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Thread: Upgrading laptop

  1. #1
    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Upgrading laptop

    I have a Dell Inspiron 600m I bought back in 2003 at an "astronomical" cost of $1400. No idea why I spent so much on it, but I did.

    specs:
    Pentium M (Banias) @ 1.3GHz
    256MB DDR RAM
    30GB Fujitsu 2.5" IDE drive
    Mobility Radeon 9000 video card w/ 32MB
    Windows XP Professional

    I upgraded it to 1GB RAM right after I bought it.

    The hard drive died a few years ago and I replaced it with a 60GB Hitachi drive.

    Recently I opened it up and found the heat sink was clogged and that caused overheating. I cleaned it and realized I could replace the CPU. Did some search and found the most cost effective upgrade on Ebay.

    Pentium M (Dothan) @ 2.0GHz for $9.40

    It's a drop-in replacement. This processor has 50% higher clock speed, double the L2 cache at 2MB, and lower power requirement.

    I dropped the CPU in and installed Windows 7 Basic. I am amazed that it runs just fine. FireFox Portable v.30 runs great. My 20 year old HP Deskjet 712c printer still works on this computer using XP driver. The computer chokes a bit when visiting websites with extensive use of flash, but otherwise it's a great internet browser.

    This is one of my hobbies. If I'm absent from WAB for a while, this is probably what I'm doing.

    Next, I will attempt to change the downstream O2 sensor on my Subaru.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Have this and love it. 12GB RAM.
    MSI Global GT683DX(GT683DXR)

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    Speaking of which, can anybody recommend a good solid desktop that is optimized for gaming?
    I don't want a single shred of "lights and buzzers and whistles" that usually accompany a gaming rig. It could be a blank black box for all I care, just don't want to go too far over $1000

    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    Next, I will attempt to change the downstream O2 sensor on my Subaru.
    Hey I just changed the door handle and gearshift knob is my Eclipse...that's kinda the same thing isn't it?
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    Speaking of which, can anybody recommend a good solid desktop that is optimized for gaming?
    I don't want a single shred of "lights and buzzers and whistles" that usually accompany a gaming rig. It could be a blank black box for all I care, just don't want to go too far over $1000
    I normally just build my own.

    What you can do is to buy a desktop with i7 processor. Make sure the motherboard has a PCIe x16 slot that actually runs at x16. Buy a $200 video card. Buy a $100 (just to be safe) power supply. Put them together.

    Currently there's a plateau of processing power/speed. The i7 processor today is not "that" much more powerful than one from 2 years ago. Sure, you can get one to overclock to 4.5GHz but you are still bottlenecked at either the video card or hard drive speed or broadband connection. CPU is no longer the weakest link.

    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    Hey I just changed the door handle and gearshift knob is my Eclipse...that's kinda the same thing isn't it?
    Shift knob can be difficult. That damn thing is on tight. Need a jackhammer and a hand grenade to loosen it.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Senior Contributor commander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    Speaking of which, can anybody recommend a good solid desktop that is optimized for gaming?
    I don't want a single shred of "lights and buzzers and whistles" that usually accompany a gaming rig. It could be a blank black box for all I care, just don't want to go too far over $1000



    Hey I just changed the door handle and gearshift knob is my Eclipse...that's kinda the same thing isn't it?
    TH, what sort of games do you play ? Like gunnut said i7 are pretty good. Let me know the kind of games you might be interested playing in the future too, like FPS,MMORPG,RPG etc. That will help me in determining what type of gamer you are and what kind of games you might like in the future

    Finally some topic where I am good at

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    I normally just build my own.
    I'm a total noob at that, but I bet if I had a little more confidence I could pull it off.

    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    What you can do is to buy a desktop with i7 processor. Make sure the motherboard has a PCIe x16 slot that actually runs at x16. Buy a $200 video card. Buy a $100 (just to be safe) power supply. Put them together.

    Currently there's a plateau of processing power/speed. The i7 processor today is not "that" much more powerful than one from 2 years ago. Sure, you can get one to overclock to 4.5GHz but you are still bottlenecked at either the video card or hard drive speed or broadband connection. CPU is no longer the weakest link.
    Bingo, that's exactly the kind of specific information I needed to know. Much thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    Shift knob can be difficult. That damn thing is on tight. Need a jackhammer and a hand grenade to loosen it.
    I was lucky, one screw, 5 minutes and done. Anything more complicated and I'd be at an auto shop

    Quote Originally Posted by commander View Post
    TH, what sort of games do you play ? Like gunnut said i7 are pretty good. Let me know the kind of games you might be interested playing in the future too, like FPS,MMORPG,RPG etc. That will help me in determining what type of gamer you are and what kind of games you might like in the future

    Finally some topic where I am good at
    Commander,
    Usually RTS games like the Age of Empires series, but lately MMO's like World of Tanks and eventually World of Warships when it's released.

    If Dragon Quest X is ever released worldwide, that'll be my first step into the world of MMORPG's

    Always nice to know some experts
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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    For gaming, you can also get a Core i5 4670 and overclock it to >4 Ghz. I have mine overclocked to 4.2 and it's been running stably for two years. Core temperatures have never gone past 50C.

    My recommendations, for i5:



    For the case, I have this one:

    COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN3-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case with USB 3.0 and Black Interior - Newegg.com

    I know you don't want a fancy looking case, but the air flow design of these types are cases are actually very functional. They keep lots of air moving through the case without having the fans spin very fast at all. This makes them almost completely silent. I've also never had any of my components (except the video card) heat up above room temperature.

