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Upgrade a DELL Inspiron 1720 T7300

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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December 17, 2009 9:47:15 PM

My Wife is getting a new PC so I am taking Her 2 year old Dell Inspiron 1720. It has T7300 Core 2 2MB cache processor and Nvidia 8400M GS 128MB video and 2MB DDR2 RAM. I will use it for work and games when on the road, vacation, etc. I play Left for Dead, COD 4, TF 2 and similar. I have a killer home gaming rig, BTW.
I ran 3D mark06 and got 1,432 marks. Not too good. It was running Vista Home 32bit, but I will probably install XP Pro.

Here are the two options I am exploring:
I found a Dell Nvidia 8600M GT video card for $130. I believe this is good step up from my current 8400M GS card.
I also have found some Processor upgrades too. I can get a 2.4ghz Core 2 for $200. It would be 20% faster clock speed and have 4mb cache instead of 2mb. I also found a 2.8ghz for $270.

What do you guys think? Will either of these make a worthwhile difference? One better than the other?
December 18, 2009 4:19:46 AM

Well, in my opinion that's a lot to be spending for a little gain. Also I am not certain you will be able to change that graphics card.

Ultimately I would save up for a newer laptop. You can get a pretty fast midrange machine that would blow that away for 600-800US. I would use that machine for the interim, but for me the mobility is the main thing with my laptop. I play a few less demanding games on mine, of course I wish I could do more at times, but I have a good rig for gaming at home like you.

I just don't see you getting much more longevity for a $300-$400 investment.
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December 19, 2009 2:13:19 PM

I considered a new one, but there is probably only 10 days a year I might play games on it, and for everyday use it is more than enough.
I ordered the 8600M GT and perhaps I can sell the 8400M for a few bucks on eBay.
I am also going to put a SS hard drive. It will be after Christmas, but I will run some benchmarks and let you all know how it goes.
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December 26, 2009 10:29:44 PM

Ok She got her all in one PC for Christmas and I got her laptop. I took her hard drive out and connected it to the new one with an esata housing to transfer data.

So I put in my 64GB SS hard drive in the Inspiron 1720 and loaded Vista ultimate 32bit. I loaded all drivers and ran a few benchmarks. 3Dmark 06 was 1371 and PCmark 05 was 5563.
Then I wiped the drive and loaded XP Pro 32 bit. Now 3Dmark 06 was 1432 and PCmark 05 wouldn't finish. Only 5% better on XP so I reinstalled Vista.

So I then I take the system apart and install the 8600GT board I got from ebay. While in there, I cleaned out some furballs and removed the CPU heatsink, cleaned and applied arctic siver compound. I did this to the GPU heatsink too.

I ran 3Dmark 06 again and got a whopping 3266 points. More than double, not bad for $130. I ran PCmark 05 again and got 5005. I am not sure why it went down, but it isn't a big concern.

BTW it takes 44 seconds to load Windows Vista from off, but the first 10 is on the bios screen.

PS My WIndows Experience rating went from 3.4 to 4.7
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December 28, 2009 9:09:17 PM

I ran the two benchmarks again this morning. I got similar results on the 3Dmark 06 but got a 6002 on PCmark 05. Maybe I had something running in the background before.
I used it for work today and it ran great. The SS hard drive rocks. When I look up a Customer's history, it used to have a "searching" message for 2-8 seconds, now it pops up instantly. Sweet.
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