upgrade old laptop with SSD or get a new laptop?

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upgrade old laptop with SSD or get a new laptop?

Postposted on Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:33 pm

Hi, I was wondering how "too old" your laptop is before you consider junking it for a newer laptop. I was thinking of getting the Intel SSD to get a speed boost but wondering if it'd make a big difference in my laptop. It's an old HP Pavilion TX2000 laptop with AMD Turion64 X2 Mobile Technology TL-64 2.2GHz with 2GB of RAM, Windows 7 32-bit, and NVIDIA GeForce Go 6150. It currently has a 250GB 5400 RPM drive. I just did a clean installation and haven't really loaded up my big apps yet so I'm only using 60 GB so far. I know the Intel I'm looking at is only 80 GB so I'd have to remove my data files off the hard drive to an external drive. I know I'm a hoarder (my desktop has tons of video files and I do video editing as well so I've got over 2 TB of used space and only like a TB of free space left). But for a laptop, I'm willing to run lean.

I tried upgrading another old laptop (even older, it was an AMD64 Turion single core laptop) with a 7200 RPM hard drive and I didn't like the performance improvement (the improvement was there, but it still felt like an old laptop).

Every thread I read says it's worth it, but it seems "old" to most people is a Core2Duo.

Also, I just recently reinstalled Windows 7 fresh to make the system as fast as possible. So I was wondering if the Acronis image I made can just be pulled to the new SSD or if I would have to reinstall Windows again.

I've never used an SSD before so pardon my ignorance. I even get scared of the idea of a system crash with an SSD due to my previous experience with destroying flash drives just by accidentally bumping it while it was being written to.

Anyway, bottom line: save up money for a newer laptop or buy an Intel SSD and hold on to the laptop for a couple more years.
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Re: upgrade old laptop with SSD or get a new laptop?

Postposted on Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:24 pm

It would likley help to upgrade, though 256 gig flash is still expensive.
Assuming you have SATA interface, make sure to get one that supports TRIM
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Re: upgrade old laptop with SSD or get a new laptop?

Postposted on Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:30 pm

I'd say get a new laptop although you could always move the SSD to a new laptop in the future. If you do a lot of video editing it would seem like a larger drive would be a better fit.
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Re: upgrade old laptop with SSD or get a new laptop?

Postposted on Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:46 pm

BonG wrote:I'd say get a new laptop although you could always move the SSD to a new laptop in the future. If you do a lot of video editing it would seem like a larger drive would be a better fit.


oh, for the video editing, I'd save that kind of work for my desktop computer. I was just referencing how I use hard drive space like water on my desktop. and how I would work differently with a laptop.

But I just want my old laptop to feel faster. It takes forever to boot to Windows, web browsing could be faster, Photoshop, MS Office could be faster, etc.
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Re: upgrade old laptop with SSD or get a new laptop?

Postposted on Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:48 pm

ShadowEyez wrote:It would likley help to upgrade, though 256 gig flash is still expensive.
Assuming you have SATA interface, make sure to get one that supports TRIM


with regards to the SATA interface, are you referring to the SATA controller on the HP laptop motherboard? how would I check if it supports TRIM? or are you referring to the SSD? sorry for my ignorance as I've never used an SSD before.

it is an old laptop so I doubt it would be SSD-ready if you're referring to a BIOS thing or motherboard thing.
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Re: upgrade old laptop with SSD or get a new laptop?

Postposted on Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:58 pm

dirtyvu wrote:
ShadowEyez wrote:It would likley help to upgrade, though 256 gig flash is still expensive.
Assuming you have SATA interface, make sure to get one that supports TRIM


with regards to the SATA interface, are you referring to the SATA controller on the HP laptop motherboard? how would I check if it supports TRIM? or are you referring to the SSD? sorry for my ignorance as I've never used an SSD before.

it is an old laptop so I doubt it would be SSD-ready if you're referring to a BIOS thing or motherboard thing.


http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/me/en/ho ... 50975.html
your system has the SATA interface (as opposed to the old PATA/IDE interface)

to have TRIM, you need a SSD that supports it - which many recent ones do - and an OS, like a newer linux kernel or windows 7, that support TRIM
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Re: upgrade old laptop with SSD or get a new laptop?

Postposted on Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:03 pm

Welcome to the forums!

Sounds like it'd be worth it to save up and get a new laptop. Make sure to take into account screen and build quality, though -- a new laptop could be screaming fast but have a crappy screen and flimsy keyboard. Going the SSD route on your current machine probably wouldn't speed it up that much and could end up being a big headache in the setup department.
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Re: upgrade old laptop with SSD or get a new laptop?

