Laptop Upgrades worth it?

aymen_a22

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My partner has a Sony Vaio E series with an i3-370M processor and 3gb RAM in a 2GB + 1GB configuration.

Recently her computer has started slowing down a lot, I have completed an Anti-Virus scan, run CCleaner, Malwarebytes and SFC/ Scan command all coming out fine.

Basically I want to know a few things:

1) My laptop has an i5-3210M with 6GB of RAM in a 4GB + 2GB configuration. I know the part number of my 4GB stick and was thinking of getting a second stick of the same part number to make 8GB and run dual channel. Will this actually make my laptop faster, obviously the extra 2GB will have an affect but will both sticks being the same also yield an increase?

2) If I upgrade my RAM, I would put my old 2GB stick into the Vaio. Would the Sony be any faster for having 2x2GB sticks of RAM?

3) I was looking at also upgrading the Vaio CPU from the i3-370M to an i5-560M as they appear to be less than £40. Is it worth upgrading the CPU? Both have a clock speed of 2.4Ghz.

Main uses of the laptops are:
The Vaio is only used for Internet, Word Processing etc.
My laptop is used for CFD simulations which does require a lot of RAM.

Any help would be great,
 

dodger46

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Check your Memory usage when in full flight CFD simulation, if you're close to 6Gb then the extra 2 will make a difference. Doubt the extra gig will help the Vaio much. Nor would I expect a Quantum leap in performance with the CPU upgrade, moreover I'd be a little concerned that the BIOS would accept it, best check with Manufacturer 1st. (Different Wattages require extra cooling)
I've recently been introducing SSHDs to older, slower laptops and have been impressed with the results so far. You can get a Seagate 500Gb SSHD for around £50 and there is a remarkable improvement in Boot and Launch times, worth considering? Seagate recommend a Clean Install which would be a pain, but state that there should be no difference with a Clone/System Image recovery. Main advantage of clean install would be removal of 'clutter'
Another possibility would be replacing HDDs with an SSD, I've done this to several laptops where large volumes of storage are not an issue, and in fact installed 32Gb SD cards to store Personal Folders. The result is more than impressive...

 

aloof11

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1) Having the same two sticks of RAM is better then having two mismatched sticks, also the speed (as in 1333 or 1600 mhz etc) matters, the faster the better, though there is a point where the extra money spent on faster RAM doesnt really give enough performance back (stick with 1600mhz for your laptop). Having 8gb of RAM will help let you run many programs at once or memory intensive applications without having the laptop slow down much. Also, 8gb seems to be the cutoff point right now, more then 8gb isnt normally needed for ordinary use or even gaming use but in your case since you use your laptop for CFD simulations having more than 8gb wouldnt be a bad idea either (Ive read that 12gb is recommended for CFD sims). You can look up the max amount of RAM your motherboard supports and also the max speed it can take so that everything works as expected

2) Yes the Vaio should get a boost from the new 2x2 configuration (again verify what speed that RAM is and that the Vaio supports it, normally laptops can take 1333 or 1600 mhz without any problems, older ones run at 800 or 1066).

3) Upgrading CPUs can be tricky but it can be done. Notice the i3-370m will support speeds up to 1066mhz only, so if you put in 1333 or 1600 mhz RAM then they will not work at that speed but will work at 1066mhz (the planned upgrade CPU, i5-560m also has 1066 as the max speed). Unless your BIOS allows for you to manually set the speed they will run at 1066, but the Vaio isnt being used for much so 1066 is enough after you upgrade the CPU to the i5. And I dont see any problem with upgrading to an i5-560M, you should be able to go to an i5-580M or even an i7-640M. Dont forget to get thermal paste for the new CPU
 

aymen_a22

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Thanks for the help guys.

Dodger46

Firstly I am unsure of how much RAM it uses but I will check on the next simulation I run.
Secondly, with regards to the VAIO I have checked that the laptop is the right socket and that the chipset (HM55) supports the CPU however I have not checked the BIOS. How would I do that?
The i3 and i5 are both 35W CPUs however I am not sure if that is thermal or power consumption.
I have heard of SSHDs which does look inviting however I assume it would be quite a lot of work to transfer the operating system and applications over to the new SSHD.


Aloof11

My laptop uses DDR3-12000 however the 4GB stick is 1600 mhz and the 2GB stick is 1333 mhz which I assume is not a good thing.
The new 4GB stick I was planning to get is the same part number as my current 4GB stick so I assume would be better. Could someone confirm this please?

As for the VAIO, the 2x2 would be made up of a current 2GB stick and a 2GB stick of different make. Does this matter?

With regards to the CPU upgrade, I did look at the i5-580M and the i7-640M but they are a lot more expensive than the i5-560M. I would also make sure the thermal paste was replaced and covered the entire surface.
 

aymen_a22

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Further information, not sure if this helps.:

My laptop:

Northbridge Intel Ivy Bridge rev. 09
Southbridge Intel HM76 rev. 04
Memory Type DDR3
Memory Size 6 GBytes
Channels Dual
Memory Frequency 798.1 MHz (1:6)

4GB STICK
Max bandwidth PC3-12800 (800 MHz)

2GB STICK
Max bandwidth PC3-12800 (800 MHz)



Sony VAIO:

Northbridge Intel Havendale/Clarkdale Host Bridge rev. 02
Southbridge Intel HM55 rev. 05
Memory Type DDR3
Memory Size 3 GBytes
Channels Dual, (Symmetric)
Memory Frequency 532.1 MHz (4:16)

2GB STICK
Max bandwidth PC3-10700 (667 MHz)

1GB STICK
Max bandwidth PC3-8500F (533 MHz)
 

aloof11

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So your laptop has two sticks running at 1600mhz in dual channel, the Vaio has one stick at 1333mhz and the other at 1066mhz but they are running at 1066 due to the CPUs max being 1066mhz and its not in dual channel mode.
Just upgrade your laptop with the 4gb stick as you planned and sell the extra 2gb at 1600mhz and then buy a 4gb dual channel kit for the vaio at 1066mhz, then you can sell the 2 sticks that are already in your Vaio too
 

dodger46

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Not too difficult with W7 or W8, simply create a System Image on an External drive and use either an Installation disk or Repair disk to restore to your new SSHD. A lot easier than stripping your Lappy down to it's bare essentials to replace the CPU...(Must admit I'd probably like to try that, but then I've stripped dozens. Suspect the BIOS would cope, but don't know how to check, and Sony's reaction is to advise against anyway. If the wattage is the same the cooing should be OK.) As for thermal paste, avoid using too much, a spot about the size of a grain of rice in the centre of the chip is plenty...and clean thoroughly first...

 
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