Quantcast Coping with the Compaq CQ56-115DX - Life After the NVIDIA Settlement

View Poll Results: Based on how HP handled the NVIDIA defect, will you ever buy another HP computer again?

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  • Yes: I will buy another HP computer. HP does not need to stand behind the products they sell.

    5 9.62%
  • No : I bought my laptop from HP, not NVIDIA. HP should have taken care of me and they did not.

    47 90.38%
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  1. #1
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    Default Coping with the Compaq CQ56-115DX - Life After the NVIDIA Settlement

    The NVIDIA Class Action settlement is now just another ugly chapter in the life of many hp owners. If you filed a claim for one of the affected models and you are receiving (or have already received) a CQ56-115DX as an NVIDIA class member, you are undoubtedly finding yourself in the sad predicament of having to make the best of this situation. This is especially true if you owned one of the nicer Pavilion dv-series "Entertainment Notebook" systems.

    The CQ56-115DX is at or near the bottom of the barrel when it comes to notebooks. This device sells for about $299 and that's about what it's worth in terms of build quality, features and performance as shipped from the factory. Its wimpy AMD V140 single-core CPU, inadequate 2GB of shared memory, horrible touchpad and keyboard are everything you should expect from the cheapest notebook on the block. Some of us haven't gotten past its shortcomings yet. Some of us may never.

    However, if you're ready to squeeze this lemon into some fresh lemonade, you may find your glass half-full at the end of the day. With its capable chipset and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4250 IGP, tolerable performance is within easy reach for anyone willing to spend less than two hours and approximately $100 on a better CPU and a 4 to 8GB memory upgrade. Even casual gaming is possible with this homely little critter. If you received it for free as a class member, you'll be hard pressed to find something that performs better for the measly $100 to $150 you'll need to spend on upgrades.

    This thread is devoted to all of those lemon-squeezers out there. If you have found a way to tolerate its miserable shortcomings, please share what you're doing to transform your CQ56-115DX into a usable machine. Tell us about your upgrades, share some photos and post your benchmarks.

    With lots of participation, we can make this thread valuable to all Compaq CQ-series notebook owners that want to extract more performance from their budget systems than what HP ever intended.

    Please remember the forum rules, and happy posting!

    Edit: If you own an Asus T101MT, there is a thread specifically for you. Go here: ASUS EEE T101MT-EU37/Disgruntled Former HP tx1XXX Owners
    Last edited by Mr. Fox; 4th July 2011 at 11:34 PM. Reason: Added suggestion for the Asus T101MT thread
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  2. #2
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    Default Coping with the Compaq CQ56-115DX - Life After the NVIDIA Settlement

    I can't vote on the poll, because the yes answer is still a no answer the way you worded it lols XD How bout a poll where the outcome/answers aren't influenced by the bias caused by the wording, just a simple yes or no poll. I have my reasons for my answer to the poll, I don't need one shoved down my throat.

    I wouldn't exactly call it a $100 upgrade. The N660 processor cost me $85 and the 8GB of ram cost me $54.11 for a grand total of $139.11 and that's only because I got lucky with finding an ok priced N660. Try finding a processor now, and you'll probably be paying 100+ for the processor alone. Here are some pictures of the upgrade as well as some temps and stuff without the ram upgrade. My idle temps are around 46-47C with the temp of the house being 72F or 22.222222C






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    Default Upgrade results V140-> P340 -> N640

    Let me relocate my contents here:

    Upgraded to N640 from P340. Overall performance increased by 25%-30% or so. That is reflected in synthetic benchmarks and even GPU benchmarks like Resident Evil 5.

    RE5 benchmark, DirectX 9, 800x600 low, Average FPS:
    CQ56(P340): 32.7
    E6400(P8700+NVS160M):42.4
    CQ56(N640): 39.8

    Dynasty Warriors 6 Benchmark, 800x600, Average FPS:
    CQ56(P340): 40
    CQ56(N640): 47

    Tom Clancy's H.A.W.K Benchmark:
    800x600
    CQ56(N640): Average 53 FPS Max FPS: 72
    1280x720
    CQ56(N640): Average 35 FPS Max FPS: 62


    Clearly the ATI 4250 performs better with faster CPUs.

