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Considering new processor for old laptop

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October 25, 2010 1:58:04 AM

I have a Dell Inspiron 600m laptop. Currently it has a 1.8GHz Pentium M processor and 1 GB of RAM. I have 3 questions:
1) When I run CPU-z it show's the multiplier jumping between 6x & 18x and the voltage between 0.988V & 1.276V. Is this normal or should it stay near 18x?
2) What are my options for upgrading the CPU without replacing the motherboard or purchasing a new system?
3) Would I get better performance from adding RAM rather than a few hundred MHz with a new CPU?

Thanks for the help! If you need more info, let me know.

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a b à CPUs
October 25, 2010 3:10:26 AM

1) I'm guessing you're seeing Intel's Speedstep. The multiplier goes down to 6 and the voltage down to 0.988 to save power when no apps needs it. It jumps back up to 18x @ 1.276V when you need the processing power. It's how its supposed to work.

2) Don't know really. You'll need a mobile processor (to fit in the socket), and I'm not sure who'd be selling those anymore. But that's not to say it would be impossible.

3) However, before replacing the CPU, I would definitely add more memory. 1GB is the bare minimum, and could definitely be slowing you down. I'm running a Inspiron 600 (something) at work with only 1GB, it starts-up using about 550GB and climbs well over 1GB when I'm working. This causes a real slow-down because it has to swap applications in and out of memory. I'd run at least 2GB (if it were my laptop), and I'd recommend you do the same (might cost you $40 to upgrade? google search "Dell Inspiron 600M memory upgrade"). You'll see a nice improvement.

Your next best step would be multicore IF the computer accepts it, but I couldn't even guess that it would.
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October 25, 2010 12:01:09 PM

Is there a way to bypass or turnoff Speedstep?
I don't think there is a multicore or hyperthreaded processor available for the socket. I could be wrong but my guess is that even if there was, it'd be much more throuble that it's worth to try to find it.
Thanks for the feedback.
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October 25, 2010 4:10:27 PM

I don't think you'll want to turn off speedstep unless you always run this laptop plugged-in (and don't sit it on your lap). If you run off the battery, turning-off speed-step will kill your battery life (assuming the battery still works, I know mine doesn't).

You should be able to turn-off SpeedStep in the BIOS. You also want to disable it in windows (which is based on the power scheme of your system): Right click your desktop > Click properties > Click Screen Saver > Power button > Change the Power Scheme to "always on" (it's probably "minimal power management" right now).
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October 26, 2010 11:54:40 AM

Best answer selected by BlueFireAngel.
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