Upgraded RAM and CPU on 2006 laptop. No big improvement. Does the computer know it's been upgraded?

I just upgraded the memory module in my 2006 Compaq nc2660 laptop from one 512 mb module to two modules totalling 2 gigs. I also ramped the up the CPU from a 1.73 GHz processor to a 2.13 GHz processor.

I expected the computer to fly after the upgrades, but it still seems to takes about the same amount of time to boot up and process as before the upgrade, (though, admittedly, I have not really put the machine through any heavy paces yet).

Are there any other settings, etc. I need to manually change to let the laptop know it has better hardware at its disposal. Or does it already know what it has, and the current speed is the best I can hope for.

Thanks all, in advance.

Is your motherboard designed to handle that much RAM? If the mobo will only recognize RAM up to a certain limit, no amount of physical chips is going to push the available RAM over that limit. You’d have to upgrade the motherboard, too.

Your CPU improvement is minor at best. You should check your system with Belarc Advisor utility or similar to make sure the BIOS is properly recognizing the new CPU and the board can use the full 2 gigs of RAM.

The 2 gigs of RAM, if recognized, should give you snappier performance with Win 7. If you are running XP it is designed to be perfectly happy with 512 megs and really isn’t going to be able to do much with the 2 gigs of RAM. Win 7 would make much better use of the RAM.

There’s no reason why adding more memory or a faster CPU will make the boot process quicker overall. Sure instruction processing will happen more quickly but the memory check will take 4x as long. The boot process is mostly governed by the OS and the hard disk speed, neither of which have changed. Note your CPU upgrade was only 23% faster, not very significant given that few operations are CPU-bound in the first place. Almost all delays are hard disk or network (internet).

What should benefit from what you’ve done is your ability to run more than one application or more web pages without much slowdown.

Honestly, to see the improvement, you need to wipe the hard drive and do a clean OS install. And actually I’d suggest the same thing if you hadn’t modified the hardware. Backup all needed data first, of course.

Most sluggishness in computer performance these days is cruft. Operating systems “build up” tons of unneeded programs and registry entries. This is why for years I wiped my drive probably two times / year. Depends a lot on what O/S you are using - Windows honestly has gotten significantly better, and I don’t need to do it nearly as often now that I’m on Win 7. Maybe once a year, and even that is techie overkill. What are you running for an O/S? FWIW, back in my WinXP days twice a year was what I did to keep the O/S feeling snappy.

How about you take the CPU back, keep the ram, and go buy yourself a Solid State Drive, that for me after doing hundreds of upgrades on scores of systems, was the single most noticeable kick in performance ever. Then do a clean install like stated above. I remember the days when win 7 startup took like 30-40 seconds. Programs use to load in 5-6 seconds. Now, my startup after bios post is probably around 10 seconds to a “usable” win 7. Now programs load for me about the speed it takes for me to double click. If I were to highlight 10 .exe programs and opened them, they would pretty much all be open and running in less than 1 second. Adobe CS4 photoshop and indesign are both loading in less than a second and that is down from 1-2 minutes before my SSD. Also move your paging file to another drive for more speed.

Yup, actually this is completely right. I wasn’t even thinking of SSDs because I haven’t gotten one yet (my error), but lurkedtolong is entirely correct. From what I’ve read, SSD are smoking. My next PC build will absolutely have one for the OS and main programs.

This. Times ten. The CPU and RAM upgrades are worthless. Well, you can probably keep the RAM – 2GB is dirt-cheap these days – but a SSD will do much, much more for you.

I agree, but if you don’t want to wipe your hardrive and re-install your OS try a shareware program called RegVac, you can find it using Google. It looks for invalid registry entries and deletes them and makes sure your registry is in good working order. I have noticed a significant improvement in speed after using it. I am sure there are several good shareware programs that do this, I just happen to have used this particular one with much success.

The CPU is pretty much worthless, but RAM isn’t–not when it’s that low. Now, it doesn’t do much from, say, 4GB to 8GB. But the biggest speed up I’ve ever seen was when I upgraded my 512 MB to 1 GB. Second biggest was from 1 GB to 1.5 GB. And this was on a computer running XP.

I will second that.

