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Trading 2011 dv6-135dx A8 3500M for faster laptop i5 or i7?

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March 12, 2012 10:10:34 PM

Hello I have a refurbished HP dv6-6135dx. It has an AMD A8-3500M processor at 1500 MHz, quad core. It came with 6GB memory but I installed a single 8GB after removing a 2GB, it now has 12GB ram. I also have another unused Corsair 8GB stick of DDR3-1333MHz. I bought the two on sale for $109 on Newegg.

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

INITIAL QUESTION:
I'd like to know if it would be worth it to sell this laptop and buy an i5 or i7 (I'm 99% sure it would be, but which..?) and whether or not I should wait for Ivy Bridge or buy now. OR wait for Ivy Bridge and buy a Sandy Bridge laptop... If I'll save a lot I could go ~3 months without a laptop if the savings is a ton.

WHATS WRONG:

The computer runs basic programs fine with the 12GB installed and most other things are fine.
But when I want to work with video, like transcoding and encoding (Premier Pro, Adobe Media Encoder, Handbrake) my system gets really slow. For example when using Handbrake on a video from of my Canon 5D my CPU usage goes to 100% occasionally going down to 90%. Unless I set it to only use 3 of the 4 cores I cant even open notepad its so slow. I've started using Google SketchUp too and its not as fast as I'd like when I scroll thru the "workspace".


I'm also planning on building a ~$1000 Ivy Bridge desktop sometime in June, that system will mainly be for video/picture editing. After reading thru these forums I understand why adding 12GB of ram didn't help with the encoding, seeing as it is more CPU/GPU intensive.

So I paid roughly $600 for this machine thru compusa/tigerdirect. On eBay I saw it going for $575-$600. Stupidly I brought a 2 year warranty for this laptop so I don't know if that will be able to be 'sold' or transferred.. But the only problem the machine has is that the USB 3.0 ports are a little loose, which I can send it to HP so they could fix that.

QUESTIONS:

1) I figure I could get $650-670+ for the laptop right now with the 12GB ram installed; Would that be an accurate assumption? Would you think that would go for more/less? If I wouldn't get an extra $60 or $70 I might as well keep my ram and put the 2GB back in and not have to worry about selling that later...
2) What kind of specs would I need to look for in an i5 or i7 CPU to do what I need?
3) After selling my laptop and getting roughly $600 could I get a laptop with a CPU that will benefit me without having to spend a dime more than an additional $200 on top of the $600 from eBay? If possible it would be nice to save some of that eBay money if I could get an i5 that would work.. Remember I'm building a $1000 Ivy Bridge desktop in the Summer and I'm probably getting a ~$300 IPS monitor in the meantime. So far I've only got like $350 saved up.. I don't need a speed demon, but I would like the upgrade to be noticeable...
4) Any suggestions for a specific replacement Laptop?


Other Thoughts:

• One reason I'm waiting for Ivy Bridge for my desktop PC is for the Intel 4000 on-board CPU and its Quick-Sync technology (for the same price why not wait a month or 2 for something that may beat out CUDA in regards to rendering/encoding/transcoding).

• The reason I'm willing to go for a period without a laptop is because I figure when the new AMD chips come out (Trinity, I think) I would loose money if I sell my laptop then.

• I'll end up selling one of the 8GB laptop ddr3 sticks and putting the other one in whatever new laptop I get.

As for the replacement laptop
• I NEED at least 1 HDMI port
• I NEED a long lasting battery 5+ hours, I could buy a replacement battery (9-cell battery or larger if I have to)..
• I Really like USB 3.0 and the key pad on the left of the keyboard.
• The Bluray player is nice buy certainly not necessary, I already have an external bluray burner.
Other than that I don't really care what features the laptop has. I have/am getting an external IPS monitor for color-related editing so screen size/resolution doesn't matter.

So all in all I really have no needs or desires for my new laptop except for a faster CPU for video stuff and a long-lasting battery or the ability to buy a replacement battery that will last 5+ hours. I'm looking for cheap portable multi-tasking laptop after finding the right CPU.

Thanks
a c 249 D Laptop
March 13, 2012 12:14:28 AM

Hi :) 

You think you can get more than you paid originally just because you added some cheap ram ???

Thats hopeful...

Trade...if you brought it into one of my computer shops , we would offer you around ONE THIRD of what you paid originally...

You are NEVER going to get what you think, purely because people can buy a brand new laptop cheaper....

