Should I upgrade parts or buy a new laptop?

Sep 18, 2018
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Hey guys! I have an ASUS s400ca! :D

:bounce: Specs are as follows:
- 2.00 GHz Intel Core i7-3537U, 2501 Mhz, 2 Cores, 4 Logical Processors
- 3MB Cache Memory
- 12GB RAM
- 500GB HDD
- Intel HD Graphics 4000
- Networking: Qualcomm Atheros AR9485WB-EG Wireless Network Adapter, Qualcomm Atheros AR8161 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (NDIS 6.30), Bluetooth

:heink: What I mainly use this laptop for:
- School
- Gaming (League, Steam, etc.)

:pfff: Issues I'm currently facing:
- Ping spiking every second
- Really slow download speeds
- Low FPS even at the minimum settings (cpu throttling? I have no idea)

:pt1cable: Parts I'm considering to change:
- WiFi Card > https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01E85QIFI/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_URoOBbZ0SWAD0
- HDD > Samsung 850 EVO 250GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD

Should I buy these parts to upgrade my laptop or should I buy a new laptop instead? My main concern is the connectivity honestly, not much on the low FPS issue (i can kinda tolerate it). Current WiFi card only supports 2.4ghz band and it's really wonky. :(
 

Dunlop0078

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Feb 13, 2014
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Usually things like ping spikes and slow download speeds would be the fault of your internet connection not the laptop. Does it work much better when plugged in via Ethernet? If so are you getting a strong signal from your router?

There is likely nothing you can do to improve gaming performance. That is a 3rd gen i7 with no dedicated GPU, I wouldn't expect it to do well in games. You cant add a GPU and the CPU is soldered to the motherboard.

An SSD will reduce boot times, app launch times, game load times, that sort of thing. It should make a noticeable improvement.
 
Sep 18, 2018
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Hey, @Dunlop0078

I'm highly certain it is the fault of my laptop's wireless card that is causing poor connectivity & ping spikes as my brother has a laptop connecting to the same router but he is on 5Ghz and he has excellent connectivity and no spikes occurring at all which leads me to think that it is an issue on my pc and not the router. Also, I'm living with my parents and I'm not sure if they'd be too happy about me stringing an Ethernet cable to my room so I can't really use the Ethernet at the moment. What do you think?

As for the SSD, I, too think that it is an excellent solution to speed up my laptop's sluggish speed! Is the one I'm looking to replace my HDD recommended? If not, what are some better alternatives?

Edit: As for trying out Ethernet, I have once brought my laptop temporarily to the living room to test out the connection while connecting via Ethernet and I was still experiencing ping spikes and slow speeds.
 

Dunlop0078

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Feb 13, 2014
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I have the same wireless card in my old sandy bridge laptop, just checked. I have no issues like you are describing, it gets my full 150mps download speed or very close to it and I ran a ping +t command for a couple minutes and saw no spikes.

Is the driver installed for that wireless card? How does 2.4ghz work on other devices? The 2.4ghz band could be very congested especially if you live in an apartment building or somewhere with a lot of different wifi signals. If so going into your routers GUI and changing the 2.4ghz channel to one that is less congested could help.

The 850 evo is one of the best SSD's in it's price range. There are cheaper alternatives that are nearly as good. The crucial MX500 for example.
 

br00n0

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Nov 18, 2015
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Hello!

- For WiFi: Consider purchasing a USB WiFi adapter stick. They can be quite cheap so if it doesn't fix your issue, it will not be that painful to the wallet!
- For HDD: Good idea for the SSD. If it doesn't fix your problem, it's not lost as you can eventually re-use it in your next laptop/desktop.

Good luck!
 
Sep 18, 2018
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@Dunlop0078

Hmm... that's weird, also I have to note that I have had this laptop for about 5-6 years already so is it possible that mine's getting old? And yes the driver is installed correctly. I have even installed previous versions of the driver just to make sure it isn't a driver. Also 2.4Ghz is working perfectly fine on other devices such as my phone, smart TV and my brother's laptop when he tried the 2.4Ghz network. Just mine... :??: And yes, I do live in an apartment building and I have changed the wifi between 1, 6 and 11 but the ping spikes still persists on.

Thanks for the confirmation on the SSD btw!
 
