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XOIIO's avatar

Bypass max ram on a toshiba tecra 8000?

Asked by XOIIO (18320points) February 21st, 2011

I want to use an old toshiba tecra 8000 strictly for torrenting, so I want to upgrade it to xp. I can put a max of 256 megs of ram in it, but for XP to run well it needs 512. Is there a way to add more than 256 megs of ram to the laptop?Why can’t I add more?

If I can’t upgrade, what old OS will support the latest itunes best? I need the codecs to use my ipod as a wifi adapter

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14 Answers

jerv's avatar

RAM limits are based on either OS addressing (which is why you need a 64-bit OS to exceed 4GB) or the BIOS, whichever is lower. In general, a hardware limit like your 256MB ceiling is not changable. It is remotely possible that the limit is due to the fact that 128MB was the largest DIMM they made back when that thing was built, but I doubt it.

Comparing that Tecra’s specs to the minimum requirements for iTunes was… disheartening. The requirement for a DirectX 9.0 or greater video adapter with 32MB+ video RAM knocks you right out, even if we disregard the fact that WinXP SP2 is the oldest OS that iTunes supports.

However, I know a man with a plan, and I expect him momentarily ;)

koanhead's avatar

Assuming you can install XP on that rig at all, it will not work well. Trying to run iTunes on it will make you sad.

As @jerv says it’s possible you can replace memory modules to boost the RAM. It’s worth trying if you have the parts or can get them easily. More RAM is always a good thing to have.

I recommend you install something like Damn Small Linux to the machine. Ubuntu or Xubuntu are likely too resource-heavy to run well. DSL has a small footprint and can run any of several torrent clients. As the website states, DSL can run completely from RAM within 128MB, so the memory will not be an issue. Best of all, DSL runs from a “live” CD or USB image so you can try it without installing.

The only problem is, it won’t run iTunes. No matter what you do, it’s unlikely that this particular machine will ever run iTunes. Your commment about needing “codecs to use my ipod as a wifi adapter” does not make sense. You need device drivers to use the ipod that way, not codecs (codecs are only about coding/decoding file streams.) DSL might have the drivers built in- try plugging in the ipod and see what happens.
Anyway, if the machine is just for torrenting, you won’t want to use your ipod that way anyhow- it would be a drag to have to leave your ipod behind while you are torrenting. Get a dedicated wireless interface- they are easy and cheap to get. These days most USB wireless adapters will work with Linux. If it doesn’t have USB, you can get a PC Card wireless device at any store that carries used computer parts (I don’t think they make these any more- it doesn’t seem like newer laptops have PC Card slots.) If you go this route, try to get a Cisco brand card. If you haven’t got any stores of this type near you, or if you need more help, feel free to PM me and I’ll see what I can do for you.

Or, if you are really adventurous, tear out the mobo and replace it with a BeagleBoard…

XOIIO's avatar

Well then drivers, but the PDAnet uses all the ipod drivers From itunes, all I need to do is the install, i don’t need to run it.

I am flat broke, soI can’t buy anything. The ram and xp pro was gonna be for free. I can easily get the max of 256 megs.

As for the ipod, I have a shiny new 4th gen, so it gives some use for my old, cracked, second gen that the audio jack is almost completely broken in.

@jerv I read online, and it said there was no documentation for having over 256 megs of ram, that it might work but the BIOS might not support it.

How can I simply boost this machine up to do what I need? It’s my only option, and I have no money to get a new mobo for it.

Here is supposedly someone who has 512 megs of ram on the machine, a few answers down.

jerv's avatar

I am just thinking that for what RAM costs, you could get a computer like my old Frankenbox. I mean, I got my last P4 (a 3.4 GHz Northwood) with 2GB RAM and a 256MB Radeon for $50.

koanhead's avatar

If you are getting the memory for free, then there’s no harm in trying it out. Just make sure you take the appropriate precautions when working inside the machine, as usual. If it doesn’t work, oh well. You can still go the Linux route if that’s the case. In fact I would recommend trying that first (download a live cd image, burn it, and try booting the laptop from it, and then see if it supports your devices) because it’s free and you might get lucky.

Odysseus's avatar

Raising The maximum stated compatible memory is not some software edit that can be done to computers. It is a physical restriction due to the architecture of the motherboard.

You may be able to overclock the memory slightly and turn off all whistles and bells on your XP OS for a performance improvement.
( I managed to get a laptop with 128MB RAM up and running using XP Lite.)

XOIIO's avatar

@Odysseus would xp lite run itunes on it?

@jerv I’m hoping to get cash soon, the main thing is that I wanted a laptop because I’m tight for space and I could have it sitting on a shelf as it ran.

I used to have an old desktop but that dissapeared, and all the pc’s at this place cost 80 and up its a charity that refurbishes, I hang out there a lot

I could use a desktop, but it kindof would bother me having a totally usable pc just sitting there and not being used, I’m like that with technology. Even with my grand-and-a-half laptop a fully functionin 100 dollar or so XP machine would seem… wasteful. I also don’t have a huge amount of room.

They do do teardowns there, they might let me take an ancient one and do a near-complete refurbish, cleaning it out and acronising it. I’ll have to check.

jerv's avatar

Where @koanhead and I live, there are quite a few places that recycle computers, so we are a little spoiled by access to cheap hardware. Still, even a netbook would be overkill here.

But not being used? Your router just sits there, but do you have the same feelings about it?

XOIIO's avatar

@jerv But it serves a function, and the only function that it can possibly provide, so it’s fullfilling it’s duties. A computer has so much more potential.

All I need is an old juker to run itunes and utorrent and I’m set.

jerv's avatar

Exactly! You don’t need a Core i3 with a GT 240 video card like mine for that. Hell, I’ ve fished systems out of the dumpster that would do that. Just set it in the closet and connect via VNC; it doesn’t even need it’s own monitor or keyboard!

XOIIO's avatar

Well I have my eye on a teardown with 600 megs or so of ram, and it’s got the sticker for xp pro. They said I’ll probably get it right away except for checking the hdd size.

XOIIO's avatar

yeah, it’s got around 700 megs of rambus ram, i only got a quick glace at it.

jerv's avatar

Rambus? Oh my…

Okay, the number is probably 768MB, and you’ll have no end of fun trying to find additional RAM if you ever decide you want 1GB or more. It is better and often cheaper to stick with standardized parts that were popular and/or are still in use, like DDR/DDR2/DDR3.

WinXP takes up about 600–700 MB of memory by itself, so to even run Windows by itself with any sort of speed requires 768 MB. That allows you to run Windows entirely from RAM instead of using virtual memory which is over 1,000 times slower, but doesn’t leave much room for other programs like a torrent client or iTunes. That means you really need 1GB or more.

However, if you ditch iTunes, you can get away with far less computer and 256 MB RAM.

XOIIO's avatar

Well, I sent time looking for the actual drivers in iTunes, and I think I will just recreate the file directories so that it only has the drivers for the program to use. It should work, right?

I can probably get 1 gig of DDR

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