Hi guys, long time lurker and my first post on this fine forum. Hope ya'll treat the newbie gently!
Laptop Specs (using Speccy to grab the info)
OS - Win 7 Home Prem 64 bit SP1
CPU - Intel Core i7 720 QM @ 1.60 GHZ Clarksfield 45 nm Tech
Ram - 4 GB Dual Channel DDR3 @ 528 MHz (7-7-7-20)
Mobo - Toshiba Qosmio X505 (CPU 1)
Vid Card - 1024 MB GeForce GTS 360M (Toshiba) latest driver 306.97 notebook
HD - 500 GB Hitachi 7200 RPM (SATA)
BIOS - v2.3 (3/10/2010) v2.9 is available
I've got a 2 and a half year old Toshiba Qosmio X505 870 laptop and it was running great for its first two years of life. Naturally as games have gotten more hardcore it's fallen heavily behind the curve. I'm looking for ideas to tweak this sucker to squeeze out another year or two of useful gaming. I dont mind graphic quality being rock bottom but i do need it to run semi smoothly for whatever games i want to run (at least 20 fps, yep i'm that easy). Sadly at this point in time, the games i'm playing heavily now (Mechwarrior Online) are starting to become unplayable (was playable a few patches ago...) and now suffering from numerous lockups and BSODs.
Couple things first that I haven't done, but am about to.
Factory Reset. It's been about 1 and a half years since my last format. I'm long past due and should help alot. Of course i'm gonna purge all of the dumb bloatware the Qosmio shipped with.
Buy another 4 gigs of RAM from (www.crucial.com). I'm not too sure whether I just buy 1 stick to plop in, or if i need to buy 2 sticks of 4 gigs due to compatibility. My tech newbness is very evident here.
Update BIOs to v2.9, but i'm actually fearful of doing it as some research has shown that sometimes updating BIOs can nuke your computer.
Update Video drivers. This i'm hearing mixed messages. Most say just goto Nvidia and download latest drivers for my card (which I have at 306.97 notebook) while others say go direct to Toshiba since their products are finicky and dont like outside software updates (win 7 included). I can totally understand that fear as 2 years back an update to Windows Defender nuked my laptop so bad I thought I had some sort of super virus, after two factory resets and two updates to Windows Defender I finally got wise on wtf was going on. Went to Malwarebytes and Avast ever since for my anti virus needs.
Overheating has suddenly become a HUGE issue. First off, i got some compressed air and air blasted all the vents and keyboard area getting rid of all dust and debris as i can manage. I've also recently bought a huge laptop cooler (60 bucks at Fryes, ugh), which was the only one that fit my oversized monster of a laptop (18.4 inches). Initially it was working like a charm cooling down my laptop anywhere from 5-10 degrees celsius at both rest and game use (so was totally worth it). Recently while gaming, its not helping all of a sudden. While playing it spikes overly high (despite both cleaning and cooler use) and I suffer constant lockups and BSODs. I used to always game with Mozilla open (like to alt-tab alot) and recently broke out of the habit and only noticed a minor boost (IE i'll BSOD/lockup a lil bit later instead).
Thus I started to become desperate and tried to learn more about the inner workings of my laptop. I've tried to figure out how to increase fan speed, unfortunately at no point have I found anywhere how to do it, other than people saying just to do it (no how to... very annoying). I've spent countless hours Googling and monkeying around in control panel power settings etc all to no clue. I've downloaded 3rd party programs such as SpeedFan but to no avail as it doesnt seem to be able to detect my fans.
I also use a 3rd power program called Game Booster to help streamline my system to increase FPS in all the games I play by closing all the unnecessary programs.
Currently I'm at a complete loss at what to do. Some things are straight forward (Factory Reset, RAM upgrade, BIOs update) while others have me tearing my hair out (Fan Speed control, Heat).
Any and all help and advice is appreciated!
Also, i'm about to do a new desktop build so anyone who was about to make that quip, HA! I beat you to the punch there
I did some more research, looks like SpeedFan wont help me in the this situation. Toshiba laptops apparently make it nearly impossible to adjust settings with fan controls sort of diving deep in to bio command prompts. Since i'm not very tech savvy, that makes it a no go unless someone's made a nice new program for it that I havent found yet.
Also further research says that Toshiba laptops fans fail at a high rate over time. I'm starting to think maybe my fans are giving out not giving me the same cooling capability as before. Might have to rip the laptop apart (and do a good clean over) and replace the fan if thats the case. I wonder if there's a way for me to troubleshoot if its really the fan before i go and perform surgery. But fans arent terribly expensive, that's a doable option.
Another thing i hear is that the thermal paste is wearing out and that installing a new coat might do the trick. Does anyone have thoughts on that?
Hi Vae Victus, I'm Guido. I'm no expert by any means, but I will try to help you out here, as I am currently looking for a cooling pad myself, and in doing research ran across your thread.
First, laptops, even gaming laptops, are not built to have internal components replaced, and are very limited on the upgrades they can take. In short, only the HDD and RAM are really capable of taking an upgrade on most laptops. Even then, you have to pay attention to your bus speed, which will limit how effective those upgrades are. TBH, your computer has an outdated GPU, which will show when playing today's games, as you don't have the same capabilities that more recently released GPUs have, even though you are using a mid-level gaming card. You are also running a SATA 2, which means that throwing an SSD into it will not work well, as your bus speed will create a bottleneck for the data to go through and keep your computer from fully utilizing the SSD.
Ultimately, if you are having trouble running the games you wish to play graphically, or expect a higher FPS, then you should consider purchasing a new laptop (or build a desktop, for better bang-for-your-buck), because you won't be able to squeeze much more performance out of any laptop than it and the software optimization you already use will give you by trying to put a new hard drive. RAM does help some if you have under 6GB, as background processes will generally use 2GB, and almost no current-gen games can utilize more than 4GB. As a suggestion, a Qosmio X875 (sticking with the Qosmio line) uses a GTX670M, is currently running $1499, and will give you around 2 years of excellent to good performance out of newly released games. You'll go down to a 17.3 inch screen, but that's not much of a down-size compared to a 15-inch laptop, from where you are now. You will be able to notice significant performance increases across the board performance-wise.
As for the heat, I personally have a Qosmio X775 that boats a GTX560M, and as with almost every gaming laptop I've seen out there, it does indeed run hot. 70-75 degrees Celsius hot (I've seen just out of the box Asus laptops run 85-90 degrees celsius). However, that's actually not a big deal, because by design the fans don't even kick fans into full or near full speed till it reaches 68.5 Celsius. Factory specs tell me that the computer reaches 85 degrees before throttling occurs, and 96.4 to hit automatic shutdown.
Obviously, the cooler your computer runs the better, but I wouldn't worry overly about temperatures that seem ridiculously hot, but rather what your computer and the factory specs tell you is too hot. If you are running too hot though, and your computer is reaching it's shutdown point, then you need to take it to a tech shop and have it cleaned, making sure to tell them that your computer is reaching automatic shutdown temperatures.
Hope that helps!
P.S. Updating RAM is quite simple, but you have to purchase RAM specific to the model of your computer. Run a quick google search for RAM for the model of your computer and go from there. Crucible is an excellent website to purchase RAM from. Also keep in mind that if you are putting more than one stick in your computer, RAM is built in matched pairs, so you need to buy them in pairs and put them in together.