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

Discussion in 'HP Compaq Presario, G-series and Mini Notebooks' started by Mr. Fox, Jun 30, 2011.

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

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

    5 vote(s)
    9.6%
  2. No : I bought my laptop from HP, not NVIDIA. HP should have taken care of me and they did not.

    47 vote(s)
    90.4%
  1. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Temporarily Unavailable Moderator

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    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
     
  2. nambinhvu

    nambinhvu Notebook Evangelist

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    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

    [IMAGE=400]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v313/nambinhvu/CQ56-115DX/IMG_0439.jpg[/IMAGE] [IMAGE=400]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v313/nambinhvu/CQ56-115DX/IMG_0438.jpg[/IMAGE]

    [IMAGE=400]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v313/nambinhvu/CQ56-115DX/IMG_0437.jpg[/IMAGE] [IMAGE=400]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v313/nambinhvu/CQ56-115DX/IMG_0441.jpg[/IMAGE]

    [IMAGE=800]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v313/nambinhvu/CQ56-115DX/Temps-1.png[/IMAGE]​
     
  3. dchen2k

    dchen2k Notebook Consultant

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    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..
     
  4. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Temporarily Unavailable Moderator

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    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.
     
  5. aw614

    aw614 Notebook Guru

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    Would an AMD N830 work on it cq56?
     
  6. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Temporarily Unavailable Moderator

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    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. :)
     
  7. lvieira

    lvieira Notebook Enthusiast

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    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. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Temporarily Unavailable Moderator

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    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.
     
  9. Lepy

    Lepy Notebook Enthusiast

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    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.

    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. dchen2k

    dchen2k Notebook Consultant

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    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.
     
  11. nambinhvu

    nambinhvu Notebook Evangelist

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    Hmm, that's the 2nd time you've said +1 rep, but my rep is still at 1 lols I dunno how the rep works, but I don't think it's supposed to stay 1 is it?
     
  12. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Temporarily Unavailable Moderator

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    The reputation number displayed when you post is not equal to the number of times you receive a rep point. It will stay at 1 for a while. For example, I have received a rep point 616 times as of today, but everyone else sees 11 when I post. What others see is your "Rep Power" score. It sort of complicated how it is calculated. You can read more about it here: Site Suggestions, Help and Announcements. Look at the 7th thread from the top.

    If you click into your User Control Panel, you will see a list of your recent rep points, who gave them to you, any comments they made to you privately, and the total number of accumulated rep points you have. Sometimes you will get rep points from folks on the forum without even knowing because they do it quietly, so looking in your UserCP may be a pleasant surprise.
     
  13. nambinhvu

    nambinhvu Notebook Evangelist

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    Thanks for the clarification.
     
  14. dchen2k

    dchen2k Notebook Consultant

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    nambinhvu,

    If you guys see GPU running at 503MHz at all times then AMD PowerPlay is turned off. With AMD PowerPlay the GPU should run at 203MHz when no 3D apps are running and 503MHz while gaming.(Regardless of power mode--even with high performance power mode) I tested both and did not observe any difference in gaming performance. Therefore you may want to keep it on to reduce heat and save a couple cents on your electricity bills..
     
  15. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Temporarily Unavailable Moderator

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    PowerPlay is not installed if they are running driver-only installations, as PowerPlay is part of the Catalyst or Fusion package. Using PowerPlay is a good idea to prolong component life due to reduced heat... great advice to use it. PowerPlay typically stops functioning during gaming to prevent throttling and that is why there is no change in performance.

    djc89 - I think the person that said you can only install 1GB of DDR2 could be mistaken. According to the Asus web site, you should be able to use 2GB of DDR2 in your convertible. Here are the specs: ASUSTeK Computer Inc. - T101MT. While you are on the Asus web site, you might want to click on the Downloads tab. It looks like there is a BIOS update released earlier this month. If your system does not have the latest version, you may want to grab it.

    DDR2 and DDR3 are not interchangeable. The Atom N450 can be installed in a system configuration that utilizes DDR3, but for some reason Asus chose to build this unit on DDR2 technology.

    Without knowing more information from the STOP error your BSOD is producing, we can only speculate about the cause. If you can boot into safe mode without a BSOD, it may be an indication there is a driver issue. There may also be a defect with the 2GB stick of DDR2 that you tried to use. You can try reseating the RAM and running some memory tests. Here's a link with some information on that. If the memory check out OK, please Google for information on the STOP code or post it here so we can try to help. (A STOP code will be in a format similar to 0x0000001E and may contain a message something like KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED.)

