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What should I upgrade on my laptop ?

This is a discussion on What should I upgrade on my laptop ? within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; Hi, I want to upgrade my laptop performance. So far, I can only think of more RAM. Video card seems ...

  1. #1
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    What should I upgrade on my laptop ?

    Hi,

    I want to upgrade my laptop performance. So far, I can only think of more RAM. Video card seems too expansive. Maybe CPU but I would have this done by a professional which will more expansive too.

    I have a Toshiba Satellite C650D

    Specs :
    AMD Athlon X2 Dual-Core P340
    2.2 GHZ
    500GB Hard Drive
    3 GB of RAM
    ATI Radeon HD 4250
    Windows 7 64-bits

    I want to upgrade it to 8GB of RAM.

    So, what do you think ?

    Thank you !

  2. #2
    Registered User carrotcake1029's Avatar
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    You plan to make upgrades to a laptop?

    You will have to check with your manufacturer, but most laptops you can't upgrade anything other than the memory, hard drive or battery. Everything else is so integrated it would be nearly impossible to swap out. Also upgrading RAM can only do so much. People somehow think its a cure-all for computer slowness.

    If you want something that you can upgrade in the future, build a desktop. Otherwise just buy a new laptop, they're getting pretty cheap now anyway. Just keep your eyes open.

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    Ok thanks, I was about to ask "Will 3gb to 8gb make a so big difference anyway?" but then thought I would search this so I won't ........ everyone off :P. I might make a desktop and get a netbook, that would be good ! I'm often outside so I need to keep my computer with me and I don't to look like this

    Name:  barnes_and_noble.jpg
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    Edit : Also, what do you think of the combining netbook and desktop ? Like a good custom desktop and a ~250$ netbook for outside. Is it worth it ? Because it doesn't sound so cheap :P
    Last edited by zakiuz; 10-05-2011 at 09:34 PM. Reason: one more question

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    Quote Originally Posted by zakiuz View Post
    Ok thanks, I was about to ask "Will 3gb to 8gb make a so big difference anyway?"
    Going from 3 to 8 will make a difference, probably not as much as the "memory is power" crowd will tell you... but it will enable something that will make quite a noticeable difference... Disabling the hard disk swap file. This is usually good for a 10 to 15% performance boost by itself if you have enough memory to run all your programs without it.

    My desktop runs win7-x64 with 8gb ram, no swap file on a 2.4 ghz AMD Athlon X2 processor... It's faster than my friend's 3ghz machine with only 2gb ram... because I am able to turn off the swap file and capitalize on the added speed of an all-memory machine.

    Further speed increases, without a swapfile, can be gained by disabling the SuperFetch service, all unnecessary background tasks (see the scheduler) and PreFetching only OS Files.

    Typical of most laptops (and Toshiba are amongst the best) you're not going to change CPU or Video or Chipset since they're soldered into the boards. You are relegated to memory, hard disk and battery. So your biggest improvements will come with OS, drivers and careful tweaks.

    BTW... if you really want to see a Toshiba machine fly... get rid of all the silly Toshiba utilities that launch in background... Usually the best way is to do a "clean install" from a Win7 DVD, removing the "restore partition" in the process... then add the needed drivers. It really does make quite a difference.
    Last edited by CommonTater; 10-05-2011 at 10:27 PM.

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    Registered User manasij7479's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zakiuz
    Edit : Also, what do you think of the combining netbook and desktop ? Like a good custom desktop and a ~250$ netbook for outside. Is it worth it ? Because it doesn't sound so cheap :P
    That is what I currently have.
    A moderately good desktop and a netbook.

    I'd say that it is a very good idea if you need both portability and heavy duty work... (and also the luxury of not having to sit straight on a chair when just reading or surfing )
    Manasij Mukherjee | gcc-4.9.2 @Arch Linux
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    1.None of the other participants are fast and steady.
    2.The fast and unsteady suddenly falls asleep while running !



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    I think I might sell my computer to get an Asus K53SV-XP1. What do you think, it seems pretty cheap for the specs. Are Asus laptops good ?

    Asus 15.6" Intel Core i5-2410M Laptop (K53SV-XP1) - Black - English : 15" Laptops - Future Shop

    2.30 GHz
    Intel Core i5
    8GB of RAM, 1333 MHz
    640 GB Hard drive
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M (is it good ?)

    So, what do you guys think ? Should I go for 8gb with my Toshiba or sell it (how much could I get) and buy an Asus ?

    Thanks for all the help it's really appreciated !

    PS : Sorry I'm really a noob when it comes to hardware ;p

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    That sounds very good for the price, which is very unusual for Futureshop, especially since Asus is usually a fairly expensive brand (not nearly as expensive as Sony Vaio or Apple, but more expensive than most others).

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    Having some experience with Asus laptops, I'd stay with the Toshiba... Add more memory, do a hard disk wipe and clean install of Win7, then do a little tweaking... I'm thinking you'll be glad you did.

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    Well I think changing computer now could be good since I still have my warranty, it could help me sell it. The Toshiba now costs 530$ and I could sell it 400$. In fact I bought it 400$ in a huge sale ;p. With the Asus I would have a better video card, more RAM, more hard drive GB, better processor. Here is comparison.

    Compare Results - Future Shop

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    The AMD vs Intel debate for CPUs has been ongoing for a couple of decades now... Plain truth... a dual core AMD will outrun a dual core Intel (with hyperthreading enabled) at the same clock speeds... not by a whole lot, but it will be faster.

