Reasons to Upgrade Your Laptop (That Go Beyond a Performance Upgrade)

poohbear

TS Evangelist
Oh yes! I'm in the market for a new laptop to upgrade from my 5 year old Asus Zenbook Ux32LN (4th gen Haswell CPU), but I'm waiting for those 10nm Intel CPUs in the Project Athena laptops. They say they're to have 20+ hours of battery life...so hopefully I can buy one for the holiday season!
 

seeprime

TS Guru
Spending less than $2000 when one's current machine is still quite suitable seems like a waste of resources. The nicer screens are great. But, I spend nothing to keep my five year old ThinkPad, with SSD, running. With weekly images, stored offline, and ongoing FileHistory backups there is no downside to saving money at them moment.
 

yeeeeman

TS Maniac
I have an HP Pavilion 15 with 6700HQ and GTX 950M. Fast enough till this day for anything I throw at it and will probably change it with a 7/5nm 8+ cores CPU.
 

m4a4

TS Evangelist
I do gaming laptops for the portability and power. So not gonna be upgrading this beast on a whim just because it's a few years old :p
 
  • Like
Reactions: Black Paper

Nobina

TS Evangelist
Spending less than $2000 when one's current machine is still quite suitable seems like a waste of resources.
That's what this tech is all about, talking your self into spending money on **** you don't really need every year or so.
 

rrwards

TS Addict
Spending less than $2000 when one's current machine is still quite suitable seems like a waste of resources. The nicer screens are great. But, I spend nothing to keep my five year old ThinkPad, with SSD, running. With weekly images, stored offline, and ongoing FileHistory backups there is no downside to saving money at them moment.
Agrred, I have a T400 (11 years old) with a lightweight distro (bunsenlabs) of linux on an SSD. Works for everything I need it for (emails, office, browsing), arguable that the only issue is it weighs a bit lol.
 

Toju Mikie

TS Addict
I have an HP Pavilion 15 with 6700HQ and GTX 950M. Fast enough till this day for anything I throw at it and will probably change it with a 7/5nm 8+ cores CPU.
I had a laptop with an i5-6300HQ and a 960m until about a year ago. Ran Watch Dogs 2 and got a message that my GPU was below the minimum requirements, so I figured it was time for a new laptop. I now have one with an i7 and gtx 1060 max-q. It is still only a computer with a 4-core CPU. I could make use of an 8 or more core CPU on a laptop, but when they become available and the prices come down.
 

Tigre Marino

TS Rookie
Happy as happy can be with a HP Pavillion with Ryzen 2500u. Great APU specially when new drivers were released. USD800 well equipped with 128 GB SSD, 1 TB HDD and 12 GB of RAM.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Charles Olson

p51d007

TS Evangelist
Just bought a new Dell, to replace my almost 5 year old Dell. Nvme2 HDD, USB-C, 15", 2 in 1, touch screen with pen...less than 1000 bucks, open box. Retired my other one. I upgrade my laptops about every 4-5 years.
 

CMH

TechSpot Chancellor
IMO the points brought out in the article is valid, but misses the point on why people upgrade their hardware in the first place - something is lacking on their current hardware. Be it one of the points above, or hardware getting too dated for the latest software and needing more performance.

Thus, this article is nothing but a sly attempt at enticing people who otherwise wouldn't upgrade to spend money on unnecessary upgrades.

But I suppose Techspot needs their advertising dollars....
 

Dyson Parkes

TS Booster
I only replaced my 2011 Macbook Pro with a Surface Pro 2017 because the battery was dying and the hardware was no longer supported for updates. If it weren't for that, the machine was solid. It now runs Ubuntu and is part of my dev setup, rather than my daily driver.

The weight saving wasn't a bad bonus either... My back is glad I'm not carrying that lump of metal around any longer.
 

QuantumPhysics

TS Evangelist
Most laptops use a CPU, GPU and SSD that are integrated into the motherboard and can't be upgraded.

Personally, I don't see the point of laptops like the new Area 51m that claims how upgradable it is.
#1 it's too expensive - over $4000 fully spec'd and since you have to get proprietary parts there's no evidence that you'd ever be able to get any real deals or discounts.

#2 later down the road, technology improves and gets cheaper - which makes "just buying a new laptop" cheaper than upgrading an old one.

A 2TB SSD is $200 now. A year ago that was $400.

RTX 2080 didn't exist 2 years ago in a laptop. In 2 more years, who knows what magic Nvidia will pull out of their hats? Why would I want to upgrade from an RTX 2060 to a 2080 when the new 3080 is out there?


