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Sony Vaio PCG-7N2L optimization

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November 16, 2010 7:05:25 PM

So, after trying to find a motherboard that fit the exact pin locations of the one I currently have in this laptop, I decided just to sit with what I have and try to push it as far as it can go. The only issue is, since I can't find any specifications about the Sony Vaio PCG-7N2L, I don't actually know what's inside of it. Thus, I make assumptions based on how old it is...and I will start firing off questions...now!

RAM: I'm assuming I will have to use DDR2 RAM. Now I surfed around on some old articles in tomshardware.com (2005-2008) and found some pretty good information, but I'm not sure if it's totally up-to-date. I read specifically: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/hardcore-ddr2-ram-c.... Now, the part that is a little foggy to me is that DDR2 has a maximum clock rate of 800MHz, personally I thought it was 1066MHz. This leads me to my next question, per the article, you can only run a certain speed on the RAM if you mobo will support that ratio. So I know the CPU in this computer is a Intel Centrino clocked at 1.6Ghz. So, could I potentially run DDR2-1066, with a 5:4 ratio, by down clocking my CPU to 1.35Ghz (if I did my math right), without melting anything? And even if I could do that, would it be any good?!

My understanding of the article was that the CPU has a clock rate X, and that DDR2, standing for double data rate, carried out processes not only when the clock goes from high to low, but from low to high as well. Now DDR2 memory has a clock rate Y; a CPU will only allow certain ratios. Thus you must have 2:3 for DDR2-800, for example. The 2 being the clock of the memory, and the 3 being the clock of the CPU, so in our instance Y:X. Am I understanding this correctly?

Now the article makes no mention to what ratio is needed for DDR2-1066 so the 5:4 ratio that was mentioned earlier was a complete guess!

So, if you didn't understand my rabble or don't care too, basically I wanna know the best RAM configuration for DDR2. (Also the article says that DDR2 has a sweet spot for 2GB(1 x 2GB modules), is this correct or would I be better off with 4GB DDR2-XXX?)

HDD OR SSD: The next question is whether or not old mobos have the capability, or if an adapter exists, to run SSD. I would like to fool around with it; this laptop is my experimental laptop :) . Now I searched for articles regarding HDDs in old laptops but I found nothing relevant enough. So, should I just grab a WD or Seagate HDD with the highest RPM and cache speed and slap her in there? Or is there more to it like our RAM situation? Hmmm...

CPU: I would LOVE to through a new CPU in there but the issue is not knowing the mobo, so if anyone knows off the top of their head if a mobo can support a Intel Centrino, could it support a Pentium? Again, I could not find information regarding this.

Battery: This whole electrical stuff goes way over my head. Once articles start talking about ohms of resistance, amps of current etc. I kind of hit the back button as fast as humanly possible. So, my final question is, is there a benefit to having something other than a stock battery from sony, setting aside battery life. If I relate it to my days of desktop building, sometimes more wattage is required to run certain hardware, and if I'm replacing parts, should I look into getting a different, yet compatible battery?

Network Card: The Vaio has, I'm assuming, a megabit card in it now. Is it safe to assume that I can put a gigabit card in there? Anyone have a brand or model recommendations?

I think that's everything...I'll take recommendations on all of these parts since my knowledge isn't best when coming to laptops. Feel free to put the noob in his place!

Love,

Noob
November 16, 2010 9:51:03 PM

So I found this gigabit network card for a very affordable price: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

however, I'm a firm believer in the old adage: "You get what you pay for."

Is there something I'm missing out on with this card?

I did some reading up on the SSD, and it has the possibility to revive the old computer for launching applications, but the question still remains, is it worth the money, or should I just invest in a new computer? I think the price v.s. performance a HDD will be a better bet.

I got my information from these following threads:

1. http://www.tomshardware.com/news/laptops-ssd-upgrade-ru...
2. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-hdd-sata,2115.h...

The HDDs that I've selected so far are:
1. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

this particular one is cool because it has a 4GB cache of SSD in it! So it's kind of a mix of both worlds, affordability, and performance! Anyone got a piece of mind on these guys?

2. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

- Affordable, reliable, but has half the cache size (16MB) as compared to the Seagate.

