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Thread: Netbook and Zenbook - Some Advice Needed

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Netbook and Zenbook - Some Advice Needed

    Background:
    Netbook is compact and light - and slowww!
    Zenbook is superfast but bigger.

    Now the Netbook (ASUS EEE) has an Atom 1.6GHz CPU, 1 GB RAM, 160GB HDD (2x80GB partitions), and runs on Win & 7 Starter. It cost me $350, and it's been on 2 OS trips and is still good for modest tasks. But the HDDs are filling up and it is getting slowwweeerrr! So am wondering if it's worth:
    1. whacking in a 240 GB SSD,
    2. adding another GB RAM,
    and thereby readying it for WIN 10 upgrade. Ie, would this work?

    It gets a fair bit of use about the house as a 2nd machine... Well, when one can be bothered waiting for it to respond.

    Ta.
    Am.

    - - - Updated - - -

    PS: All the usual housekeeping has been done: reduce disk usage, defragment...
    Last edited by ameerat42; 19-08-2015 at 8:48pm.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    I like my computer more than my camera farmmax's Avatar
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    How much ram can you add into it? That seems be one of the cheaper ways to achieve results.

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    Member JJM's Avatar
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    I find that upgrading the RAM doesn't really provide any massive gains, yes it helps but not that much...

    An SSD yes it might help your cause but I feel you are still going to be limited by the CPU and motherboard to a certain extent.
    Most if not all the SSDs I have seen are SATA 6GB/s compatible, my guess is the netbook will only be 3GB/s so you won't be maximising the speed of your SSD.

    Cost wise a 240GB SSD is going to cost you $150 - $250 depending on the brand/spec you get. Then Windows I'm not sure if you have to pay for the upgrade or not from that version but if you do then there's another $200 plus the RAM. You'll end up spending more on the upgrades then what the netbook cost you.....if it was me I'd keep the cash and make do until you can afford a new one and use an external HDD for storage if you need.
    Cheers
    Jeremy

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular
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    Ta Jeremy. I was thinking of the extra RAM because it is always writing to HDD.
    I guess a modest performance increase is all I can expect

    - - - Updated - - -

    Ta, Fmax. I think it can take an extra 1GB, maybe as one stick only, so the present will become dundant.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    If you can resign yourself to the cost of a new SSD .. best thing 'ya can do for it.

    I have a Gigabyte S1080 tablet from a few years back. Probably same Atom CPU, 2G ram(fixed) 32bit OS(came with Win7) .. etc.
    It's original HDD was a Toshiba so and so(whatever?? ... hang on .. just checked!) It's a Hitachi spinning drive. It's a specific type of drive back then uncommon in that the thickness is important.
    All these notebooks/netbooks/tablets will use very slow 5400(or sometimes less!) RPM drives, and not only for cheapness factor, but for power factors.
    My other issue was that it was hard to get the needed 7.5mm thick mechanical HDD let alone a much faster 7200RPM type. Most 2.5" mechanical HDDs . and some SSDs have the standard 9mm thick format.
    I can't use that in this tablet as I can't the cover back on.
    If you can get the HDD out easily, I'd do this.
    Being an Atom CPU, I imagine that the mainboard may be limited to either 1Gb RAM .. or if you're lucky .. maybe two.
    I don't think if you tried an extra 1G of RAM that it will make much of a difference really.
    It may in some way lets say if you're processing or viewing a large(600-1Gb tiff file or something) .. or multiple large 100-200Mb tiff files or whatever.

    But, if the data is not coming off the HDD quick enough and being fed back top the HDD quick enough, I doubt that adding a fast data path peripheral such as a RAM stick will help all that much anyhow.
    It could do so once you removed the almost invariably slow HDD, which is almost certain to be a 5400RM type, or even worse a 4500RMP type.
    And some of these green ones are even worse again(in terms of actual response/speed). I have a WD green, but as it's always on, it's serves a useful purpose.

