Will 512Mb RAM & new 5400rpm HD make a difference?

Hello there,

I own a Pentium III 850MHz notebook with 8Mb ATi Mobility M1 graphics, 256Mb RAM, 20GB (DJSA-220) 4200 rpm HD and running Windows XP Pro. Would someone with a extensive experience in notebook performance please let me know if it makes any sense maxing the memory to 512Mb and upgrading the disk to a 5400 rpm IBM 40GB (40GNX)?

Exactly how much of a performance gain would an extra 1200 rpm contribute. The disk I have in mind can be found here

I use my notebook mainly for digital photo editing, XP Office apps, emails and Instant Messenging so the weak 8Mb ATi video isnt so much of an issue. I have graphics configured for 24-bit display and vertical frequency @ 100Hz. Does this have any negative long term effects?

Jan Shim
6 answers Last reply
More about will 512mb 5400rpm make difference
  1. C'mon guys .. this isn'ta difficult question. I was told yesterday that having additional RAM can cut graphics processing time. I want to hear from actual users who have done similar upgrades and have found significant gains.

  2. id say it may help for photo editing, but none of the other stuff u do.

    <font color=blue> If it ain't broke, don't fix it...tweak it.</font color=blue>
  3. OK. if you are editing large photos (i.e. larger than 128MB and you've got 256MB RAM, then adding more ram will help. Anything that is memory intensive will gain like picture or video editing. Games won't cos u only got an 8MB ATi M1. The 5400rpm drive wont make a really noticeable difference tho. i.e. startup will prob. be a little bit quicker with the swap file and everything. anything that uses the hard drive a lot like video editing will be a bit quicker.

    Who's General Failure and why's he reading my disk?
  4. I do a lot of digital photos that are about 500Kb each, page full of thumbnails and at least 3-4 other applications running in the background. They could be Trillian, Paint Shop Pro, Excel, etc. When i do a preview of the folders that contain the JPG files, there's a lot of disk I/O activity when the thumbnails load, and this task usually takes a while to load up completely. I dont do any video editing. There are times when the disk just keeps spinning and display performance becomes 'laggy'.
  5. That will more likely be caused by your memory and harddrive bandwidth limitations (i.e. the laggy display) Increasing the RAM wouldn't necesarily change that, although you would notice a slight difference. The hardrive wouldn't really change anything.

    I agree, you should wait a year and upgrade.

    Who's General Failure and why's he reading my disk?
  6. I upgraded my Dell Latitude C810 Pentium IIIm 1.13MHz last month by maxing it out to 512MB of RAM and going with the 5400 RPM IBM Travelstar Hard Drive.

    Beleive it or not, it gave me almost at 30% performance boost over the 256MB / 4200 RPM configuration that the unit shipped with.

    The hard drive seems to be a big issue with notebooks. Shawn and I have worked with Tom on the IBM A31p article release and during this time with the Introduction of the Pentium 4m, we did a lot of testing with the 5400 RPM hard drives vs. the 4200 RPM models and it made a big impact on the benchmarks.

    Tom has said, and I agree that the hard drive is a big bottle neck when the processors hit over 500MHz. The bottom line is anything that you can do to reduce the latency, is going to help.

    Are you ever going to get true desktop performance, no it isn't going to happen without improvments in hard drive technology for the 9.5mm hard drives.

    Personally, I think the question you have to ask is how much longer can you live with the notebook?

    Given the cost of the RAM and the rather expensive cost of the notebook 5400 RPM hard drive (No matter if you go with the IBM 5400 9.5mm drive or the Toshiba 5400 9.5mm drive) your investment will still be about $350+ which may or not be worth it for a system that you only plan to keep for a year or so.

    In my case, I just purchased my Dell last year and I was looking to more improve the performance of the unit and tap the max of the machine to try to keep myself from moving to the more robust Latitude C840.

    Right now, I am going to try to hang in there with the C810 for at least another year or so, but if the wife keeps pestering me for an uprade for her laptop, she will wind up with my C810 and I will upgrade.
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