Tech Should I sink more money into a 3 yr old laptop? RAM, Windows 7?

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  1. I have a three year old Dell XPS M1210 laptop. It has been giving me a lot of problems lately with freezing up and, fingers crossed, it seems to be fixed.

    Still it's quite slow. Dell hardware recommeded I upgrade to 4 GHz RAM from 2 GHz, cost $152 plus tax and shipping. Dell software recommeded I upgrade to Windows 7 from XP for better virus protection. Cost $119 or $199 depending on which version I get Home or Professional.

    Do you experts have any thoughts? TIA! I can't afford a new computer right now but I had to waste money on upgrades if there not really needed.
  2. i think upgrading from xp to windows 7 just for better virus protection is a bunch of hooey.

    i'm sure someone who knows more about upgrading can give a better answer but i think upgrading your memory and hard drive couldn't hurt, as long as it costs you way less than actually buying a new computer. AND if you think your laptop will still get you by for another 2-3 years.
  3. From what I can tell, your notebook comes with 1gb standard. More than likely that 1gb is on one stick. Your Dell can support 2 sticks. To make sure, there should be a panel on the bottom, held on by a screw or two, usually right in the center. There might be a pic of memory or something. Remove that panel and see if there's one or two sticks of memory. If there's only one, that's better. You can buy one stick of 2gb memory and add to it, giving you 3gb. If you already have 2 sticks, you'll have to remove and replace one with the 2gb stick and you'll only have 2.5gb (given that your stock 1gb is broken up into 2 sticks of 512mb). Still, both options will give you more than double over what you previously had. Replacing memory is very simple...just snap it in there.

    Also, DO NOT pay 150 bucks for 4gb of memory. You can do a Google Shopping search for 200-pin SODIMM DDR2 2gb memory. You should be able to get a stick for 30-40 bucks. Get 2gb first, install and then see where you sit.

    As for virus protection, if you already have anti-virus sw, then you should be good to go. Just make sure you have auto virus definition updates enabled as well as auto scans. If you don't have anti-virus sw, look into AVG or Avast. Both are free.
  4. ILuvShopping -- thanks! I had the same reaction that I don't really need Windows 7 as long as Microsoft still supports XP, but it's nice to get a second opinion.

    Charles -- thanks! I already have 2 GB, I got extra RAM to begin with. Two sticks of 1 MB per slot, so I could go up to 3 or 4. 2GB should be good but 3 may be better. Yikes I'm still trying to get the back cover off, guess I need a really small screw driver. But sounds like I can get more RAM cheaper from someplace other than Dell.
  5. my experience with trying to upgrade. i have a desktop and i have a friend who works on computers so i go to him for all this stuff. My desktop is only 1gb (sad i know!) and has xp (runs great actually). i asked him if he could upgrade it for me and i was hoping for at least 4 gb. I have 2 slots so he told me i COULD install 4 gb but because of my system, the computer would only use 3 gb so essentially buying 4gb was useless. however, because of what specs of my computer, i either had to buy 2 or 4gb, no singles.

    in the end i went out and bought a cheap laptop that is pretty much double what my desktop is. (also because my cd drive is now stuck shut).
  6. i have the same laptop also from 3 years ago! (i'm actually kinda excited about that because finally i have a computer twin!) i'm not sure if you play games (beyond the casual downloadable games category), but if you do then this laptop's graphics card could why you feel the computer's slow. even the best factory-installed graphics card at that time, which i got, can barely keep up with current games.
  7. You might need eyeglass repair screw drivers. They sell them at Wal-Fart/Target.

    And yeah, it sucks, but it looks like you'll have a stick of 1gb sitting around collecting dust.

    Oh, since you might not be using that one stick...want to sell it to me? Seriously.
  8. well get rid of it and buy a sony wiioo instead.... u will love it and i can bt over it...
  9. you can definitely get the ram cheaper than from dell. my friend likes to use but i'm sure charles has some awesome recommendations as well ;)
  10. Crucial and OCZ also make affordable memory.

    If you do the memory upgrade, i would not upgrade the operating system. You can probably get another year out of it with the memory upgrade, but I would start saving for a new computer now.
  11. Windows 7 from XP is just crap. XP is a good stable OS, and the newer the version of Windows, the more stuff it runs on startup and slows your machine down. If you want virus protection get AVG free, which is quite good. Just get the RAM from somewhere that is not too expensive.

    I honestly think it's better to invest in a new machine. Once laptops start going, they are usually gone pretty quickly.
  12. Oho! I happen to have the same exact laptop! I also had it for 2 years, 9 months when it suddenly died on me a few days before this past Christmas.

    It died while I was playing World of Warcraft on it. In the past year prior to that, it had been having issues--overheating, running sluggishly, etc. I'm about 90% sure that my laptop died because the video card overheated and gave up. And since the video card is soldered right onto the motherboard, my laptop won't boot anymore.

    It turns out some M1210 (along with some other Dell models) were shipped with a faulty NVIDIA video card, which is why some people's laptops died. Unfortunately, Dell refuses to recognize this issue for the M1210, which is why I'm out of luck in terms of trying it repaired.

    Anyways, I say, that if it's already starting to run slow and it's 3 years old, get a new one. A decent laptop should last you about 3 years, and if it gives you problems after that, you should consider getting a new one.

    I was planning to get a Studio XPS 13, but then Dell announced the Alienware m11x laptop. It's an 11-incher that is supposed to come out next month, and will cost below $1000 (specs maxed).
  13. I agree. It'll be cheaper for you in the long run as well to upgrade.

    The only thing is I would go with Avast! over AVG Free, I'm a fan of the boot time scans and it's proven to be a more thorough scan with my husband's client's machines.
  14. i love it when an op says "i can't afford to buy a new one" and then multiple people say "just buy a new one!" seriously people...we're not all made of money. the op says she can't afford a new one right now...she can't afford a new one. upgrading the ram won't cost her anything close to buying a new laptop.
  15. I think what most of us are saying that she's better off NOT upgrading her existing laptop now (because it's becoming obsolete), and waiting until she can afford a new one.