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w500 upgrade path for broke student

W500/510/520 and W700/710 series specific matters only
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rphfouc33
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:07 pm
Location: Markham, Canada

w500 upgrade path for broke student

#1 Post by rphfouc33 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:37 pm

Hi,
I was just handed down a magnificent w500 for college this fall.
Its week 3 and I am already eating lentils 3 times a day.
So, I would love suggestions on how to spend my meager upgrade budget to get the most bang for my buck and avoid any bottlenecks or wasted upgrades.
This machine will for web browsing (firefox) and watching videos via VLC or mpc-hc 64 in 1080p to my roommates projector.
Maybe a homework assignment as well -
I'll be working off the cloud mostly as that is where all my school content is.
I might be forced to use MS office to be compatible at school but will try and use libreoffice to avoid the bloated MS products.
I have a fresh install of win7 64
2gb ram installed
Resource monitor shows cpu almost idle but ram maxed out with only a few browser tabs open.
So
Nobrainer
#1
Ram upgrade.
I am thinking 2 sticks of 4gb but wondering if I would notice the difference between 4 gb and 8 gb ram.
Opinions???
#2 SSD -I know an older slower ssd is all the w500 will take advantage of (crucial mx100?) and faster ssds will bottleneck but I don't know where or why so I would love suggestions on how little I can spend to notice a difference.
Does an ssd replace the hdd or can you keep the hdd too?
Whats with the expansion slot on the left side. Suggestions on what I can jam in there? Is it outdated or useful?
#3?
#4?

I am in love with the simple elegance of this pristine artifact and can we talk about how great the keyboard is for an hour or two.
I would love to keep this last vestige of personal computer design excellence and quality control. (RIP) running for a few years if I can.
Thanks in advance for anyone who made it to the end of this meandering, long winded, circuitous request for advice.

Omineca
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Posts: 169
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:40 pm
Location: British Columbia, Canada

Re: w500 upgrade path for broke student

#2 Post by Omineca » Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:11 am

rphfouc33 wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:37 pm
Hi,
I was just handed down a magnificent w500 for college this fall.
Its week 3 and I am already eating lentils 3 times a day.
So, I would love suggestions on how to spend my meager upgrade budget to get the most bang for my buck and avoid any bottlenecks or wasted upgrades.
This machine will for web browsing (firefox) and watching videos via VLC or mpc-hc 64 in 1080p to my roommates projector.
Maybe a homework assignment as well -
I'll be working off the cloud mostly as that is where all my school content is.
I might be forced to use MS office to be compatible at school but will try and use libreoffice to avoid the bloated MS products.
I have a fresh install of win7 64
2gb ram installed
Resource monitor shows cpu almost idle but ram maxed out with only a few browser tabs open.
So
Nobrainer
#1
Ram upgrade.
I am thinking 2 sticks of 4gb but wondering if I would notice the difference between 4 gb and 8 gb ram.
Opinions???
#2 SSD -I know an older slower ssd is all the w500 will take advantage of (crucial mx100?) and faster ssds will bottleneck but I don't know where or why so I would love suggestions on how little I can spend to notice a difference.
Does an ssd replace the hdd or can you keep the hdd too?
Whats with the expansion slot on the left side. Suggestions on what I can jam in there? Is it outdated or useful?
#3?
#4?

I am in love with the simple elegance of this pristine artifact and can we talk about how great the keyboard is for an hour or two.
I would love to keep this last vestige of personal computer design excellence and quality control. (RIP) running for a few years if I can.
Thanks in advance for anyone who made it to the end of this meandering, long winded, circuitous request for advice.
I just retired my R500 last weekend and I could have kept it going for a few more years.

An SSD upgrade is a good idea. It makes the most obvious speed difference. You can keep the hard drive if you get one of those hard drive caddies that slides into the CD drive bay. I had a 120GB SSD for the OS and left most of my docs/pics/vids on the spinning drive. You can get a 120GB SSD for about $25 these days. The drive caddy is about $10. Those are reasonable upgrades on a student budget.

IDK if you need more than 4GB RAM. It depends what you're going to be doing. I had 3GB, because the original 32-bit Vista installation on my laptop couldn't use more than 3GB.

But I switched to Debian LXDE about 8 years ago. A lightweight Linux would give you another real speed boost. Of course, whether or not you want to switch to Linux depends on your software requirements. I have no trouble with Linux software (in fact, it's the reverse for me now -- Windows lacks programs I like to have), but your needs may differ. Virtual machines are an option. Your W500 can definitely spin up Win7 in a VM with no trouble. I don't know about Win10, but it would probably be fine.

As for additional upgrades, I put a T9600 CPU in mine. That was about $15 + $5 for some CPU paste. It makes a noticeable difference, but nothing like the SSD.