    Passmark reported 17% improvement on memory performance at 1333MHz.

    Geekbench results: V140
    Hewlett-Packard Presario CQ56 Notebook PC : Geekbench Result Browser

    Geekbench results: P340
    Hewlett-Packard Presario CQ56 Notebook PC : Geekbench Result Browser

    Geekbench results: N640
    Hewlett-Packard Presario CQ56 Notebook PC : Geekbench Result Browser

    Normal temperature with IC Diamond is comparable or lower to P340 with Arctic Silver Ceramique(Ceramique is slightly inferior to AS5).
    Peak temperature is 70-72 during stress test. P340 had 64. So 35w processors do really generate a lot more heat under stress.
    However during noremal opeations the temperature is actually lower.
    Idle average is between 41-45 when powered up.
    Temperature tends to stay around 46 after cooling down from stress tests.
    (With balanced power mode in Windows 7)
    I have the CQ56 on a USB cooling pad without turning on the cooling pad fan during the test in order to give better airflow(so that air does not hit a surface and reflect back). The temperature never goes higher than 72 at all times and typically stays at 68 in benchmark tests and demos like Mass Effect 2. Yes. Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age 2 are playable in 800x600 Low (Mass Effect) or Medium(Dragon Age 2) Settings.

    Also Resident Evil 5 Benchmark gets a slight boost (2-3FPS) if you replace the stock HP ATI 4250 driver with the latest 11.5 or 11.6 Catalyst driver from AMD. That's without any tuning. If triple buffering is turned on, you will get higher max FPS but the average FPS seems to be the same or close to the same. I also tested "Max Performance" and "Balanced" power modes and the power mode has no impact to FPS numbers from both Resident Evil 5 and H.A.W.K benchmarks.

    The title is misleading. Not everyone is "coping" with the CQ56. Some are really enjoying it. While the CQ56 has some usability design flows, it is much mucj better than the Compaq V6000 it replaced.

    A fair review by an engineering student here:

    Compaq - Presario Laptop / AMD V-Series Processor / 15.6" Display / 2GB Memory / 250GB Hard Drive - Basic Black - CQ56-115DX
    Posted by tesla2011 on 6/29/2011

    Temperature and screenshot after one round of Prime 95 testing is attached:

    My suggestion to people who want to upgrade:

    For best price/performance, it is probably better to get a P320(<$25), P340(<$40), or N830($30).
    With those 25w processors you would experience overall improved performance without having to worry about heat during high CPU utilization. They are cheaper too due to more supply.
    You could get n620($68), N640($75), N660($77-85) but the performance gain probably won't help you that much in regular
    normal activities and you still won't be able to play latest games in high settings.
    For gamers as usual you always get the best bang of the bucks by playing on a desktop.
    Of course, if you are performance/benchmark nuts like us, you are free to spend double/triple the amount to get the extra 20%-30% improvement..
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails coretemp.JPG  
    Last edited by dchen2k; 30th June 2011 at 09:09 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default Coping with the Compaq CQ56-115DX - Life After the NVIDIA Settlement

    Quote Originally Posted by nambinhvu View Post
    I can't vote on the poll, because the yes answer is still a no answer the way you worded it lols XD How bout a poll where the outcome/answers aren't influenced by the bias caused by the wording, just a simple yes or no poll. I have my reasons for my answer to the poll, I don't need one shoved down my throat.
    Good morning, nambinhvu. The poll question and answers are specific to HP shirking its responsibility to customers in relation to the NVIDIA defect. Had HP stepped up to the plate for their customers and stood behind the product it sold, the class action against NVIDIA would have been unnecessary. Had there been a cause for legal action against NVIDIA, it should have been HP suing them, not end users. It is not the intent of the poll to provide a open-ended platform for respondents to showcase the spectrum of reasons they will or will not purchase another HP computer.

