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Upgrades Uncovered Get More Bang for Your Buck with These Windows Server and Desktop Enhancement Tips


HENEVER you’ve been allocated money for a Windows system upgrade, it helps to have a sense of where to spend it to get the most value back.

You should also be aware that priorities have changed slightly over time. What was once a valuable upgrade is now not as useful. Let’s examine some common Windows upgrades and their respective values.

Adding RAM Never Hurts You can almost never go wrong with adding memory

to a Windows system, no matter how big or small its workload. The more memory available, the more it makes up for things like slow disk access. This is accomplished by allowing more pre-caching of commonly used data. Both Windows desktops and servers stand to gain from this. This has become better understood in the past few

years, especially after Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows 7 dropped. Both—as well as Windows XP to some extent—prepopulate RAM with commonly used data. If an application needs extra memory, the least commonly accessed data in the cache is automatically cycled out. When it comes to desktops, the performance boost

gained from adding memory should always be balanced against its application load. A 4GB desktop that doesn’t run a lot of memory intensive applications—think Excel

pivot tables and virtualization—won’t benefit much from an upgrade to 8 GB. The same can be said of servers, although it’s easier to justify adding memory to a server because its workload is inherently that much larger. When it comes to memory, you get what you pay for,

but only up to a certain point. It’s typically not worth finding the cheapest memory. That said, it’s also not worth splurging on the most expensive memory. The only time that’s justified is when you’re spending extra for memory features that your system requires, like error correction for server memory.

Upgrading Storage? Buyer Beware! Sometimes the system in question can’t handle a memory upgrade either because it’s already maxed out or because the memory necessary isn’t cost effective. This is a common problem with systems that are more than a few years old. In these cases, consider upgrading your system’s storage. This doesn’t mean just adding more storage, but replacing slower drives with faster ones wherever possible. In this context, faster means input/output operations

per second (IOPS). You can’t assume that this metric will directly correlate with rotational speed or size. Remember, a larger drive might not automatically be faster because of seek times.




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