Remember that you can do the upgrades over time to spread out the cost ... and the fun! Best of luck!
Home: L440 | R500 | X120e
Work: Yoga 260

axur-delmeria
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Location: Metro Manila, Philippines

Re: w500 upgrade path for broke student

#3 Post by axur-delmeria » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:40 am

If your current RAM setup is one 2GB stick, get one 4GB stick for 6GB total. IMO it's more than enough for most purposes.

Even a WD Green 120GB SSD will make a difference in performance, regardless of the SATA bandwidth.

I've used a 32GB SSD on an X60s with a Core Solo 1.06GHz. Everything about this system is slow: SATA I link speed (150MB/s max), a single-core CPU slower than an Atom, and only 2GB RAM, but the SSD made it tolerable. When I replaced it with an HDD, it became unbearable.

The performance gain that comes with SSDs is due to the lower access time (how fast the drive responds to read/write requests from the CPU -- my tests show 0.2 millisecond on SSDs versus the 5-20 milliseconds for HDDs (even worse for old or mostly full ones). That's 25x faster at the very least (0.2 against 5 ms).
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X601 Core 2 Duo T8100
Toy: X60F Core Solo U1300
On loan: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E; X61 7676-A24; and a BOE-Hydis HV121P01-100 in failed SXGA+ mod
:cry:

MikalE
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Re: w500 upgrade path for broke student

#4 Post by MikalE » Mon Sep 16, 2019 4:49 am

You don't say what processor is installed, but consider the T9600 as the cheapest upgrade out of what you have so far mentioned.

8GB RAM
500 GB SSD
T9600,

Are my recommended upgrades. A second hard drive for storage in the Ultrabay slot couldn't hurt.
T500 T9600 2055-BE9
T510 i5 4384-DV7
T510 i7 4349-A64
T520 i7 4242-4UU(CTO)


T520: i7-2760QM(2.40GHz),16GB, 500GB SSD/250GB SSD, 1600x900, 1GB NVIDIA, DVDRW, Smartcard, media card, FPR, Win7 Pro64, XP Pro64 whitelist BIOS, N 6300 AGN, German KB, BT 4.0.

rphfouc33
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:07 pm
Location: Markham, Canada

Re: w500 upgrade path for broke student

#5 Post by rphfouc33 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:37 am

Thank-you Everyone!
I was pretty sure but wanted some more confidence before searching the couch again for spare change.
I really appreciate you taking the time.
thanks!

jursky
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 7:31 am
Location: Kosice, Slovakia

Re: w500 upgrade path for broke student

#6 Post by jursky » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:21 pm

I am a little bit apprehensive to chip in with my opinions here as most of the time I feel that my opinions are exact opposite what others suggest, but I will do it anyway.

I personally would not spend money on T9600 cpu upgrade. I had it in my T500 4 years ago and it was simply not worth it. It's a 35W cpu which produces a LOT of heat for very little performance gain (against P8600 (25W) - which came originally with the laptop when I bought it). I like quiet computers, so I had the cpu downclocked to 80% in order to mimick lower wattage cpu. Because of that performance was even worser than P8600, because it was running on slightly lower clocks than on what was P8600 running by default. I eventually sold the T9600 cpu and returned to P8600.

As for the ram, surely go for 8 gb. Should be cheap and the difference will be huge (compared to your current 2 gb setup).

SSD would be a nice upgrade too (faster than HDD and also quieter as there are no moving parts; I used to leave my T500 on during nights, not letting it do anything, just idling - I liked that I couldn't hear it, it was a major upgrade against ever humming Acer).

Lastly I would like to say that if you can get something newer, save the money now (not buying upgrades for W500) and use the money to simply buy something newer. Let's face it, Core 2 Duo is an ancient technology. It's missing a lot of instructions which are in use nowadays, which would speed up even the most basic stuff a lot (word processing, web browsing, etc.). I remember that I had even troubles to navigate on YouTube smoothly on T500, it was simply slow and unresponsive, only generating a lot of heat and no results, and I had 8GB RAM, SSD, 3650 Radeon GPU and T9600 cpu (later I switched back to P8600).

I loved the machine for it's GPU, keyboard and quietness, but performance wise it was behind Intel Core series A LOT. For example X220+/T410+/W510+ would deliver 10 times more performance for much MUCH less power.

I eventually passed the laptop to a friend (for free) and bought myself something with Intel Core CPU.

