• Creator
  • #2172617

    256 MB enough?


    by wompai ·

    Hey, guys

    I am going to make a computer out of scrap and donate it to charity, but I’ve got this 256MB DDR Memory chip, is this enough to run windows XP on? It is only going to be used for social-networking and surfing on the net. Its not going to be used as game-computer. To make a long story short: It’s not gonna be used for heavy-duty tasks and programs.

    Is 256 MB enough?

    Thanks in advance

All Answers

  • Author
    • #2881618


      by wompai ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?


      • #2881397

        Request for Clarification

        by whiterose_umair ·

        In reply to Clarifications

        it depend on your work. if you want that you run games and other graphical programs it may be difficult to run. it also depend upon your system if your hard disk is less space like 10 GB or 20 GB it also work better than 40 GB hard disk with help of 256 RAM.

    • #2881615

      It will work, slowly, but it will work

      by robo_dev ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      As long as the clock speed is at least 2.4GHZ or so, and the hard drive is not some ancient Maxtor 40, it will run XP. Not well, but it will run. If you really tweak it (shut off services and startup programs you don’t need) then it may be useable.

      The issue is that the hard drive will really thrash with only 256, so if it’s an old and slow hard drive, the system will crawl.

    • #2881608

      i’ve seen xp run with only 64

      by purpleskys ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      but it sure wasn’t pretty. 256 isn’t too bad, but if you could get your hands a little more, it would run smoother.

    • #2881589

      Why not install Ubuntu?

      by choppit ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?


      • #2881359

        Reponse To Answer

        by ternarybit ·

        In reply to Why not install Ubuntu?

        Because ubuntu runs best on XFS, and XFS loves the memory even more than it loves being obtuse. Between that and a virtual file system, I wouldn’t run ubuntu on anything < 1gb

      • #2880506

        Reponse To Answer

        by wompai ·

        In reply to Why not install Ubuntu?

        What about Xubuntu?

    • #2881557

      Onboard video

      by nunob ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      If you have onboard video you may want to either look for an add on video card or at bare minimum go into the BIOS and make sure it is stealing as little as possible say 8MB’s. If you have any extra hard drives you could toss one on a separate controller and move the pagefile to it which may help some. You can find lots of tips also for things like disabling the effects in XP that all will add up.

    • #2881529

      It will be slow

      by doug m. ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      XP, in my opinion, really should have 512 as a bare minimum. You are planning on running some sort of anti-virus, right? That alone will place a burden on the RAM.

    • #2881513


      by pivotmac ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      Nuf said.

    • #2881508

      I’m gonna say, 512 is realistic as well

      by jamesrl ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      My parents had an old PC that I set up for them as a browser/email only box, running Win2K, which is less demanding than XP. They had 512MB and a 2Ghz processor.

      And once you load it up with things like, antivirus, antispyware, flash, java etc, its pretty darn slow.

    • #2881498

      512 mb is better

      by sarahc_ ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      With 512MB, the computer can swap between a couple of applications without stuttering to a standstill.

      I’d still leave all the fancy effects off Windows, and leave the desktop plane blue though.

    • #2881486

      Max the RAM whenever possible

      by juanita marquez ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      Lots of RAM covers a lot of sins, where applications are concerned. I’ve seen some older systems do quite well when there is RAM aplenty.

    • #2881463


      by wompai ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      it’s a 1.5 GHz AMD sempron… XD

      But I’m hoping on adding an extra 256 plus there’s a separate video-card (AGP) and HDD (for paging). I’m planning on tweaking windows and installing a stripped version of windows to remove all functions I don’t need.

      I want to thank you for the quick (and a lot of) replies.

    • #2881417

      Depending on the Processor.

      by linkinparkfan007 ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      I had a Pentium 4 1.6GHZ and it had a bottleneck from the processor before I got a bottleneck on the RAM.

    • #2881386

      Get some extra ram

      by mpcservice ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      256Mb is not usable on a standard installation of win xp. It will be too slow to be of any practical use, sure it runs, but you must be able to work with it. For a couple of $ you should be able to get more Ram for that pc, and make the next user a happy user.

    • #2881351


      by mr020radioman ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?


    • #2881341

      Forget XP, use Bodhi Linux, only 128mb RAM

      by cavehomme1 ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      bodhilinux dot com

      Great interface, only requires minimum of 128mb RAM but of course 256 is better. Far safer than XP and you will not require to run antivirus software. XP will require antivirus and slow it down even more. Basically with XP you need minimum of 512mb to run, and it will still be very slow.

    • #2881317


      by wompai ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      I got the computer up and running just fine on 256 MB of RAM! It requires only 60 MB of RAM in idle state!

      Now I’ve got another question:

      To keep it’s memory usage low, I must have your opinion on the following: What is the least memory using…

      -…web browser?
      -…file browser?
      -…media player?
      -…email utility?

      Note: I’m not searching for the best or the fastest, but the ones with the least memory usage.

      Any suggestions?