    Thank you for posting about your CQ56 upgrades. I'm sure that information will be useful to other class members that are looking for ways to breathe life into their own CQ56.

    +1 Rep! Have a great day.

    Good morning, dchen2k. Great information. Thanks for posting. +1 Rep.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Coping with the Compaq CQ56-115DX - Life After the NVIDIA Settlement

    Would an AMD N830 work on it cq56?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Coping with the Compaq CQ56-115DX - Life After the NVIDIA Settlement

    Quote Originally Posted by aw614 View Post
    Would an AMD N830 work on it cq56?
    Hi aw614. I believe so. Look near the bottom of this morning's post from dchen2k (first line of last paragraph) and you will see that particular CPU listed.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Coping with the Compaq CQ56-115DX - Life After the NVIDIA Settlement

    aw614

    Physically the chip will fit, but if the motherboard supports it is another question...

    Here is a link for all the CPU's that will fit...

    Socket S1 (S1g4)

    click on the CPU family name and it will give you more options that will fit...

    Bert

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Coping with the Compaq CQ56-115DX - Life After the NVIDIA Settlement

    Quote Originally Posted by dchen2k
    P540 is on sale for about $50 on eBay.

    You will need to follow this:

    http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c02641795.pdf

    I did a similar upgrade on a CQ56. I did not disassemble the entire display only detached it and carefully raised the motherboard by 90 degrees without removing display cables. Then I loosened the heat sink to remove the processor, cleaned up the new processor before applying new thermal paste and put it in. You need to be very gentle throughout especially with those ZIF cables.
    This was on another thread, but it's more excellent and relevant information from dchen2k. If you want to give a rep point for a link to the manual, please rep dchen2k.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Coping with the Compaq CQ56-115DX - Life After the NVIDIA Settlement

    Here is a summary of my upgrade to an N660 + 4GB of 1333mhz RAM from the previous thread. I am very satisfied with the upgrade price/performance ratio that I achieved, spending ~$109.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lepy View Post
    Here are a few awful pictures of the insides and a thermal comparison, quite non-scientific! I took my time following the service guide (http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport...Fc02657369.pdf) and dis-assembly is easy with re-assembly being a breeze (less than 5 minutes) besides one minor caveat.

    http://i.imgur.com/qlIyBh.jpg
    The mainboard as it appears with the top cover removed. On the left, two wires going to the screen and one to the HDD. On the right the power wire, a usb wire with zif, and the antenna wires which hook into the already removed wifi card.

    http://i.imgur.com/6aLwKh.jpg
    System board and case. The screen does not have to be disconnected (more on this in a second)

    http://i.imgur.com/gConvh.jpg
    The system board out of case. Note sh*tty blacked out lines due to POS touchpad

    http://i.imgur.com/uBNT9h.jpg
    A mysterious #14 etched into the plastic of the case. What does it mean!!!! Perhaps I was #14 in line to get f*cked by HP!

    http://i.imgur.com/qJdhSh.jpg
    The topside of the board positioned downward while removing the heat sink. The connectors have some over-hang in this position, but the topside has some squishy black padding. This allowed the connectors to hang off the table and made things less dangerous as the board would not flex during heat sink un/screwing.

    http://i.imgur.com/hCqwHh.jpg
    An un-happy AMD family made to do the bidding of HP.

    http://i.imgur.com/VYdzqh.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/UeGKsh.jpg
    These two shots show the only trouble I encountered during the process. The system board slides out easily, but placing it back requires some force and tricky maneuvering if the screen is not detached. As you can see, there is a tab protruding from the screen hinge mount on the left side which aids in holding the system board in place. I was in such a hurry to put the machine back together and test the CPU that I did not notice this until much later when the top cover would not snap back into place around the VGA port, the latest in video connector technology. This was more of an annoyance than anything else and was easily fixed with a little bit of force. About the only thing you would have to worry about is the heat sink getting scratched. Who cares?

