Author Topic: Upgrading a T40  (Read 1889 times)

Offline JimS

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Upgrading a T40
« on: May 20, 2008, 06:14 PM »
Even though some of this was covered in my B.S.O.D. thread, I thought I'd start a new one specifically for this topic.

I'm still leaning towards upgrading my IBM T40.  To recap, this five-year old system has a 1.5 gHz Intel Pentium M, 768 mB of RAM, a 40 gB/5,400 RPM hard drive, a 14.1" LCD screen with an ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 32 mB graphics system, a nine-cell battery, and it's running WinXP Pro.  Functionally, it does everything I need.  The screen isn't as bright as it used to be, but I think it's fine.  The outside of the case shows quite a bit of wear, as do some of the keys; neither bother me.  My question is, is it worth it to upgrade this?  Am I wasting my money?  I figure in maybe three years I'll be ready for a new system, so my preference is to help this one along.

I can get a Seagate 120 gB Momentus 5,400 RPM hard drive for $60.80.  One of the IT guys is pushing for me to get a 7,200 RPM drive.  I've always thought the 7,200's ran hotter and used more juice; IT guy didn't think the difference was significant.  What does everyone here think?

I can get a Crucial 1 gB SODIMM for $59.85, so for a total of $120.65, I can add 80 gB of storage space and bring my system up to 1.5 gB of RAM.  This should really make things run more easily and smoothly.

The Dell Vostro sounds like the notebook du jour, and for maybe $500.00 you'd get a system that my T40 could only dream about.  I haven't physically touched one yet, but given the reliability of my T40, I'd be more inclined to spend (quite a bit) more and get a Lenovo T61.  Joe's new R61i, by the way, is quite nice, and Joe's thrilled with it.

So, the questions are:
  • Is it worthwhile to spend $120.65 on this system?
  • Think I'll get another three years out of this puppy?
  • Is the power usage and heat produced from a 7,200 RPM drive significantly more than that of a 5,200 RPM drive?

Thanks, everyone.
"I shall pass through this world but once.  Any good I can do, or any kindness that I can show any human being, let me do it now and not defer it, for I shall not pass this way again."
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Offline JoeS

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Re: Upgrading a T40
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2008, 06:51 PM »

Offline JimS

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Re: Upgrading a T40
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2008, 09:28 AM »
You wise guy...

You're right, it IS a good thing we like you...
"I shall pass through this world but once.  Any good I can do, or any kindness that I can show any human being, let me do it now and not defer it, for I shall not pass this way again."
 - Stephen Grellet

Offline Bill

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Re: Upgrading a T40
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2008, 02:38 PM »
JimS,
I think I voiced my opinion before but I think any money spent on your notebook is wasted.  Additionally, if you wait until it actually dies 1)you may lose data and 2)you might be stuck with Vista.  XP Pro is still available on many brands including Lenovo, as you know.  I would suggest you save your upgrade money and invest in new.

Bill
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Offline scuzzy

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Re: Upgrading a T40
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2008, 11:05 AM »
One way of looking at this... is it worth it to you? Still, I'm in a similar situation.

My 5+ yr old Toshiba Satellite might not be as fast as I'd like, but it still does the job well considering its age. It has a key that broke off, and one of the hinges lost its resistance. The screen is a little loose because of the hinge, but it's a minor annoyance. Of course, it shows other small signs of wear and tear. Nonetheless I'm happy with it, although it would likely perform considerably better with an upgrade or two.

I specifically considered a 7200 rpm Seagate and some extra RAM, but reality is that I'm probably much better off putting the money toward a new unit. Even one of the cheapest laptops out there will outperform this old Toshiba in just about every manner.

Come to think of it, I could probably a great deal on a slightly used laptop that would be a great improvement over what I have. Still, I'll likely just get as much as I can out of this old Toshiba. After all, it did just fine posting this message. :)
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Offline JimS

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Re: Upgrading a T40
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2008, 11:18 AM »
Thanks, Bill and Scuzzy (and Joe).  I remember when you got your Toshiba, Scuzzy, because I was asking for advice on what to get back then; you got the Toshiba shortly before I bought the IBM.  All of my keys are present and accounted for, as are both of the hinges, which still hold the screen as well as on day one.  I guess my main question is, what are the chances of my T40 lasting another three years with this upgrade?  If five years is a long time for an LCD screen to last, I won't upgrade, but if I can expect a few more years...  I realize that it's only a guess that anyone can make here, but if there's anyone who knows hardware better than I, at least it will be an educated guess.  If I can get another three years for $120.00, it sounds like a good deal to me, and a whole lot less than the cost of a new notebook.