My laptops are a 15" and 17" Alienware R5.

they came with 1 small M.2 SSD, 1 empty M.2 SSD bay and 1 SATA SSD. They also came with 16GB of DDR4.

It was EASY for me to upgrade the SSD spaces to 4TB in both and easy to upgrade the RAM to 32GB (although unecessary) as prices dropped. The i7 CPU and 1080 GPU however are set in stone.

The REPLACEMENTS for the R5 are the M15 and M17 which are like half the weight and pack 2060, 2070 or 2080.

Why would I upgrade my old laptops when I could just buy the new, lighter, more battery efficient technology?
 

jpuroila

TS Booster
This reads almost like an ad for Apple... you ever "forgot" to mention that their newer laptops have terrible keyboards(even compared to their old laptops)
 

Bucon

TS Rookie
This reads almost like an ad for Apple... you ever "forgot" to mention that their newer laptops have terrible keyboards(even compared to their old laptops)
Just wait little bit longer for 7-10nm chips and new & improved keyboard & display.
I still use 2010 Macbook pro 15 with 2.4 i5 processor made in 32 nm. 8 year Apple battery holds about 3h. Wandering what will be in 2020.
 

Karlb

TS Rookie
I have a 2015 macbook pro and if it died, I'd look for a refurb of the same model. SO many reasons no to upgrade
Newer models:

Don't have magsafe cable, I've tripped over my power cable countless times, madness to ditch that benefit

Don't have useful ports. My 2015 has USB ports that work with cheap and plentiful peripherals with no dongle or adapter. What's the point of having only thunderbolt 3 ports when ANYTHING that plugs in to such ports are rare and expensive.

Newer Macbook pros have butterfly keyboards that truly suck! Apple replaced decent keyboards with ones that fail and are frustrating and has tripled down on the mistake. What happened to these fools?

How come most MacBook pros come with pathetic SSD sizes and getting a bit larger size memory and SSD can cost $1000 or more. Robbery! and not much progress over years.

And now nothing is upgradable. You used to be able to throw in more memory and bigger drives easily. They are just milking us under the guise of a little bit smaller machine. Thing is, people use laptops as their main machine instead of using a desktop machine.


Don't get me started on iPhones. I have a 6s plus. It has a headphone jack. Means I don't need a dongle, can charge while listening, don't have to connect or pair or worry about battery running out and got Klipsh headphones bud refurbs for $19 instead of $150 for the apple ones.
 

orondf

TS Booster
The point that I must strongly disagree with is about cooling performance.

As for the example given, the MacBook Pro that you have is the worst possible example of a newer laptop that runs cooler. It is well documented that they run quieter at the expense of cooling performance, so in heavy workloads CPU temps reach 90-95C. So while your old Vaio was definitely way louder, I have no doubt that it ran cooler that your MacBook Pro... (unless it had a 45W CPU with a wimpy cooler)

My second point is about new laptop models specifically. Is there a recent laptop, with a recent i5 or similar tier CPU, that runs at below 70C even at full load? My cheap laptop from 5 years ago keeps that cool even though it also has a dedicated GPU, but every single new laptop I've seen reviewed tends to either have issues with thermal throttling or run at >80C at full load. This is because 4 cores consume more power than 2, when the CPUs are 14nm or 14nm+++++, and the architecture is nearly identical, and the boost clock is actually higher than before. Build quality has improved for the price (for example, Lenovo now makes their cheaper models out of aluminum rather than plastic), but definitely not cooling performance. Sure, you'll get much better preformance, but saying that a new laptop will run cooler is kinda misleading IMHO.

In the end, it all comes down to specs and price.
 

Knot Schure

TS Addict
Most laptops use a CPU, GPU and SSD that are integrated into the motherboard and can't be upgraded.

Personally, I don't see the point of laptops like the new Area 51m that claims how upgradable it is.
#1 it's too expensive - over $4000 fully spec'd and since you have to get proprietary parts there's no evidence that you'd ever be able to get any real deals or discounts.

#2 later down the road, technology improves and gets cheaper - which makes "just buying a new laptop" cheaper than upgrading an old one.

A 2TB SSD is $200 now. A year ago that was $400.

RTX 2080 didn't exist 2 years ago in a laptop. In 2 more years, who knows what magic Nvidia will pull out of their hats? Why would I want to upgrade from an RTX 2060 to a 2080 when the new 3080 is out there?