I added 2GB RAM to my Tosh laptop and there was an increase in performance but nowhere near as much as I expected.
Reinstalling Windows and eliminating the shovelware made a much more dramatic improvement.
A far more dramatic improvement is running a Linux live CD. One of these days I will install it and see what that will do to it.

Yeah at 2006 I mean even a couple upgrades like that I think the motherboard would be the bottleneck. That’s super important though.

Also you need to make sure your windows is clean. You can easily bring a brand new computer from 2011 down to a crawl with enough junk software installed on your copy of windows. It may be as simple as cleaning out your startup list and defragmenting your hard drive.

Well if you do get the SSD, don’t EVER, EVER defrag it. You’ll probably have to do a fresh install after you go doing something like that. I have been thru a few SSD, and i can say that if you get one, don’t get a budget one, like OCZ, since every ocz I have bought has been returned for a kingston. Every restart would wipe the drive. Mind you that a fresh windows install was probably about 10 minutes but still programs loaded from dvds are still slow.

Maybe this is a subject for another thread but if Solid State Drives are so superior to the old kind, why aren’t they in more common use?


Well, cost / storage capacity, to be more precise.

You can get a 2TB SATA hard drive for under a hundred bucks.
An SSD under a hundred bucks is only going to be about 64 GB. Going up to 128GB is around 150, 256GB is more like 400, and it skyrockets from there.

Now, putting your OS and programs on a smaller SSD and then storing all your data on a larger slower drive is really the way to go nowadays. Doesn’t work for a laptop, though.

First, right click on My Computer, properties, and it will tell you processor and RAM. If the OS (Windows XP, I assume) recognizes the RAM, it is using it.

RAM increase (bump from 512 to 2GB) will work if your PC was full of cruft (polite word) and was swapping pieces of memory to the pagefile.sys due to lack of RAM. I have seen a lot of PC’s like this. What you want to do is minimize the crap on your PC. I find a lot of stupid programs like:
HP Advisor - notifies of updates to an HP PC;
Samsung updater for DVD-writer, tells me when updates are there for the drive’s firmware(??!)
Update notifiers also for Java, Adobe Reader and Flash, ITunes, etc. Even WIndows Update.
Windows Firewall - turn this off when on your home network with a firewall/router (for a laptop, leave it on when you out at Starbucks!)
Stupid add-ons - Google or Yahoo or other toolbars for IE (IE - Manage Add-Ons); do you really need a toolbar ofr browsing?
Stupid extra programs - i.e. some people love Snag-It and other copy-and-paste programs.
Any other background processes that gobble memory and processing.
Look at the icons in the tray on the lower right, by the clock on your task bar. How many of those functions do you really need? (I.e. Safely Remove USB hardware - yeah, keep that…) Figure out how to get rid of the unnecessary ones.
Task Manager will show you running processes and how much memory they consume.

When in doubt, search google and see what 4 or 10 others say about whatever process before stopping it.

Go to Trend for free Housecall download or Malwarebytes or similar anti-spyware scanner. DOwnload the freebie scanner, and be sure your system is clean. Then uninstall the program; if necessary, keep the installer you downloaded and reinstall to do this check every few months.
(Note - nothing is both free and easy. Except Suzie Mitchell, but that’s a different thread… Read the page fine print while downloading and be sure what you click on. They will try to convince you or trick you into downloading the paid/trial versions, or running extra add-ons. You just want the free scanner tool. )

If you do not have an anti-virus program, AVG is free and does a good job. Good enough that the pay programs tried to convince us that it was useless…

If you are not computer-savvy, research carefully before killing any process that may be critical to windows.

It’s not surprising boot time is still slow. Basically, all this crud loads from disc, so no matter how fast your processor, the disc is still slow. Maybe you can find a substitute disc that is much faster than 2006, but the R/W speed may also depend on the controller chips. Plus, then you need someone to copy the disc image across.

I ran across an issue the last 3 years or so - if you have windows updates on, your boot may be painfully slow; even if you have “download but ask me when to update”, Windows Update will catalog your whole software configuration and determine what has outstanding updates - every time you boot. Someone with a 2006 machine may wait for 15 to 20 minutes before they can do anything useable after boot, especially with WU checking every install and your anti-virus scanning each of those files as they are opened. You click on a program and 2 minutes later it starts to open… Turn off all updating and just do it manually every few weeks when you can go make a cup of coffee while waiting.