Next summer, I plan on building my own computer. However, I am indecisive. A reputable member of another computer-related forum offered to sell an i7-920xm for $100 AUD ($101 USD currently).
I have an N61Jq laptop that I don't plan on using for mobile purposes due to my parents' insistence that laptops>desktops and that I'm too incompetent to build my own computer. Nevertheless, I modified the laptop to improve cooling with platform elevation, tape, paper, foam pieces, and four 80mm fans (high 80 C decreased to around 70 C when playing Team Fortress 2).
If I buy the i7-920xm, I will be OCing it, as well as the ATi Mobility HD 5730. I plan on buying a 120W PSU to replace the laptop's 90W PSU, VRAM heatsinks for the heatpipes and exposed miniature GPU's VRAM blocks (a little less than 1x1cm) and quality thermal paste. For such modification, I have a budget of less than $200.
For the new budget gaming build, I plan on having a budget of less than $1000. But it's mostly speculation as there's little information on next year's hardware.
So, do I upgrade and OC my laptop this summer, or wait for next year's build?
Honestly, there is very little performance to be gained from OCing a 5730 mobility... especially when it's ALREADY running at 70C while ONLY playing TF2 WITH cooling. I think investing in your laptop would be a lost cause. I recommend you to save up 800USD minimum and build a gaming PC in the near future. You can do SO much MORE; Skyrim, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, BF3, Mass Effect 2, Dead Island and the list goes on...
I don't like giving disappointing news but... brace yourself; I originally estimated that the Mobility 5730 is the equivalent of a AMD 4670 512MB DDR3; after a little digging it turns out true. According to this; http://www.notebookcheck.net/ATI-Mobility-Radeon-HD-573... Your Mobility 5730 is the equivalent of a Discrete [Desktop] 5570; even then the discrete version has faster VRAM.
As you can clearly see; the 6850 leaves the 5570 in the dust. The reason I used the AMD 6850 is because it offers better performance vs price ratio compared to what's available in the current lineup; the same goes out to the AMD 6870 which is priced about $15-25 more.
I don't plan on playing many games during my first year of college, and as a result, I don't feel comfortable paying full price for hardware that I will barely use until the second/third year of college, when I start using the rig much more frequently. By that time, the same hardware on the market would've been cheaper, and I would've saved money had I waited until I needed a gaming rig.
Since the seller lowered the price to $80, would that be a reasonable stopgap measure to wait for the future rig?
If you don't plan to play games during your first year of college; then there is no reason you should consider upgrading your laptop. Unless there are certain apps you'll need to use for your course(s) that will GREATLY benefit from a faster CPU.
Assuming this is your laptop; Asus N61Jq http://ca.asus.com/en/Notebooks/Multimedia_Entertainmen...
According to specifications; it houses a i7 740QM; which is barely slower than the i7-920xm your considering to buy. The 2 main distinctions in my opinion is that the 920xm is clocked 200-300Mhz faster [which is insignificant] and offers Hyper Threading. However this doesn't warrant the purchase of $80 and the risk of hardware damage during installation as it offers diminishing returns in terms of performance. Laptops are generally more difficult to work with than Desktops and it's not recommended unless you know what your are doing 100%.
As you'll see from the benchmark/specs above; there is very little difference between the two processors aside from the two notable points I stated above. I would conclude this is not a worthwhile upgrade; considering the $80 price tag, risk of hardware damage(s) during installation and diminishing performance return(s).
A Bad Day said:
The seller told me that the i7 920xm is limited to an OC of 2.4 Ghz of all four cores due to my laptop's motherboard's power circuit.