      Thanks in advance

      • #2880406

        Reponse To Answer

        by n.gurr ·

        In reply to yay,

        I can recommend Panda Cloud, it is free and does most of the processor work in the cloud thus minimizing the CPU hit. I would also recommend creating a separate user account with limited rights to prevent there being any issues with changes. You could set it to use a password and then not set one on one account but set one for the administrator account. I would also put ccleaner on it to allow you to quickly give the system a spring clean occasionally and Spyware Blaster to attempt to immunize against spyware.

        Good on you for the donation! I would second the recommendation to skip the mail client as many separate people will use the computer. There was a recent article on TR about Browsers so perhaps look for that for a recommendation. VLC is a good free video player.

        i used to have a work pc with XP 500mhz and 128mb Ram, slow but it worked reliably so should this!

    • #2880553

      My list as follows

      by wompai ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      I’ve already made some kind of list, let me know what you think of it:

      -Total Commander
      -Billy (music) and VLC (video)

    • #2880540

      Unethical computer makers: Is this a great country, or what!

      by jonkers ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      Numerous well-known PC manufacturers (HP, eMachines, Gateway, etc.) sold lots of PCs with only 256MB installed RAM in 2001-2002, when XP was first released. These were heavily advertised (both by big-box stores like Circuit City, Best Buy, Sears, Wal-Mart etc., and direct-from-manufacturers), bargain-priced PCs selling for around $550-$1000 or so at that time.

      Many unknowledgable PC buyers bought them, trusting that a reputable name-brand computer bought from a big-name retailer would surely be a “good” computer.

      They soon enough found that they ran like crap, not like what they had been led to expect from the Windows XP ads on their TeeVees, and concluded that something must be broken, or maybe they had gotten a “lemon.” The problem in fact, however, was that they had been built with too little memory, compounded by the manufacturer having pre-installed a shit-load of bloated, hastily and poorly-designed crapware.

      When users went back to the big-box stores to complain, as often as not they would be sold some useless “Magical PC Tune-Up/Optimize” suite package for $79.95, or a “bigger, better” bloated antivirus program.

      When these solutions not only didn’t help but in fact exacerbated the problems, the users would eventually take their PC to a local computer shop to be “fixed.” If the local shop was more competent than the know-nothing staff at the big-box store, and honest, they’d explain that their shiny new computer had been built with insufficient memory, offering to add more for $100 or so.

      The users assumed that they were being scammed by a computer con-artist, because, after all, this was an expensive, name-brand computer — HP (or Dell, or Gateway etc.) would not be building computers with too little memory to run right.

      If they called the manufacturer’s tech support to ask about this, the manufacturers’ asses were covered by Microsoft, who claimed that XP would run on 128MB memory, but the recommended minimum was 256MB.

      A competent local computer shop could have built a better-performing computer with twice as much memory, decent-quality components, and without all the crapware, and sold it for the same or lower price (making a very small profit, however, since they do not have the large volume purchasing power discounts gotten by the big-name brands.) But most people bought the big-name PCs because of the aura of quality associated with those names, thanks to their TeeVees.

      Many of those 256MB PCs ended up in landfills a couple of years later, as consumers got tired of living with the slowness and freeze-ups and went out and bought new ones, probably from a different big-name brand than their previous one. By this time, manufacturers had increased their minimum memory to 512MB, so the new PCs did run better, confirming (in the users’ minds) that either their first PC just happened to be a “lemon”, or that their first PC’s brand-name manufacturer was a bad one, to be avoided in the future, and that the local computer shop who tried to sell them the memory was indeed a con-artist.

      So all of those unethical PC manufacturers sold two PCs instead of just one, their stock prices went up, their CEOs got multi-million dollar bonuses, and everyone lived happily ever after, except for the ethical local computer shop, which has gone out of business, and the earth, whose landfills are full of crap that shouldn’t be there, consisting of precious, finite raw materials mined from the earth and rapidly converted into junk at a very nice profit by the unethical big-name computer manufacturers.

      So the big name corporations in this way make plenty of money with which to buy politicians who will lower their taxes, allow them to hide money in the Cayman Islands banks, outsource manufacturing, support and most everything offshore, bust the dockworker and truckers unions who might try to force them to pay an honest wage to deliver the junk to the big box stores, and allow media consolidation so that Fox News can control what information people are allowed to get from the newspapers and television networks, which will advertise the junk and convince people to blame the migrant Mexicans and “unauthorized” sources of information, like Wikileaks, for all their problems. Is this a great country, or what!

      (Note to Original Poster: Even though it would put you in good company (HP, et al.) to do so, I would not recommend building your friend’s computer with 256MB. But you figured that out already, right?)

    • #2880538

      Did you read his post???

      by edglock21 ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      Did any of you ragging on the OP actually read what he wrote (beside the 256MB question)?

      The PC is for donation to charity. He is not selling it, building it for a friend, or gaming. He wants it able to do basic tasks and then HE’S GIVING IT AWAY.

      OP – I can’t answer your second set of questions other than to say if saving memory is your objective why not just go with web-based mail and skip running a separate mail client all together?

      To answer your first question, yes it will run (as you have discovered). At my Mom’s house there is a Pentium III with 256megs of RAM running XP – it works for her needs.

