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mkdabra

Considering laptop upgrade, what do you think?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Long story short:
My Toshiba Satellite L850-150 is really slow and I'm considering replacing the 5400rpm HDD on it with a half decent SSD. Please tell me if that should do the trick with productivity in mind considering the rest of its parts. I also considered replacing the display for a 1080p IPS one for media consumption, but seems like the cable to the motherboard doesn't support it to begin with it's not very likely that either it's possible to do it or that I could pull it off, so if you have any ideas I'm all ears. Maybe a portable monitor or a tablet would be an easy solution for that, but those can get pretty expensive if you want a good one, and seems to be a lot of bad ones out there.

 


Long story long:
Living (and thus, shop) in Spain. I can't get them sweet american deals, so I shop tech mainly from pccomponentes and amazon.es.


My daily driver is a desktop... (info only relevant as to understand the baseline I build my expectations around)

Spoiler

... purchased on January 2011, comprised basically of: i5 2500K 3.4ghz, AMD HD 6950 2GB, 8GB DDR3 2133mhz RAM ('cause I eventually upgraded) and a regular 1TB 7200rpm HDD for the system. It still works fine for the most part, sometimes Chrome takes a while to launch (after a system boot or launching it after it's been closed for a while and the system is under some load already), but it's pretty responsive generally. Game performance (or plain ability to launch games) as far as triple A titles are concerned has been diminishing into oblivion over the years, but I can comfortably play Overwatch (with every graphic setting on the lowest setting except for FoV -max-, render scale -100%-, shadows -medium- and antialias -FXAA-, I'm not used to anything better so it looks good to me) at a stable 60fps on 1080p, so there's that. Incidentally, I use it with a 24" IPS 1920x1200 monitor.

 

When I'm not home I use my laptop, a Toshiba L850-150 that I got around December 2012, with: i7 3610QM, AMD HD 7670 1GB, 8GB DDR3 1600mhz RAM, 500gb 5400rpm HDD, and a 1366x768 standard issue TN panel of the time. And oh boy, does it get excruciatingly slow. For some reason it routinely sits on 100% drive usage on idle and gets pretty unresponsive for a long while after boot, I've followed every blog post I've got my hands on trying to solve it but nothing worked. For general browsing and working it's a bit sluggish at times but I make do. As for gaming, I played some solo games and GW2 way back when on it, but now when I tried playing Overwatch on it I had to turn everything to the absolute lowest, except FoV but including 50% render scale which makes everything look like garbage, to play with 30fps at 1366x768 and still getting the occasional crash.

 

I got the laptop 'cause I went to study abroad for a semester, needed a computer and taking the desktop with me wasn't feasible. Haven't gotten much use out of it since until recently. Now I have to get away from home and move around for work.

Aside from casual browsing, I use the computer for work (which consist on browsing + microsoft office), media consumption (netflix, youtube and local files) and the occasional game. The laptop does just ok for the work part, and it's terrible for media and gaming. To improve system speed and responsiveness I thought I'd replace the 500GB 5400rpm HDD with a 1TB SATA 2.5" SSD, maybe a Crucial MX500 for little more than 100€. Even though I assume the processor won't perform impressively today despite the shiny i7 label, and the 8GB of RAM are not amazing either, for productivity purposes I don't see how I'd need need a huge CPU or more than 8 gigs of ram. On the other hand, the fact that it's DDR3 memory at 1600mhz could actually be contributing to the problem, so I don't know how much of it could be fixed by the drive swap.

 

As for media consumption, I don't mind that much the color of it, but the viewing angles of the panel are absolutely terrible, and it's not even FullHD. So far I've watched shows and movies on my phone (a cheap Redmi Note 7, but still packing 1080x2340 IPS goodness, so a much better experience). I considered just getting a regular monitor, but moving that around would be too much of a hassle, that's the reason I'm forced to use a laptop in the first place. Replacing the display would be ideal but it doesn't look like the display cable to the motherboard is compatible with a higher resolution, and even if it could be replaced or modified I don't think I'm the man for the job, and if I did it there's no guarantee the thing would work. A portable monitor would be the next best thing, but I didn't know those existed until like 10 minutes ago so I don't know how that could work. So it's either that, a halfway decent cheap 10" 1080p IPS tablet -say a Huawei MediaPad T5 for 135€ (2/16) or 160€ (3/32)-, or a decent new laptop with a 1080p IPS panel which could cost considerably more than the SSD and the tablet (or even a portable monitor) combined.

