment their hard disks, and treat their tech gadgets better!

I just bought a new toy for myself though -- 8 500GB Seagate disks, RAID-6 goodness :D Of course, the machine has 1GB of RAM, which should be plenty as it's just a file server. RAM's dirt cheap nowadays anyhow!
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[User Picture]From: scsi
2005-11-26 06:22 pm (UTC)
I use the following analogy. It may make sense to normal people.
Its like having a pharmacy (computer) with a totally awesome huge stock of drugs (hard drive) and 2 bad ass pharmacists who can fill 1 rx per second (processors). Unfortunally they can only count drugs on 1/2 foot of counter space (RAM), so they have to continously go back and forth to the stock (swapping) to get each indivudal drug rather than having them all on the counter and blaze through them.
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[User Picture]From: quirrc
2005-11-26 07:49 pm (UTC)
One of the reasons why people did not get used to memory upgrades might be that w98 could not use more than 256M and with 512M often crashed. When I was not using vmware and always installed w98 for testing I had to remove one 256M chip during installation, otherwise it stopped in the middle.
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[User Picture]From: lakeguy
2005-11-26 09:46 pm (UTC)
yeah 256 is pointless
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-27 01:52 am (UTC)
Brad honestly if you care about your product and your clients at all you will do something about this.
Ive been wrongfully banned and haven't gotten a response from anyone in over 4 days about it, despite doing everything the support page says, emailing the address that sent me the ban, and emailing six apart itself.


Someone bought me paid account time that turned out to be fraudulent and they banned me for it, even tho I had nothing to do with the purchase. I have no idea who it was and this sucks.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2005-11-27 03:09 am (UTC)
That does suck. I can't do anything about it, though. Perhaps you haven't gotten a reply in 4 days because it's Turkey Weekend? No clue. I can only suggest waiting it out.
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From: everdred
2005-11-27 08:20 am (UTC)
I wish I had known what MicroDIMM was before buying my Vaio. Particularly, what it means in terms of dollars.
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[User Picture]From: cheesemon
2005-11-27 09:38 am (UTC)
Man, my laptop's on 512 megs, almost nothing in the systray, and it still takes 3 minutes to load XP. Anything less would be uncivilized.
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