Postposted on Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:10 pm

thanks guys for all the input! it's very much appreciated. looks like I'll skip on buying an SSD until i get a newer laptop (unless someone here has experience with upgrading an old notebook). I was hoping an SSD would make my old one feel like a new one. But I guess it's like a RAM upgrade (like I can't tell much of a difference between a 2GB system and a 4GB system with most things).
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Re: upgrade old laptop with SSD or get a new laptop?

Postposted on Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:17 pm

Okay, went ahead and bit the bullet and got the Intel X25-M 80GB SSD for the laptop. It was $170 for the retail package at Amazon. If it turns out to not be a great upgrade for the laptop, I'll move it to my desktop would could fully take advantage of it (quad-core AMD Phenom II X940 3.2GHz).

And if I like the speed, I'll get another SSD for my old desktop (dual core Pentium D Dell system). And actually do SSD research on what model to get the next time around. The only reason I went with Intel was the brand and knowing Intel's warranty policies.
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Re: upgrade old laptop with SSD or get a new laptop?

Postposted on Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:35 pm

You did a good choice anyway (even if it was by chance). Intel's SSDs are among the best overall.
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Re: upgrade old laptop with SSD or get a new laptop?

Postposted on Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:40 pm

dirtyvu wrote:thanks guys for all the input! it's very much appreciated. looks like I'll skip on buying an SSD until i get a newer laptop (unless someone here has experience with upgrading an old notebook). I was hoping an SSD would make my old one feel like a new one. But I guess it's like a RAM upgrade (like I can't tell much of a difference between a 2GB system and a 4GB system with most things).


I bought an Intel SSD (80GB X25-M) for my old Dell D830 and it really *did* breath new life into an old system. The difference was astonishing and much, much greater than going from 2GB to 4GB.
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Re: upgrade old laptop with SSD or get a new laptop?

Postposted on Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:54 pm

I have an oooold thinkpad X41 tablet that I used for years at school. This notebook normally has a really crappy uncommon (even for 1.8" drives) 1.8" IDE form factor (it looks like a 2.5" with the back half hacked off) that only has either terrible chinese knock-off SSDs or really, really slow hard drives available.

I did an extensive mod to the system to gain access to the native SATA port and replaced the hard drive with a 64gb onyx 1.8" SATA drive; the difference is night and day. Despite being an old 1.5GHz dothan single-core pentium-m with an intel 915gm graphics chip (no aero for me T_T) the user experience is superior to pretty much any other notebook I've used. The SSD really did transform it from an old barely good enough junker to a super snappy unit that's a pleasure to use.
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Re: upgrade old laptop with SSD or get a new laptop?

Postposted on Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:11 pm

Just the other day I put a Patriot Torx 64gb drive in a Dell Latitude D530 (2.0ghz Core2, 2GB DDR2, 965GM graphics), and it made a decent enough difference to the snappiness of it. It's going to be my "work" laptop, so the size didn't matter too much, and I'm loading up the optical bay with a battery for a bit of mobility. Used it for some pretty heavy multitasking today, and really noticed the difference thanks to having the SSD in it :).
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Re: upgrade old laptop with SSD or get a new laptop?

Postposted on Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:55 am

alright. upgraded the hp pavilion tx2000 notebook with the intel x25-m 80GB. loving it.

now, it's not a miracle worker. but it's probably the best improvement I've seen in a system upgrade. much better than upgrading RAM. the most tangible system upgrade is a good graphics card which is nearly impossible for a laptop. the next most tangible upgrade was when I went from a dual core to a quad core for my desktop PC. but the SSD is right up there.

and it's by far the highest score I get for the Windows Experience index at a 6.9.
processor: 4.9
memory: 5.5
graphics (Nvidia 6150): 3.3
gaming graphics: 3.0
primary hard disk: 6.9

now the test will be my dad. it's his laptop. and since he's not a techie, he'll give an honest assessment of whether it's faster "enough". considering you can't get a new fast notebook or desktop for $200, I think he'll like it.

i just wish there was a way to know whether AHCI or TRIM is working. There's no BIOS setting. The number of settings for this notebook BIOS is very limiting.
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Re: upgrade old laptop with SSD or get a new laptop?

Postposted on Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:05 am

dirtyvu wrote:i just wish there was a way to know whether AHCI or TRIM is working. There's no BIOS setting. The number of settings for this notebook BIOS is very limiting.
Intel SSD Toolbox
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Re: upgrade old laptop with SSD or get a new laptop?