    Note that I ended up with a Samsung 840 SSD, which fit.
    I actually took my calipers in to the store(MSY in this case) to measure the thickness .. even tho on the full specs it stated something like 7.5mm thick dimension.
    If you know how MSY's customer service works .. you'd understand why this is humourous. They don't have customer service and don't have time to discuss the lack of any either

    1. SSD uses basically 1/10th of the power of a mech HDD. something like 0.1w at idle and maybe 0.5-1W at full tilt. mech drives use more power according to their age(ie. design) and RPM rate. Faster = speedier transfer rate and more power!
    2. my tablet went from booting up in about 2mins(from fresh) to about 30sec or less now with the SSD
    While it sometimes slows down depending on what is happening .. processes and stuff .. if I just tap an icon to open it, it's close to instant for most programs(office always a bit slow by the time it loads all it's bloatware!)
    But ViewNX2 even on this tine Atom CPU takes me the same amount of time to fully load(about 5-10sec) as it does on my quad core 3.2Ghz desktop. By fully load, this means all thumbnails loaded in the film strip, after the thumbnail cache has been deleted etc .. so it has to generate all thumbs all over again.(desktop has a slower-ish) mech HDD. While I say slower-ish . it's still a reasonably fast Samsung HDD of yesterdecade .. as in it's so old, it's one of the last models Samsung ever made. They no longer make mech HDDs.

    The hard bit if finding out what exact hardware is used inside the device. What mainboard .. can it take 2G of RAM.
    With my research into an off the shelf NAS, at my price level, I was looking at an ATOM powered one. Some seem to be fully limited to 1G others to 4G.
    I can't find out the exact info as the detailed specs don't specify the motherboard mfg nor model.
    That is, the NAS may come with 1G RAM .. even the slightly higher end model. But the higher end model can be upgraded to 4G RAM but the lower end model is limted to 1G RAM(ie. can't be upgraded!)
    Same Atom CPU in both .. so my deductive reasoning is that it's a motherboard design limitation.

    And like I said, I reckon if you add the RAM now, I don't reckon you'd feel too much of a performance increase.
    Add the SSD, and I'm 99% sure you will.
    THEN add the extra RAM if possible, and I reckon my may see more of an increase for this mod, than you would have prior to the SSD upgrade.

    hope that helps.
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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular
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    Ta a lot, AK. It certainly gives me something to re-think about. At first I found it eminently useful: good on internet, for processing
    (not too large) images with PS CS2 and raw converter. It was even quite snappy doing big stitches using ICE. I don't want it relegated
    to the realm of paperweightery, and I KNOW that to get something worthwhile it'd be over $1G. - I have seen too many so-so lapdogs
    bought by relatives, done lots of research, etc. - And I don't need a new one, as I recently got the Zenbook.

    So, 1st thing: measure HDD size in the machine and verify RAM capability. (Then think about it some more)

    Am.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    ALSO NOTE!!!(I went out for a quick deathstick and the thought occurred to me!)

    the speed increase you may(or may not) notice depends on the things you want to speed up!

    with my last reply, you shoudl see an increase on the processes you do ON the netbook that involve the HDD.
    That is, start Windows .. open your web browser, load an image in your preferred image viewing software . load that software to do so .. etc. Those processes require CPU, RAM and HDD in varying orders.

    But, if web pages load slowly . this has less to do with CPU/RAM/HDD ... and more to do with your connection to the system that feeds it. So for loading some webpages .. the limiting factor is your Wifi radio(if you do so wifi-ed), or your ethernet connection if you do so tethered.

    Same with my tablet. Where I sped up the physical processes .. it made no difference to transferring files via wifi, and sometimes loading web pages.
    The wifi radio it came with maxed out at 3MB/s tested over many various things.
    So I looked for a better wifi radio later too. After some research I settled on a Likker Networks radio for it.
    Fitted that in a few minutes(easy to do) and BAM!
    The 5Ghz speed in itself wasn't that much of an improvement .. it was the MIMO ability(MIMO is a multiple in multiple out system, where multiple frequencies are used to transfer data)

    short story is that wifi transfer speed went from 3MB/s to 20-25MB/s with this new device.
    Router is capable of even more(that I know of) .. but for net based stuff 20MB/s is fine.
    I very rarely transfer files that would benefit from more speed over the wifi .. and if I did, I'd prefer to use the more stable Gigabit ethernet anyhow(where it maxes out the rest of the systems data transfer rates).

    So as an example.
    I open ViewNX2, and load an 80Mb raw file.
    If I know that the CPU/RAM/HDD can transfer at up to 100MB/s for a short data load(eg. 80MB) then I know I can load an 80MB raw file to view it on the tablet in about 1sec.
    This is actually what I see.
    If I load this raw file but the file itself is on my desktop, I know that the wifi radio is now limiting the data rate to about 20-25MB/s so I expect a small delay in loading this remote raw file.
    This is what I see .. the time it takes to load a networked raw file varies tho .. sometimes 2sec, sometimes about 5 or so .. but I expect this.