My laptops are a 15" and 17" Alienware R5.

they came with 1 small M.2 SSD, 1 empty M.2 SSD bay and 1 SATA SSD. They also came with 16GB of DDR4.

It was EASY for me to upgrade the SSD spaces to 4TB in both and easy to upgrade the RAM to 32GB (although unecessary) as prices dropped. The i7 CPU and 1080 GPU however are set in stone.

The REPLACEMENTS for the R5 are the M15 and M17 which are like half the weight and pack 2060, 2070 or 2080.

Why would I upgrade my old laptops when I could just buy the new, lighter, more battery efficient technology?
You would buy an Area 51M for the mobile CPU power.

The applications I run, need all the CPU I can throw at them (not gaming). 9900K obliterates any mobile CPU. This helps me every day.

I'm even using up all the 64GB of RAM too, so that'll be changing to 128GB of RAM as soon as I get out of this shady part of the world. Can you run a laptop cpu with 128GB? I'm not even sure the chipset allows it.

Anyway, when I DO game, how is your 17r5 compared to my RTX2070? I feel I got some value for money here...

https://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/13295720

- Me.
 

QuantumPhysics

TS Evangelist
You would buy an Area 51M for the mobile CPU power.

The applications I run, need all the CPU I can throw at them (not gaming). 9900K obliterates any mobile CPU. This helps me every day.

I'm even using up all the 64GB of RAM too, so that'll be changing to 128GB of RAM as soon as I get out of this shady part of the world. Can you run a laptop cpu with 128GB? I'm not even sure the chipset allows it.

Anyway, when I DO game, how is your 17r5 compared to my RTX2070? I feel I got some value for money here...

https://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/13295720

- Me.

The display is 17.3" FHD (1920 x 1080) 144Hz. That 1080p gaming DOES NOT require this much power and there's literally no reason to buy mobile RTX yet.

I can run CRYSIS, Crysis Warhead and Crysis 2 in 1080p with max settings on a core i7, 16GB of DDR4 and a 1060 (not even my 1080).

I don't knock people for buying expensive stuff because I HATE being told that I spent too much buying Alienware.

I just personally don't see anything worth spending $3799 for.

My biggest problem is I hate the new case design. I love my older design.
 

GirlDownunder

TS Booster
Battery life: used to be able to buy a new one and easily install it. Now? Internal, and either a bear to remove or non-removeable (bin the whole laptop when it stops charging properly).

Touchpad: used to have actual left & right click buttons. Now, all-in-one-- which is no where NEAR as precise.

Keyboard: don't even get me started. Waaaaaaaay too many spongy, low-travel, non-tactile to list.

Screen res: if all you need is a ooh-ah wallpaper, good on ya! I prefer icons I can actually see & read at native res. 1080 is about as high as you can go before you have to start making adjustments (which don't work well, across the board).

CPU: Do you want energy savings or grunt? Your battery life depends on throttling your CPU and/or starting with an anemic one.

No LAN nor HDMI port. *****ic. I've been called to service those wi-fi only laptops and I can tell you it's a cluster-f*ck. I've had to install a USB dongle just to try to repair whatever has gone wrong. Sorry. No reason to remove something useful that takes up extremely little actual circuit board space.

Build quality: Are you kidding? The stuff from 2008-2014 are tank-like in their superior build.

My son & I both run nice Toshiba's from 2010. Upgraded RAM & SSD. Replaced batteries. The things are amazingly quick and handle all of our everyday usage.

I cannot tell you how many people have hired me to set up their "brand new" laptops, only to be fairly disappointed in the performance (even after optimizing). I then have a look at their "old" laptop-- double to triple the CPU, full ports, plenty of USB3.

Not buying the "time to upgrade" shtick.
 

sushi board

TS Rookie
Seriously, upgrade when your current laptop can't get the job done anymore. That's about every 5-7 years for me.
 

QuantumPhysics

TS Evangelist
Swap your Hard Drive for an SSD and you get a performance boost that's like day & night.

I have an old Core 2 Duo HP Pavilion laptop from like 5 years ago that got a tremendous performance jump when I made the swap.

Otherwise, it runs hot with the fan spinning loudly which tells me it either needs a new fan or new thermal paste or both.

But the GPU is onboard as well as the CPU. I doubt either can be upgraded.

Basically the laptop is only good for basics like music listening and porn. It can't run 3D games like my newer Alienware Core i7/1080/32GB DDR4 can.