Upgrade Thinkpad L540 or buy a new laptop

Discussion in 'Hardware Components and Aftermarket Upgrades' started by D0_do, May 21, 2018.

  1. D0_do

    D0_do Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hello,

    I currently have a Thinkpad L540 with the following configuration:

    Code:
    Operating System
        Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1
    CPU
        Intel Core i5 4300M @ 2.60GHz
        Haswell 22nm Technology
    RAM
        8.00GB Dual-Channel DDR3 (9-9-9-24)
    Motherboard
        LENOVO 20AUS0BC01 (CPU Socket - U3E1)
    Graphics
        LCD 1366x768 (1366x768@60Hz)
        Intel HD Graphics 4600 (Lenovo)
    Storage
        465GB Hitachi HGST HTS725050A7E6300 SCSI Disk Device (SATA)
    Optical Drives
        PLDS DVD-RW DU8A5SH SCSI CdRom Device
    Audio
        Realtek High Definition Audio
    I have been using it for last three years. But now it feels that it has started to get slow. My main usages are programming in IDEs, chrome with tons of tabs(around 30-40), some background scripts to keep my stuff in place and in sync.

    What do you guys suggest shall I upgrade my current system with more RAM and an SSD? If yes, any suggestions? or Shall I buy a new/used/refurbished laptop? I'll look for a quad core with at least 16gb ram and the budget will be 1000CAD. I do not play games but I do open up VMs once in a while for development purposes.
     
  2. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies TG Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    The overall bottleneck in your computer is likely the hard drive. If you have a lot of apps open, the computer may run out of RAM, and will then use the hard drive as a swap disk (virtual memory). The hard drive is about 1000x slower than RAM, so ...really slow.

    You could throw in an SSD - even a very inexpensive one will do - and that would make things significantly better. A clean installation of the operating system will likely do wonders to begin with.

    What you can do to figure out if the CPU is the bottleneck is open the Task Manager (Ctrl + Alt + Esc) and leave it running for a bit while you do your typical work. Then open it and check the CPU graph. If the usage is consistently over 50 percent for extended periods of time (not just spikes) then you could probably benefit from a faster CPU.

    Bottom line, though, is that you're using a system that is nearing the end of its life cycle. The battery is probably degraded. Probably best off going for a new machine, assuming you're OK with Windows 10.

    The ThinkPad L580 is the new version of yours. Not terribly different, but it has the latest technology.
    https://www3.lenovo.com/ca/en/laptops/thinkpad/thinkpad-l/ThinkPad-L580/p/22TP2TBL580
    Lenovo's configurations aren't loading for me right now (on their US or Canada sites, strange). But it seems a little pricey in Canada. The Core i5-8250U is the least-expensive quad-core you'll find in a notebook like that.

    Charles
     
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  3. D0_do

    D0_do Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thank you Charles. I am planning to format it once and then observe if it makes any improvement.
    May be then I'll buy an SSD and hope it will help it perform much better.

    I want to hold on to purchasing a new laptop until next year as I have no plans to buy it new.
     
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  4. bennni

    bennni Notebook Evangelist

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    Buy an SSD - there's a high chance that you'll be able to use it in a future notebook anyway. The RAM and CPU seem OK - the SSD will make the whole system seem faster and more responsive.
     
  5. alexhawker

    alexhawker Spent Gladiator

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    This is a little less likely nowadays, with the shift away from 2.5" SATA and 1.8" mSATA to the NVMe form factors.
     
  6. Starlight5

    Starlight5 So what if I'm crazy? The best people are.

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    @D0_do very low screen resolution negatively affects your productivity, HD is simply atrocious by today's standards - I suggest getting a new/used machine with at least FHD display (unless you use this one with external monitor most of the time). Something like t450/s or t550 with FHD IPS, or even newer depending on your budget, would be a good replacement.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
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  7. RampantGorilla

    RampantGorilla Notebook Deity

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  8. D0_do

    D0_do Notebook Enthusiast

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    I know :(. I used to have FHD dell studio and then had to buy this system in an emergency situation when studio died. Currently I have a monitor hooked to it.
    I am holding on to my purchase of a new laptop as intel generation 8 processors seems much better than their predecessors and I'll most probably be buying a used/refurbished one.

    Any advice which SSD to go for?

    umm I didn't know the form factors affect this as well. I'll google it and read a bit about it. If you have a reference that will be great as well.
     
  9. RampantGorilla

    RampantGorilla Notebook Deity

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    Get a Crucial MX500 ssd in the 2.5" form factor. Refer to the video below for the installation.
     
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  10. alexhawker

    alexhawker Spent Gladiator

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    All I meant to point out is that newer notebooks tend to favor the smaller NVMe form factor, so you may not be able to bring over a SATA or mSATA SSDto a newer notebook in future, depending on what types of drives the newer notebook can support.
     
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  11. senso

    senso Notebook Evangelist

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    So far all laptops have at least one 2.5inch SATA bay, and m.2 SATA is still available in almost all as well.
     
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