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Discrete graphics or extra RAM for new HP DM3?

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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October 21, 2009 7:49:35 AM

Hello Tom's people!

I'm looking at buying a new HP DM3 13.3" laptop when they are released this week. Portability is a prime concern for me, so I think this is a good choice. The current set-up I'm sitting on has 4GB RAM (it can handle 8GB max) with a AMD Turion Neo X2 Dual-Core L625 (1.6GHz, 1MB cache) with ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics. It runs Windows 7 Home 64-bit.

I don't use my computer for games. I like to stream video or play DVDs, and I often edit some photos. I have never used video editing, but you never know. I've read reviews of some laptops that can't even handle Google Earth properly, because they've been shortchanged on power. I like Google Earth. I tend to keep a laptop for 3-4 years before buying a new one, and prefer they'd need as little upgrading as possible during that time, preferably none. In other words, I want to future-proof it for the next few years.


My question is:

If I want to do only one of upgrade to 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4330 discrete graphics OR upgrade to 6GB RAM, which would you choose? Would it change your opinion if the graphics upgrade is $100 and the RAM upgrade is $200? Or do you think I should just leave it the way it is, and don't need to upgrade either? (Please keep in mind that I'd like to use the computer for the next 3-4 years).

Thanks for any replies!

Best solution

a b D Laptop
October 21, 2009 3:13:52 PM

There is another way to look at it. RAM is easily upgraded on pretty much all laptops and it can usually be done for less than what the manufacturer wants you to pay. Graphics cards, on the other hand, cannot. So if you foresee yourself needing a dedicated graphics card in the future, then that would be the better upgrade choice. Most applications don't really need more than 4gb of RAM so I don't really consider that upgrade all that worth while.

That being said, Photo editing/rendering generally needs more CPU power than anything else, so if there is an option to upgrade the CPU, that may be the best option if anything.
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October 21, 2009 10:49:11 PM

Thanks, I think that is a good way to look at it. Ram is upgradeable later, video card is not. As for the processor, that's already the best one they put in this model. There is a second line of these, with Intel processors. They also come with faster hard drives. Might be worth considering.
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a b D Laptop
October 22, 2009 4:00:58 AM

^Depending on which Intel CPUs, then yeah I agree. For the most part Intel CPUs are more powerful and have better battery life.
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October 30, 2009 9:05:05 AM

The AMD version is the one to go for, as it has discrete graphics, the Intel does not
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November 3, 2009 3:45:33 AM

JeffCa said:
Thanks, I think that is a good way to look at it. Ram is upgradeable later, video card is not. As for the processor, that's already the best one they put in this model. There is a second line of these, with Intel processors. They also come with faster hard drives. Might be worth considering.



Not true, the one you are referring to the Dm3z is the AMD and is maxed out at 1.6 Turion X2, the Dm3t is the INTEL version and gets maxed out at 2.26 Core 2 (ULV). This processor is sweet, check out laptopmag.com's test of the HP ProBook 5130m, it is using that processor with just the integrated intel graphics and kicks ass. Anyway, if you opt for the Intel side of the equasion, you can opt for the Nvidia G105m discrete graphics card.

Make sure you also opt for the 7200 rpm drive, no matter what size you get (with the AMD you cannot get a 500gig @7200, max is 320). I am pretty sure they are using Seagate's drives and the 7200 uses .05% more power than the 5400.

Check out the benchmarks at laptopmag.com the dm3t is benchmarked with the intel 1.3 with 3mb cach and integrated graphics, 5400rpm hd and still kicks butt while lasting 9 hours!
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