Comments!
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November 17, 2010 4:54:21 AM

Ok, firstly, there is a lot of info there but its not clear what you have or what you are trying to do.

I assume from the title, you have laptop and are looking to upgrade the hardware??

If thats the case, the short answer is "you are pretty much outta luck"
Laptops, Sony in particular are not very upgrade friendly.

Network: Your link points to a PCI-E based card. This is for desktops only. No laptop EVER uses this. Their network is whats called 'on-board'. Ie: Its built into the motherboard. You can't upgrade it.

CPU: Almost always soldered onto the board. No upgrade possible.

Ram: 50/50. Most laptops have some upgrade options. Smaller laptops and Sony's often have soldered ram = No upgrade.

HDD: Sounds like an older laptop? All current drives SSD/HDD have a SATA interface, older laptops dont have sata = No upgrade.

Battery i can help with: Batteries for complex devices are lithium based. They don't like to be discharged or left discharged. If you charge them early and often they will last forever. Heat kills all batteries. If the laptop is a few years old the battery will likely have deteriorated significantly. A new battery will give you more hours on a charge. Capacities are misleading. You only get more capacity by removing internal insulation. This leads to higher capacity, but also higher internal current leakage. Ie: Leave you laptop unplugged for a few weeks and the battery could be flat.

Don't worry about your ram:cpu ratio as you won't have access to any bios overclocking anyway.

Bottom line: I doubt you can upgrade ANYTHING on that laptop.
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November 17, 2010 6:06:35 AM

1. Sorry I was unclear about what I wanted, I own a Sony Vaoi PCG-7N2L and am looking to upgrade it.

2. I've cracked open many a laptops and have never found the RAM soldered into the mobo. Although I have seen the CPU in that state.

3. The mobo has a PCIe slot, that's why I was asking about the gigabit ethernet card, I know the mobo has an integrated one, I was looking to reduce bottle-necking for internet access. The reason I picked that one was because it was small.

4. PATA SSDs exist: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

5. Yes the CPU is locked, but can't they be unlocked? Although I think the ideal RAM configuration is a 1:1 ratio with DDR2-800

I'm not too dumb when it comes to computers..
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November 17, 2010 6:52:13 AM

No probs :) 

2. If you can access the ram and remove it there is a good chance you can upgrade to more. You won't unlock any extra speed by using faster ram.

3. A slot like that is probably for some Sony specific upgrade. That card won't fit, and if you make it fit, it won't work. Your onboard lan is far faster than any internet you have access to. There is no bottleneck on the lan when using the internet.

4. 8Gb is nowhere near enough, and $100 is way too expensive. I just got a 120Gb OCZ Vertex2 SSD for $300. I'd also question the pata interface to deliver enough bandwidth to take advantage of an SSD.

5. Not as far as i know. Yes 1:1 is ideal, but proprietary laptops like Sony do some weird things. They are pretty good at looking their systems down so you can't mess with them. Im also not sure you understand the cpu and ram matching correctly come to think of it. DDR ram is double data rate. CPU's are quad pumped.

Take your cpu bus speed x4. That should match your ram.
Take your cpu bus speed, factor the cpu multiplier and you have you clock speed.

I don't know your specs, but i'm assuming a bus speed of 200Mhz, and a multiplier of 8x

200Mhz x 8 = 1.6Ghz (your cpu speed)

So quadruple your cpu bus speed of 200Mhz and you get... 800Mhz, which is your ram speed, so..... its 1:1
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November 17, 2010 7:13:58 AM

I did not know that bit about the CPU being quadrupled! That made a lot more sense, however, new updates. I took apart the whole laptop to get it cleaned (the previous owner spilled soda on the keyboard). The CPU is soldered into the mobo, the ram, wireless card etc were not. However I looked closely at the RAM and noticed a little upsetting evidence..it's DDR! Now I need to figure out the ideal timings for DDR and not DDR2!

Thank you for the replies, mrmez!
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November 17, 2010 7:44:33 AM

Best answer selected by Scooter92.
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a c 244 D Laptop
November 17, 2010 9:31:36 AM

This topic has been closed by Maziar
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