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Upgrade to laptop
Old 12-27-2018, 01:07 PM   #1
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Upgrade to laptop

I have a laptop that I gave to my grandson. Funny that the retirement forum has become my go to place for computer help, but you seem to have a lot of collective experience. My question is whether its worth it to put any money into this computer. I think it is worth it, but want your opinions.

Its a Toshiba. Not sure how old, but for sure greater than 5. Processor is a i5 running 2.3mhz. 4 gig of memory and a 500GB hdd. Let me know if you need more info. Its running a clean install of Windows 10 64bit.

Im thinking of a SSD and maybe upgrading the ram to 8GB. It could probably use a new battery, but a basic battery is only $30 and he could live without it because its only a use at home computer.

I think Id go with a 250GB SSD but Im sure he could get by with a 120GB so I might save a few bucks there. Hes only using 34GB of the current HHD. He mostly surfs and connects to school with it. He could and probably should save all his data off to a thumb drive or use one for a back up. I also have a couple small external usb drives he could use one of for back ups.

Worth it?
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Old 12-27-2018, 02:41 PM   #2
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Wow. Older than 5 years and still going. You are truly blessed. I never had a laptop last more than 4 years. To be fair, I used them for work and traveled a lot. So lots of bumps and bruises.

I am not a techy and am not qualified to respond to your technical questions. But from a (seemingly) practical standpoint, could you have your grandson load whatever SW he needs for school, and see how it performs?

I myself would hesitate to invest ANY monies is a 5+ year computer, but again, I'm obviously not blessed when it comes to laptops.
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Old 12-27-2018, 03:19 PM   #3
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The biggest difference you'd probably notice would result from the fast SSD compared to the old hard drive. Sounds like you could get by with the 120 gb SSD but we might only be talking a $30-40 difference in price. I have a dual boot win7/win10 desktop system running fine on a 250 gb SSD but then I have all my storage on separate internal 3 tb hard drive. That's not feasible in a laptop. As long as you don't try to have too many programs running at the same time, you can get by with 4 gb but 8 gb memory would be better. not sure what the cost for that might be. You would have to be careful in selecting the right memory for an older machine.



FWIW, I have yet to have a laptop fail on me but I'm pretty careful with them. One was used outside onsite at sewage treatment facilities so at least that one saw a less than optimal environment! The oldest one I have is an ancient Thinkpad (circa 1998) that was used with an early usb datalogger. Its battery is no good but it could still run the software and collect the data as long as it was plugged in.
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Old 12-27-2018, 03:35 PM   #4
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$1100 for a new replacement
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...2RC-004H-000C0
you decide
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Old 12-27-2018, 03:36 PM   #5
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Actually, I only had one computer out right die on me and all others lived past what would be considered a normal run time. Probably most over 5 years and switched out to a new computer primarily due to wanting the newer technology. The one that blew was my fault. It was my early venture into a quiet PC. I stuck it in a cabinet (those ones that used to be on the side of the desk with a door to hide your PC tower) and over heated it. The drives were fine. Only had one drive crash in my life and it was an external that DW dropped.

My current desktop is 6 years old and I'm not planning on changing it out anytime soon. I did upgrade to a larger SSD. I guess even saving your data off to another drive, you still fill up the main disk over 6 years if you load all your programs onto it. Otherwise, it handles my simple computing needs (surfing, simple spreadsheets, word documents and viewing pictures) very well.
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Old 12-27-2018, 03:41 PM   #6
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$1100 for a new replacement
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...2RC-004H-000C0
you decide
I can upgrade for $60 for a 250GB SSD, $66 to add 4GB ram to be 8GB in total. A battery is $30-$50. So, it's easy to decide not to spend $1,000. At his age, I probably wouldn't spend $500 on a computer for him.
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Old 12-27-2018, 04:13 PM   #7
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A couple of thoughts -

- if the laptop dies, the SSD can still be used in another computer. At the bargain end, these are OK @ $30/250GB.

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...48&ignorebbr=1


- get the specs on the memory and search ebay, I have found good condition memory in the $10/2GB range.
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Old 12-27-2018, 04:25 PM   #8
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Jerry1,

I vote for upgrading the laptop components, if needed.

Of course, I'm a gal who just couldn't let her 'sick' Toshiba laptop go http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...one-92071.html

It's been running like a champ ever since^.

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Old 12-27-2018, 04:55 PM   #9
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Processor, Memory, Storage. All work together, and there are limits when you have a bottleneck. 4GB was insufficient, and that is the most necessary upgrade. With 8 or 12 there will be far less memory swapping to disk. Always do one upgrade at a time.
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Old 12-27-2018, 05:00 PM   #10
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Processor, Memory, Storage. All work together, and there are limits when you have a bottleneck. 4GB was insufficient, and that is the most necessary upgrade. With 8 or 12 there will be far less memory swapping to disk. Always do one upgrade at a time.
Is that why the disk seems to always be running - disk swapping? It drives me nuts to hear that thing clicking away all the time. That was definitely a reason for wanting an SSD.

