How do I know how many pins my computer has?

I’m not sure I’m asking the right thing! A co-worker is going to add RAM to my computer. We went to the store today to buy the memory but I didn’t know how many pins. Do I need to open up the computer to see or is there a way I can tell without doing that (I’m scared I’ll screw it up!).

It’s pretty easy to figure out since there’s about three possible answers. You should tell us everything you can about your computer, especially any numbers written on the front or its age or processor type.

There are a few scanners you can use to see the guts of your computer without actually seeing them. This site seems to address your particular need (although I haven’t tried the scanner myself).

Honestly it’s pretty old but it’s just not in my budget to buy a new one so I’m doing all I can to keep this one, so don’t laugh! It’s a Dell Dimension 4600, which I bought in 2004-ish. Under the My Computer tab is says: Intel Pentium 4 running Windows XP Home Version 2002 Service Pack 3. CPU 2.8GHz, 2.79GHz, 512 MB of RAM

Is that enough info?

184 according to this. Make sure you know what type of RAM it is (DDR or Rambus RIMM) before you stick more in.

Yeah, 184-pin.

The stuff is pretty expensive for what it is. It really isn’t worth doing this. People throw out better computers than you have. Seriously, I use a better system as an end table.

Yes, the guys at work laughed when I told them how old my computer was!

I wish I could get a new one but this one is working fine at the moment (knock wood) and I just can’t justify the expense of a new computer right now.

One more question…do I need to do a back-up before my co-worker dinks around with the computer?

Thanks so much for your help!

I just tried the scanner Mr Kobayashi linked to. It’s from a major RAM manufacturer, it’s safe, no malware. Very small download and finished the scan in maybe 20 sec.

I have identical specs and another 512 MB stick is only 22.00.

It’s always a good idea, especially when tinkering with hardware. All it takes is one slip and goodbye HDD, so I would backup your crucial stuff.

Your Dell by all accounts uses DDR, so make sure you get DDR again or it won’t be compatible with the stuff you have now.

Dell has the documentation for your system online.

The service manual lists.

4 slots of up to 1G each of PC2700 (333-MHz) or PC3200 (400-MHz) DDR SDRAM


This is probably a stupid question but how much can I add? My co-worker seemed to think I should go ahead and add 1GB but I’m not sure I need that…or do I? I don’t do gaming…mostly just email, web-browsing, and stuff related to work (PowerPoint, Word, Excel).

The motherboard is where the limit is, mine only supports up to 1 GB total. The scanner will tell you how much you can add.

It’s physically limited by the amount of slots (4 in your system), your motherboard as runner pat notes, as well as the OS in some cases, for your purposes another 512MB (bringing you up to 1024MB) would probably be fine. You can always add another stick later. Adding 1GB might be more economical, though.

All depends why you are updating in the first place (if it’s just slow and sluggish there can be many reasons, although extra RAM is always useful), how long you want the compy around for and what you’re gonna use it for.

I’m updating because I keep getting “virtual memory is low” warnings and my co-worker said adding memory would fix that.

I need to keep it going for at least another year.

Hmm, there’s a few fixes for that, generally it stems from not having enough space on the HDD;

From the first link:

See if there’s any junk you can bin from your HDD and if your Virtual Memory settings themselves are causing the problem, from the second link;

Although more RAM wouldn’t hurt, of course.

Right click “My Computer”>“Advanced” tab>Performance-click “Settings”>“Advanced” tab look to the bottom-“Virtual Memory” click “Change”

I have mine set to 1500 MB but I have a mostly empty hard drive.

Adding memory is the best way but this will hold you until you can get it installed.

If you don’t feel comfortable changing the virtual memory size, don’t. You can soldier on until you upgrade. :slight_smile:

For the love of god, defrag your hard drive before changing your page file size.

If you’re at 512 MB already, you aren’t going to benefit much from more ram. Just save up for something like this instead.

Okay…yall are killin’ me with this technical stuff! But I’m appreciative for the info/advice!

runner pat, when I go in to change that, on the tab is says “total paging file size for all drives is 768MB”. When I click on the Change button is says:

Available 44634 MB

“Custom” is selected, then it says Initial - 768, Maximum 1536

Then further down it says “Total paging file size for all drives:
Minimum allowed: 2MB
Recommended: 763MB
Currently Allocated: 768MB”

So should I change anything? It sounds like I’m already over some kind of limit.

Oh, and Palooka…I do defrag regularly, so at least I got that going’ for me. (Which is nice.) Also, your link–I take it you build computers?

The general rule of thumb is your page file(virtual memory) should be 1.5 times your RAM, hence the 768 MB. Windows will temporarily expand that up to 1536 MB if needed.

Mine is set to 1500-max 2000.

I also use RAMBooster, some programs don’t release all the RAM they used when you close them, this helps keep it cleaned out.

If you do decide to upgrade your RAM, I would recommend purchasing from They have good prices and good customer service, should you happen to get bad RAM.