How to Improve Performance?


I have a 2-year old laptop, running i5-430M (clock speed 2.26 Ghz, max turbo frequency 2.53 Ghz), with 8G of RAM installed (clock speed 1333 Mhz), with ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5145 VGA (1G VRAM), running Windows 7 Home Premium, on a 500G HDD (7200 RPM).

I typically use Microsoft Office 2007, P2P download clients, web browsers, and watch video playback (up to 1080P, sometimes Blueray)

Honestly I think except when slower system boot-up and application loading than a system running on SSD, I am very happy with the performance of my system.

My question is, would I realize more benefit by buying a brand new i5 system (I think i7 is way beyond my needs) with similar configuration (2.x Ghz), 8G of RAM, basic discrete VGA, running Windows 7 Home Premium, on a 500G-750G HDD (7200 RPM), or would I realize more benefit by simply swapping my current HDD for a SSD?

Basically I am asking would I realize more benefit from a modern architecture, or from a faster hard drive. I understand it is not as easy or as straightforward as that, but I just need some answers to help me decide.

The news I am considering do not offer SSD options, so these 2 are the options.


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  1. Best answer
    Which two options?

    For the new laptop, you would gain a performance increase with a newer Ivy Bridge cpu, as well as being more efficient. A new nb, let's say with an i5-3210M would have a higher base clock of 2.5 GHz, Turbo Boost of 3.1 GHz. Depending on the motherboard, the CPU can handle up to 32 GB of RAM at 1333 MHz speeds, compared to your CPU only able to run memory at 1066 max.

    Plus ,a newer series of discrete GPU would give much better performance as well.

    But with how recent your laptop is (2010) and being happy with performance, I would wait for an upgrade. Laptops lifespan, tech wise, should last you for 3-5 years.

    SSD might be a worthwhile upgrade if you can handle to the lower storage capacity.
  2. Put an SSD in. The difference on boot time and app load time is the difference between day and night.

    For basic task like web browsing, word editing and watching video, that laptop should be ok for a few more years (until we move to 4k).
  3. Hi ryanrich83,

    Based on what you said, I assume performance and efficiency gains may be realized with the introductions of new architectures. Would Haswell be worthwhile to replace my laptop with then, since by then my system would be 3-year old? (expected next year, according to Intel)

    I wonder when SSD will become affordable, or at least become more commonplace on non-ultrabook models, especially storage of 512G+.


  4. The Haswell architecture should be a big improvement (hopefully) over IB, therefore more so on the Arrandale.

    But I doubt you see significant gain since the task you do (web browsing, word editing and watching video) can be sufficiently handle by the current CPU. You most likely haven't max the CPU since the most demanding task you do is Bluray and it is offloaded to the GPU.

    128-256GB SSD. Use 2nd HDD bay if you have 2 HDD bay in laptop (some 15" and most 17"+ laptop have 2 HDD bay). Otherwise, use ODD bay caddy (but I think you would object cause you watch BD. Another way is to get wifi HDD for storage.
  5. Hi Pyree,

    What's 4K? What happens then?

  6. It's just the vertical pixels we could be seeing on screens in a few years time, 4k replacing 1080p.
  7. Hi Pyree,

    Given your knowledge about Haswell, would you say I would realize more performance and efficiency gains with the Haswell architecture, or with a new SSD, if I plan to use the other apps in Adobe CS6 Master Collection? If so, which one matters more for the Adobe apps, the architecture or SSD?

    (When the prices of RAM dropped, I bought more RAM. I noticed a significant performance gain of both Photoshop and Premiere when I increased the ram from 2G to 8G.

    I couldn't be sure, however, if RAM amount or disk speed is more vital to the Adobe apps.

    I used to think it's normal for a laptop to run so much slower than the desktop counterparts, but once enough RAM is installed, I found the two quite comparable in performance, at least for my uses.)

    So far I have only been using Photoshop and Premiere Pro, which runs fairly smoothly, even concurrently, except the slow app load time as you mentioned.

    Btw, would getting a SSD save battery power? I understand with expected efficiency gains like a new architecture as Haswell, battery life is bound to last much longer than my first generation configuration.


  8. Got it.


  9. Yes, for media work because the rendering will max out the CPU usage, the extra performance of the Haswell CPU will be very noticeable.

    Performance priority for laptop purchased mainly for media productivity should always be the CPU.

    Then RAM, then SSD. Since RAM is cheap and can be upgraded easily. SSD is expensive (although price is dropping quite fast) so it is a nice addition. It will start the application a lot faster, but not so much on rendering.

    I haven't noticed any battery saving in using SSD. Well, I have one in desktop so I can't tell and the other is in a laptop in 2 HDD config, so it is actually having shorter battery life. :lol:

    But review seems to suggest some help with battery life:

    However, if you are doing CPU intensive task on battery, the majority of the juice will be feed to the CPU.
  10. Hi Pyree,

    You said that

    "Performance priority for laptop purchased mainly for media productivity should always be the CPU, then RAM, then SSD."

    Can you please name some scenarios where SSD/HDD speed or RAM are prioritized before the CPU?

    I would think for common tasks like Office/Net browsing/DVD playback, any modern configuration will do, so I can't come up with an situation where SSD/HHD speed or RAM is more important than the CPU.

    (I am assuming with any i-series CPU, ample RAM [meaning anything between 2-4G], a moderate drive (5400 RPM+), most apps will load and run fairly fine.)


  11. Yes, a current mainstream consumer mobile CPU is sufficient to perform basic tasks. So in a rare scenario where you know the CPU is good enough for the intended life of the laptop (web browsing, word editing, watching video and listening to music, no gaming and video editing) for 2 to may be max of 5 years (I am predicting here) and you have finite funding for the laptop so no intention for future upgrade, you cut back on the CPU because the improvement in OS start time and app start up time is more noticeable. For basic use, 4GB RAM is sufficient, although 6-8GB is becoming a new trend.
  12. Hi Pyree,

    I am a little confused by what you said, " you have finite funding for the laptop so no intention for future upgrade, you cut back on the CPU because the improvement in OS start time and app start up time is more noticeable"

    Do you mean to say that RAM amount and HDD/SDD speed is more a determining factor of OS boot time and app start up time than CPU number or clock speed?


  13. Hi Pyree,

    Got it. Thanks,

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