I assume the memory upgrade (8 is max for this computer), would be faster, but wouldn't I get pretty close as long as the disk swapping was happening with an SSD? I can get a bigger SSD much cheaper than the extra ram.
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Old 12-27-2018, 05:37 PM   #11
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How much faster is your RAM than SSD? Look on Amazon for cheaper RAM. If you're maxed out on RAM, then you go SSD.
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Old 12-27-2018, 05:49 PM   #12
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Jerry1,

Is your grandson saying the Toshiba is sluggish for what he is using it for? Or is the upgrade idea mainly your idea to help the grandson?

From the brief description of the specs, I'd think an i5 cpu running Win 10 should still be okay. Though the idea of going to SSD might be an easy speed upgrade.
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Old 12-27-2018, 05:58 PM   #13
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Another thing to remember is to use the hardware sensibly. I could probably bring my computer to a crawl if I started enough applications concurrently and each were competing for the available resources.
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Old 12-27-2018, 06:41 PM   #14
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Jerry1,

Is your grandson saying the Toshiba is sluggish for what he is using it for? Or is the upgrade idea mainly your idea to help the grandson?

From the brief description of the specs, I'd think an i5 cpu running Win 10 should still be okay. Though the idea of going to SSD might be an easy speed upgrade.
We were installing something he got for Christmas and it required a bit of restarting to get it all set. It drove ME crazy. He doesn't know any difference. Honest answer is that I like taking things apart. If there was ever a profession I could have found where I could have made a living taking things apart, I would still be working as I would have been in heaven. Said another way, this is all my doing.
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Old 12-27-2018, 06:48 PM   #15
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How much faster is your RAM than SSD? Look on Amazon for cheaper RAM. If you're maxed out on RAM, then you go SSD.
I never thought of it in that order. That makes sense except that the SSD is going to give the benefit of faster initial startup. But for better overall efficiency, more ram makes sense.

The Crucial web site says to use the following memory. Does it have to match exactly do some of these number represent a variable. For example, could it be buffered and still work?

DDR3 PC3-12800 CL=11 UNBUFFERED NON-ECC DDR3-1600 1.35V
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Old 12-28-2018, 09:40 AM   #16
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We were installing something he got for Christmas and it required a bit of restarting to get it all set. It drove ME crazy. He doesn't know any difference. Honest answer is that I like taking things apart. If there was ever a profession I could have found where I could have made a living taking things apart, I would still be working as I would have been in heaven. Said another way, this is all my doing.
I know the feeling of wanting to tinker and take things apart and give stuff an upgrade here or there.

One of my two laptops is an old Dell I was using as my Win 10 laptop but the laptop runs way too slow. I've installed Linux on that machine and use as my travel laptop to remotely connect to my main Win 10 desktop. If the laptop gets knocked around a bit or gets swiped during my travels, I don't mind too much. Yet, at the same time, I'm considering adding a SSD to make thing go just a bit faster.
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:14 AM   #17
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Since I tend to be a tinkerer, I would lean towards the memory upgrade (max it out, memory is at a relatively cheap cycle these days) and a SSD drive. You could still squeeze a few additional years out of it, depending on what you intend to use.


I have a laptop (Lenovo) that is 7 years old and still going strong with Windows 10 Professional. I have maxed out the upgrades (8GB memory, 1TB 7200 rpm drive) and it is fast enough for my needs (programming and streaming video to my projector). I am, however, looking to replace it primarily due to the keyboard, a few of the keys get finicky and you had to tap them extra hard to get them to work at times. That is something I could spend the time to diagnose, but I decided to stop being frugal in this area for now. Also it maxes out at 8GB RAM, and I want to get to 16GB or more to better play with things like virtualization, containers, etc.
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:48 AM   #18
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One of my laptops is a Lenovo. Not sure how old (I bought used). I've tinkered and took the whole laptop apart a few times to replace the fan/heatsink.

Following the proper documentation, it wasn't too difficult to remove and put the keyboard back in which I needed to do to get at the fan/heatsink.
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:50 AM   #19
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I would upgrade the HD to an SSD.
That is where you will get most bang for the buck.
The memory at 4 Gig is quite enough for Win10, and should he have open a ton of apps, it will have a very fast SSD to swap to and from.

Since all he is doing is surfing the internet, rather than running photoshop, more ram is overkill.
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Old 12-28-2018, 11:29 AM   #20
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I would definitely just upgrade the RAM. The SSD might give you a nice boot up boost, but your I5 processor (even early generations) coupled with a boost in RAM, provides more than enough compute power to handle most tasks quickly enough and mask the slower drive performance. If you really need speed, dump Windows 10 and load up a variant of Linux. As long as the grandson isn't playing real graphics intensive games, the laptop will be fine for him. I've replaced laptop displays, keyboards, connectors, drives, memory,... and it's rewarding (Youtube is awesome for this). Just make sure to get the dust buildup out as much as you can and teach him not to have the vents blocked while running. The only thing that really kills a laptop for me is when the structural integrity of the hinges go - then it gets reduced to a desktop with USB mouse, keyboard, and monitor. By the way, make sure you check how the manufacturer populated your RAM before buying. Sometimes they fill the slots with lower memory sticks and you might have to buy more than 4 GB.
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