Old Toshiba, Broke Student- Better performance???

By ecgreg
May 30, 2005
  1. Hello,

    I have a Toshiba Satallite 2060 CDS with a 400Mhz AMD K6 (and Win98SE). I'm running 128megs of ram, 4gb HD (with 1 gb free) and am interested in upgrading the bios and ram for better performance. While not dead slow, I think I could make dinner while it boots up!

    My wife and I are both grad students and often need to run two computers at home at the same time, but can't afford a new laptop. We use the laptop like a network terminal, storing all the important files on another computer.

    1. Is there anyway to improve performance on a computer this age? (beyond cleaning out old programs and files and reducing start up items) 2. Would it be cost effective to make any of these modifications?

    I am NOT interested in overclocking the old workhorse, just trying to get better performance.

    Any suggestings would be greatly appreciated.


  2. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    Well for one thing, you don't have enough memory. You will get the most performance boost for the money if you upgrade it to 512mb. XP is a memory hog and uses around 200mb for itself. If you have less than 256MB it will page file and really slow the system down. Most applications like word processors use around 40 to 50mb of memory.
    Upgrade the memory first You will see a remarkable speed boost.
    Memory is cheap.
    I would also upgrade to WIN XP PRO, but that is not urgent.
    BIOS changes won't really do anything for you - that's only necessary if you are having hardware problems.
  3. ecgreg

    ecgreg TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi Tedster,

    Thanks for the advice, I currently have 128 megs of ram, it is my understanding that that is all the motherboard can support. Is it possible to upgrade the BIOS to support more RAM?

    With a 400mHz processor does it make sense to upgrade to XP? I thought you needed at least a 900mHz machine to support it.

    Any other thoughts/system tweeks?


  4. AtK SpAdE

    AtK SpAdE TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,495

    XP would run wayyyy slow on the machine, let alone run at all. I would stay away from that!
  5. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    Without looking at the particular specs of your computer, I seriously doubt your computer is limited to 128megs of RAM. You're probably looking at the only RAM port on the motherboard. If that is the case, you will have to remove the 128MB stick and replace it with a 512mb stick. You'll have to research the type of memory you laptop takes. go to and use their memory finder program.

    As far as XP goes, you can get by with Win98SE, but you'll miss out of a lot of programs. If all you're doing is word processing, than your machine is fine with win98se and 512mb or ram. Heck for school purposes, a word processor, email, web access, and maybe a spreadsheet is all you need.
  6. ecgreg

    ecgreg TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi Tedster,

    According to Crucial, "The Toshiba Satellite 2060CDS has a maximum capacity of 160MB." but "(Keep in mind that sometimes BIOS updates and other hardware configurations can alter memory recommendations.)"

    I've downloaded a BIOS checker to figure out which Bios I have and look at potentially upgrading the BIOS. I am hesitant to Flash the BIOS as I've never done this before and I've heard horror stories of Flashing gone wrong.

    Any Ideas on the BIOS?


  7. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    wow. Then it is a really old computer.

    Flashing the BIOS is not hard, you jsut have to be meticulous and patient.

    First create a startup boot disk with the new bios program on it.

    run the flash program. BACK up your old BIOS to ANOTHER floppy.

    then run the flash program again and INSTALL the new BIOS. Do not get impatient. Let the program run it's full course.

    When it's done, remove your floppy and boot normally.

    Quite frankly if your computer is that old and won't take more than 130megs, it may not be worth adding memory. I'd upgrade to a new laptop.
    for just a few bucks more you can get a semi-decent laptop with 512mb memory, a cd rom, and a modem.
  8. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    Exactly what "programs" would he be missing out on? And since when does a word processor chew up 50mb of ram? Even MSWORD doesn't take up that much when editing 11 files at a time (Just tested right now)

    Win98SE is a much better fit for that laptop than XP.

    ecgreg: I would suggest a reinstallation of Win98SE and then an installation of the unofficial Win98SE Service Pack, which includes aside from the majority of patches and updates to W98 from MIcrosoft, various performance-enchancing tweaks that really do add up. A 400mhz k6 is never going to be blazing fast, but it shouldn't take more than 2-3 minutes to boot with a bare 98se install. From there, install only the applications you use or need. I have Windows XP running on a laptop with a 450mhz k6/3 and 128mb of RAM and it runs quite decent, although I spent a large amount of time tweaking XP for maximum speed.
  9. Secondgunman

    Secondgunman TS Rookie Posts: 91

    Re: First post...

    I would not run WinXP on that system even IF I have the RAm to do so. I would Upgrade the RAM to the max, backing all inportant files and programs then whiping the system in fdisk and reinsalling the O/S. For that System aside from learning Linux and going that root... sorry for the pun... punny punny punny I would have to say Win98Se would be the best and only real bet. :knock:
  10. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    I'm talking about the office suite as a whole.

    Since he's broke, he shoud try it's free.
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