Gaming would need an entirely new laptop altogether. Get the 1080p IPS from before and make it at least 120hz, give it 16GB of DDR4 (DDR4, OMG, is this the future?) RAM just to be safe, and a 1660ti 'cause there's no way in hell I'm either getting last gen graphics now or paying for an RTX. I've done some e-window shopping to see how much that would go for and the lowest I've seen is around 1400€. If I can get productivity and media consumption sorted out for about 250~300€ I guess I could sacrifice gaming for now, but if not might as well get the whole package.

So what do you think?
Hey, don't look at me like that, I said it was a long story.

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You would be surprised how good Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge hold up still today. Sandy was a marvel of an architecture, probably in the Hall of Fame of biggest breakthroughs in computer performance. Your i7 is a quad core 8 thread part, so it's essentially a desktop i7 other than lower boost clocks; trust me it is not the problem.

 

So let's tackle your other concerns:

 

Your laptop's unresponsiveness is likely due to problems in your hard drive. Hard drives normally die of old age, and their lifespan depends on their usage and their reliability rating (server hard drives are designed to last songer since they have to work 24/7, but they're more expensive, like WD Blacks).

 

Try this: install CrystalDiskInfo, a program that reads your hard drive's health parameters. If anything is wrong, it will give you a warning and display its health status in yellow. Take a screenshot of that and post it here, and I'll let you know whether you need to replace it ASAP (you probably do).

 

For good measure, back up your data as soon as you have the free time. Then buy the SSD, the MX500 is a solid choice and it's cheaper than ever. I can almost guarantee it will make your computer feel snappy because your task manager is showing 100% disk usage.

 

As for the laptop's display. That's the biggest weakness of laptops in my eyes - you can't just upgrade the monitor, or the CPU most of the time. The one thing I'd do is see if I can borrow a TV from wherever I'm going to watch movies, and that would be the zero euro cost solution.

 

Now if you want to do gaming on your laptop, I'd look at this one -

 

https://www.pccomponentes.com/msi-gl63-8sd-270xes-intel-core-i7-8750h-16gb-512gb-ssd-gtx-1660ti-156 (here's an amazon.es link https://www.amazon.es/dp/B07PMGXYY7)

 

It's heavily discounted right know and ticks your boxes with the 1080p 120Hz display, though it seems the 120Hz option is TN

 

Don't trust pccomponentes on the bigger brother GL73 - it might say IPS panel but the 120Hz option is also TN on it.

 

This Gigabyte one does have a 144Hz IPS display. If you don't mind the extra 50 euro, it's probably a decent pick. Don't forget to look at a laptop's review before you buy one, there's so much to look for in a laptop that choosing the perfect one is very hard.


We have a NEW and GLORIOUSER PSU Tier List Now.

 

You can check out the old one that gave joy to so many across the land here

 

Computer having a hard time powering on? Troubleshoot it with this guide. (Currently looking for suggestions to update it into the context of <current year> and make it its own thread)

Computer Specs:

Spoiler

 Mathresolvermajig: Intel Xeon E3 1240 (Sandy Bridge i7 equivalent)
Framepainting-inator: MSI RX 480 Gaming X 8GB Died in a horrible mining accident. Currently looking for used Vega 56s!

Attachcorethingy: GA-H61M-S2V-B3

Infoholdstick: Corsair 2x4GB DDR3 1333 CAS 9

Computerarmor: CM Elite 360 (Moddded to all hell by now)

Rememberdoogle: 120GB Trion 150 + 1TB WD RE+ + 240GB SSD Plus

AdditionalPylons: Corsair CX450M

Letterpad: Rosewill Apollo 9100 (Cherry MX Red)

Buttonrodent: EVGA Torq X3

Auralnterface: @Den-Fi が2年前にくれたヘッドフォン

Liquidrectangles: AOC G2260VWQ6 (Freesync 75Hz), Samsung SMB2030N (1600x900 VGA)

Brother's Computer:

Spoiler

Mathresolvermajig: Intel i3-2100 (carry over from my old build)
Framepainting-inator: GTX 650 Ti

