Old HP laptop has started to run a lot slower, is it worth upgrading it?

ullert

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Jun 21, 2014
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Hi! My HP pavilion dv6-6042eo has been a really good computer for some years now, and has been working like a charm. Now this recent year or so it has unfortunately started to fail and crash a lot. Most of the times its been fixed by doing a fresh "factory new" install or whatever its called in english (probably done this reinstall about 15 times the last year). But sadly even this doesnt seem to work any more.

The strange thing is that it can run battlefield 3 and other "heavy" games pretty good (with some settings tweaked down of course) but it cant handle easy schoolwork software?! For isntance, all the microsoft office software i have tested (word, powerpoint, excel, onenote, outlook, etc.) occationally stutters and after about 10-15 minutes ends up freezing the pc entirely. As i recently bought a gaming rig, the hp laptop is only needed for schoolwork, which it cant handle, so thats my dilemma....

Startup and loading times has also increased signifficantly, so i started to wonder if it might be the harddrive thats slowing it down? So, do you think that it could be worth upgrading the laptop with a new ssd? Would that in any way increase performance.

I can almost absolutely guarantee that its no other "bottleneck" in the computer (Ram: 8GB, Graphics: AMD M880G with ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4250 "Total of 1gb vram", CPU: AMD Phenom 2 P960 Quad-core processor.) But if you have any way to test which component might be slowing down the computer, please let me know.

So my two questions really are:
1. What might cause software like word and powerpoint to freeze the computer and
2. is it worth buying a new ssd for a 4 year old laptop(with the specs mentioned above)

I can also mention that the laptop costed (roughly translated to dollars) 500$ when i bought it, as computers and computer parts tend to be a bit more expensive in Norway, you may have to take into account that an ssd might cost a bit more here than in say America or England.
 

dextermat

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Sep 21, 2007
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If you did a factory restore and the laptop is still showing problems, I would not put a penny in it because laptop are not made ot last.
Most likely, since it's hp, it probably suffered from thermal damage and you probably need to change the motherboard.
 

house70

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Apr 21, 2010
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I am not sure whether or not an SSD is available for that model (if the interface is SATA it's no problem, but if it's PATA/IDE, might have issues), but it could be that the HDD is physically failing. Even getting a new HDD - not necessarily an SSD - might improve it quite a bit.
Of course, you need to take into account the cost pf parts around there and the ease of servicing said machine. Usually a hard drive replacement is a very easy task, but something can not be taken for granted.
Another thing to check would be the temps during heavy CPU load. You can a=run a benchmark for the CPU, or CPU-RAM combo, like Prime(%, and simultaneously run a temperature monitoring program. Maybe the cooling doesn't work as well as it should (obstruction in airflow, maybe) and it could be causing these problems.
 

ullert

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Jun 21, 2014
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I have never had any real thermal issues with the laptop, yes it does get pretty hot running some games, but not hot enough to damage anything, i have monitored the components inside during benchmarks and temps are at a reasenable level.

I will have to say that a laptop might not be built too last for more than a couple of years, but it would be kind off fun to restore some performance at least.
 

ullert

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Jun 21, 2014
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I will have a look later and see what sort of connector it is. i will try testing the harddrive on another computer if it is possible.
I am pretty handy with electronics, and i did a mayor dissassemble of the whole machine a couple of weeks ago to clean away dust and other trash that was stuck inside. I have also been carefull to clean the fan maybe 4-5 times a year with canned air. and it has never really showed any symptoms off overheating. I have monitored cpu temperature and done some benchmark temp tests on the gpu. Though it has to be said that after word started to freeze the computer, no of the benchmarking software like 3D Mark and Heaven benchmark will open. it just goes to a black screen for some reason...

I will also think about buying a new harddrive (instead of a ssd) if i decide its worth the money to fix it.
 

ullert

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Jun 21, 2014
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I will try diagnozing the harddrive on my desktop pc when i get time (and if its even possible...)
 

house70

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If the problems started after opening and cleaning up the case, it may suggest that a heatsink (either on the CPU or the GPU) got displaced, not visibly but enough to create a poor heat transfer from the chip to the heatsink. In these machines the thermal solution adopted is usually a thermal compound that hardens with heat, which renders it friable after a while. A minute fissure in that layer is enough to impede the heat transfer. The chip overheats very quickly when trying to run a benchmark and shuts itself down as a precaution. Replacing the thermal compound with a fresh one can be the solution, albeit one has to take into account that heatsinks are maybe attached with permanent devices that make their removal and re-installation a chore.
I had to do that in a few desktops, and it took care of freezes and such; in a desktop, though, removing and reinstalling the heatsink is a lot easier.
 

ullert

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Jun 21, 2014
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The issues started way before i did the cleaning of the computer, so i wouldnt guess it has made anything worse, but its worth having a look at the gpu heatsink. This might as well have something to do with the computer black screening when i start a gpu benchmark. I should note that when i did the cleanout, i didnt fully pick everything from each other, but i took out things like the keyboard, and bottom cover, dvd drive and harddrive. Unplugging a few cables and such.

I have never handeled a heatsink (other than installing a liquid cooler in my desktop pc) is this still a task for someone like me, is there any obvious things i have to look out for if im going to fully remove the heatsinks without braking the laptop??
or should i take it to a local pc workshop? (might be hard to find one nearby...)
 

house70

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I have serviced quite a few PCs before, but haven't dealt with a laptop heatsink yet. I have noticed that manufacturers tend to use plastic single-use bolts or rivets to attach heatsink to chip. It's not only difficult to remove, but you'll likely need new plastic rivets to re-install the heatsink. I would take it to a shop.
 

C12Friedman

Distinguished

I have dealt with many laptop heatsinks and have never seen this. Every one I've been into use screws and they're usually numbered in tightening order
 
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