Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Power-Hungry Pcs Computer Users Add Memory to Run Programs as Worldwide Oversupply Cuts the Cost of Chips

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Power-Hungry Pcs Computer Users Add Memory to Run Programs as Worldwide Oversupply Cuts the Cost of Chips

Article excerpt

It's a problem as old as that clunky PC collecting dust in your basement.

A personal computer can become obsolete because new programs may require more memory to run than last year's cutting-edge computer can handle. Adding more memory, however, costs more money.

Now there's a loophole: record-low prices for expanding your computer's random-access memory.

This may be the best time ever to bolster your home or office computer's RAM - the computer's primary work space. Prices for computer memory chips have plummeted this year.

RAM costs 50 percent less than it did three months ago at Softwaire Centre in Clayton's business district. A 16-megabyte memory chip that cost $550 in February and $300 in May sells for $150 today.

Not surprisingly, consumer demand for RAM has shot up.

Computer owners who thought they could only afford to add 4 or 8 megabytes of RAM now shop for increased virtual muscle. Four megabytes cost more in February than 16 do today.

"Our sales probably have quintupled over last year," said Larry Malashock, owner of Software Plus in Creve Coeur. "Corporations are dramatically increasing the number of chips they are purchasing."

The price drop comes at a good time because new software - especially those for the Windows 95 operating system - demands much more memory than earlier, less-advanced programs.

Your home computer should have 16 megabytes of RAM if you want it to run new programs quickly and efficiently, experts say. As recently as last Christmas, the standard Pentium computer came with only 8 megabytes.

Windows 95 requires at least 16 megabytes to run optimally, although its creators claim that 8 is enough.

The new version of Microsoft Access, a popular database manager, and Adobe Pagemaker, a desktop publishing program, use 12 megabytes.

If you want more user-friendly programs, you have to resign yourself to buying more RAM.

"That's the price for better programs," said Michele Peters, purchasing manager at Softwaire Centre.

The newest games also put a heavy strain on memory because of their high-resolution graphics.

John Valline, the corporate sales manager at Software Plus, recently brought home a new computer golf game, Links LS. …

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