Attachcorethingy: Intel Z68 (don't know anything else, got it from ebay for like $40)

Infoholdstick: Corsair 2x2GB 1333MHz C9

Computerarmor: Ashamed to say

Rememberdoogle: 120GB SP550 + 500GB 2.5" from a laptop

AdditionalPylons: Antec Basiq BP350 (not as loud as @STRMfrmXMN says it is) (actually pretty loud for my standards)

Letterpad: Logitech MK120 bundle

Buttonrodent: See above

Auralnterface: Hah! You wish

Liquidrectangles: Samsung 1600x900 + LG 1440x900

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If you can get a new ssd for a good deal, a MX500 is a pretty big step up from your current 500gb 5400 rpm hard drive as far as I am concerned. Boot times, load times, active responsiveness and etc. The best part is that if you ever feel the need to upgrade your laptop or switch to a desktop in general, you can opt. to swap out the drive from the laptop with the ssd to the new system, while retaining the older laptop with the 5400 rpm drive.

 

Reinstalling or installing the OS for both is quite can be frustrating if something occurs though. Follow best practices at best.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
8 hours ago, Kpite said:

The best part is that if you ever feel the need to upgrade your laptop or switch to a desktop in general, you can opt. to swap out the drive from the laptop with the ssd to the new system, while retaining the older laptop with the 5400 rpm drive.

Reinstalling or installing the OS for both is quite can be frustrating if something occurs though. Follow best practices at best.


I have been reading that it should be easy to clone and swap if the drive comes with a sata-to-usb cable (I don't know if the MX500 includes it). Also that I could log into a Microsoft account and have my system checked so reinstalls wouldn't require a key (I upgraded W7 so I don't know if that key would activate a clean W10 installation), then again I don't know either if Microsoft would consider it the same machine after I swap the drive. Anyway, I don't mind the work, I'd get it running eventually.
 

8 hours ago, Energycore said:

Try this: install CrystalDiskInfo, a program that reads your hard drive's health parameters. If anything is wrong, it will give you a warning and display its health status in yellow. Take a screenshot of that and post it here, and I'll let you know whether you need to replace it ASAP (you probably do).

 

[...]

 

Now if you want to do gaming on your laptop, I'd look at this one -

 

https://www.pccomponentes.com/msi-gl63-8sd-270xes-intel-core-i7-8750h-16gb-512gb-ssd-gtx-1660ti-156 (here's an amazon.es link https://www.amazon.es/dp/B07PMGXYY7)

 

It's heavily discounted right know and ticks your boxes with the 1080p 120Hz display, though it seems the 120Hz option is TN

 

Don't trust pccomponentes on the bigger brother GL73 - it might say IPS panel but the 120Hz option is also TN on it.

 

This Gigabyte one does have a 144Hz IPS display. If you don't mind the extra 50 euro, it's probably a decent pick. Don't forget to look at a laptop's review before you buy one, there's so much to look for in a laptop that choosing the perfect one is very hard.


Here you have a screenshot of CrystalDiskInfo for both my laptop (a composite 'cause it would fit in the screen) and my desktop. I've used it for a while on my desktop but didn't think of running it on the laptop 'cause I'm dumb like that.laptop.PNG.ab7f496c24043c3867ed2e1716537ece.PNG

desktop.PNG.97ff65f5f1b16270e4caa57f14a80ce2.PNG

The desktop has been sitting at Current Pending Sector Count 1 for a while now, it hasn't given me any problems so I'm optimistic. I was told it could be a sign of prompt death or it could fix itself nex time it goes over that sector, but that if it starts ramping up then it's clearly marked for death.

Soooooo the 104 count on the laptop (sorry, didn't remember to switch it off hexadecimal) doesn't look so good. Which is... great? 'Cause if the drive is so far gone all the more reason to think it will improve miles with a new straight-up better drive.

As for the laptops I actually saw those and wrote in the original post about MSI laptops at 1100€ but then I saw the panels where TN and scrapped that. Which is a pitty 'cause a Nitro 5 with those same specs and a 144hz IPS display ramp up to 1600€ in the official store (with a 200€ discount hopefully not already applied, so that would be 1400€?), quite a bit more money.