    I do not care for and am too lazy for benchmarks (besides FPS benches which would not be extremely relevant) so I did not do any besides WIE, if it can even be considered one. As I said earlier, the CPU went up from 4.3 to 6.4. My memory dropped from 6.3 to 5.9 because I wanted 4GB running at full speed. I guess WIE only looks at total capacity. None of the other scores changed. Anyway, tells nothing, but I could probably post results from an "after" benchmark if someone would be willing to provide "stock" refernce under windows or linux. However, the machine performs a lot better than it did before! A faster HDD or dual channel RAM might help slightly, but it does feel like a different machine except for the ************ touchpad.

    Here are temperature comparisons. Very non-scientific testing done with ambient temps that average 24C. Core VID on N660 is lower, but wattage is higher. Both tests did not run for long, but I thought they showed the cores at average thermal saturation, unless you fold 24/7 or until the AS5 sets. I will say, I am impressed with the thermals of the machine. Even with the different temps, the heat sink and fan do a great job of dissipating heat so that the difference is not noticeable to me without having the numbers in my face. The underside of the machine has stayed the same as well. The one thing I have learned is that the fan does a great job of cooling as long as it can slightly hang off an edge so that air does not heat a surface and reflect back, increasing the temp. This is due to the curvature of the exhaust slot. The N660 hit 80C with a non-optimal cooling scenario during test 6, so I positioned the laptop near an edge and the temps quickly dropped ~5 degrees, then slowly climbed and stabilized at 79 during the remaining 5 tests. I told you this was non-scientific!



    Anyway, I used the credit card method to spread the AS5, and I know that I did a terrible job. The HD4250 uses a thermal pad which I did not replace because I was lazy/do not care. I'm sure if I had taken my time, used a newer tube of thermal paste (AS5 tube I used is like 5+ years old), or tried the IC Diamond, temps would be slightly lower. So far though, the heat difference has not been noticeable during use and is quite acceptable with the performance gain in mind. The laptop does not get uncomfortable, heat-wise, in the lap unlike the DV model it replaced.

    I am extremely disappointed with the out of the box performance but am now pleased with upgrades: the craptop performs much less crappy. It still lacks features, but most can be fixed with installing new parts or peripherals if you really want to spend the dough. To anyone on the fence about upgrading, if you can get the parts for the right price and are confident in your ability to not misplace screws, it is easy and I recommend giving it a shot. More than anything else, I am happy to finally have a laptop that will not malfunction (?), so I would think about your own situation foremost while listening to my success of upgrading the C56-11DX. Now, if only someone will try to upgrade to a quad-core! I'll be happy to provide more info if necessary. Once again, f*ck HP.
    ICDiamond TIM seems like a very worthwhile "upgrade" as well, if applied properly. My AS5 temps are ~9C higher than dchen2k's, but my chip has a lower Core VID and wattage. It appears ICD is really all it is cracked up to be. Every degree counts on a laptop!

    As it stands now, any S1g4 socket, DA-C3 stepping, max 35 TDP chip should work in this system because the N660 works! However, no one has yet tried a triple, quad, or 45 TDP chip. If you do, please post results!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Coping with the Compaq CQ56-115DX - Life After the NVIDIA Settlement

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Fox View Post
    Hi aw614. I believe so. Look near the bottom of this morning's post from dchen2k (first line of last paragraph) and you will see that particular CPU listed.
    It most likely would work. But other than officially supported processors.
    The following have been proven to work:
    P520, N620, N640, N660. The rest have not been tested.

    I think even X920(45w, 2.3GHz Quad-Core) could work and may not run too hot unless CoolN'Quiet is turned off or during a Prime95 testing.
    N830, N930, P920, P820, N530 are on officially supported processor list for CQ62. I believe CQ62 and CQ56 have very similar BIOS.(If you look at their BIOS updates, the issues resolved are the same) Therefore I'm 95% certain that N830 could work.

 

 
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