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Should I upgrade HP Pavilion dv6 1100?

By Vilandra ยท 11 replies
Apr 22, 2013
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  1. Hi all :)

    My parents have an HP Pavilion entertainment laptop that frankly didn't run well when it was new, but is really struggling to open programs now. I am thinking of putting in an SSD as a boot drive and moving the HDD into the optical bay, and upgrading the RAM to the max of 8. Also possibly upgrading to Windows 7 (I think 8 would confuse them).

    My dad does a lot of photo editing, using Lightroom 4. Other than that, it's basic word, excel, & Internet browsing only.

    Is it worth it for me to put a few hundred dollars (I figure about $450) into the laptop or should they look for a new desktop instead? It would be worth it to me to extend the life of the laptop with a view to buying new down the road.

    Here are the current specs:

    HP Pavilion dv6t-1100
    4 GB RAM
    Intel Core 2 Duo T6400 2 Ghz
    64 bit Vista
    ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4530

    Thank you!
  2. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,481   +975

    I would keep the HDD, clean install Windows 7 (check out this article for help: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/clean-install, it is for Windows 8, but the same applies to Win 7), and upgrade the RAM. I wouldnt add an SSD because your CPU is pretty old and the SSD will be bottlenecked by it and therefore it would not help. I recommend Clean installing Windows over the SSD because clean installing gives the "New" PC feel to old hardware like an SSD does to semi-new PCs. The RAM will also make a huge difference. After you clean install Windows, report back and ill tell you what drivers you need (you only really need a display driver).

    I think it is a good choice to wait for a new laptop down the road. This upgrade will gain you a few years, but dont expect to game on it. Keep in mind, clean installing Windows will delete all of your data! So use these sites to help assist you in your back up adventure:
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/back-up-your-files (For Windows 7, but Vista is basically the same I think).
    I recommend this less since it transfers old settings (which can be causing the performance hit you are experiencing) to the new install: http://lifehacker.com/5983652/how-t...without-losing-your-files-settings-and-tweaks

    Windows 7 will set you back a hundred bucks: http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Premium-64bit-System-Builder/dp/B004Q0PT3I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366680086&sr=8-1&keywords=windows 7
    But it is worth the upgrade. If you are a student you can sometimes get discounts thru Microsoft but since they want to separate themselves from Win7, they may not offer this anymore. But they still do for Win8, but it is hard to find an institutions other than universities.

    Use this tool to find out what RAM supports your system: http://www.crucial.com/systemscanner (tell me if the link doesnt work since I am running OS X now and it automatically sends me to the download for OS X, so I cut off some of the URL)

    Finally, install the Catalyst Software Suite after you have clean installed Windows 7 and added the RAM: http://support.amd.com/us/gpudownload/windows/legacy/Pages/legacy-radeonaiw-vista64.aspx

    Keep in Mind: You should install the newest BIOS revision for your laptop before upgrading to Win 7 to avoid errors: http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsuppor...TypeId=321957&prodSeriesId=3873224&taskId=135

    Don't be afraid to ask questions :). Sorry if this essay :eek: is intimidating :D.
    St1ckM4n likes this.
  3. Vilandra

    Vilandra TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Wow - thank you so much for such detailed advice! Much appreciated!

    This laptop won't be doing any gaming - running Lightroom is the most intensive thing it will do.

    Can I ask a BIOS question? As long as the BIOS version listed on HPs website is the same as the one I have installed on the laptop, am I good? I ask because I'm actually also doing a similar thing to my 2 year old Dell, and the date on the Dell website is a few days later than what my laptop says, but it is the same version number.
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,056   +4,777

    That could be due to taking a few days to post the update. The build date and the posting date may not be the same. As long as you have the same version number, that is all that matters.
    Vilandra likes this.
  5. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,481   +975

    Clifford is correct. The only reason I am telling you to update the BIOS is because the newer the revision, the better the support for a new OS. Another 4GB of RAM and the updated AMD display adapter will help with Lightroom.
  6. Vilandra

    Vilandra TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Thanks so much guys!
  7. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,481   +975

    Best of luck. Ask any questions that may arise. You seem like you know what you are talking about, so you wont be that lost ;). haha
  8. Vilandra

    Vilandra TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 20

    It's all good until I open the casing lol...
  9. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,481   +975

    Yeah, you may wanna get some compressed air to clean out the PC. It is a good habit to get into doing to prevent overheating.
  10. Vilandra

    Vilandra TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Personally I don't think Windows 8 is right for my parents, but they were asking about it: am I right that with such an old processor it won't really run 8 properly anyway? I suggested 7 (since I have an unused copy since I moved to 8 so it would be free).
  11. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,056   +4,777

    The processor is fine, it will run Windows 7 or 8 without issues. Personally I would keep Windows Vista on the laptop. If you performed a clean install as mentioned earlier, you would probably see a noticeable improvement.
    Vilandra likes this.
  12. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,481   +975

    I suggested Windows 7 because it has considerable improvements over Vista. It is solely your choice Vilandra. Windows 8 is fine if you wanna buy Start8 for $30, which brings back the start menu and disables all the junk in Win 8 like hot corners and the charm bar. Otherwise it will be pretty confusing. Microsoft is announcing something in the summer. It is said to be Windows 8.1, and will be a free upgrade to Windows 8 adopters. It may or may not include the start menu, it is all being speculated. I would say Windows 7 since you dont need Start8 with it.
    Vilandra likes this.

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