    I've built a number of computers over the years and what I've found is that when ever I had a hardware failure, it's generally related to either:
    A. the power supply or
    B. the cooling.

    In a lot of smaller towers the air flow inside the case is not sufficient to cool the hard drives, and they end up failing. Other times, I've had power supplies that were barely rated above what my components needed or were supplying unsteady current, and this eventually killed the motherboard or processor. So now I never skimp on cooling or power.
    Last edited by citanon; 17 Oct 14, at 22:18.

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    Also, a 120 Hz monitor can improve your gaming experience significantly. This is probably one of the best on the market right now:

    http://www.amazon.com/VG248QE-24-inc...s=ASUS+VG248QE

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    Final note: do NOT use RAID of any kind when you set up the computer. Both my office mate and I have tried to set up RAID redundant backup drives. My office mate did this to his Windows instal drive. Both of us had one of the hard drives fail. In my case I just kept the one remaining drive and reformatted/error scanned the other. In his case it broke his boot sector and it was a royal pain in the rear getting his system up and running again.

    Our other drives that were not on RAID have not failed. MY RAID drives that failed when kept in the RAID config have never given me problems since, so I have to suspect that some thing about the RAID implementation in PCs break drives.

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    My computer is liquid cooled. I have to vacuum the radiator every year or else there'll be enough lint to knit a sweater sitting the radiator.

    This self contained liquid cooling kit was about $60 when I bought it 5 years ago. An expensive air cooler costs about $50. I bought it mainly to cut down noise rather than to overclock.

    citanon is right, never skimp on power supply. I use a Seasonic 650W certified bronze...or something. You want your power supply to be able to handle at least 50% more than the estimated peak power draw of the system, just to be on the safe side.

    My CPU peaks at 125W. Since I overclocked it to 4GHz, I'm gonna add a few and call it 140W

    My video card peaks at about the same range, around 130W.

    Motherboard draws about 20W, give or take.

    Hard drives, system fans, misc. power draws, add another 15W.

    Add them all together we are just over 300W. That doesn't mean a 300W power supply is enough, or even 350W. There's always some leakage, inefficiencies, spikes, blah blah blah... 500W should be safe for this system, but I bought a 650W just in case.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    Final note: do NOT use RAID of any kind when you set up the computer. Both my office mate and I have tried to set up RAID redundant backup drives. My office mate did this to his Windows instal drive. Both of us had one of the hard drives fail. In my case I just kept the one remaining drive and reformatted/error scanned the other. In his case it broke his boot sector and it was a royal pain in the rear getting his system up and running again.

    Our other drives that were not on RAID have not failed. MY RAID drives that failed when kept in the RAID config have never given me problems since, so I have to suspect that some thing about the RAID implementation in PCs break drives.
    I used to run RAID 0. You're right, it's double the chance of a total data loss.

    I have used RAID 1 and rebuilt the system from the single remaining working drive. It does have merits, but doubles the storage cost.

    I have never used RAID 5 or RAID 10.

    What I do to back up my data is to duplicate them over 4 different computers. You can say that's kinda like RAID 1. But I have them in different systems so not always up to date. But then again, a catastrophic system failure won't kill the drive that's not in the system.

    I just found this command called robocopy, that comes with every single Windows OS since Win2k or something. LOVE IT!!!
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    I have used RAID 1 and rebuilt the system from the single remaining working drive. It does have merits, but doubles the storage cost.
    Both my officemate and I actually had problems with RAID 1. Maybe we both got really unlucky, but I now avoid it.

    What does robocopy do?

  13. #13
    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    Both my officemate and I actually had problems with RAID 1. Maybe we both got really unlucky, but I now avoid it.

    What does robocopy do?
    It has a backup function that copies all file attributes and duplicates directory structure name and time stamp. The cool thing is it will compare the file to be copied to the existing file. If it exists and is identical, it skips the file, thus saving time.

    There are other cool functions it can do.

    Robocopy
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Senior Contributor commander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    I'm a total noob at that, but I bet if I had a little more confidence I could pull it off.
    Good to know we have enthusiasts that build their own machine, I built mine too and had been smooth as butter from Day One

    Commander,
    Usually RTS games like the Age of Empires series, but lately MMO's like World of Tanks and eventually World of Warships when it's released.

    If Dragon Quest X is ever released worldwide, that'll be my first step into the world of MMORPG's

    Always nice to know some experts
    Aah I see, from what you have explained I bet a moderate gaming rig will be sufficient. Value for the money and performance similar to a high end gaming rig. IMHO i7 processors might be an overkill for your requirement. (i5 OC'ed + proper cooling system can take an i7 anytime of the day). I can't add more than what citanon had already posted and his configuration will take care of you gaming needs without hiccup. Although the OS matters, if you are not going to be using a whole lot of apps which doesn't support 64 bit, I would suggest you to go with a 64bit Windows OS. Also the 8GB of RAM should be more than enough if you ask me. But having more RAM never hurts .
    Last edited by commander; 17 Oct 14, at 23:45.

  15. #15
    Senior Contributor commander's Avatar
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    BTW, just realized this, are you looking to upgrade your laptop to a high end model or are you replacing it with a desktop ? All my (and others) suggestion is assuming you want a desktop.

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