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Which will give me the best performance upgrade? An SSD or 2GB RAM + better CPU?

  • RAM
Last response: in Laptop General Discussion
August 12, 2015 5:53:33 PM

Right now I have a Dell Inspiron 7437 with:

- 6gb RAM (soldered, so not upgradable)
- i5-4200U
- 5400 rpm hard drive
- Windows 8.1, soon to be 10

I use my computer for school, and I mainly use MS Vizio, Visual Studio, Android Studio, Sublime Text 2, and Chrome.

It's okay and handles everything I do without too much of a problem, but when I pull up Android Studio for example, it's slow to load and slightly sluggish, especially when I'm using the emulator. I usually have Chrome open with around 15+ tabs along with whatever else I'm doing. My biggest issue is running Android Studio with the emulator. Sometimes the emulator barely works and takes minutes to load.

Which of the following options would give me the most noticeable performance increase?

1. Upgrade to an SSD (such as a Samsung 850 evo) - $85-100

2. Purchase a used motherboard for my same laptop on Ebay that has an i7-4500U and 8gb RAM (I assume it would be a direct swap?). Is purchasing a used motherboard like that a bad idea?- $115-150

3. Upgrade to a new laptop. - $$$ (I would prefer not to have to do this)

How much of a difference do you think I would see going from 6gb to 8gb RAM?

I would appreciate any advice.

More about : give performance upgrade ssd 2gb ram cpu

August 12, 2015 6:04:15 PM

You will see almost no difference between 6gb and 8gb, I can't tell the difference between 4200 and 4500.

The SSD will give you best upgrade, once ditching your slow HDD.

Upgrading - do you need it to be laptop?

Best solution

August 12, 2015 7:07:41 PM

The SSD will make your laptop feel more responsive because read and write speeds of a SSD is much higher than a HDD. The laptop will boot faster and programs will load faster. Android Studio should load faster. However, a SSD does not affect processing performance at all.

Emulators tends to be CPU intensive programs that's because emulators are used to run programs that are not designed to run in Windows. An emulator is CPU intensive because it must translate instructions from another OS into something that Windows can understand and that is generally what causes sluggishness.

Chrome is generally known for being a RAM hog it uses much more RAM compared to Firefox and Internet Explorer. Upgrading from 6GB to 8GB can help improve performance a little bit since with 15+ tabs open you are likely going to be swapping data back and forth between RAM and the HDD. 8GB of RAM means less caching, but you will still be swapping data. Having a SSD can improve performance though since caching will happen much faster.

According to the link below there is a known performance issue with Android Studio even with desktop CPUs so having a more powerful CPU will not cure the problem. There is a workaround for the performance issue but you need to enable virtualization in the BIOS and you need to install the Intel x86 Emulator Accelerator. Give it a shot since it is free.

Before upgrading to Windows 10 I recommend you search to make sure all your programs are compatible with it and Dell has the appropriate Win 10 drivers for your laptop.
August 13, 2015 12:22:22 AM

Thank you both very much for your advice! When I wrote the post I was thinking that increasing the RAM was the only way to go, but I'm glad I asked since it sounds like that's not the case.

I went ahead and ordered a Samsung 850 Evo SSD today, so I'll put that in and see how it does.

I wasn't aware that Android Studio had that performance issue. I've heard of the Intel x86 Emulator Accelerator, but I'll look into how to install that on my machine too. I'm sure that will make a difference as well.

And thanks for the advice, I'll check with Dell before I upgrade to Windows 10.

And to answer your question, Alabalcho, my program at school requires us to have laptops, so unfortunately I can't upgrade to a desktop.

Thank you!
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