As an onsite computer repair service we get asked this question all the time and it’s right up there with “which is the best laptop?”. Performance is usually equated to expenditure, i.e. the more you spend the better performance, but we get to see all the laptops out on the field and this rule doesn’t seem to always apply in the mainstrean. We seen a new gaming-level laptop with 4GB DDR2 800MHz RAM that struggled to play a SIMS game. We re-configured the memory, utilized ReadyBoost with a suitable USB adaptor, and changed the CPU power settings in the BIOS before the game ran smoothly.
Some laptops are preconfigured with ‘low’ CPU settings in the BIOS rather than ‘dynamic’ to preserve battery life, but this trade-off can impact performance because the CPU is set to always run at low power. A change here can result in a change to performance when you need it, at the cost of battery life for mobile users.
Other more general issues affecting performance, and what you can do about them, are:
- bloated antivirus programs – find AV programs with a small footprint such as Avira or ESET. Most of the big name AV programs reduce performance by up to 20%.
- upgrade to 4GB RAM on 32bit systems
- in MSCONFIG carefully turn off programs you don’t need at startup, such as Adobe Reader, Messenger, itunes, etc.
- find out what those proprietary (manufacturer) system or printer programs actually do which launch at startup. Are they really needed?
In the Intel Core duo and i-series range, and with Windows 7, paying less does not always mean inferior performance in the cost-to-performance rule or ratio, and a Â little tweaking can make a big difference to overall performance.