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Highest speed factor: hard drive, CPU, or Vid card

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  • CPUs
  • Graphics Cards
  • Hard Drives
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February 15, 2005 3:50:20 AM

I am about to order a laptop, but have several rivals for my money...should it go to CPU, Hard drive RPM, RAM, or Video card RAM? Here are the choices confronting me for a computer that I can quietly take notes on in a class room, and play games on other times.

CPU: Pentium 1.8 or 2.0
HD: Fujitsu 100Gig 4200 rpm vs Hitachi 60gig 7600rpm
RAM: 2 sticks of 512, 1 stick of 1024 or 2gigs?
Video: Intel Extreme Graphics2 64mb or ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 128mb?

IF the difference between the Centrino 1.8GHz and 2.0GHz was $500, and the difference between the 2 video cards listed was $500, and I wanted a laptop that could last me 5 years...for $500 dollars, would my money be best spent with the better CPU or the better Video card? AND...would the system be too hindered by the slow hard drive (4200rpm)? Would it be better to try to put a 100 gig 5600rpm hard drive in? My whole question is about priorities on performance with a limited budget, bearing in mind that the system must be quiet and cool for when I take notes in class. THanks for all comments!

More about : highest speed factor hard drive cpu vid card

February 15, 2005 4:00:21 AM

ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 128mb is the best upgrade choice out of those...

CPU: Pentium <b>1.8 </b>or 2.0
HD: Fujitsu 100Gig 4200 rpm vs <b>Hitachi 60gig 7600rpm</b>
RAM: 2 sticks of 512, <b>1 stick of 1024 </b>or 2gigs?
Video: Intel Extreme Graphics2 64mb or<b> ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 128mb</b>?


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February 15, 2005 5:35:39 AM

The slow harddrive in many laptops is a main bottleneck. As you know, many applications demand frequent access to the harddrive. A 7200 RPM drive will deliver almost twice the speed of a 4200 rpm drive and will speed up a lot of things: Loading times will be shorter, boot up will be faster, applications will start faster. Games however won't run faster, the load times will decrease, that's all.
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February 15, 2005 11:33:24 AM

For a car doing laptimes, what is the highest speed factor ? Weight, engine (HP), tires, suspension, driver ? Its obviously a combination of them.

>CPU: Pentium 1.8 or 2.0

There is a potential 10% difference here, but only for apps that are 100% CPU bound, of which there are precious few.

>HD: Fujitsu 100Gig 4200 rpm vs Hitachi 60gig 7600rpm

The Hitachi is likely 2x as fast for most things, so a 100% speedup for disk bound applications (including Windows itselve, and its swapfile management, starting apps, loading map levels, etc.) As someone else pointed out though, won't increase FPS, but will make for a MUCH smoother overall experience.

>RAM: 2 sticks of 512, 1 stick of 1024 or 2gigs?

Not having enough RAM is without a doubt the biggest speed limiting factor on any machine. That is, if indeed you don't have enough. 512 MB is enough for Windows + office stuff, going to 1 GB won't make a big difference. For games however, get 1 GB. Its the difference between choppy/unplayable and smooth. No point in getting 2 GB yet, you can always add that later if/when the need arises.

>Video: Intel Extreme Graphics2 64mb or ATI Mobility Radeon
>9700 128mb?

He :)  One is adequate for 2D stuff and pretty much nothing else, the other will allow you to play current games.

If you must pick one of the upgrades, get the ATI card if you want to play games. If you can afford a second upgrade, get the faster harddisk. If you still have money left, and it needs spending, consider the faster CPU. The money needed for 2 Gigs is currently better spent on your girlfriend ;) 

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
February 15, 2005 10:04:13 PM

>No options of Centrino(P-M)?

Considering the 1.8/2.0 clockspeeds, I assume it is indeed the P-M

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
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