Sep 18, 2018
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@Br00n0

Hey there! Thanks for your answer! But isn't USB WiFi adapter generally not recommended? I've done a little research and most of them don't recommend buying a usb WiFi adapter as it has a number of connectivity issues.

Also thanks for the advice on buying an SSD! I will buy an SSD then, since it can be moved to a new pc :D
 

TheStig47

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Sep 6, 2016
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Since your brother gets a great connection with his laptop and you don't, and your laptop is several years old and without a dedicated graphics card, I would strongly consider just buying a new laptop. I wouldn't bother upgrading it if I could afford a new one.

If you can't though, then you really have no choice. Your gaming experience is really unlikely to improve much with your current laptop since fps in games has more to do with the graphics card and in some cases the CPU.

But if you can afford new, you will be able to get one with a faster CPU with more cores and threads and a dedicated graphics card (GTX 1050 Ti or 1060 for medium to budget laptops) somewhere between $900 to $1400. These laptops will also come with much better wifi and should have an SSD for their boot drive. Some really cheap ones won't have the SSD, but in my mine, an SSD is a must have these days. It doesn't speed up gaming but does make your laptop feel fast with startups and opening applications.

If you really want to buy parts, though, I would just get the wifi card to see if that improves your wireless connection and if it doesn't consider a new laptop. That is what I would consider doing.

 
Sep 18, 2018
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@TheStig47

Hey there! Thanks for contributing an answer to my problem! As for getting a new laptop, I could but I would have to wait till around next year if I really had no choice. My biggest concern is mainly about the connection, though fps is also a problem (but still kinda manageable) so I think I'd still get a wifi card to see if it fixes this issue. However, is this wifi card I found recommended for my current laptop? If not, what would you recommend?
 
Aug 25, 2018
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My feeling is that biggest problem is with bandwidth of your internet connection (what is total bandwidth BTW?). And, yes, if you have opportunity to afford external USB WiFi - go for it, personally I very often use TP-Link WiFi stick with external antenna, it very much helps me, when standard adapter experience connection problems (thick walls, armed concrete, weak signal a so on). Like some guy before, I also advice to check 2,4GGz channel occupancy - choose such on your laptop, where nobody sits on it.
 

nsomniac

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Apr 20, 2015
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I would say that the lag spikes are probably due to your hdd thrashing, where its physical speed can no longer handle the data throughput from the internet nic, USB is slightly worse than internal, you dont have to replace it with the same model, just same type, mpcie, m.2, whatever it may be, but I would replace the hdd before anything else, because you will get a greater than noticable improvement from the ssd alone, in every aspect of your computing, including the games. It's very likely that your laptop is either a hp or a dell, either of which comes with Seagate hdds usually (cheapest) and have astronomical failure rates. For connection to your router, 2.4ghz is a longer wavelength, works better through solid and semi solid objects, such as walls, where the 5ghz wavelength works better with no obstructions, and the speed difference isnt generally noticable in b,g, or n setups, only ac, as ac also has mimo (multi-in and multi-out) which can fully saturate a 2.4ghz signal, especially using multiple devices, but I dont think ac works over 2.4.. but I digress.. the ssd will make your pc feel like brand new.
Onto the next issue after obtaining the ssd, you will need to install or copy your current os installation, I would suggest a fresh install, then a transfer, reinstall of programs and files, you will get the greatest speed increase that way. If you choose to copy your current install, macrium reflect works beautifully and is free for home use, though the liscense is worth every dollar and does a beautiful job. I would also assume that if your pc is of a major brand name that it contains Norton or McAfee, possibly also others that you may have installed along the way, get rid of all of them, they do more harm than good, chewing CPU memory and hdd cycles, fight wi does defender instead of working with or just replacing it, bad stuff, windows defender and malwarebytes antimalware free will do a wonderful job, mbam does not run in the background, not as the free edition, and you can run it if you feel like defender missed something, and if you are still scared, emsisoft emergency kit works amazingly and is also free and doesn't fight with either other program and is also run on demand like malwarebytes. I have fixed, debugged and upgraded pcs, game consoles and pretty much everything else that runs on electricity, for 20 years, for fun, and professionally for nearly 10, for some background on the basis for my suggestions.
Matt.