Postposted on Sat Feb 05, 2011 4:37 am

UberGerbil wrote:
dirtyvu wrote:i just wish there was a way to know whether AHCI or TRIM is working. There's no BIOS setting. The number of settings for this notebook BIOS is very limiting.
Intel SSD Toolbox


yes, i've run that utility. but where do I find out whether it's working or not? any help would be much appreciated!

under intel ssd management tools:
system configuration tuner: system configuration is optimal

i couldn't find it under "view drive information"
didn't see it under "check smart attributes"
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Dell 5150 Pentium 4 3GHz desktop

Postposted on Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:46 am

I just upgraded my dad's old Dell 5150 (Pentium 4 3.0 GHz system with 2.5 GB of DDR2 RAM and integrated Intel graphics). It was starting to really feel its age (6 years old). Everything took forever to load. The time it took to boot from the time you pressed the power button to when you could launch an application in Windows XP was quite significant. It reached the point where he hated using the computer any more. So we picked out the Intel X25M 120 GB, and it has made a tremendous improvement that is hard to truly describe. I was astonished how fast it would load to the desktop. Now we have Windows 7 installed on the computer instead of Windows XP. We weren't sure how Windows 7 would behave on this old machine, but it is so much nicer than Windows XP. Normally, a system upgrade would net a percentage improvement like 10% or 15%. But I would say the improvements in boot was like 500%. In installing applications and launching applications, it was also orders of magnitude rather than single percentages. So the SSD coupled with Windows 7 made this feel like a brand new computer.

The part that surprised me was this old desktop with the Intel X25M 120GB SSD seemed to load programs and cold boot much faster than the HP TX2000 notebook with Intel X25M 80GB SSD even though the HP has a better processor and better graphics. The notebook does only have 2 GB of RAM versus the 2.5 GB in the Dell system. I think it has something to do with the motherboard chipset as well.

Even the Windows Experience Index seems off:
HP TX2000 notebook with Intel 80GB X25M SSD
processor: 4.9
memory: 5.5
graphics: 3.3
gaming graphics: 3.0
primary hard disk: 6.9

Dell 5150 desktop with Intel 120GB X25M SSD
processor: 3.9
memory: 4.6
graphics: 3.6
gaming graphics: 3.3
primary hard disk: 7.4
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Re: upgrade old laptop with SSD or get a new laptop?

Postposted on Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:02 am

For an "old" system, if it has 1GB (XP, 1.5GB or more for Vista/7) or more of memory, a disk upgrade is the single best upgrade.

I had a work laptop hand-me-down. Dothan 1.83GHz, 1GB of RAM, absolutely wonderful 1400x1050 screen and a woeful 4200rpm HDD. With the work SOE image, this thing would take 10~11 minutes to boot to the desktop. Swapped that Seagate out for modern WD BEVS 5400 rpm drive, boot time was 3.5 minutes. Not great but far more useable. Newer drives have far better transfer rates than older drives and are larger, so more of your data will fit on the faster outer zones of the drive. Just like interest, compound performance improvements.

Why mention this in a thread about SSDs? It's more about if you want to/need to keep an older but still useable machine around. A modern mechanical HDD upgrade might do the trick if the budget won't stretch to an SSD. I'm typing this on an Inspiron 6400 T7200 that started out with a 5400 rpm WD. It's now got 4GB instead of 1GB, and a 7200rpm 500GB Hitachi, and you can definitely notice the speed improvement. An SSD is the next upgrade. Or a Llano based 13.3" 14" notebook, because I really want more graphics oomph, not a lot, but more than Intel 945G, plus decent battery life.
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Re: upgrade old laptop with SSD or get a new laptop?

Postposted on Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:37 pm

If I had a computer that took 11 minutes to boot to desktop, I would throw that computer away or donate it. Upgrading one hard drive for another may be sufficient for a few people, but most people wouldn't notice much of a change. I've gone from a 4200 rpm HD to a 7200 rpm HD before and while there was some improvement, it wasn't significant. There definitely wasn't any wow faxtor.

I remember spending money to upgrade a notebook CPU to get an extra 400 MHz. That netted some improvement but considering how much the CPU cost, it wasn't worth it. I maxed out the RAM and that didn't help much. I've gone from 4200 to 7200 RPM which didn't help much.

If storage space is the key, then a hard drive is the best upgrade. But if reviving an old machine is the intent, the money is better spent on an SSD. It's the first upgrade that makes you go wow and feel like your money made a difference. The only other time you get that wow feeling, on a budget, is upgrading your graphics card.
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Re: upgrade old laptop with SSD or get a new laptop?

Postposted on Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:54 pm

I'd get the ssd. Here's why

You can grab a 128gb refurbished indilix drive from microcenter for about $145 total which will be like night and day for your laptop. A decent new laptop will run you at least $600 (and closer to $800 for something thats not a culv based laptop). This is equivalent to a vertex II or a gskill falcon II from corsair.
http://www.microcenter.com/single_produ ... id=0356688

It makes sense to me to try the SSD first (and a little extra ram) for a fraction of the price of an entirely new laptop. If the response isn't what you hope for, you can
1) sell the ssd at near full price. ssd's re-sell extremely well
2) keep the ssd and incorporate it in the laptop you actually buy.
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