      • #2880514

        Reponse To Answer

        by wompai ·

        In reply to Did you read his post???

        I now it works, but I started to ask myself: for how long will it work properly??? Cuz’ people will be using that thing, and at some point they want to try stuff out, they are goin’ to have programs installed and they will find out that the computer isn’t capable of some tasks because of the lack of memory… Jonkers (and all the other people on this thread) are right, it will run on 256MB, but 512MB is recommended.

      • #2880350

        Reponse To Answer

        by choppit ·

        In reply to Did you read his post???

        Yes, so installing XP is likely to be illegal, hence Ubuntu…

    • #2880516


      by wompai ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      Ok, Jonkers, I’ll add some RAM…

      • #2880430

        Reponse To Answer

        by jonkers ·

        In reply to Wow,

        Glad to hear it, dude. It’ll be one less computer headed for the landfill too soon.

      • #2880358

        Reponse To Answer

        by wompai ·

        In reply to Wow,

        It now runs at 512 MB (and a lot smoother)

    • #2880508


      by wompai ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      Ey guys

      One of you guys said something about Ubuntu (choppit). This didn’t drew my attention untill a friend of mine also gave me a tip about the linux-based Ubuntu. Now I’m pretty interested in trying that. Is Ubuntu compatible with everything that runs on windows to or do I have to use WINE to do so?

      • #2880405

        Reponse To Answer

        by n.gurr ·

        In reply to Ubuntu

        Just a though, when you donate this box you will become the administrator probably, it is how these things tend to be. Can you be the admin on an Ubuntu box – only you know your Linux skills.

      • #2880349

        Reponse To Answer

        by choppit ·

        In reply to Ubuntu

        I haven’t found any task that can’t be accomplished using Ubuntu but you need to focus on the task rather than the application (for example don’t think about Photoshop/MS Word , think about editing an image/creating a document). The best think of all is that you can try this without committing. Just burn yourself a copy of the desktop iso from the Ubuntu site and boot from it (just give it an allowance for slow running as its fetching from CD on demand instead of from HDD)

    • #2880427


      by chetan kumar ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      i think its goood ))it works in 256mb surfing net enough if u disable background service s
      ))) coz in my company there are using sap application in 256mb nd 2.6ghz))) working fine

    • #2880335

      Maybe works

      by wesley.chin ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      It may work. Depending on everything mentioned so far. Plus you mention it is an old machine. Check the hardware.

    • #2898117

      Absolutely plenty of RAM for XP

      by bluntpencil ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      I guess the subject line gave you the massage clear enough.
      I repair laptops for family( I am a Mormon with 500 wives) and I just love getting ancient Pentium,Pentium Pro, MMx, P2,P3,P4 work.
      XP runs on only 64 mb, and in fact it worked on an early ToshibLaptop without any Memory stick in it!
      I rate Toshiba, at least the older stuff.
      Yeah the PC will be fine to do anything related to spread sheets, Internet(multiple tabs) and it will also happily game too if you only run games pre 2004.
      No Sweat. And they can always add more RAM.
      In the UK just go to a Council Tip and for the exchange of some folding stuff you can come away with enough RAM to light Las Vegas.
      Apple kicked out the door all their hardware with only 128 or 256 Ram when XP was top dog. And if you look at any old magasines you will see that most PCs came with only 256RAM and 512 was actually only for the well -off.
      If I get any old PCs that I can get to run I give them to the kids in my street as most are from Africa.
      256 is plenty because I always put some games on the Hard drive, demos of Chaser, Mistmare, Breed and they run no hassle, even on rubbish Intel graphics.
      Usualy their parents end up using it too but that helps them get into Computers so they eventualy ask me to sell them a better one.
      I am no saint.
      How can you be with more than one wife?

      • #2898115

        Reponse To Answer

        by who am i really ·

        In reply to Absolutely plenty of RAM for XP

        wow dude, dig up old discussions as often as you dig up old hardware?

        256MB RAM will run XP RTM
        but add SP1 then SP2 then SP3 and you need at least 1GB DDR for it to still be usable
        XP SP3 will not run on 64MB
        SP2 barely runs on 512

        they kicked XP RTM out the door with 256 on 20, 40 & 60GB HDDs
        but last time I checked
        systems that shipped with SP3 had at least 1GB RAM
        and 60, 80, & 100+GB HDD

        now add some bloat ware like NIS / NAV or VSE and watch that 256 vanish into 20 to 60 minute boot times and 30 minute load times for IE or Firefox
        I know
        I watched it for months on end on a system with 256MB PC100 SDRAM, 10GB HDD and NAV2003

    • #2898039

      It’ll work fine with 256

      by slayer_ ·

      In reply to 256 MB enough?

      I have a work station I use constantly, it has 256 RAM, current usage is 188mb (including swap file) and that’s with SQLserver 2000 running on it, and about a dozen applications plus VNC and other remote client tools.
      Its actually pretty snappy and fast. Its only a 1.6ghz computer.
      XP figures out its RAM usage pretty well, the more you add, the more it will use, the less you have, the less it uses. I am frankly amazed this system doesn’t use any swap file with such low RAM.

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