All the best Brett :) 
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March 13, 2012 12:56:15 AM

I understand what you're saying is probably a more realistic situation than what I originally hoped for... But the system is a refurb., so if I send it back to HP, because it is within my warranty, it will basically be 'new' again, or at least just as new (sort of) as when I bought it. And it might have been on sale when I bought it but I didn't spend considerably less than what I saw it going for on eBay.

And I understand that a computer shop wouldn't give me nearly as much as I bought it for. Considering how shops are middle men and they have to make a profit on it as well. In addition to many other factors...

So to sum it up Brett, on the subject of including the 8GB of ram into the machine when selling it, you'd say it wouldn't be more profitable as opposed to just selling the laptop with 6GB of ram.
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a c 249 D Laptop
March 13, 2012 1:33:18 AM

johnston said:
I understand what you're saying is probably a more realistic situation than what I originally hoped for... But the system is a refurb., so if I send it back to HP, because it is within my warranty, it will basically be 'new' again, or at least just as new (sort of) as when I bought it. And it might have been on sale when I bought it but I didn't spend considerably less than what I saw it going for on eBay.

And I understand that a computer shop wouldn't give me nearly as much as I bought it for. Considering how shops are middle men and they have to make a profit on it as well. In addition to many other factors...

So to sum it up Brett, on the subject of including the 8GB of ram into the machine when selling it, you'd say it wouldn't be more profitable as opposed to just selling the laptop with 6GB of ram.


Hi :) 

Although you will get slightly more with the 8 gb in, I think I didnt explain my other point very well...

The point I was trying to make was the way people (customers) think.....

They THINK that a second hand laptop cannot possibly be more expensive than a new laptop,,,,

No matter how powerful the second hand one is, and no matter how cheap and horrible the new one is....

Unfortunately its just human nature...

All the best Brett :) 
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March 13, 2012 2:38:33 AM

Your messing with the laptops performance when you do that to the memory, at least with anything involving the GPU. Put both the 8GB sticks inside, should even out a few things. A A8-3500 is approximately equivalent to a 1.5Ghz Phenom II x4, you can tweak it out a bit using K10 to make it into a 2Ghz CPU, there is plenty of room for that.

The A8-3500 is also being phased out and has been replaced by the A8-3530MX and A8-3550MX respectively. Your not going to get much more then ~$400 USD for that notebook, maybe as much as $450 if you put matched memory inside it.
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March 14, 2012 4:47:06 AM

Thank you both for your responses.

Palladin, when you say adding the first 8GB stick messes with the laptops performance what do you mean? I would have figured adding more gigabytes of compatible ram would improve the performance (with the exception of adding different brands of memory). Although having multiple brands of ram in a single machine isn't that bad for it is it?.

One more thing Palladin, you say just installing the two 8GB Corsair sticks would even a few things out; does that have to do with the Elphia and Corsair brands of memory in my machine messing things up or just the fact that more memory = better performance? Because I don't come close to maxing out my 12GB i have currently, I believe the highest I've seen it go in task manager was about 6.5GB of ram when I had a few adobe programs and a few firefox windows open... I don't know what good installing 2x8GB of ram would do.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Thank you.
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March 14, 2012 5:03:06 AM

I'm not referring to the memory size but that both sticks have to be the same, or at least the same size / chip count.

It's a dual channel CPU, meaning it access's both sticks at the same time and balances requests across them. The CPU's built in GPU use's that memory to store graphics resources. For GPU's memory high performance is absolutely a must. So by having a non-uniform memory setup your impairing the performance of your GPU.

It doesn't have to be 8 + 8, it could be 4 + 4 or 2 + 2, all that matters is their the same size and chip count.
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March 14, 2012 5:23:24 AM

Ahhh yes I seem to remember reading something similar somewhere else. Like the system will only use the 8GB stick up to the full potential of the 4GB stick or something similar... Basically just have the same amount of memory on each stick.

Thank you, I will install the other 8GB tomorrow and do some more encoding and multi-tasking to see how my system deals with that with the new 2x8GB setup.

Thanks.
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March 15, 2012 12:10:25 AM

johnston said:
Ahhh yes I seem to remember reading something similar somewhere else. Like the system will only use the 8GB stick up to the full potential of the 4GB stick or something similar... Basically just have the same amount of memory on each stick.

Thank you, I will install the other 8GB tomorrow and do some more encoding and multi-tasking to see how my system deals with that with the new 2x8GB setup.

Thanks.


Your system will use the full amount on each, but with them divided up by size memory access requests would take different amounts of time on each, and you could get end up with more data physically stored on one stick vs the other.
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