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Community Newsletter: Q&A forum: Finding compatible memory and a new hard drive for an older PC

by: Lee Koo (ADMIN) October 9, 2008 12:49 PM PDT

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Finding compatible memory and a new hard drive for an older PC

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) ModeratorCNET staff - 10/9/08 12:49 PM


This is a two-part question, but I'd be happy to understand even one of them:

The PC is not brand name. It is running Windows XP, and I plan to add more RAM to it. But I don't know what to buy. How do I figure out which memory will work in a PC (size/speed/max capacity)? I'm guessing some of the RAM available today is not compatible (too fast?) and I don't know what the main board supports. Normally, I'd look at the manual for the mother board specifies is supported, but there isn't one. I don't want to do the trial and error method. Is there a way to find out what memory is supported?

The second questions is about todays hard drives. What hard drives are compatible with anything or are some only supported with the latest and greatest? It used to be there were just SCSI and IDE drives. IDE drives eventually surpassed SCSI drives in terms of speed and became the norm.

All I had to do is look at faster RPMs, faster seek times, and larger capacities and buffers (well, reliability was another). Life for the ignorant was so simple. I've fallen behind the times (even more) and don't know what to look for, especially when I want to upgrade older PCs. I don't know what UDMA and SATA are. Are these connections? Then there is SATA2 or is it SATA II and are these compatible with any "SATA" supporting PCs? Does it work with older PCs that use IDE cables or do some HDs support both while others do not? What is NCQ and is it something I should look for? What else should I look for, as I wonder if these things are worth enough to upgrade the motherboard for too? Thanks!

--Submitted by Dan C.

Here are some featured member answers to get you started, but
please read up on all the advice and suggestions that our
members have contributed to this member's question.

Making your upgrade easier... --Submitted by Wolfie2k5

Upgrading your computer --Submitted by waytron

Components for an older PC --Submitted by Watzman

Not terribly hard, but unclear whether you should upgrade. --Submitted by BigGuns149;posts#2879966

Older PC memory and hard drive upgrades --Submitted by DrMicro

If you have any additional advice or recommendations for Dan, please click on the reply link and submit it. Please be as detailed as possible in your answers and if you have links even better. Thanks!

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