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Satellite Laptop

September 11th, 2006

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Will my Toshiba Satellite laptop run faster if I increase RAM?

I have a Toshiba Satellite laptop that's running Windows 7 64bit. It has 4GB of RAM now and I could increase it to 8GB.

Will this make the computer faster?

It's fairly fast already, but wondering if adding more RAM will increase it's performance.

[edit/update]
you should also eliminate any apps/processes running in the background that are not entirely necessary. These use up your L1-L3 cache, which today are large enough to notice.

This really depends what you're doing with the computer and where you are seeing slowness, if any. Increasing your RAM will increase performance if you're...

-playing games and have on-board video (uses shared memory)
-virtualizing machines, especially other Windows OSs (XP and up require 1GB+ to basically sit still)
etc

Increasing your RAM will not increase performance (or give very little) if you're...

-playing games and have a video card (uses it's own memory)
-running several apps (user-run apps in the foreground - not system-run background apps. thread count is the bottleneck here)
-running complex calculations, i.e. simulations (assuming this is the only thing you're doing, cpu is more than likely the bottleneck)

Nowadays it's generally accepted that the best bang for your buck for a performance upgrade is upgrading your HDD, hard disk drive, to an SSD, solid state drive; or at least moving the OS to a SSD. The reason being an OS is constantly making reads and writes and the "right" SSD does these operations ~ 2x as fast. It also has a seek time ~ 40-50x as fast, doesn't require time to start spinning from standby, uses much less power and doesn't need to read/write data to/from consecutive blocks for maximum results. And especially for laptops, no moving parts on your disk drive means much less chance of something going awry picking up, changing positions, transporting etc.

For the normal user/machine, the "right" SSD will be one with a SandForce SF1200 controller. Product descriptions for SSDs won't always reveal which controller they use but you can recognize this controller based on the read/write speeds; ~ 280MB/s and 260-275MB/s, respectively. One such SSD which uses this controller and has received great reviews is the OCZ Vertex 2.

A good price for SSDs, at least at the moment, is $2/GB. The OCZ Vertex 2 120GB (this should be more than large enough for the OS, ~ 30GB for 64-bit Windows7, and your most commonly used apps i.e. games/virtual hdds etc) is going for $230 at newegg right now:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227551

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