What's the verdict on heat and power consumption on 5,400 vs. 7,200 drives?

Thanks again.
"I shall pass through this world but once.  Any good I can do, or any kindness that I can show any human being, let me do it now and not defer it, for I shall not pass this way again."
 - Stephen Grellet

Offline Bill

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Re: Upgrading a T40
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2008, 11:38 AM »
JimS,
There is or was a comparative study on the Lenovo notebook forum and, as you might guess, 7200 runs a little hotter and, again the obvious, is a little harder on the batery, regardless of the number of cells. 
However, I bought a 7200 in my R61 for the same reason I use 7200s in my desk top. I use my notebook in the office and then home.  Battery life has little significance for me.

Bill
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Offline scuzzy

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Re: Upgrading a T40
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2008, 12:44 PM »
It stands to reason that, all things being equal, a 7200 rpm drive will perform better than a 5400 rpm drive. But it will run slightly hotter and thus will have an effect on battery life. How much, I don't know.

As for your screen life, it may be pushing it to get another 3 yrs out of it. Mine was replaced under warranty just over 2 yrs ago, but I don't reasonably expect an LCD screen to perform well after 5 yrs. The fluorescent lighting will get dimmer as time goes by to the point that the screen will look dull and lifeless.

At work, we have some Panasonic laptops that are about 8 yrs old. The screens are nearly worthless in daylight, and barely perform well in the dark. Most are washed out and look horrible.

If you opt for a new laptop, give STRONG consideration to an LED backlit screen. Battery life will be improved and the screen performance will be noticeably better. LEDs also have a much longer life than fluorescent lighting.
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Offline JimS

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Re: Upgrading a T40
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2008, 02:03 PM »
Thanks, Scuzzy.  Since I often, actually every day, use my T40 on just the battery, I'm careful with how bright I keep the screen, time before going into standby, etc.  Based upon what you and Bill said, plus the fact that I'm used to the speed of a 5,400 RPM drive, if I do upgrade, it'll be with a 5,400.

I thought all of the current notebooks were using LED's for LCD backlighting.  I'm pretty sure my screen isn't as bright as it was in 2003, and Joe's R-61i makes mine look like it's lit by a candle, but again, I'm used to it and have no problems with its brightness.

Thanks again.  I'll sleep on it all a bit more...
"I shall pass through this world but once.  Any good I can do, or any kindness that I can show any human being, let me do it now and not defer it, for I shall not pass this way again."
 - Stephen Grellet

Offline JimS

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Re: Upgrading a T40
« Reply #9 on: Jul 15, 2008, 02:29 AM »
Well, I decided to go the upgrade route.  For $120.00, I've added a 5,400 RPM hard drive and a 1 gB DIMM (total now is 1.5 gB).  A fresh install of XP Pro may have had a bigger impact on performance than the larger drive and/or added memory, but whatever the reason, it is so much faster than before.

Time will tell if upgrading instead of replacing was a prudent thing to do, but at this time I'm glad I went this route.  My thanks again to those who offered their educated opinions.
"I shall pass through this world but once.  Any good I can do, or any kindness that I can show any human being, let me do it now and not defer it, for I shall not pass this way again."
 - Stephen Grellet

Offline scuzzy

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Re: Upgrading a T40
« Reply #10 on: Jul 17, 2008, 10:00 AM »
Thanks for getting back with us on that.

I'm still sitting on doing anything with my laptop, but it seems unlikely that I'll take the upgrade route. However, a fresh install of WinXP seems like a good idea.
Antec Performance TX640B Case | WinXP Pro SP3 & Win7 64-bit | Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R | Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale LGA 775 3.16GHz Dual-Core | 8GB (4x2GB) PC6400 G-Skill RAM | eVGA 7600GT 256MB PCI-E | 74GB WD Raptor SATA 16MB Cache | 74GB WD Raptor SATA 8MB Cache | 320GB Seagate Barracuda SATA 16MB Cache | External 640GB WD Caviar SATA 32MB Cache | Sony DRU-V200S DVD/RW | PC Power & Cooling Silencer 500W | Samsung SyncMaster 2494 (24") LCD Monitor | LG Flatron W2361V (23") LCD Monitor