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Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

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Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

Old 09-01-11, 06:22 PM
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Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

My wife currently has a three-year old Sony Vaio VGN-CR410EP that's currently running slower than it should be. It's running a 32-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium amongst all of the stock hardware that came inside of it. It also doesn't help there's a plethora of bloated software that's installed on it too.

We really don't have the money at this point in time to buy her a new laptop, but I was thinking for her birthday to upgrade some of the key components of it and I had some questions... specifically because I'm a Mac person.

My wife will only be using the machine for a handful of things: Internet, email, iTunes, Microsoft Word, and CityVille. That's it. When I put a new HD inside of it, I'll be using Windows 7 64-bit.

1) Memory: The Vaio currently has 3 GB and I want to max it out to 4 GB.

I was looking at either the Kingston HyperX 4GB Kit, Crucial's equivalent, or the G-Skill equivalent. I've only used Crucial's RAM before and I've never encountered any issues with it, but what will get me the most bang for my buck?

2) Hard Drive: The Vaio currently has the stock 200 GB 5400 RPM hard drive inside of it.

I was currently looking at the Western Digital 320 GB Scorpio Black SATA 7200 RPM 16 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Notebook Hard Drive WD3200BEKT based upon prices and reviews. The reviews are rock solid, but I've also heard from peers that Western Digital's hard drives are known to go out. Any recommendations that are not SSDs? I do need to match the 200 GB of storage as my wife's currently almost full on her's, but I really don't want to spend more than $100 on a HD.

Any other recommendations and suggestions on how to improve performance, let me know.
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Old 09-01-11, 07:01 PM
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Re: Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

Estimate your upgrade costs. Check out the resale value of the computer.

Compare a macbook with the resale price built in. I've read most times macbooks are cheaper than Vaio's
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Old 09-01-11, 07:08 PM
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Re: Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

upgrading to 4gb ram from 3gb on a 32bit won't make that much difference unless you are using memory intensive apps. if you get win 7 64 bit though, you should get 4gb. hdd for what she's doing i don't think would make a huge difference either.

one thing i'd suggest is to do a clean install of windows 7 first, before doing any of the other crap. Don't do an upgrade, you need to get rid of any of the crap that may be lagging down the computer. i've done that and it makes a huge difference if there's stuff bogging it down.
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Old 09-01-11, 07:13 PM
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Re: Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post
Estimate your upgrade costs. Check out the resale value of the computer.

Compare a macbook with the resale price built in. I've read most times macbooks are cheaper than Vaio's
As of now? As per Gazelle with the way her machine currently stands, we're looking at $133. There haven't been any recent eBay auctions for the laptop, but that's lowballing it. Right now, both a HD and RAM upgrade will cost around $110.

Her next laptop will be a MacBook Pro simply due to the AppleCare Protection Plan, however, I don't have $1499 right now to buy it.

Originally Posted by D.Pham00 View Post
upgrading to 4gb ram from 3gb on a 32bit won't make that much difference unless you are using memory intensive apps. if you get win 7 64 bit though, you should get 4gb. hdd for what she's doing i don't think would make a huge difference either.

one thing i'd suggest is to do a clean install of windows 7 first, before doing any of the other crap. Don't do an upgrade, you need to get rid of any of the crap that may be lagging down the computer. i've done that and it makes a huge difference if there's stuff bogging it down.
Yes, I will be installing Windows 7 64-bit from scratch. There will be no Sony VAIO or third-party applications installed from out the door.
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Old 09-01-11, 08:34 PM
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Re: Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

Personally, I don't think either a new hard drive or more RAM is necessary given the specs of that laptop (a Core 2 Duo) and what she's doing. A fresh format of the existing OS would be the best place to start first, IMO. And then decide if you need to upgrade from there. A hard drive seems more useful then the RAM in this case to me.
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Old 09-01-11, 10:34 PM
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Re: Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

i agree that the hdd would probably make more of a difference, but these days, ram is so dirt cheap, and if you go with 64bit, it's a good idea to have at least 4gb.
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Old 09-01-11, 10:54 PM
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Re: Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

Only if the apps running come close to using up the current 3GB. No need to spend the extra $15-20 if it's not going to be used
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Old 09-02-11, 08:10 AM
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Re: Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

I agree with fumanstan - don't do the memory UNLESS you know for a fact you need it (apps that take a lot like Photoshop)

There is also no need for a 64bit OS in your case.

You would better off with an SSD hard drive, that would give the machine a serious boost, but these can be expensive unless you can make do with a small one, so it may or may not work out for you.

A 2.5" hybrid drive would probably bring you the most bang for the buck

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822148591
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Old 09-02-11, 11:25 AM
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Re: Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

Originally Posted by 4KRG View Post
A 2.5" hybrid drive would probably bring you the most bang for the buck

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822148591
I was actually looking at this last night. However, on internet forums, people were arguing about the fact that:
  • Seagate is known to make inferior products (which I do agree with based upon past experiences).
  • The hard drive causes the laptop to "rattle" as it's writing up and down.
  • Since the hard drive isn't constantly spinning, it might not last as long.
  • For what my wife will be using the computer for, she will not be writing large files meaning she might not even take real advantage of what the NAND has to offer.
For that, I can't justify to myself the extra $45 in price to jump from the Black to the Momentus XT.
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Old 09-02-11, 12:26 PM
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Re: Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

I disagree, but it is clear you are already convinced.
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Old 09-02-11, 01:16 PM
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Re: Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

I got that Momentus XT drive about 6 months ago. Short of a SSD, it's the best improvement I could imagine in a laptop. Mine is very much faster.

