Upgrading An Entry level Laptop. Is It worth it?


Feb 10, 2013
Well, I Have a compaq cq56 (a $300 laptop) and this is my main computer :eek: . I want to upgrade it to its max, but I'm wondering if I should move on? I use this computer for word processing, web browsing and some gaming. This thing lags so much on the simpilst things, in can't handle google chrome; I cant play youtube vids without stuttering. My ipad is faster! now, my specs:

Amd V140 processor single core @ 2.3ghz
2gb ddr3 1333mhz ram
ati 4250 video card
250gb 5400rpm hard drive(almost full)

And I want to upgrade to:
Amd phenom II N640 2.9ghz $20
8gb ddr3 1333mhz ram $50
500gb 7200rpm hard drive $31.50
128gb samsung ssd(in a optical drive caddy) $97
Total: $~200
I know im going to buy the ssd since I can put it in my gaming rig that I'm going to build, but I don't know about spending an extra 100 so i can have semi decent performance. I know I can't upgrade the gpu so that may be the deal breaker. What do you think?

P.s. I know that laptop's cpus are nearly impossible to upgrade, but i know some who upgraded their compaq, I was with him at the time. I have fixed laptop mainboards before so I know what I'm doing.


I recommend you simply buy a new laptop if you can afford to do so. Currently many laptops are on sale because new ones are coming out soon (1 or 2 months) with new generation CPUs. Therefore, you can get a pretty decent deal.

While the following 14" Lenovo IdeaPad S405 laptop is twice the cost of your upgrades, it represents a very significant increase in performance compared to what you currently have. It is pretty light at just under 4lbs. and it should last you a few years if you keep your demands relatively low. It has an A6-4455M running at 2.1GHz, but I believe it can ramp up to 2.6GHz if I am not mistaken (as long as temperatures are relatively cool). The Radeon HD 7500G integrated graphics is not as powerful as more expensive laptops with integrated graphics, but it is a lot more powerful than your antiquated Radeon HD 4250.


Just slightly less expensive ($380) is the 15.6" Lenovo G580 with an Intel Core i3 CPU running at 2.4GHz. Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs are generally more powerful than AMD's Trinity CPUs (they call them APUs). Intel's Ivy Bridge CPU are about 20% more powerful clock for clock than AMD's Trinity CPUs, so the Core i3 @ 2.4GHz is about the equivalent to a 2.9GHz Trinity CPU. The Intel HD 4000 is more powerful than the Radeon HD 7500G in the above laptop and it is Intel's most powerful integrated graphic core. However, it is not as powerful as AMD's higher end graphic cores. Weak compared to a dedicated graphics card, but that is also true for AMD's best integrated graphics as well. But at 5.7lbs this laptop is definitely heavier than the above mentioned IdeaPad S405. However, it is considered average weight for a 15.6" laptop.


A 3rd option is the 15.6" ASUS K55N-DS81 @ $400. It has the AMD A8-4500M CPU which is a quad core CPU running at 1.9GHz and I think it can ramp up to 2.6GHz. The other two laptops only have dual core CPUs. It also has the Radeon HD 7640G integrated graphics core and is a little more powerful than the Intel HD 4000. Only the Radeon HD 7660G is faster. The weight is not listed.



Upgrading your current laptop will help limp by. Buying a new laptop is more or less like opening the performance floodgates. The improvement you see will be immediately obvious. Upgrading the RAM for your current laptop will be at best an incremental improvement that you may or may not notice.

Naturally, buying a new laptop is more money, but it is also the best bang for your buck. That's assuming you have the money.


Feb 10, 2013
Thank for the quick replies, like I said, I was already going to build a gaming rig and that's going to be my main computer. I was just wondering if this computer is worth upgrading. I was going to use this as for misc. computer things on the go. No gaming or extreme computing. Am I better off using my ipad mini? also, I was looking at new laptops such as a hp dv6($350 on ebay a8 apu) but id rather just put that money into a graphics card for my gaming rig.

Also, Do anybody Know Of a good remote desktop app for ipad? the one im using only works on wifi and its a bit slow.
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