    With only one memory bank and a maximum capacity of 2GB, you'll have significant limitations in performance. Our CQ56 notebooks come with 2GB of memory and they are ridiculously sluggish out of the box running Windows 7 Home Premium. It looks like your system had the option of running WindowsXP stock from Asus. (You'll notice Asus has made the drivers available for XP.) If your machine seems slow, downgrading to XP may give you acceptable performance with only 1GB of RAM, but you may lose some degree of functionality with the touch screen under WindowsXP.
     
  16. djc89

    djc89 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the replies. I overlooked the fact that the notch is probably in different spots between the 2 and 3, heh. So DDR3 is out.

    So, I did a bit more reading, and it seems the general consensus is that 1GB DDR2 PC2-5300/667MHz and 1GB DDR2 PC2-6400/800MHz (clocked to 667MHz) work for the other n450 t101mt models. However, some have said that t101mt is finicky about the RAM, and some sticks that fall under this description refused to work.

    I think I will go for this Newegg.com - CORSAIR 1GB 200-Pin DDR2 SO-DIMM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Laptop Memory Model VS1GSDS800D2 G. It has been specifically indicated to work with the t101mt (at least the other models) several times:
    YouTube - &#x202a;ASUS Eee PC T101MT - OS and RAM Upgrade Tutorial&#x202c;&rlm;
    Asus T101MT Triple Boot and Program Recomendations (Page 1) / General Discussion / EeeUser Forum
    ASUSTeK Computer Inc.-Forum- Upgrade of memory?

    -----

    For a more detailed description of the RAM situation on the t101mt:

    There are two memory slots. One bay is the normal RAM slot, easily accessible from the underside by removing the a single screw and the cover. This bay comes empty when you open the package. The other "slot" is located deep inside the machine on the board and can only be accessed by taking the netvertible apart. This one holds the 1GB DDR2 PC2-5300/667MHz that comes with the machine. The t101mt can only address 2GB of RAM total. So to max out the PC, stick a 1GB in the normal slot.

    Further Reading:

    Micro T101MT tear down (Page 1) / General Discussion / EeeUser Forum
    Computer memory upgrades for ASUS Eee PC T101MT Netbook from Crucial.com
    ASUSTeK Computer Inc.-Forum- Upgrade of memory?
    ASUSTeK Computer Inc.-Forum- Memory
     
  17. nambinhvu

    nambinhvu Notebook Evangelist

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    Too bad it doesn't accept 4GB chips then you could open it up and put 8GB total. Like the person above said, update the bios, it might accept a 2GB chip without the BSOD problem after that.
     
  18. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Temporarily Unavailable Moderator

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    Kudos for your diligent research on your new netvertible. With as much as you have found out about it, you should consider creating a thread dedicated to improving the T101MT. I think it might be a first on this forum. If you do, please let me know and I will add a link to it on the opening post.
     
  19. Trevayne10

    Trevayne10 Notebook Consultant

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    Lepy, dchen2k,

    I don't have Resident Evil 5. But I've done several trials of STREAM and Linpack memory tests in both single-channel and dual-channel configurations (1x4GB stick, vs 2x4GB sticks) on this system, measuring an overall performance delta in favor of dual channel: 3.4 - 4% faster. Within margins of error. Statistically insignificant, in other words.

    Here's some interesting (if somewhat dated) reading that might shed some light on this arcane subject: "Parallel Processing, Part 2: RAM and HDD":

    RAM Parallelism: Single And Dual Channel : Parallel Processing, Part 2: RAM and HDD


    - note the drop down menu and the < Next > navigation menu items towards the bottom of the page


    ...good ol' "Tom's Hardware" to the rescue, again!
     
  20. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Temporarily Unavailable Moderator

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    Hi Trevayne - I don't have RE5 either, but there is a free benchmark that's quite good.

    If you are interested, you can grab it from this link Resident Evil 5 PC Benchmark Utility download from Guru3D.com

    Anyone interested in really taxing the CQ56 to see what it can handle can grab the Crysis Benchmark from this link Crysis Benchmark Tool 1.05 Final download from Guru3D.com

    I have not noticed in any of the posts if you guys have installed the AMD CAP enhancements? If not, you can get them at Rage3D. The CAP enhancements are cumulative, so release notes only identify the changes in the latest version.
     

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