Limited experience with Dell Optiplex 745 Desktop

5/22/2012 9:49:58 AM

Q: I have a quick question that I cannot find an answer for, and I am hoping you can help.

I have recently revamped and old Dell Optiplex 745 Desktop with Windows 7 and with the very best component available for it that I could find. My aim is to get the WEI score as high as possible, although I know WEI has no real impact on overall performance.

I was just wondering why the RAM score is capped at 5.9? The reason is that there’s 4GB (4x1GB) DDR2 800MHz installed, filling all four slots (the Dell 745 doesn’t allow 8GB of 800MHz rated RAM).

I deliberately bought the faster 800MHz RAM thinking it would be quicker than the 667. If I trade the 4GB 800 RAM for 8GB of 667MHz RAM, do you think I would see an improvement?

Description: Dell OptiPlex 745 (Desktop)

Dell OptiPlex 745 (Desktop)

The Windows Experience Index score is a strange little feature, and many people understandably find it quite confusing, and worry that their PC isn’t running as well as it should, based on the score they get.

As you said, the thing to keep in mind is that this rating isn’t a real indicator of performance, but it really only a rough estimate of how your configuration rates against others, and how well it may perform certain tasks while running your OS.

Description: The Windows Experience Index is a useful but misleading tool.

The Windows Experience Index is a useful but misleading tool.

The overall score, however, is always misleading, as it’s held back by your slowest component, usually the hard drive. It’s also affected by your CPU too, and Intel chips will usually score higher than equivalent AMD units.

Your issue, however, isn’t with the overall score, but with your RAM score being limited to 6.9. You’ve installed 4GB of 800MHz RAM, which is certainly going to be fast, but the problem here lies with how Window 7 scores the component. It will limit less than 4GB to a score of 5.9. Now, you’re probably thinking that you do have 4GB, and so should get a higher score. The truth may be that you don’t have 4GB as far as Windows sees it.

You didn’t mention if you’re running a separate graphics card, or if you’re using the on-board GPU. I suspect you’re using the on-board chip, in which case you system will be assigning some RAM to that, taking some of your 4GB of memory away from the total, leaving Windows 7 to see less than the 4GB you physically have installed, hence the lower score. You could install a separate GPU, and disable the on-board, which may improve the score, but to be honest, that’s more money for a fairly minor concern.

The decision to move to 8GB of RAM depends on a couple of things really. Is your Windows 7 installation 64-bit? Is so, then the 8GB will probably give you a boost, and may also improve the WEI score. The performance difference between 667 and 800 is negligible, so the increase amount will certainly be better.

However, if you’re running a 32-bit OS, then you’ll be limited to around 4GB of 800MHz memory. Hopefully, this sheds some light on your issue.
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