    If I was really picky, I'd source an AC capable wifi radio but not just any! It'd have to also be MIMO capable too. a single fre3quency AC connection is no faster than most other common wifi modes.
    My son's ASUS lappy(very fast) is only capable of about 5MB/s.
    So with a MIMO AC wifi radio I'd probably see about 50-ish MB/s .. most likely a bit more, but not too much in the real world .. and then those networked raw files would load in about 2sec easily on this netbook.

    Internet pages don't contain all that much data(obviously except for very large images that may need to load up, and large downloads).
    But again, if your router is not capable of supplying that over wifi, then having that speed on the tablet/netbook/notebook is also a waste .. so you'd upgrade your router too ..

    and if your net connection is limited to 24Mb/s (about 3MB/s) then again .. you'd have to upgrade that too .. etc. etc .. and so the chain goes on.

    hope that all makes sense.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular
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    It does, ta. Yes, internet speed is a bit slow too, but only because it's now on wi-fi (54Mbit N-band, 1nce the ant's trousers, but increasingly) and
    only because it's being dragged about and no longer on the end of a cable. It is actually the processing speed of programs that I want to boost, and esp.
    when working with larger files. Some time ago I looked at AC band routers, and decided a $5 cable to the back of the TV was better. - I found out later that it was.
    Am.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    54Mbit is still ok. While the theoretical speed equates to 7MB/s transfer speeds . in reality it's more like 5MB/s or thereabouts.
    If you're connected via a DSL type connection, you're probably getting 24-ish Mb/s anyhow.
    So for browsing .. 54Mb/s is more than plenty.

    But if you're transferring 1Tb of data from somewhere on the network to the device which is limited to 5Mb/s over the Wifi-N connection .. see 'ya next century!

    If you're viewing movies over your network to the TV a cable makes sense.
    That is, the TV is fixed. Very rarely do we walk about the house with TV in hand.
    So, if the movie you're watching is encoded at say a 5MB/s data rate .. obviously your minimum connection requirement is going to be 5MB/s. But! due to the way data is sent, you don't get a smooth 5MB/s transfer .. it send it in large clumps and then off, then again then off.
    It also allows other data to be sent of course.
    If you had a few successive interruptions to the video stream, and the already cached data has been used up on the receiver end .. then you get stutter on the movie.

    I see this all the time when my friends/family try to watch steamed movies.

    Even a 100Mb/s eth cable connection isn't supremely fast. But it's more than capable for 99.9% of video streaming use.

    And as I alluded to earlier. An AC band router in itself probably won't do anything for ya.

    You'll need AC capability at the receiving end too. Many new laptops now have AC band wifi radios .. and while the speed is good, it's not fantastic!(it's just betterer than the old 3MB/s you may have been used too).

    Even tho I got an AC band router, it wasnt' for the AC band at all.. none of my other devices are AC capable.
    I got it for two reasons only(and paid a bit for that too tho)

    1. 3x3 MIMO .. which means a triple frequency wifi split. That's what I use. so instead of 5 or 7Mb/s in a single stream, it's giving me 15-21MB over the three frequencies.
    These devices do need an extra aerial or tow tho.
    2. it's ability to load an open source firmware known as Open WRT and or DD-WRT(as my model is on those lists of compatible devices)
    Last edited by arthurking83; 21-08-2015 at 5:39am.

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    I have 30MBit cable, and when streaming the Netflix (Hey, for free!) HD quality video it is superb, but over cable.
    That's into a 4K TV, but the free version I'm on is only HD. The 4K service costs $15/mth and that's not the problem,
    but the dearth - about 20 titles - of 4K video. - And since Vikings and Marco Polo (both 4K) look |BRILLIANT| (that's
    the ABS symbol, remember?) we may never get a paid 4K service. I have found all that it needs is a decent HD feed,
    such as from SBS HD.

    Anyway, returning from that pleasant stray, I remember now seeing that MIMO feature in the specs. Though also WiFi,
    I'd rather use the cable on the TV.

    I have started the upgrade of the lap-pup, btw, by starting on the Desktop machine first... Ie, getting that done as a
    priority as we're always using it.

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