Is it worth upgrading my laptop?

shehranazim

Honorable
Jul 27, 2013
1
0
10,510
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Hi Guys,

I have a Dell Studio 1555 Laptop that I bought a few years ago and it has served me well. I use it for my school work, 3D modelling with Blender, Photoshop, Illustrator, as well some light gaming (League Of Legends, Civilization 5, Anno 2070, the Mass Effect Trilogy, etc.).

The thing is, It's getting slightly slow, so I was wondering if it is worth spending £50/£60 to upgrade the RAM from the 3GB it currently has to 8GB.

Also, would it be worth upgrading the 320GB HDD I currently have to an SSD? Would any 2.5" SSD (like the one I have in my PS3 for example) be compatible with my laptop?

My Laptop has the following specs

Name : Dell Studio 155

OS : Windows 7 Ultimate 64Bit
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 2.20GHz
GPU : ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570 512MB (I think)
Memory : 3072 MB
HDD : Samsung 320GB HDD (stock)

I'm not expecting FPS increases in my games due to my outdated GPU, but would I actually see any improvements if I upgraded my RAM and put an SSD in?

Thanks for your help.
 

RetiredChief

Distinguished
Feb 22, 2007
465
0
19,010
80
Economics.
.. Cost of a new Laptop vs the performance gains (current and LONG term) such as CPU performance, USB 3 added, Sata III (really only effects Sata III SSDs) compared to:
.. Cost of Upgrades, SSD + Ram. This will Boost performance - Biggest on being the Hard drive performance.

Real Cost difference is Cost of Upgrade + Value you might get from selling current laptop (No wheres near what you paid) vs the New Laptop - Minus the Value added performance of new laptop

Upgrades.
1 I Also have a Laptop same vintage, but Toshibia. Currently I'm using it at work so can not remember the Amount of Ram.

** On Ram you need to double check if you can use 2 x 4 Gig Modules. Your ram slots may be limited to 2 gig Modules - DOUBLE check. If 3 gigs then one module is 2 gigs and 1 is a 1 gig module. This means Single Channel mode. Dual channel is preferred (Not a big performance gain). Might be best if you just swapped out the 1 one gig module and replaced it with a module with the same specs as the 2 gig stick.
ALSO, what version OS are you using, If 32 bit then Max Ram is 4 Gigs (about 3.2->3.5 gigs Usable). Requires 64 bit OS for 4 Gigs ram.

** SSD. Great, I did swap out the HDD for a SSD. Bear in mind it ONLY improves Boot time, program load times and Reading and writing to the drive - BIG improvement here - HOWEVER programs do NOT run faster. The Only disadvantage of the SSDs for laptops (with only one drive bay) is cost vs size. With a single drive bay laptop a 250 gig SSD (in the US) ON sale goes for around $160->$200. A 128 gig for a little under 100 bucks BUT REMEBER with a 128 gig SSD the Usable size is really only around 85 Gigs. 128 Gig formatted = 119 gigs, then should leave a MIN of 20% unused so that weaqr Leveling, Garbage Collector and TRIM can work their magic.
.. This is Not an issue for laptops with dual drive bays such as my newer i5-2410m laptop - Stuck 2 DDS in that puppy.

Added: Might consider a Hybrid SHD (ie a 750 gig Seagate 7200 RPM HDD with an internal 8 gig SLC SSD). Will give almost SSD performance for Boot time, But out side of Fast boot it then pretty much performs a a regular HDD. Good option for laptops, but would never consider for a desktop.

Don't forget you will be limited to SATA II performance, Big benchmark diff, HOWEVER in Real life not that big of a performance hit.

PS Added: If you decide to go the Upgrade route - While a sata II SSD would work JUST as well in your Laptop as a SATA III SSD, Do get the SATA III so that you can move to a newer desktop/laptop in the near future.
 

elvis304

Honorable
Jul 22, 2013
1
0
10,510
0
I would go for it if the laptop is in good overall shape and you plan to have it awhile. However, T6600 is 2009 tech and eventually it won't be able to handle more demanding tasks.
So, if you want to keep it - upgrade, otherwise think about something with newer chipset.
 

RetiredChief

Distinguished
Feb 22, 2007
465
0
19,010
80
Economics.
.. Cost of a new Laptop vs the performance gains (current and LONG term) such as CPU performance, USB 3 added, Sata III (really only effects Sata III SSDs) compared to:
.. Cost of Upgrades, SSD + Ram. This will Boost performance - Biggest on being the Hard drive performance.

Real Cost difference is Cost of Upgrade + Value you might get from selling current laptop (No wheres near what you paid) vs the New Laptop - Minus the Value added performance of new laptop

Upgrades.
1 I Also have a Laptop same vintage, but Toshibia. Currently I'm using it at work so can not remember the Amount of Ram.

** On Ram you need to double check if you can use 2 x 4 Gig Modules. Your ram slots may be limited to 2 gig Modules - DOUBLE check. If 3 gigs then one module is 2 gigs and 1 is a 1 gig module. This means Single Channel mode. Dual channel is preferred (Not a big performance gain). Might be best if you just swapped out the 1 one gig module and replaced it with a module with the same specs as the 2 gig stick.
ALSO, what version OS are you using, If 32 bit then Max Ram is 4 Gigs (about 3.2->3.5 gigs Usable). Requires 64 bit OS for 4 Gigs ram.

** SSD. Great, I did swap out the HDD for a SSD. Bear in mind it ONLY improves Boot time, program load times and Reading and writing to the drive - BIG improvement here - HOWEVER programs do NOT run faster. The Only disadvantage of the SSDs for laptops (with only one drive bay) is cost vs size. With a single drive bay laptop a 250 gig SSD (in the US) ON sale goes for around $160->$200. A 128 gig for a little under 100 bucks BUT REMEBER with a 128 gig SSD the Usable size is really only around 85 Gigs. 128 Gig formatted = 119 gigs, then should leave a MIN of 20% unused so that weaqr Leveling, Garbage Collector and TRIM can work their magic.
.. This is Not an issue for laptops with dual drive bays such as my newer i5-2410m laptop - Stuck 2 DDS in that puppy.

Added: Might consider a Hybrid SHD (ie a 750 gig Seagate 7200 RPM HDD with an internal 8 gig SLC SSD). Will give almost SSD performance for Boot time, But out side of Fast boot it then pretty much performs a a regular HDD. Good option for laptops, but would never consider for a desktop.

Don't forget you will be limited to SATA II performance, Big benchmark diff, HOWEVER in Real life not that big of a performance hit.

PS Added: If you decide to go the Upgrade route - While a sata II SSD would work JUST as well in your Laptop as a SATA III SSD, Do get the SATA III so that you can move to a newer desktop/laptop in the near future.
 
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