It's so quiet I don't notice it at all, I've never heard/felt a "rattle". Can't imagine what that would be.

I hardly buy 3.5" Seagate drives, certainly none over 1TB, but I have no problem with their 2.5" drives.
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Old 09-03-11, 08:54 PM
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Re: Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

Originally Posted by fumanstan View Post
Only if the apps running come close to using up the current 3GB. No need to spend the extra $15-20 if it's not going to be used
Right now, I have less than 1GB free of my 4GB ram (combined available and free) on windows 7 64 bit, and i have explorer, ff, yim, skype (not calling, just open), spotify, and outlook open.
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Old 09-03-11, 09:01 PM
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Re: Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

Originally Posted by Matthew Chmiel View Post
Her next laptop will be a MacBook Pro simply due to the AppleCare Protection Plan, however, I don't have $1499 right now to buy it.
Or you could buy two non-Mac laptops for the same price.
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Old 09-04-11, 01:07 AM
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Re: Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

Originally Posted by Mr. Salty View Post
Or you could buy two non-Mac laptops for the same price.
I built an HP laptop based around the specifications of a 13" MacBook Pro; including a dual-core i7 processor and three years of service and support.

The HP came out to $1,335.
The Apple came out to $1,748.

For the extra $400, I get a computer that ...

- Doesn't look like a plastic, flimsy piece of shit.
- I can actually go to a physical establishment to get service at.
- Doesn't have Windows or any bloated third-party software on it.

... and that price is before any sort of student discounts.

Yeah, that's a price I'm okay with paying.

However, this was never meant to be an Apple vs. Microsoft thread. I'm looking for suggestions on how to speed up a current Sony Vaio. :P
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Old 09-04-11, 09:23 AM
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Re: Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

why do you need an i7 for basic uses like that? you could spend 500-600 getting an i5 laptop and that would be more than enough for her uses.
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Old 09-04-11, 11:33 AM
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Re: Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

Originally Posted by D.Pham00 View Post
why do you need an i7 for basic uses like that? you could spend 500-600 getting an i5 laptop and that would be more than enough for her uses.
  1. Future proofing. I want her to have a machine that'll last her years without us having to purchase another notebook within the foreseeable future.
  2. AppleCare guarantees us three years out the door and they've been great in the past with repairing my (recently sold) black MacBook despite it being out of AppleCare.
  3. Resell value. I sold my late-2006 black MacBook for nearly $600 this past March as I replaced it with an iPad 2. The machine held up nearly half of its original selling price at resell which is huge for any notebook. AppleCare also helped me out and replaced my top case and hard drive right before I sold it at no cost due to known issues with those specific parts. I never had an issue with my MacBook in the five years I owned it, but I also hardly used it outside of taking it to class as I've always owned an iMac at the same time. The sale of my MacBook paid for most of the cost for my iPad.

... and that's just some of the reasons why my loyalty will always be to Apple over Windows. My wife can have a laptop that'll last her years and when she's ready to upgrade, we can regain some of the costs right back.
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Old 09-04-11, 01:06 PM
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Re: Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

If that is your feeling, go with the macbook. You can try to do a clean install of windows. Beyond that, a 7200rpm hdd will be faster but not by a huge amount based on what she is doing.
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Old 09-08-11, 12:37 AM
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Re: Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

Prior to the upgrade on my wife's Sony Vaio:

Windows Experience Index
Processor: 4.7
Memory: 4.7
Graphics: 3.2
Gaming Graphics: 3.0
Primary Hard Disk: 4.9

Geekbench 2 Score
1591

After an erase and install from Windows 7 32-bit to 64-bit and the upgrade of a Kingston HyperX 4GB Kit and a Western Digital 320 GB Scorpio Black hard drive:

Windows Experience Index
Processor: 4.9 (+4%)
Memory: 4.9 (+4%)
Graphics: 3.2
Gaming Graphics: 3.0
Primary Hard Disk: 5.9 (+20%)

Geekbench 2 Score
2208 (+39%)

It's hard to tell if the 32-bit to 64-bit jump did anything of benefit as I was using a 32-bit version of Geekbench 2 to test, but the test did run in nearly half of the time post-upgrade than it did initially.

It used to take 2 minutes and 8 seconds for the computer to boot up into a useable state. Now? 48 seconds. Nearly a 133% increase in boot time since the upgrades.

I'm re-installing my wife's major applications alongside getting her data in the machine. Hopefully she'll be happy with the upgrades.
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Old 09-08-11, 12:50 AM
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Re: Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

the hdd does help, but a lot of times, a simple reinstallation of the os will speed things up, esp. if it takes 2 minutes to boot.
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Old 09-08-11, 06:32 PM
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Re: Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

And after everything is re-installed you're going to create a Mirror Image of it all, right??? That way you can go back to this "new install" in a year - after the machine gets slow again!
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Old 09-10-11, 03:00 PM
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Re: Upgrading my wife's Sony Vaio: Laptop HD and RAM options.

Originally Posted by danwiz View Post
And after everything is re-installed you're going to create a Mirror Image of it all, right??? That way you can go back to this "new install" in a year - after the machine gets slow again!
I wrote a script that allows her to backup just her My Music folder (the iTunes folder was 120GB alone) when she connects her external to it. I already threw all of her photos, documents, contacts, calendars, and notes into the cloud.
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