I’m pricing out a machine at dell that only comes with 256 megs of rdram ( in two 128 meg sticks). Their specs show two more memory slots, how would I need to buy memory so it would work? I’m assuming I do need 512 to run xp well, and I can do better on pricewatch than the 190 pricetag listed at dell’s site.

I wouldn’t suggest going with RDRAM unless you have money to burn.

You can use two more sticks of equal size, either 128 or 256 or 512 MB. But be sure to check the price and availability first! It’s not just that RDRAM is expensive, it’s pretty much dead by now. All the new systems use DDR SDRAM. You have to make really sure that you get the RDRAM, and at the price you intended, before buying such a machine.

I have PC-1066 Kinston and I swear by it. Especially great with Quad Pumped P4 chips and boards. Worth every cent.

I looked into this a while back, but even with the latest DDR speed jumps I don’t think things have changed. 1066 RDRAM is faster than SDRAM. If you don’t mind paying the premium price and investing in a dead end tech, you should go ahead and get some. You can rest assured your memeory is as fast as it gets.

here’s a link to the machine, with a 300 rebate on it right now it’s only 600. Was thinking of using this as a kids machine.


I have a coupon for 100 off a 1000, so after rebate with a 17 inch monitor the whole thing is 600 dollars. Can pick up the ram for for additional 82. I think this is a better deal than upgrading an old p3 500 we have sitting around the kids use now. I figured with that all I would be able to salvage is the hard drive, don’t think I con put together as good a system for that price.

The difference in speed between DDR SDRAM and PC1066 RDRAM on the i845 and Granite Bay motherboards is so slight that it’s only detectable in benchmarks. Most benchmark comparison I’ve seen show RDRAM leading by only a couple of percent overall, and the DDR even wins a few of the benchmarks in the suite.

If you live to out-3DMark your neighbor, go for 1066.

If you’re actually interested in a good balance of performance and bang for the buck, though, DDR makes a lot more sense. You’re talking a couple of FPS max difference, or a few extra seconds on a minutes-long video render. Not worth double the price.

If you don’t mind paying the premium price and investing in a dead end tech

I think you should be able to do better price-wise on a DDR configuration. Not like the 2-5% performance improvement that RDRAM brings to the table is going to be noticeable to the kids anyway, and the option to add more cheap DDR memory will be important later in this machine’s life.

Yeah, ditto what those guys all said. But if you are going to persist with this purchase, I would just call Dell and make sure your plan to purchase RDRAM from pricewatch is giong to work. You need to make sure you can really add two more 128 sticks before you commit.

I ran win2k and XP for a couple of years with 256MB. I recently upped to 512MB for BF1942, but I’ve noticed no performance difference on any other game or application. I’d suggest you stick with the stock configuration, especially since you are buying it for your kids.

Just to ask then, where can I buy a comparable system for 600 dollars? I was thinking this one has an agp slot, so I could upgrade the video at some point, probably when I get a new card for my machine. I couldn’t at the dell or gateway sites build a comparable ddr machine. The one at dell was 45 dollars more to go with ddr (same 256 stock memory).

Right now, there actually IS a rather significant performance delta between P4 systems with DDR and those with Rambus. As Denny said, it’s slight with the Granite Bay chipset, which uses dual DDR memory channels. ut that’s not what Dell sells for DDR systems now. Granite Bay is meant for workstations and servers, not desktop PCs. Dell sells single-channel DDR motherboards and they’re significantly slower than RDRAM.

HOWEVER - later this month is when the transition comes to the 875 (Canterwood) chipset, which is the consumer dual DDR400 chipset. Supports DDR333 and 400, and supports the 533 and upcoming 800MHz front-side bus CPUs.

If you haven’t bought the system yet, definitely wait until that happens. Those motherboards are a lot faster than the current single-channel DDR setups, even a touch faster than RDRAM, and they support the faster bus speeds that will give you more headroom in the future to drop in a faster CPU next year. Plus other goodies like Serial ATA.

There is something to be said for not springing for a value machine. What is the appeal of buying something new for the kids to use? With how fast tech changes, I think it’s always better to hand off to the kids and spend money on the latest and greatest for myself.

I’d hardly call 2 to 5% difference “rather significant.” Especially when it’s typically more 2 to 3%…

my machine isn’t old enough to justify a new one for myself. My kids are old enough we are playing quite a bit of lan gaming together. The problem is one of the machines we are using is a p3 500 that can’t be upgraded any farther. Even JK2, which is our current favorite, won’t run well on it with everything turned off and lowest graphic settings. So if I could add another complete system for 600 that would work, it’s worth it. 2 - 3 thousand for a new machine thats decked out isn’t.

Even though technology does change fast, we bought the old machine 6 years ago, put maybe 100 dollars in upgrades in it and it just now has reached tradeoff point. Was thinking this machine uses the faster bus so I could drop a new processor in it, and has an agp slot so could upgrade the graphics.

where can I buy a comparable system for 600 dollars?

You will need to add a gaming AGP videocard to the above… so factor in an additional $99. I still recommend the GeForce 4200 (~$120), or the Radeon 9000 (~$75) if you want to spend a bit less and get decent performance.


Be sure to check your PMs…