The SSD seems like a no-brainer 'cause as Kpite said I could eventually take it out of the laptop when I'm done with it and put it in the next computer, so I lose nothing by going that route. With that and Stadia and GeForce NOW on the horizon I could see myself going without a gaming rig for a while. I still don't know how to work around the screen though. I could open a new thread about that but I don't know if I should do it in the Displays section or the Phones and Tablets one ?.  I've been checking the Asus portable monitors but those are pretty weird, and work with DisplayPort over USB C or to a lesser extent A, and I don't think this laptop is compatible with that. Every other portable monitor I've seen it's an off-brand solution that would render dubious results. Anyway it should connect through HDMI. I wouldn't use it on the go, just want to be able to pack it on my backpack with the laptop and not move with an extra huge box, so it's perfectly fine (even preferable) for it to be plugged to the wall for power, in a true desktop-replacement fashion. So it's between that: bigger, more expensive screen tethered to the wall and the laptop resting on a desk and can be used regularly as a second monitor, or smaller cheaper screen that runs on it's own and I can take to bed and would only be used to watch video and read comics. I guess I'll keep using the phone until I find the ideal candidates on either side and make a choice.

Thanks for the replies!

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So you want to upgrade SSD in your current laptop or buy a new laptop?


Check out my laptop reviews here

 

My daily driver: Lenovo Legion Y530 [REVIEW]

Spoiler

Intel Core i5-8300H Nvidia GTX1050Ti 2GB LP156WFG-SPB2 144Hz IPS 16GB 2666MHz DDR4 RAM (2x8GB) Samsung PM981 256GB+Seagate 1TB 5400RPM

Check out my blog here

Laptop ODMsClevo, Tongfang, Quanta

 

My Phone: Xiaomi Mi 9 Lite [REVIEW] (Blue, with XUNDD hard case)

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SDM710 6GB RAM 128GB ROM 6.39" AMOLED 48MP Sony IMX586 rear (AI triple camera)

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Posted · Original PosterOP
4 hours ago, GeneXiS_X said:

So you want to upgrade SSD in your current laptop or buy a new laptop?

I'd like to have a new one so I can play games on it and have a better display, but as that cost a pretty penny I'll take the cheapest solution that provides a good user experience.

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8 hours ago, mkdabra said:

I'd like to have a new one so I can play games on it and have a better display, but as that cost a pretty penny I'll take the cheapest solution that provides a good user experience.

If you're buying a new one, what's your budget?


Check out my laptop reviews here

 

My daily driver: Lenovo Legion Y530 [REVIEW]

Spoiler

Intel Core i5-8300H Nvidia GTX1050Ti 2GB LP156WFG-SPB2 144Hz IPS 16GB 2666MHz DDR4 RAM (2x8GB) Samsung PM981 256GB+Seagate 1TB 5400RPM

Check out my blog here

Laptop ODMsClevo, Tongfang, Quanta

 

My Phone: Xiaomi Mi 9 Lite [REVIEW] (Blue, with XUNDD hard case)

Spoiler

SDM710 6GB RAM 128GB ROM 6.39" AMOLED 48MP Sony IMX586 rear (AI triple camera)

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I went with the MX500 1TB. Barely installed Windows and general utilities (a Ninite pack and a handful of programs) but so far so good.
 

On 8/25/2019 at 7:06 AM, GeneXiS_X said:

If you're buying a new one, what's your budget?

As I'm not pressed to buy one it's less about how much performance can I get in a given budget and more about how cheap could a laptop that covers my expectations be. And that would be more or less what I wrote before: a laptop with a decent IPS 1080p display with high refresh rate, a decent CPU, a 1660ti, 16GB RAM, and a quality SSD never smaller than 500GB. Nothing out of the extraordinary either, but a good, capable machine. When I see one cheap enough for the performance gain to warrant the expense I'll go for it.

Meanwhile when out of town I'll work on the revamped 6.5 years old laptop, watch shows on my phone and play indie titles or wait for Stadia and GeForce Now.

The sad thing is that while at home I'll still be on the desktop, to which I could give a second life (an even better one) adding a decent GPU on top of the SSD make-over treatment of the laptop, but it would be a pity to make the investment just to let it gather dust in the near future, or be outclassed and rendered redundant when I finally go for a new laptop.

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