Please help me with my Presario notebook


I have spent 2 days trying to improve my Presario's performance.

I have a Presario 1694 notebook. Specs:
AMD K6-2 450Mhz
128MB Ram (64Mb Built-in, 64MB addin)
6.4 GB Hard Disk
Windows XP Professional
ATI Rage LT Pro 8MB

I want to be able to watch DVDs on this with PowerDVD. It can just play them with stereo audio, but sometimes, it gets jerky again. And if you have Dolby Headphone enabled, (which makes a huge difference), it gets jerky. PowerDVD says you only need a 300 Mhz CPU, 400 if you want Dolby audio.

I used the Sandra benchmark program to test my computer. The results come close to matching the refrence, except for memory bandwidth, which is only 102 MB/s v. 174 MB/s. Is this the problem? Also, when the 64 MB addon card is taken out, the the speed increases to about 115 MB/s. Is it worth having only 64MB to get the faster speed?

I have two graphics drivers I can use: the ones that come with XP, or Ati's Win2000 drivers. I seem to get better performance with the Ati drivers.

What should I do?
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  1. First of all, PowerDVD's reference is based on the Pentium II, which has rather better floating-point IPC than the K6-2. 450MHz should still be enough though...Dolby could be just out of reach though.

    Another possibility is that you're short on memory. 128MB is rather slim to be running Windows XP. I'd suggest you monitor your memory usage with the Task Manager. I don't know about WinXP, but in WinNT/2K, you can access the Task Manager quickly by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del and clicking "Task Manager". Under the "Performance" tab of the Task Manager, you get to inspect your CPU and memory usage.

    If the memory usage is above 128MB, you could see about cleaning up resident tasks to save memory, or you could get a memory upgrade. The Presario 1694 takes PC100 SO-DIMMs, a standardized form factor for laptop memory. I would recommend that you check <A HREF="" target="_new">here</A> for a memory upgrade; the only way you'll really be able to upgrade your memory is by purchasing a single 128MB SO-DIMM and scrapping the removable memory you already have.

    If you want to upgrade other parts of the laptop (like the CPU), Compaq does offer field replacement kits for end-users to upgrade their laptops themselves. It may also be possible to upgrade the CPU using standard off-the-shelf parts, though that would be rather difficult. The replacement kits from Compaq are often proprietary parts, so don't expect them to be cheap...

    As far as the video driver is concerned, I'd use the faster one unless it has a habit of crashing or dying.

    <i>If a server crashes in a server farm and no one pings it, does it still cost four figures to fix?
  2. Thanks for the tips.

    Using SiSoft Sandra, my CPU, (K6-2), gets "Floating-Point 3DNow! 1889 it/s" while a P II refrence gets "Floating-Point FPU 583 it/s" I know that PowerDVD uses 3DNow.

    I'll look a the memory usage.

    Wouldn't it be best if I have to get more memory is to get a 256MB module? Then, I'd never have to buy anymore.

    The 1694 can take a K6-3+ CPU, and can even be overclocked to 600 Mhz with sucess! If I did this, would I really see a performance gain?

    The ATI drivers work fine.

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