    The ATI vs NVidia debate is relatively new. From personal experience with hundreds of video cards... NVidia chips are furnaces. They run danger hot almost all the time and frankly they don't offer that much of a performance gain over ATI... My current coding system has had both NVidia and ATI Radeon cards in it... frankly I'll take the ATI any time... no fan, 1080p with ease, no fancy power cables or strange two board setups... just put it in and use it.

    For the other, some features of the ASUS are better... some of the Toshiba are better.

    But you are failing to consider one thing... reliability. I've sold both Toshiba and Asus... the return rate on the Toshibas was half what it was on the Asus, 1/4 what it was for HP...

    But it's up to you... Enjoy your new computer.

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    Thanks for the help @CommonTater ! I'll think about all of this and don't rush, a lot of computers are for 300$, people won't go over 400$ for now ;P. And the Asus is on regular price so I have the time.

    Really appreciate your help !

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    The AMD vs Intel debate for CPUs has been ongoing for a couple of decades now... Plain truth... a dual core AMD will outrun a dual core Intel (with hyperthreading enabled) at the same clock speeds... not by a whole lot, but it will be faster.
    That would have been true a while ago, until the introduction of Core 2 series. Core 2 was based on Pentium-M, an extremely efficient architecture, with instructions per clock almost twice as high as P4, which was a fair bit slower than AMD clock for clock.

    For desktops, some people choose AMD CPUs because they are usually cheaper for the same performance, and some lower end CPUs have unlocked multipliers. For laptops though, you'll most definitely want an Intel CPU. Intel platform (both CPU and northbridge) power management is much much better. That means less heat, and longer battery life. I have a laptop with 2.5GHz Core i3 CPU that can run for about 8 hours on a charge. Nothing from AMD comes close. If you look at current laptop line-ups, only lower end machines use AMD. No (very few) high end laptops use AMD CPU. I would definitely pay a little bit extra to get Intel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post
    That would have been true a while ago, until the introduction of Core 2 series. Core 2 was based on Pentium-M, an extremely efficient architecture, with instructions per clock almost twice as high as P4, which was a fair bit slower than AMD clock for clock.
    AMD is still a bit faster at the same clock speed. Notice that most of these companies no longer publish the clock speeds as up-front specifications. They're advertising the cpu model number instead. What you may be missing in the performance arena is that for equivalent performance the AMD machines are usually running a slightly lower clock speed...

    Your point about battery life is taken for older AMD CPUs, however with the new "cool and quiet" setup, the cpu actually loafs along at less than 1/2 normal speed, picking up speed as load increases... it's not the CPU that's hurting batter life in AMD systems, it's usually the chipset. But yes, intel based systems generally do give you a slightly longer per-charge playtime.

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    AMD is still a bit faster at the same clock speed. Notice that most of these companies no longer publish the clock speeds as up-front specifications. They're advertising the cpu model number instead. What you may be missing in the performance arena is that for equivalent performance the AMD machines are usually running a slightly lower clock speed...
    I believe the opposite is actually true nowadays.

    For example, let's look at some high end CPUs. Both are quad core, 3.4GHz, 8MB cache, from the newest series -
    Intel i7 2600K - NCIX.com - Buy Intel Core i7 2600K Quad Core Unlocked Hyperthreading Processor LGA1155 3.4GHZ Sandy Bridge 8MB - Intel - BX80623I72600K - in Canada
    AMD Phenom II 965 - NCIX.com - Buy AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Quad Core Processor AM3 3.4GHZ 8MB Cache 125W 45NM Retail Box - AMD - HDZ965FBGMBOX - in Canada

    There is an almost 3 times price difference, and all reviews suggest that the Intel chip is much much faster, at a lower TDP of 95W vs AMD's 125W. The difference in thermal efficiency also makes overclocking Intel CPUs a lot easier, if you are into that.

    It would be very sad if AMD goes out of business and Intel gets monopoly, but currently, it seems like AMD just can't keep up with the tech, and has to resort to price war to capture the low segment. That cannot be too healthy for the company. In fact, there is no high end CPU from AMD at the moment that can compete directly with high end Intel CPUs, regardless of clock speed.

    But of course, as we all know, clock speed means very little when comparing CPUs with different architectures. Even benchmark performance is a lot more accurate indication of speed, and last time I checked, AMD CPUs are cheaper for the same performance (but eats more power, and has smaller overclocking room).

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    Quote Originally Posted by CommonTater View Post
    AMD is still a bit faster at the same clock speed. Notice that most of these companies no longer publish the clock speeds as up-front specifications. They're advertising the cpu model number instead. What you may be missing in the performance arena is that for equivalent performance the AMD machines are usually running a slightly lower clock speed...

    Your point about battery life is taken for older AMD CPUs, however with the new "cool and quiet" setup, the cpu actually loafs along at less than 1/2 normal speed, picking up speed as load increases... it's not the CPU that's hurting batter life in AMD systems, it's usually the chipset. But yes, intel based systems generally do give you a slightly longer per-charge playtime.
    Well, maybe instead of arguing the point here... this is very contradictory to what is commonly known today (whether that common knowledge is true or not I shall not speculate).
    Perhaps you might back up these claims? I would be interested to know.
    One thing I know for sure is that cost-per-performance goes to AMD.
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