Edit: I feel like I should state that by all means I am not trying to say that T500/W500 is a bad machine, on the contrary, I loved it (at the time when I got it (bought it as used)) and I have been happily using it for 2-3 years, but then I got into Android development and compile times were very slow, even for a simple Hello World project, so I wanted something more powerful. But I really loved it, especially the display. It was my first laptop with WSXGA+ display, running at 1680x1050, I really liked that plenitude of work space/dpi.
W530 i7-3840QM (with High Color Gamut FHD AUO B156HW01 V.4 (Matte) display), X230 i7-3520M (with Nitrocaster (rev.6) FHD mod + FHD LG IPS LP125WF2-SPB1), another X230 i5-3320M (HD ready IPS display) and X240 i7-4600U (HD ready IPS display).

mortimer
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2019 2:18 pm
Location: Seattle, WA, USA Earth, Milky Way

Re: w500 upgrade path for broke student

#7 Post by mortimer » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:18 pm

I think Jursky has good advice.

I totally get keeping these things running (Im on a T60 myself). You should also understand that you can get a T410s for literally 50 dollars on ebay and then you can keep the thinklight, 16:10, and 7 row keyboard. you'd also get a much more modern architecture, higher IO speeds, better battery life, and a lighter laptop.

If you DO want to sink money into the W500 and use it on the daily, I suggest finding a soldering iron and looking into the Quad core + 1066 FSB mod for this generation of thinkpad. I also suggest rebuilding your battery (3d print a larger casing and pick up some panasonic cells on ebay).

Either way you'd have a real neat laptop.
14" T60 4:3, T61 Mobo (X3100 Intel GMA) C2E X9000, 8Gb PC2-6400.
T430s, FHD Mod, Classic Keyboard swap, Ultrabay battery.

wujstefan
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Re: w500 upgrade path for broke student

#8 Post by wujstefan » Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:36 am

Well, W500 is able to withstand X9100 OCed without a bigger hitch. TDP of 45W should not be a problem, and I'd personally point to X9100 ($25, and undervolt) for power, or P9500 (25W TDP, large cache, good clocks, very cheap) for emissions/battery life. For whatever reason, T9550 units ran EXTREMELY hot in this model. Power efficiency of firegl does not help neither.

SSD is a must-have, and bigger is better in the economic class. I'd recommend Goodram IRDM as the are based on MLC but within ECO class.

DDR3 is cheap nowadays, and I'd opt to have 2x4Gb in this system.

W500 stock display best choice would be WXSGA+ (1680x1050), as WUXGAs are somewhat dim.

Have in mind that you will most likely carry over SSD and RAM with the next system upgrade you make, so you should not be very cost-cutting here.

USB-3 hub in expresscard slot (the "funny thing" on the left). costs the likes of $3.
Too many thinkpads not enough time!
(stable under reduction)

MikalE
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Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2015 9:51 pm
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Re: w500 upgrade path for broke student

#9 Post by MikalE » Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:35 am

The T9600 runs cool in my machine. Rarely does the fan come on under load, but I keep things clean, and with good paste.
T500 T9600 2055-BE9
T510 i5 4384-DV7
T510 i7 4349-A64
T520 i7 4242-4UU(CTO)


T520: i7-2760QM(2.40GHz),16GB, 500GB SSD/250GB SSD, 1600x900, 1GB NVIDIA, DVDRW, Smartcard, media card, FPR, Win7 Pro64, XP Pro64 whitelist BIOS, N 6300 AGN, German KB, BT 4.0.

28CarsLater
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:01 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: w500 upgrade path for broke student

#10 Post by 28CarsLater » Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:27 pm

I echo all of the great comments said here and if it were me, I would definitely not be spending money on a processor and any money I did spend would be on quality parts I could take forward into a newer machine which could accept DDR3 1066 and an SSD. What I would If I was you is for as little as I could, buy 1 4GB stick of DDR3 and depending on your current config that would take you from 2GB to either 5GB or 6GB. I would then switch to Opera and install an add-on called Tab Saver. I used to run Chrome on an X300 with 8GB RAM and Chrome was usually half of that figure or more (of course I always have 40 tabs open too). I just got off of my second X300 earlier running W7 with 4GB RAM and before I shut down I was at 1.83GB used and I still had 40 tabs open. With 5-6GB of memory and that browser/add-on combination you'll have no trouble using your W500 for most school things. Later when you're no longer a poor student you can max out your W500 if you choose or move up to a better model.

This is currently bidding at $1.00 from China and I believe its what the W500 takes. Watch it and bid to $5, I doubt anyone will be competing much.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Crucial-4G ... SwFwNdoTbm

FWIW I have a maxed out R500 with the T9600 I purchased in 2014, its still a decent machine but the 8GB max limits the amount of professional work I can accomplish with it. Heck on my quad core Precision M4700/16GB it hangs when running a VM in VirtualBox (Linux/Oracle) and MSFT professional applications open all at the same time. I'm not sure what you are studying but if you are going into most of the IT professions I think you will find you need to be in the xx30-xx40 series just to run your apps.

https://addons.opera.com/en/extensions/ ... -unloader/
Primary: Split between a T430S and a Precision M4700.
Laying around: X300(s), R500, R60
In various states: X301(s), W701, misc T/R500s

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