PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM/Dell DV5T-1000US laptop

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Question
Hi,

I have a DV5t laptop a few yrs old - as far as hardware goes, what could I do to speed it up?

I have a few ideas:

- I have 4GB RAM in it, but if go to 64bit, instead of the 32bit that I now have, I think the dv5 will accept 8GB. So, I could do that.

- I replaced the 5400 rpm HDD with  a 7200rpm. Should I still replace that 7200 with a SSD?

- ?'s about solid state - If I curr. have SATA, do I just get a SATA SS drive? Are they (SSD's) all SATA? Or, how do I go about that? I don't know how the solid state drives connect to the laptop.

- Do you know about the best/fastest/most reliable SSD out there right now?

- Does it make a  huge difference to put the SWAP File on another drive, say an external? What if the external is slower than the internal SSD - still a benefit?

- In your opinion, what's the best brand of RAM?
I've used Mushkin, Crucial/Micron, Corsair, Kingston. Some seemed better than others, but I can't remember which was better. In your opinion, what do you like?

- I'd appreciate any other quick hardware tips.

- One more thing: I have a 17" Dell laptop, a couple of yrs old, that a friend gave me, bec. the monitor is COMPLETELY dead. Is there anything that I can try (sensor, wiring, etc.), before having to buy a whole new monitor (which I doubt I would do)?

I appreciate your time & help

Thanks,
Mike

Answer
I'm going to start first with the laptop your friend gave you. If the screen does not look cracked, it might just be fine. If this is the case, take a flash light and shine it on the screen while the computer is on. Flash it at an angle that reflects a bit of light to you without too much glare. You might be able to see the screen this way enough to know the screen is just fine. If you can see the screen with the flash light, the inverter is bad (or the CCFL bulb is bad). If it is the inverter. You can buy a replacement inverter for 10-20 bucks easy and done. If it's the CCFL (much less likely), then you have to replace the entire screen. If the back-light is working, but the screen is blank, it could be a board issue/graphics issue or a cable connection issue, but the motherboard is more likely the cause unless the laptop was taken apart in the past and not properly reassembled.


Now to your upgrading laptop.

Your model will support 8GB of RAM in a 4GB stick pair (2x4GB).

When you go from 32 bit to 64bit, do realize you'll eat up more RAM just to run the same exact operating system components. This won't be too much of a problem since you plan on going up to 8GB, which is well more than plenty. 64bit OSs are only designed to better use the advanced processor, which allows more RAM to be used to compensate. Whatever you do, DO NOT GET WINDOWS 8. Stick with Windows 7 at all costs.

I personally would stick to the 7200 rpm drive for file integrity purposes. I've heard some cases of SSD corruption occurring, which all data is lost and only recoverable by sending it to a recovery company. This is the only bad thing I've really heard of SSDs other than the fact they have a max life of say so many read and writes before they just plain go bad. I personally am holding off on purchasing an SSD for file integrity purposes until I feel they've mastered the production of these drives.

For hard drive speed, going solid state will significantly increase read times, but I've heard that write times are that of a regular hard drive or even a little slower. Having a solid state drive will increase battery life a little bit as there are no mechanical parts eating up the battery. Solid state is able to handle more of a physical beating than a hard disk drive due to the lack of rapidly spinning parts.

SSDs are all SATA for the most part. I've only come across one drive that was not SATA, which was third party/custom made for the older IDE drive connector. The SATA SSD drives connect just like the hard disk would. Very simple connection and no worries about room since they are built to be the same size as hard disk for this very upgrade/design purpose.

As for best SSD out there, it's more based on models and user reviews, which is something I suggest doing heavily before buying one of said model in the review(s). The more expensive drives usually have better read and write times and are better built against corruption and other operating factors. I can not go and say one brand is better than the other.

Don't put the swap file on an external drive. That is all I will say for that subject.

When it comes to RAM, I'm pretty happy with Kingston and Crucial. I do a lot of computer work and also mess with Samsung RAM a lot. I've never had a problem with that RAM.



Hope this all helps, have a great day!

PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM

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Expertise

I can answer most No POST problems, compatibility between parts, upgrade options, troubleshooting, etc. Before you ask me a question, please do some research. I do not give PC speed reviews for video games.

Experience

Many, many years of experience working with the hardware components of many types of computers including desktops, laptops, kiosk computers, and even running Windows 3.1, 95, and 98 on the PSP (Sony PlayStation Portable). I've replaced capacitors on desktop motherboards making them working like new again with a high success rate. This is my hobby/job every day.

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Associates of Science in Computer Information Technology

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